The 2013/14 season of the Premier League has already seem its first shock, but there will be plenty more surprises in store before the season ends in May.
Here are my three bold predictions for this season:
1. Arsene Wenger finally gives up. After eight years without a trophy, the immense pressure from the fans and media will be responsible for this season being Wenger’s last in charge of Arsenal. With inconsistent form predicted for the rest of the season, I believe the fans’ frustration will reach a boiling point by the end of the season, with some fan groups increasing the pressure through protests or boycotts.
The manager knows how impatient the fans have become, and if his group of youngsters fail to win a piece of silverware by the end of the season, the pressure will be too much for Wenger to handle even if he has a new contract in his hand. I believe the Premier League will lose another longest serving manager for the second season in a row.
2. Jose Mourinho’s second spell turn sour. I have this eerie feeling that Jose Mourinho’s dramatic return to Chelsea after a 7-year sabbatical won’t go according to plan. Owner Roman Abramovich and Chelsea supporters are hinging their hopes of success based on fond memories of his first spell, forgetting that a lot of water has passed under the bridge since that time. During Mourinho’s first spell, he had a team hungry for success and featuring world-class stars such as Arjen Robben, Claude Makelele and Hernan Crespo. Their commitment and dedication to the cause was unquestionable.
Unlike the 2004-06 team, the current Chelsea team don’t play as a unit, have too many egos and they lack the hunger that brought the initial success to Mourinho’s team. Players like John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole are past their prime. At the end of this season, the Blues faithful may come to realize the meaning of the saying “not all that glitters is gold.”
3. Manuel Pellegrini breaks Manchester City’s Champions League jinx. After investing a fortune on players and wages for five years, the owners of Manchester City desire to see their club join the fray of European powerhouses. Painfully for Manchester City, it’s become a norm to see the club fail in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League time.
Last season they were unlucky to be drawn against Spanish giants Real Madrid, eventual finalist Borussia Dortmund and Eredivisie Champions Ajax. This season, they’ve spent £100 million on five new signings, which include Brazil international and former Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fernandinho.
The Manchester City owners, fans and players will be hoping for a kind draw this time in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League, but I predict that “The Engineer” will guide the club to their first-ever Champions League second round berth.