Skip the crap and go straight to the predictions.
ESMS is about to kick off its fifth season. That much we know.
Here’s a quick guide to the teams going into the season and the results of where we think each team will finish.
Much like Il Postino, last season’s Italian Division Two favourites and everyone’s second favourite team delivered the title with a flourish. Unlike Il Postino, they unfortunately didn’t also learn the art of poetry to woo a local barmaid.
Season five should see title winners Aguerissimo comfortably cement their Division One status, much like they would comfortably cement a Mafia snitch who quickly finds themselves a permanent part a new library’s structural integrity.
It’s been a quiet pre-season with only two youths joining, but with the game’s best striker in R_Lukaku up front they should be assured of goals. Just as long as he’s not injured…
Manager’s predictions: 6th
CSKA Tulse Hill
It’s fair to say that CSKA Tulse Hill benefitted from the madness that is the play off system. In a season that has been described invariably as “an absolute shambles”, “what the fuck do you think you’re doing” and “mate are you taking the piss?”, CSKA never rose higher than 3rd bottom all season. Despite this they grabbed the last play off place and jammed a win in their single play-off game. Immediate relegation is deserved.
With a decidedly average defence and attack, CSKA exercised their right to promote three tier 1 youths in the off-season. Having promoted the said two defenders and one attacker, they now find themselves with a decidedly average defence and attack. So that went well.
Having blown all their money on the kids they face a battle to avoid the automatic drop.
Manager’s predictions: 7th
Dulwich Isolation Club
- Fear of money.
- He suffered from chrometophobia, the fear of money, a clinically documented disorder.
Following a season in which the Canvey Island Isolators uprooted and moved to East Dulwich, the MK Dics have been trying to desperately trying to relieve themselves of as much money as possible. £190m in fact.
Since last season the Dulwich Isolation Club have plucked three kids from the depths of their £150m academy, although unlike CSKA Tulse Hill their youth academy doesn’t resemble Pat Sharp’s Fun House and the three new recruits are of top quality, improving their defence and attack in particular. Because with the best goalkeeper in the game, we were all thinking that what they really needed was to improve their defence. The huge £190m total spend also saw DIC sign an additional defender and striker this summer. Why the hell not?
Now with a second decent striker the goals shouldn’t be as hard to come by this season and the East Dulwichers / East Dulwichians (imagine if everyone in East Dulwich was called Ian) / East Dulwichites should be competing at the top of the table.
Manager’s predictions: 4th
Last season, the beast was awoken.
After bothering the two top league positions like a 70’s Radio 2 DJ at a family wedding for most of the season, the Harriers were initially unlucky to miss out on promotion. The addition of two new teams to the game saw them grab their unexpected second chance at promotion.
Is the fact that Hackbridge have only brought in a 16 rated forward with enough stamina to last 30 minutes of a match a cause for concern? We asked the experts:
Hackbridge have always been lean in midfield – these first few weeks of the season will be crucial for them to adopt the reverse Atkins Diet and massively fatten up their middle. Many pundits are saying (no one asked them, that doesn’t matter) that they need to raid their youth academy and ensure its tiers and not tears this season I THANK YOU.
Manager’s predictions: 9th
Will I recycle most of my jokes from earlier on the season? You feta believe it.
Last season, gouda thought that Ivor’s Army would be successful in their bid for briedom and escape Division Two into Division One. Selling S_Emmental clearly showed that relying on him wasn’t their hole strategy, although this season they’re less likely to do a (red) Leicester and will be looking to their main mozza-fella Andrew to caerphilly mastermind a season battling relegation.
With goalkeeping coach Peter Stilton overseeing C_Yarg’s fine form in goal – a situation that surely grates on second choice M_Cheddar – Ivor’s Army will be looking to their first choice platter of A_Roquefort, E_Dam, M_Ascarpone …and Tom Cruise to shore up their defence.
In midfield a lot will be riding on their very own GOAT cheese, 22 rated right winger G_Orgonzola, to provide the ammo for C_Fondue to string together and inflict the edam-age on the opposition. With P_Aneer joining C_Fondue in attack, some pundits feel their forward line is a bit too soft but we definitely know that they won’t crumble.
With a disciplinary and injury record that saw them both perpetrators and victims of gruyerevious bodily harm last season, they’ll need all of these players available if they’re to beat the drop. Not sure that last sentence was worth that joke but I kept it in.
If there’s one thing we do know: Ricotta be kidding me if you think they won’t spend the season battling relegation. They’re going to need to employ the dark arts – maybe call in the hallouminati – if they want to avoid the drop zone, and they’ll be hoping for an almighty raclette-off in the play-offs if they do.
Make no mistake; if they go down you cheddar believe that their manager camembert to see it. We know they wouldn’t be in Division Two for long though – absence makes the heart grow fondue.
Manager’s predictions: 8th
Kay FC are the game’s most successful team and they thrive when going into the season not being the favourite. That’s nearly always Tulse Hill Superior. Who nearly always come second. Except for when they come third. Last season KFC won their second title.
It’s fair to say that the champions have strengthened in recent weeks. They have added two defenders to their ranks that mean they now have five defenders rated 18+, and have taken steps to address increase depth in attack, with one of three tier 1 youths providing their third quality attacker. With a top quality midfield that, importantly, won’t tire, it’s going to be tough to beat them.
However our managers think that next season there are two teams who might just do that…
Manager’s predictions: Equal 2nd
Why mess with a winning formula?
Will Opulent Knack play 3 up front? Always. Will Opulent Knack play 4 across the back? Absolutely. Will Opulent Knack play an AM or DM? Don’t be silly.. Will they challenge for the title? Almost certainly.
Because if you possess a forward line of 21, 21 and 22 rated strikers then why wouldn’t you use them? If you have the game’s best midfielder you don’t really need to play more than three across the middle. If three of your four defenders are 21+ then you don’t need a DM sitting in front of them.
That the team picks itself is no criticism. Opulent Knack have a great chance to match their Season Three title triumph and join Kay FC as double champions.
Manager’s predictions: Equal 2nd
Tulse Hill Superior
Surely, it’s got to be this year…?
Manager’s predictions: 1st
Wilko’s 92 All Stars
Wilko’s have been channeling their High Street namesake’s approach to high-volume trading, and have been involved in 66 player transfers since their manager joined the game at the start of last season. They are by far the most active with the most transfers-per-season. Has anyone investigated their manager’s links with certain high profile agents?
However this approach has paid off handsomely as W92 took the second automatic promotion spot last season and are many manager’s tips to avoid the drop.
There are no signs of the transfer activity abating and why would it – it has helped Chris build a team with a fantastic midfield and defence. Attack is the final area that needs to be tightened and without more strikers Wilko might find it tough to trouble the top of the table unless they can find the tactics that allow them to keep hitting the back of the net.
Manager’s predictions: 5th
The score in brackets is the average predicted position:
1. THS (2.09)
2= OPK (2.18)
2= KFC (2.18)
4. DIC (5.27)
5. W92 (5.91)
6. AGU (6.00)
7. CTH (6.82)
8. IVO (7.00)
9. HAH (7.36)