10. Suarez will get into trouble.
Liverpool have enjoyed a blistering start to the season, spearheaded by their ‘SAS’ partnership of Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez.
However, the Uruguayan half of the partnership has missed hefty chunks of games for the Reds in the last two years, after his alleged racist abuse of Manchester United’s Patrice Evra and his attempt to take his own ‘hefty chunk’ out of Branislav Ivanovic’s arm.
Suarez has been in tasty form, and will almost certainly be a contender for Player of the Year, but Brendan Rodgers’ men may be fearing the worst as his unsuspended streak stretches further and further.
9. Manchester United will awaken.
It would be fair to say David Moyes has not enjoyed the start he had hoped for at Old Trafford, but we write them off at our peril. Realistically, the title may be a step too far but as Robin van Persie returns to fitness, United can put the cat amongst the pigeons by February if they get their confidence back with a winning run in the crucial Christmas period.
8. Spurs might start scoring goals.
A dangerous prediction, somewhat, but there were signs in the 2-1 victory over Sunderland that Tottenham’s wide-men were finally putting service into the box.
The ship may have sailed though, for Jermain Defoe, who is rumoured to be heading for the White Hart Lane exit in order to get more playing time and impress Roy Hodgson in the run-up to Brazil 2014.
7. Fulham will break out of the relegation battle.
Sad though it may be to wave goodbye to the loveable Dutchman, Martin Jol’s departure may bolster Fulham’s survival chances. Rene Meulensteen (who entered in what was admittedly a bizarre appointment alongside Jol) looks to have strengthened Fulham’s previously inept defence and the Whites are almost unrecognisable.
Their year could be defined by the sale of Dimitar Berbatov in January, which looks almost inevitable, so a new striker (preferably with one of the best first touches in the Premier League) will be needed to replace the sulky Bulgarian as they look to drag themselves out of the mire.
6. Norwich will slip back into it.
The Canaries have clambered up to 14th after their away win at West Brom, but two wins in their last nine games (the other coming against lowly Crystal Palace) are not good enough.
Their goal difference is also the second worst in the league, only behind rock bottom Sunderland, for whom 2014 will also probably not be the best year they’ve ever had.
5. Southampton’s promising start will not be an aberration.
Mauricio Pochettino has proved a breath of fresh air, and while the St. Mary’s outfit have dropped down to eighth following a poor run, their recent blip has come against Arsenal, Chelsea, Aston Villa and Manchester City.
Roy Hodgson’s decision to call up Rickie Lambert, Jay Rodriguez and Adam Lallana is testament to the progress they have made this season, and that should continue into the new year.
4. West Ham will splash out in January.
Sam Allardyce will be feeling the pressure, with the Hammers suffering reverses in six of their last ten games. Ravel Morrison has been a revelation, but other than that, their squad does not look up to scratch.
The relegation scrap, as has happened so often in recent years, is tinted with claret and blue, and their recent mauling at Liverpool has only made matters worse with captain Kevin Nolan receiving a suspension.
January provides a perfect opportunity for Big Sam to strengthen, particularly in a defence which has looked leaky all season.
3. Arsenal will crumble in March.
At present, the Gunners look unstoppable. The question is whether Arsene Wenger’s side – who have certainly matured hugely in the last year – have the mentality to hold on when the pressure hits in the final stretch.
The experience of players like Mesut Ozil and Per Mertesacker will help them in the run-in, but despite their phenomenal starting line-up, their squad may not be strong enough if injury hits as competing on four fronts takes its toll.
2. Even Tony Pulis won’t save Palace.
Pulis seems to have made an immediate impact at Selhurst Park, and the situation is already looking slightly less dire than it was three weeks ago.
Replacing Ian Holloway proved slightly more difficult than had been anticipated by the Palace board, but even now a change has been made, they still give the impression of a Championship squad having been thrown in at the deep end.
1. Mourinho will win it.
Not only would it be poetic for the returning Special One to be crowned king of English football once again, but it would reflect Chelsea’s strength-in-depth.
Their defence let them down against Sunderland and Stoke City, so if Mourinho can tighten the Blues up at the back, the title could be heading back to west London with Mourinho at the helm to receive it.
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