With 2017 seeing many sporting surprises, 2018 promises to be something special. In football, another year of Premier League, La Liga, Ligue 1, Bundesliga and Serie A action awaits. Not to mention the small matter of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
In tennis, will it be Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer dominating again? Will Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray bounce back? Or will it be the year the sport’s next generation comes to the fore? Rugby, Formula One, Cricket and Boxing will also host some huge moments. Six Nations, Drivers’ championships and test matches galore all lie in wait.
So here are our predictions for 2018.
With so much happening, we will do our best to keep this short. Manchester City will win the Premier League, Barcelona will scoop La Liga, Bayern Munich will take their customary Bundesliga title and PSG, with Neymar in their ranks, will regain the Ligue 1 title lost last season to Monaco. In Italy, Juventus will take the crown. In the Champions League, PSG will beat Real Madrid and go on to lift the trophy. But only if they avoid Barcelona. It almost seems like destiny they will win the prize after losing Neymar back in the summer. Football has a funny way of working out.
At the World Cup, expect it to be either Germany or Brazil. England will make it out of their group but by the time flags start going up on cars and in house windows, Gareth Southgate’s men will be on the plane home.
Four Grand Slams. Four elite players. But 2018 will see one of the four miss out. In Australia, Roger Federer will take the prize. The 36-year-old continues to evolve and those hoping this will be the year his form dips are in for a nasty surprise. For that matter, expect him to take the Wimbledon title as well. When it comes to grass, he reigns supreme. Is it even worth mentioning the French Open? Probably not. They may as well have Rafael Nadal’s name already engraved on it. The US Open is hard to call but one of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray will take that one. Tennis’ gruelling season will have hit Nadal and Federer by then.
England have lost the Ashes but may take solace from the fact they can exact revenge against Australia in the limited over matches between the two sides. They will also beat New Zealand. Trevor Bayliss’ men will bounce back. They will also beat New Zealand and Pakistan on the Test Match scene. Yet India will steamroll the three Lions when they come to town. And Sri Lanka may also expose England’s worrying lack of world class spin bowlers in the autumn.
England have been nothing short of exceptional since Eddie Jones succeeded Stuart Lancaster after their nightmare 2015 World Cup campaign. So it would be foolish to bet against them winning the Six Nations again. Ditto when it comes to their matches against New Zealand. Everyone expects the All Blacks to be too strong for Jones’ men but very few can beat them these days. Expect the unexpected: A New Zealand defeat. Saracens will take the Premiership and, though their form has tailed off a tad, will also win the Champions Cup.
Sebastian Vettel, Valtteri Botas and Max Verstappen will all aim to usurp Lewis Hamilton and win the F1 Drivers’ Championship. But they won’t. The 32-year-old’s career has shown no signs of slowing up and another triumph beckons. Hamilton can keep calm in the face of adversity so expect championship win number five this year.
Anthony Joshua’s career is only going in one direction – up. Joseph Parker lies in wait and victory will surely see him face Deontay Wilder. Of course, there is also the small matter of Tyson Fury’s return. The ‘Gypsy King’ has been pretty vocal on Twitter recently and seems sure he will beat whoever comes into his path. Joshua vs Fury, however, is likely to wait until 2019. In the meantime, however, Chris Eubank JNR faces the fight of his life when he comes up against George Groves. That will make for blockbuster viewing.