It’s that time again, as football fans up and down the country start to eagerly anticipate the beginning of the new football season. Will Chelsea triumph once more, or will the title return to Manchester? Will Manchester United and Liverpool’s high-spending summer pay off? How will the teams promoted from the Championship fare? This post will tackle all those questions and more, as Teen Sport News tries to predict where each team will finish in thirty-eight games time.
I think that Chelsea will become the first team since 2009 to retain the trophy. They were extremely strong during last season, and will start the new season with the same team. They need Diego Costa to stay fit and Eden Hazard to shine, but Jose Mourinho knows that he has created a successful side that will certainly be favourites in most people’s books.
Chelsea will be looking towards success elsewhere, in both domestic and European competitions. A treble is not out of the question.
Last season: 3rd
For the past few seasons, Arsenal haven’t really been up at the very top, but this could be the season that it all changes. With Manchester City having a small-scale crisis and Manchester United still very much in a transitional phase, Arsenal could build on their FA Cup win last season and mount a title challenge.
Petr Cech, while getting on in his career, is still a top-class keeper and could save some vital points for Arsenal while adding bags of experience. He has been their only signing of the summer so far and I think a classy striker is needed to really challenge Chelsea.
3. Manchester United
Last season: 4th
Manchester United’s season relies on two things: David De Gea staying at the club and Wayne Rooney both scoring goals and staying fully fit. I think that De Gea will be staying – Real Madrid are not budging on letting Sergio Ramos leave, and they know that De Gea’s contract ends next year. Madrid have just signed a new goalkeeper and seem content with waiting for De Gea on a free.
Rooney will be more vital than ever now because he is United’s only top-class striker and one of only three in the squad. Unless United sign another top attacker, an injury to Rooney would leave United without a source of goals. Their signings so far have generally been positive – Schweinstieger has been one of the best central midfielders in the world in the past few years, and Memphis Depay is a young star with fantastic potential.
4. Manchester City
Last season: 2nd
This season will be a strange one for City – Manuel Pellegrini is just killing time before his inevitable departure, and City’s aging squad didn’t perform to their usual high standards last season. Raheem Sterling is the big money buy but I think he will struggle with the higher demand to play fantastically every week. I’m afraid Fabian Delph looks like a signing simply to fill the English player quota.
City may be consigned to failure this season. The next season could be the one where they regain their title aspirations, with Pep Guardiola a managerial possibility. City, and other top English sides, need to start attracting talent from the likes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich. As the squad ages, another regeneration is needed.
Last season: 6th
Liverpool have spent big over the summer, and it will be interesting to see whether these signings pay off. While I think that we will see an improved season, I don’t think that it will be enough to break into the top four. Brendan Rodgers has been shown a lot of faith from the owners, but another potentially trophy less campaign will certainly test the faith.
Firmino, Coutinho and Benteke could link up well, and Nathaniel Clyne and James Milner look to be solid signings in defence and midfield. A new era at the club beckons, but I think that the top four teams are too strong to break into, and that could cost Rodgers his job.
6. Tottenham Hotspur
Last season: 5th
Spurs risk becoming a team that, while always comfortably in the top half of the table, are unable to challenge for the Champions League. Harry Kane was the shining light last season, and if he can continue that form they will have a steady supply of goals.
However, with no marquee signing and overall little change at the club, it could prove to be another frustrating season for Tottenham. Unless quality attacking signings are added to the team, there will be no assault on the top four.
7. Swansea City
Last season: 8th
Swansea have pulled off, in my opinion, one of the signings of the summer – Andre Ayew. Formerly at Marseille, the Ghana captain had a great scoring record and could easily get into many top European sides. The free transfer makes this signing look even more shrewd.
The Swans look competent all across the field, and with Ayew and Bafetimbi Gomis leading the attack, this could be the season when Swansea mount a Europa League challenge. Garry Monk has many admirers but looks very committed to Swansea and he will be hopeful of leading them to a good finish.
Last season: 7th
Southampton have shown that they can deal with a major exodus, but have again lost two of their star players -Schneiderlin and Clyne. Jordy Clasie looks a very good signing, as does Juanmi and Cedric Soares. You would be a fool to predict a collapse as the Saints showed how excellent they can be despite the loss of stars last season.
It is certain to be another admirable season on the south coast, and a similar finish to last season should be expected, and should also please manager Ronald Koeman.
Last season: 11th
Last season was one of the Toffees’ most disappointing campaigns for a while – terrible for a large part of it before saving their blushes towards the end. Again, Everton will rely heavily upon Romelu Lukaku, who didn’t produce last season. They have spent very little money so far, but with John Stones potentially leaving for more than £30 million, a few classy additions to the team could help improve their campaign.
Unfortunately for Everton, Swansea, Southampton and Stoke have really improved and will be tough to overcome. If the Merseysiders spend some money on good players, they will be able to recover their old position of Europa League challengers.
10. Stoke City
Last season: 9th
Stoke have four Champions League winners in their squad – more than Liverpool and Arsenal. Bojan, Muniesa, Afellay and El Ouriachi have all switched Barcelona for Stoke. The Potters have made some good signings, which were needed after the departures of star players Asmir Begovic and Steven Nzonzi.
Another solid season is expected for Stoke, who have cemented their place as a good Premier League outfit. Manager Mark Hughes has said Europa League is a target, and while that looks unlikely, it isn’t out of the question for the Potters.
11. West Ham United
Last season: 12th
West Ham have made a few interesting buys, such as Angelo Ogbonna, Dmitri Payet and Pedro Obiang. All of these players are untested in the Premier League but could turn out very good, a statement that can also apply to new manager Slaven Bilic.
It will be an experimental season in East London, but they could pull of a surprise and aim for Europe. They need to become a bigger club as they are moving in the Olympic Stadium at the end of the season, where they need to attract more fans.
12. Crystal Palace
Last season: 10th
Yohan Cabaye has been the biggest buy for the south Londoners, and the Frenchman comes with a good Premier League pedigree, while Patrick Bamford and Conor Wickham are two young strikers looking to fulfill their potential.
Alan Pardew has a settled squad and a season of mid-table solidarity looks likely. Palace seem to have finally found a Premier League manager who will lead them in the long run.
13. Newcastle United
Last season: 15th
Newcastle had a terrible season last campaign, and were saved from relegation because there were teams even worse. Steve McClaren is tried and tested so will not cause too many surprises.
The main reason why Newcastle might finally make it out of the doldrums is because Mike Ashley has put some money into the team. Highly-rated youngsters Mbemba, Mitrovic and Wijnaldum have all arrived for large sums, and if these three perform to their potential, the Newcastle fans might have something to celebrate.
14. West Bromwich Albion
Last season: 13th
West Brom know that they have one of the best managers in the league in Tony Pulis. He has made some good, if not spectacular, signings such as Rickie Lambert. However, the club have just splashed the cash on Rubin Kazan striker Solomon Rondon for a club-record £12 million.
If Rondon can continue his impressive scoring from Russia, there is a good chance that Pulis can guide the Baggies to a mid-table finish, but there are many sides that will snap up that opportunity if West Brom fail to deliver.
15. Aston Villa
Last season: 17th
Villa have lost their two best players – club captain Fabian Delph and leading scorer Christian Benteke, and they could struggle due to these losses. With the money recieved, they have spent heavily on players such as Jordan Ayew and Jordan Amavi.
The team that begins the new season will look very different from the one that ended the previous campaign, but a relegation-threat free season is what Tim Sherwood will be looking for, and what Villa should expect.
16. Leicester City
Last season: 14th
The biggest change for Leicester is certainly off the pitch, with the successful but controversial Nigel Pearson being sacked as manager and replaced by former Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri. The appointment was met with skepticism from many fans and we will have to wait and see whether or not Leicester will thrive.
On the pitch, there have not been too many changes in the squad, but Shinji Okazawi will be looking to deliver goals and Robert Huth continue on from his good loan spell last season. A relegation battle is likely at some point in the season, but Leicester will be one of the favourites to survive.
Promoted in 1st
Bournemouth were very impressive in the Championship last season, and seem to be set from a similar mould to Southampton and Swansea. Eddie Howe is an exciting young manager, and has sensibly brought in many players to boost his teams chances of survival.
Whether those players can help them to stay in the Premier League is yet to be seen. The Cherries will certainly be fighting for survival, but look like the promoted side with the best chances of survival.
Last season: 16th
Sunderland pulled off another ‘great escape’ last season, and were able to convince Dick Advocaat to stay. However, the standard has gone even higher and I’m not sure that Sunderland can keep up. Jeremain Lens is a gamble, and they have sold Conor Wickham without signing a replacement.
This season may just be the one that is too much for the Black Cats, and while they will be fighting to the very end, they could be in the relegation places come May.
Last season: Promoted in 2nd
Watford have signed many players, but only one of whom is from a Premier League outfit. The change in the squad may be too much and many signings could turn out to be flops. However, Watford have three prolific strikers in Deeney, Vydra and Ighalo and I think that they could score the most goals out of the bottom five teams.
If the Hornets’ squad gels sufficiently then there is every chance they can survive. Unfortunately, I think the Premier League will be just too much and they could be destined for a direct return to the Championship.
20. Norwich City
Last season: Promoted through play-offs
Norwich have an interesting young boss in the shape of Alex Neil, who guided them to promotion from the Championship last season. Untested in the Premier League, he could be a very good manager.
Sadly for the Canaries, they still have a largely Championship-standard team and I don’t think they have enough in them to avoid relegation.
So, what do you think of my predictions? Feel free to comment below.