Premiership Predictions II - Mid-Table Obscurity

Having determined those who will be scrapping for survival in the Bottom Six when last we spoke, we now turn to a handful of sad, unloved, sullen creatures. I speak, of course, of the denizens of the doldrums, the natives of normalcy, the people of the prosaic - the mid-table mavens of the mediocre.

The Middle of the Road

10. Manchester City - The potential is there for either crash-and-burn or a European challenge, but I'll split the difference and settle on mid-table, nipping at the heels of the qualification chasers. Lots of new faces in the boardroom, on the bench, and on the pitch, but does success necessarily follow? Players coming from Italy have met with mixed success, though generally the results tend to be sour. Presumably, Eriksson knows the type of player that will adapt to the English game and he's a proven commodity at club level - but what could happen to this club should the law catch up with the new owner?

11. Bolton - The Trotters have had some good years as of late under the forceful hand of Big Sam. What happens now that Little Sammy is in charge? There's been no mass exodus of players as was feared, and they've even managed to bring in some new, talented blood. But I think some of the fire and determination may have left with the manager and the club will slip down the table as a result. Not enough to get them in relegation trouble, mind you, but they'll struggle to break into the top half of the table.

12. West Ham - The Hammers have bought well, but they've also lost some influential players, not the least of which is last season's savior - Carlos Tevez. Is Curbishley the right man for the job? I doubt it, and I think Egg-head will have him on a short leash this season. The return of Dean Ashton alongside Bellamy in attack should net the goals, but the defense absolutely shipped them last term and Parker's midfield bite doesn't improve that weakness much. West Ham should play in a number of high-scoring games, but will they win many?

13. Portsmouth - Last season's dream run near the top of the table faded late and Pompey slipped to ninth by the end. I see that trend continuing. Redknapp has typically been wheeling and dealing in the transfer market, but will it net him anyone fit to shine? They should be a competitive side that can get results at home and have more than enough quality to keep well away from the relegation places, but I don't see them mounting any sort of serious European challenge.

14. Middlesbrough - Boro are a decent team and they've made some interesting buys, but if one or both of Schwarzer and Yakubu move on, they could be dragged into the relegation fight. Southgate is putting together a more exciting side than McClaren ever did, but there are a lot of unknowns there and I've yet to be convinced of Southgate's managerial ability, though he did show signs of improvement in the late going last year.

So that completes our trek through the murky bottom of the table and even gives us the first glimpse of the top-half with Manchester City claiming that dubious honor. Next up, we'll take a look at the five sides who will be fighting in and around the UEFA Cup spots as our journey through the Land of the Future As I See It continues.

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