Predictions for 2017

No matter what is going on in the world, it’s nice to know there are some constants. For example, Sam Allardyce will always return to his beloved relegation battle.

The rest is uncertain- so here are my top predictions for 2017.

  1. Monaco to win Ligue 1

With the ‘new Thierry Henry’ up top with 18 year-old Kylian Mbappe feeding off Falcao who is back to his best, Monaco have racked up an incredible 75 league goals. With PSG stumbling and Balotelli inevitably going off the rails at Nice, the league is looking pretty for Leonardo Jardim’s exciting side.

2. Aguero to leave City

Let’s face it- Chelsea have already won and Sunderland are already relegated. So let’s make a tastier prediction and say that should Gabriel Jesus continue his impressive form, one of the Premier League’s greatest ever players will leave Manchester.

 

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One of very few world class players – too good for the bench?

 

At 28, Sergio Aguero has little time to waste on the bench and with his unquestionable ability it is likely a move will happen, perhaps to a team that can deliver that elusive European trophy he undoubtedly deserves.

3. Bayern will stroll Bundesliga, but struggle in Europe

As per every season in recent history, Bayern Munich will be crowned champions without breaking a sweat. However under closer inspection, Ancelotti’s philosophy seems to be lost in translation in Germany.

 

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Raise a brow if you had £10 to face Arsenal again

 

Combined with an aging side, with Lahm and Alonso already deciding to hang up their boots at the end of the season, it seems neither Guardiola nor Ancelotti will be able to guide Bayern to European glory as of yet.

4. Trump to be impeached within a year.

Just for funsies.

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3 Things 2016 Has Taught the Football World

It’s been a funny old year. And by funny I mean horrendous, for politics, the environment, and for celebrity deaths. But never mind all that, one thing that never fails to give us a reason to smile is football. Here’s three things that the beautiful game has taught us over the past year.

Never Doubt an Underdog

The first half of 2016 belonged to Leicester City. Under the wing of Claudio Ranieri, they became Premier League Champions at odds of 5000/1. If there is one thing that Leicester’s famous title win taught us, it is that even in an age of bewildering transfer fees and super-clubs, any team can still win.

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Leicester provided one of the biggest upsets in modern football history.
Since then Leicester have seemingly inspired more teams around Europe to challenge the dominant clubs. At the end of 2016, RB Leipzig are a win away from Bayern Munich. In Ligue 1, OGC Nice sit five points above last year’s runaway winners, PSG.

When Done Right, Three-at-the-Back is a Winner

As covered in last week’s article, Conte’s 3-4-3 is currently tearing up the Premier League. Few managers have flirted with similar formations before, and fewer still have succeeded. Pep Guardiola is proof that even the best coaches struggle, with his attempt to rotate between a three and four man defence at Bayern Munich being hit-and-miss at best. When coming up against Barcelona in the Champions League, Bayern found out the hard way that the best teams will exploit any extra space left by an absence of full backs. This makes Chelsea’s 2016 squad all the more impressive as they have shown the rest of the world how it’s done.

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Brilliant? Yes. Invincible? Not Quite.
Some are just in it for the money

The news in July that Graziano Pelle swapped Southampton for Shandong shocked and angered many. The Chinese club offered Pelle an eye-watering £260,000 a week, making him the sixth best-paid player in the world. With Carlos Tevez now making the swap, China now has four out of the top ten best paid players in the world and throws up arguments to debate (and possibly future articles…). The fact remains that for all the passion in football, some are just in it to make a living.

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Probably looks cheerier now he makes enough to buy a Ferrari every week.

Photos licensed for reuse: Google images