Premier League 2019/20 League Table Predictions: Part Two
Last Friday’s game between Liverpool and Norwich City marked the beginning of a brand new Premier League season. From Manchester City to Wolverhampton Wanderers, here is part two of my 2018/19 English Premier League table prediction.
Manchester City – 2nd
City’s Wednesday announcement about the arrival of Portuguese right-back Joao Cancelo certifies the pure strength of Pep Guardiola’s side. When looking at the depth chart, City can field two equally strong first XI’s that would both be able to hold their own in the Premier League. Yet, the ultimate prize still evades Guardiola and his team; the Champions League. For this reason alone, I believe Pep will, of course, look to challenge in all competitions. However, once City advance through the European competition, the only trophy that has alluded Pep during his City tenure will divert his attention. However, if City is knocked out early on, the race for the Premier League title will be a toss-up between the blue side of Manchester and the red side of Liverpool.
Manchester United – 4th
As always, the race for the top four is a much talked about subject. This year, the contenders look to be Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United. United CEO Ed Woodward’s performance in the transfer market this summer could be described as sub-par, He had only managed to secure three deals all summer, with the signing of Harry Maguire taking five weeks to finalize. As a result of this, United’s midfield is thin. The departure of Ander Herrera with no replacement signed means that manager Ole Gunnar Solksjaer will have to utilize the academy produced players throughout the season. Despite the negativity that lingers around Old Trafford, with a possible addition in January, this United team is young enough and will have the ability to spark a few surprises. Be sure to see them go tooth and nail with Arsenal to grab the golden fourth place by the end of May.
Newcastle United – 12th
It has been yet another turbulent year as a Newcastle fan. Owner Mike Ashley has not sold the club. This, despite speculation that a deal with a Saudi investment group was close to being agreed. In addition to not offering Rafa Benitez a new contract, Ashley has backed new manager Steve Bruce in the transfer market. They have welcomed Brazilian striker Joelinton, French forward Allan Saint-Maximin, and left-back Jetro Willems to name a few. Even with these signings, the pressure will be on Bruce and Ashley from the fans the get-go and with expectations low. Things could get even uglier at St. James’ Park this season. Bruce doesn’t have a great record in managing Premier League sides but the signings they have made will spring some much-needed optimism.
Norwich City – 16th
The Canaries enjoyed a strong season after winning the Championship title last year. German manager Daniel Farke has developed a strong, youthful squad throughout his tenure. His signings of Bundesliga talent are ones with experience and quality. Defensive prospect Max Aarons will be one to watch for Norwich after impressing beyond his years at the Championship level. 29-year-old Finish striker Teemu Puuki netted 29 goals in 43 appearances last year. He will be the Canaries’ talisman for the new season. With a great blend of youth and experience, Norwich should be able to stay up as they will rely on their tried and tested efficient German system that Farke has implemented into the squad.
Sheffield United – 19th
The Blades’ came out of nowhere to surprise many and secure automatic promotion over rival Leeds United from the Championship last season. Manager Chris Wilder has utilized an attacking 3-4-2-1 system that put opponents under pressure from the off which begs the question if such methods will successfully work against elite sides of the Premier League. United have spent some money but have not brought in any recognized names that will strike fear into opponents. Due to this, expect United to descend into the abyss that is relegation.
Southampton – 14th
Since Ralph Hasenhüttl appointment midway through last season, the Saints looked sturdy and an exciting team to watch. With a full pre-season under the belt of the Austrian, Hasenhüttl’s side looks like a strong bet to better their finish of last year. The permanent additions of Che Adams, Danny Ings, and Moussa Djenepo, they have greatly bolstered their attack. Despite Mario Lemina’s situation looking like it was going to escalate into disrepute, the midfielder looks set to stay and fight for his position in a team that will have a solid season.
Tottenham Hotspur – 3rd
Mauricio Pochettino brought the Spurs’ supporters a taste of elite European competition after defying all the odds by making it to the Champions League final last time around. Unhappy right-back Kieran Trippier was the only major departure from Spurs. Pochettino has managed to keep ahold of Danish playmaker Christian Eriksen, who expressed his desire to move on to a new challenge shortly after the end of last season. The addition of Tanguy Ndombele could well prove to be the signing of the summer. In addition, the deadline day signings of Giovanni Lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon add strength in depth to an already superbly strong squad. Spurs are normally expected to just make the top four but this season could be one for the record books; Liverpool and City stand as the current front runners. However, Tottenham have all the ability to rewrite the Premier League script.
Watford – 11th
It was a prosperous season from Javi Gracia and his Watford team last time out; an 11th place finish in the Premier League along with an FA Cup final appearance. The spine of this Watford side is incredibly strong for the area of the table they are always looking to finish. Being able to keep ahold of defensive midfielder Abdoulaye Doucouré and Argentine Roberto Pereyra act as almost new signings as they will play pivotal roles in yet another strong season for Gracia and the Hornets.
West Ham United – 9th
Manuel Pellegrini has constructed a tremendously strong squad since he took over in May 2018. This summer’s additions of Pablo Fornals and Sebastien Haller bring elite European quality to the Hammers’ squad. The speculation surrounding center-back Issa Diop’s future was in doubt as he was linked with a move to Manchester United. Yet, Diop remains for the upcoming season. This serves as a huge positive for Pellegrini’s defense, of which Diop is the catalyst for. The departure of Marko Arnautovic is a positive also as he reportedly was a hassle to deal with in the changing room. A strong squad with a powerful sense of optimism surrounding it; West Ham could challenge for the last Europa League place.
Wolverhampton Wanderers – 10th
A terrific debut season for manager Nuno Espirito Santo and his Wolves team, finishing 7th the season after being promoted from the Championship. Wolves’ recruitment strategy has been a huge positive towards the positive results being seen on the pitch. The signing of Italian prospect Patrick Cutrone strengthens the forward line. A line that includes Mexican Raul Jiminez and Portuguese ace Diogo Jota. Keeping hold of midfielder Ruben Neves is also another plus. He introduced himself to Premier League in excellent fashion last season. The loan signing of Real Madrid center-back Jesus Vallejo brings reinforcement to a very capable Wolves backline. Nuno and his team will be aiming to attack the top eight places throughout the season but with rival teams like Leicester and Everton spending huge amounts of money this summer, competition for that section of the table will be fierce.
Written by Jacob Robson
Photo credit to PremierLeague via Twitter