CRYSTAL BALL TIME
CHRIS LINCOLN takes a WITH the new season in full flow, happen over the next 12 months… tongue-in-cheek look at what will
Predictions for the year ahead
As is so often the case in recent years, Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal take the top flight by storm in the opening weeks, with Mesut Ozil setting up more goals than the rest of the Premier League combined. Alexis Sanchez agrees to a new fiveyear deal after the promising start.
Meanwhile, former neighbours but still bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur sit bottom of the league as their Wembley curse continues.
Burnley spring a surprise start to the season with their simple pressing, win the ball and counter-attack tactic. Leicester City anyone?
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is famed for his energetic celebrations and makes the headlines when celebrating a late Jordan Henderson winner against rivals Manchester United.
Whilst Henderson goes off to kiss the crest on his shirt in front of the United fans, Klopp is mobbed by the rest of the team as goalkeeper Simon Mignolet fails to hold onto his glasses.Yet Klopp’s eyewear survives and he becomes the face of Specsavers with a lucrative deal.
Burnley continue their good run of form as Jonathan Walters tops the goalscoring charts and Jack Cork is compared to N’Golo Kante.
However, the real Kante’s Chelsea are struggling as the players began to turn on Antonio Conte. Rumours circulate that John Terry is conducting proceedings from Birmingham.
Not since Paul the Octopus has an animal so accurately predicted a set of football results.Yet Felix the Cat, based at Huddersfield train station, is building a growing following. The feline had correctly predicted all of Huddersfield’s results until that point.Yet speculation is building in the media that an extra treat had been placed in the “lose” bowl as he always chose that result and the Terriers duly followed suit.
Arsenal suffer their first defeat of the season as Wenger accuses Sean Dyche’s Burnley of “bully- ing” them out of the game. The Clarets leapfrog the Gunners to top the table.
The Burnley defeat causes an alarming run of results for Arsenal as they begin to fall out of title contention. A fan on honeymoon causes “Wenger Out” to trend on social media when he films himself on the beach with a banner in Mauritius. Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho blames defeat to City in the Manchester derby on the cold weather in a new low of excuses for the Portuguese boss.
After a quiet couple of years in the transfer market, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich decides to get his Monopoly set off the shelf. Not to be outdone by Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea make former player Diego Costa the first £500 million man as he returns to Stamford Bridge. Antonio Conte is loaned to Vitesse along with 20 players, whilst Frank Lampard comes in as caretaker manager after an anonymous tip-off by an unknown Chelsea fan who left a note signed ‘JT x’. “Wenger Out” t-shirts become the highest grossing product on the market, whilst Alexis Sanchez is disciplined for laughing at his manager when he realises his bank card had expired.
Out of Europe and off the title race pace, Man United were left with just the Carabao Cup to fight for.
A week before the final, Mourinho arrives at Old Trafford for a Premier League fixture, tells his side who is in the starting eleven and then leaves the stadium, claiming he had to “prepare for United’s most important fixture of the season – and history”.
United defeat Chelsea on penalties as Thibaut Courtois blazes a crucial spot-kick over the crossbar. He is duly loaned to Leicester Tigers.
Louis van Gaal made headlines as he discusses what he thought was the “Haribo Cup” with the Dutch media.
With “Wenger Out” a regular feature on international news channels, Arsene Wenger quashes any speculation that he could be leaving the Emirates. A 5-0 defeat to Brighton is rewarded with a new two-year contract extension.
Burnley top the table but Sean Dyche insists the goal is still to avoid relegation, whilst referees hit the headlines throughout the month. After it was agreed video replays and sin bins would be introduced alongside a trial of the ABBA penalty shoot-out system for draws, a host of mistakes are made after pictures are uncovered of five referees on a stag weekend in Magaluf.
After a remarkable turnaround in fortunes, Spurs find themselves battling it out for the Premier League title alongside Burnley.
The combination of Harry Kane’s 50 goals and Felix the Cat’s prediction that England will win the World Cup send English fans into overdrive.“It’s our year” replaces “Wenger Out” as the number one social media trend.
Meanwhile, Sam Allardyce comes out of retirement in an attempt to guide Brighton & Hove Albion to safety.Yet rumours circulate in the media that Big Sam had been leading an underground gambling black market, with Joey Barton featuring on Forbes’ annual rich list as a result.
Burnley hold on to win the Premier League title in the greatest sporting shock since… Leicester City won the league. Disney announce they will be creating a film based on Jon Walters with the Irishman set to be played by George Clooney. Tottenham finish the season second, Man City third without a trophy, Arsenal fourth, again, and Brighton survive on the final day of the season. Chelsea enjoy success at Wembley in the FA Cup, whilst Aston Villa win the Championship. John Terry is pictured celebrating with his full kit on at both venues.
After failing to establish himself back at Everton, Wayne Rooney returns to Old Trafford in a coaching capacity. His Everton pyjamas sell online for over £100,000, allowing him to shell out for his latest hair transplant. Rooney announces in his first press conference that he had been wearing Fred the Red (United’s mascot) pyjamas for the last year.
Meanwhile, Felix the Cat is shipped over to Russia for the World Cup.
With a nation expecting, partly thanks to Felix, England edge through to the quarter-finals of the World Cup where they face New Zealand.
Yet a Joe Hart error from a Chris Wood header gives New Zealand victory as England are embarrassed again. The Kiwis become World Cup cult figures after a surprise run to the knockout stages and the Haka is performed by spectators at every match of the tournament.
Germany win the competition whilst, domestically, Alexis Sanchez hands in a transfer request at Arsenal and John Terry is appointed joint-manager alongside Frank Lampard at Chelsea.
Paris Saint-Germain tell the media they had bought a bargain in Neymar when it was worked out they had paid £20 million for each of his goals. On the back of that news, the French club make Cristiano Ronaldo the first £1 billion player on reported wages of £1 million per week. Sky Sports announce Felix the Cat as the new face of Soccer Saturday.
The cat’s whiskers: Felix the Cat makes a name for himself with his predictions
Assists: Mesut Ozil
Should have gone to specsavers!
New colours: Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is loaned to Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem
Give us a Cloo: George Clooney plays the role of Burnley ace Jon Walters
Switching sports: Thibaut Courtois