I am finding it hard to believe that the season starts on Saturday. The much shorter off season, and the extended transfer window, is throwing off my yearly rhythm as a football fan. Nevertheless, it is time for people to start throwing out some predictions and I am no different.
This will be a 1-20 (or more accurately a 20-1) prediction for this season’s Premier League season - be sure to let me know what you think in the comments or on Twitter at @ThruItAllLUFC. Also feel free to tell me how wrong I was once the season is over.
20th - Fulham
The main reason for this pick is my lack of faith in Scott Parker as a manager. Fuham came up through the play-offs and deserve congratulations for that, but the squad they had should have performed to a higher level than they showed in the Championship.
They have a good striker in Aleksandar Mitrovic, but towards the end of the season it appeared Fulham were a better side without the Serbia striker. The wasting of Tom Cairney in such a deep role was a poor decision for me as well. Although it is great news in midfield that they have managed to re-sign Harrison Reed from Southampton who was excellent last season.
Antonee Robinson from Wigan Athletic is a good signing, but I don’t think left-back was their problem area by any stretch. They also look like signing France goalkeeper Alphonse Areola on loan from Paris Saint-Germain which is a good signing.
19th - West Ham United
I think the poor running of the club is going to catch up in a big way this season. David Moyes did okay last season but I don’t expect him to be able to improve them, and the sale of the promising Grady Diangana to West Bromwich Albion has drawn public criticism from the players which will not help matters.
18th - West Bromwich Albion
Didn’t end the season that well despite getting promotion and haven’t done enough to the squad to convince me they will stay up. Grady Diangana and Matheus Pereira will be good creatively (Pereira especially), but I don’t see them having enough to avoid the drop.
17th - Newcastle United
Last season I thought Newcastle United would be relegated because Steve Bruce was a bad choice of manager. I was wrong, he did pretty well. This time, as soon as the proposed takeover fell through everything around the club fell into a negative cycle and I think that they will start poorly and struggle to recover.
Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser are both good signings from AFC Bournemouth, but Newcastle have struggled to keep their strikers fit and Wilson’s history with knee injuries means he may be tough to rely on.
16th - Aston Villa
They needed a right-back, Matty Cash was good last year at Nottingham Forest. They needed a striker, Ollie Watkins is really good.
I think they were lucky to survive last season, and I think it will take some luck but they will just stay up this season.
15th - Burnley
There seemed to be some issues between Sean Dyche and Burnley last season and if Dyche left I would put them to go down - but under him I expect them to be solid and therefore be safe.
14th - Crystal Palace
Another who could struggle but I think will be ok. It looks like Wilfred Zaha will stay which is huge for the way they play and for the morale. The creative burden on Zaha will be eased by the arrival of Eberechi Eze from Queens Park Rangers who I expect to be a success. They won’t be the most interesting team but I think they will be ok.
13th - Brighton and Hove Albion
They have lost Aaron Mooy to China, but he will be replaced in midfield creation by Adam Lallana who should be fine for this season at least. Ben White is an upgrade on Shane Duffy (except in the air), and I fancy Neal Maupay to do as well if not better than last season. I also think Leandro Trossard and Alexis Mac Allister will do well.
12th - Leeds United (and I would be delighted)
Our squad seems thin in key areas but we have seen over the last two years that shouldn’t be much of an issue. Rodrigo adds serious quality up top and in theory Robin Koch should replace Ben White well.
It looks like we will add one or two more, but the main factor is Marcelo Bielsa. With him in charge I am confident that we will absolutely fine and I fancy us to do well early on (although maybe not at Anfield).
11th - Sheffield United
Didn’t look the same after the coronavirus enforced break and I don’t think they will be as strong this year. They have lost a good goalkeeper in Dean Henderson, but replacement Aaron Ramsdale is also good.
Ethan Ampadu, Jayden Bogle and Max Lowe are all decent signings as well. Think they will be comfortable in midtable and I would fancy them for a decent cup run.
10th - Southampton
Last season I expected Southampton to be decent and they were - if you ignore the bit at the start where they were terrible.
Ralph Hasenhuttl is a good manager and I like the way he gets his teams to play, although I don’t think Danny Ings will have another season quite as clinical as the last one.
9th - Leicester City
This feels low. Leicester threw it away last season and I think they will suffer a hangover from that. When Brendan Rodgers time at Liverpool started going wrong he struggled to change the momentum and I think that will happen again. However, if Jamie Vardy hits a hot streak early that could turn around the confidence and make me look very silly.
8th - Wolves
More of the same from Wolves. Good side but haven’t done anything in the summer that I expect to make them take a leap forward. Fabio Silva cost a fortune but I’d be lying if I was excited about him for any other reason than he is amazing on Football Manager.
7th - Everton
I didn’t like their midfield last year but they have completely replaced it with the signings of Abdoulaye Doucoure from Watford and Allan from SSC Napoli. James Rodriguez is still quality even though it didn’t work out last season at Real Madrid. These players will bring out better results from Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison I expect.
6th - Totttenham Hotspur
Good squad despite the loss of Jan Vertonghen. The signings of Matt Doherty and Pierre-Emile Hojberg are decent but won’t change lots. This is Jose Mourinho’s second season where he generally does fine - look for that to fall apart next season.
Mourinho teams defend well, they have enough quality up front that they will score plenty, I just don’t think they will crack the top four this season.
5th - Manchester United
Squad should do better than this but I do not rate Solksjaer as a manager. It also may be my bias against them showing. I hope they finish 20th.
4th - Arsenal
Probably optimistic but whenever I watch them lately I feel like they are close to something good. It hasn’t been officially sorted yet I believe, but it looks like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is signing a new deal and under Mikel Arteta they seem to have some belief back which is showing on the pitch.
Their big issues are at centre-back and have been for years, while they still won’t be perfect, the signings of Gabriel Magalhaes from Lille and William Saliba getting his chance following his time at Saint-Etienne should help with that.
3rd - Chelsea
They were good last season despite being defensively suspect. They have lost two good but aging players in Pedro and Willian.
They have signed Thiago Silva, Malang Sarr, Hakim Ziyech, Ben Chilwell, Timo Werner, and Kai Havertz. If they aren’t in the top four, and comfortably so, that should be considered a massive disappointment.
2nd - Liverpool
Ridiculously good side, but I cannot see a team continuing to be that good for a third season in a row despite their enormous quality and an excellent manager in Jurgen Klopp. This has more to do with Man City signing Nathan Ake (and I expect Kalidou Koulibaly), fixing their biggest issue.
1st - Manchester City
Anyone else losing David Silva would be enough to worry me, but Man City have enough to cover that. They are covering some of their weaknesses with signings and I think Guardiola will have them extra motivated following the distance they were behind Liverpool last season. I also expect Kevin De Bruyne to be the best player in the league once again.
I am sure I will be majorly wrong on something, let us know what you think on Twitter at @ThruItAllLUFC. Yes, I said that at the top, but I am saying it again.