Chris O (follow on Twitter: @COakleyFtbl)
Tue 15 August 2006

Time to stick your neck on the line...

Just four days to go now until the start of the new Premiership season and it's time to put your money where your mouth is.

How do you think the season will go and what will the Premiership table look like come the end of the 2006/2007 season?

Think you know the answer? Then why not leave us a comment with your prediction. At the end of the season, we'll see whose prediction was best using a simple scoring system: for every place in the table that your teams are incorrectly positioned, you score a point. The more points you accumulate, the worse your prediction was.

Example: Arsenal finish 2nd and you predicted them to finish 5th = you score three points, and so on.

Anyway, let's deal with that in nine months time. For now, here's my prediction for the 2006/2007 FA Premiership table...

1 Chelsea
2 Liverpool
3 Arsenal
4 Man United
5 Tottenham
6 Blackburn
7 Newcastle
8 Bolton
9 West Ham
10 Everton
11 Aston Villa
12 Charlton
13 Wigan
14 Portsmouth
15 Man City
16 Reading
17 Middlesbrough
18 Fulham
19 Sheff Utd
20 Watford

Not much that's controversial in the above, except that I've got Liverpool to finish second which I've no doubt some of you will disagree with. I think Aston Villa will improve on last season under Martin O'Neill but it's going to take some time to achieve and I think he'll have to spend lots of money wisely and fast in order to do it.

Smart and I were caught out last year (along with everyone else) by the surprisingly good performance of newly-promoted Wigan and West Ham, but I'm just as cautious this year as last. I think two of the new boys will go straight back down with only Reading capable of really causing any flicker of an upset.

Speaking of Wigan, I think their bubble will burst after several of their top players parted company with them, but meeting them on the way up should be Charlton and Portsmouth who may be slightly better than before after making some interesting additions to their squad.

I think Gareth Southgate will struggle badly in his first season as manager of Middlesbrough and Chris Coleman, too, could be set for a relegation battle judging by the squad he has. It's any wonder they finished 12th last year, but this time I don't think they'll be so lucky.

As for the top half of the table, I can't see it being much different to 2005/2006. The main difference for me will be the order of the top four as I've gone for Arsenal to take third place and Manchester United to finish fourth.

And Chelsea? Well they might not have things all their own way this season, but if you're looking to pick up at least one point in this prediction game you'd be a fool to put them anywhere other than top spot.

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