Somehow we already have a feel of how this season will end. National Daily thinks this is how the top 20 would sit on the table at the end of the season.
20th : Brighton & Hove Albion
Every season has that newly promoted team that we all know for sure will get relegated. Brighton is that team this season. The Seagulls were 2nd placed at the Championship last season, giving first placed Newcastle a run for their money. But they haven’t made any signings that can sustain them in the Premier League. They haven’t looked impressive in their first three games either, not scoring in any of the 3 games they have played. All this points to the conclusion that they will be the first team to get relegated.
19th : Burnley , 18th : Newcastle United
Quite honestly, both these teams have the same issue. Both are defensively stronger than they are in terms of attacking. I think both these teams will get a lot of draws but very few wins. Dwight Gayle and Chris Wood are unproven strikers for their respective teams and their midfield is accordingly weak. Burnley was defensively strong last season but that was mostly because of the Keane-Mee partnership and Heaton’s form. But with Keane off to Everton, I don’t think they will as solid at the back as they were last season. The only reason I have put Newcastle over the Clarets is because I rate Rafa Benitez more over Sean Dyche.
17th : Swansea City
I had Swansea at the relegation spot before the season started, but having seen them play and looking at their transfer business, I think they will just survive. They have looked defensively stable in their first 3 games and although the loss of Sigurdsson will hurt them, the signings of Tammy Abraham and Wilfred Bony will help them fill that void. What I am really excited to see, is how Paul Clement uses Renato Sanches. If that gamble pays off, then I think they can finish even higher.
16th : Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace are a hard team to predict. They have a new manager who didn’t have a great time with the last team he managed and the club had a mostly quite transfer window, buying 2 and loaning in the same number. They didn’t have a great start to the season either, with 3 loses out of 3. I think they will flirt with the relegation spot in the first half of the season but will eventually survive. Talents of Benteke and Zaha are undoubted, and if Loftus cheek fulfils his potential, then goals will come for The Eagles. That and the signing of Sakho on a permanent deal will give them enough stability to survive for another season in the top flight.
15th: Huddersfield Town
Every season has that newly promoted team that we don’t see coming. This team comes out of nowhere and surprises us with some smart if not good football, enough to survive and see another day in the Premier League. Teams like Bournemouth, Burnley and Newcastle have been in this place and I think Huddersfield will be that team this season. The Terriers have shown promise in their first 3 games with 2 wins and a draw. Aaron Mooy is going to be their player of the season, with Jonas Lössl and Steve Mounie not far behind. With an overall stable squad, Huddersfield will be a team to keep an eye on.
Out of all the business Watford have done this summer, their best one will probably be the appointment of their manager Marco Silva. We got a glimpse of his skills and abilities last season and I believe he will redeem himself after he couldn’t save Hull city. They have done some good business in the window and I think good things can be expected from this team this time around.
I see Eddie Howe managing a top side in a few years’ time, but I can also say that his team overachieved last season and I don’t think they will repeat the same feat this season. They have done some great business with getting in Begovic and Defoe. However some other teams have done better business who I think will finish above them. Also I believe that Joshua King will not have the same kind of season that he had last season. Although, if Defoe and King can create some kind of solid partnership, they can easily be in the top half of the table.
12th: Stoke City
Stoke City is one of those teams which are the easiest to predict. They have been in the league for quite some time now and have neither flirted with relegation nor knocked the door to get to the top four. Despite losing Arnautovic, they have made some decent signings and they should be safely slotted in the middle of the table.
11th: West Ham United
West Ham under performed last year. Sadly they will under perform this year as well. They had a really good window, with the likes of Arnautovic, Chicharito and Joe Hart coming in, but I think defensively they are still weak. Teams who I think will finish above them are better in that area. They have also had an abysmal start to the season and if things don’t improve quickly, I believe that Slaven Bilic might be the first manager to be sacked this season. They should be safe this season, but with a team having their kind of attacking should be aiming higher and not just a mid-table finish.
10th: Leicester City
Leicester City will have a better season compared to the last one, however they won’t be anywhere near challenging for the title. They have not only made some great additions, but have improved in the process. They might miss Danny Drinkwater, but his absence will not affect them to the extent that they will be battling for survival. I think Craig Shakespeare will be able to get them back to being a stable side. They also somehow managed to keep Mahrez at least till January.
9th: West Bromwich Albion
West Brom have done some amazing business this summer. Krychowiak and Gareth Barry will give them stability in the midfield and Hegazi will reinforce an already solid defence. Jay Rodriguez and Oliver Burke will be vital when going ahead, if not inspirational. Tony Pulis is doing some great things with the Baggies and I expect them to build on their last season’s 10th place. Their football may be boring at times, but as long it’s getting them points, not many would mind.
It’s going to be very close between Southampton and West Brom.
Southampton should have kept Claude Puel. He did well in his only season for the club and I believe the new man in charge Pellegrino should do better to justify his appointment. Southampton are the kind of club which is expected to flounder every year, yet they somehow prove everyone wrong. They lose their key players to other clubs and yet somehow keep preforming at the same and sometimes at better levels. This season however is different. They only lost Jay Rodriguez and somehow managed to keep Virgil van Dijk. They added Mario Lemina in their midfield which should be an improvement. Their defence, just like West Brom is strong. But the reason I have them above the baggies is because their attacking resources are slightly better. However, I still believe that Austin, Redmond and Gabbiadini need to up their game to justify their inclusion.
This might look controversial, but the facts point to Arsenal having a dismal season. They somehow managed to have a weaker squad after the transfer window was closed. Their players have looked clueless and their manager tactically handicapped. They have added Lacazette, but apart from Ozil, no one has taken the effort to help him in attack. They somehow managed to keep Sanchez, but I am not sure if he will be at his peak like last season. Their midfield looks shaky and their defense is all over the place. I think they will score as well concede a lot this season. Add to that the fact they will be playing European football on Thursdays instead of Wednesdays with such a shallow squad. It’s going to be a long season for the Arsenal fans and for Wenger.
Ronald Koeman is a smart manager. He knew that Lukaku will not be easy to replace, so he improved the overall squad with the money they got from his sale. He also did the good thing of signing Premier League proven players, unlike Spurs who spent majorly on players from foreign leagues when they sold Bale. Keane and Pickford will surely improve their already strong defensive foothold. They also have more creative players compared to last season in Rooney, Sigurdsson and Klassen. Sandro will take time to familiarize himself to the league but should soon start scoring regularly. They also managed to keep Ross Barkley, meaning they spoilt for choices in almost all areas. They are playing in the Europa league so it will be interesting how they will handle both these tournaments.
I originally had Liverpool in the top four, but three things changed my mind. Firstly, they signed Naby Keita for the next season, meaning he won’t contribute this season. Secondly, they didn’t sign any center back, a position they desperately need reinforcement in. Finally, they didn’t sell Coutinho, which contrary to many people’s beliefs, will have a negative impact on the team. Liverpool have looked stable with 3 in the midfield. The Mane — Firmino — Salah partnership is more than enough to get any team a lot of goals. Now with Coutinho in the squad, someone in the starting 11 has to be sacrificed and that someone will have to be from the midfield 3. I think because of this dilemma, Liverpool will be victim of the occasional defeats which plagued them in the second half of last season. Add to that the fact that they are playing champions league football and have to juggle between this and premier league.
In the last two seasons that Spurs have “applied the pressure”, the thing I have observed is that they start their season slowly and then picked up their pace. In both these seasons they have a period where they draw or loose a few games in a trot and then start winning, by which time they are not actually challenging for the title. Compound this by the fact that they are playing their home matches at Wembley and I feel they won’t be as lethal as the previous seasons. They won’t flounder like West Ham did last season. Apart from this, I still believe that they have one of the best first team in the league and the fact that they have added some much needed squad depth on the last day of the transfer window, I feel they would do better than Arsenal for a second season running. That’s enough for the club to get a boost on their DVD sales.
3rd: Manchester United
Irrespective of their League position last season, many will agree that United were hard to beat. United (29) and Spurs (26) were the teams against whom others scored the least. However Spurs scored 86 goals and United 54, something which determined their respective league positions.
United’s window was a simple one. They needed players in certain areas, and they went ahead bought them. What is even better is they bought premier league proven players in Lukaku and Matic. Mourinho’s team is starting to take shape and they would give the eventual winners a run for their money. It will be close, really close but I think United will just miss out on the title for 2 reasons. Firstly, United’s left side is weak. Blind is good but not among the best in the league. Similarly Mourinho has to decide between Rashford and Martial for the Left Wing role. Secondly, the eventual winners have a better team.
I believe that like Liverpool, they should play with a midfield 3 of Herrera — Matic — Pogba, with Mkhitaryan and Martial ahead along with Lukaku. With champion’s league football back and resigning of Zlatan in the mix, United fans have a lot to get excited about.
Let’s get two things clear. First, Chelsea had a pretty good transfer window. Second, contrary to what many believe, Chelsea have enough depth to challenge for whatever tournament they plan to take seriously. The blues are not going to lose their starting XI overnight and even if they do, they have enough to cover. Speaking of starting XI, I believe Chelsea have the best one in the league. Their defence and midfield have already proved themselves last term. Bakayoko and Drinkwater will only improve them. Coming to attack, I thing Morata is an improvement over Costa and the trio of Pedro- Morata- Hazard will give defenders nightmares. I am especially excited about the signing of Zappacosta. Victor Moses has been good, but he is not a natural right back like Zappacosta. The Italian should improve both the defensive and attacking output form the right and should complement Alonso nicely.
I think Conte knows that his side is yet not good enough to compete with the best in the champion’s league at the moment, and will draft his teams keeping all the factors in mind. Barring any major problems, Chelsea should lift the title for the 6th time.
1st: Manchester City
City might just have had the best transfer widow of the lot. They got rid of most of the deadwood and signed some good defensive reinforcements. They spent like crazy if not wisely and now have the most expensive defense in world football. In the first 4 games, they have looked convincing.