HomeSportPremier League predictions: Who will finish where in 2023-24?

Premier League predictions: Who will finish where in 2023-24?


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Here we go again. Time to discover if the crystal ball is any more accurate than last season, when the prediction of Manchester City as Premier League champions – not a fantastic feat of foresight, admittedly – proved correct but it was all pretty much downhill from there. Still, fortune favours the brave, or the dim-witted, depending on your point of view, so let’s have another crack at the annual Premier League predictions. And, to get at least one excuse in early, there are still weeks to go before the transfer window closes at the time of writing.PositionClubPosition (cont)Club (cont)1Manchester City11West Ham United2Liverpool12Crystal Palace3Arsenal13Fulham4Manchester United14Nottingham Forest5Aston Villa15Bournemouth6Chelsea16Everton7Newcastle United17Burnley8Tottenham Hotspur18Wolverhampton Wanderers9Brighton and Hove Albion19Sheffield United10Brentford20Luton Town1. Manchester City Last season: ChampionsIt is difficult to see beyond Manchester City winning a sixth title in seven seasons as they look to follow up their Treble with more success. The big-game influence of Ilkay Gundogan has gone, along with the match-winning verve of Riyad Mahrez, but a squad of frightening strength remains with the addition of Croat duo Mateo Kovacic, who will add experience and quality in midfield, and young defender Josko Gvardiol, who sound judges tip for future greatness. Throw in the phenomenon that is Erling Haaland and the enduring genius of Kevin de Bruyne, allied to so many others, and the champions will be the same again for me this season. 2. LiverpoolLast season – 5th Alexis Mac Allister will be playing for Liverpool this season after signing from BrightonWith no silverware and no Champions League football, last season was a failure for manager Jurgen Klopp and his players, 12 months after they had won the FA Cup and Carabao Cup, and got to within two matches of an unprecedented quadruple. Suggestions of a hangover sounded suspiciously like excuses for under-achievement. Klopp’s planning was disrupted as the Saudi Pro League wielded its chequebook, leading to the departures of captain Jordan Henderson and Fabinho. He will now want more additions to those of Argentina World Cup winner Alex Mac Allister and young Hungarian Dominik Szoboszlai, with Southampton’s Romeo Lavia lined up next. I am expecting a Liverpool resurgence, especially as they boast such firepower in attack with Mohamed Salah, Cody Gakpo, Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota and Darwin Nunez. 3. ArsenalLast season – 2ndArsenal were superb for so long last season but cracked late on under relentless pressure from Manchester City. The campaign still represented great progress as manager Mikel Arteta’s side played some superb football, and they have had a statement summer in the transfer market in an attempt to go one better. Declan Rice was signed for a hefty fee – potentially £105m – but will be an outstanding addition in midfield, while Arteta has also spent heavily on Kai Havertz – £65m from Chelsea. Netherlands defender Jurrien Timber could prove another top-class addition as Arsenal prepare for a Champions League campaign for the first time since 2016-17. That’s all in addition to the real quality Arsenal already had in Bukayo Saka, captain Martin Odegaard, Gabrial Martinelli and others. The Community Shield win over Manchester City was a morale booster too. So do I see Arsenal as title winners? No. Do I see Arsenal as trophy winners? Yes. 4. Manchester UnitedLast season – 3rdThe second phase of Erik ten Hag’s rebuilding programme is under way after his first season brought the EFL Cup – United’s first trophy since 2017 – and a return to the Champions League, as well as a run to the FA Cup final, which ended in defeat by Manchester City. David de Gea has been replaced by Andre Onana, a keeper whose style fits more with Ten Hag’s methods of playing out from the back, having worked with him at Ajax. England midfielder Mason Mount will have sights set on reigniting his club career after a lost final season at Chelsea, and huge focus will be on new £72m striker Rasmus Hojlund. The Dane may need time and patience to become the spearhead United require, but at that price, he can hardly expect to ease his way in. I am backing United to continue the improvements started by Ten Hag last season. No chance of the title but a decent bet for some silverware. 5. Aston VillaLast season – 7thI’m going out on a limb a bit here but I have a feeling we will see a very strong Aston Villa this season. They have shown some real ambition in the transfer market in support of elite manager Unai Emery after he took them back into Europe. New defender Pau Torres has been highly regarded for some time while France winger Moussa Diaby will offer serious threat in attack. Youri Tielemans may also prove a sound addition on a free transfer from Leicester City. Villa will also be worth a bet to win the Europa Conference League under the great knockout tournament specialist Emery, who has won the Europa League four times. 6. ChelseaLast season – 12thChelsea are now being led by Mauricio Pochettino after the unrelenting abject misery of last term, during which three managers – Thomas Tuchel, Graham Potter and Frank Lampard – took turns in charge, with a £600m spending spree bringing only a mid-table finish. The revolving door has continued spinning this summer. Cesar Azpilicueta, Mason Mount, Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic, Kalidou Koulibay and N’Golo Kante have all gone, while a glaring omission from last season’s spree has been corrected with the acquisitions of strikers Nicolas Jackson and Christopher Nkunku, although the latter is currently injured. There is undoubted talent in the squad in £107m Enzo Fernandez, while Mykhailo Mudryk will hope to show his true form. Levi Colwill could be a big star in defence, having signed a new deal after his success on loan at Brighton last season.Midfield is an area that needs addressing, with Brighton’s Moises Caicedo clearly the chosen one if a deal can be done. Chelsea will be nowhere near the title, but I do believe Pochettino will put them on a better footing and they can never be ruled out of claiming some silverware. 7. Newcastle UnitedLast season – 4thHeady days on Tyneside as manager Eddie Howe, backed by the resources of the club’s Saudi Arabian owners, led Newcastle back into the Champions League. Newcastle’s spending has been big, but structured and sensible, since they were taken over by the Saudi Public Investment Fund. That approach has continued this summer as Italy midfielder Sandro Tonali arrived from AC Milan for £55m and the gifted Harvey Barnes was signed from Leicester City to give width and quality. Emerging young full-back Tino Livramento from Southampton is one for now and the future. Not sure there will be another top-four finish, but the curve is very much moving in an upward direction as far as long-term prospects are concerned, and they might make an impact in the cups. 8. Tottenham HotspurLast season – 8thWill Harry Kane still be at Tottenham this season?The long-running Harry Kane transfer saga has once again provided the backdrop to a Spurs summer, with Ange Postecoglou having arrived from Celtic to take charge of the latest reboot. If Kane stays, then Spurs can improve on this prediction. If he goes, with Bayern Munich in very public pursuit, then who knows?Spurs have strengthened with the arrival of England midfield man James Maddison from Leicester City, while keeper Guglielmo Vicario will hope to prove a worthy successor to Hugo Lloris after he joined from Empoli. Micky van de Ven comes with a big reputation as the Netherlands Under-21 defender joins in a £43m deal from Wolfsburg. Postecoglou will need time and patience after the turbulence of recent seasons but his sides usually make for highly entertaining viewing, which will at least be an improvement. 9. Brighton and Hove AlbionLast season – 6thArguably the most entertaining team I watched last season, Brighton were a superb combination of thrilling attacking football and fierce organisation under the charismatic Roberto de Zerbi. European football was a fitting reward and I expect them to have another good season this time around, although they will miss Alexis Mac Allister, and Moises Caicedo’s future hardly seems settled. Brighton have been busy themselves, bringing in a real attacking talent in Joao Pedro from Watford, while Netherlands Under-21 keeper Bart Verbruggen has arrived from Anderlecht. Brazilian centre back Igor Julio will add to defensive strength following his move from Fiorentina, and James Milner’s free transfer signing from Liverpool injects vast experience and know-how. If Brighton can get a £35m deal for Ajax’s Mohammed Kudus over the line, then this will add to their attacking strength. 10. BrentfordLast season – 9thBrentford will miss main striker Ivan Toney until his return in January from a suspension for breaching Football Association betting rules, but manager Thomas Frank will feel confident he has enough at his disposal given the performances that have made the Bees a credit to the Premier League. Nathan Collins should be a fine addition in defence following his club record £23m move from Wolverhampton Wanderers, while Frank is also seeking attacking reinforcements, with Nottingham Forest’s Brennan Johnson a prime target. Another season of sound consolidation. The Bees will always be a handful at home. 11. West HamLast season – 14thThis might be a little over-optimistic, as the elation of the European Conference League win has been diluted by the departure of Declan Rice and renewed doubts over the future of manager David Moyes. There is still time for the Hammers to put it right, but there is no doubt that there have been dark clouds on the horizon. Moyes is vastly experienced and his first trophy after such a long career was hugely popular within the game, but he is not daft and he will know he needs signings.Ajax midfielder Edson Alvarez looks set to sign for £35m and there are bids in for Manchester United duo Harry Maguire and Scott McTominay.12. Crystal PalaceLast season – 11thThere will be one very familiar figure missing from Selhurst Park this season as Wilfried Zaha has finally taken his leave, signing for Galatasaray. Roy Hodgson’s success in steadying the ship, and playing attacking football in the process, earned the 75-year-old another season at the helm. The Eagles, who will be well organised, will miss Michael Olise, absent for the foreseeable future with a hamstring injury, although the exciting Eberechi Eze will provide plenty of flourishes. Jefferson Lerma adds experience following his arrival from Bournemouth, while the capture of 19-year-old Brazilian forward Matheus Franca from Flamengo in a deal worth £26m will create excitement. Expect a Hodgson season. Stable, solid, no trouble. 13. FulhamLast season – 10thFulham faded towards the end of last season but still enjoyed an excellent return to the Premier League under manager Marco Silva. Their place may not be quite so lofty this season, although I don’t expect a relegation struggle either. Much depends on whether they can keep prized striker Aleksandar Mitrovic out of the clutches of Saudi Pro League side Al-Hilal, who are very keen and have already had an offer turned down. Keep Mitrovic and star midfield man Joao Palhinha fit and available and the Cottagers should have enough for another decent season. 14. Nottingham ForestLast season – 16thThis is where the trouble starts. A case can be made for any of the following teams to go down, so let’s see what we can make of the teams I expect to struggle. Manager Steve Cooper did superbly to keep Forest in the Premier League after moulding together a whole new squad, helped by a magnificent atmosphere at the City Ground. It hasn’t been quite as hectic this summer – how could it be? – but Forest will be aware suitors are circling the talented forward Brennan Johnson. It will be interesting to see if Antony Elanga can build on the occasional promise he showed at Manchester United prior to his £15m switch. Cooper can keep Forest up again. 15. BournemouthLast season -15thIt was a real surprise when the Cherries sacked Gary O’Neil after he did such a sound job keeping them up, but owner Bill Foley has high ambitions and brought in former Rayo Vallecano coach Andoni Iraola. Iraola comes with a reputation for exciting football and will be backed, with the headline arrival being that of Justin Kluivert for £10m after his career stalled at Roma. Bournemouth lacked a little cutting edge at times last season and they will hope he provides it. 16. EvertonLast season – 17thSean Dyche’s Everton secured Premier League survival on the final day of last seasonWhere to start with a club who have narrowly escaped relegation for the last two seasons, and have yet to show any evidence they have learned the lessons? Everton have lacked quality back up for injury-plagued striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin for 12 months and they have yet to bring in anyone who looks ready to fill that role, with Leicester City’s Patson Daka the latest to be linked. The scale of Everton’s financial mismanagement over recent years means they are scraping around in the bargain basement. The squad is currently smaller than the one that escaped the drop on the final day of last term, although the addition of 38-year-old Ashley Young on a free transfer may be a very smart move. Everton’s expected reset at board level has yet to materialise, along with the long-touted investment from American group MSP Sports Capital. Three boardroom members left in June but deeply divisive chairman Bill Kenwright remains in post, which continues to be a source of discontent among fans. The 77-year-old has not even felt able to attend a game at Goodison Park since January, citing security concerns. Manager Sean Dyche’s organisational skills may just keep Everton up, although there is also the concern about a hearing in October after the club was referred to an independent commission for an alleged breach of the Premier League’s Financial Fair Play rules. Everton strongly deny any wrongdoing but the prospect of a points deduction lingers if they are found guilty, which will obviously impact this particular prediction. 17. BurnleyLast season – Championship, 1stThere has been lots of talk that the three sides coming up will go straight back down from the Premier League this season, but if one club can defy those predictions, then I am going for Burnley. They were easily the Championship’s standout side last season, winning the title at a canter playing superb football in manager Vincent Kompany’s first season at Turf Moor. Burnley have shown ambition and imagination with the £19m capture of Manchester City keeper James Trafford, the hero of England’s Under-21 Euros triumph, and their attempts to steal midfield man Sander Berge away from another of the promoted sides, Sheffield United. Kompany has revitalised Burnley and there is genuine excitement before Friday’s opener at home to champions City. 18. Wolverhampton WanderersLast season – 13thI’ve got a very, very worrying feeling about Wolves. Julen Lopetegui did a superb job in keeping them in the Premier League but he has not even made it to the start line this time, leaving amid frustrations at an inability to make the improvements he wanted, a lingering concern from last term.This is another devastating blow for Wolves, who have shed around £90m worth of talent, including their outstanding midfield player Ruben Neves, without making any significant upgrades as they watch Financial Fair Play rules.Lopetegui looked their best hope of staying up – now he has gone and Wolves are in crisis. 19. Sheffield UnitedLast season – Championship, 2ndManager Paul Heckingbottom did superbly to take Sheffield United back into the top flight, but it already looks like he will have a job keeping them there. He has been operating on a shoestring budget and is on the verge of losing a second key player, with Sander Berge seemingly heading to Burnley, a team they may well be fighting to stay up. Striker Iliman Ndiaye scored 14 goals and had 11 assists in the Championship last season but has moved to Marseille, while Berge is near the end of his deal, and his expected departure is a real confidence blow as well as a footballing one. Heckingbottom will look to make Bramall Lane a fortress, and they will need all the help it can give them. 20. LutonLast season – Championship, 3rdWhat a story this is, even before a ball is kicked. Irrespective of how Luton Town fare in the Premier League, they have come through a nightmare to live a dream, as the first club in English football history to drop from the first tier to the fifth and make it all the way back again.Luton Town manager Rob Edwards proved a huge embarrassment to their great rivals Watford last season. He was sacked by The Hornets after only 11 games, before moving to Kenilworth Road and masterminding a promotion campaign. Striker Carlton Morris – who has signed a new contract – will be a significant figure after scoring 20 goals last season, while Edwards also has high hopes for new signing Tahith Chong, with the former Manchester United playing coming in from Birmingham City for £4m. it is difficult to see Luton surviving, but I would take great pleasure in being proven wrong.

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