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Premier League Top Six Predictions

The Premier League is back! A new season brings fresh optimism and hope for the campaign ahead — but who is going to finish in the top four and grab one of those Champions League places.

I take at a look at the big six and predict where each side will end the season.

MAN CITY

Finish last season: 1st
Points: 100

Manchester City were a joy to watch last season. They were head and shoulders above everyone else in the Premier League as they scored 106 goals and broke the 100 point total.

I cannot see City replicating their goals and point totals from last season, but if Guardiola can get 90% of what he got from the team last season, that will be enough to win the title again/

Biggest signing and biggest loss: It’s hard to think that there was too much missing from Manchester City’s record breaking title-winning season but Riyad Mahrez will add an extra attacking threat. His individual skill and ability to go either way to beat a man will give an extra dimension to an already destructive forward line.

Pep Guardiola held on to his all players but allowed Yaya Toure to leave at the end of the season when his contract expired. The Ivorian midfielder, 35, wasn’t able to recreate his incredible form from his previous seasons but he was hugely popular member of the squad and will be missed.

Key man:
Kevin De Bruyne has got better with each season at City and this could even be the year when he pushes for the Ballon d’Or. His passing and vision is better than almost anyone in the world and he has the maturity to push City on to a greater things in Europe.

Predicted finish: Champions
City remain the team to beat and while their other rivals have strengthened, Guardiola has a settled, hungry and exciting squad. Their fearless desire to try to win every game heaps the pressure on rivals and while another 100 points is extremely unlikely, it will likely take a huge points total to finish above them.

MAN UNITED

Finish last season: 2nd
Points behind champions: 19

It is easy to overlook the fact that Mourinho led United to a second place finish last season. But after a disastrous pre-season tour of America, and a poor transfer window, United fans are going into the new season with a sense of dread, not optimism. Especially since bitter rivals Liverpool and Manchester City have better teams and stronger squads.

Biggest signing and biggest loss:
As it stands, Fred is the only signing Jose Mourinho has made this summer who is expected to walk straight into the team. Daley Blind is the biggest name to depart but after a season on the sidelines he will not be missed.

Key man: Paul Pogba
If he can do for United what he did for France at the World Cup, United will look like a completely different team. Mourinho needs key players to improve to make up the ground on City and Pogba will be top of that list.
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Predicted finish: Third
Ed Woodward’s inability to strengthen United this season will allow Liverpool to overtake United in the table.

United are more likely to be in battle with Arsenal and Spurs for the last two Champions League places than they are to be challenging City for the title.

TOTTENHAM

Finish last season: 3rd
Points behind champions: 23

Tottenham move into their new stadium this season and they have some of the best young English talent in the game.

Daniel Levy was able to ward off Real Madrid’s advances for Mauricio Pochettino while locking down some of their biggest stars to new long-term deals.

But in an offseason where their rivals have gotten stronger, has Levy done enough to give Pochettino a chance to win a trophy this season?

Biggest signing and biggest loss:
Spurs are the only Premier League club not to buy or sell any senior players this summer. That is simply not good enough.

Key man: Harry Kane. While Spurs can cope without their star striker for a spell if necessary, he remains a goal machine capa
ble of deciding tight matches. Kane has improved his Premier League tally in every season so he will now be targeting more than 30 top-flight strikes. If he succeeds, Tottenham will probably be close to achieving their collective ambitions too.

Predicted finish:
Fifth. Spurs needed to bring in new players who have experienced winning and Daniel Levy failed to do that.

Winning a cup will do wonders for Tottenham, but at the end of the season when they miss out on Champions League football, they will rue their inactivity in the transfer market this summer.

LIVERPOOL

Finish last season: 4th
Points behind champions: 25

Merseyside is a buzz with anticipation that this is the year that Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool finally lift the Premier League title.

With the most expensive goalkeeper in the world and the most expensive center-half to go with one of the best attacking trio’s in world football it is easy to see why Liverpool fans are so giddy about the upcoming season.

Biggest signing and biggest loss:
Liverpool believe they have finally fixed their lingering goalkeeping issues with the £65 million signing of Alisson from Roma. There are no doubts about Liverpool’s quality in the final third, but the errors at the other end of the pitch have, at times, undermined that brilliance. Liverpool haven’t lost a key player in the transfer market this window, but the possibility of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain missing the entire season as he recovers from a serious knee injury is a huge blow.

Key man:
It’s a tough ask for Mohamed Salah to improve on his 32 goals last year, which set a record for the most scored in a single Premier League campaign. But the Egyptian is the beacon for Liverpool’s frontline. Early indications so far this preseason would suggest he’s fully over his shoulder injury and not lost his scoring touch.

Predicted finish: 2nd
Liverpool finished 25 points behind City last season. I just cannot see how they can claw that many points back in one season.

Still I expect Jurgen Klopp’s side to push City al the way this season, but ultimately come up a little short at the end.

CHELSEA

Finish last season: 5th
Points behind champions: 30
Poins behind 4th place side: 5

It’s been a tumultuous summer at Stamford Bridge, with Antonio Conte starting pre-season training before being replaced by Maurizio Sarri. Add in that stars Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard both want to move to Real Madrid and a lack of transfer activity and it is clear that Sarri has a major job on his hands this summer.

Biggest signing and biggest loss:
Jorginho is Chelsea’s only high-profile acquisition this summer and he already looks like a transformative one, leading the implementation of Maurizio Sarri’s philosophy in terms of passing and pressing.

Chelsea need more quality throughout the line-up and they have been shockingly missing from the transfer market this summer.

Chelsea haven’t lost anyone significant yet, but with Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard both interesting Real Madrid, there is still time for a damaging blow.

Key man:
Jorginho is most important for Sarri’s philosophy but Hazard remains Chelsea’s most talented attacking player by a distance, and their most consistent match-winner. There is plenty of reason to think he could thrive in his new head coach’s more expansive system, so it is vital that he is retained.

Predicted finish: Sixth
While Chelsea cannot afford financially to miss out on Champions League football for the third time in the last four years I cannot see how they improve over last season.

For Sarri to keep his job, he will have to win the Europa League and get into the Champions League via that route.

Chelsea will be exciting to watch this season, but Sarri needs better players in order to play his brand of football, and the club are not getting them for him.

ARSENAL

Finish last season: 6th
Points behind champions: 37
Poins behind 4th place side: 12

For the first time Arsenal will kick off a Premier League season with someone other than Arsene Wenger at the helm as Unai Emery comes over from PSG.

Biggest signing and biggest loss:
Of Arsenal’s five signings, Lucas Torreira should have the biggest impact at the heart of the team’s midfield. An effective holding midfielder was the squad’s biggest need and the Gunners are hoping the Uruguay international can give the team’s back four some much-needed help. Jack Wilshere is the most prominent player to leave the club which is a major loss for fans, who adore him, but may not have massive impact on the pitch as he was set to be a back-up under Unai Emery.

Key Player:
Arsenal need Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to continue his prolific scoring form if they are to have any chance of challenging their top six rivals. Defence is a bigger worry than attack overall, but the Gabon striker is still a difference maker who could challenge Kane for the Premier League’s golden boot.

Predicted finish: 4th
Arsenal’s main goal is to get back in the top four of the Premier League and secure a return to the Champions League.

It would be unrealistic to expect this team to fight for the title in their first season under Emery. Arsenal finished 37 points behind Manchester City last season.

But I expect Emery to make the Europa League a real priority in order to deliver a top trophy right away and for the Gunners to compete for fourth place and ultimately finish above North London rivals Spurs.