Amtrak 8 will be arriving on YOUR planet shortly!!
I’ve pored through my photo archives and it dawned on me that I really have almost no pictures of Amtrak 7, the Empire Builder from Chicago to Seattle. Almost all my Empire Builder pictures are of the eastbound Amtrak 8. It’s most likely down to the timing and where along the CP mainline I happened to be at the time. The two photos I open this transmission with today are of Amtrak 8 running 12 minutes late on the River Sub at Donehower West between Winona and La Crosse. I happened to be working there that day, heading over to Winona to meet with a client. And there it came charging along the Mighty Mississippi enroute to Chicago.
I mention this little aside in passing for both metaphorical and sporting reasons. Here on Earth, in the English Premier League there are usually only 7 teams that have a sporting chance of winning the Prem. Last year there were 7 top teams and the rest were 15 points or more off the pace in a field of mediocrity. Then there were the usual relegation suspects. I got one of those right when I did my 20 predictions sure to go wrong last season.
Hull City went down. But why I didn’t figure on Sunderland to join them is beyond me. I probably had the wrong brand of beer that day.
What I really need to make this metaphor work the 2017-18 season is one of the mid-table pluggers to rise up and get on board Amtrak 8. I have a couple of ideas on who that might be, but I wouldn’t bet my mother-in-law’s money on it that’s for sure. I really should wait for the opening game of the season this afternoon at 1:45 PM CDT. Arsenal is hosting Leicester City and since Leicester is one my candidates to join Amtrak 8, I wouldn’t want today’s result from
Highbury The Emirates to colour my judgement with a particular shade of blue.
But since my judgement and prediction is sure to go wrong anyway, what difference will it make if I call the shot before I toddle down to the L&L Public House here in Mineral Point WI for a few pints of BODDINGTON’S, or I after toddle on back with the final score tattooed on my left elbow. None whatsoever. That’s what. The final score, btw, was ArseAnal 4-3 Leicester City. And since it’s tattooed on the back of my left elbow, no one will see it there anyway.
So, without further delay….got nothing but green signals up ahead….here’s who I think will join the top 7 from last season. I’ll put last years’ top 7 finishers in how they finished last year and add the 8th. This list will not necessarily be my predicted order of finish btw. Also, my prediction was not based on today’s opening tilt.
The Amtrak 8
There. To HELL with the final from the Emirates today. Fock ArseAnal. Leicester will step it up this season. All of last season’s pressures of repeating as Premier League champions have vanished. It’s back to reality at King Power Stadium.
Leicester won’t win at all again. At least not this season. But it’s going to be a fight to the finish at the top. I’ll reveal my prediction sure to go wrong for who win at the very end of this transmission, unless sunspot activity, on our sun, not yours, garbles the transmission somewhat.
The Race to (Avoid) Relegation
In the AMTRAK 8 pecking order, the Hiawathas between Milwaukee & Chicago are the everyday mid-table pluggers of the Amtrak 8 world. They are not spectacular, but they’re usually hard-working solid and reliable. But the just won’t win a damn thing in the Prem. Stoke City is the prime text book example. And they will stay safe with Sparky at helm.
Southampton has a lot of quality that rises up from their academy. But they keep losing that quality to clubs in the top 8 and beyond. Their current turmoil over Virgil van Dijk is testimony to that frustrating inevitability that Soton can only go so far before the candle is snuffed out only to be relit again next season. It would nice if they cold crack the Amtrak 8, but it just wont wont happen until their lads can conjure and develop enough sense to match their talent and stay at St. Mary’s.
I was strongly considering Bournemouth to make a run at the Amtrak 8. I was really debating all day about whether it would be Leicester or Bournemouth to make the move. I went with Leicester City, but it could just as easily be Bournemouth. So what the fock. Bournemouth did snag Nathan Ake and Asmir Begovic from Chelsea. They have Eddie Howe at the helm. But I’m also thinking not this year, not just yet.
Can West Ham shake off the drama and cheap theatrics of moving from good ol’ Upton Park last season to the soulless Olympic Stadium that was designed more for Usain Bolt than anyone Slavan Bilic has to throw out on the pitch? I want them to, but I don;t believe they will. They’ve snagged Chicharito from Bayer Leverkusen and Marko Arnautovic from the aforementioned Stoke City which are moves I really like. The question remains is how they will gel with Michail Antonio when he comes back from injury and Andy Carroll when he isn’t injured or knackered or both? Also…there’s the defense. The goddamn defense. Joe Hart? the 132 year old Pablo Zabaleta? I’m beggin y’all to convince me.
Newcastle will join this lot in the middle of the pack. The Fat Spanish Waiter will have them on point and they’ll finish some were between 11th and 15th. DeAndre Yedlin will solidify the defense once he returns from hamstring-gahh. And Dwight Gayle has been impressive up front and led the Magpies charge back to the Prem by finishing tied for second on the Championship scoring list with Bristol City’s Tammy Abraham with 23 goals each. They’ve stolen and signed Jacob Murphy from my Norwich City Canaries damn their eyes. Then again they do have Jonjo Shelvey on the roster, plus Mike Ashley still owns the team so…..15th it is, then.
Tony Pulis and his 129 year old average age West Brom squad should finish lower mid-table and thus, safe. His train will arrive 40 minute late with 40 points and then coast to the last couple of miles, just like when he not Sparky ran Stoke. But they could also slink into the relegation battle and find themselves Championship bound. I’m also putting Crystal Palace and Watford in the same boat. With Zaha and Benteke, Crystal Palace might actually be the stronger of the three. No, scratch that. Watford is stronger. No, scratch that.
Opening days results do not prefigure where the teams will end up once the final match is played. Last season, for example, Hull City opened its account for the season with a 2-1 defeat of defending champion Leicester City. But it didn’t prevent their eventual relegation.
Yesterday, at Stamford Bridge, Burnley rolled into London with referee Craig Pawson1 in tow, and when the dust settled, Chelsea were down to 9 men and Burnley ran out 2-3 winners.Despite being plucky, despite Sean Dyche’s leadership, Burnley’s sojourn in the Premier League could roll to a close at the end of this season. If it did, it would be a shame, but they’d be Championship bound for one season then straight back up.
I have Huddersfield Town as a prime relegation target. Despite a opening 0-3 tromping of Crystal Palace, also a relegation suspect down at Selhurst Park, I have Huddersfield Town going right back to the Championship. It’s a shame really, as Huddersfield Town has the only American coach in the Premier League in David Wagner, son of an American GI stationed in German, who coached Borussia Dortmund’s reserves before taking over at The John Smith’s Stadium in 2015 (as a little aside…Wagner was replaced as the Dortmund II coach by Daniel Farke who was just appointed Norwich City’s coach this season). If Huddersfield Town still had Adam Clayton’s Beard, then I’d have them up in the mid-table safety zone with Newcastle.
Crystal Palace is on the relegation train as well I’m afraid. It will be touch and go this season despite Wilfred Zaha and CHristian Benteke and Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek on loan. If Big Sam had stuck around then I’d have Palace up with mid-table pluggers. But new coach Frank de Boer, while pedigreed, will need more than this season to mold the team in his style. Hopefully he has the patience and send of vision and character that Rafa Benitez2 has shown taking Newcastle down to the Championship for the season before coming straight back up to the Prem.
Even if they keep Llorente and Gylfi Siggurdsson, Swansea are most likely Championship bound. Definite relegation awaits if Siggurdsson leaves as seems very likely. Pun not instead but 2017-18 could very be their swan song in the Prem. Derby matches with Cardiff City await!!
Brighton & Hove Albion finished the Championship in 2nd making them, along with 1st place Newcastle, an automatic promotion candidate. And while they’re a breath of fresh air in the Prem this season. , they don’t really have the lads to go the distance. Chris Hughton’s leadership will be solid, but nothing spectacular. The Seagulls will acquit themselves well, but a return to the Championship seems likely.
So this season’s relegation train won’t be the train arriving on tracks 18,19, & 20 coming in sideways lime Sunderland did last season. .Instead three freights will slip into the yard in the middle of the night or die on the hours somewhere out on the line. The crew will clamber down from their SD-40 or Dash 8-44CW with their grips in hand and amble off to the crew van and then be spirited away to their postseason rest.
Any of the aforementioned could be the ones. But my three predictions sure to go wrong are(in not particular order):
So Huddersfield should stay up then. Along with plucky little Burnley. How nice.
And now…Your 2017-18 Premier League Champion will be:
We Only Need 9 Men!
Opening day loss to Burnley be damned.The press pundits, nay-sayers, and other assorted nappy-shitters can go and kiss Diego Costa’s hairy ass!!
Chelsea will repeat as Premier League Champions in 2017-18!
If anyone thinks otherwise, you’ve not really been paying much attention. Or…you’ve been paying too much attention to the wrong things
Or, you’re a Gooner; part of the Red Army; one of The Citizens a/k/a a Noisy Neighbor; a Scouse git who couldn’t catch a pig in a ginnell; or a Spurs fan.
Chelsea will not run away with it at the end like last season. And any of City, ManU(re) or Tootenham will top the table for good bits of the season.
But this season all of trains 1,2,3,4,5,6 and possibly 7 will arrive at approximately the same time and ALL of them will be coming in sideways. It could very well come down to the final gameday.
So when the dust finally settles at Euston, St.Pancras, and Kings Cross stations, the 2017-18 Premier League Championship will have arrived back in London.
And Chelsea will emerge from the wreckage with the trophy.
And there will be a parade. Because everyone loves a parade..
The only acceptable alternative to this would be if Everton emerged with the win and Wayne Rooney holds the trophy aloft. The Red Devils and their Red Army could then kiss Wayne Rooney’s hairy ass.
If Chelsea doesn’t somehow win it, I’d be okay with that.
So….20 predictions sure to go wrong, and it all comes down to this:
Chelsea will repeat as Premier League Champions in 2017-18!