INTO THE CRYSTAL FOOTBALL

crystal-ballA new season of football beckons and all of a sudden life is worth living again. In truth because of work and confed cup football, the long vacation wasn’t as unexciting as previous years but all the same the new season couldn’t come any sooner and this weekend on Saturday, we will have kick off. Well some leagues have already kicked of but bear with me.

There have been so many changes across Europe that the “this is going to be the most exiting season yet!” clichés have left EPL and are now being used for the major leagues across Europe. They might be right but the cynic in me, as always, is just going; whatever. That being said, money still makes the football go round, one of the certainties of football. Monaco, PSG, Blue Manchester and Real Madrid all seem to be making sure of that and what’s with Real’s 100 mill+  Bale bid. I mean seriously, what do they see in him, He’s not a cyborg is he? Would explain a lot, including his 17 year old clone in the spurs academy.

At this time of the year, everyone gets their crystal balls out and dusts them of ready for the new season and the predictions start to flow. Some predictions are guided by the heart, some by our heads. I do believe people use crystal balls or some other supernatural force. I wonder what T.B. Joshua has in the bag for us. I like to go with both my heart and my head and they sometimes hit the target together but hey, I support Manchester United, you rarely go wrong there. This year, just for the record, I’ll be giving my predictions for the major leagues and maybe, just maybe, Ghana’s own Glo league of course.

In the spirit of patriotism, I’ll start with our local footy …or maybe not. I haven’t seen a full match of local football in almost 10 years. #SMH #SADL. Even if I wanted to make some predictions I just couldn’t. I know for sure I couldn’t name the half of the starting eleven of either hearts or Kotoko, our leagues to biggest clubs so again #SMH #SADL. That’s something we will deal with another time.

Now that we got the local stuff out of the way, we head to the best league in the world, the Barclays Premier league and my heart is with the red devils but that goes without saying. In truth though, things are not looking too good. We still haven’t got that creative midfielder we so desire and unless the Ginger Prince makes another comeback we may be in a little trouble. That being said, our other major challengers have their own silly concerns so things might balance out; City have their defensive woes, Chelsea are still looking for a proven goal getter to lead their lines and arsenal, well they are messed up in pretty much every area.

People thought Arsenal could make waves this season with their managerial stability and all but the transfer market wasn’t too kind to them. Higuain, Suarez, and Grenier to name a few are some of the players gunners fans would have hoped to see in their team but that ship seems to be sailing away so it’s pretty much back to basics for them; procuring a striker form the French league on the free. My biggest fear is undoubtedly the special one. Mourinho and his bloody tactics and mind games may be a little too much for Moyes but I think three years in Spain may have softened him. All that into consideration, I’ll still be backing United, not for any scientific reason which is basically my heart talking again but we still have RVP and Kagawa is going to break out of his little Japanese he’ll and be twice the player David Silva was in two years ago. Wishful thinking, IKR

Now onto my second favorite league and home to my second love, the Italian Seria and AS Roma. Now not even my heart thinks Roma will win the league next season because they have been downright terrible over the past couple of years. 3 managerial changes and their rubbish defending have ensured Roma faithful’s end each season with tears rather than cheers. There is reason to be hopeful though. The midfield we have now is arguably one of the best in Italy given the signing of Strootman, to add to the talent of De Rossi, Florenzi, Bradley and Pjanic. The Gialarossi boast Lamela, Destro and Osvaldo and of course the King of Rome Himself; Francesco Totti in attack so that’s another area to be happy about. Again though it looks like the defense is going to be their Achilles heel. The defensive revelation of last season, Marquinhos was sold to PSG joining the long list of stars Roma has nurtured and sold (Cafu, Emerson, Chivu Walter Samuel to name a few). So it seems it may be back to giving up 2 and 3 goal leads with 5 minutes to go. As for who may actually win the league you really cannot look beyond AC Milan and Juventus. Milan are due a special place in hell for letting Pirlo go on the free but they seem to be setting their house in order and the  disappointed Ghanaian, Balloteli, along with his guys will be looking to at least give Juve a serious run in their bid for a Third successive title. As for the other big boys, the shit really hit the fan for Inter last season and things really aren’t looking up for them so yeah at best a Europa league spot. Napoli may look like they could step up this time around but they will definitely falter this season after a couple of years of massive overachieving. Why? That argentine that everyone but me rates so highly; Gonzalo Higuain. Good old Wenger may just have dodged a bullet by not signing him. I have never really rated him and he is definitely not half the striker Cavani is. In fact, I am tipping the young Jose Callejon to outshine him. In the end though, gun to my head, I’ll say Juve will make it three in a row. They added two top class Forwards in Llorente and Tevez and they still have the meanest backline and the pensioner in post so yeah, definitely the Old Lady. It would have been nice to see Kevin-Prince do another MJ after a title but Tevez just might have something in the bag for us. I hear he does a mean MC Hammer.

Next I was going to do Germany but who are we kidding, Bayern have it sealed already. I hope Dortmund do give them a good run or even steal in and win it in the final four minutes of the season but no, definitely Guardiola and his boys. Instead to end this piece, I’ll give my prediction on the league I absolutely detest like a sickness, the La Liga. In way, those who say it is the greatest league around right now may be right because it’s basically just two teams; Real Madrid and Barcelona so yeah, when you do look at it like that, it is the greatest league around. I might as well just toss a coin to pick a winner because I feel nothing for both teams. On one hand we have Barca who feel the best way to solve their defensive problems will be to recruit David Luiz. Actually the very reason they want him is because he doesn’t really do any defending but is “comfortable” with the ball at his feet. That tells you all you need to know about the Spanish and their attitude to defending. On the other hand we have Real Madrid who feel they have the Almighty CR7, the second coming himself, the ultimate goal machine so guess what, they don’t need strikers. After selling Higuain and Callejon they just stick Benzema in there just for the sake of it when we all know they will be looking to Ronaldo and possibly Bale to get them goals. Like I said earlier, it’s basically a coin toss so I am literally going to toss a coin and … looks like Barca!!! Messi and his boys will rule Spain again. I still won’t watch game of La Liga. I will however be seeing the El clasico which is really the only game worth watching in Spain, just my opinion.

In May I will refer everyone to this spot when all my predictions do come to pass and I hope to get some medal for something millions of other football fans do too. Maybe this was just a waste of time but all the same we’ll see in May.

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