The start of the 2019/20 Premier League season is just days away. While it’s not exactly been a long summer without football – it’s only been a few weeks – the return of English football’s top flight is still met with that fresh, new season excitement.
Schedules have been analysed, as fans plan away days and consider where their team could go on the run that takes the season from good to great.
Players have been playing revenue-generating friendlies for weeks as they get back towards something like Premier League match fitness.
Everyone has a few preseason predictions that they’ll stand by until they’re mathematically impossible. Whether it’s a shock relegation candidate or a team breaking the top six’s dominance, trying to predict the season is an annual challenge for football fans.
On that note, here are a few predictions for the new season…
The title is expected to come down to Manchester City and Liverpool, just as it did last term. The two were inseparable at the top of the table through the opening months of 2019.
Manchester City hit the most purple of purple patches to hold off Liverpool, and with their squad only deepened this summer, it’s very hard to look past Pep Guardiola’s side three-peating.
Tottenham threatened to make it a three-team race in 2018/19, but Mauricio Pochettino’s team were unable to keep pace and ended up dropping off.
Depending on how the transfer window ends, they could be considered a dark horse – their 18/1 price is representative of their current standing somewhere between the top two and the rest.
While neither City or Liverpool have made huge moves this summer, City’s superior squad depth could prove to be the difference again.
As good as Jurgen Klopp’s side have become, it felt like 2018/19 was their ceiling – their main hope of improvement is a breakout season from last summer’s big-money signing Naby Keita.
Prediction: Manchester City
Top 4 Finish
City, Liverpool and Spurs feel like locks for the top four once again.
The other three – much like last season – will be wrestling for that fourth spot, while some of the upper-mid table sides could be eyeing up a run considering the uncertainty surrounding Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United.
United’s summer – up until the time of writing – has been a disappointing one once again. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is a man under pressure.
While Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire are two new signings to watch, the issues in midfield and the final third remain. Evens to make the top four is way too short.
Arsenal’s attack has been improved, and Nicolas Pepe will be lots of fun. Their defence remains very suspect, though they could of course change before the window shuts.
Chelsea begin the post-Hazard era under Frank Lampard with their expectations lower than they have been in about 15 years – they’ll be interesting, but the top four might be a step too far.
Wolves at 16/1 will get some support to make the top four. How Nuno Espirito Santo’s side cope with Europa League demands will be fascinating.
Arsenal, though, are perhaps the best equipped to snatch fourth with their fearsome attack. Unai Emery’s side will need to score plenty of goals, and they’ve got the players to do so.
Prediction: Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal
For the first time since 1998/99, the Premier League Golden Boot was a three-way tie in 2018/19 with Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang all sharing the award.
Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling rounds off the leading pack at 14/1, the same price as 2018/19 winner Mane. Picking a Golden Boot winner isn’t easy. Injuries and fortune play a major role...
If fit, Aguero is a tempting bet at 11/2, but relying on a fully healthy season and Pep Guardiola’s squad rotation is a risky business. The Argentinian has remarkably only won the award once before.
With City expected to rack up the goals, he’s probably good value, though with City looking for a deep Champions League run, we may see Gabriel Jesus given a lot of minutes up front in the second half of the season.
The uncertainty with Aguero might make Aubameyang the best bet at 7/1. Without the Champions League distraction and in an attack that should create plenty, the former Dortmund man could get well into the twenties again.
As a longer shot bet, Everton’s new man Moise Kean will undoubtedly attract interest at 50/1.
Prediction: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Top Half Finish
The race for best of the rest is going to be hotly contested this season as it was last. The betting market currently puts Everton, Leicester, Wolves and West Ham are the four to join the top six in the top half of the table.
The Hammers are Evens for a top 10 finish at the moment with fellow claret and blue club Aston Villa currently at 9/2.
Everton, Leicester and Wolves are all looking to push on from last season. West Ham are much the same, but after the Marko Arnautovic saga, it remains to be seen what Manuel Pellegrini’s side are capable of.
With inconsistency shown in 2018/19, it’s not hard to envisage the Hammers dropping into the bottom half of the table.
Villa, despite spending heavily, feel a bit on the short side at 9/2. Watford are 5/2, which is a solid price, but it’s Southampton at 11/4 that represent the best value.
Ralph Hasenhuttl markedly improved the Saints last season. With Che Adams and Moussa Djenepo on board, Southampton could be back in the top 10 for the first time since 2016/17.
Sheffield United are the relegation favourites at 4/6. Chris Wilder’s side had a wonderful 2018/19 in the Championship, but they will be sitting in the bottom three of many people’s preseason Premier League prediction tables.
Fellow promoted sign Norwich are a bit shorter at 19/20. While Daniel Farke’s side haven’t invested as flamboyantly as Aston Villa, the Canaries have a set way of playing and could benefit from continuity.
In Ralf Fahrmann, Sam Byram, Patrick Roberts and Josip Drmic, Norwich have added a few bargain pieces that should help them out this season.
Two teams who were in trouble last term are at 9/5 to go down. Brighton and Burnley spent time in the bottom three last season and we could see both teams drop down a division if Norwich can quickly adapt to the top flight.
Aston Villa, who have the biggest range of any team in the Premier League this season, are another to consider at 2/1 to go down.
Prediction: Sheffield United, Burnley, Brighton
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*