As the new football season inches closer and closer, it is about time that people started getting their predictions in for the Premier League – and I am no different. From the champions to the beaten, I am going to round up what I think will happen this season.
We start at the top, and it isn’t easy. I know plenty will be saying that Chelsea is the obvious choice, but I think there could be some strong challengers for the league title this season.
Don’t get me wrong, Jose Mourinho’s men are some of the most talented technical and mental players in the world, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some surprises were sprung.
Arsenal finished like a bullet train last season. And I said then that they could be major challengers for the title this time round. However – at time of writing – they are yet to do much business in the transfer market.
The capture of Petr Cech was a smart one, but the team obviously needs to fill some holes if they are to challenge this season. They have also been blighted by injuries in recent years, but if they make one or two necessary signings and come relatively injury free, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them up there.
However, they are not the only ones in the mix. I also like Manchester United this season. Louis van Gaal has set up his players well and they are back in the Champions League after his first season in charge.
He has also added to his squad well, with the much needed addition of another defender and Memphis Depay could be something really special.
Three of the top four are mentioned above in Chelsea, Arsenal & Manchester United and the fourth should be an easy pick. Manchester City right?
Well yes and no. I really think City will struggle this season. I don’t think they are anywhere near league winners standard, and if last season was anything to go by, their defence needs a real and urgent shake up and reboot.
However, they should be good enough for top four, and if they can finally get to grips with playing Champions League football on a Tuesday and Wednesday night then that will make things easier.
But thats a big if. They haven’t up until now, and nothing has shown me that that will change. I will stick with them on the basis that Vincent Kompany has to have a better season and on his day he can single-handedly win this team the league.
To clarify, for this section I am working on the basis that two teams will qualify for the Europa League through their league placing this season.
Tottenham Hotspur have added to their squad really well and I like what Mauricio Pochettino is doing with the team. Dele Alli is a really good player for the future and it will not harm the team to include him sparingly this season to deal with fixture congestion and injuries.
Their best signing so far of the summer though has to be Toby Alderweireld. The fantastic defender comes into the team in an area that Spurs desperately needed help in. He can be the difference this season, and providing Pochettino can make one or two more signings, Tottenham could really go close.
Liverpool should get the other European place, but I really don’t think they are going to be that special this season. Their signings have been expensive and on the whole fairly useless, with the exception of two.
Bringing James Milner in on a free will go down as one of the best transfers Brendan Rodgers has done at Liverpool, and the addition of Roberto Firmino should also help.
However, Christian Benteke is good – but not quite worth £32.5m, they also overpaid for Nathanial Clyne and bringing in Danny Ings is just a waste of wages for a team will plenty of attacking options.
They should get at least seventh, but its going to be hard work.
Mid-Table Team to Watch
Crystal Palace will be the team to beat this season. They have made some great transfers, and with old hero Alan Pardew at the helm, things can only get better for them.
Yohan Cabaye was persuaded to move to the London club after previously being at PSG, but when he played at Newcastle United under Pardew, he helped them reach the Europa League for the first time in years.
They may not get as high as seventh place, but some of last seasons performances, added to the transfers they have made make them my team to watch get into the top ten this season.
First up in the easiest. Although I am overjoyed that Bournemouth are playing in the Premier League again, I just can’t see them having the skills, physicality and tactical awareness to progress any higher than relegation. I also think they will finish bottom of the league.
However, this is harsh on the job that Eddie Howe has done at Bournemouth and I hope they stick with him regardless of results, but as we all know, this doesn’t often happen in the top league.
Secondly, I think Watford will give a good account of themselves this season, but I don’t think that is enough to see them stay up. They have made several signings (eight to be exact), but just one is Premier League ability.
Etienne Capoue signed from Spurs, and he has the talent to be in the top flight, but only just. No doubt he would have been playing in the Championship for the 2016/17 season anyway.
Finally, I think Leicester’s time is up. They made the ‘great escape’ last season but I don’t think that it will happen again. Claudio Ranieri is a top manager, but he is pretty much past it now, much like many of the players.
Esteban Cambiasso was a great signing, but for their second season in the Premier League, Leicester need to start looking towards the future, and that isn’t happening with Ranieri. He plans to replace Cambiasso with a similar washed up star.
Relegation will be tight, and I wouldn’t be surprised if four teams were in trouble on the final day of the season.
|14||West Bromwich Albion|
|15||West Ham United|
Disagree? Let me know.