It’s a New Year, and in the football world you know what that means: predictions. With the Premier League title race hotting up, China entering the transfer fray in a big way, and more and more managers feeling the heat, here are five things we reckon’ll definitely happen this year.
Chelsea will win the league
Okay, so this might be a boring one, but it’s the one most likely to happen. At the time of writing, Chelsea have just equalled their record for wins in a row – 13 to be precise. Antonio Conte’s side look comfortably the best side in the division, and barring something miraculous from a rival, they’ll be the team to lift the trophy.
David Moyes won’t see out the year at the Stadium of Light
I like David Moyes. I really do. But I simply can’t see him lasting at Sunderland. Saturday’s 4-1 reverse at Burnley ensured that the Black Cats would end in 2016 in the relegation zone, and this year may well be the year they finally succumb to relegation. I’d genuinely like Moyes to halt the slide and turn things around, I just haven’t got much confidence in that happening.
Liverpool will finish outside of the top four
A lot has been made of the new ‘mini league’ of the top six, and it is true that Chelsea, Liverpool, Spurs, Arsenal, Manchester United and Man City do appear to be breaking away from the rest of the division – Everton are nine points adrift of sixth.
But six doesn’t go into four. That’s just elementary mathematics. Which means two of those sides won’t make the Champions League spots.
It’s probably not a conventional point of view but I think one of the teams to miss out will be Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp’s side are sumptuous going forward but have shown defensive frailty far too frequently. Despite currently riding high in second, I’m backing a slump from Liverpool and a fifth- or sixth-placed finish by the time the season ends.
Arsene Wenger will sign a new contract…if the Gunners finish in the top four
The other team joining Liverpool in the Europa League places is a harder one to predict, but if Arsenal secure Champions League qualification again, I’m backing Wenger to get a brand new shiny contract at the Emirates.
Whoever Swansea appoint will be sacked
The Welsh outfit used to be a beacon of light; a fantastic example for other sides of how to run a football club. Now they’re a laughing stock. Michael Laudrup, Garry Monk, Francesco Guidolin and Bob Bradley have all been at the helm during the last four and a half years, and all have been shown the door. Whoever they appoint next, I wouldn’t be betting on Swansea to be patient with them, especially as they sit rock bottom in the EPL standings.
The top four will be…
The FA Cup winner will be…
The three relegated teams will be…