With just one day to go before the Premier League season starts again, it’s time for predictions!
Nobody could’ve predicted the heroics of the 5000/1 winners Leicester, or Aston Villa’s demise, last season and nobody knows what will happen this time around- But I’m going to try my best!
So here is my Premier League table:
1st- Manchester United (Up four places)
Occupying top spot by the end of the season will be Man United for several reasons. Firstly, Jose Mourhinio will bring something new to the table. His Direct playing style will be a change from Louis Van Gaal’s ‘boring’ game. The new signings (Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba along with others) will, obviously, be influential and we have already seen in the pre-season period that they can make a difference ( Ibrahimovic vs Leicester in the Community Shield to win the game). Hopefully the youth will continue to flow, but some believe that this won’t happen under ‘The Special One’.
2nd- Manchester City (Up three)
Behind their rivals, I think Man City will finish second. Pep Guardiola has already shaken up the team, banning overweight players from the squad training. They are brimming with class- Kevin De Brune, Sergio Agüero among others- and should be able to apply it.
3rd- Tottenham Hotspur (Same as last season)
After a disappointing end to the season (The 5-1 loss to already relegated Newcastle United), they should be able to bounce back after a decent pre-season that included a 6-1 victory against Inter Milan. They show good team spirit and, even though their signings are relitavley cheap compared to others, they have some class, young players. Harry Kane will be looking to be the top scorer again this season- with Dele Ali and Vincent Jannsen wanting to also get on the scoresheet. They’ve got Champions League (CL) football as well this season, where I’m looking forward to see them in the group stage.
4th- Chelsea (Up six)
The Blues didn’t have a very good season last year by any stretch of the imagination, finishing 10th after a bad start. Antonio Conte had a good run with Italy in Euro 2016, getting knocked out on penalties by Germany. He has energy, which was demonstrated several times throughout the competition, which Chelsea need to pick them up after last campaign. N’Golo Kante was a great buy from Leicester and he should make an impact.
5th- Arsenal (Down three)
This may seem like a radical prediction, but Arsenal haven’t done good business in the transfer window. They have only signed two players and let four go: midfielder Granit Xhaka (£34 from Borussia Monchengladbach) and defender Rob Holding (Undisclosed fee from Bolton Wanderers). They’re missing a real quality striker that could pummel in the goals, which could be their comeuppance.
6th- Liverpool (Up two)
Jurgen Klopp has regenerated Liverpool with his enthusiasm. After a great run in the Europa League, taking them to the final where they eventually lost to Sevilla. Sadio Mane, who came to the Reds with a £34m price tag from Southampton, scored on his debut against Barcelona and he looks like he will make an impact. This could be a good year for them.
7th- West Ham (Same)
After being very unlucky not to achieve CL football last season, I think they will come close again this season. Along with set-piece wizard Dimitri Payet, they have some really underrated players like Andy Carroll and Mark Noble- both of whom had a fair claim to make the England squad. They have a strong attack, but their defence will need to be tightened to progress any further up the table. Their goal difference (GD) was only 14, where the likes of Leicester last season was 32.
8th- Leicester (Down seven)
Last season’s surprise champions are unlikely to emulate their success. They’ve done well at keeping the main members of their squad, only selling N’Golo Kante to Chelsea for £30m. Like Tottenham, their team spirit is outstanding and there is no doubt that this will continue into next season. Claudio Ranieri is a key part of this and it is great news for the fans as he has signed a contract extension until 2020. They also have CL football this season too, where Jamie Vardy is likely to shine again.
9th- Southampton (Down three)
A factory for youth players, Southampton will be likely to deliver again, this season a few places down the table. However, they have suffered losses with the departure of manager Ronald Koeman to Everton as well as Victor Wanyama and Sadio Mane. Claude Puel, replacement for Koeman, does have big boots to fill but he has done wonders for Nice in the French Ligue 1, getting them Europa League football- just missing out on the CL by two points.
10th- Everton (Up one)
Last season was a tad disappointing after finishing 11th but I think Koeman will do well. They could only muster a +4 GD and to be at the top of the table they need to score more and concede less- as well winning more! They’ve snapped up Wales and Swansea captain Ashley Williams but also lost John Stones.
11th- Watford (Up two)
Up two places is Watford. Troy Deeny and Odion Ighalo are a good partnership up front but their defence was the joint second worst in the league, tied with relegated Norwich. They showed real promise last season when most tipped them for relegation.
12th- Stoke City (Down three)
They may slip up this season because of their attack, only scoring 41 goals compared to Liverpool’s 63 who finished above them. Joe Allen has been their only transfer in so far this window.
13th- AFC Bournemouth (Up three)
Eddie Howe is a great manager and I think he will move the team on. Jordan Ibe was a good signing in the attacking-midfield area that could do with some work. In the games I watched this season, they played with real hunger and bravery; I think this will transfer into the next season.
14th- Crystal Palace (Up one)
They reached the final of the FA Cup last season but didn’t have the best of league campaigns. They lacked a bit but Yohan Cabaye and Andros Townsend should fit into the squad well and make the impact Palace need.
15th- Sunderland (Up two)
After avoiding relegation by the skin of their teeth, I think Sunderland will improve on last season. After Sam Allardyce being hired for the England manager role, David Moyes has brought in three players from Manchester United- Donald Love, Paddy McNair and Adnan Januzaj (On loan). Moyes hasn’t had the best run of form recently and will be looking to improve. Jermaine Defoe, at the age of 33, was vital as he scored the goals late on to get the Black Cats the points that eventually kept them up.
16th- Burnley (New to the PL)
New kids on the block Burnley have a point to prove after achieving 93 points on their way to the Championship title. Andre Gray was the top scorer last season in the second tier as the Clarets scored 72 goals. Although it is a completely different leage, they should be able to replicate what they did last season and stay up.
17th- Swansea (Down five)
They finished 12th last season but after the loss of Ashley Williams could be a big blow for them. They will need to score more to move further up the table. Some summer signings have been made; we will have to wait to see if these will pay off.
18th- West Bromwich Albion (Down four)
The first to be relegated, in my opinion, will be West Brom. They didn’t concede as many goals but they scored very little too- 34 to be precise. They’ve only signed midfielder Matt Phillips from Queens Park Rangers at the time of writing. They just have lacked that quality that will keep them up this year.
19th- Middlesborough (New)
I don’t think Middlesborough will survive in the Premier League this season; they won’t go down without a fight. Although they have made several transfers in so far, including goalkeeper Brad Guzan from Aston Villa, I don’t think they can stay up against the big boys.
20th- Hull (New)
Also going straight back down will be Hull. After Steve Bruce’s departure, Mike Phelan (Originally the assistant) has been appointed caretaker manager. He has had no real first-team managing; he has been a head coach at Man United (2001-2008) and has been assistant at several other clubs. The Tigers haven’t had much action in the market- selling three and only signing Peterborough United’s Jonathan Edwards on a free transfer.
It’s almost impossible to predict the Premier League; it’s so mixed and last season was a great demonstration of this. That’s probably why it’s the best league in the world!