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Friday, August 11, 2006

Jamie's Football Predictions for 2006

Am suitably recovered from this Summer's football overdose, ready for the new season.

And my team, the mighty Ipswich Town FC look like they're going to struggle this year. I never really rated Big Fat Joe Royle, but I think I'll perhaps realise what a good job he actually did do, now that Magic Jim Magilton has taken over the reins. Plenty of enthusiasm, but zero managerial experience... I think mid-table mediocrity beckons for us again, as we build for the future etc etc... I think this is going to be a season to forget for the tractor boys.

And in the Premiership, I can't see anyone even getting near Chelsea this year. Michael Ballack has been a good buy for them, even now they now have about 17 world-class midfielders. But I think that the purchase of Andriy Shevchenko from Meelan has been inspirational. I always thought Chelsea's weakness was a lack of true class in attack. I have never really believed that Drogba was world-class and Crespo was never happy at Stamford Bridge... But in Sheva, they have signed (in my opinion) the best striker in the world.

I think United will struggle again. They're going to miss the horse, although I think Carrick will do well for them. And Arsenal again look a little light. I wouldn't be surprised to see Chelsea win the Champions League and the Prem this year.

Which brings me onto Serie A and with Juve relegated to Serie B, it should be an interesting campaign. I did read that Juve were being linked with comedy Newcastle defender Jean-Alain Boumsong... I think that they have been punished enough with relegation and the points deduction.

I think that the Rossoneri will struggle a bit without Sheva and a lot of pressure is going to fall on Gilberto's shoulders. He's scored a lot of goals in Serie A, but had a disappointing World Cup and he's also never really done it in the Champions League either... This season could be make or break for him, as he steps out of Sheva's shadow. I think they'll win Serie A, but have not got enough for the Champions League.

And Inter... well, they've bought big again this year with Crespo and Ibrahimovic. And on paper, they do look stronger than ever, especially seeing as Milan will start with a point deduction, so they even have a head start... But I still expect them to bottle it as they always do.

And finally, I expect Real Madrid to make a return to form this season. They've made a couple of rather good signings, the most important of all being the return of Fabio Capello as boss. And I think Capello is the best manager in the world. He'll certainly whip the galacticos into shape - no place for show ponies under him.

So here are Jamie's Predictions for the season ahead:

* Chelsea to win the Prem, Utd second, Liverpool 3rd.
* Reading, Sheff Utd and Watford to all go straight back down again.
* Chelsea to win the Champion's League.
* Ipswich to struggle in the Championship - I'll be happy with a top-half finish
* Meelan to win Serie A. Inter to finish second. Juve to get promoted from Serie B, even with the points deduction
* Real Madrid to win la Liga with Barca to finish second

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