Five bold predictions for the closing stages of the Premier League
Arsenal, Manchester City and Newcastle United all feature in the Premier League predictions
The closing stages of Premier League football never fails to provide exceptional drama and wonderful entertainment.
Be it the title race or the fight to avoid relegation, fans, media and mathematicians all enjoy trying to foresee what this period of time has in store. The following are five of my predictions that may cause a slight surprise.
1. Newcastle will get relegated
I hate to say it, as I have grown quite fond of the struggling magpies, but there is a decent possibility that Newcastle fans might find themselves back watching Championship football next season.
Their tough loss to Swansea on Saturday was very indicative of their season so far, always coming close but rarely obtaining the result. As it stands, they are just six points clear of the relegation zone and have played a game more than third from bottom Aston Villa.
Newcastle still have to play Manchester City, Liverpool, West Brom and Arsenal, so staying up won't be an easy task for them by any stretch of the word.
2. Manchester City won't finish in the top two
It seems unlikely, especially after their 2-0 win over Chelsea last weekend, but I don't think they have the composure to secure a second place finish, let alone make a convincing title run.
Roberto Mancini's tactics have been scrambled and misdirected this year and the Sky Blues don't appear to be the same team as the one that won the league last year in such dramatic fashion. With quite a tough schedule still remaining (including the likes of Everton, Manchester United, Swansea, West Brom and Tottenham), I just can't see them extracting enough points from those fixtures to keep them in second. Chelsea are clearly the largest threat to catch them, but it wouldn't be wise to rule out Tottenham just yet.
3. Arsenal will find their way back into the top four
He's done it before and he'll do it again: Arsene Wenger will claw his squad back into a top four position for another year of Champions League play.
Although, their defeat at Tottenham last weekend has left them with it all to do. They trail their north London rivals by seven points and are also behind European Champions Chelsea by five. If Wenger is to work his magic and keep Arsenal in Europe's elite competition then he will need a fair mount of luck. But don't write them off just yet.
4. Gareth Bale will finish as leading scorer
Luis Suarez will certainly be favourite for this award, especially after his hat-trick at the DW Stadium on Saturday evening. However, I still feel that Bale has a good chance at capturing the prestigious golden boot. His form of late has been lethal and should this trend continue into the last stage of the season, the high-flying Welshman will fancy his chances at winning the scoring race.
5. Santi Cazorla will win the Player of the Season award
The magical Spaniard has adapted with ease to his first season playing in the Premier League, already scoring an impressive 11 goals and adding another six assists. Some felt he may struggle to cope physically with the demands of the Premier League. But he has proved all critics wrong. He has been a tremendous asset to Arsenal's squad, and should he help lead them to a top four finish, he'd have my vote as player of the season.
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