10. Lampard To Resume Normal Service
I don't know Bobby Tambling. From what I gather he's a perfectly agreeable elderly gentleman who once scored quite a few goals for Chelsea. So believe me when I say it's nothing personal, but sweet Lord I hate hearing or reading that man's name. After a season in which Frank Lampard eschewed the notion of teamwork in pursuit of Tambling's record, it will be a welcome relief to see the midfielder resume normal service under Jose Mourinho this year. This helpful diagram illustrates the impact chasing Tambling's goal record had on Lampard's game, although he did eventually contribute one assist - his lowest total for Chelsea in a single Premier League season.
9. Every Player Omitted From 2014 Calendars To Be Sold
In an embarrassing development for Football365, Mediawatch's annual piss-taking of the papers' giddy excitement over new club calendars is shown up for being premature as all omitted stars actually end up leaving. By the end of January only a solid core of 12 names remain from the start of the season at each club as players lose their collective sh*t over being refused the position of Mr September, Mr November and so on. Players also left out of new kit campaigns decide to up sticks, while several Manchester United players are left 'angry and confused' after being overlooked as brand ambassadors for Mister Potato.
8. Medel And Amorebieta Will Kill And Kill Again
Since January 2011, no player has received more red cards in La Liga than Gary Medel's impressive total of five (along with 29 bookings). Fernando Amorebieta, commonly referred to as the walking yellow card, picked up 87 bookings and 12 dismissals during his time at Athletic Bilbao. In what seems like a Battle Royale-inspired twist, both players have been released into the Premier League this season to wreak utter havoc on their unsuspecting victims. This is set to be grey squirrel v red squirrel devastation, the pacu fish versus helpless Scandinavian testicles. We imagine Martin Jol and Malky Mackay will watch in Oppenheimer-horror as they realise what they've done when Fulham meet Cardiff in September.
7. Brendan Rodgers To Have His Teeth Done
I dunno, it just seems like the sort of vainglorious thing he would do.
6. Kinnear To Be Appointed Newcastle Manager
Resistance is futile, Newcastle fans. This is definitely going to happen. As sure as eggs is eggs, Alan Pardew will be handed his cards at some point during the season and Joe Kinnear will return to his throne as self-appointed King of the Geordies. We don't want it to happen, and Lord knows you have our pity, but it might be time to start accepting the inevitable return of Big Joe's reign of terror. Would it really be a surprise after an unemployed Kinnear told The Times in 2012: "I would consider something like a director of football post. But I would do that for just one reason and that is to get myself back into full-time management. If I was a director of football and the manager was struggling and got the old tin-tack, I would tell them that I'd take over."
5. Everyone You Liked Last Season Will Turn Out To Be Sh*t
Jurgen Klopp is football's Mr Nice Guy, right? Kinda geeky, likes a hug, talks about crying a lot - what's not to like? Sadly, for those of you who found yourselves quite taken with the Borussia Dortmund manager last season, Bild run an expose in early January revealing that Klopp is offering a discreet service to exterminate unwanted Christmas puppies. The investigation sends shockwaves through the hipster community which subsequently falls apart, causing thousands of lonely, single men to shave their beards, ditch the thick-rimmed glasses and rekindle their pursuit of actual sex rather than the miserable substitute gratification derived from watching Venezuela Under-20s.
4. Tapping-Up Makes A Comeback
Real Madrid are hit with a hefty fine from UEFA (I don't have a specific figure in mind, but trust that it's more than concurrent punishments for racial abuse) after their aggressive and public pursuit of Gareth Bale. It turns out that the bloke in the Nyon tapping-up office had been on secondment without replacement for the last five years and has since been working through an enormous backlog of cases. Eventually he reaches the file 'Real Madrid 1176 (ii)' and recommends severe sanctions which the Spanish government then offer to pay out of the goodness of their hearts.
3. Liverpool To Miss Out On The Top Four, But Talk About It All The Time
With Luis Suarez banned for the first six games of the new campaign, and possibly on his way out of Anfield, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Liverpool suffer a repeat of last season's slow start in which Brendan Rodgers achieved fewer points than Roy Hodgson over his first ten games in charge. But will that dampen the manager's spirits? Of course not. As the Reds' form starts to pick up in the autumn, Rodgers will optimistically speak of closing the 16-point gap to second place, with Steven Gerrard admitting that finishing in the top four would be "really, really great". Jose Enrique will chime in with a few words about the unity within the squad, Jordan Henderson will praise Rodgers' management style and Daniel Sturridge will mutter something about heading in the right direction. Ultimately, Liverpool finish sixth despite a promising end to the season which prompts Gerrard to declare that next year's the big one.
2. AVB's Voice To Descend Below Audible Range
The Premier League's basso profondo gradually becomes growlier and growlier until eventually, mid-interview with Geoff Shreeves, his voice escapes beneath audible range. "What was that, Andre?" asks Shreeves, which could be the most pointless question of the season as Villas-Boas is now only capable of communicating with blue whales and Sean Dyche. With neither at hand to relay the Spurs manager's thoughts, Villas-Boas grabs a pen and scrawls on his £5.99 coach's notepad (thanks to the Daily Mail for that crucial information) 'I have nothing more to say on Gareth Bale'.
1. Footballers To Show Humility
In a rare turn of events, Wayne Rooney, Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale all confess they had ideas above their station and express a renewed desire to give their all for the clubs paying them enormous wages to kick a ball around once or twice a week. Rooney's mysterious injuries disappear, with the striker admitting: "Well, I did ask that we sign better players, so it was a bit bloody foolish of me to complain when we did, silly thing that I am." Suarez thanks Rodgers for teaching him a lesson in loyalty and compliments the manager on his new set of pearly whites, while the aggressive rise of Bale's ego is curtailed when the winger accepts that his 'Eleven of Hearts' trademark is just a bit daft.
Matt Stanger - he's on the Twitter.