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Premier League Predictions 17-18 August 8, 2017

Posted by AaronPorter in Football.
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Now in my 4th year, here are my Premier League predictions for the season.

For those who are interested, the 2016-17 predictions which I made at the start of last season are just below those for 17-18.

1 – Manchester City

Pep has significantly strengthened their squad over the summer, and on paper I feel they have the greatest strength and depth. Whether they can gel quickly enough to sustain a challenge remains to be seen, but they are my tips.

2 – Manchester United

Like their city rivals, United have made smart acquisitions this season. Bluntly given the talent in this team it would be unforgiveable not to be close to the title. United have a terrific starting XI, but I feel City have greater depth which may give them the edge. Lukaku and Matic are wonderful signings and will help United to a better finish than last year.

3 – Chelsea

Although they looked head and shoulders above everyone else for most of last season, Stamford Bridge doesn’t seem to be a happy place right now. And Conte looks particularly agitated. Losing Matic, and forcing Costa to leave are seriously questionable decisions. Unless Chelsea can replace them before the window closes, I suspect they will fail to match last season. Worse if they start poorly, Conte could even face the same fate as the 2016, 2015 & 2014 league title winners by losing their job in the following season.

4 – Arsenal

In my opinion, rumours of Arsenal’s demise are somewhat exaggerated. Last season in the league was sub-standard, but the raw ingredients are there and in Wenger they do have an excellent manager. If Sanchez can rediscover his sparkling best, I can see the Gunners back in the rightful spot (ie. 4th!)

5 – Liverpool

On their day, Liverpool can beat anyone and Klopp is assembling a strong team. Salah can take them to another level, and I have the feeling Solanke could surprise with important goals too. Defensively they are still a little suspect too, so I’m expecting some great wins but also inevitable defeats to teams their supporters feel they should win.

6 – Tottenham Hotspur

I worry that a lack of summer signings (at the time of writing), the move to Wembley and Champions League commitments could transpire to derail Spurs progress somewhat. On the plus side, this is a team of young players who seem to take huge strides forward each season. Kane is crucial, and I worry about their reliance on him.

7 – Everton

Koeman is a good tactician, and although they have lost their best player (Lukaku), the Toffees haven’t been shy in their recruitment. Just 12 months ago, the suggestion that Everton would have been frankly ludicrous. But I expect them to still be “the best of the rest”.

8 – Stoke City

The Potters have been able to string together excellent form in 6 month bursts, can Sparky produce the magic for a full season? Darren Fletcher will bring some bite and experience in the middle, and Zouma at the back can bring some added stability.

9 – Leicester City

What a few years it’s been for the Foxes. The Ranieri revolution may be ancient history, but will never be forgotten by their eternally grateful fans. Iheanacho is a terrific acquisition up front, and his goals (together with Vardy) should see them into the top half.

10 – West Ham United

West Ham were up and down last year, but they have a strong first team and in Hart, Hernandez, Arnautovic and Zabeleta they have picked up 4 players who are tried and tested in this league.

11 – West Bromwich Albion

With TP at the helm, mid table safety is almost guaranteed. Defensively they will surely be sound, and whilst I still remain to be convinced by their options upfront they will squeeze enough hard fought 1-0 wins to be comfortable members of the mid table pack.

12 – Southampton

Another season, another new manager. Eventually this strategy (like Watford) will surely backfire, but they have a good squad which should ensure they aren’t dragged any lower. Pre season has been mixed, and Pellegrino will need to adapt quickly to the Premier League to avoid them slipping into a relegation dogfight.

13 – Bournemouth

The rise of Bournemouth has been irresistible under Eddie Howe. Although they have spent big again this summer (on fees and wages), we’ll have to wait and see whether they can repeat their terrific 9th place finish from last campaign. I suspect the Howe magic may begin to fade, but a solid mid table finish.

14 – Crystal Palace

Frank de Boer was football royalty as a player, and his spell as Ajax manager was sensational. He inherits a strong squad who have performed in 6 month intervals.  His mission is to develop a more progressive style under a 3-4-3 formation, improve the Eagles home form and begin to blood more youngsters. It’s a tall order, and there will  be bumps along the way, but this squad should have a little breathing space from a relegation fight, and after last season that will be welcome.

15 – Newcastle United

Rafa Benitez has brought some much needed stability to Tyneside, and although they only just won the Championship last year promotion never really felt in doubt. Their transfer business has been relatively modest, compared to other PL teams, but they should have enough quality to retain their top flight status.

16 – Burnley

Sean Dyche continues to over-perform as Burnley boss with little fanfare. Losing Michael Keane is a blow, and replacements so far (Jon Walters, Charlie Taylor & Jack Cork) aren’t exactly exciting. Exciting isn’t the Dyche way, but I think (and hope) they have just enough to survive for another year.

17 – Swansea City

Last season Paul Clement dug Swansea out of trouble when they looked dead and buried. Sigurdsson has been a crucial player for them since his return, and as we head to the season start his future remains unclear. My prediction assumes he leaves and without a replacement on the cards another relegation fight could be on the cards. Survival on the last day.

18 – Watford

The managerial merry-go-round doesn’t seem to stop at Vicarage Road. This time Marco Silva starts the campaign in charge. He was widely regarded for his late attempt to save Hull last season, but it ended in failure. The story of the last couple of seasons has been a steady start, followed by an alarming drop. I fear this could be the year when the PL music stops for the Hornets.

19 – Huddersfield Town

A year ago, the suggestion that Huddersfield would be a Premier League team would have seemed faintly absurd. Key players they had on loan last season have been signed permanently, notably Aaron Mooy, but their summer signings have largely been to bring the Championship best with them. The quality of their squad may not quite hit the heights of some other teams, but last season they confounded all expectations their fans will hope they can once again to beat the drop.

20 – Brighton & Hove Albion

It’s taken 34 years for Brighton to return to the top flight, and it’s certainly been a long and winding path to return. Although Hughton is a manager with Premier League experience, the squad is relatively inexperienced at this level. Glenn Murray can be relied upon to score goals, and whilst he’s prolific in The Championship his record in the PL is less impressive (11 goals, 52 apps). I suspect like their last season in the top flight (1983), Brighton will finish bottom of the pile and return to the second flight.

Other predictions:

Top scorer – Romelu Lukaku

Manager of the season – Pep Guardiola

First manager to be sacked – Marco Silva

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