As the 2016/2017 Premier League season approaches Football Ticket Pad predicts how the table could look come the end of May. It is one of the most anticipated seasons in many a year with new players, new managers and even new stadiums for players and fans to get used to.
Can Pep Guardiola and Antonio Conte assert a title tilt in their first taste of English football? Who will win the battle for European places? and who will fall into the Championship? Football Ticket Pad reveals how we see the season going for each club:
1st Chelsea: The title could really go anywhere this season but I am struggling to look beyond Chelsea this year. I can see Conte getting the best out of Diego Costa and Eden Hazard and he sets his teams up from the back in a defensively solid set-up which we saw with Italy at Euro 2016. They will be wanting to make up for the disappointment of last season and I can see them going all the way.
2nd Manchester City: They have spent over £100 million this summer on Leroy Sane, Ilkay Gundogan, Nolito and Gabriel Jesus and have the strongest squad in the league. Pep Guardiola will be sure to assert a title challenge and players are desperate to perform for him. If he can keep Sergio Aguero, Vincent Kompany and Kevin De Bruyne fit they will be Chelsea’s closest challengers.
3rd Manchester United: Jose Mourinho is a born winner and he will get the best out of this United side. He has made some impressive signings in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Eric Bailly. Plus he has kept hold of his best player in David De Gea. I can see fans getting behind him and an imminent return to the top four.
4th Arsenal: Last season was perhaps their best chance of winning the title. Arsene Wenger has all the experience but I still feel they are missing a star striker to put the ball in the net. Their midfield is one of the best with Ozil, Sanchez and Ramsey and if they can find a natural goalscorer they will challenge. Should make top four once again.
5th Tottenham: Cannot see them replicating their form of 2015/16 but under Mauricio Pochettino they will be the closest challengers to a top four place. I feel the distraction of Champions League football may take its toll on Spurs and hinder their domestic form. Solid season again for the Lilywhites.
6th Liverpool: Inconsistency is what cost Liverpool last season and I can’t see much changing this term under Jurgen Klopp. They will most definitely improve, but there are better teams above them challenge for the title. They have a strong squad but need to find out what system works best for the team, especially away from home.
7th West Ham United: They have established a real identity under Slaven Bilic and have become a real tough side to beat. If they can keep their key players like Dimitri Payet injury free then they can have another good season. Playing at the Olympic Stadium will also give The Hammers an insentive to perform and they will be keen to make it a fortress this season.
8th Everton: Ronald Koeman is a great manager but he has one of the smallest squads in the league and this is what could cost Everton a higher place in the table. They have some good individuals but are lacking in key areas of the pitch to really challenge. Koeman will get the best out of his players but keeping Romelu Lukaku could be the difference between a good season and a bad season for the Toffees.
9th Leicester City: Unfortunately I cannot see them repeating their title heroics, depite keeping both Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez. The loss of N’golo Kante is a real blow but a top half finish should still be a decent season for The Foxes. European fixtures could again take its toll on Leicester but they have a real unity and team spirit which gets them through games.
10th Stoke City: A comfortable season for The Potters and a top half finish should be their aim. Fans will want a European challenge but they too lack a natural goalscorer in attack to cause a stir. Saido Berahino has been mooted as a potential signing and could be the difference. They have a couple of match winners in the form of Marko Arnautovic and Bojan. Joe Allen is also a massive coup for Stoke and he will be a key man this season and he will benefit from playing regular first team football.
11th Crystal Palace: They struggled in the second half of last season but if they can keep their players fit and maintain their form they could finish higher. Yohan Cabaye is a key man in midfield and with Andros Townsend and Yannick Bolasie on the flanks they can be a real nuisance, especially at Selhurst Park.
12th Bournemouth: Mid table mediocracy will be enough for The Cherries and they should have enough firepower to steer clear of relegation in their second season. They have a natural scorer in the shape of Callum Wilson. If he can recapture his goalscoring form from the start of last season then they can be a handful. Jordon Ibe will also be keen to impress and he will create chances.
13th Southampton: I can see The Saints struggling this season. After losing Ronald Koeman they have lost their two star players in Graziano Pelle and Sadio Mane. It could be a long hard season and I cannot see where they are going to get goals from in order to replicate their impressive displays of last term.
14th Middlesbrough: Been really impressed with what I have seen from Middlesbrough. In the Championship they looked solid and in Aitor Karanka they have a really good manager. They didn’t concede many goals last season and if they can maintain that defensive record they will be safe. They have also made a handful of big signings with Victor Valdes and Alvaro Negredo, Gaston Ramirez and Viktor Fischer. I can see them securing their Premier League status for next season.
15th Swansea: Francesco Guidolin impressed when he took over last season but I think it could be a tough season for the Swans. Andre Ayew and Gylfi Sigurdsson are vital to their aspirations, but they are missing a real target man in attack after losing Bafetimbi Gomis.
16th Sunderland: Sam Allardyce performed miracles last season for the Black Cats. David Moyes has got all the experience but I think safety should be the priority again for Sunderland. Jermain Defoe is a natural goalscorer and if he can stay fit then Sunderland will be fine.
17th West Bromwich Albion: I can see West Brom flirting with relegation this season and they have not really strengthened this summer. Saido Berahino looks likely to depart but in Tony Pulis they have a manager who could save them from the drop (just.)
18th Watford: Extremely bemusing when they sacked Quique Sanchez Flores at the end of last season after securing safety and taking them to the FA Cup semi final. I think they will pay the ultimate price this season and if they fail to keep Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo fit and firing they will be in real trouble.
19th Burnley: I really like Burnley but I feel that they are perhaps the weakest team in the division and they have a really likeable manager in Sean Dyche. Andre Gray will score plenty of goals but I feel keeping them out at the other end may be their downfall.
20th Hull City: The loss of Steve Bruce could cost them dear and I can only see them returning straight back to the Championship. I really fear for Hull City and if results go against them early on I struggle to see them being able to turn it around.
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