The new Premier League season is nearly upon us and it is time for every fan, pundit and casual observer to offer up their predictions for the winners and losers in the 2011/12 season.
As a Latics fan, it is always somewhat annoying to see that many so-called ‘football experts’ have predicted that we will be relegated again this season. But then again it is always a very sweet experience when we prove them wrong.
Wigan Athletic have denied the doomsayers for many seasons and I think under Roberto Martinez’s leadership we will continue to do so.
So who will be the winners and losers in the biggest and most hyped football league in the world?
I’m afraid to say that my tips for the winners involves the usual suspects, the mega-rich clubs whose resources seem limitless in comparison to the merely wealthy.
My prediction is that Manchester United will once again be Champions with the nouveau rich Manchester City as runners up, with Chelsea in a disappointing, for them, third place.
At the other end of the table I cannot see beyond the three promoted clubs to occupy the three bottom places. In a previous article on this blog I outlined my reasons why these three clubs will find it difficult.
I suppose one reason to change my mind would be if QPR were to be taken over with a major injection of transfer funds made available. However, at the time of writing, I think the three promoted clubs will be the three relegated in May 2012.
So what of Wigan Athletic’s prospects?
Apart from Charles N’Zogbia we have managed to retain all our key players from last season with the addition of Dave Jones from Wolves. I expect Roberto to recruit a few more new faces before the transfer deadline, but these may not all be finalised before the new season kicks off.
Wigan have some exciting youngsters in James McCarthy, Victor Moses and Callum McManaman plus the improving Mohammed Diame and the underrated Ben Watson.
I think Wigan are capable of finishing higher than last season and would certainly expect them to finish above the three promoted teams plus Wolves, Blackburn and Newcastle.
Whether we can push on into mid-table is likely to depend on our transfer acquisitions. We need to replace N’Zogbia with a creative attacker and we also need a goalscorer to replace our failed record buy Mario Boselli.
As always I’m optimistic for the new season, I believe we can continue our progress in the Premier League. I just hope you are a believer as well.