The new Premier League is upon us to take us away from life’s many miseries and give us something to cheer about. As always, the new season begins with high optimism as clubs bring in new faces while casting out some old ones in an attempt to do better than the previous year. Arsene Wenger, for the first time in my memory, decided to be take a stubborn stance in the transfer window, spent a club record amount for Lacazette and even managed to keep hold of Sanchez and Ozil. The same can’t be said for Conte though as many players were offloaded, and the squad is stretched thin with injuries to key players. All the top 6 sides (except Spurs) have spent a lot of money to bring in marquee players as the title race promises to much tighter than last year. Everton and West Ham have made some smart buys while relegation candidates, Swansea and Burnley have not made any significant additions yet. It’s a custom for every football fan to start the year with a bunch of predictions and to argue with friends about the same. I’m no different and here are my predictions for this season.
Top 6 (from 6 to 1)
Why they’ll finish higher – A couple of good signings, retention of Sanchez and Ozil and a change in team philosophy. It would seem like Wenger has finally decided to update his tactics.
Why they won’t – Lack of signings in crucial areas like centre midfield and key players are yet to get fully fit.
Why they’ll finish higher – Klopp’s philosophy is finally taking shape with Mane and Salah adding pace to what is probably the best attacking lineup this season and the retention of Coutinho’s services.
Why they won’t – High intensity play with European football will be difficult to sustain post November and they still haven’t addressed the major issues in defense.
Why they’ll finish higher – Conte is a fighter and Chelsea have what many consider the best starting XI in terms of overall balance.
Why they won’t – Poor squad depth and with European football this year, fatigue will play a deciding role.
3) Manchester United
Why they’ll finish higher – Mourinho always wins in his second season. Plus the arrivals of Lukaku and Matic has made the squad formidable.
Why they won’t – With Rooney sold and Carrick set to play a bit part role, the club lacks the big game players and the pressure might just get to them.
2) Tottenham Hotspurs
Why they’ll finish higher – They’ve come close in the previous two seasons and the key part of the team is still very young. The players are entering their prime and this could be their year.
Why they won’t – New signings inspire confidence among players and fans and Spurs have none of that. An injury to Kane and the season would just collapse.
1) Manchester City
Why they’ll win the league – Evaluated the mistakes of the previous season and started their business very early. Well balanced squad and a manager who knows how to win. It’s hard to bet against that.
Why they won’t – Defense is completely rebuilt and players haven’t settled in yet, which could leave them vulnerable against stronger oppositions.
Relegation Candidates (not including the newly promoted sides)
They somehow scraped through last season due to some inspiring performances from Sigurdsson and Llorente. But Paul Clement’s side may struggle to do it this year again. The Iceland international seems certain to leave and without him, Swansea look set for the drop.
Burnley know the art of playing ugly to get results and that is how they stayed up. But the attitude of just doing enough to survive may not work all the time. With Andre Gray, one of last season’s top scorers, sold from the club, survival may not come very easily for the Clarets.
Golden Boot winner – Harry Kane
The biggest talent to emerge from England since Wayne Rooney, Harry Kane is what you’d call a complete striker. He’s still just 23 and he’ll be confident to make it a hat-trick of Golden Boot awards at the end of this season.
Replacing Lukaku is not going to be easy, but Everton seem to have struck gold with the signing of the Spanish striker for just £5.25m. He scored 16 goals for a struggling Malaga side last year and he’s been in good form throughout pre-season.
The Magpies are back to the English top tier and they are led by a manager who knows what it takes to do well in the League. With Rafa Benitez looking to prove himself after the Real Madrid disaster, Newcastle will be tricky customers to handle.
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