With just over a week left until the eagerly awaited start of the Premier League season we are entering regrettable predictions territory. Predicting the final standings is a daunting task but here are our Premier League top 6 predictions for the coming campaign.
Liverpool – 6th
After pipping Arsenal to a Champions League spot last season, Liverpool have focused on strengthening their squad for a tough season domestically and in Europe. They have currently added Egyptian winger Mohamad Salah and left back Andrew Robertson to their ranks. It remains to be seen whether or not Coutinho will remain a Liverpool player as speculated interest mounts from Barcelona following Neymar’s mind-boggling transfer to PSG.
If Coutinho were to stay, Liverpool still need to juggle their domestic season with their European endeavours. This is something they have struggled with in recent seasons exiting the Champions League in the group stages during the 14/15 and 09/10 campaigns and finishing 6th and 7th respectively. There is no guarantee that Liverpool will struggle to succeed on both fronts but the astronomical transfer fees being spent by their rivals and the prospect of losing Coutinho means they may struggle again.
Mane, Firmino and Salah will be crucial to Liverpool’s prospects next year and the potential arrival of Van Dijk may provide much needed solidarity at the back. Despite this the extra games that the champions league bring may affect a team already accused of burning out before the seasons end and for this reason we predict a 6th place finish.
Arsenal – 5th
Last season for the first time in 20 years Arsenal finished outside of the top 4. The FA Cup win over Chelsea provided some saving grace to a dire season for the gunners. The final months of the season were plagued with the uncertainty over Arsene Wenger’s future as Arsenal fans were typically split between Wenger In and Wenger Out once again. Since the end of last season Wenger has signed a new two-year deal and the club announced the signing of Alexandre Lacazette for a record fee of £52.7m. The French striker will have a big role to play if Arsenal are to get back into the champions league at the first time of asking.
The future of Sanchez remains uncertain but if the Chilean remains an arsenal player, the attacking trio of Ozil, Sanchez and Lacazette could prove to be deadly. The lack of Champions League may benefit Arsenal by eliminating their seemingly annual deterioration in February during the first round of the knockout stage, allowing them to concentrate on the league. This however is by no means guaranteed as Arsenal will still be competing in the Europa league and the club may struggle to maintain their form in both competitions.
With question marks still present over their consistency and the Premier League being as competitive it has ever been a 5th place finish is our prediction for the gunners. The Europa league may prove to be their best chance to regain their Champions League status.
Man United – 4th
Jose Mourinho’s first season at United can be described as hit and miss. The club was tipped to have a strong domestic campaign at the beginning of last season, yet often struggled to turn draws into victories. They finished 6th but managed to win the Europa league and the League Cup, securing Champions League status as well as winning more trophies than their rivals.
Mourinho will hope that the £40 million transfer fee paid for Nemanja Matic will allow Paul Pogba more freedom. The former world’s most expensive player had a decent if not unforgettable debut season at Old Trafford and the added freedom combined with the arrival of Romelu Lukaku and Victor Lindelof could deliver big things from United this season.
The Champions League will offer an added complication for United although their squad depth may benefit them greatly during the busier parts of the season. Despite the optimism there is still a lot for United to prove before they start challenging for the title and there are arguably stronger candidates this year. We predict a 4th place finish for Mourinho’s men.
Tottenham – 3rd
The 16/17 season was another productive year for Tottenham as they registered their highest points total in a Premier League season with 86. This points return would have been enough to win the title on 11 separate occasions and their goal difference of 60 is the highest of a non-title winning team. In Harry Kane, the club possess a natural goal scorer and arguably the best striker in the league having won the golden boot in his last 2 seasons.
After 2 seasons of challenging for the title the expectation for Spurs will be to go one better and secure the title. This however is easier said than done and despite having one of the strongest starting elevens, the squad depth is a bit lacking in some areas. Pochettino is yet to make a summer signing despite the sale of Kyle Walker to Man City for £50 million. He has discussed the difficulty of convincing good players to come and then be on the bench. With such an established first eleven it seems Tottenham’s biggest task is to figure out how to cope when the likes of Kane, Alli and Alderweireld are missing.
Another issue is the fact that all of Tottenham’s home games will be played at Wembley this season. They have lost 7 of their last 9 games at the stadium and will struggle to replicate the home form at White Hart Lane which saw them remain unbeaten last season. There is no reason to suggest that the team will be unable to reproduce their good form when fully fit but the lack of additions and injuries could see Spurs once again struggle to maintain the pace with the league leaders. We predict a 3rd place finish.
Chelsea – 2nd
Antonio Conte’s debut season in English football couldn’t have gone much better. The Italian not only won the Premier League with plenty to spare but also led Chelsea to becoming the first English side to win 30 times in a 38-game season. Only Arsenal managed to stop the blues completing the first domestic double in England since Arsenal themselves in the 2001/2002 season. After such an impressive campaign, the task ahead of Conte is to maintain the club’s consistency. Winning a Premier League without European football cluttering up the schedule is one thing. Competing for silverware on four fronts is quite another.
This transfer window has seen Chelsea add Morata, Rüdiger and Bakayoko to their ranks in an attempt to add competition for places and to replace players. Morata will replace the impressive out-going Diego Costa, while Bakayoko will fit in to the space left by Matic. The fact the initial £58m paid to Real Madrid for Morata almost feels like a bargain reflects the lunacy of the summer market, though the hope is Morata will prove as prolific for Chelsea as he did from the bench at the Bernabéu last term.
Chelsea have struggled in recent years to maintain their form after winning a title and the trend could follow again. However, Conte’s reputation as a tactician may guide the club through testing parts of the season. We predict a 2nd place from the champions on top of a potential Champions league run.
Manchester City – 1st
Big things were expected when Pep Guardiola took charge of Manchester City last year. The pressure to deliver was high and despite winning their first 10 games in all competitions, Pep endured an underwhelming first campaign in English football. Focus now centres on how his mistakes will be addressed. The prime error was an unbending emphasis on attack that meant Guardiola expected all opposition to be snuffed out via ball retention and the notion City should score more no matter how many were conceded.
It seems Pep viewed the problem to originate in the full back positions as the club has spent over £123 million on the acquisitions of Walker, Mendy and Danilo. If the new look defence performs well the attacking talents of De Bruyne, Aguero, Sterling and most of the other members of the squad may be too much to handle. With such a rich number of talented players and the amount of money spent anything less than the title will be deemed as a failure at the Etihad. After a season of mediocrity, we believe that this will be the year Pep and City will deliver and it will be a tall order for any team to match them over 38 games. We predicted that the Blues will finish top of pile come May.
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