We are barely four months into 2017 but already so much has happened in the world of football. In this piece we look back at four of 2017’s biggest footballing talking points and look forward to what is still to come.
Leicester City. It felt like the fairytale had come to and end when the sacking of Claudio Ranieri was announced early this year. Having been the most unlikely of champions last season, Leicester sat just above the relegation zone and hadn’t won a game in 2017. Enter Craig Shakespeare. Since Shakespeare took over from Ranieri, Leicester have not lost, comfortably beating Liverpool and Sevilla in the process. Jamie Vardy and co. have made it through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, something Arsenal haven’t done in what feels like a lifetime, making them the only British team left in the competition. Can the Leicester fairy tale continue or will it come falling back down once again? Only time will tell, but I’m going to just put it out there, they’re going to win the Champions league. Hopefully…
Brighton’s rollercoaster season continues. Anyone who has been following Brighton’s promotion push season will know that, so far, it’s been no walk in Stanmer Park. Every time you think the seagulls are going to really assert their dominance in the automatic promotion places, they collapse and lose heavily to rivals; such as they have done against Huddersfield, Leeds and Newcastle. This is the point when the phrase “are they going to bottle it again?” starts rumbling around the Amex. Just as it makes it way into a crescendo of groans, they pick up three points and it’s all smiles again, and so the cycle continues. Will Brighton finally achieve that promotion to Premiership that, as a 10 year old sat in the scaffold stands of Withdean, felt it was never going to come? I really hope they do go up, but the memories of Withdean make me think that once again it will be just out of reach.
‘Should I Stay or Should I Go?’ The question that must’ve run through Arsene Wenger’s mind every time a Bayern Munich goal fell through David Ospina’s grip. It feels like forever now that a section of Arsenal fans have been calling for the Frenchman’s sacking and this season their cries have certainly got louder, as has been widely publicized on Arsenal Fan TV. However the ‘In Wenger We Trust’ crew hasn’t kept quiet either. Arsenal’s embarrassment culminated as two planes shouting opposite messages flew over the Hawthorns as West Brom made mince meat of a pathetic Arsenal side. It’s a bad time to be an Arsenal fan, let alone Arsenal manager. If I was Wenger, I would be straight out the door. Whether he will go however remains to be seen. After two more seasons and a bus ride around North London, then and only then, will he go.
Who will the Premier League Champions will be? Chelsea. Let’s be honest this is an easy one to predict. Chelsea have consistently been the best team in the country since October. Where their rivals have stumbled and spluttered, Chelsea has gone on ploughing through the league picking up three points each week as they go. If Chelsea don’t win the league, they are going to have to bottle it in a more catastrophic way than PSG did against Barcelona last month.