2017/18 Storylines To Look Out For Featuring Wenger Out, Coutinho To Barca & More
Quite a way short of predicting the final standings, I am willing to put a case forward for a few storylines that might crop up during the 2017/18 season
Only a fool would make predictions for the new Premier League season this early, right? With transfer season in full swing, and the fixture calendar recently released, it’s got to be worth a go though. Quite a way short of predicting the final standings, I am willing to put a case forward for a few storylines that might crop up during the 2017/18 season…
- Wenger Out: Less a prediction, more a guarantee. Arsenal’s first four home games against Leicester, Bournemouth, West Brom and Brighton are key to how the season will shape up. Any lacking performances or dropped points will bring the boo boys out of the woodwork, and a first away fixture at Stoke seems to come at just the wrong time for Arsene.
- Bale, Ronaldo, Griezmann on their way? Whether United start well or not, there’ll be message boards lit up all year with stories of superstars on their way to Old Trafford. Most of it will just be noise unfortunately, don’t expect Cristiano to trot out at the Theatre of Dreams again any time soon.
- Mike Dean doing ridiculous things: The Bookies have already stopped taking bets.
Whether Newcastle are performing well or down in the doldrums, expect Rafa Benitez to be linked to each and every managerial vacancy this side of Istanbul. Having worked in Spain and Italy, it doesn’t take much manipulating to throw his name into the conversation for countless jobs that will undoubtedly become vacant during the season.
I urge you though to have some faith in Rafa’s loyalty to the North East. The last few seasons have been proof that even when the football is poor, the Geordies will turn out in their drones and support their team; and now, their manager. As evidenced by his close relationship with the Liverpool faithful, Rafa loves to endear himself to a strong fan base, and the Magpie’s have just that. Amid rumblings of a power struggle over transfers, I fully expect Rafa to be there at the end, Toon Toon…
“A Yorkshire Romance”
Much like how Burnley gained themselves countless neutral fans with their plucky displays, humble ground and likeable manager, Huddersfield may well do the same. With a little (wonderfully branded) stadium of their own, the Terriers have got a few key ingredients to make themselves everyone’s 2nd team.
David Wagner comes from the same mould as his old friend Jurgen Klopp, and the Huddersfield fans seem to have warmed to him, just as a lot of others will over the coming season. Without a representative from Sheffield, Leeds or Bradford in the top flight, the glamour of the Premier League was crying out for some Yorkshire based fans, and they will take every chance they get to remind the world where they come from on the biggest platform. They’ll have to wait until late September to welcome a big boy to the John Smith Stadium when they’ll face Spurs, at which point they’ll hopefully have a handful of points already on the board. Fingers crossed for more cheers than tears in Huddersfield this year.
“Coutinho to Barca”
Generally, if Barca want someone, they’ll get him eventually. Whether it’s by subtle headline dropping or making their intentions public (see Cesc Fabregas); they’re rarely denied. Secondly, who wouldn’t want to play for Barcelona? Coutinho is fast coming into the prime of his career and could be forgiven for imagining what it would be like to play with Messi and childhood friend Neymar.
With Iniesta’s powers surely fading (eventually), Philippe Coutinho could be the perfect replacement. But Liverpool will do everything in their power to keep hold of him. A decent showing in the Champions League group stages is a must, along with a good start in the league. As with stories surrounding Alexis Sanchez, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku, there is normally a devious agent with dollar signs for eyes behind the rumours; Liverpool need to hope that their number 10 is surrounded by the right people. He really can become a Liverpool legend if he stays, and the love of the Kop has huge allure, but will it be enough? Expect Coutinho to Barca headlines all the way through this campaign.
Follow George On Twitter @George_W_Keaney
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