2015 Predictions: Major tournament winners

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There may be no World Cup or European Championship in 2015, but that does not mean there is little to look forward to in terms of major football tournaments in the coming year.

I have picked out the most high-profile of these competitions and attempted to predict the eventual winner with some rationalisation of the evidence we have seen up to the close of a memorable 2014.

Premier League

The clear favourite to win the premier league at the minute is Chelsea and come May next year I think they will be celebrating another league title. Mourinho has got all bases covered in his team, two world class goalkeepers, a solid defence, a good balance in midfield and strikers who score goals.

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Mourinho also has the know how to win the big title clashes against his side's main rivals and with Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool all having to go to Stamford Bridge in the New Year it should be a happy one for Mourinho’s men.

As for who will finish in the top four with Chelsea, Manchester City should easily finish in a Champions League spot. As for the other two, I’ll go for Manchester United and Arsenal as when both sides injury problems are resolved they both should have enough quality to see them snatch the remaining two spots.

At the other end of the league it could be a very unhappy New Year for Burnley, Leicester City and Sunderland, who I think will all get relegated. As things currently stand Burnley and Leicester don’t have enough quality in their squads to get out of the position they're in.

As for Sunderland, a team that loses 8-0 at Southampton shows that they can have a complete meltdown on any given day and I don’t think Gus Poyet will be able to keep the Black Cats up again.

Champions League

Ahead of the last 16 starting in February, there are four teams who are clearly above the rest in Europe at the minute. Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Chelsea will all have their eyes on being at the final in Berlin in early June next year.

Bayern would love to be playing in a home Champions League final whereas Real Madrid will want to be the first team to retain the Champions League and Mourinho will want to win the Champions League with his beloved Chelsea.

However, I think Barcelona are the team that will go all the way. Barcelona have got a more stable defence now, which has been their Achilles heel in recent years and if Neymar, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez click, the Catalans could be hard to stop.

Though it would not be wise to rule out Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund or PSG; all three could all spoil the party for Europe’s elite.

Copa America

The 2015 Copa America in Chile could be the most exciting tournament of the year. Despite Luis Suarez missing the tournament due to his ban, there will still be some of the best players in the world on show. Messi, Neymar, Alexis Sanchez, James Rodriguez and Edinson Cavani will be carrying the weight of their nations on their shoulders.

All of their nations are contenders but I think Colombia could be the Champions of South America for a second time. Football fans across the world fell in love with Colombia at the world cup and the quarter finalists should aim to go on and win the competition.

With James Rodriguez the star of the side and the supporting cast of Jackson Martinez, Carlos Bacca, Juan Cuadrado and hopefully fit again Radamel Falcao Colombia have enough quality to upstage the continent’s most illustrious names.

Africa Cup of Nations

With defending champions Nigeria failing to qualify, it left the tournament wide open. None of Africa’s big boys are in the best form recently but the likes of Ghana, Ivory Coast and Cameroon will all still fancy their chances at winning African football's showpiece event.

However, I think the most likely champions could come from North Africa in the form of Algeria or Tunisia. The two Saharan rivals are currently Africa’s top two ranked sides and are among the favourites for glory in Equatorial Guinea.

One major problems is that Algeria have a tough looking group of Ghana, Senegal and South Africa so have just as much chance of falling at the group stage as they do of winning it.

AFC Asian Cup

The 2015 Asian cup won’t be filled with the same quality as the Copa America or Africa Cup of Nations, but should be a chance for some lesser known players to show their quality. Hosts Australia will be hoping to go far as will the likes of South Korea and Iran.

However, the winners at the end should really be Japan. Japan have the best squad by far with established European based players like Shinji Kagawa and Keisuke Honda spear heading Japan’s challenge. It would be a huge shock if Japan weren’t in the final.

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