2017-2018 Premier League Table Predictions
It’s time for an early prediction for the Premier League table next season.
20. Huddersfield Town
It’s a magical tale for this team to get into the Premier League through the Promotion Playoff. This will be their first trip to the Premier League in club history. But this team is coming in third in the spots behind Brighton and Hove Albion and Newcastle United who secured their trips to the Premier League with automatic qualification in the top two spots in the Championship Table. Huddersfield will have a difficult time acquiring players that can make an impact that will keep Huddersfield alive. This team has no shot at making even the Top 10, let alone a spot in European football, so the best they can do is to fight to not get relegated. The problem with this is Huddersfield finished the season on -2 goal difference. If you can’t score goals you can’t play in the Premier League, period. This will be simply a chance to acquire talent that can develop and grow as this team is destined for another season in the Championship.
19. Brighton and Hove Albion
After 34 years, Brighton and Hove Albion are returning to the Premier League. Brighton secured the second promotion with a total of 93 points earned and 34 goal difference. Their performance in the league was excellent and they come into the Premier League in a great direction. But like Huddersfield Town, it won’t be enough. This is a team that on paper doesn’t have the quality side to beat the top teams, let alone the mid table teams. It’s problems lie in the amount of money they’ll have won’t bring in star players. Where their team is at now, they can score goals, but that statistic in the Championship is different to a Premier League team. This will be a season to try to acquire players they can bring down to the Championship and make better. Brighton proved they can win their way to promotion, there’s no reason they can’t do it again.
Burnley finished 16th in the Premier League table with 40 points. There’s a risk they’ll lose some of their key players during the summer transfer window. Defender Michael Keane is linked to a return to his homegrown club Manchester United. The front office have been adamant they will not sell Keane, considering him the biggest role player in keeping the club in top flight football. But if all of their focus is holding onto players and not on acquiring them, their time in the Premier League must be closing. Burnley couldn’t keep pace with their competitors, only securing 11 wins and having a -16 goal difference. There’s no goal scoring, and defensively Michael Keane can’t do the job alone of shielding the goalkeeper. If Keane is the target, teams will pay heavy to acquire him which can help Burnley shore up their team if they can buy 2-3 players to replace the strength they need. But seeing them dutifully standing pat, expect Burnley to bow out of the Premier League, and for Michael Keane to leave anyway at the end of his contract regardless.
Watford will have a similar season to their previous one. They finished 17th in the table, six points clear of the relegated Hull City Tigers who finished 18th. Their star player is striker Troy Deeney, who’s legend at the club at the moment. The face of the club nonetheless, he’s the reason they got promoted 2 years ago. He’s the reason they’ll manage to survive one year longer. Watford have had tumultuous effort in keeping up win streaks and stopping losing ones. Watford were hanging by a thread all season and they’ll continue that trend into this season. They must give Deeney a player to work beside or behind him in a 2 striker formation or a center forward, or a center attacking midfielder behind him. If the two can combine for more goals, the other players can make a contribution to save Watford again. But note this, Watford must prove they can be better, because finishing near the relegation zone is a sign of an inferior team not a surviving one.
16. Crystal Palace
A disgraced Sam Allerdyce took over Crystal Palace from another disgruntled manager in Alan Pardew. Crystal Palace acquired a widely criticized former Liverpool striker in Christian Benteke. Benteke had come from Aston Villa in the previous season with high praise and was projected to be one of Liverpool’s best players. He was anything but, as soon as Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp found this out, he benched Benteke and sold him to Crystal Palace. The striker fared a little better at Crystal Palace but not to what people believed he could’ve been. Other club matters are in its manager. Allerdyce left after the end of the season and Palace need a stronger manager in the club. In terms of player personnel, they have a solid team but there is the possibility playmakers like Wilfried Zaha could leave. Tottenham Hotspur are hot on the radar for the winger. Crystal Palace has to sort out a lot of things and because of this, there will be a drop in the table for them. They finished 14th, but they need to make way for clubs who have a stronger presence in the Premier League at the moment. They’ll compete but without a voice on the bench strong enough to guide them and stay with them, Palace are just a team fresh for big teams to pick apart on the pitch and in the transfer window.
15. Swansea City
Swansea City were a team that tried and failed time after time. It came to a point where the owners group couldn’t stand it anymore. They went and fired initial manager Francesco Guidolin as an American ownership decided to try a new approach. Former United States Men’s National Team coach Bob Bradley took over as the first American manager to serve in the Premier League. He only lasted 11 games. He won two of them. Bradley was replaced by Bayern Munich assistant manager Paul Clement who managed to bring them back from the bottom of the table to finish 15th. But 15th seems to be where Swansea are at. They don’t have the appeal to acquire star players. Clement can only do but so much. Swansea will remain in the Premier League, but not under the most comfortable positions. Clement’s seat will be on the line all year if he can’t keep Swansea out but for the run he put them on, he should be able to at the minimum, stabilize the club to have a chance at getting higher in the table.
14. Newcastle United
It’s a return to the Premier League for Newcastle, and they couldn’t be in a better position. It won’t get them too high a spot but as the team that won the Championship, they have the most appeal of the lower clubs. Former Real Madrid manager Rafa Benitez is continuing his run with the team. He could’ve bolted when Newcastle were relegated to the Championship in the previous season, but he stayed and righted the ship. Newcastle comes in with the most Premier League ready team out of the three promoted. They won’t have a strong run into the Top 10, but this season is an opportunity to start somewhere. Benitez will attract great players to the club, and his shown commitment to the club is something, players, fans, and the media should relish in this team. They have a direction. For now, Newcastle won’t find themselves higher in the table but they could in the next few seasons if they build on the team. They can bring in small impact players for this season to fill in the depth, and over time the roster will improve immensely if they show they can go up from here.
13. West Bromwich Albion
West Brom is that one team that knows how to stay in the Premier League. They’ve faced before and survived, and of recent they’ve been a solid team. They finished 10th in the Premier League table and showed they can improve but as far as next season goes, West Brom look to be due for a small dip in the table. Over the past five seasons, West Brom has gone from a relegation team, to a consistently low placed squad, to a Top 10 team. With that trend most likely to continue, West Brom look to be a team that will contend to stay in the Premier League, not contend for European competition let alone a title or a trophy. They’re a team that haven’t really moved forward in bringing in players that can change the club, and they continue to afford over and done players like Darren Fletcher who just can’t change how a team performs. This will be a team that won’t be determined on a match day how they’ll play. They can be dominant some days and completely useless on others. West Brom’s season will be likened to 38 tosses of a quarter to determine their overall record.
12. West Ham United
It all begins with the transfers. West Ham brought in players last season that they thought would make this club a force to be reckoned with. Sadly, they lost their star Dimitri Payet, who disrespectfully left the club for his former club Olympique de Marseille in France. Their loanees didn’t make an impact and West Ham finished 11th in the table last season. They also had the debut of their new stadium, the London Stadium. They could barely defend the home ground losing a costly amount of games that doomed them for another season in the mid to low levels of the table. West Ham also have questions about their current manager Slaven Bilic. As confidence in him is waning from the board to the fans, West Ham may not have a strong season in them this year. Frankly, with the team they may put out this season, this seems like the appropriate place to be at this stage. West Ham aren’t an attractive destination, and players will be likely wanting to leave than stay. The team centers on Manuel Lanzini as their attraction but that is all they have. They aren’t going anywhere this year, and for that they should be grateful.
11. Stoke City
Stoke City can make some noise. They’re a team that’s improving, but not at a rate that will be glorifying. Stoke are a team with good players who know how to bring a team forward but the stopping point is that the competition is too fierce. Stoke finished 13th last season, but they can make a stride forward. Marko Arnautovic and Xherdan Shaqiri are the stars in midfield, and as long as Stoke keeps them, they’re well clear of relegation, but well clear of a top spot. Stoke will hang in the middle of the table but that is all. They don’t have the squad to propel them, nor the attraction, nor the funds. This is a team that is decent and finishes only when in convenience or desperation to compete and be recognized.
10. Leicester City
The squad is going into this season with Craig Shakespeare as their manager. They should be continuing with Claudio Ranieri. With Leicester having to go into last season defending the Premier League title and no one expected them to do so. Furthermore, they didn’t need to. With all of the English competition and Champions League, Leicester were forgiven for any shortcomings in the Premier League table. But when the players showed the hangover of their Cinderella run last season and blamed Ranieri for their struggles, this team was exposed. They finished in 12th, which was a gift compared to the relegation fight they were in. With Shakespeare running the club, they should see a great reaction from the players. This is an attractive venue. The story behind their Premier League title, coupled with the attraction of the traditional 4-4-2 formation, and Leicester’s ability to take players that weren’t thought of to be worth signing or developing and showing they have great ability can make this club settle out in this position in the table. Leicester has a few transfers to make and the fates of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez still remain unsolved. Could both remain at the club or will they seek the bigger teams in Europe? If Shakespeare can keep them both, coupled with the squad they have right now, there’s no reason Leicester won’t rebound and finish better.
Southampton show they can compete. Despite losing big names at the club, and always on the track to lose more, Southampton, despite being a journeyman’s club, remain a mainstay in the Premier League. Their star player is center-back Virgil Van Dijk, who is on track to leave the team in a big transfer. Teams like Chelsea and Liverpool are swooping in on the player. The funds Southampton receive will help to replenish the loss but in the end, Van Dijk was one of their anchors. He could’ve propelled the Saints higher in the table. Southampton have a new manager, and where his philosophy is concerned, the team is slated to remain in the Top 10 but still not making that next step towards getting into European competition. Southampton are still capable of making strides in the Premier League, and the continuation of that trend will depend on making the correct transfers for strong players in the defensive department. Where they midfield and attacking are concerned they are sound. Southampton are notorious for developing the talent big clubs want, but not being able to retain due to the non attraction of being a mid-level club.
8. AFC Bournemouth
The rise to glory is slow, but AFC Bournemouth are inching closer to a shot at a big time move to European football. It may come not come in this position, but out of all the mid-level teams, this one has the most promise, attraction, quality, coaching, consistency, and player ability. The roster is full of talent, with players like Lewis Cook, Tyrone Mings, and Joshua King holding the roles of promising players, young, and prolific. The real highlight in this team is their manager Eddie Howe. A homegrown Bournemouth player, he’s brought this team from the low English leagues to the Premier League with a style of football that’s intense and precise. Every season since their inclusion, they’ve gotten better in every facet of the game. Arsenal sent embattled midfielder Jack Wilshere to Bournemouth on loan in the hopes he’d develop into an amazing talent for them this upcoming season. But when Howe couldn’t rely on Wilshere he kept him on the bench and then the reserves to play his signed players. Howe isn’t afraid to take chances and put his own philosophy ahead of his players’. When it comes to transfers, Bournemouth are only a few signings away, and that will secure them this spot. It may only one spot better, but better going up than going down when it comes to showing improvement in the squad.
This season hinges on Romelu Lukaku. He’s a playmaker at the striker position, with teams all over Europe bidding for him. In that direction, should Everton sell him, they would have plenty of funds to replace Lukaku with players on the team that can recreate him on the pitch. Should they keep him, they’ll finish exactly where they did last season. They bought Jordan Pickford from Sunderland to secure their goalkeeper position for years to come. Manager Ronald Koeman has a team that will have no trouble getting a shot at European football should it be through positional qualification or through the English cup competitions. Everton are a long mainstay in the Premier League but they will need to make a big move to consider themselves for a bigger spot in Europe and England.
Another prediction…Arsene Wenger will be out by the end of the next season. Arsenal barely made 5th spot in the Premier League. They were a team in a downward spiral last season from the front office, to the manager, to the players, to the fans. The front office is doomed to have a losing team this year. When it comes to transfers, Wenger doesn’t bring in enough to handle the load of a Premier League season let alone European competition. Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolsnieac are a start when it comes to attacking and defense , but not nearly enough to compete for a title. Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, the star players of the team, have more intention on leaving than staying. That mentality can’t help in getting Arsenal back to the Champions League or the Premier League title. There’s a joke that goes along with Arsenal that the only place they finish is 4th. The way this team is trending, we may not see a consistent Champions League placing Arsenal team in the Premier League this year.
5. Tottenham Hotspur
The Spurs are one of Premier League’s best. Their run to second place last season was marred by an inability to be decisive towards the end of the season. Tottenham over the past seasons haven’t been able to seal a Premier League title when they had complete control. Losses to sub par or good teams with five or fewer games to go has been the swan song of their “losing” seasons. Certainly finishing in the Top 4 and having the opportunity for Champions League football is no disappointment. But the fans want a title, now more than ever. They have the team built for it, and they have the ability to gain more talent. Couple that with a new stadium being built for them, Tottenham have a bright future as long as this team grows and remains strong. During this transfer window, strengthening their depth will be the key. Injuries have plagued Tottenham as well, with key players like Harry Kane losing time for injury. Removing one pivotal player from the lineup shows how vulnerable this team can be without them. Bringing depth into the squad can keep the Spurs in a good trend. But all this can’t stop them from beating the next four teams up. Tottenham are destined for a 5th spot finish simply from the fact they can’t keep a consistent run. Perhaps they can be different this year but for now, traditionally losing control of a title race is a sound prediction for this team. However, there is a possibility for a chance to remain in Champions League should they able to progress, even through the Europa League games to the final. The Champions League final is well out of their reach.
4. Manchester City
Pep Guardiola’s squad was supposed to win a title, compete for Champions League, and in short, sweep the competition. They finished 3rd in the Premier League, but for the squad they put together it was a disappointing finish. There was drama in the performances of what was considered their best players. Newcomer Claudio Bravo from FC Barcelona was an absolute disaster at goalkeeper. He played to a guaranteed goal allowed every game. Second string keeper Willy Cabellero proved a better option for Guardiola. Manchester City have rectified this issue by brining in Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson from SC Benfica. Star player, Sergio Aguero has become disgruntled at the club. Young Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus is being hailed as one of the best young attacking players in the world if not the best. The two players will fight for their spot in the middle at striker. However, more than likely Jesus will win that fight. Aguero may find himself seeking another club for starting time. That loss in depth will make the difference for the team finishing higher. The team had inconsistent play from midfielder Kevin DeBryune. They will need him to return to world-class form and make up for any inconsistency the team may have in gameplay. The team is strong and definitely capable of a Top 4 spot, but one spot lower this season due to not having the sure thing in their squad’s improvement.
3. Manchester United
Jose Mourino is famous for bringing in a title in his first season with a new club. A sixth place finish was anything but. However, winning the Community Shield, the English Football League Cup, and the Europa League were great replacements to definitely establish a strong place in Europe. Winning the Europa League gave Manchester United a Champions League spot. They’ll also have an opportunity to win the UEFA Super Cup against Real Madrid. But within these two teams lies a controversial issue. Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo has been brought on taxation charges in Spain which prompted the player to consider leaving Real Madrid immediately. Manchester United were the loudest team in the transfer market wanting to acquire him offering a deal of their goalkeeper David DeGea and cash for Ronaldo. Alvaro Morata, another Real Madrid forward is close to a transfer to Manchester United but no deal has been finalized or put in further development. For now, Ronaldo remains at Madrid but much could change. In other transfers, United have brought in Victor Lindelof from Benfica. He’s a promising center back who’s expected to start next to Eric Bailly. For now United look to improve, and a third place finish is a great start. They’re not title worthy yet with players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic leaving the club, as he was their best player. Proposed transfers for Wayne Rooney, Chris Smalling, and Ashley Young are all on the table. Mourinho has much to do but for now the squad is set to improve in due time and once the additions are made, expect United to have a great season, and hopefully a title is theirs in due time.
For Antonio Conte, he’s done what many thought he couldn’t. A shamed Chelsea squad came into the last season with only David Luiz and N’Golo Kante to show for in additions critical to the squad. Star player Eden Hazard was miserable in his performance a season before. Diego Costa, as per usual, was more unsettled than ever. What a difference 38 games makes. Chelsea secured another Premier League title silencing criticism of their team for the foreseeable future. As things stand now, the team has much to cover. They’re close to signing Tiemoue Bakayoko from AS Monaco, where he’s expected to play alongside Premier League Player of the Year N’Golo Kante. Diego Costa looks to be on his way out as he and Conte haven’t seen eye to eye since the Italian manager’s arrival. As for Eden Hazard he stepped up to be one of the best players once again in the Premier League and won’t be going anywhere for some time. Defending a title is no easy task, as Leicester City were on the verge of relegation defending their title. Chelsea won’t have that issue, as they’ll be the best in London. However, where they fall short of landing that No. 1 spot is surprisingly in their manager. As much as Conte is a success story in the club, the rumors swirling about his status with the owners and the deteriorating relationship already after one season can’t be ignored. Without a strong backing, Conte can’t manage the club and the players the way he needs to. Players can’t compete with a disgruntled manager. It won’t hinder Chelsea, as Champions League is well I their sights and with possible transfers soon to be finalized in the coming weeks their squad is strong. But this team will fall short with all the competitions they have to play in, but that’s never a bad thing.
This is Jurgen Klopp’s year. This is a Liverpool team that showed its teeth last season. With the addition of Mohamed Salah from Roma, the front three of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Salah should be one of the best if not the best attacking force in England. In midfield, Philippe Coutinho will command the midfield well, with players like Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson suited well to defend and help attack when needed. The defense does need work. However, Dutch center back Virgil Van Dijk is on the priority list for Liverpool, and by as late as August he’s expected to be at the club. From there, Liverpool do face a daunting task. They’re returning to Champions League football, and coupled with three English competitions, the most important being the Premier League, Liverpool will have to bow out. The squad is the best in England in chemistry, strength, and depth, and it’s determined to add more but pulling off a double of Champions League and Premier League champions is not for Liverpool right now. Klopp is under pressure to deliver this year, so much if he doesn’t it’ll cost his job. But this is the best Liverpool squad put out in some time and with aggressive attacking runs and a buildup in defense, there isn’t a team that will bother Liverpool too much. Klopp is a proven winner and now is the time to put that winning formula to use with a star-studded squad that can and will win the Premier League title.
For more coverage and discussion on the upcoming Premier League season, tune into MFST, and follow Dillon on Twitter @thedavistirado.
Hailing from New York City from the borough of Brooklyn, Dillon is a die-hard New York sports fan. He currently resides in Upstate New York, where he studies at Wells College in Aurora, NY.
Follow him on Twitter @thedavistirado and the other MFST writers.
Stay tuned for more!