Premier League: Manchester clubs to vie for title; Everton to finish in the top four? Firstpost predicts upcoming season

The brand new season of the Premier League is just a day away and it's that time of the year when pundits, experts and fans put their heads on the line and make their predictions for the campaign to come. The 2017/18 season of the Premier League is expected to be far more competitive with clubs spending millions to improve their squads, making the task of predicting tougher than ever. Firstpost writers have taken up the gauntlet and thrown their reputations on the line as they predict the upcoming season of the Premier League

Anish Anand's predictions

Champions: Tottenham Hotspur

Top four: Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal

Bottom three: Everton, Watford, Swansea City

Verdict: Unlike last season, the Premier League champions will be decided on the final day with the top four teams being in the fray. Tottenham Hotspur will clinch it with a win and other results going their way. Liverpool will once again be prolific in front of goal but will struggle with their defence to fall short once again. Manchester City's manager Pep Guardiola will be sacked after January with the club struggling to make the top four with a host of draws. Three newly promoted teams will survive the relegation battle and Everton who will struggle to incorporate all their new signings will be surprise relegation candidates.

Tottenham Hotspur have been the most consistent team in the Premier League in the last two seasons. AFP

Tottenham Hotspur have been the most consistent team in the Premier League in the last two seasons. AFP

Dilip Unnikrishnan's predictions

Champions: Manchester United

Top 4: Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur

Bottom three: Brighton and Hove Albion, Huddersfield Town, Burnley

Verdict: The two Manchester clubs have spent heavily in the summer and have addressed their flaws from last season. Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola will go at it like they did during their time in Spain with Mourinho pipping his eternal rival to the title, thanks in part to City's shaky defence. Chelsea have had a relatively poor transfer window with upgrades required at the wing back positions. Spurs will struggle to play at Wembley initially but will pick up the pace around December to grab a top-four spot. Liverpool still have a leaky defence and look set to lose Phillipe Coutinho to Barcelona while Arsenal will do a Manchester United and get a Champions League spot by winning the Europa League.

Jigar Mehta's predictions

Champion: Arsenal

Top four: Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool, Manchester City

Bottom three: Swansea City, Huddersfield Town, Watford

Verdict: Arsenal who will be boosted by Alexis Sanchez signing a new contract will start off well and maintain consistency this time. Jose Mourinho will implode after a string of poor results and get sacked with Manchester United ending up eighth. Arsene Wenger will retire on a high by retaining the FA Cup and finishing his career with another domestic double.

Karan Pradhan's predictions

Champion: Arsenal

Top Four: Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur

Bottom Three: Huddersfield Town, Brighton and Hove Albion, Bournemouth

Verdict: The Friday night kickoff to the season will see Arsenal break the hoodoo of poor starts. There will be a slump... there's always a slump, but the team will pick up enough points to give them an honest shot at the title in the final months. Elsewhere, I predict Pep Guardiola to call time on his Manchester City stint because the Sky Blues haven't improved their back line and will suffer as a result. Tottenham's inability/refusal to strengthen in the transfer window will likely see them stagnate, but hang on for a top-four- finish. Jose Mourinho will likely add to his trophy cabinet, but no EPL side will get beyond the Champions League quarter-finals.

Chelsea will find it hard to retain the title but past experience could be key. AFP

Chelsea will find it hard to retain the title but past experience could be key. AFP

Kaushal Shukla's predictions

Champions: Chelsea

Top four: Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Manchester City

Bottom three: Watford, Huddersfield Town, Brighton and Hove Albion

Verdict: Unlike the last three seasons, no single team will run away with the title. This will be the first time in many years, that the title race would be a three-way affair that would go right down to the wire. The title will be a toss up between Chelsea, United and Tottenham Hotspur, but the Blues' experience of winning two titles in last three years could make all the difference in the final few fixtures. I expect Antonio Conte and Co to make at least two more additions to their squad before the window closes ensuring they have just enough depth in the squad to remain Premier League's top dog.

Manchester City's failure to address their central defensive woes would see them drop out of the title race after the turn of the year, but Pep Guardiola's men will have too much firepower to stave off Arsenal's challenge for a top-four place. The Gunners will run City close if they manage to hold on to Alexis Sanchez, but will have to be content with a fifth-placed finish. Liverpool seem quite lightweight in terms of quality of personnel, especially if Phillipe Coutinho leaves for Barcelona and they will spend their season fighting with Everton for a qualifying spot for next season's Europa League.

Nikhila Makker's predictions

Champions: Manchester City

Top four: Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur

Bottom three: Burnley, Huddersfield Town, Brighton and Hove Albion

Verdict: This season, we will finally get the battle that was hyped up last year – Pep Guardiola vs Jose Mourinho. After failing to meet expectations in their first seasons, both managers have gone out and splurged in the transfer window and the two Manchester clubs look like the strongest two teams, at least on paper. Chelsea, with gruelling European football to focus on, will probably suffer a bit of title hangover. The fates of Liverpool and Tottenham depend on what they manage to achieve in the remaining transfer window but I don't see either club putting up a sustained title challenge. By the end of this season, we will have one high-profile manager biting the dust but this will also be the year when a Premier League club makes the last-four of the Champions League.

Shivam Damohe's predictions

Champions: Manchester United

Top four: Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Everton

Relegation: Swansea City, Huddersfield, Burnley

Verdict: Looking at how both the Manchester clubs have strengthened their squad with multiple signings, it would be surprising if the Premier League title ends up in London or in Merseyside this season. One of the biggest tasks for most of the clubs will be to avoid the much-hyped ‘Mourinho season’. The Portuguese’s second seasons at clubs have always been his most spectacular.

Meanwhile, champions Chelsea are expected to be under massive pressure as they aim to avoid ‘second season syndrome’ under Antonio Conte.

Surprisingly, Everton are one of the strongest teams, at least on paper, with a handful of smart signings. Arsenal need to sort out the future of Alexis Sanchez and look for replacements before it’s too late. Tottenham Hotspur, one of the most consistent teams in the league, should sign a wing-back or two to replace Kyle Walker and Danny Rose (if he leaves). As for Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp must balance his below-par team or settle for a place outside the top four.

Manchester City have bolstered their squad to make a stronger challenge for the title. AFP

Manchester City have bolstered their squad to make a stronger challenge for the title. AFP

Utkarsh Srivastava's predictions

Champions: Manchester City

Top four: Manchester City, Manchester United, Everton, Chelsea

Bottom three: Watford, Brighton and Hove Albion, Huddersfield Town

Verdict: Pep Guardiola has accumulated way too much firepower this year to not win the league. If John Stones can become just a little more reliable, this is a world-beating team. Everton will be the surprise package. They have a steely midfield, quick wingers and canny defenders which will allow them to run teams ragged through the season.

Arsenal will implode this season with a sulking Alexis Sanchez and an invisible Mesut Ozil which will finally be curtains for a manager who’s been around for too long. That said, Sead Kolasinac will impress everyone and then run to either Manchester City or PSG.

Vaibhav Shah's predictions

Champions: Manchester City

Top four: Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Chelsea

Bottom three: Newcastle United, Bournemouth, Brighton and Hove Albion

Verdict: As if smashing the transfer market by roping in heavyweights in Bernardo Silva, Ederson, Kyle Walker, Danilo and Benjamin Mendy wasn’t enough, Pep Guardiola’s side will be beefed up by the return of their captain Vincent Kompany and Brazilian star Gabriel Jesus to full fitness.

The 20-year old Jesus was ruled out of the major part of the 2016-17 season due to a fractured metatarsal bone in his right foot. Despite featuring only 10 times he netted 7 goals to go with his 4 assists for the Sky Blues.

City’s defensive frailties have been addressed with some super signings and Ederson in the goal should be able to do a better job than the lacklustre performances by Claudio Bravo in the previous season.

England still awaits to witness the supremacy of Guardiola which has given the detractors a chance to remind that Premier League is not a two-horse race. Well, if this is a season where he needs to prove the world, he has certainly got the best players to go on and lift the title.

Cumulative Predictions:

Champions: Manchester City

Top four: Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur

Bottom Three: Burnley, Brighton and Hove Albion, Huddersfield

 


Published Date: Aug 10, 2017 06:13 pm | Updated Date: Aug 10, 2017 06:41 pm


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