I tried to avoid it. But could not.
I have made it a habit to provide you lot with a round of impeccably researched, painstakingly in-depth - and, of course, intelligent - predictions before each and every season. 2009-10 was no different.
Now is the time when we at Chelsea Offside look back at what we thought then, how we thought it and whether or not it was a thought at all. Here we go ...
Chelsea Offside >>> Miss Cleo
PART I: The easy ones ...
Top goal scorer. Didier Drogba
The large Ivorian has a major point to prove this term. It may help that he appears the happiest he has been, and most focused, since the renowned 33-goal barrage in 2006-07.
• Spot on, Jack. Drogba was arguably the finest player in England this season. Thirty-seven goals, his most as a professional. The 29 that arrived in the Premier League earned the mighty one his second Golden Boot.
Ancelotti, over-under at three months. Over.
Didn't I say the same thing about Scolari? Whatever.
• Right once again. Carlo began well then endured a soft patch before responding in sinister style. King Carlo, indeed.
Least valuable player. Paulo Ferreira
Someone remind me why this cat received a five-year extension not too long ago?
• Not so much. Paulo made 20 appearances, 13 in the league. He proved a fairly valuable asset in stead of the injured Bane late in the season. He started in wins over Villa (7-1) and United (2-1). Paulo was, however, grossly exposed in our defeat at Tottenham.
Over-under at 3, goals against Hull City on the opening day. Over.
I'll go one better and highlight Flo as this season's inaugural scorer.
• Wrongster. We needed a miracle - i.e. a floated cross from Drogs - to see off the Tigers.
Premier League champions. Chelsea. Who else?
Our main rivals have weakened. Aquilani <<<< Alonso. As much as it pains me to say it -- since I have a mancrush on L.A. "Big City of Dreams" Valencia -- Ronnie >>> LAV. Both will still offer stiff (I said stiff) competition but, in the end, I think we have the continuity, the depth and the drive to recapture the Prem crown.
• Thank you. The competition was in fact stiff. And, as predicted, it was our superior depth that proved the difference.
PART II: The hard ones ...
Player of the year. Ashley Cole
Cashley quietly became the best left-back in the world a year ago. He's finally comfortable at Chelsea and, with the diamond sucking the width out of midfield, his role in attack will boom. Another sterling campaign from one of the most hated everywhere except at Stamford Bridge.
• Eh. Ashley was well on his way to being in the conversation with a superlative opening to the 2009-10 season. He then fractured his left ankle, missing three months - a cruel blow no doubt. His return to the fold only proved his worth. POY in 2010-11?
Most likely to see treatment more than pitch time. Yuri Zhirkov.
Unfortunately, the Russian, who would likely transform into the Premier League transfer of the term, has been quelled by a nagging stress injury to his knee. The Daily Mail reckons the Chelsea backstaff is expecting a lengthy layoff. Not good.
• Negative. Yuri did struggle with injury; his competitive debut did not come until late September. But it was Michael Essien who took the treatment cake in 09-10. The Bison has not played any competitive football since December.
Chelsea transfer that no one saw coming. In search of right-sided relief, CA calls upon his old workhorse, the versatile Massimo Ambrosini. Please God no.
• Too bad this didn't go down ...
League Table. So not accurate.
11. West Ham
20. Hull City
• Bold indicates correct pick. Sterling work as usual, eh? Hey, I was close on a bundle.
PART III: The obnoxious, downright offensive ones...
First Premier League player to cast a lustful eye toward la policia. David Bentley.
• So RIGHT.
First Prem boy to score with Danielle Lloyd (aside from Jamie O'Hara). Tom Huddlestone.
It's the love handles, dude.
• No conclusive evidence either way.
First player to harrass an official. Easy, John Terry.
• I say correct.
First summer transfer shipped out in January. Gotta be that cat Phil Brown signed from Celta Vigo.
This guy has no chance.
• He may not have been moved in January but Kamel Ghilas was hardly a success in his first season at the KC. He scored once - in August - in 13 appearances.
First manager sacked. Alex McLeish at Birmingham.
Only if Mark Hughes manages to discover a defense at Midlands.
• Just an awful selection. Not even Hughes was the first to go; that honor belonged to Paul Hart at Pompey.
Months before it all impodes at City. 3
It'll all be set off by the slapping of Robinho, by one of the Gallaghers. Adebayor attempts to do the slapping first, but misses from point-blank range.
• Hughes actually lasted five months into the season at City before getting the sack. To be fair, the club never truly stumbled in the literal sense. I'll take another L here.
League transfer no one saw coming. Michael Turner to Liverpool. For 12 million.
No, that actually could happen (?!?). How about this: Annoyed with success, Carlos Tevez moves vehemently across town to Manchester City. Damnit. OK, here we go: Ronaldinho to Old Trafford in a cut-price 10 million deal. This after Joaquin inks a three-year contract at Anfield. Watch this space.
• I'll do better next season.
Looking back, I reckon I got five and about 2/3 of these ridiculous things correct. That's not half bad, eh? If only Ambrosini had made the move, I would feel much better about my self at the moment.
I guess there's always next season.