Just a year ago from the time of writing: Jose Mourinho was the manager of Manchester United, everyone though that Ajax was a mid-tier team, Frank Lampard was at the helm at Championship side Derby County and few expected that Zinedine Zidane would be quickly back at Real Madrid.
The point is that a year is a long time in football, and it can spring plenty of surprises like the aforementioned Mourinho ending up at Tottenham Hotspur. Making predictions about the year ahead can be, therefore, a little foolhardy, but we are going to have a stab all the same. Where possible, we will also list the betting odds to help portray the likelihood of success:
Prediction 1: Solskjaer Stays on at Manchester United Long Term
A lot of talk is swirling around Old Trafford about the potential appointment of Mauricio Pochettino, after the Argentine left his Spurs post. But there are actually six managers ahead of Solskjaer in the odds for the managerial sack race. The Norwegian is 33/1 to be next Premier League boss out the door (SkyBet). But why is there confidence from bookmakers when United’s form has been awful? It’s all about the focus on a transition phase at Old Trafford. Some fans won’t like it, but it could take years to change things around. Ole stays, unless things get markedly worse.
Prediction 2: Inter Milan Become Top Dogs in Serie A
If you haven’t been paying attention to Serie A, Juventus – who have been champions for the last eight successive seasons – finally have some bona fide competition in the shape of Inter Milan. Antonio Conte’s project at the club feels like it is ahead of schedule, and the 3/1 Scudetto odds cited by some bookmakers would suggest that Juve can be overtaken. Even bolder, is the chances for Inter to win the Champions League. A huge 80/1 with Betfair, but a bet that can be combined with the latest bookie offers on Freebets.uk. Conte really looks like he is building a great team, so rule nothing out.
Prediction 3: England Become the World’s Best International team
Almost unthinkable just a couple of years ago, but Gareth Southgate has worked wonders during his tenure. He has the luxury, of course, of a wide selection of excellent young players to choose from, as well as some – Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling – who are at the peak of their powers. It’s an incredible setup, and one that seems to differ from ‘golden generations’ of the past. How to prove they are the best? By winning Euro 2020. Bet365 make them 9/2 co-favourites with World Cup winners France.
Prediction 4: Wilfred Ndidi Becomes a Global Star
It’s difficult to believe that Wilfred Ndidi is just 22 years old, but the Nigerian midfielder has already racked up 100 appearances for Leicester City. This season, when Leicester are riding high up the table and pushing for a Champions League spot, who do you think his teammates credit as the driving force? Ndidi. “The best bar none” said midfield partner James Maddison. And, a recent profile in the Guardian newspaper credited him as the driving force behind Leicester’s rich form. Great news for Ndidi, and even better news for fans of the Super Eagles. The kid has a massive future.