Premier League Prediction
Posted by Featured Articles | Published on November 13, 2016
So we are 11 games into another premier league season and it is one which promises to have many more twists and turns before the final hurdle of May, particularly in the helter skelter Christmas period. Many people’s pre-season predictions may be taking shape nicely, but there have been plenty of surprise packages which has thrown a spanner in the works. There’s still a lot of football to be played, and here is my current prediction of how the season will unfold:
1st: Manchester City
Almost everyone’s pre-season favourites and based on what we’ve seen so far, I can’t see that changing for many people. With Aguero up front, De Bruyne, Silva and Sterling behind him and a solid defensive structure, its highly unlikely that they’ll be able to topple come May. They also have the small matter of having an embarrassment of riches at their disposal, as well as Pep Guardiola in charge, arguably the hottest managerial property in world football. It should be a famous year for Pep and City if they can continue at the levels they’ve currently set.
What an impact Jurgen Klopp has had at Anfield in his first calendar year in charge. Two cup finals, reinvigorated players and fans alike as well as a brilliant level of performance. Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane have performed at phenomenal levels since the start of the season and have offered Liverpool a new dimension in attack. Away wins at Chelsea and Arsenal already this season, things are looking good for the Reds to return to the Champions League holy land. No European football this season is certainly helping that and it’s a key reason as to why I expect a strong finish for Klopp’s men.
Much like Liverpool, Chelsea have the benefit of having no European football this season and are using it to their full advantage. After an inconsistent couple of games where they were convincingly beaten by Arsenal and Liverpool, Antonio Conte switched to a 3-4-3 formation which has not only sured up Chelsea’s defence, but also got the best out of their key players such as Costa, Kante and Hazard. The form of these players has made them title challengers again and it’s anybody’s guess for where they’ll finish, but a top four finish seems almost guaranteed.
Another year, another fourth place for same old Arsenal. In what could be Arsene Wenger’s last season in charge of his legendary reign at the North London club, I still wouldn’t be surprised to see them mount a serious challenge for the title as they boast their best squad in years. Shkodran Mustafi was a strong investment, as was Granit Xhaka who has been fantastic since his arrival this summer. Mesut Ozil is in top form, as is Alexis Sanchez and with these two players, anything is possible. Despite that, Arsenal are Arsenal, and they have a very good chance of having a collapse.
5th: Manchester United
With Jose Mourinho at the helm, the Old Trafford faithful were full of optimism and were almost expectant of success upon his arrival. This has been squashed by the Red Devils’ indifferent form and negative tactics. Paul Pogba hasn’t looked good value for his world record transfer fee, Wayne Rooney is still a scapegoat and Zlatan Ibrahimovic has come in for criticism for his inconsistent performances. Despite all of this, Jose has time and the fans on his side and if not this year, then I’m sure they’ll have success in the future.
6th: Tottenham Hotspur
After last season’s heroics were washed away by a dramatic collapse at the end, Tottenham have needed to rebuild but so far they have struggled. Yes, they are unbeaten in their eleven league games so far this season, but they have looked far from convincing and are often being accused of avoiding defeat rather than trying to win. Without Harry Kane we have seen how lacklustre they can be, and that is why they will struggle to reach the top four, because they are so reliant on one striker and you can’t see where else the goals will come from. They’ll keep a strong defensive record but the goals being dry will never allow for them to push on for the title.
Ronald Koeman was a huge coup for Everton given the vast array of clubs that were fighting for his signature, and he alone will be a huge boost to their performance levels. As well as that he has managed to keep hold of Romelu Lukaku, their star striker who is being touted by Barcelona and Bayern Munich. They’ve also stepped up their levels from last year and look a much better side, along with adding strong additions such as Ashley Williams and Idrissa Gueye. With all this being said I don’t think they have the quality or depth to compete with the top clubs and that lack of depth will be their undoing by the end of the season. It’ll still be a solid first year for Koeman, however.
It’s been a steady start to life in the premier league for Claude Puel, who has done a good job filling the shoes of Ronald Koeman and steadying the ship. Nathan Redmond and Pierre Højbjerg have been very good additions and Charlie Austin has come in to the first team to get the goals now that Sadio Mane has moved on. It’s something that the Saints deal with every year, but losing players and replacing them has become part of the club’s fabric and they’ve hardly struggled in the past. As long as Virgil Van Dijk, arguably their best player, stays fit and available they have a chance to place well in the league.
No signs of Champion’s form for Claudio Ranieri and his miracle workers this time around. Perhaps teams have figured out how to play against them? Perhaps it’s a lack of incentive now that they have achieved the impossible? Perhaps it’s an N’golo Kante sized hole in the midfield? I’d say it’s all three of those things but either way you look at it, there’s no chance of them getting close to the title again this year. The thing is, they have bought well; Musa and Slimani are very good attacking options and they’ve filled gaps in the squad. They’ve mostly been let down by the poor performances of last season’s heroes such as Mahrez, Vardy and Drinkwater. Safe, solid year for the Foxes but don’t be surprised to see them rally and go well in the Champions League.
Despite an absolutely appalling start to the season, Stoke are starting to look like themselves again and when you look at their squad, there’s no way they’re going to be in any danger of turning it round. Mark Hughes is a talented manager and has Bojan, Shaqiri, Arnautovic and Bony at his disposal. As well as that Joe Allen has been one of the signings of the summer and things look a bit better at the Britannia now. There’s still a good chance they could compete alongside the likes of Southampton, Everton and Leicester for a top 7-8 finish as there is enough time to do so.
I am anticipating good things for Walter Mazzarri’s Watford side given their very impressive start. The key factor I have noticed is the improvement behind the strikers, it is no longer entirely dependent on Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo as goals are starting to appear from all over the field. Etienne Capoue has been fantastic and is showing his true class in a free role, and Roberto Pereyra is a very big name signing for the Hornets as he will continue to be a catalyst for their side for years to come. If Deeney continues his form, I see good things for Watford and I’m 100% confident in them staying up.
12th: West Ham
It’s been a torrid start to the season for the Hammers, something which couldn’t be imagined after the heroics of last year and the moving into the huge Olympic Stadium, which is now simply called the London Stadium. Knocked out of the Europa League by the same team at the same qualifying stage as last season, dwindling form in the league and outrage over the running of the stadium, they look like a club in crisis at the moment. With all this being said, no side with a fit Dimitri Payet has cause for concern. As well as Payet’s magic, West Ham have free-scoring Michail Antonio, a solid defence and an ambitious manager so they’ll be fine I’m sure of it. There is to be no recreation of last season, however, only mediocrity here.
Eddie Howe has been tipped for the England job recently, but after that rumour had faded away the focus was back on Bournemouth for the young English manager who had a difficult start to the season but has now picked up the pace and started to play at their usual levels. Callum Wilson is now fit and they’ll be looking to him to score the goals, while they have bags of pace in wide areas with Joshua King, Junior Stanislas and new addition Jordon Ibe. Jack Wilshere will of course be the star of the show for the Cherries, and he is beginning to rekindle his full fitness form and play at his usual level. That alone will keep them safe from danger.
14th: Crystal Palace
Alan Pardew should be finishing higher than this with the team he has in all honesty, but he’s not doing much to convince me that. With Christian Benteke at the head of the attack, being supported by the likes of Yohan Cabaye, Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend, there should be no cause for concern; but this is Alan Pardew we are talking about. Squad capable of a top half finish, a manager capable of relegation and this is where they’ll end up as a result of these two differing factors.
15th: West Brom
Another year, another middle of the road season for Tony Pulis and West Bromwich Albion. They are often referred to as one of the most boring clubs of the premier league era but what can’t be taken away from them is their fighting spirit to survive year in year out. This year will be easier than most years due to the increase in quality they have at their disposal, with the likes of Salomon Rondon, Nacer Chadli and Saido Berahino all firing for the Baggies. They finally have an attacking threat which can compliment their defence ruggedness and it can make for a solid combination which will be harder to beat than ever. They’re safe.
Aitor Karanka has begun steadying the ship after a wobbly start recently and has picked up a couple of very impressive draws away at Arsenal and Manchester City. With Boro this year you’re guaranteed a strong defensive shape and bags of pace out wide so they’ll be a threat to any side on the break. One thing they don’t have and the it’s the reason they aren’t going to finish higher up the league, is an out and out goalscorer. Negredo is a big name but he’s been average since he was brought in and Rhodes clearly isn’t trusted at this level. Too good to go down though and they have a very talented manager.
The Swans are in the process of a serious transition phase currently and it has resulted in Francesco Guidolin losing his job, being replaced by American Bob Bradley who has suffered a tough start to his reign in South Wales. They are lingering around the danger zone at the moment and I can’t really see that changing as the season goes on. I think they’ll be in for a tough season and lack the leadership of Ashley Williams to shoot back up the table, they’ll be safe though because they have quality in their squad with the likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente.
Sean Dyche has developed phenomenal reputation at Turf Moor and has an incredible nack of fighting his way out of adversity. With strong results against Liverpool and Manchester United already this season, the signs are promising; but despite all of that I just can’t see Burnley having enough to stay up. Andre Gray and Sam Vokes will score goals but they’re an injury or two away from being a mile away from Premier League quality.
It has taken David Moyes 11 games to register his first win, and even that came from a penalty. You can’t expect to rely on a 34 year old Jermain Defoe all season and survive, his legs are ageing and the quality behind him is sub-par. Unless Moyes has a hefty financial backing in January he could see his side in deep deep trouble come May. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him be the next managerial casualty of the season. Did somebody say Sam Allardyce?
20th: Hull City
They have started the season far better than anyone’s expected considering the circumstances of losing Steve Bruce and having barely a full squad of first team players. Mike Phelan has taken over and done what wasn’t expected of him but the Premier League is a long, drawn out season, it is as physically demanding as it gets and having such a small squad will ruin any hopes of survival. Can’t see anything but certain relegation for the Tigers.
So there you have it, that’s what I think; but what about you? Is it Pep’s year? Can Jose steady the ship at United? Will Moyes keep Sunderland up after all? Let us know your thoughts.