Come Friday the 11th of August, the long wait will be over for all those that have missed the best league in world. With no major international tournaments occurring this summer, football fans up & down the country have been counting the days for the return of the Premier League. Money has been spent across the board with fee’s exceeding £873 million at the time of writing, this year is geared up to be the most competitive of all time. Below we have our predictions for who will finish where in the table as well as our golden boot & golden glove winner.
1st Manchester United
One thing Jose Mourinho guarantees is trophies. The Portugese manager has won league titles at every club he has managed as well as European accolades for two. Man Utd have signed Romelu Lukaku for £75 million while also adding holding midfielder Namanja Matic will allow Paul Pogba have freedom to attack opposition defences as and when he chooses and if the rumors are anything to go by, a certain Mr Zlatan Ibrahimovic may still yet be pulling on a United jersey once again after his season ending knee injury ended his previous campaign early.
Key Man – Ander Herrera/Paul Pogba
2nd Manchester City
Last season’s trophy less campaign and third place finish was not what Manchester City fans expected when Pep Guardiola took charge at the Etihad. After a strong start, City got cut off from the leading pack in the middle of the season and ultimately cost the blue half of Manchester a chance for the title. Guardiola has invested heavily spending approximately £200 million to bolster his squad with right back Kyle Walker costing a reported £50 million pounds. Expect this City side to be in and amongst the title race this season.
Key Man – Sergio Aguero
Title holders Chelsea have added Alvaro Morata to replace what looks like the soon to be ex Chelsea hero Diego Costa. Antonio Conte’s side were written off as title challengers early into the 16/17 season however the critics were proved wrong with Chelsea never looking threatened as they cruised to the title. A repeat of last season’s efforts will prove to be difficult with rival teams spending big money to try and dethrone Chelsea. With the return of Champions League football at Stamford Bridge, will they struggle to stay as fresh as last season?
Key Man – David Luiz
4th Tottenham Hotspur
Last seasons second place team have so far made no signings and have lost starting right back Kyle Walker to tital rivals Manchester City. Spurs will play their games at Wembley this season while their White Hart Lane ground under goes modernization, something which could effect the North Londoners badly with them turning WHL into a fortress not losing a game their last season. Luckily for Tottenham, they still have Harry Kane who only played 2/3 of the previous season and still managed 29 goals as well as the golden boot. Competition for the title is stronger than ever this year and Spurs are yet to invest unlike rivals, expect them to just make the Champions League places.
Key Man – Harry Kane
Jurgen Klopp’s side came out of the fences flying last season with early impressions suggesting Liverpool were mounting a serious title challenge. Unfortunately a run of poor results led to Liverpool’s momentum slowing and title push all but ending. Klopp has added pace to his side so far this transfer window however the side still lack the firepower that rivals Man Utd, Man City & Spurs have and with the addition of Champions League football this season, expect the Reds to struggle to break the top 4 especially if reported Barcelona target Phillipe Coutinho leaves for the Catalan giants.
Key Man – Roberto Firmino
Arsene Wenger arguably saved his job in the summer with Arsenal lifting the FA Cup after victory over Chelsea at Wembley. The Gunners have added sought after French Striker Alexandre Lacazette to their squad however questions still lie over the future of Alexis Sanchez & Mesut Ozil both of which are integral to any success Arsenal may have and with no additions to a shaky back line, we expect Arsenal to have another disappointing campaign.
Key Man – Alexis Sanchez (If he stays)
Ronald Koeman’s side have added a number of signings to the squad for the upcoming season including big money for Michael Keane & Jordan Pickford however have lost their main man in the form of Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United in return for £75 million pounds and the return of Wayne Rooney. Everton’s improvement is clearly evident however to achieve success this season, Everton must attempt to push established Premier League heavyweights out of their way, a daunting task to say the least.
Key Man – Wayne Rooney
Our pick to the surprise (not so surprise) package of the season, Bournemouth’s business this summer in the transfer market has been astute. The signing of Asmir Begovic from Chelsea means they have a goalkeeper with great experience between the nets and of course the signing of Jermain Defoe guarantees one thing, goals. With the addition of Defoe’s goals, you can easily expect to see Bournemouth improve on their 9th place finish of last season and carry on entertaining the Premier League
Key Man – Jermain Defoe
9th West Ham United
After impressing in the 2015/2016 season, last season looked promising for West Ham. 6 Months into the season, talisman Dimitri Payet had left the club and West Ham went on torrid run of form which seen them slip down the table. This transfer window however has seen the addition of some much needed talent in the side with England number 1 Joe Hart singing on loan while big money has been spent on Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez. Expect West Ham to do well however don’t be surprised to be Slaven Bilic one of the first managers to be sacked this season.
Key Player – Javier Hernandez
10th Leicester City
Craig Shakespeare was rewarded a full time role as Leicester Manager after steering the sinking ship that was the Foxes after their finest hour during the 2015/2016 season. Shakespeare guided Leicester to a champions league quarter final and a respectable mid table place finish even though City fans had high expectations after the previous seasons heroics. A quiet transfer window has seen Leicester had 4 players to the fold and have managed to keep hold of star players Rihad Mahrez & Jamie Vardy as of writing however there is still time for a few departures from the Kingpower stadium. The addition of Kelechi Iheanacho may prove to be signing of the season after a £25 million move from Man City.
Key Player – Jamie Vardy
An 8th place finish and an EFL Cup final was deemed not good enough for Claude Puel who lost his job at St Mary’s after just one season in charge. Mauricio Pellegrino, a relatively unknown to the English game has been the control for this season with signings so far being limited. The main story of the summer so far for the Saints has been the departing then not departing of star player Virgil Van Dijk. Van Dijk has gained plenty of interest so far this window with links to Liverpool constantly circulating. Expect the Saints to drop a few positions this season with rivals getting stronger additions.
Key Player – Manolo Gabbiadini
12th Crystal Palace
Sam Allardyce resignation at the end of last season was a surprise that most Crystal Palace fans would have rather have not have had. Allardyce took the Eagles from the bottom 3 to a 14th place at the same time adding some steel into the defence making Palace harder to beat. Frank de Boer has since taken the reigns at Crystal Palace so far adding only 2 players to the squad. With competition looking stronger than ever, Palace will find it hard to really push forward this season however with Wilfred Zaha in the form of his life, the Eagles may still find some success this season
Key Player – Wilfred Zaha
13th Stoke City
Stoke were the leagues 3rd lowest scores last season from teams that survived relegation. Stoke attempted to address there goal drought in January with the addition of Saido Berahino however he failed to find the net after 13 appearances. Stoke went about their business quietly over the season often finding themselves getting a result when really needing one. Having lost star player Marko Arnautovic to West Ham, the pressure is on for Stoke to find some replacement firepower to ensure they have enough goals to get them up the league.
Key Player – Xherdan Shaqiri
Narrowly avoiding relegation, Watford had a torrid season. Walter Materazzi announced he would be leaving Watford before a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Man City on the last day of the season. Materazzi has since been replaced with Marco Silva who’s efforts to keep Hull City in the premier league were enough to convince the notoriously hard to please Watford oweners that Silva was the man to take the club forward. Silva has added Tom Cleverley and Will Hughes to the squad however with rumours of Troy Deeney being set to leave the Hornets, where will the goals come from?
Key Player – Etienne Capoue
15th Newcastle United
The magpies secured the Championship title on the last day of the season and were always expected to bounce straight back into the premier league. With Rafa Benitez at the helm, Newcastle feels like a club on the rise with additions including England U21 winger Jacob Murphy & Borussia Dortmund midfielder Mikel Merino adding some youth and energy to the side. With all of the positivity surrounding the club at the moment, most Newcastle fans will not let themselves get to excited with the same old issue of ‘Will Mike Ashley back them?’. Benitez is notoriously stubborn when it comes to transfers and with Ashley’s reluctance to spend big like league rivals, we could potentially see one of the first managers walk out from their club at Tyneside this season.
Key Player – Jonjo Shelvey
16th West Bromwich Albion
Tony Pulis’ side were on a great run of form last season hitting the much sought after 40 point mark well before the end of the season. Unfortunately for the Baggies, the season seemed to stop then going on a run of form which seen them pick just 5 points up out of their last 12 games but still secure a 10th place finish. A frustrating transfer window has seen West Brom lose captain Darren Fletcher to Stoke while the only notable transfer so far has been Southampton striker Jay Rodriguez arrive. Don’t expect a repeat of last seasons finish this season with almost all of West Brom’s rivals from last season improving drastically compared to the baggies.
Key Player – Jonny Evans
With all of the money floating around in football, Burnley go about their business a lot more conservatively. Jack Cork, Jonathan Walters & Phil Bardsley have all arrived for less than £10 million pounds with manager Seam Dyche relying on the same squad that survived the premier league last season to keep them their this season. Burnley’s home form last season was superb and in order to stay in the league this season, a similar feat will have to be accomplished to avoid relegation this season.
Key Player – Tom Heaton
18th Swansea City
It took 3 managers to keep Swansea City in the premier league last season. Bob Bradley’s arrival in late October to replace Francesco Guidolin was uninspiring and the American’s tenure lasted a mere 85 days. Up stepped Paul Clement whose only managerial experience came at Derby County in a spell that ended prematurely. Tammy Abraham has joined on a season long loan however star player Gylfi Sigurðsson has been subject of a number of bids from Everton and Swansea are expected to lose their key man. Relegation looms for the South Wales club.
Key Man – Fernando Llorente
19th Huddersfield Town
Premier league debutants Huddersfield entertained to the football league last season with an attacking brand of football. Coach David Wagner will need to approach the Premier League more conservatively if they have any chance to survive the league. Signings have been made across the board to strengthen the squad including a record £11 million pound signing of Montepllier striker Steve Mounie who manged 14 goals in 32 games last season. Unfortunately for the Terriers, we predict a short stay in Premier League.
Key Man – Steve Mounie
20th Brighton & Hove Albion
Chris Hughton’s Brighton & Hove Albion were pipped to the title by Newcastle United on the last day of the Championship season however promotion to the premier league was the over-achieving anyway. The Seagulls have added to the squad however the quality in the squad is not going to keep them in the Premier League for long. Unfortunately opposition in the league is too strong for Brighton and we expect Hughton to be the first managerial casualty this season.
Key Player – Anthony Knockaert
Golden Boot – Harry Kane
Golden Glove – David De Gea