Why the Premier League’s 20th season will end in more irony than an Alanis Morissette song
Manchester City, having smashed their neighbours 6-1 in their own back yard, could go on to win the Premier League on goal difference; Chelsea, after spending millions on big name managers, could be led to Champions League glory by a 'caretaker'; and after trigger happy sackings to 'keep their teams up' and promises of fourth place finishes, QPR and Blackburn could soon feel Wolves' relegation misery.
So, will two decades of the 'world's greatest league' potentially end in more irony than Alanis Morissette can fit into one song? Andrew Howells offer's his predictions on how the season will come to a close.
A black fly in Fergie's chardonnay
Manchester United have dominated the Premier League for the majority of its 20 years. However, this season, I believe Manchester City's financial clout could finally topple United's grip on English football, causing Fergie to upgrade his hairdryer to an industrial turbo blower. And with Ferguson choosing to invest in youth rather than big name, experienced signings like Mancini has, it is quite possible that as we enter a third decade of the Premier League, a new team could be set on domination.
City led the title race all season, but after a bad March, they fell eight points behind United and looked odds on to finish second. But since taking the public stance, albeit tongue in cheek, that United have effectively won the title, Mancini and City, ahead of the 'biggest Manchester derby ever', are in pole position to knock United off their perch and pip their rivals at the post on goal difference. After the 6-1 thumping City gave United at Old Trafford, this would be about as ironic as 'rain on your wedding day'.
Times are changing in Manchester. United have crashed out of the Champions League at the group stages, out of Carling Cup at home against Palace and out of the FA Cup to fierce rivals Liverpool. If City do go on to win the League on goal difference, it will leave a very bad taste in Fergie's mouth. 'Well, life has a funny way of sneaking up on you, when you think everything's okay and everything's going right'.
Roman's free ride
Since Abramovich - with pockets deeper than Mary Poppins' handbag - took ownership of Chelsea, Roman has wasted billions on more managers than he has yachts, in the hope of winning the prize that eludes him: the Champions League. If then Mr Di Matteo, a Chelsea hero in his playing days, should manage to do a Tom Cruise and complete mission impossible, it would surely be as ironic as 'a free ride when you've already paid' for the Russian.
When Andre Villas-Boas left, Chelsea were looking set to end the season with just a Europa League place to show for their efforts and nothing was expected of Di Matteo - yet, under no pressure, he may well just produce the trophy Roman wants the most.
Personally I think Chelsea will finish the season as FA Cup winners, Champions League winners and in fourth place - which would be nothing short of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
A little too ironic?
At the bottom of the league, Wolves have now been confirmed as one of the three teams who will not be part of the start of a third decade of Premier League football, leaving Jez Moxey's quick-fire decision to sack McCarthy looking as ironic as 'a death row pardon two minutes too late'.
Rovers are favourites to join Wolves, and much like Moxey did, their owners also sacked a proven manager and appointed inexperience in his place - a negative move that in my opinion deserves relegation. Blackburn have arguably the hardest run-in, which includes a huge '6 pointer' against Wigan and despite being a Rovers fan, sadly, I cannot see them surviving. So who will be the third team to go down?
QPR also sacked their manager at the start of the year. However, unlike Moxey and Venky's, Tony Fernandes made a positive move to try to help QPR climb up the table. He replaced Warnock, a man with a history of relegating teams from the Premier League, with Hughes, a man with a history of keeping teams up, developing them and getting them into Europe. They deserve to stay up and I think they will.
Let's move onto Wigan then. In the summer, Roberto Martinez showed surprising loyalty in a fickle footballing world, when he choose to stay at Wigan instead of moving to Aston Villa. Could this decision prove to be as ironic as 'ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife'? Or could Aston Villa themselves, outside favorites for the drop, go down; with McLeish leading a second Midlands team to relegation from the Premier League two seasons in a row?
I am going to ignore the potentially ironic twists this time (as I feel I'm scraping the barrel a bit now) and plump for Bolton to be the third team to go down. They have the hardest run-in in my opinion and despite having games in hand, I'd rather have the points.
How do you think the season will end? Do you agree with my predictions, or do you think they are all 'a little too ironic'?