It has been widely reported that Jose Mourinho is set to return to Chelsea in the near future, but Matt Stanger ponders whether this is really a good thing for the Blues and the PL...
Roll up, roll up to have a good laugh at your Football365 scribes, as we look back on our pre-season predictions to see who was wrong, who was right and who was stupid...
Happy new year, Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan's instinctive handball, for which he fully expected to be penalised, is a reminder that football will never be free of players seeking to gain an illegal advantage or of flashpoints. At the other end a succession of handball claims also went without reward for Mansfield.
Had any Liverpool player beaten non-League opponents with such a goal then there would have been a reaction, but amid the Stags' understandable disappointment there was also a magnanimous response from the home side's manager. Paul Cox went so far as to praise the Premier League's top scorer as "a brilliant talent" but more importantly stated the simple truth, admitting that he would have taken a similar goal by one of his own players: "I can't be two-faced on that."
Unfortunately, plenty of managers do not have such concerns. A look-forward to what 2013 will bring for the laws and for officials must begin in late 2012.
No matter how humble the leftovers, few unappetising Boxing Day sights could match that of Sir Alex Ferguson remonstrating with every official he could find after half-time during Manchester United's match with Newcastle. That the Scot still just about had to leg to stand on in the post-match jousting with Alan Pardew - courtesy of push coming to shove for the Newcastle manager and linesman Peter Kirkup against Tottenham in August - was a further reminder of the parlous state of relations between participants and those who try to control matches. The chances are that 2013 will be just as littered with controversy, complaints and controversial complaining as 2012.
Referee 365 argued the directive under which Mike Dean allowed Papiss Cisse's goal suggests the language of the offside law needs changing. While no one should sympathise with his methods, part of the problem with Ferguson's actions was the identity of his targets. Were he to berate - albeit privately - those responsible for the interpretation then he would have a point.
Some aspects of football laws will forever remain slightly messy compromises, such as handball. Obviously you cannot allow it, but if you do not make it an offence only when someone "handles the ball deliberately" then you would create a target for opponents to aim at. We will be left to argue over whether someone intentionally placed their arms in a likely path of the ball as long as the game is played.
Similarly, there is no easy answer available to wrestling matches, where both players have a grip and the referee cannot see who started it - consider Manchester City's howling over Mario Balotelli's mutual embrace with Ricardo van Rhijn in the closing seconds of the Champions League game against Ajax. One man's self-protection is another man's dive and players will continue to get penalties when they shouldn't and be booked for non-existent simulation.
There is some change. Referees have clearly been instructed to look at players taking running jumps into contested headers and to penalise those responsible for leaps leading to dangerous clashes of heads. Thanks to the egregious error that left Frank Lampard without a World Cup goal, the authorities are moving to try to resolve one area of contention, with goalline technology being tested in a year when England benefited from a similar error against Ukraine.
Still, once introduced that will only deal with a comparatively rare event. In most matches there are more contentious decisions of varying levels of importance than there are goals and goalline technology will stoke up rather than diminish the demands for instant reviews of decisions. Imagine a goal being given when technology affirms that it has just crossed the line but TV cameras show that it was helped there by the hand of some sod, or a shot is just kept out by a sinisterly dextrous defender.
The certainty that we will have all these controversies makes it the less forgivable that FIFA and the International Football Association Board generate others, such as the mess over offside and a law that promises a player in an offside position will be penalised if he is "interfering with play or interfering with an opponent or gaining an advantage by being in that position" and an interpretation that does no such thing.
2012 was tragically the year when Richard Nieuwenhuizen was killed after running the line at a kids game near Amsterdam. That death surely tells us more about those responsible than about football; but wouldn't 2013 be a slightly better place if those in authority were not oblivious to unnecessary tensions they have created in the game?