As 2012 is now upon us, I thought I’d stick my neck out and make some predictions for the upcoming year in football. As I’m from the UK, most of these will be based around the EPL and European football.
So, here goes.
Premier League Champions: Manchester United (City will fade towards the end of the season)
Premier League top-4: Manchester United, Manchester City, Spurs and Chelsea (in that order). Liverpool will lose too much ground when Luis Suarez is banned, and Arsenal are too reliant on the fragile legs of Robin van Persie.
Premier League Player of the Year: David Silva
Premier League Young Player of the Year: Gareth Bale
Relegated from the Premier League: Bolton, Wolves and QPR.
Promoted to the Premier League: West Ham, Middlesbrough and Reading, via the playoffs.
Carling Cup winners: Liverpool
FA Cup winners: Chelsea
Premier League managers who won’t be in their current job by this time next year: Owen Coyle (he’ll resign if Bolton are relegated), Alex McLeish, Mick McCarthy, Paul Lambert (he’ll get an offer from a bigger club) and Harry Redknapp (who’ll become England manager).
Champions League winners: Real Madrid
Europa League winners: Schalke
All of the English teams still involved in Europe will be knocked out in the next round of the Champions League/Europa League. Chelsea and Arsenal are not that strong, Valencia are too good for Stoke and neither Manchester club will take the Europa League seriously.
EURO 2012 Winner: Germany, who will beat Spain in the final.
England will once again make heavy weather of the group stage, and will be knocked out by Spain in the quarter-finals as a result.
Africa Cup of Nations Winner: Cote d’Ivoire, most of Africa’s traditionally strong teams didn’t qualify.
2012 Olympic Football winners: Uruguay (men), USA (women, provided they qualify of course!).
David Beckham will be named captain of the British Olympic football team, but they will be every bit the disaster they are so far threatening to be. No high-profile Premier League player will end up playing for Team GB, with the possible exception of Gareth Bale, as they’ll be pressured into not playing by their clubs. The GB women’s team will go far further than the men in the competition.
English referees will threaten to go on strike as a result of continued criticism from players, managers and the press, much like their Scottish counterparts did.
Goal-line technology will be introduced on a trial basis in Leagues One and Two.
Frank Lampard will leave Chelsea in the summer and move to either the MLS or China.
Mark Hughes will be approached to become Wales manager, but will reject the job in the hope of landing a Premier League job. Wales will then appoint Chris Coleman instead.