Football

Football: The Top 10 things to look out for in 2013/14

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1. David Moyes

After 27 years in the hot seat, the face of Sir Alex Ferguson monstrously chewing his gum will be no more, as his fellow countryman takes the helm. Fresh from his first press conference at United (where he reiterated that Wayne Rooney wouldn’t be sold), it’ll be interesting to see whether Moyes starts casting nervous glances upstairs, if things start going awry (or if United are 1-0 down in Fergie time).

 

2. José Mourinho

Fergie got out before he had the chance to renew hostilities with his old, Portugese adversary – and the sight of Mourinho back in West London, will no doubt delight Chelsea fans – as will his post-match interviews, and unwavering charm. Mourinho has already added 22-year-old, Germany international, André Schürrle to the Chelsea ranks, and the sight of José vs Ian Holloway appearing on Match of the Day again, should give Lineker and the boys plenty to digest.

 

3. Manuel Pellegrini

The Chilean arrives from Málaga – where he led them to a fourth place finish in his first full season, as well as the quarter-finals of the 2012-13 Champions League (in doing so, becoming the only coach to take two different teams to the Champions League quarter-finals, in their debut seasons). Some will say Mancini was unfairly dismissed by City – where he won three trophies (Premier League, FA Cup and FA Community Shield) in four years. Whatever happens, Manuel definitely rivals Roberto in the fashion stakes.

 

4. Goal-line technology

Ever since Frank Lampard had a perfectly, legit goal chalked off during the last World Cup, the calls for goal-line technology have increased. It was this goal that persuaded Sepp Blatter to change his mind, over use of the system. The FA is yet to strike a deal with a provider, for Wembley Stadium, despite FA general secretary, Alex Horne saying in April: “We expect the technology to be in place for next season, for the Community Shield.” With Wimbledon currently delighting the masses – and its British-based Hawkeye system preventing mishaps – surely it is the next, logical step to have this system in place in football. The next World Cup will at least feature the technology (see no. 7)

 

5. An all-Welsh derby

The boys from South Wales will take centre stage at least twice next season – Cardiff gaining promotion to the top-flight, after winning the Championship in 2012-13. Swansea have already excelled in the top division, under Michael Laudrup, and questions have been asked as to whether Malky Mackay’s squad have the strength and depth, to sustain Premier League survival. They changed their home colours to red and black with great success – helping their promotion push, and with Craig Bellamy – and a 26,828 capacity stadium, fingers crossed the Bluebirds don’t disappear through the trap-door after the first attempt.

 

6. Arsenal

The only member of the “big four” to retain their manager from the 2012/13 campaign – Arsenal now have the longest-serving boss, in Arsène Wenger – and increasing doubts over his future could settle, with the continued stability he provides. Arsenal have lacked silverware in recent years, but with talks over a deal to secure Gonzalo Higuaín, and the likes of Theo Walcott still at the Emirates, there is surely optimism to be had in North London, come next month.

 

7. The 2014 FIFA World Cup

The 20th World Cup takes place in Brazil from the 12th June – 13th July next year, and is scheduled to be the first World Cup to be held in South America, since the 1978 competition, in Argentina. Ticket sales for the tournament go available on 20th August 2013, with an estimated 3.3 million becoming available. The greatest names, the greatest countries – and all in the home of the competition’s most successful participant – what’s not to like? That, and 18 group games being on at 5pm, UK time. #BBQ

 

8. The pundits/commentators/presenters

Take your pick – Alan Hansen. Jeff Stelling. Matt Le Tissier. Paul Merson. Phil Thompson. Charlie Nicholas. Lee Dixon. Gary Neville. Graeme Souness. Jamie Redknapp. Chris Kamara. Martin Tyler. Jamie Carragher. John Motson. Matt Smith. Gareth Southgate. And, of course – Sir Gary of Lineker.

 

9. Dan Walker

Dan presents Football Focus – BBC1‘s long-standing, lunchtime football show, and was asked to present Sir Alex Ferguson’s 25th Anniversary Dinner (he interviewed him on Focus, not long before his retirement). Warm, engaging and thoroughly entertaining with the guests – Mr. Walker could surely step in for Gary Lineker, if the MOTD host ever decides to call it a day (he’s already deputised for him – as has Gabby Logan). He’s scheduled to appear in upcoming episodes of Countdown – as well – in the not-too-distant future.

 

10. Robbie Savage

What else is there left to say?

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