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Premier League 1-20. Can Leeds improve on last season’s ninth placed finish? Jack Robshaw

Last season I predicted West Ham to finish 19th. I can’t be more wrong than that, right?

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Leeds United v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League - Elland Road Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images

The pre-season predictions are that chance to show you know more than most people out there - even if they almost always do the opposite. Last season was a mixed bag: Correct winner, two out of three of the relegated teams correct, West Ham in 19th, Sheffield United in 11th.

I talked about some of these picks on our Leeds United Podcast previously, which can be listened to on Soundcloud, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or Spotify - or in the tweet below.

Can I do a bit better this season? This will be a 1-20 (or more accurately a 20-1) prediction for this 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 - Norwich City

I think Norwich will have another season like their last one in the Premier League. Coming up, not spending much money, going down again but with the club in a healthy position.

Milot Rashica has looked good at Werder Bremen and should have an impact. Josh Sargent is an interesting signing as he is young and could be a good striker - but I don’t think he is yet in a position to get enough goals to rescue Norwich. Billy Gilmour is obviously very good too. However these signings aren’t enough for me to think they will stay up, especially after losing Emiliano Buendia and there is a lot of talk that Todd Cantwell may go too.

Barnsley v Norwich City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

19th - Watford

Stacked squad in the Championship, still lots of players but doesn’t look as impressive in the Premier League.

Signing Josh King and Ashley Fletcher doesn’t scream goals but they do have some good options in attack, out wide especially. On paper I’d be worried about them defensively as the players don’t look like a great list, but they only conceded 30 goals in the league last season so they shouldn’t be too bad. In the end, I just think a lack of quality will be an issue.

Watford v West Bromwich Albion - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

18th - Newcastle

Whenever Newcastle have the combination of Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce in charge, I will expect something to go wrong.

They haven’t signed anyone, but now look like they may pull off the Joe Willock deal which will help. Last season ended well for them but I just can’t see them doing well, although there are several teams who could end up worse off.

Burton Albion v Newcastle United: Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images

17th - Burnley

I think this squad would get relegated under a lot of managers, but Sean Dyche keeps getting the best out of them and while he is there I think they will stay up. The new owners lack of investment could cause Dyche to leave and if that happens then it may be a worse result.

Blackpool v Burnley: Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images

16th - Southampton

A couple of major losses in Ryan Bertrand and Danny Ings. Valentino Livramento is very highly rated but is more of a signing for the future. Romain Perraud should be a good replacement for Bertrand, but it is tough to see the combination of Che Adams, Adam Armstrong, and Armando Broja being enough to replace Ings’ goals. Given how poorly the Saints finished the season, I was expecting lower mid-table. Then, news broke that Jannik Vestergaard was probably going to Leicester, and the talk of James Ward-Prowse going came back, and I moved them down a couple more spots.

Southampton v Athletic Bilbao: Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images

15th - Crystal Palace

Massive squad turnover tends to lead to problems, and Patrick Vieira (although an unbelievable player) isn’t a proven enough commodity as a manager for me to think he will do great.

However, I do like the signings they have made. Marc Guehi and Joachim Andersen are a definite improvement at the back, and adding Conor Gallagher and Michael Olise gives them a lot more creativity in midfield, it is a shame about Ebere Eze’s injury because he would have been looking to kick on this season. A lot of Palace fans are impressed by a few of their u23s as well, which could come to the fore with their small squad. Could go very wrong but think they will stay up, and that is all that will matter to them for this season.

Crystal Palace v Watford - Pre-Season Friendly - Selhurst Park Photo by Ashley Western/PA Images via Getty Images

14th - Brentford

Every year I make the argument than one promoted team will start really well and then fade away - this year I am saying that is Brentford.

I would have fancied a fast start if they had signed no-one, but Kristoffer Ajer and Frank Onyenka should both be good for them. Ivan Toney looked too good in the Championship to not do at least fine in the Premier League. Fast start keeps them up in my opinion.

Brentford v Swansea City - Sky Bet Championship Play Off Final Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images

13th - Wolves

A change of manager could go either way, so it is one hell of a piece of fence-sitting for me to predict the same position as last season.

It is very weird to say of a team that beat Leeds twice that I thought they looked like a relegation candidate last season, so I could easily have gone lower. However, I am going to take a chance that Raul Jimenez is still what he was before the head injury and his goals will get them points.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Celta Vigo - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

12th - West Ham

West Ham have a small squad, and small squads tend to struggle in the league when they qualify for the Europa League. Michail Antonio is currently the only striker at the club and he cannot be relied upon to stay fit. A couple of additions (or just playing a young team in Europe) could see them higher.

West Ham United v Atalanta - Pre-season Friendly Photo by Rob Newell - CameraSport via Getty Images

11th - Brighton

I like Graham Potter and Brighton played some good football last season, they just could not finish. They haven’t yet bought a more clinical striker, but I expect they will. Even if they don’t sign anyone I can’t see them being as low as they were last year. There is a lot to like about the signing of Enock Mwepu but Ben White is a big loss.


10th - Leeds

Last year I would have been delighted with my prediction of 12th, this year I would still be happy with 12th but I am going with 10th. Firpo for Alioski means the starting XI is stronger in theory. Like most fans I think the squad is too small but Marcelo Bielsa has taught me time and again that I am wrong about that. We could be better, could be worse, but as long as we avoid trouble at the end of the season it’s fine.

Leeds United v Real Betis: Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images

9th - Aston Villa

On paper they have done some good business, and I am trusting it to improve their position slightly, but teams that rely on a talisman and then lose them often struggle regardless of who comes in.

Axel Tuanzebe could be a really useful signing on loan and should suit Villa well but the headline signings of Buendia, Ings, and Leon Bailey should all have a very good impact. Villa could have an iffy start, as they get used to life without Grealish but they should be a good side this year.

Stoke City v Aston Villa - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

8th - Tottenham Hotspur

I think Kane stays, but he won’t happy about it. I think last season Nuno regressed a bit as a manager. I wish I could be more technical about it, but I just don’t fancy them this season.

Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal - The MIND Series Photo by Vincent Mignott/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

7th - Everton

Last year they made headlines with Carlo Ancelotti and James Rodriguez, this year is much more sedate. Demarai Gray could be the bargain of the season at £1.8m. Rafa Benitez may not be the most popular appointment with Everton’s fans but he is an excellent manager and I think he will do well.

Everton Unveil New Manager Rafael Benitez Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

6th - Arsenal

A position which Arsenal fans still wouldn’t consider good enough, but it would be a sign of progress. Arsenal finally bought a centre-back in Ben White, and Albert Sambi Lokonga will bolster the midfield and these were two key positions needed. I am a big fan of Emile Smith-Rowe and expect him to force his way into a key role this season.

Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal: The MIND Series Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

5th - Manchester United

Really good squad and have added Jadon Sancho and (probably) Raphael Varane. Don’t rate the manager but they will have genuine hopes of challenging for the title. However, Leeds bias and all that, they won’t get in the top four.

Manchester United v Leeds United - FA Cup 3rd Round Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

4th - Leicester City

I like everything about Leicester’s squad and I like Brendan Rodgers (even if he says some very odd things). I expect this year to finally be the year Jamie Vardy drops off a bit, but Patson Daka could be the ideal replacement for him so a transition between them this year makes all the sense in the world. Ryan Bertrand and Boubakary Soumare should also be good signings. Leicester should have qualified for the Champions League last season, and I think they will this season.

Manchester City v Leicester City - The FA Community Shield Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images

3rd - Chelsea

At the start of last season, I said Chelsea should be “comfortably in the top four” and that was with Frank Lampard in charge. Take basically the same first team squad, replace Olivier Giroud with (probably) Romelu Lukaku and a much better coach in Thomas Tuchel and you have a genuine title challenger. However, I think they will fall short of that.

Arsenal v Chelsea - Pre Season Friendly Photo by Harriet Lander - Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

2nd - Liverpool

Still got third last season despite major issues. Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez are back, and they have signed Ibrahima Konate so the issues at centre-back should be sorted. Add to that the copious attacking options and there is no excuse for Liverpool to not mount a title challenge this season.

Everton v Liverpool - Premier League Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

1st - Manchester City

I would love to say something more interesting but I can’t. Losing Sergio Aguero is a big blow but Pep Guardiola has been preparing for that for a while so I think they will be fine between Gabriel Jesus and the various options they have to play as a “false 9”. They already were one of the best attacking sides you could see, and then they spent £100m on Jack Grealish. I also think they’ll win the Champions League.

Manchester City v Everton - Premier League Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

I am sure I will be majorly wrong on something, what do you think it will be? Leeds winning the league? Anyone? Tell me in the comments or on Twitter at @ThruItAllLUFC. Yes, I said that at the top, but I am saying it again.