With the most exciting league season just around the corner I think it’s about time to turn some heads as I predict the success and misery of the clubs in England’s top flight, and with some of the biggest transfers in Premier League history taking place this summer the league shouldn’t be short of flavor and excitement.
Manchester City have once again broke the bank in order to challenge for the title under Pep, Arsenal have finally brought in a world class striker and Chelsea and Manchester United seemed to trade there first choice transfer targets.
Newcastle are back in the big time after taking a short holiday, Brighton have flown into the top league after a sky high season and Huddersfield were certainly the surprise package under David Wagner.
With Chelsea the reigning Champions they will fight hard to defend what is theirs but without doubt this season could be the tightest in the league’s history with Spurs, Liverpool and Everton all genuine title challengers.
So here is my brief summary on who I think will be finishing in the top 4.
Manchester City : Champions
As much as it pains me to say this I think now that Pep Guardiola has had his time to put his unique stamp on this side I expect them to be an entirely different entity.
With over £150m being spent on bolstering up what could only be described as a shambolic defensive display last season it has been clear to see where Pep thought they needed reinforcements. Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy both cost over £50m whilst Benfica goalkeeper Eduardo and Real Madrid’s Danilo weren’t exactly on the cheap side.
Alongside that saw the recruit of Monaco’s tricky play-maker Bernardo Silva who I feel will really take up the David Silva role perfectly now that the little Spaniard is getting on a bit.
Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus are possibly the scariest strike force in the league and I expect them to be bagging goals for fun with the creative geniuses behind them in Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva to name a few.
With Vincent Kompany also looking like he is back to full fitness I expect City to be back at their tantalizing best and storm to the Premier League title under Guardiola after a disappointing third place finish for them last time out.
Key Player: Vincent Kompany
As much as this isn’t the most exciting player to pick in a team full of attacking flare I think the Belgian is key if Manchester City are to succeed this season.
The centre half has been very unlucky with injuries recently and he has proved a huge miss not only due to this defensive abilities but also his amazing leadership qualities. City are never the same at the back in my opinion without Kompany and last season we saw this as the back four lacked organisation and stability as they shipped a considerable amount of goals for a club as big as they are.
If Kompany can keep himself fit for the whole season I feel he is going to have the biggest impact of any player. Yes Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne are world class players but I think they have more suitable replacements for them two than they do for Kompany.
If the Belgian can get back to his very best then I dont see any reason why City wont be winning the league.
Manchester United: Runners up
After what I would class as another great transfer window from Jose Mourinho’s side I expect us to be nothing short of challenging for the title this time out. We have made three great signings that cover nearly all bases in the squad and anything less than a title challenge would be a huge failure.
After the loss of what could only be described as our hero last season Zlatan Ibrahimovic to a nasty injury it was clear a new top class striker would be needed. For a long time it was looking as if Alvaro Morata would be coming to Old Trafford before somehow we managed to steal what looked like a done deal to Chelsea in bringing in Everton’s Romelu Lukaku for £90m.
Romelu has been consistently finding the back of the net for the toffee’s and a move to a bigger side was imminent, however not even I thought that we would secure his signature. I think Romelu’s clinical finishing and his powerful hold up play will certainly be a big hit at United and a dream partnership linking up with Paul Pogba has certainly got me excited for this new season.
Benfica centre back Victor Lindelof has also been brought in along with Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic who to me is key in our success this season. Alongside Ander Herrera he will not only help to defend our back four but also allow Paul Pogba to play his natural attacking game which should see the very best brought out of him.
I still worry about our left back area, Luke Shaw is no doubt a quality player when he is fit and I would love to see him get a run in the team but he is to often unavailable and with Jose Mourinho questioning his attitude that is also a slight worry. I dont really rate Daley Blind as a full back as he lacks pace and power and neither do I particularly rate Ashley Young in this area. A new left back for me would complete our side.
Nevertheless our squad is the strongest I have seen it for some time and with a place back in the Champions League and a Premier League title pursuit on the cards we’re back where we belong.
Key Player: Nemanja Matic
For some time now Manchester United have been looking to replace the pairing of Roy Keane and Paul Scholes and in Ander Herrera it looks like they’ve found a gem but last season playing Paul Pogba alongside him so deep wasn’t seeing the best of him.
The signing of Nemanja Matic from Chelsea for me is a game changer. Matic has proven Premier League quality and his defensive abilities will go hand in hand with that of Ander Herrera. The new pairing will give a great stability to our side and it will allow our more attacking players to play freely.
Matic’s signing is going to give Paul Pogba a new attacking role and setting the french-man free to play his natural game is going to benefit the club no end.
Matic will help break up the play and will also take some of the defensive workload away from Ander Herrera. With Champions League football also now back at Old Trafford it was important that we bolstered our squad with quality in this area.
Chelsea: 3rd place
Some people would see me putting Chelsea in 3rd place as somewhat of a shock considering they are the reigning title holders but I truly feel the summer transfer window hasn’t been the best for a club as a big as Chelsea.
Yes they have brought in Monaco’s Tiemoue Bakayoko which is a great signing to play alongside the midfield workhorse and all round footballing genius known as N’Golo Kante and the £70m transfer of Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid but missing out on Lukaku when the deal looked almost certain to go through was a massive blow.
Alongside not bringing in to many names to the squad they’ve also let an astronomical number of players leave the club. No fewer than 28 players have either left the club permanently or gone out on loan this season which leaves the Chelsea squad a little short in my opinion.
Much of Chelsea’s bench has found themselves out of the club this season and in yesterday’s Community Shield loss to Arsenal we saw just how short of quality Chelsea’s bench was. Not only this but both Bakayoko and Hazard are both missing for the start of the season through injury.
The Deigo Costa saga also looks to be heading with the player leaving the club after being told he was “unneeded” by manager Antonio Conte and with so many players leaving the club and hardly any new signings coming the other way the Chelsea squad could find it hard to compete in the Premier League and Champions League which they didn’t have last season.
Without doubt they still have a very talented side but I think the usual strength in depth that Chelsea have always had has somewhat vanished. Before the season begins I would like to see them bring in three or four more signings in order for them to produce to the level they did last season.
Key Player: Alvaro Morata
Now let me make this very clear I have named this section the “key player” not the star player. When I use the word key it indicates that their displays will be the most important and not necessarily the best.
So of course I feel Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante are going to have great season as per but I feel now with the loss of Diego Costa that Alvaro Morata is going to have to prove his £70m transfer from Real Madrid. I’m not a big fan of Michy Batshuayi and I dont think he has the quality to be Chelsea’s leading striker so Morata will have to perform.
With Hazard out for the first few games of the season the team looks a little short of goals so Morata will have to prove his goal scoring pedigree which has seen him score more goals per minute than everyone except Lionel Messi come to prevalence.
Morata didn’t have the best cameo appearance in the Community Shield against Arsenal where he not only found himself isolated after the sending off of Pedro but also missing his penalty after not even hitting the target.
I expect Morata to take a while to settle in but once he does I have no doubt he will play a huge success in this Chelsea side.
Liverpool: 4th place
Under Jurgen Klopp I can see Liverpool getting back to their very best and this is a scary thought as a Manchester United fan. Liverpool have under-performed somewhat in recent years however since the German has taken over they are building something sustainable and successful for the future.
The German’s hard work and pressing style of play has often impressed me and I expect that this season they will continue to improve as an outfit. With Klopp getting rid of much of the deadwood at the club his squad is looking rather lean but full of quality.
This summer has seen the signings of Andrew Robertson from Hull, Dominick Solanke from Chelsea and my personal favorite Mohamed Salah joining from Roma after a fantastic season.
With the pace and ability of the likes of Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana they are going to be possibly one of the most exciting teams going forward. Now I would have included Phillipe Coutinho in this list but since Neymar’s departure from Barcelona Coutiniho looks set to be the number one target to replace him. If Liverpool lose Coutinho I think this will be a massive blow and could cost them a top four place unless they replace him well.
If they do sell Coutinho though I think they would benefit from using some of the money on improving their defence. They have been linked with Virgil Van Dijk for some time but today he announced that he had handed in a transfer request at Southampton which could see him at Anfield very soon. I think this signing would really benefit a Liverpool defence which I think is the weak link.
Having to cope with Champions League football and competing at the top of the Premier League could prove challenging for a side who pride themselves on team pressing and hard work. I still expect them to have enough for a top four finish but it will certainly be more challenging than last campaign.
Key Player: Philippe Coutinho
For many seasons now I feel Philippe Coutinho has been Liverpool’s shining light even when they haven’t been performing at their best. The little Brazilian has often produced moments of magic when his team have needed it the most. Whether that was a stunning free kick of a pin point pass to open up the tightest of defences.
For me Coutinho is the key player because if they lose him to Barcelona I think it could seriously hamper their season. He is not someone who is going to be easily replaceable especially so close to the start of a new season. So for me it is pivotal he remains at the club even if it just for this season.
Coutinho has made it clear that if a deal can be done amicably between Liverpool and Barcelona he would be open to it but would only leave Anfield for Barcelona. It was innevitable after Neymar left Barcelona for PSG that Coutinho would be heavily linked with a move to the Nou Camp.
Many might say that players like Lallana, who is out for 3 months, or Firmino can step up and play just as well as Coutinho but for me I feel he is almost irreplaceable. Barcelona dont just try and sign anybody so it clearly shows just how special he is. Keeping hold of Coutinho will make or break Liverpool’s season for me.