After months of patient yet agonising waiting, the Premier League is back.
Last season saw a thrilling title race go down to the wire, as Manchester City secured back-to-back titles by just one solitary point. Now though, it’s time for a new campaign and a new storyline.
Who will be relegated? Who will qualify for Europe? And who will win the league? Here are my predictions for the 2019/20 Premier League season.
20. Sheffield United
Someone has to finish rock bottom, and I think it will be newly promoted Sheffield United. I don’t think they are strong enough nor experienced enough, having not been anywhere near the top flight for years, and they will struggle among the big boys and go straight back down.
19. Brighton & Hove Albion
Brighton just survived last season, but they will suffer second season syndrome this season. Despite some promising signings in Neal Maupay and Aaron Mooy, losing Chris Hughton as manager will prove costly as their lack of strength will see them return to the Championship.
Choosing the third relegated team was a hard choice for me, but I’m going for Burnley. Their form at times was atrocious last season and their summer investments haven’t been good enough, as I think they’ll struggle this season and head back to the second tier.
17. Norwich City
Upon their Premier League return, Norwich only spent £1.1 million in the transfer window. That’s simply not enough if they want to survive, and while they have a few decent players I think they’ll earn Premier League survival by the skin of their teeth.
Largely uninspiring last season, it will be interesting to see how Ralph Hasenhüttl copes in his first full season in charge. Southampton won’t be anything special but can improve, though I don’t see them finishing too high up.
15. Aston Villa
Aston Villa spent very big upon their top flight return, but it won’t be clear whether their £144.5 million spending was panic buying or ingenious business until later on in the season. I think they’ll comfortably survive, and begin to re-establish themselves as a Premier League team.
14. Crystal Palace
Palace will struggle at the back without Aaron Wan-Bissaka, but keeping Wilfried Zaha will prove crucial. No goalscoring striker is a concern but with Zaha and Andros Townsend goals shouldn’t be too much of a problem, as the Eagles renew their top-flight status once again.
Last season’s FA Cup finalists are always a hard team to predict, but I don’t think they’ve strengthened their side enough this summer. They’re still a decent team, but it’s likely to be a frustrating season for Watford as they miss out on a top-half finish.
12. Newcastle United
Four weeks ago I might’ve predicted Newcastle to go down, but some excellent business in the transfer window has changed my mind. While I’m still sceptical about going from Rafael Benitez to Steve Bruce, the arrivals of Joelinton and Allan Saint-Maximin will result in a good campaign on Tyneside.
11. West Ham United
West Ham have also had a really strong transfer window, with selling Marko Arnautović a job well done. The Hammers are looking stronger and have invested well, and if their new signings can settle in well then they can look forward to a decent season.
10. Leicester City
Leicester will be pushing for a European finish this season, but I think they will fall short of that. The departure of Harry Maguire massively weakens the defence, and while the attack remains powerful weaknesses in defence will cost Brendan Rodgers’ side.
Now that Bournemouth have truly settled down as a Premier League side, they can push for an even higher finish. Eddie Howe’s time and knowledge at the club will be crucial as always, and a solid season should see the Cherries achieve a top-half finish.
Wolves were a real joy to watch last season, and they have gone on to make some more good signings ahead of the new season. A potential European campaign ahead could help or hinder domestic affairs, but it’s fair to say that they should rank high once again.
Everton arguably had one of the best transfer windows in the league, signing the likes of Moise Kean, Alex Iwobi and Jean-Philippe Gbamin. They are going to be great to watch this season, and I’m tipping them to finish as the best of the rest outside the top six.
6. Manchester United
Manchester United invested well in their defence, with Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka excellent signings that were really needed. However, the rest of their team does not convince me in the slightest.
What about the other, weaker half of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s defence? Who is their talisman now Romelu Lukaku has left? Who will pull the strings in midfield and lead the attack? United invested well in certain areas, but there wasn’t enough for me. I can see them finishing sixth- again.
A last minute change saw me move Arsenal up one place, after a fantastic deadline day. Kieran Tierney and David Luiz have come in to fix the defence, and while it’s far from perfect Unai Emery has certainly made some improvements.
Although their backline still needs work, their colourful attack will be exciting to watch. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pépé will be a formidable three, but I think they’ll just be pipped of a top four finish in the final weeks of the season.
This is an incredibly optimistic prediction from myself, but I really think Chelsea will scrape a top four finish at the end and leapfrog Arsenal. A weakened defence without Luiz and life after Eden Hazard begins here, as Frank Lampard leads the Blues into a new era.
It will be fascinating to watch Chelsea play, and they will be far from perfect. I think they will dip in and out of the top four throughout the season, but rejuvenation in the final stretch will be decisive for Chelsea as they qualify for the Champions League.
I’ve been really impressed by Tottenham’s transfer window, and after not signing anyone for 18 months they made some solid upgrades. A new attacking option in Giovano Lo Celso, a new English starlet in Ryan Sessegnon and a solid midfielder in Tanguy Ndombele mark some excellent business for Spurs.
Spurs should now be pushing for the title, though truthfully that seems unlikely with the quality of last season’s top two. I rate Tottenham’s squad very highly, and they look as deadly as they have been for many years.
Liverpool were so unlucky not to win the title last season, and I don’t think they’ll do it second time round. The Reds are so strong and all-rounded, with individual quality really coming together in an outstanding team.
However, there has been a lack of investment this summer, and to keep up they need to have spent money. The Community Shield defeat showed signs of vulnerability, and I think they once again won’t have enough to win their first league title in 30 years.
1. Manchester City
The last two seasons, I have predicted Manchester City to win the Premier League. The last two seasons, that is exactly what has happened. Under Pep Guardiola, they are simply unstoppable, and I’m predicting a third consecutive title for the Citizens.
What makes City stand out above the rest is their incredible squad depth- every single position can be rotated with players just as capable, and their summer investments mixed in with strong foundations and squad depth will be decisive in the title race.
Yet above everything else, I think City will win the league because they are too strong. They’re simply the best around. No team in the country is better, and they show no signs of stopping their unprecedented dominance- it is City’s title to lose.