Liverpool FC: Christmas Crack Me Up Challenge
We’re now counting down the days until the 2018/19 Premier League season beings – and I cannot wait for the action to get underway!
I’ve given my predictions for the top ten in the order I believe they will finish next spring and which three sides I feel will be relegated at the end of the season.
City might not dominate the division in the same way as they did last term, but I still feel they will make a successful defence of their crown. The champions finished nineteen points ahead of the opposition last season and it will be difficult for the others to bridge that gap although I will be surprised if they maintain that domination this term.
I am convinced that Jurgen Klopp’s progressive side are the biggest danger to City this season and I feel they will give Pep Guardiola’s side a real run for their money. The Reds look to have improved in a number of key areas this season and the signing of Brazilian keeper Alisson could be the last piece in the jigsaw.
Spurs move into a “new” 62,000-seater stadium this season but I know a number of fans have been left felt frustrated at the lack of new signings this summer. Mauricio Pochettino will not want to lose Toby Alderweireld – who is reported to be a Manchester United transfer target – but they have quality in all departments and can maintain their place in the top four.
It has been a difficult summer for Jose Mourinho and all United fans despite the signing of Fred although the Old Trafford boss remains optimistic of at least one more major signing before the close of the window.
The Red Devils finished runners up last season, but I don’t think they will emerge as realistic title contenders or neighbours City’s biggest challengers for the title this season. This is a potentially defining season for United’s big players Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez and, indeed, for manager Jose Mourinho.
Former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte won the Premier League and FA Cup in the last couple of seasons at Stamford Bridge and this could be a transitional season for the West London outfit.
— Kristof Terreur 📰 (@HLNinEngeland) August 5, 2018
New boss Maurizio Sarri will need time, but he has inherited a very good squad although several of the title winning team are looking at potential moves away from West London. Keeping his best players will be his biggest challenge in the next week and I don’t see the Blues making a return to the Champions League via the Premier League this season.
Arsenal start life without Arsene Wenger and I feel Unai Emery will also need time as he tries to get the Gunners back into the Champions League. I’m not convinced they have the squad to make a top-four challenge, but they will pick up plenty of points at the Emirates although they must show they have the defensive capabilities to compete with the best on the road.
Everyone I have spoken to about Marco Silva has been full of praise for the new Everton manager and I think the Blues will win the division without the “Big Six” this term.
The Blues have struggled for goals in pre-season – save their opening 22-0 success in Austria- but they have had to do without Theo Walcott and Evertonians will be looking forward to seeing their likely front three of Theo Walcott, Cenk Tosun and Richarlison.
At the time of writing Leicester boss Claude Puel is confident that the Foxes will keep hold of Harry Maguire and he is crucial to the chances of the East Midlands outfit maintaining their place in the top ten
I’ve been impressed with the signings of Manuel Pellegrini and the backing he has received from the West Ham board this summer and I feel they will return to the top half of the league this term.
The Irons will want to keep Jack Wilshere off the treatment table and they need to turn the London Stadium into a fortress. They face a difficult opener at Anfield, but the game will tell us plenty about how far Pellegrini’s squad can go this season.
Having sold Alexander Mitrovic to Fulham for a fee reported to be in excess of £20m I am slightly surprised that Rafa Benitez does not have a replacement already through the door at St James’s Park although West Brom’s 29-year-old striker Salomon Rondon has been strongly linked to the club.
This is a big week for the club ahead of the visit of Spurs on the opening weekend, but I feel the Magpies can maintain their place in the top half of the division with the Toon Army having their part to play.
I feel Wolves are the best equipped of the newly-promoted sides to make their mark in the Premier League. Indeed it would be no surprise if they finished in the top half of the division, but I am less optimistic about the prospects of both Cardiff and Fulham and expect both sides to struggle to make much of an impact on their return to the Premier League.
Huddersfield only picked up 13 points in 2018 in the PL and I think they will continue to struggle in the new season.
Cardiff/Huddersfield and Fulham are my relegation trio 16/1