My title may come across as harsh, but I will say from the start that the majority of English football writers/pundits do a good job. I enjoy reading match reports from a lot of the major papers to get different views as to how a specific game was played. And I also enjoy listening to podcasts such as the Sunday Supplement (cannot watch it live in Canada). But if you read/listen them enough you can realize that when it comes to predicting anything, they are wrong a lot more than they are right.
This issue really came to my attention a couple of weeks ago when my beloved Liverpool had their FA Cup semi final match with Everton. Sure Liverpool’s league performance at the time was quite dismal so surely they could not beat Everton at Wembley (even though they had already won the Carling Cup there). And they just went out and won and now have a chance for a rather awkward double this season. On the Sunday though the writers and pundits who I read all had Spurs beating Chelsea, mainly because of Chelsea’s upcoming match versus Barcelona was more important. Chelsea then promptly went out and (outside of Juan Mata’s questionable goal) destroyed Spurs. I did not see or hear that prediction anywhere.
How could Chelsea coming off this victory now possible beat Barcelona at Stamford Bridge just a couple days later? I did not find much in terms of Chelsea being given a chance to win, maybe a draw if they were lucky. But Chelsea proved you just need one shot, to score one goal.
Well that was quite the victory for the Blues, but that was at home. They now must go to the Nou Camp and keep Barcelona off the scoreboard if they want to be heading to Munich. How many people (including you) had Chelsea pulling off one of the biggest victories in club history? I did not. But Chelsea has continued to prove people wrong, and now they have a chance at a double as well this season.
Now just think about how many times you have heard a prediction from someone getting paid to make it, or at least getting paid to give their opinion on what will happen and they are wrong. It starts every summer when the transfer window opens. Some papers predict player A is going here, where others predict he is going here and some even predict he is going nowhere. I liken it to what potentially could be happening this summer with players such as Eden Hazard, Carlos Tevez and Frank Lampard. These are three players who could all potentially be on the move to, in or out of the Premier League and I am sure there will be lots of rumours, but not many accurate facts.
At the start of the season lots of so called experts make their predictions about where teams will place in the Premier League. Who will be relegated, who will win the league and who will get those Champions League places. I do remember at the start of the season there will thoughts that Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs would be battling for the spots, with the Manchester clubs vying for the title. Nobody had or even considered Newcastle to be in the running, but they are and could very well get that fourth place due to Chelsea potentially resting players during the league for the Champions League and FA Cup and Spurs doing their usual end of the year faltering.
How much were you reading earlier on this season about Arsenal? Wenger has lost it, his methods are not working anymore and they will struggle to get into the top four. Who will replace Wenger? His transfer policy is hurting the team, and the list goes on. Well in hindsight I am not hearing as much about they were wrong, or about how Arsenal will be third this year and getting back into the Champions League. Or how Mikel Arteta was having a very quiet and productive season for them?
It seems that every week everyone is changing their opinion about who is going to be relegated. Some weeks it’s Blackburn, some it’s Wigan, some it’s QPR, some it’s Wolves. Now Wolves are relegated, but there are people who even believed that Wolves could potentially stay up.
How much did you read two weeks ago that Manchester United had the Premier League wrapped up and that is was just a formality and a matter of time before title number 20? How much do you still believe that? Now I still do and I thought all along that Manchester City was still one year away from the title, but I was not just simply handing United the title because they had games against teams (Wigan) that had something to play for.
This now brings me to Euro 2012. Once the coach (which much predicting has already been going on about) is picked, he will then have to pick a squad (where there will be even more predicting about) to compete. When this is all completed the predictions will begin, and so far most think that England do not have a chance of winning and that this tournament is a building block for 2014 in Brazil. Why can’t England win? Just because former England players or football writers feel that England will not win, why believe them?
Places such as Ladbrokes stay in business and make good money for a reason.