On the eve of the new Premier League season A
Stephen Donovan: After their activity in the transfer market this summer, Manchester City might regain the title this season ahead of Chelsea. Fernandinho and Jesus Navas in particular are looking shrewd acquisitions by Manuel Pellegrini, and they appear the team to beat this season.
But after the return of Jose Mourinho, Chelsea won’t be too far away, and I expect them to beat Manchester United to second place. It would be a tough ask for David Moyes to win the title in his first season but the squad is too strong not to be involved in the title race.
In the battle between the north London clubs for the Champions League, Tottenham look as though they mean business, and they will eventually finish above Arsenal, who have struggled this summer. Liverpool will just fall short in sixth, with Swansea to finish seventh.
At the other end, Crystal Palace and Hull City look a long way behind the other Premier League clubs, so they will go down. Any of five or six other teams could be relegated with them, but I will go for Newcastle, as they have struggled to improve the squad this summer.
Alan Robins: There would be little surprise if last season’s top five clubs occupied the same positions this year – the question may be in what order? While Manchester United and Arsenal have struggled to bring players in, Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham have all invested heavily and/or astutely. Who can bring in or hold on to quality players in the final part of the window may be a decisive factor.
The same could be said of the remaining top half of the table. Everton have made some interesting signings but like Liverpool success may be governed by who stays. If either lose star players then Swansea or West Brom could challenge for a top seven place.
At the bottom, it is hard to look past Crystal Palace and Hull for relegation. The final place may be between Sunderland, who have brought in quantity but maybe not quality, Stoke, who are trying to revamp under Mark Hughes, and Newcastle who, while having quality players, have a potentially damaging hierarchical dynamic.
Bradley King: Having re-appointed Jose Mourinho as their manager, many will fancy Chelsea to win their first Premier League title since 2010. However, Manchester City have made a shrewd appointment of their own in Manuel Pellegrini and have also added wisely to their playing staff with the likes of Fernandinho and Jesus Navas and will be keen to regain the crown.
Manchester United and David Moyes will have teething problems, particularly if they fail to add to their flimsy-looking midfield, but Arsenal should have enough to squeeze into the top four yet again. An attractive Liverpool will continue to improve but Tottenham will suffer from the likely loss of star man Gareth Bale.
After a near-disastrous campaign last year, Aston Villa’s youthful side could return to European football while Fulham and Sunderland should reap the rewards from adding to their respective squads astutely.
At the wrong end of the table, Crystal Palace and Hull City will find it difficult to adjust to top-flight football with managers who have both experienced Premier League relegation before. Stoke City, entering a new era without Tony Pulis, could also struggle to stay competitive while Cardiff and Norwich are also possible relegation contenders due to their flimsy-looking backlines.
And below is the full Premier League table as predicted by the A Different League team:
2. Man City
3. Man Utd
9. West Brom
12. Aston Villa
14. West Ham
20. Crystal Palace
See what the expert tipsters are tipping on OLBG