Let’s get straight to it with my first prediction: Man. City will win the Premier League for the third consecutive season… but they will do it narrowly with fewer points and more losses than Pep Guardiola’s previous two seasons.
There are a few reasons for this: they arguably have less cover at centre-back than they may need to play more than 60 games across all competitions this season. And the transition from Fernandinho to Rodri in defensive midfield may not be smooth, with the former being an essential component of Pep’s style of plays, whose absence was usually problematic last season.
The other reason is that the league as a whole is getting stronger, and other teams will be poised to take points from the champions. I believe they’ll lose 6 league games—that’s as many as in their past two seasons combined and as many as they lost in 2013-14, when they won the league by two points.
The second prediction: Arsenal and Chelsea will both fail to make the top four. Unai Emery still doesn’t seem to have a cohesive philosophy at Arsenal and they may have the weakest Big Six squad. Chelsea, meanwhile, are a compete unknown quantity under Frank Lampard, they don’t have a megastar striker to rely on, and they might not even finish in the top six.
That leads to prediction three: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will prosper at Manchester United, and will earn a fourth-place finish. Solskjaer is the favourite to be fired first with many bookmakers, but United have bought very well this summer and they have… less weaknesses than Arsenal or Chelsea.
We go to the other end of the table for prediction number four: Aston Villa will survive; fellow new boys Sheffield United and Norwich will not. Villa have invested heavily—and not in the way Fulham did last year—and will probably stay up at Brighton’s expense. Many think Newcastle will be in trouble under Steve Bruce, but the Magpies should narrowly survive on squad strength.
And prediction number five: the standout new player of the season will be Moise Kean. We saw glimpses of Everton’s new teenage star with Juventus last season and he has all the ingredients to help the Toffees push their way into the top six. At £27m, he should display tremendous value.
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