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Football Predictions for 2024, What Could Happen?

The final whistle has been blown on 2023, and it was quite a year for football. Manchester City completed a historic treble, Serena Wiegmann’s Lionesses came agonisingly close to World Cup success down under, Haaland smashed records, and the Saudi Pro League flexed its financial muscles.

 

With several major international tournaments to come, the threat of the Super League looming, and one of the most exciting Premier League title races set to conclude in a few months, 2024 looks just as exciting. Let’s look at some potential stories the beautiful game could deliver in the next 12 months.

 

Gareth Southgate and England miss out

 

Gareth Southgate’s reign as England manager has come close to greatness on several occasions, but there is always an overwhelming sense that something is missing.

 

Unfortunately, that will become apparent again at the Euros when, despite a valiant effort, Southgate’s men will fall short. Whether it’s poor tactical decisions, a major pre-tournament injury, or a questionable VAR decision (more on that later), something will inevitably cost England the Euros, and it will be time to thank Southgate for his services and for the FA to look elsewhere.

 

Jude Bellingham wins the Balon D’or

 

Despite predicting England to fall short at the Euros, 2024 will still belong to Jude Bellingham. With Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo running rings around the MLS and Saudi Pro League, their seats at the head of the table have become vacant.

 

Erling Haaland, Kylian Mbappe, and Jude Bellingham are the three men who look set to dominate the best player in the world debate for years to come, and Bellingham, under the guidance of Ancelotti at Real Madrid, will score the first victory.

 

VAR refuses to budge

 

VAR was never far from the headlines in 2023, and you can expect more of the same in the coming 12 months. With the Euros taking place this Summer, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the tournament overshadowed by a major VAR controversy.

 

UEFA has announced they will be using a chipped ball to help determine offside decisions in Germany, but, like most new technologies introduced to ‘help’, it will no doubt prove to be problematic.

 

However, the powers that be have backed themselves into a corner. They either admit VAR is flawed and make amends, or they double down, and the chaos continues. Given how VAR has gone so far, the latter seems more likely.

 

Manchester City’s Reign of Dominance Continues

 

Coming into 2024, Manchester City’s bid for a fourth consecutive Premier League title looks under serious threat from Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.

 

However, with AFCON kicking off in January and Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne returning to fitness, it feels as though the tide could start to turn in City’s favour. Pep’s side has been ruthless on the run-in during previous seasons, and you can expect more of the same this year.

 

Klopp’s team have been impressive so far, but with Salah missing throughout January, they could stumble. They have fallen apart in previous campaigns when key players have been missing, and while we don’t expect them to fully implode, one or two slip-ups between now and the end of the season are all it will take to hand City the title.

 

Saudi Arabia gets Salah

 

The Saudi Pro League made its presence felt in the transfer window at the start of the 23/24 season, with their spending power sending shockwaves through the Premier League.

 

However, Mo Salah was one man whose services they could not acquire. Liverpool stood strong, resisting a late bid of a rumoured £150m to retain their Egyptian maestro. You can fully expect the Saudis to be back in the Summer, and with another year in his legs, a record-breaking transfer offer could prove too much for Liverpool to turn down.

 

Chelsea Women finally win in Europe

 

Emma Hayes has won nearly everything since taking charge at Chelsea in 2012, but the Champions League continues to elude her. The closest she has come was when her side were humbled 4-0 by Barcelona in Gothenburg in 2021.

 

This Chelsea team finally feels like it has the chance to overcome that challenge. In Sam Kerr, they have one of the best players in the world, and Lauren James has been a breakout star over the last 12 months. A strong performance away at Madrid in the group stages has shown they are up for a fight, and this feels like the year they could finally lift the trophy.

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