Predicting the final Premier League table standings is a near impossible task. Every season there are a group of teams which either exceed expectation, or disappoint.
But hey! Although it is a tad early, I will take a stab at it. At best I will look like the expert I very much am not, and at worst I will look like Paul Merson, famous for an expansive portfolio of dreadful predictions.
Predicting the winner is a very difficult task. No Premier League team has won back-to-back titles since Manchester United (2007/2008, 2008/2009). This is due to extremely high competition from the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.
In this article I will explore each team and their chances for the upcoming season, and where they could end up come next May.
A disclaimer – the transfer is still wide open to clubs for them to make any changes and will not shut until the opening match day on August 10th, this means I have a strong excuse for when I inevitably get the predictions horribly wrong.
The Gunners have faced changes which are, given the context, massive. An end of an era for Arsene Wenger, but potentially the start of a new one for the seasoned Spaniard Unai Emery.
He has already made a much needed solid central defensive addition in Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Borussia Dortmund) and added Lucas Torreira from Sampdoria in the midfield.
This season is a great chance for Arsenal to re-establish themselves as a top dog, and they now have the weapons to do so. They have what could be a formidable front three in Aubameyang, Lacazette and Mkhitaryan. But it will not quite be enough, at least not this season.
Bournemouth: 19th (Relegated)
Bournemouth achieved a very strong league table position last season finishing 12th. Eddie Howe has done a grand job at the club, last season yet again he got a lot out of a young and inexperienced squad. However, The Cherries could be about to run out of steam.
This season to survive they will need to strength in depth, which they do not appear to have added. They have added Diego Rico from Spanish side Leganes to their central defence, but I do not believe they have enough quality this season to survive the drop.
The Seagulls did enough to survive the drop last season, they never really struck me as a team that would go down, despite never really looking particularly impressive.
This season, I believe they will be on par with their performance levels of last season, and it will once again, be enough to achieve Premier League survival. Brighton have made a fair few signings going in to the upcoming season, demonstrating that they mean business.
For now they look to be a team worthy of Premier League status.
Sean Dyche has made no signings thus far in the transfer window, but that will not bother him one bit, if there is any club in the league which have a roster of players which vastly exceed expectations it is The Clarets.
In successive seasons, Dyche has created a system which still seems very hard to break. I see no sign of that changing this season.
They are defensively sound, and Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes can be an effective strike force for them.
Cardiff: 20th (Relegated)
The Bluebirds have made four signings so far in the summer transfer window. None of them are of Premier League standard, which for a club who did not breeze to promotion is a big issue.
Neil Warnock still has time to make some experienced signings, but if he fails to do so, it is hard to see the Welsh side achieve anything higher than 20th position this season.
The Blues staying put at number five. Chelsea fans will be hoping that new manager Maurizio Sarri keeps SC Napoli on speed dial before the window closes to steal Dries Mertens and Kalidou Koulibaly.
The London side must aim to make attacking transfers if they are to achieve any higher than fifth.
They will be very defensively sound with Jorginho and N’golo Kante in defensive midfield, but without any attacking additions, Chelsea will go sideways.
Crystal Palace: 14th
The reign of Roy Hodgson from the get-go should put Crystal Palace in contention to achieve solid league position.
Clinging on to Luka Milivojevic and Wilfried Zaha would really help The Eagles, and could allow them to strive for better.
But at this moment in time, given the competition in the middle of the table, 14th seems like a respectable result for the club.
Selhurst Park is a difficult place for clubs to visit (ask Liverpool fans), Roy will make sure that trend continues.
A side with lots of great players, and the addition of Richarlison, Everton can get a very good finish this season, the question is will they?
Marco Silva’s setup will no doubt be more attacking than Sam Allardyce’s last season, I’m not sure if it could be any more defensive it must be said. A side with lots of promise, but extremely limited delivery in many a season.
It will be close in the upper-middle section in the table, but Everton might just need to rebuild this season in order to compete higher up in the future.
Newly promoted Fulham are a side which are not strapped for cash, and have made some impressive signings such as Andre Schurrle on loan from Borussia Dortmund.
Last season they played explosive football with the likes of Ryan Fredericks and prodigy Ryan Sessegnon on the flanks.
They will continue to do so I imagine going in to the new Premier League season, but the attacking quality of Fulham comes at the expense of their defensive abilities.
Fulham are likely to be incredibly inconsistent this season, which could make them a joy to watch.
Huddersfield: 18th (Relegated)
Huddersfield have made some big moves in the transfer window including Terence Kongolo’s signature for a permanent contract which is a club record transfer fee of around £17 million.
However, it will not be enough for The Terriers. David Wagner got just enough out of his men last season, but I do not believe the quality of Huddersfield’s team is enough to save them from relegation this season.
It is hard to see how Leicester will be able to continue to compete close to the top six without key man Riyad Mahrez this season. Jamie Vardy linked up excellently with the Algerian in previous seasons.
New signing James Maddison (Norwich City), is deemed Mahrez’s replacement, which is a huge responsibility.
Nevertheless, The Foxes have signed Johnny Evans from relegated West Brom, a solid, experienced central defender.
I would expect Leicester to float around the middle of the table this season.
Jürgen Klopp has wasted no time in building his Liverpool team this off-season.
Signings of Naby Keita (RB Leipzig), Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City) and Fabinho (AS Monaco) in midfield, as well as Alisson Becker from AS Roma in goal, Liverpool have certainly added quality and depth to their squad, regardless of the hefty price tags.
As described earlier, this season is a great opportunity for another team to win the title, and Liverpool having not a single Premier League title to their name, will be chomping at the bit to do so.
Although, Liverpool will likely share the same fate as Arsenal and come up short.
Manchester City: 1st (Champions)
Champions elect once again for the blue side of Manchester, although I do not see it being the whitewash repeat of last season.
The Citizens have only made one significant addition in Riyad Mahrez, but given the quality of City last season they should be still be in pole position to be the first club in ten years to achieve back-to-back Premier League titles.
It will be close this season and there will be no opportunities to take their foot of the gas. One thing is for sure, as Premier League spectators we should be in for another cracker of a season.
Manchester United: 6th
The big upset of the Premier League season could be Manchester United.
Last season they scored enough points and had enough goal difference to have won the 2015/2016 Premier League, but in reality they were not even in the same class as Man City.
This season they could be about to take a huge fall from grace. Making very expensive and average signings (Fred and Dalot), and being lacklustre going forward could seriously affect their title chances, and maybe even push them down to the joys of the Europa League.
‘In Rafa we trust’. Predicting Newcastle’s season every year is a little like getting into the Metro Centre on a Sunday morning – very difficult.
The Magpies finished fifth in 2012, but since then have been relegated to the Championship and promoted again. Last season, after a ropy start they were able to recover and finish strongly.
The fans are behind Rafael Benitez and he has a lot of faith in his squad. Newcastle will likely contend for a mid-table finish.
After testing their feet in the waters of relegation last season, Mark Hughes will be keen to put that behind his men and focus on getting back on track.
Southampton have a more than capable squad to achieve Premier League survival, and more. The Saint’s just need more discipline from the opening match this season compared with last.
They also need to turn draws into wins, they drew more games than any other team last season. You can expect Southampton to potentially finish as high as 13th.
Tottenham Hotspur: 4th
Sorry Spurs fan. Again. It has been said before and it will be said again, Spurs are likely to just come up short this season.
The Lilywhites have so far, gone another transfer window without adding the squad depth that fans and pundits are crying out for them to get in order to compete right at the top of the Premier League, and progress further in Europe too.
Tottenham’s lack of signings spells out concerns as to if they will even be able to scrape Champions League qualification. Lucky for them, they should just be able to fend off United and Chelsea.
The loss of Richarlison to Everton is not ideal for The Hornets, but it is not the end of the world.
Javi Gracia has done a sound job at Watford so far, and with the permanent transfer of Gerard Deulofeu, they should be able to survive in the Premier League once again. Especially if the £35 million from Richarlison’s transfer is re-invested back into the club.
Watford, I believe have enough to retain their Premier League status, despite being tipped for the drop by many experts.
West Ham United: 7th
A reinvigorated West Ham side under Manuel Pellegrini could lead the East Londoners to a really solid finish this season. They could even find themselves battling for European football.
Having made some fantastic signings so far including Jack Wilshere on a free, and a big money move for Felipe Anderson (£42 million, club record fee), they have an opportunity to propel themselves right into the top half.
They have a come a long way from Mark Noble wrestling his own fan on the pitch of the London Stadium last season, and appear to have made great progress in the off-season.
Wolverhampton Wanderers: 8th
A potential sleeper, Nuno Espirito Santo has been on a big Portuguese spending spree signing huge names like Rui Patricio (Sporting Lisbon) and Joao Moutinho (AS Monaco). This makes Wolves contenders for great league success this season.
They were an incredibly powerful side last season, resulting in them being crowned champions of English football’s second tier.
They have a big opportunity to establish themselves as a Premier League team and finish strongly.