20 Bold Predictions for the 2012-13 Premier League Season
As we near the close of the 2011-12 Premier League season, some people are already looking to next season and predicting what dreams may come.
Predictions can sometimes be simple and easy, and occasionally some of the more bizarre ones come true.
Nothing is assured in the Premier League, so any predictions that are made could technically be considered bold.
Here are 20 of my boldest.
Liverpool Will Make the Champions League
They say this season was a period of transition for Liverpool Football Club, and that's fine.
However, their dismal league position doesn't reflect some of the football they have played this season.
If Kenny Dalglish—or whoever the Liverpool manager will be next season—purchases well in the summer, Liverpool should make one of the Champions League spots.
Manchester City Will Win the Title
You could argue that Manchester City winning the title isn't particularly bold, but Roberto Mancini is now finding out that fatigue takes its toll on any squad.
City are likely to recruit some big names in the summer—just because they can—which will make them a force to be reckoned with come the 2012-13 season.
We Won't Be Seeing Robin Van Persie
With Robin Van Persie currently stalling on signing a new contract with Arsenal, the big European clubs will start to take note and make their inquiries.
I wouldn't be surprised if the talented Dutchman left for pastures new come the summer.
We Will Be Seeing Eden Hazard
Alex Ferguson May Retire at the End of the Season
Champions League football for 2012-13 is practically assured for Alex Ferguson's men, but if he were to win both the Premier League and Champions League next season, I think he'd retire on a high.
Andy Carroll Will Be Sold
Andy Carroll's move just hasn't worked out at Liverpool thus far.
Despite showing signs of better form around the Carling Cup final period, Big Andy still is yet to really get the Kop onside.
Kenny Dalglish may realise he's not cut out for the Merseyside Reds and accordingly make some personnel changes.
Newcastle Will Be Even Better
Many Newcastle fans think that their club isn't playing that well, but their league position is certainly one they probably would have taken if it had been offered to them at the beginning of the season.
Alan Pardew and Mike Ashley have bought and sold well over the last 12 months and will only strengthen the team now that Demba Ba has suggested he won't be going anywhere.
Steve Kean Will Be Sacked
Even if Steve Kean keeps Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League this season, I can't see him being there for the start of the 2012-13 season.
The owners know that the Blackburn fans aren't backing him, and they may make a summer change to mark a fresh campaign.
Old School Teams Will Be Back
Goal-Line Technology Will Be Introduced
Goal-line technology is set to be trialled for next season's Premier League campaign, but I'm confident that it will get the go-ahead for use across the board for the whole season.
It will take some adjustment and there will be a lot more stoppages and late calls, but it will all result in the correct decision being made...hopefully.
Sunderland Might Be a Surprise Package
Sunderland are certainly going to be in the Premier League for the 2012-13 season, and if Martin O'Neill had been manager from the start of 2011-12 then you wonder where they might have ended up in the league.
If O'Neill has a bit of money to spend in the summer, I expect them to be up there chasing the Europa spots next season.
Wayne Rooney Will Be the League's Top Scorer
If my prediction of Robin Van Persie departing the Premier League comes true, then I expect Wayne Rooney to win the 2012-13 golden boot award—injuries permitting, of course.
Rooney has had an excellent season so far, notching 21 goals in the league along with seven assists.
Norwich and Swansea City Will Struggle
Norwich and Swansea City have proved to be surprise packages this season, but they say it's the second season that's the hardest in the Premier League.
I thoroughly expect both sides to be fighting for survival this time next year.
Clint Dempsey Will Be Wearing New Team Colours
Clint Dempsey has had another exceptional season for Fulham, so how long will it be before another team comes in and bids for him?
This summer could be Dempsey's departure season, seeing him in different colours for 2012-13.
Surely he has earned a shot at a bigger club now.
English Players Will Start Slowly
This summer sees England take part in the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine.
With no permanent manager installed at present, England look set to face another miserable international tournament before heading home to face the inevitable music.
The emotional drain of failing, coupled with the lack of rest through the summer, could mean England's players start the 2012-13 season rather sluggishly.
David Luiz to Depart Stamford Bridge
I was going to lead with "John Terry makes headlines for the wrong reason..." but that wouldn't be too much of a bold prediction.
Barcelona are rumoured to be interested in David Luiz, and I wouldn't be surprised if the crazy-haired Brazilian decided to move to Spain.
Maybe the Catalan club are hoping to swap him for Carles Puyol and hope that nobody notices.
Ryan Giggs' Parting Shot
Ryan Giggs is still playing for Manchester United at the grand old age of 38.
Giggs is apparently eyeing the 1,000-game landmark for United, but he could use 2012-13 as his final goodbye.
I think next season could be his last.
Lukas Podolski Will Arrive at the Emirates
Tabloid rumours that Lukas Podolski will be moving to Arsenal are rife, and I have to admit that I'm buying into this one.
Talks that a £10 million-plus deal has already been done have been published in the newspapers, so I'm firmly expecting Podolski to don the red of Arsenal next season.
Whether he is stood next to Robin Van Persie when he does is another matter.
The Demise of Demba Ba
Demba Ba has had a superb season for Newcastle after notching 16 goals with four assists already this season.
Naturally, a host of clubs have since been linked with his signature despite the Senegal striker expressing his desire to stay with Newcastle.
Whether he does stay or whether he leaves may not matter.
I have an inexplicable feeling that Ba will struggle to find the net next season, which could leave Newcastle regretting any decision not to sell for good money.
Last but not least, I predict that there will be a 20-point gap between whoever wins the title and whoever finishes fourth next season.
By my reckoning, that will be 20 points between Manchester City and Liverpool.
Obviously some of these are a little more "out there" than some of the others, but that's what makes predictions so much fun—you can't possibly know until it's happened.
Whatever does happen in 2012-13, I'm expecting a thoroughly entertaining season as always.
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