You smell what I smell? It’s the glorious aroma of football in the air. We’re almost there, and that means it’s time to do some Premier League predictions!
So, without further ado, the Bottom 10...
20th: Huddersfield Town
I’m still not entirely sure how this club earned promotion. Far too many one goal/leave it late victories in the Championship and not enough quality signings this summer. It’ll be fun to see a smaller club in the Prem, but HTFC aren’t long for the top flight.
19th: Swansea City
This has a chance to get ugly. Tammy Abraham is what they’re counting on up front (at least until Llorente returns), and they’re likely to lose their best player in Gylfi Sigurdsson. Not enough quality, and there are too many other quality clubs that will get results where the Swans won’t.
I really can appreciate what Sean Dyche was able to do last year with a squad that lacked a ton of quality. They won their home matches and found a way to stay up. I’m not so sure that will work this season. Even with their PL payout, they’ve only managed to bring in a few uninspiring players, like Jonathan Walters and Jack Cork for £10 million.
17th: West Bromwich Albion
Relegation battles are no new territory for Tony Pulis. However, last season they finished 10th in the table, which was a pretty big shock to the casual observer. But if we look a bit deeper, they were actually only 11 points above 18th — a rubbish Hull side. I expect WBA to be pulled back into a relegation scrap this season, but I expect Pulis to find a way to keep his side in the Premier League when all is said and done.
For Chris Hughton and Brighton, safety should be the goal, and I do believe they’ll get there. They’ve done a great job of building a squad and have made some really quality, albeit under the radar, signings this summer, including up and comer Pascal Gross and Markus Suttner, both from Ingolstadt. I envision Hughton taking his first crack at the Premier League to heart, grinding out results, and finding a way to get three points off the other teams around the bottom of the table.
Watford have a new boss and a new outlook as they head into the 2017/18 season. Marco Silva did all he could to keep Hull City up last season, but this time around, he’ll have enough quality with which to work. Watford have made some key signings in Tom Cleverley from Everton and Will Hughes from Derby. Pairing those with an attacking tandem of Troy Deeney and Nigerian international Isaac Success, Watford should have no problem staying up.
14th: Stoke City
Bold Prediction: Mark Hughes will be the first Premier League manager on the chopping block. Marko Arnautovic, one of Stoke’s most creative players, is off to West Ham, and they simply have not brought in enough new faces to push their starting XI. I see a complacent side that lacks quality and a group of players that have tuned out the boss. This would be their worst finish since they were promoted in 2008/09.
13th: Newcastle United
Many people might think this is too high for a club that was recently promoted and didn’t invest a ton in new players, but I’m not counting Rafael Benitez out for a second. He’s built a core around a motivated Jonjo Shelvey, a fiery Matt Ritchie, and a rejuvenated Ciaran Clark, and additions including Florian Lejeune and Jacob Murphy will give the Spaniard enough quality to easily stay up. Furthermore, Benitez knows how to get results and will out-coach most managers he faces. Expect Newcastle to get three points against some of the bigger clubs, leading them to a mid-table finish.
Southampton always look a side that can push for Top 8. In fact, last season they did, however, that was still 15 points behind 7th-place Everton. The fact that Saints did next to nothing to improve their squad, coupled with the fact they lost Jay Rodriguez and may lose Virgil van Dijk, they won’t repeat their 8th place finish last season.
11th: Leicester City
League winners in 2015-16, 12th place in 2016-17, Leicester City are an extremely hard club to predict. They have obvious class in players like Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy, and had to worry about Champions League football last season. However, their main focus this season will be the Premier League. They just closed a deal for Man City striker Kelechi Iheanacho, and that should be enough for them to push on past a relegation scrap.
Agree? Disagree? Think we’re spot on, or completely mental? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below! Stay tuned for the Top 10 predictions next week!