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Duncan Alexander: 2022 Predictions

January 13, 2022January 18th, 2022

A New Year means predictions, and while mainstream thinkers will be churning out stuff like “Manchester City for the Premier League” as they scan 2022 for future narrative, here we like to look a little bit deeper, pronounce a little bit harder, crystal ball a little bit more extremely. Here, then, are five things that will definitely happen in 2022.

Someone will score five goals in a Premier League game
I’m not going to be so arrogant as to presume who, although let’s be honest, it’s not going to be Chris Wood (or is it?), but we are well overdue what those in the game love to call a cinq but salvo. The first came in 1995 from Andy Cole against Ipswich, then it was four years until Alan Shearer dismantled Sheffield Wednesday. Then came a long 10 years until Jermain Defoe did it against Wigan, followed just one year and one day later by Dimitar Berbatov against Blackburn. Five years after that Sergio Aguero scored the most recent five-er, against Newcastle, but that means we are heading towards seven years without one, and like a suspiciously quiet yet deadly volcano, an eruption is in the post. Autumn looks the best bet, with four of the previous instances occurring in September, October or November but even if it hasn’t happened by the time the World Cup finishes in December, it definitely will take place. You have my word.

France will retain the World Cup (7/1)
From 1938 to 1962 the World Cup was retained twice in only five editions (Italy in 1938, Brazil in 1962) but since then it has not happened again. The Netherlands were runners up in 1974 and 1978, as were West Germany in 1982 and 1986. Argentina came close, winners in 1986 and runners-up four years later, while Brazil went winners/runners-up/winners between 1994 and 2002. Since then, only France (2006 and 2018) have appeared in more than one final, and it is the French who will buck history in 2022 by retaining the World Cup. The final comes two days before Kylian Mbappe’s 24th birthday and he heads up the deepest squad in international football, so deep it can win the World Cup for two editions in a row. England, you ask? Quarter-finals.

Harry Kane, 199
2021, the Euros aside, wasn’t a vintage year for Harry Kane and 2022 hasn’t started delightfully either, but either Tottenham will improve considerably or Kane will finally get a move in the summer (maybe both!), something that will initiate the final sustained purple patch of his career. Kane is on 170 Premier League goals as it stands, and 29 more in 2022 will see him conclude the year on 199, 62 short of Alan Shearer’s record as Kane heads into 2023, aka the Year He Turns Thirty. He will land that record eventually, but just as Shearer’s output slowed as his career wound down, so Kane’s last 20-30 goals will come in fits and starts, from 12 yards and two. They all count though. Oh, and mark August 3 2022 in your diaries because that is the day that Spurs’ most recent league title will be closer to the 1890s than it is to the present day. Time comes at you fast.

Surname record to fall
There aren’t many Premier League records that have stood since the very early weeks of the stylish new competition back in autumn 1992, but one that has is Sheffield Wednesday’s selection of seven players with ‘W’ surnames in their game with Manchester City in early September ’92. Those men, as if you don’t know already, were: Wilson, Watson, Williams, Warhurst, Worthington, Woods & Waddle but some point in 2022, possibly by Fulham in October, that record will be extended to eight. With a different letter.

King James’ Reign Will End
2021-22 is the first football season since Young James Vaughan retired. Keen students of the Premier League will know that Vaughan holds the Premier League record for the youngest goal, scored for Everton against Crystal Palace in 2005, aged 16 years and 270 days. This milestone will be shattered by Leeds’ Archie Gray on his 16th birthday in March, when he comes on as a late substitute at Elland Road against Norwich City. SWEET SIXTEEN, unimaginative headline writers will exclaim. “We should have listened to Duncan,” many others will muse, quietly.

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