Last year, my Premier League predictions weren’t that bad so I haven’t been discouraged through shame from reproducing another prediction post this time round. Here is basically my irrelevant, largely weak opinion on how it will all go.
Last season: 3rd
Bookies’ prediction: 3rd
Random prediction for season: Piers Morgan to call for Wenger’s sacking after a loss to Manchester United.
Contenders… Arsenal will challenge for silverware again.
It’s been a long while since Arsenal were considered genuine contenders for the Premier League title – but this could be the year they get that title back. When the Gunners are on their game, they are the best team to watch in the league, their silky fluid football is enough to beat any other side in the division, but I reiterate that’s when they’re on song. Arsene Wenger, despite popular Twitter consensus, is a very apt and capable manager and if he can iron out the creases in his side, the class of Ozil and Sanchez et al can set their sights on something more than just the FA Cup. 2nd.
Last season: 17th
Bookies’ prediction: 16th
Random prediction for season: Villa to go at least four league games without scoring a goal.
Prepared…For the 2016-17 Championship season
With maybe the exception of Newcastle United, there was no worse side to visit the King Power Stadium last season than the Villans. In fact, I am genuinely perplexed as to how they managed to stay up last season and beat my team twice in the process. That being said, this Summer hasn’t been all too good for Villa, they’ve lost star men Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph and summoned up inadequate replacements as a result. Aston Villa will struggle even more than last year and I think this will finally be the season they bite the Premier League dust – which could turn out to be good news for Villa in the long run. 19th.
Last season: 1st (Championship)
Bookies’ prediction: 18th
Random prediction for season: Bournemouth to beat one of the big seven at home on Monday Night Football.
Underdogs…Eddie Howe’s cherries can blossom
I hope Bompey learn the lessons of Leicester City last season and stick to their guns and play the Bournemouth way next season. The Premier League debutants may look out of sorts in the English top flight on the face of it but with one of the nation’s best young managers, a positive playing style and a contained stadium that will give the bigger clubs a scare, Bompey may be able to crawl over the dreaded dotted line of relegation – at least we all hope so. 17th.
Last season: 1st
Bookies’ prediction: 1st
Random prediction for season: Chelsea to pick up more away points from the big seven than any other club.
Incumbents…Chelsea can keep their trophy safe
Chelsea were by far and away the league’s best side last term and with the added fire power of Falcao, who I think will salvage his stalling career at Stamford Bridge, the Blues will retain their crown. I don’t expect it to be as easy as last term with the sides around them getting stronger, but Chelsea should have the efficiency and tactical astuteness to overcome their challengers. Let’s face it, they were the only side able to beat Leicester at the end of the season – and that’s an unbelievable feat. 1st.
Last season: 10th
Bookies’ prediction: 12th
Random prediction for season: Palace to go the entire season without a managerial change
Supportive… Selhurst Park can be a happy hunting ground for the Eagles
It’s hard not to admire Crystal Palace since their return to the Premier League, their intensity and positivity has defied popular expert consensus two years running and seen the Eagles soar to 11th and 10th respectively. With Yohan Cabaye rejoining the Premier League after a two year absence and Palace’s ability to keep hold of their key players, there seems no obvious reason why Palace won’t carry on with their overachievements. Perhaps, the biggest hindrance to the club would be the ending of Alan Pardew’s honeymoon period – time will tell on that front. 12th.
Last season: 11th
Bookies’ prediction: 7th
Random prediction for season: Everton to lose at home to Crystal Palace yet again.
Sticky… The Toffees were in a sticky situation
Everything about Everton last season was lacklustre. This year they need a really injection of vitality and talent to counteract last season’s woes. I think this side is good enough to make amends for last season’s under-performance but it won’t come without hard work. And I’m just not sure a) that Roberto Martinez is as good a tactician as widely believed and b) that Tom Cleverley is the signing that will propel them back in to Europe. 9th.
Last season: 14th
Bookies’ prediction: 15th
Random prediction for season: Claudio Ranieri to be the favourite for the axe at any point this season
Fortress… City’s atmosphere can provide a boost in a difficult upcoming season
I’m not really sure what to make of my team, our true quality shone through at the end of last season and while I still think we’re too good a team to go down, even without Esteban Cambiasso, I don’t think we’ll progress either. Whilst, I’m prepared to give Ranieri every chance to deliver success to Filbert Way, I don’t see him being a long-term solution or getting the Foxes in to the top half like I would have optimistically wagered Pearson would next season. I cautiously predict/hope it will be more of the same this year. 13th.
Last season: 6th
Bookies’ prediction: 5th
Random prediction for season: Liverpool to lose away at one of the three promoted clubs
Pressure… Coutinho must become Liverpool’s leading man
There’s something in the water of the River Mersey and it’s uninspiring mediocrity. With the exception of Firmino, who seems an intriguing purchase, Brendan Rogers has moved little to help steady his sinking Kopite ship. The Reds should a plethora of weaknesses at the end of last season and with Gerrard and Sterling gone and Benteke and Danny Ings now the stars of Anfield, another trophy-less season beckons. Of course, this is hyperbolic, they’re still Liverpool so they’ll be up around the top somehow… 7th.
Last season: 2nd
Bookies’ prediction: 2nd
Random prediction for season: Manchester City to rip Spurs apart at least once.
Understudies… Man City are not good enough to supplant Chelsea
Manchester City are on the decline, despite finishing as runner-ups to Chelsea last season, they hardly set the league alight. They often looked average and with others around them strengthening and their tired squad growing ever moreso, the arrival of Raheem Sterling will do little to boost waning energy or workrate levels. Manuel Pellegrini will probably face the axe at some point this season too. 2015-16 may not to be a period of adjustment and reflection for the Citizens so they can regain their lost title in the near future. 4th.
Last season: 4th
Bookies’ prediction: 4th
Random prediction for season: Manchester United to lose 0-1 at home to at least one bottom half club.
Individuals… United’s keeper drama highlights the lack of synergy in the squad
Lazily assembling squads of world-renowned superstars is a tactic that often fails, and it will for United too. Whilst Louis Van Gaal’s frivolous spending on world-class midfielders will wet the appetites of Red Devils’ fans, it will do little to pave over the cracks of instability throughout the squad, and the gaping holes in a shockingly deficit in defensive talent. United will gradually continue on the way to being a genuine shout for the Premier League title, but this season will be just another stepping stone. 3rd.
Last season: 15th
Bookies’ prediction: 13th
Random prediction for season: Newcastle United to do the double over Sunderland
Protestors… The Geordies will be slightly less irritable next season
Modest redemption is the trend I see sweeping up the River Tyne this Summer. With the best coach in the Premier League gone and brolly-carrying Schteve now in the dugout, the Geordies have somewhat upgraded, that coupled with the signing of Aleksandr Mitrovic, who I’m tipping to be a hit in the top-flight, Newcastle’s problems won’t be as bad as they seemed just two months ago. Of course, don’t fear Newcastle fans, you will still throw away both cup competitions so you’ll have that to complain about. 14th.
Last season: 3rd (Championship)
Bookies’ prediction: 19th
Random prediction for season: Norwich to play Liverpool on Super Sunday
Star turn… Redmond can lead the Canaries’ charge
Norwich already have a squad littered with Premier League quality having only experienced one year of top-flight exile. The Canaries will benefit from a bottom half of the table almost void of genuine quality and I think City can and will flourish again, perhaps the only question mark is Alex Neil’s ability to guide a football club through the more challenging rigours of the Premier League, that being said, I have faith in him being better than at least a few others at that. 15th.
Last season: 7th
Bookies’ prediction: 8th
Random prediction for season: Southampton to lose away at Bournemouth
Marching in… Saints will sustain their form
I really rate this Southampton side. Their performance last season was extraordinary given the turmoil they faced at the training ground and in the media. Ronald Koeman has proven to be the perfect fit for the Saints, an astute operator in the transfer market, he has consistently built on the strong base of Southampton Youth players to found a strong top-half of the table team. Even with departures this year like last, the Saints look no weaker and have only gained financial clout from it. Their Achilles heel will be managing their Europa League schedule. 8th.
Last season: 9th
Bookies’ prediction: 9th
Random prediction for season: Stoke to lose at home on a cold Tuesday night
Undone…Stoke’s Britannia home is no longer the fortress it once was
Stoke City will remain a quality outfit next season, they have a decent enough squad to not even be entertained as possible relegation candidates next campaign, but there isn’t a lot to suggest they’re capable of anything better than 9th place. Bojan will be the Potters’ star player next term but they need more than one tricky Spaniard in the middle of the park to lodge themselves in the top seven. 10th.
Last season: 16th
Bookies’ prediction: 17th
Random prediction for season: Sunderland to score fewer goals than any other side.
Doomed… I can see no escape for Sun’lun’
Sunderland’s team reeks of tedium and impending demise. The Black Cats have done well to basically replicate the exact same season for however many years running but their nine lives are up this term. There is little to suggest that the diminutive Defoe possesses the attacking impetus to fire Sunderland away from the relegation they’ve been flirting with for years. There will be no great escape this year, their biggest challenge will be to keep in touch with safety for as long as possible. 20th.
Last season: 8th
Bookies’ prediction: 10th
Random prediction for season: Swansea’s away ticket initiative to be endlessly praised on social media.
Excelling.. Swansea’s rocket ship to the moon shows no sign of return
The Swans very quietly had a barnstorming season last term. Everyone was talking about Southampton, and West Ham before they went off the boil but they failed to notice just how close Swansea were to matching the Saints pound for pound. Garry Monk has done well to maintain the club’s attractive philosophy and has done even better in the transfer market, the signings of Eder and Ayew place Swansea at the top of the transfer market Premier League, and as a result, I tip them to be this year’s surprise package. 6th.
Last season: 5th
Bookies’ prediction: 6th
Random prediction for season: Spurs to crash out of the Europa League with a whimper
Meh… Spurs are Spurs.
Spurs are sort of where they are by default, I imagine Harry Kane’s form will cool off next term but given the disarray they’ve found themselves in, they should be able to keep their main challengers Liverpool at bay for another season. There’s really not a lot to comment on on the White Hart Lane front, they will do exactly what they always do, sort of achieve domestically, fail embarrassingly continentally. 5th.
Last season: 2nd (Championship)
Bookies’ prediction: 20th
Random prediction for season: The Hornets to win at least one game 4-3.
Buzzing…Watford will give survival a good stab
Watford’s unstable approach is what concerns me most. They’ve signed some real quality to compliment the existing talent in their side but they are likely to go gung-ho and do seem to employ the belief that big names equals achievement and as we’ve seen it doesn’t always. Watford will certainly be entertaining and expansive, of that I’m confident but I just don’t see them as anything other than a better Queens Park Rangers. 18th.
West Bromwich Albion
Last season: 13th
Bookies’ prediction: 14th
Random prediction for season: West Brom to avoid the bottom three all season
Hot property… Berahino and co will be in the mix for the top half
Again, there isn’t too much to say here, West Brom looked doomed for the Championship this time last year but Tony Pulis has been instrumental in gifting the club with some sturdier stuff. Albion fans shouldn’t be fearful of finishing anywhere below 15th because they are simply better than a lot of the sides at the bottom. In fact, I think there is leg room for the Baggies to climb the league ladder, but they must start beating struggling sides at home. 11th.
West Ham United
Last season: 12th
Bookies’ prediction: 12th
Random prediction for season: West Ham to win their last match at Upton Park
Upheaval… The Hammers have a lot to deal with this term
It’s all change at Upton Park this season; a flashy new stadium, a flashy new manager, and a flashy new European competition. The Hammers though good enough to avoid the drop will need to be wary of succumbing to their end of season form, and early Europa League forays don’t look promising. The danger for United this year will be that they spread themselves too thin, if they don’t manage all of their competitions competently, they could rue the day they binned Big Sam. 16th.