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Who will make the Top 4 (pick 4)
Poll ended at Mon Feb 01, 2010 12:35 pm
Chelsea 25%  25%  [ 8 ]
Manchester United 25%  25%  [ 8 ]
Arsenal 21%  21%  [ 7 ]
Aston Villa 9%  9%  [ 3 ]
Tottenham Hotspur 9%  9%  [ 3 ]
Manchester City 3%  3%  [ 1 ]
Birmingham City 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Liverpool 6%  6%  [ 2 ]
Fulham 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Total votes : 32
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 Post subject: Who will be the top 4 09/10 season?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 2:06 pm 
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as it says which 4 teams will be the top 4 this season

will run the poll for 25 days, till the end of August then we can re-visit it at the end of the season


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 Post subject: Re: Which 4 teams will qualify for the champions league
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 2:08 pm 
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Usual suspects. United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal.

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 Post subject: Re: Which 4 teams will qualify for the champions league
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 2:12 pm 
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Same as usual I think.

Arshavin will be a big player for Arsenal which I think will see then keep hold of 4th. City on paper should be up there but I can see an almighty bust up happening at some point and the whole thing kicking off. Probably when they get knocked out of the FA cup by Brighton and they all start pointing fingers.


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 Post subject: Re: Which 4 teams will qualify for the champions league
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 2:14 pm 
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same old top 4 ...

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 Post subject: Re: Which 4 teams will qualify for the champions league
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 3:31 pm 
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Agreed - same old same old. City need to get rid of Hughes before they'll really make it big.


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 Post subject: Re: Which 4 teams will qualify for the champions league
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 3:52 pm 
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Agreed with what's been said.

Loads of pressure on City with all eyes seeing what they're going to do. It's basically a lot of top players thrown together, playing over a full season against well organised teams throughout the league. I can see alot of fireworks over the season at city, ending up with Hughes getting the boot.

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 Post subject: Re: Which 4 teams will qualify for the champions league
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 4:04 pm 
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as far as hughes go its top 4 or bust for him,

don't care what they say that much cash should at least buy a top 4 place, especially when the team that only got 4th because Villa imploded at the end of the season are weaker than they were last season.


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 Post subject: Re: Which 4 teams will qualify for the champions league
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 4:24 pm 
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Jarv wrote:
as far as hughes go its top 4 or bust for him...


I think even he knows that much. They've spent too much to give him any time, he's unproven anyway at the highest level, and if you can spunk how much they have and replace half your entire team in one transfer window, they don't strike me as the patient, builders of solid foundations types that will give him a second chance.

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 Post subject: Re: Which 4 teams will qualify for the champions league
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 4:59 pm 
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I'm only the second person to throw a spanner in the works then?

I'm not entirely sure on Arsenal's strengths this year. With Rosicky injured again and Nasri out alot of weight will be falling on some very young shoulders. I don't know how they'll handle it. In that case I have opted for Everton, I still think they are the strongest team outside the top 4. Moyes is an astute manager and the team is relatively settled he's looking to make additions on the budget but he's not doing badly I reckon.

Obviously this is only IF Arsenal fail, I'm not sure they will but there is alot of responsibility to be dished out there.

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 Post subject: Re: Which 4 teams will qualify for the champions league
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 5:51 pm 
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no i reckon arsenal will fall short as well, i went for City


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 Post subject: Re: Which 4 teams will qualify for the champions league
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 6:26 pm 
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Despite losing Toure and Adebayor, I think Arsenal will still sneak 4th, they always do.
Villa will struggle to build on last season without Barry, their squad looks better though. City will no doubt have trouble trying to gel the team, I think this will be a foundation season for them.


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 Post subject: Re: Which 4 teams will qualify for the champions league
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 2:25 pm 
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Arsene Wenger Doesn't Believe Arsenal's Top Four Spot Is Safe

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The Gunners chief doesn't want his players to become over confident...

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger doesn't believe his club's place in the top four is set in stone and wants his players focused for the challenging season ahead.

Manchester City have spent close to £100 million this summer, acquiring two Arsenal players in the process, as they attempt to secure a top four spot and the coveted Champions League qualification spot.

Much speculation has led to predictions suggesting that their gain will be Arsenal's loss this season, but the Gunners chief admits he's never taken Champions League qualification for granted.

"I have never felt the top four is set forever," he told Arsenal's official website.

"Over the past 10 seasons, only two teams were always in there - Arsenal and Manchester United. Liverpool were out of it and Chelsea were out of it."

Wenger continued, "When I arrived here, you had Newcastle in the top four, then you had Leeds. It is not always the same teams. It is not set forever."

The Frenchman is adamant that he does not need to spend big to compete in the Premier League and attempted to dismiss talk of Arsenal's predicted demise as paper talk.

"We have some clubs, in the last 10 years, who invested more money than Arsenal," he asserted.

"It is just maybe because you are bored with Arsenal that you want someone else to come in?"

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 Post subject: Re: Which 4 teams will qualify for the champions league
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 2:29 pm 
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All change but no difference? While the disclosure that Chelsea will be cast in a complicated-sounding 4-1-2-1-2 formation by new boss Carlo Ancelotti has prompted considerable comment from armchair tacticians, fans might have a harder task spotting what exactly has changed when the diagrams are put away and the action begins. Frank Lampard will be pushing forward from midfield, Mikel will most likely be patrolling the area directly in front of a four-man defence, and width will be conspicuous by its absence. Sound familiar, doesn't it?

Compared to the tried-and-failed system introduced twelve months ago by Phil Scolari, the only striking difference will be the use of Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba in tandem. The compatibility of their partnership has been doubted in the past, most notably by Scolari, and there would be less unease about Ancelotti's decision to reply upon a system requiring two out-and-out strikers if there was more quality and quantity in reserve. Other than Salomon Kalou, there is only the untried and entirely unproven Daniel Sturridge.

Nor was it entirely reassuring to learn in a feature on Ancelotti last week that the primary motivation behind the system's introduction is making best use of the glut of midfielders in Chelsea's squad. Maybe so, but it also just happens to be the formation Ancelotti used during his tenure at AC Milan and there was no suggestion or indication that the inspiration happened to be confidence, let alone expectation, that Drogba and Anelka will dovetail.

Given that few teams are successful when their strikeforce isn't, therein lies the risk being taken by Ancelotti. The suspicion lingers that this is a system being thrust upon the players by Chelsea's new manager because he knows it best when it would be far preferable if it had been fashioned after an appraisal of the players he inherited. At best, this is a concern; at worst, it could be a fatal flaw. What suits the Chelsea manager may not suit the Chelsea team.

Much has been made of Frank Lampard's 'repositioning' at the top of a midfield diamond but it's difficult to know why. Lampard has effectively been playing in that role, to regular success, for many a year. Given licence to roam by each of Chelsea's last five managers, he didn't require any further encouragement to raid forward, tactical or otherwise, and is a guaranteed success story so long as he maintains his phenomenal level of fitness.

Another question mark is how and where the two Michaels, Ballack and Essien, fit in to this 'new look' Chelsea. With Lampard sure to be the first name on the team-sheet, the German looks destined to become the best-paid substitute in the world while Essien should begin the campaign on the right of the diamond. That position will demand all-action performances and thus should suit Essien. But it still remains very possible Ancelotti will still play him as the midfield 'holder' because the pursuit of Andrea Pirlo suggests that Jon Obi Mikel is bereft of the new manager's confidence. Ancelotti even ignored Deco's lightweight frame to experiment with him at the base of Chelsea's midfield during the trip to America.

Presuming that Ballack would line up on the right if Essien takes Mikel's place, Florent Malouda and Yuri Zhirkov will be left to contest the fourth and final midfield spot. The Russian, by all accounts, looks a decent player. And once he recovers from knee injury, Joe Cole would be another option, although Ancelotti seems to view him as an alternative for the Lampard role. Expect plenty of experiments with Ancelotti remarking to reporters in the States that "I have a good group of midfield players as a lot of them can change position without problem."

Nor should there be a problem in defence with Terry's retention ensuring that Chelsea's backline looks as solid as always. But if there is an obvious potential flaw then it is a repeat of the shortcoming that Scolari never managed to solve following its exposure by Rafa Benitez last October: a lack of width. To stretch the pitch, Jose Bosingwa and Ashley Cole will be required to make regular forays up the touchline. Yet this was the requirement thrust upon them last season and one they were unable to meet once opposing managers hit on the wheeze of man-marking the two Chelsea full-backs.

Ancelotti, it must be hoped, has a solution in mind to that particular potential problem. But is there a plan B if his diamond formation fails? Apparently not. According to The Times, Chelsea not only used a 4-1-2-1-2 in all of their pre-season matches in the States but 'did not experiment much in training, either.'

On the manager's wisdom, and on his system, so much depends.

Likely Line-Up
4-1-2-1-2: Cech; Bosingwa, Alex, Terry, A Cole; Mikel; Essien, Zhirkov; Lampard; Anelka, Drogba.

XI In Reserve: Turnbull, Belletti, Ferreira, Ivanovic, Carvalho, Ballack, Deco, J Cole, Malouda, Kalou, Sturridge.

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 Post subject: Re: Which 4 teams will qualify for the champions league
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 2:30 pm 
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Last season: 8th; UEFA Cup last 32; FA Cup fourth round; Carling Cup finalists
Manager: Harry Redknapp, 16-1 (joint eighth favourite) to be first boss out of a job
Transfers in: Kyle Naughton and Kyle Walker (undiscl, Sheffield United), Peter Crouch (£9m, Portsmouth).
Transfers out: Darren Bent (£10m, Sunderland), Ricardo Rocha, Simon Dawkins, Kyle Fraser-Allen, Danny Hutchins, David Hutton, Jacques Maghoma and Takura Mtandari (all released), Didier Zokora (£8m to Sevilla), Chris Gunter (£1.7m to Nottingham Forest), David Button (loan to Crewe), Adel Taarabt (loan to QPR), Kyle Walker (loan to Sheffield United), Ben Alnwick (loan to Norwich), Cian Hughton (free to Lincoln).

How do you preview a club such as Tottenham, who in the past two seasons have kicked off with seemingly successful managers who then failed to make it to Christmas? Martin Jol and Juande Ramos offer cautionary tales for supporters, managers and pundits alike.

But Harry Redknapp was not daunted by the reputation of White Hart Lane as the graveyard of dreams and, judging from the problems at Pompey, it was a shrewd move, anyway. He drove a hard bargain with Daniel Levy, too, forcing the abandonment of the director of football system.

Damien Comolli's departure - taking his job title with him - and Redknapp's revival of the club's on-field fortunes, could give hope that the Premier League's leading wannabes might be on the verge of achieving that long-held ambition of a top-four finish. But is it all too late?

Much of the attention paid to Manchester City since their takeover has focused on the impact they will have on the Big Four - whether they will take a Champions League place and, if so, whose. But arguably a successful City would have as much of an effect on the teams dreaming of replacing whichever of the elite should stumble. Though supporting Spurs can be defined, like re-marriage, as the triumph of hope over experience, Harry may have to deal with damaged expectations.

Signing Peter Crouch for the second season running and buying a player (Kyle Walker) while loaning him back whence he came are typical Harry touches. So is the clear-out of unwanted talent, even if a slimmed-down squad risks leaving Spurs down to the bare (cough) bones should there be any injury problems. Redknapp is enjoying running Spurs, whatever the challenges, such as finding someone at Newcastle to negoitate with over Sebastien Bassong.

Despite the departure of top scorer Darren Bent, there is plenty of firepower, with Crouch, Robbie Keane, Jermain Defoe and Roman Pavlyuchenko forming one of the best quartets around. Luka Modric was not the star of the season I tipped him to be a year ago, but has become acclimatised to English football, and when Spurs have their tails up the football should be good to watch.

The problem has always been turning leads into wins, as the collapse against Manchester United - however controversial the first goal - showed.

Choosing a number at random, let's look at Tottenham's first eight games. Liverpool are a tough assignment on the opening day of the season, but the match is at White Hart Lane and last season Redknapp won his first game in charge in the corresponding fixture. Trips to Hull and West Ham follow, before Birmingham offer a prime opportunity for a 'Ramos plus one' at the Lane.

September starts unpleasantly, with the visit of Manchester United, and a trip to Stamford Bridge means three Big Four meetings in six games. The visit of a second promoted side, Burnley, and a trip to Bolton follow.

Harry will have more than two points when he leaves the Reebok. My best guess is that he will have 12. More and perhaps hopes of a challenge to the elite, or at least to Manchester City, will continue. Fewer and we will be hearing new, or familiar, entries in the Harry Redknapp book of excuses.

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 Post subject: Re: Which 4 teams will qualify for the champions league
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 2:31 pm 
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Aston Villa

Last season: 6th; UEFA Cup last 32; FA Cup fifth round; Carling Cup third round
Manager: Martin O'Neill, 33-1 (joint longest odds) to be first boss out of a job
Transfers in: Stewart Downing (£12m, Middlesbrough), Fabian Delph (undisc, Leeds), Courtney Cameron (undisc, Northampton).
Transfers out: Gareth Barry (£12m, Manchester City), Martin Laursen (retired), Stuart Taylor (free, Manchester City), Zat Knight (undisc, Bolton).

You can get long odds on Martin O'Neill being the first Premier League manager out of his job, and rightly so given his record, at Villa and elsewhere. He has had the good fortune to be working with owners prepared to back his judgment, but then again his judgment is usually spot-on. But MON, despite lifting Villa out of the despondency of the O'Leary years with a vibrant attacking style, is not without his critics.

The team is strong, but they do not have the squad of those they were chasing, so some falling away in the closing months of the season was in the range between likely and unavoidable. And the team did not stop playing.

There were questionable selections and substitutions, however, from the UEFA Cup exit to the overturning of a 2-1 lead at Old Trafford. Sixth was a disappointment; so too was the size of the gap to fourth, because it wasn't even a near-miss.

The question for O'Neill and Randy Lerner is whether the opportunity that presented itself before February's trip to Chelsea - when some were even wondering if the title could be headed to Birmingham - will recur. It is possible that there could be some kind of levelling up in the first half of the season - if the quartet of Villa, Everton, Spurs and Manchester City are able to field their strongest XIs against the Big Four, then whichever of the aspirants performs best in other games may be able to get in among the elite.

But sooner or later, as well as the squad size of the Big Four kicking in, the spending at Eastlands will tell. It may take a while for Mark Hughes's new team to gel, but having seen Gareth Barry's performances, even in a season when he was unsettled, Villa fans will know that City have acquired a player who can pull a side together. We shall see how much his former club miss him.

Barry is not the only man to leave; Martin Laursen is somewhat more of a loss than Zat Knight. On the plus side, the arrival of Stewart Downing is another opportunity for O'Neill to do what makes him a great manager: to get the best out of a player about whom others have doubts. It's a trait he shares with his mentor, Brian Clough.

Villa have a complicated start to the season. O'Neill has queried the timing of next week's internationals, in the run-up to the first Premier League weekend, and as soon as his team have played Wigan at Villa Park they will be preparing for their Europa League qualifier against Rapid Vienna.

Liverpool away would probably not be the number-one choice for a game to fall between the two legs, even if Fulham at home is a decent end to the month.

O'Neill will then lose many of his players to more international duty, and afterwards will have to prepare them quickly for the first derby of the season, at St Andrew's. While the visit of Portsmouth and a trip to Blackburn - with a scattering of cup games, it is hoped - should not be too taxing in September, October's league programme starts with home matches against Manchester City and Chelsea.

This is a challenging beginning to the campaign. The aim must to be to have a challenging finish, too.

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 Post subject: Re: Which 4 teams will qualify for the champions league
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 3:01 pm 
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Spurs.. how the heck did they make the list? I would of thought staying up is their priority.. :|

Anyway

United
Liverpool
Chelsea

And I hate to say it and I really hope I'm wrong but Citeh

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 Post subject: Re: Which 4 teams will qualify for the champions league
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 3:04 pm 
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whit lane red wrote:
And I hate to say it and I really hope I'm wrong but Citeh


the same Citeh that just got belted by Rangers and salvaged a late draw with Barnsley? I just wanted to say it :fonz:

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 Post subject: Re: Which 4 teams will qualify for the champions league
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 3:11 pm 
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Resurrection Joe wrote:
whit lane red wrote:
And I hate to say it and I really hope I'm wrong but Citeh


the same Citeh that just got belted by Rangers and salvaged a late draw with Barnsley? I just wanted to say it :fonz:

I know but I can just see another Blackburn happening once they get used to each other.

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 Post subject: Re: Which 4 teams will qualify for the champions league
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 3:14 pm 
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whit lane red wrote:
Resurrection Joe wrote:
whit lane red wrote:
And I hate to say it and I really hope I'm wrong but Citeh


the same Citeh that just got belted by Rangers and salvaged a late draw with Barnsley? I just wanted to say it :fonz:

I know but I can just see another Blackburn happening once they get used to each other.


I think the technical term for it is 'a Chelsea'

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 Post subject: Re: Which 4 teams will qualify for the champions league
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 3:16 pm 
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Resurrection Joe wrote:
I think the technical term for it is 'a Chelsea'


I was hoping it goes more like a Leeds couple of years of getting there hopes up then it all goes tits up without winning anything.

Look at the patern Leeds paid ridiculous sums of money for the top Premiership talent and it all went wrong. Chelsea went foreign and it worked.


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