Season Predictions: Gazing into the crystal ball

It is back – competitive football as we know it, in the from of the Premier League. What better way to start the season that with some fellow bloggers and tweeters making a few (bold) predictions for the season ahead. So, without further ado, I hand you over to their predictions.

People said last season that it would be the most exciting title race in Premier League history but, ultimately, it turned out to be predictable. Do you think we will see more of the same this season? And, who will win the title?

Ben: I’m not sure there could ever be a genuinely exciting title race in the Premier League – genuinely exciting would be going into the final game of the season with four or five teams capable of winning it, which is never going to happen. Sky will inevitably try and hype it as the ‘most exciting ever’, but chances are it will still only be either Manchester United or Chelsea in with a shout going into the final few games. I’m plumping for Man United. Yawn.

David: I think Liverpool are largely to blame for last season being predictable. Liverpool pushing on from their previous endeavours would have opened up the title race, but their self-destruction mid-season led to Chelsea and United plodding along to a predictable end of season head-to-head, with only Arsenal’s depleted squad stopping them challenging. Whilst I see Liverpool continuing to struggle, this season sees the wildcard of Manchester City thrown into the mix. If Mancini gets the squad balance right, and a stable starting line-up in place, I think City could win the whole thing. If he struggles with such an enormous bunch of star players, I see City finishing outside the top four again, with little separating Chelsea and United. In the interest of positive representation, I’ll plump for my beloved Blues.

Jamie: I think the top eight or so will continue to tighten up, as none of them have strengthened other than City. Obviously it depends how quickly the new boys gel but they should be looking to get in the top four, but it’s too early for a title challenge. Spurs will go backwards due to extra CL games and I don’t fancy United, the midfield isn’t strong enough and key players are getting old. Chelsea to win the title again, unless Arsenal buy a top-class goalkeeper and a defender before the window closes.

Nick: It’s likely to be the same old story. Arsenal pushed Chelsea and Manchester United further than I expected last season but I cannot see them improving on a third place finish. Manchester United and Chelsea have both been reasonably quiet in the transfer window but the few signings they have made will strengthen their squads well. It will be another straight fight between these two but I think Chelsea will just edge it and retain the title.

Simon: Although it essentially came down to Chelsea and United for the title last year there were a few surprises in the form of Spurs breaking the glass ceiling on the ‘Big Four’, Liverpool sinking to seventh and West Ham fighting off relegation. The 2010-11 season promises to be an exciting one with Man City in a position to challenge on all fronts if their squad gels instantly and I think we will see a decent three or four team race to the title. Chelsea would be my pick overall as it is too tough to predict a Man City win.

Jim: I do think it will be a case of “the usual suspects” right at the pinnacle of the league but I don’t think it will be as predictable as last season. Teams such as Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool have all improved their sides and I think this will make for a more exciting season overall. It could be that the title isn’t necessarily won in a ‘top 2 clash’ a la last season but it will be more about who takes more points against the teams aspiring to be in the premier league elite. For me, Manchester United will have a good chance again this time round, they have added strength in the attacking third but unless they can make another signing in the centre of the park before September it is Chelsea who have the upper hand in my opinion.

Barry: Manchester City hold the key as to whether the title race will expand and excite this year. Whether or not Mancini can get them to gel, and quickly, is the multi-million dollar question. Arsenal’s faults are all too familiar and all too debilitating to their aspirations which points to Manchester United and Chelsea battling it out as usual. My tip? Chelsea – just.

John: Sitting here right now I think we saw the two real challengers at Wembley last Sunday, and for my money it will go right down to the last couple of rounds of matches. The winners for me: Chelsea. They may have lost the Community Shield but with Michael Essien back in action and no Cup of African Nations this year I’m backing the blues.

Dylan: I think we’ll see the usual top three of Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea with Tottenham, Manchester City, Liverpool, Aston Villa and Everton battling for 4th place. Despite Man City spending big yet again I don’t think they’ve had enough time to gel, so next year I think they’ll be real contenders. As an Arsenal fan I’d love say I think Arsenal can win the league, but with Wenger refusing to invest in a quality goalkeeper I think that’s going to be our week point, So I’d say Manchester United are favourites as Chelsea have not yet replaced the likes of Joe Cole, Ballack, Deco and Belleti.

Kevin: Last season’s title race was quite exciting, but it may have been overshadowed by the even more exciting race for fourth place. It was unfortunate that two teams ended up leading the line, as Arsenal eventually fell away. I think there will be more teams involved this year – and I think the top two will lose more games, while Arsenal and possibly City creep closer. With so much change and attention on City this season, I can’t see them sustaining a challenge long enough but they should be strong to take fourth place. Arsenal, if they can keep van Persie and Fabregas fit, and Arshavin, Nasri and Chamakh firing, will win the title.

Jake: I think the top sides (i.e. Chelsea and Manchester United) are simply too far ahead of Villa, Spurs and maybe even Liverpool and Arsenal. I think it will be close, but Chelsea will win the league.

Ross: I think we’ll see a 6 horse race until December, between Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City. However, I think it’ll quickly develop into a three horse-race after New Year, with the three teams being Chelsea, Manchester United & Manchester City. Therefore, my tip for the title this year is Manchester United.

Tottenham broke the monopoly of the so-called “Big Four” last season ahead of the much favoured Manchester City – Which side will it be this season? Or, will we normal service be resumed of: Man United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea?

Ben: If Torres and Gerrard stay fit, I think Liverpool will be back in the top four this season – last year was just a blip. I’m not sure Spurs will be able to top last season, and wouldn’t be surprised if they exit the CL in the qualifying stages. I think Arsenal could struggle too – Wenger seems oblivious to the urgency of his defensive frailties, and when Van Persie is sidelined, they don’t have a reliable target man to replace him. Which is a fairly circuitous way of saying Manchester City will break into the top four this season. They have to given all the money they’ve spunked on new players.

David: Firstly, I don’t believe normal service will be resumed. Roy Hodgson will struggle to motivate certain members of the squad, in the ilk of Torres and Aquilani, and Torres’ constant fitness worries will see David N’Gog up front for at least two months of the season. Compared to the strike-forces of Tottenham and City, Liverpool simply do not have enough depth in their squad right now to finish above 5th. I think City will out-do Tottenham. In a mathematic and logical sense, they came within a game of overcoming the North Londoners last year, and have a far-improved squad this season.

Jamie: I fancy City to replace Spurs in the top four, but I think they’ll do well to finish in the top three. Of course, it all depends who else they buy this month and in January when the window opens.

Nick: Manchester City should be there or there abouts. It all depends on how quickly a squad with a lot of new faces can gel. If they can get some good results in a tough opening few months of fixtures I can see them breaking into the top four. Liverpool have also strengthened their squad nicely with the arrival of Joe Cole on a free transfer and will have renewed confidence with a new manager in Roy Hodgson and new owners on the horizon.

You can’t discount Spurs but they will have to go some to reproduce last season’s fourth place finish. I think with the added pressure of their debut season in the Champions League, a repetition of last season’s league form might just be too much to ask and they will fall short.

For me, the race for third and fourth spots will be between Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool. So a return to the so-called ‘big four’ is certainly possible.

In reality I think the top four at the end of the season will be as follows: Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City (In that order)

Simon: I don’t believe Spurs will do that again this year, what with having the Champions League to contend with too and not really strengthening massively in pre-season. Man City should be in the top 4 with their squad and Mancini will surely not be at the club if they don’t finish in a strong position. Liverpool could be back in the top 4 too and it actually wouldn’t surprise me to see United or Arsenal lose ground. I genuinely believe the top 4 is now a top 6.

Jim: Without doubt Spurs did brilliantly to break into the top 4 but I don’t think they can maintain that form this time around. Manchester City have added some world class additions and I can’t see the board being happy with anything other than reaching the Champions League places at the very least. The Liverpool situation is interesting and I really rate Roy Hodgson, if anyone can get the best out of that squad it’s him but I believe it will be a season of consolidation rather than drastic improvement for them. My top four will be Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City.

Barry: To have normal service resumed, and it remains a real possibility, Liverpool need to hope their key players can keep fit. Otherwise, their lack of depth will be exposed yet again. Spurs’ boss Harry Redknapp seems unwilling to tackle head on a concerted effort in two major competitions. Their resolve will be tested. Over to you, Manchester City.

John: Along with Chelsea and United I’m backing Arsenal and City to make the top four. Spurs’ involvement in the Champions League could hurt them domestically as they will have to rest players in preparation for big European nights. City on the other hand have made some strong acquisitions and although they will need time to gel I can’t see them missing out this time around.

Dylan: I think Man City will get 4th place ahead of the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham. They’ve spent very close to the £100million mark and that has increased with the addition of Balotelli. As I said before, I don’t think they’ve had enough time to gel and become a dominant force. But next year they’ll be right up there with Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea. I don’t think Tottenham have spent enough considering they’ve just been given one of the easiest possible ties to reach the Champions League knock-out stages, but Harry Redknapp reckons Tottenham can win the league.

Kevin: Don’t get me wrong, I’d love Liverpool to get it but unless more investment is pumped in to strengthen the squad, we don’t stand much of a chance against City or Spurs. I’d be surprised to see Spurs regain it this season, especially with European football to keep them occupied, but City have no such attentions.

Jake: I really do think that Liverpool and Arsenal will struggle to make it into the top four this season. Manchester City have surely got be aiming to break into the top four and Harry Redknapp will want Spurs to retain the fourth spot at least. City will get third and Tottenham will get fourth.

Ross: Last year there was a straight fight for 4th, this year it’s all change. “The Top 6” are now all fighting to win the League. Because of this, the team with the strongest “second 11” will scrape into 4th place. The Top 3 from last season will remain the same, though, in my opinion.

As we know, there is huge pressure, as always, on Premier League managers – Which one of them will be sacked first?

Ben: I wouldn’t be that surprised if Mancini is not at Eastlands next May – but I don’t think he would be first to go. I’m taking a punt on Chris Hughton – if Newcastle don’t start well, we all know how twitchy and irrational Mike Ashley is. Roberto Martinez could be on borrowed time at Wigan as well.

David: I started typing this last night, and promise you I put down Martin O’Neill first! I had a fair idea that he would walk at some point, with the board flogging half his squad without any say from himself. My second, and now first, choice is a boring one in Chris Houghton. Newcastle have a difficult early season fixture list, and he is an easy target for fan and board criticism, lacking a ‘star’ name on the manager’s door. Managerial candidates are fairly abound as well, so I think we will see a new name at St James’ Park by Christmas.

Jamie: I’d like to think managers will be given some time for a change but that doesn’t seem likely. Most bosses seem relatively secure – but Newcastle are always a step away from a crisis so it could be Hughton. My money’s on Wigan though – lost a key man in Bramble and taken some risks in the transfer market. Martinez will be hanging on if they start badly. I hope it’s Coyle though.

Nick: Roberto Mancini is going to be under the most pressure. If Manchester City’s superstars do not gel and perform well as a team, he will be shown the door quicker than a 12 year old trying to buy alcohol in an off license.

Roberto Martinez of Wigan is another likely contender.

I’d like to think the newly promoted sides stick by their managers and give them a full season in the top flight, but Newcastle’s passionate fans might put an end to Chris Hughton’s time in charge if his team doesn’t perform to their very high expectations.

Simon: A few candidates for this. If you believe the betting you would say that Mancini has a massive chance of being the first gone but I just don’t see the team not performing to a level that will save him and therefore he will still be there come the end of the season. There have been rumblings of discontent at Villa and O’Neill could see his head on the chopping block if they aren’t in a favourable position relatively early on. At 16/1 I would suggest there is decent value there too. [O’Neill has since departed Aston Villa]

Jim: I worry for Chris Hughton at Newcastle this season, they are such a huge club with a fantastic supporter base and associated infrastructure and that is the root of my concerns. I’m sure if you offered the Newcastle boss 17th place in the league he would snap your hand off but the supporters will expect more and that may be beyond the reach of a squad which, at its core, has not significantly improved since Newcastle were relegated from the Premier League two seasons ago.

Barry: Dave Whelan has shown previously, in his removal of Chris Hutchings in November 2007, that despite a close relationship and closeness to his managers, Wigan’s survival is imperative and the necessity. Martinez is backed by the owner but a bad start could see force Whelan into a rethink.

John: Having splashed the cash City need to be competing near the top right from the off, so if they’re languishing outside the top 4 or 5 by November Mancini could be on his way. At the other end, Wigan’s Roberto Martinez would be my pick as a likely early casualty. His side were hemorrhaging goals towards the end of last season and if results go against them early on they may see the need for a change of direction.

Dylan: Ian Holloway – too much pressure on him, small club coming into a very big league, not going to end well.

Kevin: This season more than ever it’s impossible to say. None of the promoted three should be of the threat of a sacking, with Iain Holloway and Blackpool having incredibly low expectations, and Roberto Di Matteo still bedding in at West Brom. It could be Sam Allardyce, if Blackburn struggle, or if things go badly wrong at City – Mancini.

Jake: I can see Wigan struggling again this season and I don’t think Dave Whelan has a lot of patience for the young manager Roberto Martinez; he would be my bet to be sacked first.

Ross: Roberto Mancini. He isn’t the man to take Manchester City to League glory.

Which teams, do you think, will be dropping down to the Championship come the end of the season?

Ben: Blackpool are the obvious candidates. They might cobble together a decent-ish start like Burnley last season, but they won’t be able sustain it. West Brom are the archetypal yo-yo club, so it’s a pretty safe bet to say they’ll be in a relegation scrap come the end of the season. The third? Probably Wolves or Bolton. I have a sneaky suspicion that Fulham will struggle this season as well. But I’m going with Wolves.

David: Not to be predictable, but Blackpool are number one. No additions to their squad, an inexperienced Premier League manager, and few players with any flair of star potential. The dream is romantic for the Seasiders. Secondly, I think Wigan will struggle. Charles N’Zogbia will have to carry the team for a second season, and some of the luck the Latics got last season may not be so abundant this year. Lastly, I’ll send down Mick McCarthy’s Wolves. Solely because I believe Roberto Di Matteo has enough intelligence and wisdom to keep West Brom up, Newcastle have performed well enough in the transfer market to keep their places, and from that, few other teams are as weak as McCarthy’s men in the league.

Jamie: The promoted teams will all struggle, especially West Brom who don’t look ready to stay up just yet. I can’t see goals in the Newcastle team and their midfield will spend a lot of time suspended. Blackpool look write-offs already. Wigan could be in trouble and Blackburn will be hovering unless they buy a striker. I’m going for the three that came up to go back down, though.

Nick: As ever, the newly promoted sides will be amongst the strong favourites to go straight back down. As much as I’d love them to stay up, I think the task is beyond Ian Holloway’s Blackpool side, I have a feeling they will be rooted to the bottom of the table come Christmas and be plying their trade in the championship again next season.

I think Blackpool will be joined at the foot of the league by the premier league’s perennial yo-yo side and newly promoted West Brom, who will feel the familiar feeling of relegation from football’s top flight once again come May.

Newcastle should have enough to stay up and the final drop spot will be occupied by Wigan or Wolves come the end of the season.

Simon: Blackpool are dead certs and at 2/7 you are basically buying money. The two teams that will join them are West Brom as I don’t believe their squad to be strong enough to challenge while the third could be Wolves. McCarthy’s team looked strong enough last season but I will be impressed to see them do it again. I have a sneaky suspicion that Allardyce’s Blackburn will end up in a bit of a dogfight too as they don’t have a goal scorer in their squad.

Jim: Having said what I have about Hughton at Newcastle I don’t think the Magpies will be in the bottom 3 come May 2011. Blackpool look nailed on for relegation, although they are clearly trying to improve the squad with their recent additions the lack of genuine quality and top level experience will shine through. The ground situation heaps more pressure on them in the first half a dozen games and it will take something special for them to avoid the drop.

The other two places are very open but I’m going to go for Wigan and Wolves, the Latics squad isn’t brimming with quality and I think they could struggle defensively in what is a very demanding season. Wolves meanwhile could have the opposite problem; I simply don’t see them scoring enough goals to reach the magic 40. Having said that, their home form is key, if they can make Molineux a fortress they could survive the famed “second season syndrome” Mick McCarthy is so keen on talking about.

Barry: Blackpool’s lack of proven Premier League quality summer signings, especially a recognised top level striker (Marlon Harewood?), leaves their departure more probable than possible. Wigan need to improve on their shocking defensive effort of last season, selling Titus Bramble hardly helps. It’s difficult to see what Roberto DiMatteo has changed at West Brom to see them shake off their yo-yo tag. Like fellow promoted side Blackpool, where will the goals come from?

John: It will be great to see Blackpool host the likes of Chelsea, United and City this season but I have to be realistic and put them down as my tips to finish bottom. In terms of who joins them in dropping down a tier, I would say it will be West Brom and Wolves, the latter of whom I fear may contract the dreaded second season syndrome.

Dylan: Blackpool – Don’t think they have many players of Premier League quality, and they’re a very small side entering one of the biggest leagues in world football. I hope they prove me wrong and stay up as I like to see small sides doing well but I really can’t see it happening if I’m honest.

West Brom – They’ve been labelled a yo-yo team in recent years, as they seem to be in the Championship every other year. They have been called the Arsenal of the Championship by some as they have a tendency to play quality football and score bags of goals, but things just don’t go to plan when they play in the Premiership. If they buy the right players I can see them playing in the Premiership next season but if they don’t strengthen with experience they’re going retain their yo-yo status unfortunately.

Wigan – they’ve been lucky in recent season’s narrowly escaping relegation, but every year this League strengthens and strengthens and they only seem to have players departing rather than coming in. The departure of the versatile defender Titus Bramble has left a big hole in their defence and they’ve yet capture a replacement. So I think they’ll go down along with WBA and Blackpool.

Kevin: Blackpool, West Brom and hopefully one of Bolton or Blackburn. Despite being a rugby town, I like Wigan’s style of play under Roberto Martinez and they, again, have bought some shrewd players from the South and Central Americas.

Jake: I think Wigan will struggle immensely as they haven’t really strengthened a lot since last season, and neither have Blackpool. The Tangerine’s squad looks like a lower Championship side on paper and so they will struggle immensely. West Brom seem have been the yo-yo team in the last few years and I see no exception this season. They haven’t strengthened that much look vulnerable all over the pitch. West Brom, Wigan, Blackpool.

Ross: 20th: Blackpool. 19th: West Brom. 18th: Stoke.

Didier Drogba was the Premier League’s top scorer last season – who is your tip for the Golden Boot this season?

Ben: Wayne Rooney. Some people might suggest he’s got something to prove after his stinker of a World Cup. I don’t think he has anything to prove. We all know how good he is, and I think he would have won the Golden Boot last season had he not picked up that injury. Doesn’t mean I have forgiven him for the World Cup though.

David: I’ll take Drogba again. Rooney will push, but the famed ‘World Cup Hangover (TM)’ will hit the Englishman more than Drogba in my view. Manchester City’s strikers are multiple, and they will share the goals between them. Torres’ afore-mentioned fitness issues will prevent him from utilising the entire season to get on the score sheet. The 4-2-1-3/4-3-3 at Chelsea aids Drogba in being a lone targetman, and in a season where he is free from African Nations duties, I believe he will grab the prize again.

Jamie: Depends who stays fit. Torres should thrive at a rejuvenated Liverpool with some extra creativity in the side, but will probably have spells out. Drogba will be as strong as ever and says he’s shaken off a long-term injury, which looks ominous for the rest. But Rooney’s the one to watch. He has more to prove than ever before after the World Cup – would be no surprise to see him get 30 league goals. Chamakh could be a dark horse, Arsenal have needed a finisher since Henry left.

Nick: If (and it’s a big if) he stays fit, I would back Fernando Torres. His record is impeccable and with Liverpool’s summer additions he will get more support up front and more providers from midfield. If Torres is not able to stay fit for the whole season, I think the Golden Boot will be won by Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez.

Simon: If fit, then I think Torres is the best bet for the Golden Boot. The problem is, he won’t be fit all season so I am going to have to say that Drogba will be top scorer.

Jim: I can see Didier doing the business again, he showed last season that at times he is unplayable and I think that will continue. His World Cup was tainted somewhat by injury and although there are question marks over his fitness in the pre-season period he’ll be chomping at the bit to get going, once he hits his stride every Premier League defender should be worried.

Barry: Wayne Rooney’s potential partnership with Javier Hernandez could help alleviate the burden of goalscoring at Old Trafford and could see move Rooney into a deeper, more creative role. Chelsea’s strikers will be there or there abouts yet again. A fully fit Didier Drogba for Golden Boot.

John: With the creativity City have added this season through the likes of David Silva and James Milner, I expect Carlos Tevez to fire his way to the Golden Boot.

Dylan: Robin Van Persie if he keeps fit, if not Fernando Torres.

Kevin: If he can stay fit, Fernando Torres. When he’s fit – he scores goals for fun against any team, and any quality of defender – and people often forget that when labelling him a crocked, second rate goalscorer. I don’t think neither Drogba nor Rooney will match last season’s goal haul, and I don’t think Tevez will come near either.

Jake: Carlos Tevez was on blistering form last season even though he missed the first half of the season; he’d be my tip.

Ross: Marouane Chamakh.

Which team, or perhaps player, will be the surprise package of this season’s Premier League?

Ben: West Ham – but that’s mostly wishful thinking. I think Stephen Ireland to Aston Villa could be the best transfer of the summer if it happens, and he could prove decisive in that battle for seventh place. Will be interesting to see how Jermaine Beckford does at Everton too – Moyes is usually pretty canny with his lower league imports.

David: West Ham. I’m a closet fan of Avram Grant, and the Hammers have made some intelligent signings in the off-season. Keeping Scott Parker will be paramount, and the involvement of Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee should be kept to an absolute minimum, but after a season where it could have all fell apart, the brush with relegation will serve the Grant’s men well in moving into the upper echelons of…well, mid-table at least.

Jamie: Bolton. Coyle is an excellent manager and they’ll be around 10th, miles better than last season. Wolves could trouble the top half as well; they have bought good players this summer. As for players, I fancy Riveros at Sunderland to have a big impact now they’ve sold Cana.

Nick: I think Newcastle will surprise a lot of people this season. They have great support, a good squad and a point to prove after being relegated two seasons ago. I’m not saying they will finish in the top 6 or even the top 10, but I think they will put in some good performances and stay up in the Premier League where they belong.

In terms of player, if Manchester United’s new signing Javier Hernandez gets the games, he can cause some real shockwaves. He was extremely impressive in the World Cup and at £7 million looks to be the bargain of the summer (apart from Joe Cole!)

Simon: I think Owen Coyle’s Bolton will be a big surprise with better football being played from a balanced team. He has strengthened his squad with Alonso, Klasnic and Petrov coming in and I could see them finishing (just) in the top 10.

Jim: Given the media coverage he has received in the last few weeks it may not be so much of a “surprise package” as previously but I’m excited to see Javier Hernandez in the Premier League. I was very impressed with him at the World Cup and after watching him in a couple of pre-season games he looks the real deal. He’s got bags of pace and an eye for goal, even if he is used as somewhat of a “super-sub” by Sir Alex he could play a vital role in Manchester United’s season.

Barry: I think Newcastle United could find themselves in contention for a top ten finish, a fine reward for the consolidation, improvement and ensuing optimism brought to the club by Chris Hughton, after taking the helm with the club at a low ebb twelve months ago. Premier League and international experience runs through the side.

John: Although we’ve all seen enough to know he’s something special, I think Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez could surprise people with how quickly he settles. With 21 goals last season I think he could shock a lot of people and end up as United’s top scorer.

Dylan: Suprise team – Newcastle they’re looking very sharp….Suprise player, Hernandez – Manchester United/ Chamakh- Arsenal.

Kevin: As I mentioned earlier, Wigan have bought a couple of fine talented players who could take them a few places up the table in a stylish fashion, but my tip for surprise package is West Ham under Avram Grant. Decent squad, some good signings. A bit of stability and they’ll jump from last years’ 17th.

Jake: Dan Gosling could be a great acquisition for Newcastle. If he plays he can cause trouble among the opposition ranks.

Ross: Liverpool’s new signing, Jonjo Shelvey, if featured regularly, will raise a few eyebrows. He can pull-off a defence splitting pass, makes jaw-dropping off the ball runs and with Gerrard at his side will be a huge force to be reckoned with.

And, finally, Roberto Mancini made all the headlines last season for wearing that now famous Manchester City scarf – when do you think it will be making an appearance again?

Ben: About 12.30 on Saturday afternoon. Hopefully he’s given it a wash.

David: He’s cut his hair this season. With the lack of coverage in the neck area, I expect to see the cashmere from late September onwards.

Jamie: Gets chilly early in Manchester, I’ll go for mid-October.

Nick: He’ll whip it out sometime in November, probably during an evening match at Eastlands when the chill gets up, providing he is still in the job by then.

Simon: I will say end of October as the return of the scarf date. He will have a Man City colour tie until it gets cold enough for the scarf.

Jim: Judging by the typical English weather we are having lately I think City could do worse than to market a range of branded winter wear to accompany Roberto’s scarf. If I was him I’d be stockpiling them to wear at every game of the season until late April.

Barry: Saturday, August 14th 2010, 12:45, White Hart Lane.

John: Personally I reckon it will first turn up on a European night, but in terms of the Premier League expect a sighting no later than the Blackpool fixture on October 17th.

Dylan: When they win the league! Not. Don’t think we’ll see that scarf again.

Kevin: When City play at Wigan on a cold Wednesday evening.

Jake: He’ll be wearing it at the first game against Tottenham on the 14th.

Ross: Third game of the season.

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