It’s that time of year to embarrass myself again and try to predict who will finish Champions of England. Also, who will make up the top four and who will end up relegated to the Championship come next summer.
Although many people are raving about Chelsea now that they are making up for lost time in this transfer window due to being prevented from operating in the last few. I am not so sure they have what it takes to overhaul what was a 33 point difference to the champions last season.
Defensively Chelsea are still weak with a goalkeeper who gives out more presents that Santa Claus. Although Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva may shore up that leaky defense I do think that they will ship too many goals this season. In Christian Pulisic they have an outstanding forward who will cause defences problems. Further good business has been replacing an ageing Willian with Hakim Ziyech. One big issue with so much player turnover and so many new signings is that players take time to settle. You cannot expect all those players to settle into a new country, a new system under a new manager and expect them to perform straight away. Taking nothing away from what has been so far a very good transfer window for Chelsea, I cannot see them finding another 11 wins to match the levels of Liverpool. Maybe in two years but then will Lampard still be around if Roman doesnt get his way and his hands on the premier league trophy in May?
Liverpool are still the side to beat. They have been so consistent over the last two seasons in the Premier League amassing 90 plus points both times. They have been fortunate with injuries but I don’t think they have a deep enough squad to deal with a number of injuries to key personnel like Manchester City have.
City have two class players for most positions whereas Liverpool have a great starting eleven. I know losing David Silva will be a blow to City, I cannot help but feel that they will be out to prove a point this season and try harder to close the 18 point gap on Liverpool.
The old saying of “winning the league is the easy bit, retaining it is more difficult” is so true. City tried and failed for a number of years and found out how much other teams try so much harder against you when you are the Champions. Liverpool will have to cope with that. It will be interesting to see if Liverpool can keep those high standards up again for a third season running. Like with City, a sides intensity sometimes drops off slightly once you have made it to the pinnacle.
The title will I believe still be contested by these two sides. I just have a nagging feeling City will aim to knock Liverpool off top stop this season such is the simmering feeling between both clubs.
I feel Manchester United will be the best of the rest outside of the top 3. Although Solskjaer is still rebuilding his side, he has made some excellent signings as well moving on those who are either injury prone or not up to the task. If Ole can sign a quality centre half to support Maguire or even a decent full back I feel they could possibly push Chelsea again for third. Goals have been easier to come by since Martial found his scoring boots and Fernandes walked into Old Trafford. With Donny Van de Beek coming into the midfield, United look good going forward. De Gea now has Henderson breathing down his neck for the number one spot which should raise the standards of goalkeeping at United. If they do manage to force the Sancho transfer through then I expect a real push for third.
I am still not convinced about Mourinho at any club at the minute. His self destruct mode and moods will test the patience of his players and Daniel Levy. Should Kane get injured again, I cannot see where their goals will come from. I still think top 6 has to be their expectation.
Arsenal are still rebuilding even though Arteta has bought himself more time and patience with an FA Cup & Community Shield sat in the clubs trophy room. Questions still remain about Ozil and whether Aubameyang wants to commit his long term future at the club. Keeping Aubameyang is vital to Arsenals success in the next couple of seasons. I do expect them to perform better than last seasons 8th place but only just.
Sheffield United, Burnley, Leicester, Wolves will all have decent seasons. As long as Sean Dyche and Chris Wilder are still in charge their clubs will more than hold their own in the league next year.
I fear for any newly promoted sides but Fulham and West Brom, in my opinion will return straight back to the Championship. I can see Mitrovic struggling again to make the step up from a very good Championship striker to a top Premier League one. West Brom are one of those sides who are hard working but ultimately will struggle to beat most top 10 sides.
Leeds on the other side will survive and like Sheffield United last season surprise a few people. Yes they will suffer without a full house roaring them on at Elland Road, which is worth several points a season to them but I feel they will catch a few sides cold with their style of play. So two of the three promoted sides to make a quick return to the Championship for me.
Once again Crystal Palace, Newcastle, West Ham, Aston Villa, Brighton will be flirting with the relegation zone again. Everton should be pushing into the top 10 with the signings they have made as well as Ancelotti having almost twelve months in the job to work out how he wants his side to play.
So here goes:
- Man United
20. Fulham 19. West Brom 18. Aston Villa
There you go, I’ve just probably embarrassed myself just like I will with my fantasy football side too, but hey ho. Go on then, give me your predictions?