English Premier League: 10 Bold Predictions by Holiday Season
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Come Christmas, the Premier League will bear witness to the annual festive scramble for midpoint supremacy at the top spot and temporary salvation from the drop zone.
'Tis almost the season, so why let far-fetched improbabilities get in the way of some rapid-fire forecasting for the months ahead?
Bleacher Report, I give 10 "bold" predictions for a November-to-December Premier League narrative fit for a dodgy Christmas TV movie. Let's be having you!
Newcastle@SportsDirect to Hold Their Ground in Top Four
Demba Ba's finishing has allowed Newcastle to take their chances
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On the day it was announced that Newcastle's stadium, St. James Park, would lose its name in favour of their owner's tracksuit emporium brand, we bring good news.
Come Jan. 1, Newcastle United will be sitting pretty, holed up in the top four of the English Premier League.
As a parallel to their ground's identity crisis, Alan Pardew's reforms have delivered a team we wouldn't usually recognise as Magpies. Gone have the days of Kevin Keegan-esque 11-man, nonstop attacking mania, making way for a calm, clinical approach under Pardew.
The Barcodes are rightly lauded for their defensive qualities, compliments that would appear historically farcical considering the hilariously entertaining antics of previous Newcastle teams.
Geordies will LOVE IT if they can finish there or thereabouts come the end of the season. LOVE IT!
Robin Van Persie Staying Fit, Keeping Busy
RVP realises he needs to cancel the family holiday. There'll be no impromptu time off this year...
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Robin Van Persie has been Arsenal's man of the moment but there isn't really anything extraordinary about the Dutchman's current form.
The Arsenal captain has been performing at this level for years, albeit in chunked up into eight-week windows of action bookended by stacking injury crisises.
Expect to hear news of RVP panic selling timeshare weeks and properties as it dawns upon the striker that he might not be handed his usual physio prescribed leave this season.
Bolton Will See in 2012 from Top Half of Table
Just don't mention Michael Cox.
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After a torrid run of results, Bolton have taken revenge upon Stoke City, with a reverse of their 5-0 drubbing in the FA cup semifinal last year.
Their impressive early form last year was given the kiss of death by the media's comparisons between Owen Coyle's approach and the much acclaimed, yet ultimately unsuccessful, Brazil teams of the '80s.
With Bolton's cup daemons laid to rest, and the return of Stuart Holden on the horizon, things are looking up for Bolton Wanderers. Whilst they wait for their American dynamo, Chris Eagles will make them soar.
Injury to Luis Suarez Will Endanger King Kenny's Claims to Anfield Throne
Can Liverpool create any magic without their little wizard?
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Out of the £100M spent by Liverpool, the £25M slice spent on Luis Suarez looks like the only good bit of recent business at Anfield.
As Dalglish and his recruitment staff roll back the years to Scotsman's original tenure as manager with their tendency to overpay for sub-par players, Suarez stands out as a truly top-drawer talent.
The forward has been behind Liverpool's best moments so far this season, and an injury to the divisive Uruguayan would be a bitter blow to the club's chances. Without his inspiration, King Kenny's charges have looked lacking and labored.
With Suarez out, Liverpool will regress into mid-table awkwardness as it dawns upon them that this year, like most, is not their year. This isn't the second coming of their Glaswegian messiah. He's just been a very naughty boy with the club's chequebook. Next?
QPR to Find Themselves Knocking on Door of Title Chasers
Many pundits suggest Barton may have found a place in a top 4 squad if it wasn't for his off-the-field antics
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QPR are forming into a solid, punchy outfit capable of big-game hunting the top teams in the division.
Neil Warnock has waited a long time to enjoy a proper crack at the Premier League, and come boxing day, he could well believe all his Christmases have come at once seeing the London club sitting high up the table.
Twixt the smell of roast turkey and festive puds, Joey Barton and co. will be camped out in Europa League zone, hoping the European debt crisis doesn't do away with the mainland continent. Hopefully the leaders of the world can band together so as not to deny QPR of their dreams to follow in the path of Stoke and their pillaging raids over the channel.
QPR. Potential reverse vikings?
Manchester City Will Stumble into New Year Outside Top Two
Could City's close call with QPR be the beginning of the end for City's unstoppable run?
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City were the last team to face off against Neil Warnock's men, and were ran pretty close as the Rangers took the game to the laser blue league leaders.
Manchester City aren't invincible or infallible, and they will falter at some point in the future.
It would be churlish to suggest they've faced little in the way of opposition so far, but their sternest domestic tests lie ahead. November and December have the potential to be torrid months for City, and as we've seen with their crosstown Red rivals, one trip is all it can take to cause snowballing stumble that ends in a humiliating defeat.
Junior Hoilett to Drive Blackburn on to Unlikely Heights
The exciting Canadian attacker's destiny surely lies away from the turmoil at Ewood Park?
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Canada is not a nation known for its football player production, or for their ability to hang onto the few quality players that are eligible to play.
Junior Hoilett is both Canadian and potentially excellent, though. For club and country, he is a standout player who will only get better. His future clearly lies further afield than the Venky's comedy capers and breaded chicken adverts.
For the time being though, Hoilett is a Blackburn player, and one with the ability to drag his team up from the abyss. Expect the Canadian attacker to explode and put in some eye-catching performances as the calendar creeps ever closer to January.
Torres Put Up for Sale on Sly
Wide always me.
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The Spanish Shevchenko will soon be on his way to pastures not so Blue.
With Chelsea's attack stuttering, Torres could be dropped to bring in one of the many continental greats that could become available in January. Could we see a swap deal with Milan for Pato?
These are my predictions so I'm going to go and say yes!
I am perhaps overstepping my remit in delving further forward into the murky footballing futures of 2012, but with Pato meshing well with Mata, Vilas-Boas will turn around Chelsea's funk of form.
Selling Torres will be seen as a historical note of genius for the Portuguese, who will dine of a decision that was, in fact, made by his oligarch for the next thirty years.
2012 Will Begin in Relegation Zone for Steve Bruce
Sunderland's season hangs on a knife edge.
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Steve Bruce: one time candidate to succeed Sir Alex at United and the world's greatest Cabbage Patch Doll football manager.
Life isn't so good at the Stadium of Light at the moment however, and Brucie will be on his hands and knees searching for a bonus throughout the last weeks of 2011.
As Junior Hoilett heaves Blackburn's head above water, the cumbersome lump of Nicklas Bendtner will weigh the North East side down into the relegation depths at the wrong end of the table.
Tomasz Kuszczak to Set Up Camp at His Own Occupy Carrington Protest
The spare Pole struggles to influence events at Old Trafford
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2011 has been a year of protest. With revolution in the air, the self proclaimed slave of Sir Alex Ferguson's tyrannical reign, Tomasz Kuszczak, will take inspiration from Wall Street and St. Pauls and pitch a tent at United's Carrington training base.
Pulling out a ukulele and several slogan-painted signs, the spare Pole will occupy a grassy verge by the complex's entrance, blaming his situation on a new world order headed by the Reptile Lords in disguise: David De Gea and Andreas Lindegaard.