Redbrick Sport's writers offer an alternative Team of the Year, compromised of various names across Europe who were left out of the official PFA team.Written by Leanne Prescott & alexalton on 5th December 2017
Premier League Predictions: Who Will Finish In The Top Four This Season?
Sport Editor Leanne Prescott makes her Premier League predictions for the top-four this season, tipping City to win the title
There were seven points between the Premier League champions Chelsea and second-placed Tottenham Hotspur last season, with the title decided two weeks before the final game of the campaign. However, if the early stages of the 2017/18 season are anything to go by, this year promises to be a far more competitive race for silverware.
With seven games played we've seen some teams shine and others falter; we've seen some seriously impressive attacking moves and some worryingly basic defensive errors. But just who will finish in the top four this season?
Manchester City - Champions
Pepe Guardiola's side have started the season like a house on fire. The partnership of Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus up front has proved to be a nightmare for opposition defences, with the duo causing Liverpool all kinds of problems in a stunning 5-0 win. Albeit with a man advantage, the result provided a serious statement of intent from Manchester City, who have shown no signs of slowing down.
Their biggest concern last season was in the defensive third, with the absence of Vincent Kompany resulting in a lack of authority and leadership at the back. Such inconsistencies saw a title surge slip away from them but with two high profile defenders and a first-choice goalkeeper added to their ranks in the summer, Guardiola's men appear to be water tight.
Manchester United - Second Place
The other club from Manchester will give their local rivals a run for their money this season. For all their struggles last season in the goalscoring department, the arrival of £75million Romelu Lukaku has set Jose Mourinho's side alight. 7 goals in 7 games takes some doing and the Belgian appears to be the perfect fit to United's style, working well with Rashford and co. to net 22 times already. In contrast, they've conceded just two goals so far - both of which came in their away draw to Stoke City in September.
Nemanja Matic has been excellent in helping screen the back-four while having such a strong goalkeeper in David De Gea gives United a strong foundation from which to mount their challenge for the Premier League title. I fully expect them to keep up their start and Jose Mourinho's certainly got the know-how of winning a title. It'd be naïve to rule them out based on their recent performances.
Chelsea - Third Place
Chelsea are the dark horses for the title this season, despite being the reigning champions. The Blues have retained the core of their side, while adding quality in the shape of Alvaro Morata and Bakayoko but have struggled for consistency so far. They looked stunning against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League before welcoming Manchester City to Stamford Bridge - a game in which they were far inferior.
They don't seem to have the counter-attacking abilities of their rivals and while they clearly possess the quality to mount another surge for the title, I can't see them finishing above either Manchester club if the first seven games are anything to go by.
Tottenham Hotspur - Fourth
Tottenham enjoyed one of their best seasons last year, achieving a record number of points and mounting a genuine challenge for the title. They've got one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League and arguably the strongest defensive pair of all the teams mentioned above, with Alderweireld and Vertonghen providing a strong core.
Then you've got Harry Kane leading the line in attack, having registered the most goals last year in front of one of the brightest young talents in Europe. The duo have started in electric fashion again this season and while Spurs are clearly over-reliant on them for goals, if Kane can keep fit I could see them sneaking in the top-four ahead of Liverpool and Arsenal.