Brad Friedel reacts to 7500 to Holte's request to use his head as a crystal ball. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
It's time, it's time! Football is coming, and it's coming soon. In fact, it's already started across Europe in France and England's lower leagues, and it's been happening in America and Russia since before the World Cup started. But this Saturday (tomorrow) marks the beginning of the nineteenth season of the English Premier League and the one hundred and twenty-third(!) year of league football in England. That occasion was as good as any to convene the three football superpundits here at 7500 to Holte for a roundtable discussion about the season to come. We predict what's to come this year for Aston Villa, the English Premier League, and football around the world. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll wonder why the hell Kirsten thinks a Championship team will win the League Cup. Join us, after the jump.
Where will Aston Villa finish in the league?
Gareth Simpson: Tenth
Kirsten Schlewitz: Ninth
Aaron Campeau: Eighth
How will Aston Villa perform in the FA Cup?
G: Sixth round, unless we get a fortunate draw.
K: Depends on how far we go in Europa. I could see us getting knocked out in the first round we enter, though, if we field a young side.
A: It depends entirely on where the emphasis is placed by whoever is managing at the time. If we field a strong side, quarter-finals. If not, erg. Early.
How will Aston Villa perform in the League Cup?
G: Semifinals. Ugh, I already doubt that, but I'm sticking to it.
A: Semifinals. Villa are probably the strongest team likely to take it seriously.
How far will Aston Villa go in the Europa League?
G: Group stage. I refuse to believe that we'll lose to Rapid again.
K: They'll make it out of the group (crosses fingers.)
A: Out of group. After that, who knows? Too many variables to feel comfortable picking a round.
Who will be Aston Villa's player of the year?
G: Now that it looks like Ashley Young is staying, I'm pulling for him.
K: Gabby Agbonlahor. Because he's fast as...well, you know.
A: Ashley Young. Without Milner around, he'll need to step up and his play in the pre-season has been tremendous.
Who will win the Premier League?
G: Manchester United finally breaks Liverpool's record. If Arsenal can get a keeper the likes of Shay Given (as has been rumoured), I think they have a decent chance at the title.
K: I wish I could disagree with United, but I think it's their year.
A: Chelsea, with Liverpool as the dark horse. Any of the big four could win. So could Manchester City.
Who will qualify for the Champions League?
G: Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City, and Chelsea.
K: Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City.
A: Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal
Who will win the FA Cup?
G: Manchester City
K: Arsenal because Wenger desperately needs a trophy
A: Manchester City
Who will win the League Cup?
G: Manchester United
K: Leicester City
A: Manchester City
Which manager will be the first to lose his job?
G: Chris Hughton, because Newcastle has gone an unusually long time without doing something ridiculous.
K: Uh...oh, you mean post MONday? Mancini, the moment Man City drop below the Champions League spots.
Who will be the PFA Player and Young Player of the Year?
G: Carlos Tevez and Gareth Bale.
K: Cesc Fàbregas, which I guess would mean I should change my stance on Arsenal not qualifying for the CL but I'm not gonna nahnahnah, and Marc Albrighton, so Villa can have a three-year streak
A: Fernando Torres and Jack Rodwell
The Rest of the World
Who will win the Champions League?
G: I think Mourinho will take a year with Madrid before winning the Champions League in 2012. So...let's say Barcelona.
K: Chelsea, which is why they don't go very far in domestic play in the football world I have created entirely in my head.
Who will win the Europa League?
G: Bayer Leverkusen could do it, or someone who drops in from the Champions League. Citeh could win it, but Roberto Mancini is a notorious underachiever in European competition.
K: It's hard to say in this case considering the clubs that enter later in the match. I'll put my hopes on Napoli since I don't think there's any way it's Villa's year.
Who will win the European Golden Boot?
G: David Villa. He plays well off of big target men and Lionel Messi could probably pick up 15 assists a season playing up front with a dead man and an armchair. Or Emile Heskey, even.
K: Just to keep this non-repetitive, I'll go with Abs, aka Diego Forlan, taking the title for the third time.
A: David Villa
Who will win the Ballon d'Or (awarded in October 2010)?
G: Wesley Sneijder.
K: I'm giving in and seconding Gareth on this one because I think Sneijder deserves it.
A: Three for Sneijder
What do you think will be the biggest transfer between now and the end of the season?
G: Mario Balotelli to Manchester City. What can I say, it's not a big transfer world anymore. And Balotelli is better than you think.
K: In a shock move, the new manager of Aston Villa will steal away Marek Hamšík from Napoli to replace James Milner and the entire fanbase can wonder why a rodent is suddenly prowling the field.
A: Michael Bradley to a big club somewhere, probably Germany. Which doesn't sound like all that much. Which is kind of the point.