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! Yesterday, we looked at football outside England’s top flight — today, we make our predictions on the Premier League!
Starting at the top: Who wins the Premier League?
Phil Vogel: Man City. Liverpool blow it down the stretch.
Jake Fenicle: City. They’re too damn good and they have two full XI’s of it almost.
James Rushton: You can’t touch Manchester City.
Sean Evans: Sentimentally I want to say Liverpool, but it is so hard to look past City. You just hope there is another closely contested title race.
Alex Carson: I also think it’s City’s to lose.
Who will be the Premier League’s surprise package?
JF: Everton if they count. They added some class signings and really seem to be gunning for it now.
JR: I think Watford — they have stabilised well and have enough about them to make a push.
PV: Leicester City.
AC: I think I’m going to hop on that Everton bandwagon with you, Jake — and even if it’s not them, I think this is the year a team from outside the “big six” make the Champions League. It could be Leicester, could be Wolves. That gap is smaller than it’s been for quite some time, and that gives hope to Villa for the future.
SE: Leicester for me as well. Brendan Rodgers is a solid manager and I think Youri Tielemans’ decision to join on a permanent says a lot about what they’re building.
Who are you backing to be relegated this year?
PV: Sheffield United, Brighton, Newcastle.
JF: Norwich, Brighton, Newcastle. Wrong recently promoted team, Phil ;)
JR: Newcastle, Norwich, Brighton. In no particular order.
SE: I am backing Chris Wilder to defy the odds. That said, the three I have are also Brighton, Newcastle and Norwich.
AC: I really like both Daniel Farke and Chris Wilder, but it just feels like there’s too much of a talent gap for them to make up. I’ll also back Burnley for the drop, but Crystal Palace are a good value bet.
Who will be the Premier League’s top scorer?
JF: Arsenal’s attack is lethal now with Nicolas Pepe IMO, so I’ll go with Aubameyang to get it outright this time around.
JR: Mo Salah!
PV: Kane. But not in the first week (hopefully).
SE: I’ll say Aguero takes the golden boot.
AC: In this VAR era, and with Zaha staying at Palace, Luka Milivojević could win it!
AC: Serious answer: Kane.
Which Premier League manager will win the sack race?
PV: Ole Gunnar Solskjær. Think Manchester United are in for a rough year right from the start.
JF: I’d say Bruce the Cabbage but Mike Ashley is so damn messed up at Newcastle they could be winless in December and he’d still be there. I’ll go Roy Hodgson. I think Palace will struggle.
JR: I think it’s very hard to call. Could it even be Emery at Arsenal? I’m going to side with Jake. If Palace wobble, Roy will go.
SE: Hodgson is my choice as well. Palace could be in real trouble as they have been very inactive in the window. On top of that, this is the last year of Roy’s contract and it is reported that their majority owners are looking to sell. Seems as if a lot could go wrong there.
AC: It’s probably Hodgson, yeah, but I wouldn’t rule out Javi Gracia if Watford get off to a poor start. I don’t think they will, but that ownership is notably rough on managers.
What is the most compelling storyline in the Premier League this season?
JR: I can’t disagree with Jake there — it’s probably going to ruin some things — well, the application of it!
PV: VAR is the correct answer. For a second option — I’m curious how the winter break will impact the craziness of the end of the year run in.
SE: Simply put, I concur.
AC: It’s VAR, but to throw something else out there, this is Bournemouth’s fourth Premier League season coming, and nobody’s talking about them as a serious relegation candidate. How? And how much longer can Eddie Howe keep that thing going down there? It’s impressive.
Let us know what you think in the comments!