Why 2022 could be a memorable year for football fans

Why 2022 could be a memorable year for football fans


Left to right: Mohamed Salah, Harry Kane, Ellen White and Erling Braut Haaland
Mohamed Salah (left), Harry Kane (left centre) and Ellen White (right centre) will all be looking for international success in 2022, while Erling Braut Haaland (right) could feature in a protracted transfer saga

For football fans, 2022 could be a memorable year.

It is an action-packed 12 months, starting with the FA Cup third round and Africa Cup of Nations, Premier League and Women’s Super League title races and then the delayed Women’s European Championships in July – and ending with the men’s World Cup in Qatar in November and December.

Here are some of the things you can look forward to…

Major international tournaments

England managers Sarina Wiegman (left) and Gareth Southgate (right)
England managers Sarina Wiegman (left) and Gareth Southgate (right) will both be hoping to guide their sides to success in 2022

We won’t have to wait long for the first international tournament with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy and Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez among those competing in the Africa Cup of Nations from 9 January-6 February in Cameroon.

Coverage of the quarter-finals onwards will be on BBC TV, as part of 10 games being shown live, with highlights of the earlier stages available on the BBC Sport website and app, as Algeria look to retain the trophy they won in 2019.

The Women’s Euros, which were due to take place in 2021, will then take centre stage with hosts England facing Austria at Old Trafford in the first game on 6 July.

England will also face Northern Ireland and Norway in the group stage, while holders the Netherlands come up against Sweden, who finished third in the 2019 World Cup, in one of the standout matches.

All 31 games will be available live across BBC TV, BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website and app.

History will then be made at the back end of the year when the men’s World Cup is staged in winter for the first time – with the tournament taking place between 21 November and 18 December in Qatar.

England have already booked their spot, while Scotland and Wales will attempt to join them in March’s qualifiers, alongside the last two winners of the European Championship, Portugal and Italy.

There will be comprehensive coverage of that tournament across BBC TV and BBC digital platforms.

Action-packed title races and relegation battles

Leah Williamson (left) and Fran Kirby (right)
Leah Williamson (left) and Fran Kirby (right) will play key roles for Arsenal and Chelsea respectively in the Women’s Super League title race

We have had some exciting Premier League title races in recent years, but they have generally involved two teams. This year Chelsea and Liverpool will both be hoping to battle Manchester City for the title.

The top-four race and fight for survival seem certain to go down to the wire so make sure to follow all the action in our live text commentaries, on BBC Radio 5 Live or by watching Match of the Day.

We already know that the 2022-23 season will take a break of almost six weeks for the World Cup – with fixtures ending after 12/13 November before resuming on 26 December.

The Women’s Super League is also set to be hotly contested with Arsenal looking to win their first title since 2019 and Chelsea aiming to make it three on the bounce.

Champions League qualification and relegation are also tight and should provide plenty of entertainment in the second half of the season.

There will be regular games on BBC TV with radio and live text commentary available on the BBC Sport website and app.

Enthralling cup competitions

Left to right: Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola and Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick
Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp (left), Chelsea’s Thomas Tuchel, Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola and Manchester United’s Ralf Rangnick will be looking to guide their sides to Champions League glory

With all four English teams through to the knockout stages of the Champions League, and West Ham and Leicester in the Europa League and Conference League respectively, there is plenty of interest in the elite European competitions this year.

Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United all feature at the top end of the bookmakers’ market for the Champions League with Bayern Munich and Paris St-Germain also fancied.

Chelsea will also look to become world champions in the Club World Cup in February.

Back at home, the men’s and women’s FA Cup will also feature across the BBC and as always should provide plenty of drama and upsets along the way.

We already know Manchester City’s dominance of the Carabao Cup will end, with a new winner crowned on 27 February.

Massive transfer windows

Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe
Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe will have a significant transfer budget to spend

Transfer windows can often be built up and end up letting you down, but surely the two in 2022 can’t do that?

Who will Newcastle look to sign after their Saudi Arabian-backed £305m takeover made them the richest club in the country? They have been linked with stellar names including Paris St-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe and Real Madrid’s Eden Hazard, but with a relegation battle looming who will Eddie Howe be able to attract to Tyneside?

Mbappe will be a free agent by the summer and has been persistently linked with Real Madrid, while the release clause in Erling Braut Haaland’s Borussia Dortmund contract will become active in the summer, making a move more likely.

Manchester City will be in the market for a striker, Manchester United are likely to have a new manager in the summer who will want his own players and Chelsea and Liverpool will want to keep up with them.

Meanwhile, Barcelona – mired in financial problems – are going to need to be savvy if they are going to give themselves a chance of Champions League qualification next season.

It should be very busy.

Future England players increasing their stock

Conor Gallagher (left) and Tammy Abraham (right)
Conor Gallagher (left) and Tammy Abraham (right) will both be looking to force themselves into Gareth Southgate’s plans

Gareth Southgate will probably have a pretty good idea of the squad that he intends to take to Qatar, but as we all know injuries and loss of form can impact heavily on selection, especially with the tournament being mid-season.

We’ve already seen Crystal Palace loanee Conor Gallagher make his full England debut this year, while Roma’s Tammy Abraham has forced his way back into contention and both will feature heavily in Southgate’s thoughts.

Could there be a late surge from Palace’s Marc Guehi or Eberechi Eze, Chelsea’s Trevoh Chalobah or maybe even Manchester City’s Cole Palmer?

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