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New year, same story

I'm writing this on the train to Newcastle, who play Everton tonight in one of the final games of the festive period.

Last Updated: 02/01/13 at 12:52 Post Comment

Liverpool chief Brendan Rodgers will be hoping to overhaul Everton come May

Liverpool chief Brendan Rodgers will be hoping to overhaul Everton come May

As ever, it's been a fascinating fortnight: goals galore, great drama, but more than anything at the games I've been lucky enough to cover, an incredible atmosphere.

It's what makes our league so special.

From Stoke on Boxing Day, to Sunderland on Saturday, Southampton on New Year's Day and, no doubt, St James' Park tonight, the passion of Premier League fans has driven the players on when so many must have been feeling the strain.

We're past the halfway stage now and there can be no let up.

At the top the deposed champions Manchester United, inspired by the goals of Robin Van Persie, will take some shifting.

But Manchester City have too much class to go quietly and the challenge from London could grow from Tottenham and Chelsea.

Surmountable

Arsenal, as ever, and Everton are also in the hunt for a top-four finish and both may look to the January window to aid their cause.

Liverpool surely will, and their most optimistic supporters will consider a five-point deficit on their Merseyside rivals easily surmountable.

At the bottom, meanwhile, the fight for survival will keep us engrossed until the very last ball is kicked. Is it too late for QPR to overcome the odds? Will Reading's tactical shift lift them closer to the pack?

Above them, surely no-one in the bottom half is safe.

Norwich are proof enough of that; the 10-game unbeaten run that only Barcelona had bettered was ended by four consecutive defeats and suddenly the club is gripped by anxiety.

There are so many stories still to unfold and our first instalment of The Footballers' Football Show of 2013 will guide you through where to look for them.

Join us for 90 minutes of football chat with Ray Wilkins, Chris Coleman and Niall Quinn.

Catch The Footballers' Football Show, 10pm, Thursday, Sky Sports 1 HD.

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