Saturday, August 22, 2009

EPL Preview Part 1 - obviously a little late

Sorry for the delay in getting this post up. I have decided to not comment on the results of match day 1 or 2 in writing the predictions that I made before the season started. I hope that you will appreciate the honesty and laugh at a few of the predictions.

Greetings football fans. Welcome to the first installment of my three part EPL preview. This installment will look at where I think the clubs will finish and provide some insight into why I put them where I did. I will mention some players to watch and who I think will be the top scorer. The second part of the preview will come out in the first week of September once the transfer window has closed and look at the situation of the clubs now that they can not bring in more players. The third part will be in February looking at the final months of the season after the second transfer window has closed. Without further ado, here are my projected standings for the 2009/2010 EPL season.

Champions - Liverpool
I went with the Reds to win it all after they put up a good fight last season when they were hampered by injuries. If Liverpool can avoid the injury bug, especially to their key players, then I believe they have the squad that can bring home the title. This could prove easier said than done as it looks like the talismanic midfielder (and Phil Collins fan) Steven Gerrard could miss the opening match away to Spurs. They were definitely miss Xabi Alonso in their midfield, but though Aquilani is a different type of player I don't think Liverpool will notice much of a difference. Last season's Portsmouth player of the year - Glen Johnson is a big improvement at right back.

2nd Place - Manchester United
Obviously selling Ronaldo and allowing Tevez to leave will affect the way the Red Devils play. I think that they still have a talented roster and will compete for the title. Liverpool pushed them last season when they were injured, and I feel a healthy Liverpool will be too much for United. It will be interesting to see how United get through the first few months of the season with out their starting keeper Edwin van der Saar. Michael Owen is another player to watch as he seeks to rebuild his career after a disastrous and injury filled time at Newcastle.

3rd Place - Chelsea
On paper they are the strongest team in the Premier League. However having watched them play they are easily distracted. New boss Carlo Ancelotti will have his hands full controlling the massive egos of his new charges. Chelsea aren't exactly a squad of spring chickens either, so I expect the toll of competing in Cups, Europe, and the league to keep the Blues from the title.

4th Place - Arsenal
I have learned the hard way (in past predictions) that Wenger knows what he is doing. He has a young talented squad. I think that if Arshavin is able to continue his form from last season then the Gunners will have one of the top offenses in the league, even with the loss of Adebayor. I think that the Gunners defense still needs some improvement, the addition of Fulham defender Hangeland would do a lot to fortify their back four. There has been a lot of talk that Arsenal need some toughness in their midfield. I think this is largely because their back four are so weak that they need protecting. So if Wenger does make some improvements to his back line or brings some one into protect them, then the Gunners could join the race for the title.

5th Place - Everton
Everton were another team bitten by the injury bug last season. David Moyes has done an excellent job in keeping his squad together. They are without a doubt a strong side, however they do lack the out and out talent of some of the "big 4". I have them finishing 5th again.

6th Place - Aston Villa
Villa have made some strange moves in the summer after their drop in the standings last season. They let Captain Gareth Barry join Manchester City and brought in Stewart Downing from relegated Middlesbrough. I have the Stewart Downing transfer as my worst of the off season. Mainly because Downing is recovering from an injury and won't be able to play until January. I do however like some of the other moves that MON has made such as grabbing highly touted Fabian Delph from Leeds. A lot will depend on whether Villa are able to hold on to Ashley Young and bring in more players.

7th Place - Manchester City
City have been the big spenders this off season. I think that their squad will be a little dysfunctional as all of the egos get sorted out and they find their best squad. But they will definitely be in the hunt for a European place.

8th Place - West Ham
Zola has impressed me since he took over. He has West Ham's young stars playing well and is trying to bring in experienced players like Luca Toni. I think that this will be a good year for Barrack Obama and other West Ham fans.

9th Place - Sunderland
The Steve Bruce whirlwind has blown into the only premiership ground in the Northeast, and it has brought Darren Bent, Loric Cana, & Lee Cattermole with it. Sunderland are a vastly improved squad from last season. Bruce has excelled at getting the most out of his defenders. If Craig Gordon is able to rediscover some of his earlier form then the Black Cats could find themselves competing for Europe.

10th Place - Tottenham Hotspur
Harry Redknapp continued his big spending ways and now has a lot of money sitting on the bench. It remains to be seen if he is going to move any of it before the transfer window closes. I think that this season will go much the same as the past few Spurs seasons where they get off to a slow start over-react and sack their boss.

11th Place - Bolton
Not a lot to say here, beyond what everyone already knows. Bolton don't tend to play attractive football, they are tough to beat and despite a lack of big names on the squad they are in no danger of being relegated.

12th Place - Blackburn
Big Sam is building a side much like he had when he was in charge of Bolton, I expect them to be equally tough to beat and play equally unattractive football.

13th Place - Fulham
I like what Fulham have been doing in the past few seasons, unfortunately for them they remind me a lot of Portsmouth last season, without being up for sale of course. They are in danger of losing their best player Brede Hengeland to a number of interested teams, which would be a huge blow. Also they are in the Europa League and as I know from watching Pompey last year, even if you don't get terribly far in the competition the fixtures do catch up with a small squad that is why I predicting a drop for the cottagers.

14th Place - Birmingham
I think that they will do the best of the promoted sides. They have a quality boss and have made some good signings, most notably England U21 keeper Joe Hart on loan from Man City & Geovanny Patricio Espinoza. Espinoza has been a favourite of mine since I watched him in the 2006 World Cup with Ecuador where he made a number of game saving tackles. Birmingham may be involved slightly in the relegation battle, but I think this will be a good year for Birmingham City fans.

15th Place - Portsmouth
There is a lot of turmoil at Portsmouth off the field and very few players on it. This summer we have seen the departure of Glen Johnson, Peter Crouch, Sol Campbell, Sean Davis... All in all over 15 players from last year are not back this year. With Distin, Kranjcar, & James possible to follow the others out the door, Pompey are in need of more players. There is a takeover on the horizon and if this gets done before the window closes Pompey have a chance to build a stronger squad. The key player at Pompey this season will undoubtedly be Younnes Kaboul as with Distin likely to leave he will be a key part of our defense. Pompey will restock in the January transfer window. The real question will how much work do they have to do in the second half of the season.

16th Place - Stoke
Stoke were difficult to beat at home last season, they will need to duplicate that form if they are going to stay up again this year. They will be in the relegation battle but I believe they have the strength to avoid the drop.

17th Place - Hull (staying up on goal difference)
Hull rode an excellent start to last season to premier league survival. Phil Brown has been very active in the transfer window, though he has not had a lot of success, he has managed to bring in some quality to his side.

18th Place - Wolves
Last season's Championship winners are a lot younger than last time they were in the premier league. I expect them to play good football but it will not bring them victories. And wins are what you need to avoid relegation.

19th Place - Wigan
When have had a number of off season moves. The most notable was Steve Bruce leaving fro Sunderland and taking Lee Cattermole with him. They also lost Antonio Valencia to Man Utd and released Henri Camara and didn't bring back Amr Zaki. They replaced Bruce with Swansea's boss Roberto Martinez. Teams that Bruce leaves have a habit of getting relegated and I expect Wigan to suffer that fate.

20th Place - Burnley
Burnley went on some big cup runs last season and upset a number of big teams along the way. I think that they have a few upsets in them, come May it could well be points dropped to Burnley that decide the title. Much the same way Liverpool's dropped points to Stoke cost them the title last season. I like the team that Owen Coyle is building, however they look like a team that lacks the quality to stay up this season. I think that they will go down and come right back up perhaps with more staying power next time.

Top Scorer - Fernando Torres

Players to watch - Andrei Arshavin, star players on relegation teams; their teams survival could rest on their shoulders.

EPL Preview Part 2 will be up at the beginning of September when the transfer window has closed.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A brief thought on the Portsmouth Takeover


Thanks to Pompey Beast for the idea & Monty Python for the content.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Canadian Terrace Talk Episode Eight

Sam & I preview the upcoming EPL Season. We have a look at the table from top to bottom and of course spend a couple of extra minutes on our favourite teams. Enjoy,

Canadian Terrace Talk Episode Eight

Remember you can subscribe to Canadian Terrace Talk via itunes etc by clicking the link on the right.

Also there is still time to join the Premier League Pool!

Ekstraklasa Preview

For those of you that don't know the Ekstraklasa is the top flight of Polish football. I apologize for the fact that the preview is coming out a few weeks late, I took the chance that the league wasn't going to start on time due to some corruption scandals, but more on that later. As with the Bundesliga & Championship previews I am joined by a special guest in this case, Michal Krakowiak. All of Michal's comments will be in Italics so that you are able to tell them apart. You may also recall that Michal was the winner of the Confederations's Cup pool that I ran.

Before we jump into things here is a little overview of the Ekstaklasa. There are 16 teams in the Polish top flight, with Wisla Cracow last season's Champions. The Champion gets placed in the Champions League Qualifying while teams two and three are placed in Europa League Qualifying. The bottom two teams are relegated. Now that you have some background on the league, let's get right into the big topic in Polish Football, the corruption scandal.

Investigation in the Polish football is under way. Every now and then new players, referees and clubs officials get arrested for corruption that occurred in the past. Jagiellonia Bialystok started the season with 10 negative points as a penalty for corruption. Widzew Lodz who won the 1st division last season were penalized for corruption by relegation to a lower division and as a result they will stay in the 1st division for at least one more season. Thanks to this, Korona Kielce got automatically promoted to Ekstraklasa in favour of Widzew. Another club from Lodz, LKS, who finished 7th in Ekstraklasa last season, got relegated to 1st division due to not getting a license for playing in the highest division in Poland (financial instability). Because of this, last season’s last team in the league, Cracovia Cracow, remained in Ekstraklasa. All this chaos made starting the league on time uncertain. In the end, the league started out, but LKS and Widzew decided to sue the Polish FA for unfair treatment, relegations and loss of income from sponsors and TV…

It sounds to be similar to some of the situations that we have seen in Scotland, England, & Italy. I am glad to see that the league has taken a strong stance against corruption and financial instability as that is a major threat to football worldwide. As a Pompey fan I would fully expect us to be penalized if our takeover falls apart as well. If Leagues don't deal with financial instability strongly then more leagues could end up like Argentina's which has been unable to start. It did look that the start of the season would be delayed but the league pressed on with the scheduled start. So now on with the predictions.

Who will win the league?

Lech Poznan - because the team has matured after last season adventure in the UEFA Cup and although they lost their captain Rafal Murawski, who moved to Rubin Kazan – the Russian champion, Lech managed to kept forwards Robert Lewandowski and Hernan Rengifo, and brilliant central midfielder Semir Stilic on the team. Lech also bought three valuable players: a goalie Grzegorz Kasprzik, a former international - left back Seweryn Gancarczyk and last season 1st division top scorer Krzysztof Chrapek. Having easily won first two matches in the league, and as the only Polish team still playing in Europe, they assured their rivals they will finally go for gold this season.

I am going to go with Wisla Cracow to repeat as Ekstraklasa Champions. They have gotten off to a disastorous start in Europe, by being eliminated by FC Levadia Tallinn of Estonia in the 2nd round of Champions League qualifying. However I think that they will recover from this dissappointment and take advantage of the fact that their main rivals for top spot Lech Pozan will have to play extra matches as they are still involved in the Europa League.

Who are the rest of the top 5?

Wisla Cracow and Legia Warsaw made some good transfers during the summer break. Wisla got three footballers with experience in their national teams: midfielders Lukasz Gargula and Slovenian Andraz Kirm, and right back Pablo Alvarez from Uruguay. If Wisla doesn’t lose their top scorer Pawel Brozek, who’s rumored to be on the wish list of AS Monaco and Hannover 96, they should be the biggest threat to Lech in the race for the championship.

Legia got only one player, forward Marcin Mieciel, who was playing in German Bundesliga’s VfL Bochum, but also released three Spanish players who were a huge disappointment last season and were a heavy burden on the club’s budget.

Polonia Warsaw, GKS Belchatow and Slask Wroclaw will fight for the places behind the podium.

I have Lech Poznan in second spot, in what I feel will be quite a close title race. Legia Warsaw will follow in third to get the last European place, just ahead of their Warsaw neighbours Polonia. Then I have Lechia Gdansk sneaking into fifth spot.

Who will get relegated?

Odra Wodzislaw and Piast Gliwice will be unfortunate and go down to the 1st division.

I agree that Piast Gliwice will take the drop however I think that they will be joined by Arka Gdynia.

Young talents to watch

Great dribbler Patryk Malecki, offensive midfielder from Wisla, should make a debut in the senior national team this season.

Robert Lewandowski and Semir Stilic from Lech Poznan may both get transferred to better leagues in the Winter or after this season. Lech managed to keep them on the team during this transfer window despite solid offers from Borussia Dortmund and Celtic Glasgow. Stilic was also matched with Arsenal London before he moved to Lech.

Adrian Paluchowski and Maciej Rybus from Legia. Paluchowski was supposed to be the fourth striker on his team but turned out to be the best goal scorer in the preseason friendlies and in the beginning of the season. Rybus, left winger, is on his way to the senior national team and soon he should get called up.

Kamil Glik from Piast. This central defender moved to Piast from… Real Madrid. He moved from the C team, and his good form last season caught attention of some top German and Greek clubs. He still plays in Ekstraklasa, but it seems to be only a matter of time when he moves to a bigger club.

Anything Else of Interest?

Franciszek Smuda, last season Lech’s manager, is currently unemployed, but very likely not for long. Polonia Warsaw’s owner Jozef Wojciechowski wants him to take over the managerial position in his club. Smuda also wants to make his dream come true and work as the Poland’s national team manager in case Leo Beenhakker and his team blow it and don’t make it through the World Cup qualifiers.

I am always interested in the transfers that teams make. It will be interesting to see if any of the teams make a move to bring Polish Striker Ebi Smolarek back to Poland. He was released from his contract at Racing Santander after a disappointing season on loan at Bolton. He would be a big boost to any of the teams in the title race.

So there you have it, The Ekstraklasa preview. Thanks to Michal for all of your help. Stay tuned for more Previews. The EPL preview will come out next followed by La Liga & Serie A.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Special Guest on The Subs Bench

The guys over at The Subs Bench invited me to join them for their EPL Preview Podcast. Listen as we discuss all 20 Premiership teams in preparation for the start of the season, now less than a week away.

Also don't forget to join the Premier League pool!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Bundesliga Preview

The Bundesliga kicks off this afternoon for those of you in the Americas and this evening for those in Europe. To help me work my way through the upcoming Bundesliga season I recruited the help of a German friend, Jan. All of Jan's comments are in italics so they should be easy to separate from mine. Last season there were a number of great stories in the Bundesliga, the rise and fall of Hoffenheim, Klinnsman & Bayern, and Wolfsburg grabbing the title. There have been a number of coaching changes and player moves over the summer, far too many to list off here, but many are mentioned in the predictions below. Without further ado the Bundesliga preview:


Bayern Munich. Last year - like any year - they were close to winning even though they had a bad year for their own standards. It seems to me that van Gaal with his strict system with a focus on basics is resonating with the team so far. And the new people they brought in - Branfheid, Timoschuk and especially Gomez should make the team stronger. But more importantly I hope he can keep his word to make the team stronger! They need to operate as a team, a union, and that would be the most important difference to last year when that never happened. Van Gaal said this when he started at Bayern: "The Bavarian lifestyle fits me like a glove. Why? We are we (mia san mia), and I am myself. Self-confident, arrogant, dominant, honest, industrious, innovative, and also warm and family-centred." That sums up Bayern SO well.

Bayern Munich. Van Gaal won the Eredivisie last season with AZ, and now he is at the helm of a much more talented squad. With the addition of Gomez, it makes it very difficult to see anyone but Bayern being crowned Champions at the end of the season.

Rest of the European places

Stuttgart, Wolfsburg, Hamburg, Schalke, Leverkusen (Hoffenheim). Stuttgart - they had a strong team at the end of last season with coach Babbel being a real discovery. They lost Gomez, but they got back Aleksandar Hleb who played there for years and should provide important leadership qualities in midfield. Also, they seem to have signed Progrebniak - very interesting indeed. The keep guys like Hitzelsberger and Khedira.

Wolfsburg - the team stayed intact almost entirely and Volkswagen coughed up more money for the likes of Obafemi Martins. The coach Armin Veh was champion with Stuttgart a few seasons ago and should be able to see them finish strongly again. Win again? Not a chance. But strong contender for the 2nd/3rd spot.

Hamburg - watch those guys. At the end of last season with some injuries they did not have the quantity and slipped in the standing. They now have quantity and quality. Rhozenal from Roma, Elias from the Netherlands, Ze Roberto from Bayern, and then some of the stars of the U21 Euro: Marcus Berg, Dennis Aogo, Jerome Boateng, Ben-Hatira. And all those guys are now a year older and a bit stronger. So I am gonna say they will compete for 2nd/3rd as well.

Schalke, Leverkusen, Hoffenheim - they will duke it out for the rest of the international spots. Leverkusen and Hoffenheim follow the Arsenal model - lots of very talented young guys (like Patrick Helmes for Leverkusen oder Ibisevic Hoff.) and add one or two experienced guys (Lev. signed Sami Hyppia from Liverpool, Hoff. signed Simunic from Berlin). Schalke will compete because they now have Magath who will shake up the club. And they really need that. That club is like Newcastle - fantastic history and drama all the time, but no stability and sense. They do have some good players, but Magath will give them some structure too.

Sttutgart, Wolfsburg, Hamburg & Dortmund

For me Sttutgart, Wolfsburg, & Hamburg are in a class just below Bayern, but above the rest of the Bundesliga. It will be quite an interesting battle to see if any of these teams can push Bayern for the title. As well there will be quite a battle on for the 2nd & 3rd places that carry Champions League opportunities, with one of these teams having to settle for the Europa League.

With Dortmund, they came close to capturing a European place last season, I think that they will better that finish this season by grabbing the final place in Europe.

Relegation Battle

Bochum, Frankfurt, Mainz. Why, just a good feeling.

Mainz. - They have some injuries and I think that they will slide down the standings at the start of the season. I am not confident that the arrival of the "Austrian Beckham" Andreas Ivanschitz on loan will be enough to ensure their survival.

Nürnberg - They are back in the Bundesliga after a great run at the end of last season saw them promoted. They will need a string of good results if they are going to stay up, and I don't see them getting it.

Hannover - They had the leakiest defense last season and I don't think that they have done enough to avoid that distinction again this season. Last season they were successful at getting points at home, I think that with some more scoring at other clubs that could be a difficult feat to repeat, therefore Hannover will take the drop.

Players to watch

Gomez, Bayern: he is a fantastic striker. Give him the chance to play Champions League AND have a support team to take some of the pressure of him AND provide him with the passes to score a lot! Honestly, in one or two years Barca, Chelsea and Madrid will throw €70 Million at Bayern for him.

Adler, Leverkusen and Neuer, Schalke: Those two goalies are among the best of their trade globally. They should play Champions League but won't this year. Still, for the yrs to come they will be the big goalies. When Manchester United needs a replacement for van der Saar those names will come up.

Barrios, Dortmund: good striker they picked up rather cheap. I rate him at 15-20 goals this year.

Özil/Marin: those guys are very exciting and when they understand each other better on the pitch, they'll become one hectic team. Sure, they are young, so they will have lows and bad games too. Still ... give them a season or two and they'll be good. In the Europa League they'll make their mark.

Podolski, Köln: After a disappointing spell at Bayern he is back at his home town club, and I am interested to see how he will fare there.

Berg, Hamburg: After capturing Europe's (and Canada's) attention at the UEFA U21 tournament in his native Sweden he has move from the Eredivisie to the Bundesliga. It is definitely a step up, and it will be interesting to see how many goals last season's second top scorer in Holland will net in Germany.

If this season is anywhere near half as interesting as last season it will be another great year for the Bundesliga. I am looking forward to the start of the season and I hope that you are too.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Premier League Pool

Greetings Everyone,

As you are no doubt aware another Premier League season kicks out next week. You may have guessed from the title that I am running a pool, like the Confederations Cup pool I will run it through SuperBru. If you haven't used SuperBru before you will need to make an account. Here is the pool information:

Pool code: bragpare
Pool name: PompeyCanuck′s Pool

The pool is based on picking the results of the matches. If you are interested in a fantasy league where you pick the players then I would direct you to The Subs Bench who are running a points league and a head to head league. I have joined both so you can attempt to topple me there.

Cheers & Good Luck

Championship Preview

Last season the Championship was the fourth most watched(attendances) football league in Europe, behind only the Premier League, La Liga, & the Bundesliga. They are likely to build off those attendance numbers now that Newcastle have joined their ranks.

In the Championship the top two teams are automatically promoted to the Premier League, while teams 3 through 6 enter a playoff, with the promotion winner also being promoted. These three teams are replaced by the bottom three teams from the Premier League. Also the bottom three sides in the Championship are relegated to League One and replaced by three League one sides (the top two and playoff winner). So joining the Championship this season are relegated Newcastle, West Bromwich Albion, & Middlesbrough along with promoted Leicester City, Peterborough, & Scunthorpe. To help me with this preview I have enlisted The Score's Thomas Dobby. All of Dobby's thoughts will be in italics that should make it easy to tell us apart. Here are our thoughts on the 2009/2010 Championship Season.


It all depends on if they can keep a lot of their players from last season, but as it stands, they are a very strong Championship side. Downing is gone, and that will hurt but there are still plenty of Premiership- caliber players in the squad. Very good chance of bouncing straight back up.

West Bromwich Albion
WBA dominated the Championship in 2007/8, took the majority of the squad to the premier league and got relegated. I think that they have a good team and will be able to gain promotion, I don't think that many premier league clubs will come for their players as last year showed that they are not premier league quality. The challenge for WBA will be next season if they abandon their current squad and yo-yo existence between leagues and try to stay in the Premier League.

2nd Place, Automatic Promotion

West Bromwich Albion
I worry a little about their inexperienced manager, Roberto Di Matteo, but it was time for a change after their very disappointing season under Tony Mowbray in the top flight. Di Matteo did a nice job with MK Dons in his first foray into management last season, guiding them to the playoffs. It may be another case of too soon, though (ie Paul Ince). But West Brom are a very strong Championship side, as seen 2 seasons ago, when they ran rampant over the division. A lot of that core still remains. Very good chance of jumping straight back up. One of those teams that are a bit too good for the Championship, but not good enough for the premiership.

I believe that Roy Keane is a quality manager and at the moment seems to be comfortable in Ipswich. The team responded well to him at the end of last season. He led Sunderland to Championship victory in 2006/7 and I think that he will enjoy a similarly effective run in charge of the Tractor Boys.

The Playoff teams

Sheffield United*, Cardiff, Preston, Ipswich
*Win play-offs this time!

Sheffield United, Middlesbrough, Derby, Queens Park Rangers.
I think that Boro will get off to a great start, but I think that they will eventually end up selling some of their squad, and this disruption to their team will see them drop into the playoffs. With the Blades it will be interesting to see how Ched Evens does, also to see if Paddy Kenny is suspended as that could have a large impact on the squad. With Derby & QPR I have a feeling that these two will sneak into the playoffs likely towards the last weekend.


Won 1 game after February last season, and if they start with that sort of form, it could be a very long season at the Ricoh. Their FA Cup run didn’t help their league form last season, but Chris Coleman, and the Sky Blues could be in deep trouble.

Yet another new manager- a 37 year old at that! Malky Mackay takes over a team that had a really nice run to survive last season. Won’t be as fortunate this year.

May be a bit out of their depth after coming up from League 1

Newcastle United
I see more heart ache for Magpies fans. They are in the midst of a takeover mess, without a manager, and a squad full of overpaid players who don't want to be in the championship. Newcastle showed no fight in trying to avoid relegation last season, unless there are massive changes at St. James's I think that it will be back to back relegations for the Magpies.

I think that Dobby hit the nail on the head.

Doncaster Rovers
They exceeded expectations last season and finished 14th, they have sold a few of their best players and I see them going down this year.

Points of Interest

*How will Nigel Clough and Roy Keane fare at Derby and Ipswich respectively, with a whole season at the helm?

*Will QPR’S money be enough to see them challenge for promotion? They were disappointing in 08/09.

*Swansea were last year’s sexy team, but after missing out on the playoffs, and losing their manager Roberto Martinez and top striker Jason Scotland to Wigan, how will they respond?
My prediction is they finish about 8th, just out of the playoffs once again.

*Could another Ferguson join the top-flight? Sir Alex’s son Darren manages high-flying Peterborough who, with a little bit of luck could push for the play-offs, and back-to-back promotions.

*The obvious: What will become of Newcastle? It was a stunner when they were relegated, but do they have the mettle to come straight back up? I don’t think so…it may be another long season for the Toon Army. I predict a mid-table finish for the Magpies.

*How will Cardiff adjust into life at their new stadium? I think it will take a little settling in and look for the Blue birds to gain promotion next year.

*Who will hold onto their players? The August and January transfer windows will have a huge outcome on the Championship season. Last year Sheffield United sold striker James Beattie and narrowly missed out on promotion. If you are serious about promotion you have to be able to hold onto your best players through the transfer window.

*Who will be the loan wizards? Some clubs can build a squad out of other teams players and make a strong push for promotion. It will be interesting to see who excels at bringing in the right players on loan.

So there you have it, a Championship preview. The season gets underway tomorrow with a match between promotion rivals Middlesbrough & Sheffield United. Thanks to Thomas Dobby for his insightful input.

Canadian Terrace Talk Episode Seven

Unfortunately I was unable to be a part of this podcast after falling victim to the dreaded long weekend cold. My co-host Sam, from the Canadian Stretford End, took the reigns and was joined by Kristian Jack from The Score. They discussed the crazy transfer window, look ahead to the Premier League season, they also preview the Championship starting this weekend and the Toronto FC - Real Madrid match. Enjoy!

Canadian Terrace Talk Episode Seven

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On Facebook & Twitter

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