VB Crystal Ball 2011/12
We here at Vital Blackburn love a bit of popular demand and the response to last year's pre-season 'Crystal Ball' was immense.
So we thought we'd cart it out again for the new season but with a new addition in the form of our newest journalist... Rover23.
He's included in with regulars Bom Bom, Sasman and yours truly as we attempt to predict the outcome of the 2011/12 Premier League season... probably inaccurately.
Anyways, here goes - let's get this ball rolling.
1) So, to be fair, it's been a mixed bag for Rovers this summer - who do you think the best signing of the summer will be?
Sasman - We are hearing big things out of Petrovic. He looks a gem, his stats show he can play, and he has some size with him. As long as the set pieces find their way in the box, with big Petro and our other 6ft 3 lads, we should be able to poach some goals. Looks like he can make a pass as well, which should see Hoillet and Olsson darting down the flanks. Great Signing.
Bom Bom - For Rovers, Petrovic. Is a talent that has had numerous top clubs looking at him but we managed to snag him and at a decent fee too. For the Premier League in general, providing he can acclimatise to the speed of the game, I think Sergio kun Aguero will be a fantastic signing.
Rover23 - I think the best signing is still to come! But I am going to cheat and go for Mauro Formica. He didn`t play a game last season so it`s like a new signing!! But if I can`t cheat then I`ll go for Petrovic. Looks a top class player and such a bargain!
Mikey - I am going to back the boy Goodwillie here. Some are seeing him as a sure fire flop as he is coming from Scotland. I think that's a load of balls.
2) It doesn't help that our manager is being widely tipped as a 'winner' of the sack race... how long do you see Steve Kean lasting?
Sasman - I think Kean will last the season. The rumours of his dismissal seem to have dissapeared at the same time as Kentaro's influence did. He plays attacking football, and if we can get a run of good results early on, it will breed confidence in the squad, fans and the board.
Bom Bom - Too long! (kidding). In all seriousness though, whilst I personally hope he is gone before the end of August, I don`t see him being the first one gone, I`m sure some chairman somewhere will get an itchy, nervous trigger finger before Venkys do.
Rover23 - I think he will last the season personally. Despite all the troubles and rumours.
Mikey - I actually want Kean to succeed but if we don't get off to a clever start then he could be under pressure. I'll say November.
3) Rovers have an official award for player of the season every year, who will be winning that for the 2011/12 season?
Sasman - Junior Hoillet. A superb break through season last year will give him the confidence in the world. Kean rates him, making him a focus point in attack, and he delivers. A few neat goals, dazzling foot work and pace to burn will ensure a super season for Junior.
Bom Bom - I can see Junior winning it this season.
Rover23 - It`s a tough one. Mauro Formica for me!
Mikey - I can see a lot willing Junior to win this but I think it will be Martin Olsson.
4) As far as the Premier League itself goes, who will be champions come May?
Sasman - Chelsea will be back. And with a vengeance. Lampard wil be back to full fitness, and with a strike force consisting of Drogba, Anelka, Torres, Sturridge, Lukaku, Malouda, Kalou....enough said.
Bom Bom - I`m going the Delap route this season and plumping for Man City with United a close second!
Rover23 - I can`t see anyone challenging Manchester United with their new additions. Unless City keep Tevez with Aguero up front which I can`t see happening!
Manchester United for me!
Mikey - Due to family ties (I have a brother with different footballing tastes), I have to stick to my previous predictions until it actually comes true... Man City.
Failing that, Chelsea.
5) And who will get relegated?
Sasman - Swansea, Norwich and Wigan.
Bom Bom - Swansea, Wigan and Norwich.
Rover23 - Wigan, QPR and Swansea.
Mikey - Any of the other 19 teams not called Blackburn Rovers!
But if you forced me to choose QPR, West Brom and Wigan.
6) Which team in the league do you see exceeding expectations?
Sasman - I think QPR will find themselves to be the Blackpool of 2011/12. A good run of results early on, and hopefully clinging onto safety for another season in the EPL.
Bom Bom - QPR and Liverpool, who may even put in a decent title challenge.
Rover23 - I see Norwich avoiding relegation which will be vastly overachieving!
also think us. We are tipped for relegation and I think we will be well clear!
Mikey - Swansea. They're like the Welsh Blackpool... they'll score loads, concede loads, the neutrals will love them and I am tipping them to succeed in staying up.
And dare I say, Rovers? Many expect us to go down but I think we'll be fine.
7) With regards to the players, which EPL player do you see being a bit hit with fans this season?
Sasman - I'm going with the 2 upcoming superstars at Chelsea, Sturridge and Lukaku. 2 extremely talented footballers will be learning from 3 of the best strikers in the league, and if they get a chance, they will pounce.
Bom Bom - Aguero.
Rover23 - I think Luis Suarez at Liverpool will come out and prove himself to be a class signing this season.
Mikey - Charles N'Zogbia at Aston Villa should work a treat as should Oriol Romeu at Chelsea who is quality in the making.
As a bit of an outside bet - Wes Hoolahan of Norwich.
8) And who's going to be the massively maligned flop of the season (player not team)?
Sasman - Edin Dzeko. Big dollars, wont have time to show his ability if Tevez stays and Aguero walks into the team.
Bom Bom - Aguero ha ha. It could go either way! Although in all seriousness, I will be surprised to see Henderson featuring regularly for the Bin Dippers and 20M for a bench warmer is astounding!
Rover23 - Jordan Henderson at Liverpool will be a massive disappointment. Not worth anything close to £20 million!
Mikey - Aside from the very obvious pick of Jordan Henderson I would say Gervinho of Arsenal and Connor Wickham of Sunderland.
Not because theya re bad players but living up to those hefty price tags will be super tough.
9) And finally... can you pick me the PFA Team of the Year in full?
Van der Vaart
Bom Bom -
Not usually, No ha ha.
GK David De Gea
RB Bacary Sagna
CB Nemanja Vidic
CB John Terry
LB Leighton Baines
RM Ashley Young
CM Steven Gerrard
CM Frank Lampard
LM David Silva
ST Wayne Rooney
ST Sergio Kun Aguero
GK Joe Hart
RB Branislav Ivanovic
CB Nemanja Vidic
CB Vincent Kompany
LB Jose Enrique
CM Luka Modric
CM Jack Wilshere
LM David Silva
CF Darren Bent
CF Javier Hernandez