The new Premier League campaign has just begun! The majority of teams have improved their squads this summer, whereas others have lost out massively on top talents. So who clinches the title; who succumbs to relegation; who finishes mid-table with minimal stress and plenty of comforts? Let’s get into my predictions.
20th – AFC Bournemouth
You know it’s going to be a long season when even Scott Parker has criticised his club’s transfer business. The Bournemouth manager has gone on record to say “at this present moment in time this squad is much weaker than it was when we got promoted.” This is deeply concerning for the Cherries and thus, I believe they will finish rock bottom.
Bournemouth has only brought three senior players through the door this summer: Ryan Fredericks, Joe Rothwell and Marcus Tavernier. Fredericks never really found his footing at West Ham United, so if he’s Bournemouth’s first-choice right-back, he must step up. As for Rothwell and Tavernier, they’re decent Championship players, but I’m doubtful over their suitability for the Premier League.
Now Bournemouth has some decent attackers who could grab goals and secure vital points; perhaps Dominic Solanke and Keiffer Moore can break out in the Premier League. I really like the look of left-winger Jaidon Anthony and perhaps David Brooks can recapture his 2018/19 form in the Premier League. The midfield could also do okay but defensively Bournemouth looks poor. If Fredericks is the best defensive signing Bournemouth can make, they will struggle. I can see Bournemouth conceding the most goals in the upcoming campaign and unless they score for fun (similar to Leeds in the 2020/21 season), Scott Parker’s side is heading straight back down.
19th – Fulham
Ah yes, the yo-yo nature of Fulham will continue for yet another season. Alongside Norwich, both sides have swapped between the Premier League and Championship since 2018 and for obvious reasons. I’m not just placing Fulham bottom for the sake of continuing this cycle, I genuinely believe they’ll struggle.
Their transfer business has been okay but it doesn’t blow me away in the slightest. Is Andres Pereria really the man to replace outgoing Fábio Carvalho? Manor Solomon (on loan from Shakhtar Donetsk doesn’t seem like the kind of player to make a big impact, being there for rotation at best. Now João Palhinha is a solid signing at the heart of midfield and Kevin Mbabu at right back can do well, but Fulham is light on the ground for players of Premier League quality.
Securing Bernd Leno as a goalkeeper would be terrific business but in defence and midfield, it’s all too familiar with the Fulham we’ve seen in recent Premier League campaigns. Scoring could also again be a big problem. Last time out in the Premier League in the 2020/21 season, Fulham scored just 27 times. While Harry Wilson could impress, is Alexander Mitrovic going to truly step up this time and prove his Premier League worth? It’s likely to be a torrid time for Fulham and for that reason they’re also heading straight back down.
18th – Brentford
There are realistically four clubs who could take 18th place. So, I’m going to say Brentford, but not with a whole lot of confidence. The Bees began last campaign superbly, including that opening day 2-0 win over Arsenal. However, from October to February, Brentford had atrocious form. Across this period of 21 league games, they secured just 15 points, from four wins, three draws and 14 losses!
On the 31st of January, Brentford signed Christian Eriksen, who had not played football since his cardiac arrest at Euro 2020. While it took a couple of games to come up to speed, Eriksen’s impact became integral to their survival, offering a plethora of quality and creativity. He provided one goal and four assists in his 11 Premier League games for Brentford. With Eriksen now departing Brentford, how much will they miss his impact?
Now Brentford have bodies; they have a decent-sized squad. But are these players of Premier League quality? Thomas Strakosha, Ben Mee and Keane Lewis-Potter look to be good signings. Defensively they could be a strong force for sure, with plenty of sensible players who’re only improving, but a lack of goals will cost them big time. Lewis-Potter will not make that significant leap so quickly nor fill the hole left by Eriksen.
I wouldn’t be shocked if Brentford score the least goals in the upcoming Premier League campaign. Momentum carried them through the beginning of last season, but I believe they lack that this time out.
17th – Leeds United
Leeds survived on the final day of the 2021/22 season thanks to a stellar performance against Brentford. Now I do think they can maintain their Premier League status once again, but it will be tight. Some people will say losing Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips will cost them. While this may be true, it was inevitable they were going to leave, Leeds at least received nearly £100 million to reinvest in the team.
The concern for Leeds was using this money wisely, fleshing out the squad and bringing in players to suit a much more stable and less demanding 4-2-3-1 that Jess Marsch likes to utilise. He has looked to his former clubs for some of these signings. Brendan Aaronson (signed from Red Bull Salzburg) looks to compete with Rodrigo for the number 10 role. Tyler Adams was also managed by Marsch and alongside Marc Roca looks to be a solid addition to the midfield. Ramsus Kristensen is yet another and he could add crucial quality to what has been a leaky Leeds defence.
However, Leeds could defensively still remain quite poor; it is Championship quality if we’re being honest. A lot may also depend on the fitness of Patrick Bamford, who spent much of last season on the sidelines as well as the signings clicking quickly. Plenty also depends on the new signings adapting quickly, because they will have to replace to impacts of Raphinha and Phillips. But, Leeds should just survive.
16th – Nottingham Forest
Forest performed a superb turnaround last season, one of the best we’ve ever seen in the Championship. Chris Houghton’s side managed just one point in their opening seven games, losing to the likes of Coventry City, Bournemouth and Middlesbrough. Steve Cooper assumed managerial duties on September 21st 2021 and from here on, Forest was a force to be reckoned with. This momentum is likely to continue and they should maintain Premier League status.
Cooper’s side has approached their first Premier League since 1998/99 the right way, and that’s by bringing in plenty of players. Dean Henderson could earn his stripes and once again look a promising goalkeeper. He has the quality, its just a matter of him showing it. Other talents such as Moussa Niakhaté and of course Jesse Lingard can all make an impact and keep Forest in the Premier League. Neco Williams is slightly risky for the money and I worry that all of these players might not adapt quick enough.
Even with these signings, I worry for Forest. Their midfield doesn’t look particularly strong and their attacker depth is not great. However, the momentum of being playing in England’s top flight for the first time in many years (or ever) is always a significant boost. Think of sides like Bournemouth, Huddersfield Town, Brighton and Hove Albion, Leeds United and of course Brentford from last season. This will carry them to a certain extent, but coupled with some smart signings and Forest can just about survive.
15th – Southampton
Perhaps the key positive of Southampton’s summer transfer window is the fact they’ve kept James Ward-Prowse and Kyle Walker-Peters. These are two fantastic players who are getting better and better. Ward-Prowse is phenomenal on set-pieces and a midfielder with a great work rate whereas Walker-Peters is a terrific young full-back, only improving his craft. Another positive is the fact they’ve captured the signature of Gavin Bazunu, a promising 20-year-old goalkeeper. While he may initially struggle, he could be a great servant in the future. Joe Aribo is a signing I can also get behind, brilliant with the ball at his feet and has impressed already in pre-season.
However, when we look at the squad, there are a few areas for concern. This Southampton conceded 67 goals in the Premier League last season: a far from impressive stat. In response, the Saints have acquired 20-year-old centre-back Armel Bella-Kotchap from VFL Bochum… and that’s it; expect Southampton to have a leaky defence yet again. In terms of strikers, Southampton likes to play with two up top. This is great until you realise that apart from Adam Armstrong and Che Adams, their only other option is 19-year-old Sékou Mara; that is concerning, even if Mara looks to be one for the future.
Southampton is in real danger of being in a relegation battle but their star players have just enough quality to keep the ship afloat. Although if the Saints have an injury crisis, I wouldn’t be too surprised to see them in the Championship next season.
14th – Everton
The Toffees are desperate for a big clear-out, but unfortunately, it was just not possible this summer. Thus, the Everton squad is largely similar to that of the last campaign.
Losing Richarlison was inevitable with the season Everton just had. Dwight McNeil more or less acts as the Brazilian’s replacement, and while I cannot deny McNeil’s work rate, his lack of goal contributions is concerning for somebody who costs roughly £15 million. This is a key theme across the side; Anthony Gordon is undoubtedly improving, but I cannot see him scoring 10-15 in the upcoming season.
If Dominic Calvert-Lewin gets the service he can grab plenty of goals, but it’s that creativity and killer passing I struggle to see. He’s also injured to kick off the new season, undoubtedly a big blow for Everton. Demerai Gray, Alex Iwobi and Andros Townsend occasionally have decent performances but otherwise do very little to impact a game.
On the other hand, Everton has improved defensively. James Tarkowski will likely slot straight in at centre-back whereas Ruben Vinagre for squad depth. Idrissa Gana Gueye has been rumoured to return to the Toffees and if he reignites his form, he will be a top signing. The likes of Amadou Onana, Billy Gilmour and even Memphis Depay have been eyed up by the Toffees in recent days. While Depay is extremely unlikely, securing a couple of these other signings would give Everton a massive boost.
So, time will tell if they finish higher or lower based on these transfers. Overall, though, it’s likely to be a frustrating time yet again for the Toffees, but it’ll be an improvement at least.
13th – Brighton and Hove Albion
The Seagulls had a decent campaign last time out. They took advantage of several teams underperforming and that absolutely deserved that ninth-place finish. However, Brighton admittedly over-achieved and now have a slightly worse squad on paper.
Losing Yves Bissouma is significant but at least Brighton earned a sizable fee for the Mali international. The same applies to Marc Cucurella, arguably Brighton’s best player last season. Enock Mwepu, Moisés Caicedo and Pascal Groß are good options at the heart of midfield so Brighton can cope just fine with Bissouma. But, Cucurella’s quality and versatility will be missed.
Brighton has more than anything focused on increasing the goals and Julio Enciso is a very smart signing for the future. Meanwhile, Deniz Undav becoming available is a plus and could score a few important goals issues. Even so, plenty of teams have improved and Brighton has made no big steps forward, unlike several sides around them. The Seagulls will still be comfortable in the mid-table, which is still a respectable position after losing their two best players.
12th – Wolverhampton Wanderers
Wolves have had a pretty uninspired transfer window. Ruben Vinagre departed for £9 million whilst fellow defenders Romain Saiss and Marçal as well as keeper John Ruddy were released. Conversely, Hwang Hee-Chan has joined on a permanent deal, as has Nathan Collins, a pretty promising 21-year-old centre-back. Adama Traoré is available for Bruno Lage to use again following his loan move to FC Barcelona last season.
I’m hopeful that Raúl Jiménez can again become the prolific goalscorer we once knew, hitting double figures in the Premier League. Although, his injury at the beginning of this campaign will hamper Wolves. The likes of Ruben Neves, Conor Coady and José Sá are ever-reliable players who get into most Premier League sides and fit superbly into Lage’s system. But, once you look beyond Wolves’ starting eleven – which is one of the better sides on paper in the Premier League – squad depth issues are glaring. This will cost them massively as a couple of injuries will be all it takes for this Wolves side to crumble.
Jiménez alongside Pedro Neto and Daniel Podence is a decent front three, but none of the other Wolves attackers has a great impact on the side. Similarly, Morgan Gibbs-White is the only midfielder who can positively impact the team aside from starters Neves and 35-year-old João Moutinho, yet he’s being linked with a move away! They have four decent centre-back to be fair but who plays at right-wing-back if Nelson Semedo picks up a knock? Again their starting eleven is impressive but for a lack of squad depth 12th is probably fair.
11th – Crystal Palace
Slowly but surely Palace are developing into quite the impressive side; this is in part due to some solid summer signings! Sam Johnstone is a great addition who provides quality, experience and necessary competition for the goalkeeper spot. Chris Richards is a shrewd signing to add centre-back depth and rest Marc Guehi and Joachim Andersen occasionally. Speaking of which, this duo is highly underrated; I expect them to thrive again. However, Cheick Doucouré is a phenomenal addition from RC Lens and I expect to him to have a strong season.
Palace is quite the underrated side simply due to the belief that Wilfried Zaha carries the side. I very much doubt that will happen in the upcoming campaign because there are great talents here! Michael Olise will continue to improve and at just 20 years old, he’s becoming a special player. Tyrick Mitchell is another young lad only getting better; I expect to earn even more international caps.
I have a couple of minor concerns regarding Palace that will ultimately cost them a top-half finish. Connor Gallagher was superb last season, so Eberechi Eze has massive shoes to fill. Right-back is also a position of concern, lacking a truly reliable option. Once again, Palace are making steps forward, but it will take time for Patrick Vierra’s side to be a fierce force. Nonetheless, 11th is still a good season.
10th – Leicester City
Tenth to Seventh is difficult to predict. Here we have four teams with plenty of quality and European ambitions. Any could realistically claim a European place, but I see Leicester falling short, finishing 10th.
So, Leicester is the only Premier League side without a single signing this summer. I don’t necessarily hate this because Brendan Rodgers has a great squad at his disposal, although I find it frustrating from a fan perspective. I expect the likes of James Maddison, Wesley Fofana and James Justin to improve and play a high-quality game yet again.
Despite Rodgers being at the helm, I cannot place Leicester any higher. All the sides above have improved but Leicester is objectively a worse side than that of last season. Kasper Schmeichel has recently departed the club and the Foxes have no intention to replace their veteran goalkeeper. So, Welshman Danny Ward will be Leicester’s first-choice goalkeeper. I doubt he can make the same impact and demonstrate the same quality as Schmeichel.
Alongside Schmeichel, Maddison, Fofana and Youri Tielemans have also been on the radars of multiple clubs. With no sign of Leicester targets, losing any of these players could unravel the Foxes and spell a worse league position. I will put them in tenth on the basis of maintaining these talents and not signing anybody as of yet. Jamie Vardy is 35 years old by the way, so his time at the top is running out rapidly.
9th – Aston Villa
Lets begin with the positives: Diego Carlos is a superb piece of transfer business! To sign Carlos for just £26 million is impressive, I expect him and Ezri Konsa to be a top-notch partnership. Of course, he cannot overshadow former Liverpool star Phillipe Coutinho, signed for just £20 million! Villa has spent its money incredibly wisely. Let’s not forget Boubacar Kamara, Marseille’s ever-reliable defensive midfielder; he’s an early contender for Premier League signing of the summer, especially for free.
I still expect Villa to have problems which will cost them in the battle for Europe; this comes in the form of their full-backs. Lucas Digne and Matty Cash are decent players who’re integral to the way Villa play. Now, to lose either means they must change their play style, due to a lack of squad depth. Tyrone Mings could play on either side, but does he offer the same work rate and attacking intent?
I also wonder if Villa will get the best from Coutinho or Leon Bailey due to their narrow formation. A 4-2-3-1 with Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins rotating would surely be better. Finally, I’m still not fully convinced with Steven Gerrard as a manager; this season will be very telling. Even so, a five-place jump from 14th spells a pretty good season.
8th – Newcastle United
Harry Dowsett (fellow World in Sport writer) has stated: “Newcastle should be targeting European football” and he’s spot on! With the investment and atmosphere around the club, there is no reason why they cannot reach a European competition this season.
What I like the most is the fact they’ve not spent for the sake of it. Rather, they’re making smart signings and not overspending on their transfer targets, unlike Everton or Manchester United in recent years. Sven Botman is a slight risk for £35 million but at 22 years old, this is sensible as he already looks a well-drilled centre-back. Nick Pope is a great goalkeeper for cheap, especially surprising with being English. Then of course, Matt Targett impressed in his loan spell at Newcastle last season, so they’ve brought him in. In response, Newcastle has loaned out players simply not at the quality they need, good stuff.
If this squad was in another set of hands, I would have Newcastle finishing in the bottom half of the table, maybe 12th or 13th. Depth is a slight concern, especially in midfield. There are plenty of bodies, but how many are realistically Premier League quality? Outside of Joelinton, Jonjo Shelvey, Joe Willock and Bruno Guimarães, I find it difficult to make the case for anyone.
In attack it’s not so bad, but Callum Wilson is notoriously injury prone so could they struggle to grab goals? Defensively I’m surprised! While not all consistently solid players, most of them are Premier League quality for sure. I’m intruiged to see who will be the number one goalkeeper. However, the most important man for Newcastle is Eddie Howe.
Arguably the best English manager around, having Howe at the helm is massive for Newcastle. He’s a forward-thinking manager who can be at the club for years to come, constantly developing his ideas and his Newcastle side. This team still has a way to go due to some depth issues, but 8th for Newcastle would be great.
7th – West Ham United
Did anyone seriously believe in David Moyes did such a fine job? I certainly didn’t but here we are! West Ham has made signings that could swing either way. Alphonse Areola is of course a great goalkeeper that can be a regular starter for several years. It will be hard to say if Flynn Downes or Nayef Aguerd can make a significant impact. Gianluca Scamacca however could be a difference maker, perhaps he will break the West Ham striker curse.
These signings have provided West Ham with squad depth to perform well in the European Conference League on top of the Premier League. As a result, every position has two good options, a necessity for any team to balance several competitions. Jarrod Bowen and Declan Rice are only expected to improve and I believe Moyes’ side will have a third successive strong campaign because of pivots such as this duo. West Ham has maintained a fantastic core of players for a couple of years now; I expect them to maintain their high standards and finish pretty close to the top six.
6th – Manchester United
I really like the appointment of Erik Ten Hag. Man Utd has to stick with him for a few years, because he can be the man to return the Red Devils to glory. It will take a couple of years for him to build his trustworthy squad, but so long as he has the backing Ten Hag will thrive.
Man Utd’s transfer window shows signs of promise! Tyrell Malacia and Lisandro Martínez that should improve a defence which conceded a shocking 57 goals in the Premier League last season. From Feyenoord and Ajax respectively, I believe these are signings Ten Hag is delighted with, believing they can adjust to the Premier League and apply his tactics on the pitch. Christian Eriksen – especially for free – is also superb transfer business because he is a selfless player who will provide service from midfield or on the wing.
There are three positions that remain weak which is why sixth is a fair prediction. Right-back is lacking in true quality and whilst Aaron Wan-Bissaka or Diogo Dalot could shine under Ten Hag, they aren’t of the same quality as Kyle Walker, Reece James or Trent Alexander-Arnold. Also, is there a defined and proven defensive midfielder in the side? This team needs more time to develop, and a top striker – especially if Cristiano Ronaldo departs – so sixth is realistic
5th – Arsenal
The Gunners have done some terrific business, which will undoubtedly put them in contention for a Champions League spot. The former Manchester City duo of Alexander Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus are impressive acquisitions, so are Fábio Vieira and Marquinhos (no, not the PSG player). It means Arsenal has some great attacking depth that should result in plenty of goals!
Nevertheless, I am still concerned for their central midfield options. I’m still not convinced by Granit Xhaka or Albert Sambi Lokonga, whereas Mohammed Elneny is just not Arsenal quality. Will Lucas Torreria finally thrive under Mikel Arteta or is he leaving? I believe defensively there’s area to improve, although I like the duo of Gabriel and Ben White. Plus, I hope William Saliba can get a fair chance to impress in the coming campaign, and he impressed in the opening fixture against Crystal Palace.
All in all I still believe they need more quality in central midfield and defence, espeically if Kieran Tierney proves to be injury prone yet again. This squad is also quite young so it needs the time to mature or gain valuable Premier League experience. Regardless, Arsenal still look stronger than Man Utd and should claim fifth.
4th – Chelsea
Why has Chelsea not signed a striker? After the disappointment that was Romelu Lukaku, I don’t blame them for not splashing the cash on one. Even so, do they have a defined and consistent goalscorer in their ranks? Raheem Sterling is of course a brilliant winger to bring in, but he lacks the feel of a natural goalscorer, rather he’s in the right place at the right time.
Timo Werner and Kai Havertz among others can contribute, but we’ve seen in previous season that expecting double figures is ambitious. Werner is rumoured to also be on the way out and while Chelsea have a decent group of attackers, goalscoring could prove a challenge.
At the other end, Kalidou Koulibaly is an insanely good centre-back to bring in. Although, Chelsea have lost Antonio Rüdiger and Andreas Christensen in the process, which is a concern in relation to squad depth. Marc Cucurella should also provide a fantastic option as a centre-back and left wing-back. The midfield is brilliant and so are the winger options.
While Chelsea’s midfield options are not far away from those of Manchester City and Liverpool, the lack if a true striker or wing-back depth (on the right) could see Chelsea slip away from the title fight pretty early. Although, defensively they are compact and well-drilled whilst the midfield will be bolstered by Conor Gallagher. Fourth would be a fair prediction and no higher.
3rd – Tottenham Hotspur
Spurs have arguably had the best summer transfer window! While Spurs clinched fourth last season (and did the double over Man City) the squad felt incomplete, perhaps inbalanced. Thankfully, trust has been placed in Antonio Conte to develop a squad capable of challenging for trophies.
I love the free signing of Ivan Perišić, who could play as a winger or wing-back for Spurs. Yves Bissouma and Richarlison and proven Premier League players, set to provide crucial squad depth for a team playing Champions League football once again. Djed Spence is a risky signing who could initially struggle with the jump to Premier League football. But, he could prove a solid option at right-wing-back.
I believe Spurs’ attacking options are on par with Man City and Liverpool. Son Heung-Min, Harry Kane and Dejan Kulusevski will trouble every Premier League defence so I believe this Spurs can score 80 Premier League goals! However as you move backwards through the team, it’s not quite at the levels as those top two sides. Conte has a fantastic habit of making average wing-backs look sublime (Victor Moses exists) but could they struggle on that right-hand side? Spurs have some decent centre-back depth and I’m surprised as to the improvement of Eric Dier but he’s hardly comparable to Ruben Dias, Joel Matip or Virgil Van Dijk.
Spurs are not a million miles away from Man City and Liverpool, but they still need a couple of big names to challenge either team. Next season perhaps, but for now, they would take third place and a decent cup run, maybe they can secure a trophy.
2nd – Manchester City
It’s very tough to decide between the top two. Both Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola are brilliant managers with the squads to match. Both sides have arguably improved over the summer and while I believe Man City have brought better talent into the club, I believe they will be the runner-up. Firstly, let’s address the elephant in the room; Erling Haaland will be a prolific goalscorer in the Premier League. The same can definietly apply to Julián Álvarez! Kalvin Phillips is too a good signing, although I don’t believe he’ll have the same impact as Fernandinho.
While this trio have joined, Raheem Sterling is gone, as are Jesus and Zinchenko. The players signed are better overall, but there are glaring squad depth issues at Man City. Now Guardiola prefers to work with a smaller group of players, it could finally cost him big time. This squad feels too small to compete in four competitions and just a couple of injuries could cause major issues.
While we won’t have the same busy winter period in terms of fixtures, I still see them faltering at some point, especially if they fail to secure a left-back (Marc Cucurella). Even so, their world-class players are more than solid enough to secure second. Every single player in that squad is there for a reason, after all, there are no passengers.
1st – Liverpool
Yes, despite Erling Haaland’s arrival, I feel as though Liverpool can win the Premier League this season. Perhaps the Community Shield win will be representative of the season, with Liverpool being better in those vital moments.
Sadio Mané is a big loss; nobody can deny that. His impact at Liverpool for several years has been integral to their successes and contesting Man City in the Premier League. However, Luis Diaz (who arrived in January) and Darwin Núñez are capable of replacing the Senegal international. Aside from Mane, Liverpool haven’t lost any big names, instead moving on players who didn’t quite work at Anfield.
Even with the number of outgoings, Liverpool has the best squad depth in the Premier League. The Reds could field two very solid teams with their depth, which is always a good sign when you’re playing in four competitions. There’s a great mix of ages and experience among this side which should create a very balanced team. So I believe Klopp’s side can prevent Man City from winning a fifth Premier League in just six seasons.