1 – Manchester City
It’s virtually impossible to see anyone besides Manchester City winning the title again this season. While I don’t think City will win by a whopping 19 points again, the rich got richer this summer by adding Riyad Mahrez. I expect Leroy Sane to come out firing after being snubbed from the Germany World Cup team.
2 – Liverpool
On their best day Liverpool can certainly compete with City, and they showed that last year in the Champions League. No one has spent more money in the transfer market this summer than Liverpool who brought in Naby Keita, Alisson, and Fabinho. Mo Salah is the main man here and while I don’t expect him to reach 32 goals again, he is going to be awfully hard to contain.
3 – Manchester United
Jose Mourinho has been classic Jose Mourinho so far this preseason, giving grumpy press conferences and constantly criticizing his own team. If you ignore the consistently negative manager, you will find a supremely talented squad led by the likes of Pogba, Sanchez, and Lukaku. While there are some question marks about the backline, I expect goalkeeper David De Gea to perform a lot better than he did at the World Cup.
4 – Tottenham
It’s tough not to appreciate Harry Kane and what he does for the Spurs, but I expect them to take a small step back this season. Tottenham hasn’t signed a single player in the transfer market, have a number of players returning late to preseason because of the World Cup, and are moving into a new stadium. With all that being said, this is still a young squad who are very talented and I expect them to hold off rival Arsenal for that last Champions League spot.
5 – Arsenal
I desperately wanted to move Arsenal into the top four in their first season with Unai Emery in charge, but I just don’t think it’s in the cards. While the strength of this Arsenal team is again centered around their attack, the backline is still going to be a weak-link with Mustafi and Sokratis as the likely opening match center back pairing. If newly acquired Lucas Torreria performs like he did at the World Cup, Arsenal may have found a gem.
6 – Chelsea
This offseason hasn’t exactly gone to plan for Chelsea. They have had to fight off rumors that Eden Hazard will be joining Madrid, and it took far too long to dismiss Conte as manager. With the season about ready to kickoff, they finally brought in Maurizio Sarri from Napoli as manager. So far Jorginho, also from Napoli, is the only other big name player to arrive. It will be strange not to see Courtois in net for Chelsea this season but, many are fans of newly signed Kepa. There are documented concerns about Alvaro Morata as their go to striker, as he continues to disappoint the more he seems to play. If Chelsea can hang onto Hazard and Willian, the season may not be a disaster.
7 – West Ham
A 13th place finish last year was disappointing for West Ham. Seven new arrivals including Jack Wilshere and Felipe Anderson should help them jump back into the top half of the table. It will be Manuel Pellegrini’s first year in charge of the Hammers and he brings a great deal of Premier League experience. If West Ham’s struggles at the London Stadium continue, I would not be surprised to see them a little further down the table.
8 – Everton
Many expect Everton to play a much different style under new manager, Marco Silva. They were able to sign Richarlison from Watford for a club record fee, and he should help them immensely on the wing. On deadline day they were able to get Yerry Mina from Barcelona, which came as a shock. An England hero at this summer’s World Cup, Jordan Pickford will look to anchor the defence. A top half table finish will be seen as a success at Everton.
9 – Southampton
Southampton barely escaped relegation last season finishing 17th. A jump up to 9th would be impressive, but I feel they underperformed greatly last year. There is certainly talent in the midfield with Hojbjerg, Redman, and Lemina. If Charlie Austin can get 12 + goals, I like the Saints to finish in the top half of the table.
10 – Newcastle
I really rate Rafa Benitez highly as a manager and he has done as excellent job with Newcastle over the last few seasons. Newcastle was unable to make a splash in the transfer market this season and that could come back to bite them. All eyes will be on center field character Jonjo Shelvey.
11 – Wolves
The Wolves grabbed everyone’s attention this summer when they signed a pair of Portuguese internationals in Rui Patricio and Joao Moutinho. After finishing first in the Championship last season, Wolves will come to the Premier League with the expectations of staying up. Ruben Neves, who is also Portuguese, was their star last season and should be able to have a similar impact against the better competition waiting for him in the EPL.
12 – Fulham
It took Fulham longer that I thought to get back to the Premier League after they were relegated a few seasons ago. However, they return with a bolstered squad and have done some nice transfer business over the summer. Jean Michael Seri and Andre Schurrle should provide a nice boost, but 18-year old Ryan Sessegnon will be the player to watch for Fulham. Calum Chambers will be on loan from Arsenal all season and should provide some defensive solidity.
13 – Burnley
No one expected Burnley to finish 7th in the league like they did last season. They did so with a strong defense back line led by James Tarkowski. I am worried that the extra games that qualifying for the Europa League brings will make it very tough for Burnley to repeat last season’s success. Sean Dyche is a proven manager, though, and I expect them to stay clear of relegation trouble.
14 – Leicester City
It seemed inevitable that at one point or another Leicester would lose Riyad Mahrez to a bigger club. That move finally happened this summer. While it will be almost impossible to make up the impact Mahrez had, Leicester should be safe from relegation. Jamie Vardy and Harry Maguire were both on display at this summer’s World Cup for England and have a proven track record.
15 – Crystal Palace
It looks like Crystal Palace are going to be able to hold on to Wilfreid Zaha and that is huge news. The winger is their most dangerous player, but will undoubtedly need some more help this season. If striker Christian Benteke can consistently score goals, I like Palace to avoid the relegation fight.
16 – Watford
Losing Richarlison could be the difference in staying in the Premier League this season and I fully expect Watford to be battling it out all year towards the bottom end of the table. Troy Deeney is the main man up front for Watford and will need to continue to find the back of the net. Keep an eye on Doucoure, whose powerful presence in the midfield will be key.
17 – Bournemouth
I expect a relegation battle all season long from Bournemouth. I am a big fan of the manager, Eddie Howe, but with the promoted clubs looking strong, he will need to work some magic. Nathan Ake is the most important player for the Cherries and will anchor the back line.
18 – Huddersfield
It was almost impossible that Huddersfield didn’t get relegated last season, but they managed to escape. Scoring goals was a huge problem for them last season and they have not done much to improve in that area. If they get off to a slow start, it could be the end of their time in the Premier League for now.
19 – Brighton
Brighton was another team that seemed destined for relegation last campaign. A common theme with the teams towards the bottom is lack of goal scores and that is no different here. Jose Izquierdo is their most effective player out wide and can be very exciting to watch. While they were active in the transfer market this summer, I don’t think it is going to be enough to keep them safe.
20 – Cardiff
Cardiff are the only team coming up from the Championship that I have pegged to go straight back down. With no main stars on the squad, they are going to find life in the Premier League to be very challenging.