The January Transfer Window is a make or break time at both ends of the tables in the Premier League and The Football League. New Signings can get you over the line, whether its promotion, into the playoffs or away from the drop. People like to make predictions at the start of the season but where do we stand right now? Who will go on to a title? Who will face the dreaded reality of the drop? These are my predictions for the Ups and Downs in the English League System.
Champions: Arsenal – They have been knocking on the door ever since their unbeaten season. With Sanchez, Ozil, Walcott, Giroud and a better defence it should be enough to see them over the line and lift their first title in 12 years.
Top 4: Man City, Leicester and Man Utd – The Manchester teams are joined by the surprise package Leicester City in qualifying for The Champions League. Tottenham will just miss out with a 5th place finish. Man Utd have started to win games they were losing earlier in the season and they will ride their new found momentum into Champions League Qualification.
Relegation: Aston Villa, Sunderland and Swansea – The current bottom 3 as of writing and I believe it stays this way. Villa have shown signs of life under new manager Remi Garde but the hole he was left in will prove too much. Having 8 points at Christmas was a death sentence for one of the staples of the Premier League they have been circling the drain for about 4 years and this is the year they finally drop. Sunderland have picked up a little bit and Jermaine Defoe will be key to their hopes but ultimately I believe that they don’t have enough to win the games they need to survive. Swansea, once a model of consistency, are now making people raise eyebrows with strange decisions from the board. Sacking Garry Monk was the correct decision but having Alan Curtis and a new Co-Head Coach come in doesn’t seem like a formula for survival.
Promotion: Middlesbrough and Hull – Middlesbrough have been flirting with a return to the Premier League for years and having spent big and well they are now in the best position to return. They kept a clean sheet for 9 games in a row and only missed out on a record 10 by a goal in the 96th minute. Hull have managed to keep the core of their squad from the Premier League and they have responded well in The Championship. They have enough to get over the line and go back to the Premier League.
Play-Offs: Derby, Ipswich, Burnley and Sheffield Wednesday (Bold is winner pick)
Relegation: Bolton, Charlton and Rotherham
Promotion: Burton and Wigan
Play-Offs: Walsall, Gillingham, Coventry and Sheffield United
Relegation: Crewe, Colchester, Blackpool and Oldham
Promotion: Plymouth, Northampton and Oxford United
Play-Offs: Portsmouth, Wycombe, AFC Wimbledon and Accrington
Relegation: Yeovil and York
There is no real surprises to my picks but at this stage of the season the league is set in motion and from the point you can usually pick the league much more easily compared to the start of the season. I will revisit this on the final day of the season to see how I did with my predictions.