It’s that time again, and I have carefully scrutinised the squads this season and I think I’ve cobbled together a pretty good prediction as to where everyone’s going to finish this season.
This prediction hasn’t taken into account transfers after July 15th.
The Blues were champions last time out and with proper strengthening to add to the loan signing of Radamel Falcao (who I think will shine under Jose Mourinho) Chelsea will come out on top of the pile again. It won’t be as easy as last time but they will be the best of the lot again I reckon.
The Gunners looked formidable towards the back end of last season and have an FA Cup to show for it. I they can carry that form into next season I am backing them to mount a serious title challenge but fade away around February, only to end strongly and regain the runners up spot from City. Petr Cech was an inspired signing from Arsene Wenger and if he can pull off a few more shrewd deals like that then they surely will flourish. The gunners can signal their intent against Chelsea in the community shield.
3. Manchester City
They have already secured Raheem Sterling’s signature and I think that they will do very well if they can bring in the likes of Pogba and De Bruyne. Whether they can do that is another question, however. I still think that the City team lack the intensity of champions and with only Sterling and Navas to offer pace up front it seems like this season will pass on title-less like the last one and I reckon come next June Jurgen Klopp will be at the City helm.
4. Manchester United
Perhaps many people will be backing them to finish much higher than my prediction and I understand why because of signings like Darmian, Schweinsteiger and Schneiderlin. However, they have gaps in the team and without a new striker and centre back they are in trouble – also if De Gea goes it will be a killer blow. If they make a few more big name signings then maybe they will topple the three above them but the current squad looks far from a Sir Alex title-winning formula.
Those of you who have seen my bold support of Liverpool’s sanctioning of the Sterling deal will already have some idea of how optimistic I am when it comes to my team. That said, if Brendan Rodgers can outgrow his addiction of spending gazillions on unknown young Eastern European wingers and bring in a few solid players all over the pitch, Daniel Sturridge can stay fit, Roberto Firmino turns into the next Luis Suarez, Sakho and Mignolet learn the game of football and Balotelli is sold/loaned out/given a chance on the first team and proves he is the best player ever/dumped in the reserves then 5th place will happen, and perhaps we will challenge for a Champions League spot. Only problem is, the chances of all that happening is as likely as Kolo Toure signing for Barcelona and winning the Ballon D’or. Not likely.
Harry Kane, he’s one of their own. Well, if he was a true Spurs player he’d have signed for Real Madrid for £1836283839281000000000000000000000000000 by now. He hasn’t. I think his next season will be as mediocre as West Ham after a training session about mediocrity. They will then look to Roberto Soldado to make all the difference and he will ensure Spurs have a successful season by guaranteeing them no Europa League next season. That said, if they can hang onto Hugo Lllllllllloris, then they could be in with a chance of a half-decent chance. I’m not Tottenham’s bigger fan really, am I..?
The worst part of Merseyside derbies had a satisfyingly poor season last term but I think that it’s only a matter of time before they regain that beloved 7th place of theirs. Lukaku, they hope, will fire on all cylinders and Ross Barkley might remember that he used to be alright at footy. If that goes well for them then I can see major improvement from last season. But last season is not difficult to improve on.
Last summer transfer window mass migration to Liverpool occurred, and this season another mini-exodus has begun, with Morgan Schneiderlin and Nathaniel Clyne – two massive players last season – both leaving to United and the Reds. However, Ronald Koeman somehow worked out an ingenious way to keep the ‘relegation contenders’ playing great football with previously unknown stars. Sadio Mane went from being unhappy lion’s hair to scoring a faster hat-trick than Robbie Fowler against Arsenal! I think the Saints will match on to another comfortable top flight finish.
Nice to see that a lesson has been learnt following that whole Jon Carver thing and Steve McClaren was appointed manager. Now there’s a man you can trust to do well for you. Except if your team is Derby County. Anyway…
McClaren is sure to get his players ship-shape – he banned swearing and mobiles at training – and he’ll guide Newcastle to a much more respectable position – 9th – than Jon Carver ever dreamed of.
Mark Hughes has left his atrocious QPR days behind him and is bringing Stoke forward from long ball, long throw, long-legged ball-hoofers to attacking, free-flowing footballers who play with an attacking cohesion they could only dream of under Tony Pulis. He has made quadrillions of signings, and key man Charlie Adam has secured a new contract. As long as Adam stays on form and the new signings impress, the departures of Asmir Begovic and Victor Moses (loan expiry) won’t matter too much. Good times are coming for the Potters, but sometime soon they need to go up the table before they start to slip back down it…
Garry Monk has been an incredible success story since he first ventured into management, with Swansea, a few years ago. They had a fantastic season last campaign an I expect them to cement their place as a top-flight, mid-table team this season. As long as Bafetimbi Gomis keeps scoring they’re in for a great season.
12. West Ham
Slaven Bilic’s Besiktas side knocked out Liverpool from last seasons Europa League and now he has come to the Prem. Though many wont know about his managerial prowess I really rate him as a manager, and he has made and will make some impressive signings to add to the attacking promise of Andy Carroll, Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho. They will also have a solid season and will never be in a relegation spot throughout, I reckon.
13. Aston Villa
Tim Sherwood has been a breath of fresh air at Villa Park since he joined, and he has worked wonders on Christian Benteke. With no clubs wanting to pay his £32.5 million release clause, it appears that unless Villa give in and lower their demands or the Belgian asks to leave, he will stay. If his form carries on through the end of this calendar year then Villa also will have no trouble avoiding the drop. Fabian Delph staying is also vital in their bid for a successful, safe and progressive season.
14. Crystal Palace
Alan Pardew has done wonderfully at Palace since he joined around the new year, and he has made some excellent signings, including Yohan Cabaye which is fantastic for the club and for their prospects. They will be ahead of 15th place by a large gap that will separate mid-table and the relegation dogfight. The pace up front with Bolasie, Zaha and Puncheon is formidable and they could rip up defences if they form a good partnership. Crystal Palace are set to also have a good season, I suspect.
I must admit, it’s the first time in my football fan lifetime that I’ve been excited about a newly promoted team. But Eddie Howe’s fresh, young team are so attacking and speedy that they are too difficult to handle for the Prem’s strong but slow centre halfs. Strong in defence and midfield too, they seem to be the complete package and despite being a small club, they play like a big club and there is no way they are going back down if they dominate matches in the top tier like they did in the second tier last term.
Dick Advocaat single-handedly dragged Sunderland out of relegation an out of turmoil after Gus Poyet left in disgraceful circumstances. Now, after being dragged out of retirement and forced to sign a new contract, the veteran boss has another season in charge of the Black Cats as his last managerial role. Though they will have to fight for their life, I just cant see them go down under his management, and with some quality players like Jermaine Defoe they have a big chance of staying up this season.
17. West Brom
You just can’t see a Tony Pulis side go down, can you? They seem so weak and lack in firepower, but they somehow squeeze out results. Must be something to do with their boss, as Tony Pulis has never been relegated in his managerial career! He pulled off a miracle with Crystal Palace two years ago and I reckon he’ll do something similar this year. West Brom to stay up. But it will be close.
They will fight it out til the end but the play off winners just don’t have the quality and strength in depth of a premier League side. And their manager is a lower league manager who found himself in the Championship and got promoted up to the Prem. He will be sacked sooner rather than later, and maybe Big Sam Allerdyce will come in and try to save them but ultimately I think Norwich’ll fight hard but go straight back down to the championship.
Try as they might, they seemingly cant quite bring in the players they want – the players they need as they try to get their squad up to Prem standard. Unlike Norwich, they haven’t just come down from the Prem and most of their players and staff have no experience of it. And at the end of the day, not dissimilar to Norwich, they lack the one or two magic players who will win them points on their own. They will be like last season’s Burnley and go down comfortably in the end.
Nigel Pearson was worshipped in the football world after he guided Leicester to a major miracle and kept them up comfortably in the end. And then they went and sacked him! The madness then deepened as they announced Claudio Ranieri as their new boss – ‘uninspiring’ as Gary Lineker called the appointment. It looks pretty hopeless, and the squad looked a relegated team until the back end of last April, when Pearson worked his magic. They have really shot themselves in the foot here, Leicester, and they have practically condemned themselves to relegation. Whoops!
So it’s all set to be another enthralling Premier League season, and I can’t wait to see how it all plays out. And please sell Balotelli, Liverpool!