Premiership Predictions I - The Bottom Six

It's time once again to thrust myself, Cassandra-like, before the snarling mockery of the masses and dip into the Well of What-If?, the Cauldron of Clairvoyance, the Pit of Prophecy, and the Pail of Prediction, and draw forth the shape of things to come round about May of 2008. My MLS picks are not looking far off (excepting of course, the damnable Columbus Crew), and it is with that success firmly in mind that I embark on the first of a five part series laying out the Way Things Will Be in the Premier League - at least to my eyes anyway. We begin with the bottom of the barrel, where realistically, I think that the bottom two on my list are pretty much down before we even kick a ball, but any of the other four could be the unlucky ones to plunge back into the stinking mire of the Championship with them.

The Bottom Six

15. Birmingham - Birmingham bounce immediately back to the top level, finishing second in the Championship last term, and I think that they'll stick, at least for this season. They should be relatively solid defensively, but questions will be asked about where the goals are going to come from.

16. Fulham - Lawrie Sanchez gets his first shot at a full season with the Cottagers and though they've added a lot of names to the roster, I don't see them improving their quality terribly much, nor their table position. Claims of a run at Europe are a bit dubious to say the least, but they should have enough about them to stay up.

17. Sunderland - The potential is there for Keano's men to emulate the recent first-season successes of Wigan, West Ham, and Reading after a barnstorming run to win the Championship last term. Unfortunately, like their fellow new arrivals Birmingham, the question is going to be - where do you find the goals? If they can find them, Sunderland may be in for a mid-table finish. If not, the Championship may come calling again.


18. Reading - Reading had a great first season in the top-flight, finishing just out of the UEFA Cup places in 8th. Sadly, I think that may be all she wrote for the Royals. They've lost the key to their midfield in Sidwell, and haven't really added a lot of quality this summer. The sophomore slump smells blood in the water, and relegation may be on the cards as well. Much will depend on what kind of start they have. If they fail to get results early, confidence may ebb, leading to a long, hard struggle this campaign.

19. Wigan - Wigan lost more than their manager at the end of last term when Paul Jewell stepped down - they lost the heart of the team. And the playing staff underwent the same radical surgery as Baines, McCulloch, and de Zeeuw move on to be replaced by the likes of Michael Brown and Titus Bramble. In fact, Bramble may lead this team in scoring by amassing an impressive pile of own goals. Don't let the door smack you on the arse on the way down Latics!

20. Derby - The Rams finished a comfortable 3rd in the Championship last term, winding up just a couple of points shy of the automatic promotion places. But they won the playoff and made their way to the top flight. It'll be a short stay though as they really don't have anything about them that suggests survival. It will be interesting to see if Yank Abroad Benny Feilhaber can add a little creativity and class to the midfield and maybe keep them off the bottom.

So that's my bottom six. Of those, I think Wigan and Derby are favorites to finish bottom and go down, but the other four will be in a real dogfight to avoid the drop. While my arbitrary and capricious nature has deemed that today Reading will fall, yesterday it was Fulham, and the day before Sunderland, so it's pretty much a crapshoot in my mind - to be determined by the fickle winds of fate. And injuries. And mad January transfer dashes. And . . .

That's it for now. Next up we'll take a look at places 10 through 14, the dead zone doldrums of mid-table mediocrity.

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