As football fans we’re always looking back on the good times; the moments that made us laugh and cry and the moments we’ll either never forget or do our best to wipe from our memories forever.
But what about the future? What do we have to look forward to? Can we get excited about what’s to come or should we continue to yearn for yesteryear?
As part of our Premier League 25 years celebration this season, we’ve decided to boot up our copy of Football Manager 2018 and simulate 25 years into the future to see what exactly we’ve got to look forward to. And without wanting to wish our lives away, we’re in for a real treat if this is what the future holds.
With one season per article, we’re looking 25 years in to the future. Below we take a look at the 2018/19 campaign…
Previous seasons: 2017/18
Champions Chelsea are busy in the summer, spending £84m on PSG’s Adrien Rabiot, Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Andre Moreira and Villarreal’s Mario. The Blues also have a massive clear out, selling Davide Zappacosta and Victor Moses to Red Bull Leipzig for a combined £24.5m, Michy Batshuayi to Shakhtar for just £11.25m Ruben Loftus-Cheek to Crystal Palace for £3.9m. No less than 29 youngsters are sent out on loan.
Arsenal go big in the summer for once as Wesley Hoedt, Andre Silva, Leander Dendoncker and Georgino Wijnaldum are all signed for a combined £110m. In January, they add Atalanta’s Alejandro Gomez and Celtic’s Kieran Tierney to the squad, which takes their 18/19 transfer spend to £153m. Ruben Sumedo joins Zenit on a permanent deal after making just 12 Premier League appearances last term while Alexis Sanchez opts to join PSG on a free instead of Man City.
Liverpool splash out £120m on seven players in the summer, although that does include the already agreed transfer of Naby Keita from RB Leipzig for £62m. The others include Sander Berge from Genk (£19.5m), Deportivo La Coruna’s Florin Andone (£17.75m) and Benfica’s Franco Cervi (£20.5m). However, Jorge Jesus is forced to lose both Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho who both join the PSG revolution in a combined deal worth £131m!
Massimiliano Allegri enjoys the bottomless pit of money at Man City by throwing £138m at five players in the summer. The pick of the bunch being Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld for £50m and Napoli’s Lorenzo Insigne for £39.5m. Ederson and Danilo are the only high profile departures.
At Man United, Jose Mourinho spends £154m on six new faces, with the stand out signings being Eric Dier for £41.5m and Juventus superstar Paulo Dybala for £69m. Stoke agree to pay £6.75m for Marcos Rojo and while Jonas leaves for Napoli in January despite scoring six goals in 12 Premier League outings since signing the previous season.
For the rest of the Premier League, the stand out signings include Danny Ings to Stoke for £7.75m, newly-promoted Sunderland spending £28m on Everton’s Ademola Lookman, Victor Wanyama going to China, Tottenham signing William Carvalho for £22m and Erik Lamela joining Watford for £12.25m.
The top ten transfers involving Premier League clubs are as follows…
In terms of obscure deals, Brighton sign Davy Klaasen for just £12.75m and Marouane Fellaini on a free, Tottenham throw £22m at Brighton for Shane Duffy, Tal Ben-Haim returns to England with Southampton and so does Ricky van Wolfswinkel, who joins newly promoted Wolves from Basel for £4.4m.
Across Europe, PSG bid for European domination by spending a massive £417m, which includes the pre-agreed deal for Kylian Mbappe for £160m and Raphael Varane completes a shock £53m move to Monaco from Real Madrid.
The League Campaign
Man United end a five year title drought by romping to their 21st Premier League crown, finishing 11 points ahead of runners-up and bitter rivals Man City. They do it by scoring a huge 93 goals and conceding just 32. Chelsea have to settled for 3rd while it comes as no surprise to see Arsenal finish 4th.
Swansea, Sunderland and Middlesbrough are all relegated, with the Black Cats clearly showing that you can’t just spend your way to safety after their crazy spree in the summer. £28m signing Ademola Lookman scored nine and assisted four.
In the eyes of the media, the big overachievers are Bournemouth, Brighton and West Brom, while the underachievers are Leicester, Everton and Southampton.
Man United’s title winning campaign saw lose just twice before Christmas as Mourinho’s 4-2-3-1 formation proved almost unbeatable. The arrival of Dybala from Juventus in the summer had initially led to doubts over Romelu Lukaku’s future at Old Trafford but Mourinho instead opted to play the Belgium international in wide-right role, in which the striker netted six times over the course of the season.
They dropped just four points between the end of October and Boxing Day, which meant they went in to 2019 well in control at the top of the table.
Bottom club Middlesbrough failed to settle back in to the top-flight and they deserved to go down after losing seven consecutive league games in January. The same can be said of Swansea, who went 18 Premier League games without victory between the end of November and the beginning of March.
A special mention has to go to Watford, too, who did initially look likely to break in to the top six after going 16 games unbeaten during the middle of the campaign, but that was followed by a run of 10 games without victory and they eventually had to settle for 12th.
End of Season Awards
Sergio Aguero wins the Golden Boot with 22 goals, beating new Man United signing Dybala by a single goal. It takes his Premier League tally to 155 and some are beginning to speculated his chances of joining Wayne Rooney and Alan Shearer in the 200 club.
Arenal’s new signing Andre Silva nets 15 in 23 Premier League appearances and had he not been sidelined for two months with a hip injury in the middle of the season, he probably would’ve gone on to win the golden boot.
John Guidetti netted 15 in his debut season for Stoke City while last season’s Player of the Season Juan Mata registered 14 goals and a league high 17 assists. Outstanding from the Spaniard.
Where’s Harry Kane? He did join the Premier League 100 club mid-way through the season but could only register 10 league goals in 33 appearances. He won’t beat Alan Shearer’s record with seasons like that.
David De Gea wins the Golden Glove after keeping an impressive 17 clean sheets while Joe Hart’s return to Man City after a unsuccessful loan spell at West Ham the previous year sees him collect 14 clean sheets in 32 Premier League appearances.
Jose Mourinho wins Manager of the Year, Juan Mata is voted Players’ Player of the Year and for the second consecutive season, Premier League Player of the Year. Young Player of the Year is awarded to Man City’s Bernardo Silva, who ended the season with 14 goals and eight assists.
The Premier League Team of the Year is dominated by the Manchester clubs, with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah the only player from another club named in the XI.
Amazingly, Arsene Wenger surprises everyone by resigning on July 24 and Arsenal fans are partying on the streets when Pep Guardiola is named as his replacement a week later. Sunderland fans are equally as shocked when manager Ramon Diaz resigns on the same day, despite leading them to promotion, and is replaced by Belgium manager Roberto Martinez.
Brendan Rodgers’ character is found out at Southampton after failing to win any of the Saints’ opening seven games of the season and he’s sacked at the beginning of October. Southampton poach Wolves’ Nuno Santo, who is replaced by Ronald Koeman at Molyneux.
Elsewhere, Guus Hiddink loses his job at Stoke after winning just once between October and the end of December, and he’s replaced by Didier Deschamps. West Ham give up on David Moyes and, to the absolute despair of the Hammers faithful, appoint Tony Pulis as his replacement in February.
Swansea, Everton and Brighton also make changes during the season.
What to expect next season?
Chelsea’s fall to third in the Premier League may have alarmed Roman Abramovich somewhat but he will have been pleased with the club’s success in the Champions League will have boosted Conte’s chances of keeping his job for the time being.
There will undoubtedly be inquests at Everton and Leicester, while Tottenham’s failure to finish in the top four for the second successive season will ensure the spotlight will be on Daniel Levy’s spending habits in the summer. On top of that, Harry Kane’s hugely disappointing season will have everyone worried. Another poor season will undoubtedly end his chances of breaking Alan Shearer’s record, so all the attention will be on how he responsds.
Tony Pulis’s West Ham will be looking to build on their FA Cup triumph, with David Gold and David Sullivan undoubtedly publicly shouting “We told you so!” in response to the fans who questioned their reasons for moving to London Stadium three years earlier. But can they push on now?
Once again, Liverpool do not qualify for the Champions League and Reds all around the world continue to reminisce about the good ol’ days in 2005.
Newcastle, Blackburn Rovers and Crystal Palace are the three teams promoted from the Championship. Blackburn complete famous back-to-back promotions following their League One title win the season previous, and the former Premier League champions celebrate being back in the big league for the first time in seven years.
Premier League Champions: Man United
Champions League qualification: Man United, Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal
Europa League qualification: Liverpool, Tottenham and West Ham
Relegated to Championship: Swansea, Sunderland and Middlesbrough
Promoted to Premier League: Newcastle, Blackburn and Crystal Palace
Community Shield Winners: Leicester City
FA Cup Winners: West Ham
Carabao Cup Winners: Man City
UEFA Super Cup Winners: Atletico Madrid
Champions League Winners: Chelsea
Europa League Winners: Bayer Leverkusen
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