Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year to all...and some bold predictions from the Frog

First of all, a happy New Year to all. Maybe 2014 bring you much joy and happiness.

Here are some bold predictions for the coming year from the Frog:

  • Bayern Munich will repeat as Champions League winners. The Bavarian steam roller is looking as solid as it did last season when it won the treble. Not only has this side remained fairly intact from last campaign but it has added Guardiola as well at Gotze - fresh thinking in the management chair and one of the best German players on the pitch. Granted they need to have Robben back at full strength and ensure they do not suffer any injuries, but that can be said for all the other clubs. But in the end I think we will see our first repeat Champions League winners since Milan did it in 1990 powered by their Dutch trio of Rijkaard, Van Basten and Gullit.
    Treble repeat?
  • PSG will repeat in Ligue 1 and make a deep run in the Champions League. The fat coffers of PSG make them hard to compete with in Ligue 1, and with this buying power I think that the Parisians will make some bold purchases this transfer window to ensure they stay atop Ligue 1 and gear up for a run in the CL. Even if they let go of the likes of Menez, Verratti and Pastore. I could envisage a run at Mata from Chelsea since the Special One does not seem to want to use him or targeting Cabaye at Newcastle (I know Arsenal might go back there, but will Pardew look to stick it to Wenger and ship the midfielder back to France?). Pogba is also in the target but not sure the Old Lady will let go so easily of their young midfielder. That might be a move in the cards for the summer transfer window. PSG have enough depth to hold off the likes of Lille, Monaco and OM for the Ligue 1 title. They also have the talent to make a push in the Champions League...and also a very motivated Zlatan who will want to show the world what they are going to be missing at the World Cup.
  • Arsenal will finally win some silverware...and make a big splash this January. The Gunners will win the EPL...if they make that big transfer splash. If Arsenal do not add to this roster they will fade away in the EPL. The fact they drew Bayern is a blessing since it should be a quick ending for their European title hopes. Maybe Wenger should just look at those matches as he would a Carling Cup game and blood some of his youth. Hahaaa. I do think that Wenger will have enough if he adds some muscle this transfer window. Another striker, regardless of what Giroud says, must be
    Red Devil coming to the Emirates?
    added. Benteke has been rumored and would be a great fit, Costa is also rumored but I don't see that move happening. A midfielder - Cabaye? Wenger has said he is no longer interested but we shall see. An interesting name that has emerged is Le Petit Velo - Valbuena from OM. He could be a very interesting fit, being able to play in the middle of the park or out on the flanks. There is also the possibility of Wenger adding to his stable of German players and signing Daxler, that would be a real game changer of a move. Of course there is also the possibility of Vermaelen leaving, but could Wenger should have cover with Flamini being able to slot back in an emergency. Bottom line - Wenger makes some of these moves and Arsenal win the EPL.  He doesn't and the Gunners fall back into the pack - not enough depth to sustain the run they are on.
  • Only one European nation will get to the World Cup semifinals. And it will not be Spain. The semi finals will pit Brazil vs Germany and Argentina vs Uruguay, a real Copa Sud America feel. South Korea will surprise some by getting of the group stages ahead of Algeria and Russia. Spain will fall in the 1/4 finals to Cavani and Suarez of Uruguay. Brazil will have to face a very difficult gauntlet of European power houses in Holland, Italy and Germany before getting to the finals. The US will surprise many by finishing second in the Group of Death but will crash out in the knock out round against Les Diables Rouge of Belgium...which also means Portugal will fail to impress and actually lose their game to the US and finish third in the group of death. Argentina will have an easier go at it facing the Swiss in the group of 16, then Belgium in the 1/4 finals then having to beat Uruguay and finally setting up an epic Brazil v Argentina World Cup final....where Messi, Higuain, Aguero, Di Maria, et al will win a third World Cup for La Albiceleste. Just think...Brazil v Argentina in a World Cup final...in Rio. Wow.
  • France will not entirely embarrass themselves at the World Cup. Les Bleus will win their group and beat Nigeria to get to the 1/4 finals...where they will get trounced by De Nationalmannschaft in the 1/4 finals. However Paul Pogba will emerge as one of the world's best midfield talents as well as the engine that will run the French midfield and team
    Surprise inclusion for DD as cover for Ribery on the left?
    for years to come. Deschamps will also lean heavily on the 4-3-3 and maximize the talents of his midfield depth in the likes of Pogba, Cabaye, Matuidi, Sissoko, Mavuba et al. He will also make a surprise inclusion in the national side - Schneiderlan, Niang, Griezmann or Zouma are all candidates for that surprise trip to Brazil. It will be interesting to see who Deschamps looks to bring to Brazil with him, with many of the U21 players that had been suspended by the FFF are now eligible to come back to international duty - that also includes M'Vila. Will DD hold their little visit to a night club against them, or have they paid for their errors? I am sure that DD will also have an eye turned to the upcoming European Championship which will be held in France. Something to keep an eye on.
2014, being a World Cup year, will surely be a great one for footy. What we have to hope for is not big name player get injured prior to the World Cup and they are not all too exhausted from an over flowing domestic season to not give us a great tournament in Brazil. It will be great to see the World Cup head back to South America for the first time since Argentina hosted the event in 1978 and that it has not been back in Brazil since 1950!

Happy New Year to all!


Not Gross said...

France will not entirely embarrass themselves at the World Cup.

The bar, she is set low.

GFC said...

Well after the past few tournaments...that bar is very low for Les Bleus!