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Football’s final furlong: our writers predict how the season will finish

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Who will win the Premier League?

Dominic Fifield: Manchester City. The race with Liverpool should go to the wire but greater squad depth and experience may just tilt it towards the reigning champions.

Andy Hunter: Manchester City. For no other reason than backing them before the season started. No Machiavellian late change of horse here.

David Hytner: Manchester City will likely drop points at Old Trafford but can Liverpool win each of their final games? I think they will slip up in one, allowing City to squeak home.

Jamie Jackson: Manchester City because of their quality of squad and title-winning experience.

Stuart James: Manchester City. Greater squad depth than Liverpool, plus that title-winning knowhow, will probably see Pep Guardiola’s side just edge it at the end.

Amy Lawrence: Manchester City. Bit a few nails trying to decide so stuck with pre-season choice for the hell of it.

Barney Ronay: Manchester City. Two brilliant teams at the top. But City are a winning machine.

Daniel Taylor: Manchester City. I change my mind most weeks but if they can win at Old Trafford in the Manchester derby I think it will be theirs.

Louise Taylor: Liverpool. It will be tight but the wait has been too long on Merseyside and this is the trophy they really crave.

Paul Wilson: Manchester City. Can’t help but think Liverpool have had their chance and City will not slip up again between now and the end of the season.

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Who will fill the other Champions League places?

DF: Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester United. Spurs, once over their blip, and United may have too much for Arsenal and a stuttering Chelsea.

AH: Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester United. Liverpool are either first or second and the other two look stronger than the rest.

DH: Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester United. Arsenal’s away form has not been good enough and they have too many difficult road trips to come.

JJ: Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester United. The Ole Gunnar Solskjær “bounce” should allow his team to skip over Arsenal.

SJ: Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester United. Spurs have had a wobble, yet I’d still back them to come through that, while United have been a different team under Solskjær. Arsenal and Chelsea seem a little erratic.

AL: Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal. Honestly this is all just like drawing straws.

Tottenham train inside their new stadium.



Tottenham train inside their new stadium. Photograph: Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

BR: Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal. Ole’s at the wheel. But José’s already spent half a season scowling in heavy traffic. United to just miss out.

DT: Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester United. United have looked weary recently, with a lengthy injury list, but they still have the momentum whereas Arsenal and Chelsea look short.

LT: Manchester City, Tottenham and Manchester United. Arsenal are suspect on the road and will miss out because five of their final eight games are away. Chelsea will prioritise the Europa League.

PW: Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham. Reality may be about to bite for Solskjær in other words, perhaps in the Manchester derby next month.

Who will be relegated?

DF: Huddersfield, Fulham and Cardiff. Only Cardiff of the bottom three still stand a chance, and their run-in looks dreadful.

AH: Huddersfield, Fulham and Cardiff. No prizes for predicting the bottom two and Burnley’s greater experience may prove telling.

DH: Cardiff, Fulham and Huddersfield, for the simple reason that they are the three worst teams in the division.

JJ: Huddersfield, Fulham and Burnley. Sean Dyche’s team have lost their past four – the end appears nigh for them.

SJ: Huddersfield and Fulham are nailed on, which means it’s probably two from three. Southampton have the best run-in, so it’s a fight between Burnley and Cardiff. Burnley will go – tricky last four games.

AL: Huddersfield, Fulham and Cardiff. The bottom two look doomed and Burnley’s experience should give them the edge over Cardiff.

BR: Huddersfield, Fulham and Burnley. A karma relegation for Burnley after Dyche’s incessant whingeing about referees and non-British footballing habits.

James Tarkowski looks dejected following Burnley’s recent defeat to Leicester City at Turf Moor. Sean Dyche’s men are well and truly in a relegation dogfight



James Tarkowski looks dejected following Burnley’s recent defeat to Leicester City at Turf Moor. Sean Dyche’s men are well and truly in a relegation dogfight. Photograph: Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

DT: Cardiff, Fulham and Huddersfield. Cardiff won’t go down without a heck of a fight but they are short of quality.

LT: Huddersfield, Fulham and Cardiff. Neil Warnock’s side have a tough run-in but will make it tense, particularly for Burnley, before dropping down by the narrowest of margins.

PW: Fulham, Huddersfield and Cardiff. Burnley are the other big doubt but they get to play Cardiff at home in a couple of weeks and that could be crucial.

Who will be promoted from the Championship?

DF: Norwich, Sheffield United and Aston Villa. Leeds United may push the top two right to the end, but recovering in the play-offs to hold off a resurgent Villa might be asking too much.

AH: Norwich, Sheffield United and Leeds United. Despite a sneaky feeling for Aston Villa via the play-offs the top three have had the edge over their rivals all season.

DH: Leeds United may need the play-offs but I see them going up with Norwich and Sheffield United.

JJ: Norwich, Sheffield United and Leeds United. Having the two Uniteds play recently each look equipped to join the Canaries.

SJ: Norwich and Leeds United, with Aston Villa joining them from the play-offs. Sheffield United could obviously scupper that prediction – and part of me hopes that they do.

AL: Norwich, Leeds and Sheffield United. Caveat that the play-offs can be cruel to the higher-placed finishers so maybe Aston Villa sneak in.

BR: Norwich, Leeds United and Aston Villa. Leeds collapse over the line. Villa via the play-offs.

Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa.



Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa. Photograph: Simon Davies/ProSports/Rex/Shutterstock

DT: Sheffield United, Norwich and Aston Villa. If Leeds cannot go up automatically, I think Villa will be the team with the upwards momentum going into the play-offs, especially now Jack Grealish is playing with such influence.

LT: Norwich, Sheffield United and, through the play-offs, Leeds United. It would be harsh on Marcelo Bielsa if Leeds failed to make it and they should have just enough to see off an improving Villa. Troubled Middlesbrough to blow it again.

PW: Norwich and Sheffield United, plus West Bromwich Albion through the play-offs. Leeds United’s best hope is to finish in the top two; they may tail off otherwise.

Who will win the FA Cup?

DF: Wolves. Nuno Espírito Santo’s team to hit Manchester City on the counterattack in the final, and leave Wembley basking in old gold.

AH: Manchester City. Hopes of a domestic clean sweep kept alive only after an almighty scare by Wolves.

DH: My head says Manchester City but I’m going to go out on a romantic limb and say Wolves, who have routinely raised their game on the big occasions this season.

JJ: Manchester City. Pep Guardiola knows how to win multiple trophies in a season.

SJ: Cards on the table, I hope that Wolves do it. On the face of it, they pose the biggest threat to City. They’ve got a special team at Molineux.

AL: Logic says Manchester City but a big voice trying to shout that down says Wolves.

A couple of Wolves supporters during their team’s FA Cup quarter-final victory over Manchester United at Molineux. Next stop - Wembley



A couple of Wolves supporters during their team’s FA Cup quarter-final victory over Manchester United at Molineux. Next stop: Wembley. Photograph: Chris Radburn/PA

BR: Manchester City. They are the best team left in it. Sorry.

DT: Manchester City. Wigan Athletic can provide hard evidence that we should not take anything for granted – but City have to be the clear favourites.

LT: Manchester City. The heart says Chris Hughton and Brighton but the head says yet another trophy for Guardiola.

PW: Manchester City. Wolves would be a tremendous story, but City can probably find room in their busy schedule for a couple of wins at Wembley.

Who will win the Champions League?

DF: Juventus. Canny campaigners, spearheaded by Cristiano Ronaldo’s brilliance, may see off the English challenge in both semi-final and final.

AH: Liverpool. Only a matter of time before Jürgen Klopp lands a big one.

DH: Barcelona and Lionel Messi to deny City and Guardiola in a final teeming with subplots.

JJ: Manchester City. Yes, this means a prediction of the quadruple.

SJ: Manchester City. This is their season. Actually, it wouldn’t surprise me if they did the quadruple; they’re that good. Plus I’m not sure it’s a vintage Champions League season.

AL: Barcelona. Because … Messi.

BR: Barcelona. It’s tight, and they have weaknesses, but Messi has an air of destiny. And he’s the best club player in the history of the game. Which helps.

DT: Juventus. It’s probably the idea of Ronaldo returning to Madrid to lift the trophy (again). Juve signed him to make the difference. And he gets his way, more often than not.

Cristiano Ronaldo could see Juventus finally land a first Champions League title since 1996.



Cristiano Ronaldo could see Juventus finally land a first Champions League title since 1996. Photograph: Soccrates Images/Getty Images

LT: Manchester City. Hard to predict and there’s a nagging temptation to back Juventus but it’s the piece of silverware Guardiola and City’s Abu Dhabi backers covet most.

PW: Liverpool. Klopp’s record in finals is not great, but at this stage of the competition you would not back against his team reaching another one.

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