Tuesday, 12 January 2016
As we enter 2016 here's my updated Football picks for the year ahead.
Arsenal riding high, it's surely the Gunners title to lose? Or have we seen this story before and we already know the ending. Arsenal are in the position to finally win the big one which they last won in 2004. You would imagine there going out to Barcelona in Champions League which would give them full focus on the league. Ozil is playing out of his skin and a defensive midfielder looks like he could be on his way too. Is the wait over?
I don't think so sadly, I think Man City will just steal the title from them this season. City have been OK this year they have done what they had to do so far. Their Champions League form has improved greatly and they should get past Dynamo Kiev too. I think their forward line is better then Arsenal & will see them over the line, but if Kompany is still out it could be very different as they simply can't defend without him in certian games.
The story of the season is Leicester City and Jamie Vardy's goal record. Fair play to him and he has probably got his seat on the plane for Euro 2016. For me Riyad Mahrez is Leicester's best player, while Vardy has taken the headlines. The big thing now is how do they react, they don't want the season to fade out into a mid table finish there aim should be top 6 at least. I had them to go down, the tinker man proved me wrong!
So then we move to the battle of top 4. I will go for Tottenham and Manchester United to fill up the places. Delli Ali has shined for Spurs this year, where as United have been criticised through-out this season and LVG has come under serious threat for his job. With Jose out of work the pressure will always be on. The only way to ease that will be getting that top 4 and bringing home a trophy. I can see United going for the FA Cup this year which could be a nice farewell for LVG as I think he will retire from football this summer.
For the likes for West Ham, Liverpool, Palace, Watford and Stoke it could be a real dog fight as there's not many points in it already. At the other end of the league Aston Villa are doomed already. Are they any better to when Sherwood was manager? No not really. Chelsea at the wrong end of the table will do well to finish top 8, there's no real chance of them going down though. The Blues focus will switch to the cup and Europe.
I think the other 2 to go down will be Newcastle and Bournemouth. The Toon have been riding their luck for a long time Steve McClaren came in from Derby and it has not gone as well as they hoped. A club with high expectations but in reality not that good.
Bournemouth have played good football all season even without Callum Wilson who has been out injured since September. I think they will run out of stream towards the end of the season. They have showed real intention though with their January signings. The likes of Swansea & Norwich have a bit more experience in the Premier League they should scrap out of trouble, just. Sunderland I think will stay up because of Big Sam who I would back to somehow get that side out of trouble.
An early shout for Champions League, Barcelona out of pure common sense. Bayern Munich have the squad and could be a good send off for Pep. Also Chelsea as the only way they can get into it next year is winning it again. I wouldn't put it past them.
Europa League it depends who takes it seriously. I will go for Napoli or Fiorentina.
1. Manchester City
4. Manchester United
Winners: Derby County
Runners Up - Hull City
Play Offs - Ipswich Town
Winners - Coventry City
Runners Up - Burton Albion
Play Offs - Millwall
Winners: Oxford United
Promoted - Wycombe
Promoted - Portsmouth
Play Offs - Plymouth
FA Cup - Manchester United