Putting together what the Premier League table will look like at the end of the season is always fun. Here is our first crack at it.
20. West Brom
Leading West Brom back to the premier league for the first time since being relegated in the 2017/2018 campaign, Slaven Billic will have a short lived return to the Premier League. Although he has “unfinished business”, using his own words, it’s hard to see West Brom are going to goals against the bottom half of the table, let alone the top half. Sorry West Brom fans, wish you guys a good campaign.
It was quite a nice surprise to see Fulham beat Brentford in the Championship Playoff Final in July. They’ve done well to come back up since being relegated the season prior to last. Unfortunately, it looks like they’ll be making a trip back down. Although I feel they’ll be in the fight for the 17th place finish, I don’t see them being able to score enough goals to stay afloat.
18. Aston Villa
This one was really tough. Defensively they were among the bottom 5 in goals conceded. Offensively, they averaged just over a goal per game, but when you concede 1.76 goals per game, I don’t see them being able to scrape enough points to stay up this year. Although I think it’ll be a tight battle from 18th to 15th place. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next two teams on the list replaced Aston Villa in the regulation table.
17. Newcastle United
Only 6 other premier league clubs conceded more goals last year than Newcastle. Having a heartbreak of a summer with the fallout of a potential take over, I see this season potentially ending horribly for Newcastle. Their £40m striker will need to score at least 15 goals this premier league campaign to keep them afloat. Having said that, Steve Bruce is an experienced premier league manager who should be able to keep in the premier league.
16. Brighton and Hove Albion
Having done so well to stay in the premier league in his first year in charge, Graham Potter gets a thumbs up. Looking to build and play more “expansive” football, Potter needs to sort of the attack. It would certainly help a team that scored the fifth fewest goals (39) last campaign. If they’re able to score 45 or more goals as a team this campaign, they shouldn’t have a problem getting the results needed to stay up.
15. Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace is such an odd team to place this year. They scored the second fewest goals (31) last campaign only above relegated Norwich (26). With Michy Batshuayi set to join Palace on a season-long loan and Wilfried Zaha attracting no serious suitors as of yet. The attack should improve from their poor showing last campaign. If they’re more potent in the attack this year, and perform as well as they did last year in defense. Roy Hodgson’s men should have no trouble staying up, but this is the premier league so nothing really surprises me.
14. West Ham
David Moyes will look to improve on their 16th place finish last season. With talent like Declan Rice, Michail Antonio, Aaron Cresswell and Manuel Lazzini, this team should be much better than what they’ve been. Having conceded the fifth most goals (62) last season, they’ll need to improve significantly to move further up in the table. They have a side that can hurt teams on the counter if setup properly. Look for a more organized West Ham this season, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they were to make a push for the 10th position.
With Sean Dyche in charge, it seems easy to say Burnley will stay up again. Reinforcements will be required to maintain competition for places, especially after Jeff Hendrick joined Newcastle. Burnley are yet to make a proper first-team signing and may find themselves in trouble, but they have until October to change that. Keeping hold of exciting young winger Dwight McNeil will be another priority this window.
12. Leeds United
Welcome back Leeds United! After a 16 year absence from the Premier League, Marcelo Bielsa has finally brought Leeds back to the big stage. Probably one of the more intriguing teams to rank this year, I see Leeds doing very well against the bottom half of the table, and giving the top 6 problems with their tactical flexibility. Having added Rodrigo from Valencia for £30m to the attack, it’ll be very exciting to watch Leeds play this year. Best of luck to Leeds United this year, don’t be surprised if they push hard similar to Wolves for the 9th or 8th spot.
11. Sheffield United
Chris Wilder acted quickly to replace goalkeeper Dean Henderson, who excelled on loan and rejoined Manchester United. Adding Aaron Ramsdale from Bournemouth has been a major plus this summer. Looking to make a few new signings, look for Sheffield to challenge for the Europa League spots this season. Although we expect them to fall a little short of where they were last season, dropping two spots.
Ralph Hasenhuttl is getting everyone excited to watch Southampton this year. New signings Mohammed Salisu and Kyle Walker-Peters add pace to the defense. Scoring 51 goals last season was a good start, but Hasenhuttl will need to sure up the defensive which conceded the sixth most goals (60) last season. Southampton will look to take the game to most of their opponents this season. A 10th place finish would be good for Southampton, but don’t be surprised if they’re pushing for Europa League positions with Sheffield.
Carlo Ancelotti remains one of the world’s most revered coaches and with the addition of James Rodriguez, the Italian will be reunited with one of his star players during his time at Real Madrid. Don’t forget that Carlo led Chelsea to a premier league title, he has proven that he can win games in the Premier League. Everton have shown the willingness to invest, and I could see them surprising most and finishing 7th. Since they are unproven though, they fall to 9th in our pre-season prediction.
Wolves finished 7th last season – and we expect them to challenge for the European spots again. Nuno Espirito Santo boasts a talented squad that many thought would be picked apart this summer. Wolves have been able to keep star players Adama Traore, Raul Jimenez and Ruben Neves so far. The loss of Matt Doherty to Spurs, for a relatively cheap £14.7m, is a massive blow. A replacement is a priority this summer.
7. Leicester City
Before the injury gods decided to royally screwed Leicester City last season, they were a surprisingly comfortable top-4 team. It took injuries and a mega collapse down the stretch for Brendan Rodgers’ team to finish fifth. Although they will make a push for Champions League spots, it’s unlikely that the typical Top-6 teams will be as bad as they were last year. We have them finishing below Arsenal, although their spots could easily be switched.
Mikel Arteta has proven in his short-time at Arsenal that he is the right man. It’s now in the boards hands, either they give the manager serious commitment and investment or this will be the same old Arsenal. With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang entering his prime goal scoring years, he’ll be a popular pick to win the Golden Boot this year. Winning the FA Cup was a great way to end the year, it also gave Arsenal Europa League football. How that will affect their league form is yet to be seen but similar to Tottenham, we expect them to be more consistent in the league than the year before. Arteta will look to improve his sides defensive consistency, and if he is able to do that, Arsenal will be a shoe-in for top-6.
5. Manchester United
This is where things get interesting. Manchester United were able to finish the season strong and qualify for Champions League! It was an impressive finish, but overall the campaign was poor. United had a +7 (second highest) net score in VAR decisions last season. Yes, you force your own luck but even with all of the favored calls, United only managed 66 points for the second straight season and only scored one more goal than the year before. Ole has “steered” the ship as some would say, but he is not what United need in order to get back to the top. Using the “attractive” football excuse to hide behind performances is getting old. I see Manchester United pushing hard for Top-4. We have them finishing fifth though.
It looks like Marina Granovskaia is playing FIFA, except in real life. Seriously, Chelsea have gone ape-shit in the market after serving a one-year transfer ban. Frank Lampard did very well to secure Champions League football last season, and the same should be expected especially with the significant investment made to improve the squad. I really fought hard with myself in putting them fourth, but the spending is a concern. How Frank will manage all the new faces and challenges for squad places. Having said that, I do believe in team-cohesion and it’ll take the team a few months to gel and get going. Once that happens, look out because Chelsea could easily string together an 8-10 game win streak.
Let’s not forget that this team boasts a very good squad. José Mourinho knows how to get points, don’t forget United have yet to come close to the 81 points he was able to guide them to in his second year. I see a hungry Mourinho and Spurs squad. One of the main issues I have with this team is they will be competing and taking the Europa League. How that will affect their Premier League performance is to be seen. The addition of Matt Doherty will be a hit and Dele Alli looks setup to have his best campaign. Harry Kane is our favorite to win the Golden Boot this year. Expect more goals scored and fewer goals conceded from Spurs. Fourth or fifth place seems more realistic, but Spurs are out to prove something by making Top-4 and winning the Europa League.
2. Manchester City
It was very difficult to put City second this year considering Pep will be determined to be back on top of the Premier League. Manchester City’s Champions Leagues failures have left sour tastes in each of his 4 seasons. I’m not sure what to expect from the squad, yes they’ve brought in Ake & Torres but they were missing that killer instinct and leadership. No question they’re the most prolific team, but putting them second seems like a placeholder. Either they fight for the title (end up first or second) or disappoint and fall to third. Can Pep win a third premiership?
Having won the league for the first time since 1990, Liverpool will look to defend their crown as kings of England. A disappointing exit from the Champions League put a frown on what was a very dominant domestic performance in the league. Klopp will look to add domestic trophies, as well as compete for the title this year. Sadio Mane and Mo Salah will look to keep their inspiring form and both challenge for the golden boot as well. Liverpool have reported freed up almost £300,000 per week in wages with multiple departures. Will they bring in Thiago Alcantara? Will they bring in other reinforcements? We’ll have to wait and see until the October deadline, but this year looks to be shaping into a very competitive campaign from position 4-1.