He likes a bet, he’s about as Irish as a fine bottle of Merlot and he knows his footballing onions. We spoke to former non-Irish Ireland striker and current Talksport host and Racing Post columnist, Tony Cascarino about what he expects to happen in the new Premier League season.
Tony, can you tell us that Man Utd will win the league pointing out their attacking prowess, but overlooking their defensive frailties?
It’s very difficult to ignore Man Utd because they spent some money so you think they’re going to improve. They’ve got a new goalkeeper – it’s gonna be a big test for him. Last year their leading goalscorer didn’t play a part and they’ve still got people like Berbatov, Owen and of course Danny Welbeck coming back – they’ve got a lot of ammunition going forward. You just look at the team and you think ‘there’s goals all over’. I think there are a lot of good things about United.
Liverpool fans have had it rough lately, can you throw them a crumb of comfort by saying they’ll break into the Top 4?
I like Liverpool going forward. Stuart Downing is a fantastic crosser of the ball and I’d see him as being very underrated. Kuyt on the right hand side, I like him. He’ll cut inside, sometimes play as a centre-forward and get some goals. Andy Carroll has got a good pre-season under his belt, so I’d expect a lot from him and he’s got Suarez there alongside him. I think they’ll score lots and lots of goals, but the defense worries me. I’m not Skrtel’s biggest fan, Jamie Carragher is another year older, Agger is too injury-prone. I love Pepe Reina, but I’d want them to have a stronger back 4. I’m going to go with United, Cheslea, City and Liverpool for the Top 4, with Arsenal being the ones to miss out. I think Fabregas and Nasri will leave the club and that’s too big a hole to fill.
Tony, who do you think will go down, making particular reference to any clubs in the North East with delusions of grandeur and entitlement not reflective of their actual ability?
I think Norwich will be ok. I like a lot of the players they’ve got. I’m a fan of Grant Holt, he’s a goalscorer. Swansea has sent a lot of money, QPR have done very little and although they finished top of the Championship last season, I think they’re the most vulnerable this season. While we’re on the subject, if punters are looking for a value bet, I’d be looking at Neil Warnock to be the 1st Manager to be sacked. That wouldn’t surprise me at all. He’s got a great record of taking teams up, but he’s also got a pretty poor record when it comes to taking teams down.
One club that I think offer real value to go down are Newcastle. I look at them going forward and I think ‘Ameobi? Leon Best? Cor, they’re a bit shy for me.’ They’ve lost Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan and they – together with Joey Barton – were the players who drove Newcastle into the safety of mid-table last season. I just look at them I think they’re going to have a really poor season.
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