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Preseason Roundtable: Our staff’s predictions for football outside the Premier League

Our annual preseason roundtable kicks off today with our thoughts on the key storylines in football outside the Premier League.

FC Barcelona v Arsenal - Pre-Season Friendly
Our staff likes one of two clubs for the Champions League title this year: Barcelona and Manchester City.
Photo by Jose Breton/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Welcome to the preseason roundtable, an annual exercise here at 7500 to Holte for our staff to give our thoughts on the upcoming football season, and to have something to look back on and laugh at once the year’s over! We start today with our thoughts on football outside the Premier League, from the Champions League to the Championship!

We’ve gotten to know the Championship well in the last three years. Who are we backing to go up this season?

Phil Vogel: Fulham, West Brom, Swansea

Jake Fenicle: Derby, Leeds, West Brom

James Rushton: Leeds United, West Brom, Brentford

Sean Evans: Leeds, West Brom, Cardiff

Alex Carson: If Leeds stay healthy and keep the wheels from falling off (both big ifs!), they win it. I’ll actually back the same three clubs as James here, with WBA and Brentford up as well.

Who wins the Champions League this year?

JF: Visca Barça

JR: Manchester City. It’s their era now.

SE: I have to go with James on this one. Pep adds to his career haul and gets the trophy that City so desire.

PV: Manchester City — their depth is outstanding.

AC: City and PSG are alike, in that they both want the Champions League more than anything, and they both keep stumbling at the final gate. It’s kinda funny.

Nevertheless, I think this should be either Barça’s or City’s at the end of the day, with Liverpool a half-step behind. I’ll take Barça to win it, though.

What’s a non-PL club you have your eye on this year?

PV: DC United (my local team) and how they are currently wasting Wayne Rooney in the MLS before he leaves for Derby. There is not enough Tecate for around for me to accurately express my frustration. But I’ll still be standing in the Supporter’s section the rest of the year.

JR: FC Cincinnati. I’m clearly a Midwest man at heart and I’ve struggled with watching this team from afar. I’m heading over to the Midwest in November from the UK and I cannot wait - but I’ll miss FCC. Otherwise, Union Berlin!

AC: You’re a good man, James. Outside of my Unioner, I’m intrigued to see how Brescia get on in Serie A. Combine one of football’s great young talents (Sandro Tonali) with Massimo Cellino’s style of ownership, and you could get some fun fireworks out of that club.

JR: That’s exactly my definition of fun.

SE: I am interested to see how the Vincent Kompany player-manager experiment goes at Anderlecht.

What’s the most compelling storyline outside of the Premier League this year?

JR: Can Sol Campbell pull off the magic in Macclesfield once more? How well will Wayne Rooney do for Derby?

PV: Nope. Don’t like that second one at all. Nope. Nope. Nope.

AC: I sometimes forget Wayne Rooney is still only 33. He feels so much older than that.

AC: For me, I’ll stay in England, and it’s watching how the financial tensions in the Football League play out. There seems to be a lot of unrest between clubs at that level, and combined with the Bolton and Bury situation still lingering around, it could be an interesting year.

SE: After seeing Mbappé quite literally push him out of PSG’s trophy celebration, I am curious about what the future holds for Neymar — particularly if he stays at PSG. World-class talent, but looks to be a bit of a toxic presence these days.

That’s our thoughts — let us know yours in the comments!