Our crystal ball spoke to us clearly and concisely when the excitement and anticipation of the 2009/10 season kicked-off. We made our predictions. We chose the chosen ones and it was off to the races.
As the best of the best galloped into the eyes of victory and defeat, we raved, we ranted, we posted and we polled about the beautiful game. And as the race to be crowned champion nears its end, we can’t help but wonder, who will cross the finish line first?
For so long Chelsea have been the favourites to scoop the Premier League title. If I remember correctly, we warned the Stamford Bridge outfit not to celebrate too soon. At Christmas, the Chelsea players and faithful believed they had it in the bag. There was an evident cockiness to them which has become synonymous with Chelsea. But a loss to Everton and a whipping by Manchester City in their own park soon made the Blues players and fans realize the fight to the finish will not be so easy. Did they under estimate their opponents? Did the John Terry scandal hurt them? What would they do without Drogba? Will the iron Chelski curtain find its strength again as they head towards the finish?
With Wayne Rooney turning on the style and making a case to be European Footballer of the Year, Manchester United are once again finding their strength and form at the right time. Determined to create history and make it four Premier League titles in a row, the Red Devils are as hungry as ever for silver ware. They’ve already bagged the Carling Cup, they have one eye on a Champions League quarter final spot and they are two points clear at the Premier League summit. Granted they haven’t been as exciting to watch as a team this term, but Rooney has given us every reason to be up for watching Manchester United play. Do you think they’d be flying if Ferdinand and Vidic were fit all season? Do you think Rooney deserves to be Player of the Year? Has Valencia been a success? Will Berbatov be the man United fans want him to be?
And what of Arsenal? After losses to Manchester United and Chelsea, everyone had written off their title chances for good. How could the Gunners win the league if they couldn’t beat the two best teams in the country? Somehow, some way, Arsenal have hung in there. Even though they lost to the big two, they picked up some good results in games we’ve easily seen them lose over the last few seasons. Beating the likes of Stoke and Hull has helped. Losing Ramsey to such a horrific injury has not. But unlike the Eduardo injury experience which saw Arsenal implode that season, it appears this time around the team are galvanized to win it for Ramsey. They seem to have a purpose we may not have seen in recent times. Can Arsenal finish strong without Fabregas? Would they be clear of United and Chelsea on points at this stage if Van Persie hadn’t been injured? Was Vermaelen the best buy of the season? How good could Arsenal actually be if they bought three more world class players?
The rest of the league are fighting for a fourth Champions League spot, a Europa League place or just plain old fashioned survival. How do your predictions match up to what you thought at the beginning of the season? Who do you see wining it all? Chelsea? Manchester United? Or Arsenal? Can Tottenham really steal a Champions League birth? Will Manchester City or Aston Villa ruin their coming out party? Will we see another famous old club like West Ham go down? Has Hull City’s luck finally run out? When Portsmouth go down, how much further will they sink over the next few years? Remember Leeds?
There is still much to play for. It’s sad that the season is almost ending but fear not fellow footie fans! The silver lining is that we are in a World Cup year so the wait for some quality football won’t feel like eternity. Could this be the year Wayne Rooney shines on the world stage? Is it his time to be crowned a world football superstar? The race to the finish line is almost over. The only question is, who will win?