Gaming editor Kyle Moffat gives us his Premier League predictions at both ends of the table ahead of an exciting new campaign
The Premier League is just around the corner. Will we see some surprise results? Will the relegation battle come down to the final matchday? How intense will the battle for European football be? Here are a few predictions for both ends of the table.
Champions: Manchester City
City have been a little quieter than usual in the transfer market so far, but their team is already very strong. Nathan Ake from Bournemouth is a necessary purchase, though, as he will add some defensive stability to the side. While Leroy Sane and David Silva have left the club, City still have plenty of depth, especially in midfield. If they can keep Aymeric Laporte injury free for the season, then should pip Liverpool to the title.
Champions League: Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United
Much like the 2018/19 season, I have Liverpool finishing second, but not far behind City. The Reds have strengthened at left-back by signing Konstantinos Tsimikas from Olympiacos. However – should their sloppy form towards the end of last season continue – City will run away with the title. Liverpool will have over 90 points again, but they have hardly improved their side from last season, unlike other teams. Thiago Alcantara could make a massive difference, but if the Spaniard does not sign then second is reasonable.
Chelsea have brought in some fantastic players this transfer window. Malang Sarr and Thiago Silva can add quality at centre-back, whereas Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech could tear defences apart. So, what stops them from winning the Premier League this season? Firstly, they desperately need a new goalkeeper to replace the out-of-form Kepa Arrizabalaga, though they have been linked with Senegalese stopper Edouard Mendy. Secondly, their many new signings need time to gel under Frank Lampard. Next season will be their opportunity, but third would be a decent finish this campaign.
Manchester United have been formidable since signing Bruno Fernandes in January. However, clubs around them have recently made significant signings. Finishing above Tottenham and Arsenal is possible, but above City, Liverpool, and Chelsea is unlikely. Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, and Mason Greenwood make an exciting front three. Problems could arise if any of the trio three picks up a long-term injury due to a lack of depth. Add to this a lack of world class centre-backs and fourth is reasonable, despite adding Donny Van Der Beek and Dean Henderson.
Europa League Spots: Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Everton
It could be close between the North London rivals, but I think Arsenal will finish fifth. The Gunners have addressed their recurring issues through signing centre-backs, such as Pablo Mari and Gabriel Magalhaes. Additionally, keeping Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was integral and Mikel Arteta looks to have managed this. Once again, they can score plenty of goals, but they should concede less than last season.
On the other hand, Spurs have made signings but still lack depth in certain positions. They need a natural striker as a backup for Harry Kane. Decent signings have been made elsewhere, with the likes of Matt Doherty and Pierre-Emile Höjbjerg joining, though Jan Vertonghen’s departure could create problems. Jose Mourinho needs to fill gaps in the squad if they are to challenge for fifth.
Deciding between Wolves and Everton was difficult, but the Toffees may just clinch seventh place. The Wolves squad lacks much depth whereas Carlo Ancelotti’s men have stacked their midfield, with James Rodriguez, Allan, and Abdoulaye Doucouré all adding quality in that position. Wolves have lost a key player in Doherty and aside from prospect Fabio Silva, they have not made big moves in the market. Jordan Pickford remains a worry in goal for Everton, but their quality across the rest of the pitch – and having Ancelotti in charge – should grant them seventh.
Just Staying Up: Brighton, Crystal Palace
Brighton have never been comfortable since their leap to the Premier League. They have great talents, such as Matthew Ryan, Lewis Dunk, Neal Maupay, and new signing Adam Lallana. They have not got much squad depth, but they can pick up some good wins and survive again.
Palace only scored 31 times last season. Midfielder Eberichi Eze – signed from QPR – could add some goals to the team. Between him, Wilfried Zaha, and Jordan Ayew, they should score just enough to avoid the drop, especially if they can keep a few clean sheets along the way.
Relegated: Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion, Fulham
It would be surprising if Aston Villa can maintain their place in the Premier League again. Though Jack Grealish carried the side admirably as they narrowly avoided relegation last season, the rest of the squad must up their game.
West Brom have not made enough moves this transfer window. While the signing of Grady Diangana from West Ham is intriguing, he has yet to make a mark in the top-flight. Slaven Bilic is a good manager, but keeping West Brom from a record-equalling fifth Premier League relegation will be tough.
Though few could blame Fulham for being more conservative with their spending after a slew of disappointing signings saw them immediately relegated after promotion two years ago, it is unlikely that they have enough talent to remain in the Premier League. Much of their fortune will depend on striker Alexander Mitrovic scoring enough goals to make them competitive.
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