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Premier League Club-by-Club Preview 2022/23

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OK, so apologies for the delay to this being released. I know the Championship one went down well so I was keen to release all of the teams in one fell swoop. Unfortunately, I suffered a nasty injury in football on Monday night that resulted in my finger being dislocated and the dislocated bone severing the skin and poking out. Lovely stuff. Anyway, 48 hours later and a wonderful bit of reconstructive surgery by the medical team at Swansea Morriston Hospital (one of the only times I'll be thankful for Swansea! :lol) and I am back home, one-handed, and back on the content production! So even though I haven't quite been able to complete the club-by-club preview completely, I'm still able to release it in two parts. I'll dedicate a post per team like the Championship preview but I'll do the teams I am predicting to finish 20th to 11th first and then release the second part hopefully tomorrow when I've completed it. I hope you enjoy! :ok

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OK, so the first team up on my preview and the team I have down as finishing bottom of the Premier League at the end of the 2022/23 season isn’t exactly a surprise but I’ve gone for Bournemouth. The Cherries didn’t exactly win many friends in the Championship last season by appointing the antagonistic Scott Parker as gaffer, splashing the cash in an attempt to buy promotion, and behaving in an aggressive way on the pitch to a degree where even their own fans were criticising their approach.

Still, the south coast side did what needed to be done. The 29 league goals scored by striker Dominic Solanke helped but it was an all-round effort from a team that limited the departures after relegation from the top flight and added the quality and experience needed at this level to finish in the top two. Promotion in second place was sealed at the death and the team was once again eating at the top table.

Parker knows what is needed to survive in the Premier League after failing to do exactly that as Fulham manager back in 2021. He now has a second attempt to succeed as Bournemouth manager. He has decided to avoid doing what he did at Fulham where he spent millions on revamping the squad to try and compete in the top division. Instead, he’s largely keeping faith with the players that got him promoted. The only additions so far have been full back Ryan Fredericks from West Ham and central midfielder Joe Rothwell from Blackburn. Not exactly stellar signings but maybe consistency is what Bournemouth need. I can see what Parker is doing but sadly I just don’t think what he has is good enough for this level and it could be a long and trying season for the Dorset-based club.

Final Position: 20th

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A slightly controversial one coming in next with last season’s relegation escape artists Leeds being my pick for finishing just one spot off the bottom. I mean, we can look at a number of factors as to why I think this and it goes beyond just simply seeing the departures of Kalvin Phillips to Manchester City and Raphinha to Barcelona (again, how are the Spanish outfit still signing players for this sort of money?!). Head coach Jesse Marsch has already moved to replace those star players with the signings of Tyler Adams from RB Leipzig and Brenden Aaronson from RB Salzburg. They may well both be players that Marsch is familiar with but do they have what it takes to cut it in the Premier League? You have to say even the most optimistic of Leeds fans will feel this is a double downgrade.

Those two are not the only new arrivals at the club though. Right back Rasmus Kristensen from RB Salzburg, central midfielder Marc Roca from Bayern Munich, and winger Luis Sinisterra from Feyenoord are all noteworthy additions. The last of those is another player who could fill the void left by the creative Raphinha. Unfortunately, they are all big gamble signings. It’s perhaps a damning indictment of an American head coach who himself is short on experience of the top division in English football. Marsch has a 33.33% win ratio with the Whites so far and that’s before he lost the club’s two biggest stars.

This remains a Leeds team that is very much still part of the Marcelo Bielsa era. Question marks remain over the reliability of goalkeeper Illhan Meslier, the defence has hardly been improved despite conceding 79 goals last season, the midfield has lost its two best players with the replacements being untried at this level, and no striker has been signed even though Rodrigo has shown he’s far from prolific, Patrick Bamford is injury prone, and Tyler Roberts has been shipped out on loan to QPR. How are Leeds going to stop conceding so many goals? How quickly can the new-look midfield adapt to life in the Premier League? Where are the goals going to come from? How does all this function within Marsch’s new approach? It’s a lot. It’s probably too much. The Leeds fans are nervous and I can totally see why. Looking at their opening batch of fixtures they need to start well otherwise it’s going to be very difficult.

Final Position: 19th

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Nottingham Forest

It’s another newly promoted team that takes up the third and final relegation spot in the Premier League this season as I put Nottingham Forest to go straight back down into the Championship. Apologies, @yossa6133! I hope I am wrong! Got a lot of time for the Tricky Trees… even though Steve Cooper does irritate the hell out of me… and that’s got nothing to do with him being a former Swansea manager!

Forest earning promotion was undoubtedly the big shock of last season with the East Midlands team only earning 1 point from their opening 7 league games last season and sitting bottom of the table when Cooper was appointed. Promotion via the play-offs after narrowly missing out on automatic promotion was the fairytale ending but the real challenge now lies ahead. The squad from last season was nowhere near strong enough or ready for a top flight survival fight so it’s understandable why Cooper has moved to bring in 13 new players and allegedly spending in excess of £100 million during the process. Taiwo Awoniyi, Neco Williams, Orel Mangala, Moussa Niakhate, Giulian Biancone, Omar Richards, Lewis O’Brien, Harry Toffolo, Brandon Aguilera, Jesse Lingard, and Dean Henderson are just a selection of the new faces brought in. They are players that strengthen the squad across the pitch but it does have a feel of Fulham back in 2018/19 when they re-invented the squad with hundreds of millions of pounds but still went down.

I would love nothing more than to see Nottingham Forest back in the Premier League as an established club but it’s a big ask. The team took a lot of people by surprise by succeeding in earning promotion last season and with the likes of a few familiar faces such as Brice Samba, Lewis Grabban, James Garner, Djed Spence, and Max Lowe either departing on a transfer or returning to their parent club after a loan spell it feels like this is an entirely new start for Cooper and the squad. Is it all just too much in one fell swoop? I think if any manager out there can get this new look team gelled and functioning quickly from day one it’s Cooper but I’m just not sure they’ll do it.

Final Position: 18th

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The next few places in this Premier League prediction table were tough to decide. I did um and ah about putting Brentford in the bottom three and I do think they could be in for a major case of the second season syndrome. If we’re being brutally honest then the main reason they survived a second half of the season slump in form and avoided relegation was due to the free transfer signing of Christian Eriksen. The Danish international’s return to professional football was an iconic and emotional moment after his cardiac arrest at the 2020 European Championship in the previous summer but he’s since left the West London club and signed on for Manchester United.

Head coach Thomas Frank knows what his team is capable of. They began last season like a team that felt at home in the top flight of English football but as the season wore on so did their self-belief and performance levels. An Eriksen-inspired resurgence in the final 11 league games of the season that saw them win 7 of those matches kept them up. There are a number of problems Frank will want to resolve ahead of this new campaign though. Top scorer Ivan Toney didn’t hit the back of the opposition net after 10th April drawing a blank in the last 6 league games. Hull’s top scorer Keane Lewis-Potter has been signed to try and help ease the scoring pressure on Toney but he’s untried and untested at this level. The defence earned 4 clean sheets in their last 10 league matches last season but Frank clearly wants more depth in that area. Left back Aaron Hickey has been brought in from Bologna and centre back Ben Mee has signed from relegated Burnley. The arrival of former Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha is also a shrewd signing.

Besides the loss of Eriksen, Brentford have managed to keep hold of the core of their squad from last season. The consistent performers of Pontus Jansson, Christian Norgaard, and Bryan Mbeumo have all been retained. It’ll be interesting to see if Yoane Wissa gets utilised more after bagging 7 league goals last season despite generally playing a rotation role. I still feel that Brentford have that full season of Premier League football under their belts now so that will bring its positives. However, I do feel that it was Eriksen who saved them last year and after his exit the new signings won’t make up for his loss. It’ll be close and I’m still not entirely comfortable with backing them to finish outside the bottom three but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

Final Position: 17th

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Up next is another team that a lot of you could place anywhere between 20th and 10th based on what I’ve read from different fans and pundits over the past few weeks. I’m putting Fulham down to survive and there’s a number of factors that have led me to that conclusion. Firstly, head coach Marco Silva has slowly built a very decent squad over the past year and a bit at the West London club. Even though they stormed to the Championship title last season they have still seemingly gone under the radar with their squad evolution. Secondly, in Aleksandar Mitrovic they have a striker who has the potential to get 10-15 goals. He broke all Championship scoring records last season and I feel this will be the year he learns from his previous experiences in the top flight and begins to convert his chances at the highest level. Thirdly, their summer transfer activity has been subtle and clinical.

Silva has clearly been working out what he needs to improve his squad over the past 4-6 months. The arrival of central midfielder Joao Palhinha from Sporting CP could prove to be a brilliant bit of business for £18 million. Right back Kevin Mbabu coming in from Wolfsburg will negate the loss of Neco Williams. Andreas Pereira arriving from Manchester United also has the potential to be a stroke of genius.

When you take those additions and realise that Fulham haven’t really lost any big names from their squad, with the exception of the anticipated exit of Fabio Carvalho to Liverpool, that cruised to the second tier title last season then you begin to see that maybe they have all the ingredients needed to make a solid fist of it this time around. It seems like Fulham as a club, Silva himself, and Mitrovic are all keen to show they have learned from their previous failings at this level. It could go down to the final weekend of action but I think Fulham have got what is needed to stay up this time around.

Final Position: 16th

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OK, things start to get a little more surprising and controversial as we enter the mid-table region of the Premier League. Are these upcoming teams all much of a muchness? I could certainly have fiddled around with these placings for the next few weeks and still remained unsure about my decision. It’s Wolves who are the next team on my list and if ever there was a team sleepwalking into a Premier League campaign, then it’s Wanderers.

The Black Country team ended the season in a satisfactory 10th place last season but it was a disappointment given the positive start head coach Bruno Lage enjoyed to his time at the club. For a brief stint, it looked like Wolves had the potential to gate crash the Champions League qualification spots as we entered 2022 but as the season went on not only did those hopes fade but dreams of European competition this season evaporated entirely. The team failed to win any of their last 7 league games and it left the fans demanding fresh blood and more squad depth. What has been Lage’s answer to those calls? Signing just two players. One being centre back Nathan Collins from relegated Burnley and the other being forward Hee-chan Hwang who has turned his loan move from RB Leipzig into a permanent deal. In addition to this, Lage has also loaned out highly rated youth talents Ryan Giles and Fabio Silva arguably leaving the squad in a weaker place this season than it was last season.

Yes, Wolves still have a squad packed with quality including the likes of Willy Boly, Connor Coady, Ruben Neves, and Raul Jimenez. The end of last season showed these players are not the forces they were 2-3 years ago. Yes, a number of players loaned out last season have returned and could be a part of Lage’s plans such as Adama Traore, Leo Bonatini, and Patrick Cutrone but it’s doubtful they’ll have any real impact even if they’re not loaned out again before the transfer deadline. It just all feels very apathetic with this club right now. I have a mate who is a Wolves fans and he’s gravely concerned. It’s clear that club owners Fosun International are reluctant to heavily invest and it could prove a massive mistake.

Final Position: 15th

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I have seen a number of people tipping Everton as a team that could go down but I saw glimmers of hope at the end of last season as Frank Lampard somehow turned their fortunes around to keep them up. Firstly, I want to say, I actually like Lampard as a person. He seems like a genuine bloke who has the right approach to things. I even think one day he’ll make a successful manager. I do feel he’s gone into management too high, too soon. It certainly feels he’s out of his depth in the Premier League. There’s no doubt he’s clearly a cracking youth development coach and he nurtures young talent well but I think he struggles to get the best out of the big talents.

The Toffees finished in 16th position last season but had they not only lost 3 of their last 9 league games it could’ve been a lot worse. The team did only win 1 of their last 4 league games mind so it could also have been better! How have the Everton owners decided to address the fact the team narrowly avoided relegation last season? Well, they’ve sold star player Richarlison to Tottenham for £60 million and brought in two players from relegated Burnley in the form of centre back James Tarkowski and midfielder Dwight McNeil. Not terrible signings, I should add, but it does smack of a feeling that long gone are the days of heavy spending from Everton. Until the new stadium is paid for anyway! Left back Ruben Vinagre has joined on loan from Wolves as well but is he the answer to their full back issues? I’m not convinced.

Everton face a pivotal season. Last season was a major warning sign that if they don’t prepare for a season effectively and take Premier League football for granted then it could all be taken away so easily. I do think they’ll survive this season but it’ll be another season of discontent on the blue half of Merseyside. The new stadium is just around the corner and staying in the Premier League is crucial to that being a successful move. If Lampard can get the fans behind the team at home like he did for the run-in last season then there’s no reason Everton can’t improve on last season. They still boast the likes of Jordan Pickford, Ben Godfrey, Allan, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Anthony Gordon, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin so the talent is there. They do need those players fit and available though because the team’s squad depth isn’t the best.

Final Position: 14th

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One team that constantly end up being an enigma wrapped up in a puzzle inside a mystery is Southampton. Every season they go through spells where they look unbeatable and could break into the European qualification spots but then they also have periods where they are dreadful and look like relegation fodder. Which Southampton will we see more of this season? Who will they concede 9 goals against this time? How many free-kicks will James Ward-Prowse score? We all love a bit of Southampton bingo don’t we!

The key factor is that Southampton have a very capable head coach in Ralph Hasenhuttl. The former RB Leipzig gaffer has generally done a great job of turning the Saints into a solid Premier League club but there is a feeling that the time is coming for the fans to want more. Hasenhuttl has been busy fine-tuning his squad in all fairness. The departure of keeper Fraser Forster was countered by the shrewd signing of Republic of Ireland international stopper Gavin Bazunu for £12 million from Manchester City. Other additions include striker Sekou Mara from Bordeaux for £11.7 million, midfielder Romeo Lavia from Manchester City for £11 million, centre back Armel Bella-Kotchap from VfL Bochum for £9 million, and central midfielder Joe Aribo from Rangers for £6.3 million. All of those arrivals, except for Aribo, are aged 20 years or under so Hasenhuttl is certainly investing in the future whilst also improving the squad depth.

I remain concerned that Southampton haven’t added any real star names to their squad but they still boast some very talented players including Ward-Prowse, Oriol Romeu, Stuart Armstrong, Tino Livramento, and Moussa Djenepo. Hasenhuttl is also a master of his craft and he’ll ensure Southampton don’t go down but they need to establish some more consistency in their performances and results. Hopefully, the improved squad depth will do that.

Final Position: 13th

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Aston Villa

The mid-table mediocrity continues in my predictions with Aston Villa next up in my table. The team is showing a general evolution under head coach Steve Gerrard and even though it’s a long process you feel that Gerrard’s work behind the scenes is as much evidence of this sweeping change as the displays on the pitch. The Lions finished in 14th position last season and it was a lack of consistency that seemed to be their biggest downfall. It’s fair to say that as Gerrard enjoys a full pre-season with his team and becomes more familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of his squad that a more consistent level of results will come this season.

Transfer activity has been more about quality over quantity. It was clear Gerrard wanted to make the permanent signing of Philippe Coutinho a priority. That deal got done early doors and Gerrard has also moved to strengthen his defence with the £27.9 million signing of Sevilla centre back Diego Carlos which could prove a vital addition to the squad. The free transfer arrival of former Marseille versatile defensive midfielder Boubacar Kamara is also a transfer that’s gone under the radar. The 22 year old has a number of international caps for the France national team to his name as well as age on his side. Villa have also turned the loan signing of goalkeeper Robin Olsen into a permanent signing from Roma. The double sale of Matt Target to Newcastle and Trezeguet to Trabzonspor for a total of close to £20 million will cover a large percentage of the summer spend. The club have also seen a number of fringe players move on either a free or loan including Conor Hourihane, Lovre Kalinic, Wesley, and Jaden Philogene-Bidace.

I still feel Gerrard has a lot of work to do with Aston Villa. The signings of young Scottish prospects Rory Wilson and Ewan Simpson from Rangers and Hearts respectively shows that Gerrard is planning for the future. His appointment of former Blackpool gaffer Neil Critchley as assistant head coach alongside Gary McAllister shows he’s going through the club with a fine tooth comb and making changes throughout. The bottom line is that this Villa team is still limited. There is enough talent and goals in this team to ensure they finish mid-table and maybe with one or more quality additions they could look to push on towards the European qualification places but they’re not there yet. They should improve on last season and I don’t think their fans or Gerrard will mind that at all.

Final Position: 12th

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One team that could prove to be a bit of a wild card this season are Brighton. The Sussex-based team have established themselves as a mid-table side in the Premier League under head coach Graham Potter but it seems they suffer from the same issues every season. Last year, it appeared that the Seagulls had addressed the problem of failing to take their chances as they started the season with 4 wins from their opening 5 league games. However, history repeated itself as the team’s play in the final third once again suffered from impotency. It ended with Albion finishing in 9th place and not being able to realise their dream of qualifying for European competition through the league.

How has Potter looked to address this perennial issue during the off-season? Well, it’s hard to tell. The signing of 18 year old Paraguayan forward Julio Enciso from Libertad for £10.4 million is one that can only be described as a big gamble. It’s a lot of investment in a player so young with no experience of the Premier League and hardly any experience of senior football. You’d like to think that the Brighton recruitment team have done their research. As a second striker, it looks like he’ll be used to offer some support up top for Neal Maupay but will it work? The team will need to address the loss of key central midfielder Yves Bissouma to Tottenham for £26 million which it doesn’t look like they have so far. The only other arrival has been left winger Simon Adingra from FC Nordsjaelland for £7 million.

Overall, I can’t really see how Brighton’s transfer business this summer has improved their squad. There is no doubt in my mind that in Potter they boast one of the best tacticians in the top flight. The team is still punching above its weight when you look at the personnel that make up the playing squad. Full back Marc Cucurella is likely to leave the club before transfer deadline day and after the team lost influential centre back Dan Burn to Newcastle last season it feels like the squad is weaker this season than last time around. I see a fair few people tipping Brighton to finish top 10 again this season but I’m not sure I can see it.

Final Position: 11th

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Big ask for all the promoted clubs, including us! But we obviously mean business judging on the money we've spent. Lingard looks a brilliant signing and just the type of player we needed, if he does well then maybe we can stay up.

I can see Fulham finishing bottom, I don't really rate the manager and they seem to have some real weaknesses, Ream was just about ok for the Championship but he's not up to the Premier League and Robinson is just bad. Surprised they let Seri go, was one of their most important players.

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“Adapt or die!”… those are the three immortal words uttered by Brad Pitt’s character Billy Beane in the 2011 movie Moneyball. It’s also a phrase that could prove relevant to Leicester this season if the rumours of their big-name departures end up coming true. Keeper Peter Schmeichel has joined French Ligue 1 side Nice, Wesley Fofana has been linked with a move to Chelsea, and James Maddison is being head hunted by Newcastle. Last season showed that the Foxes struggle if they are without certain key players and if two or more such players leave the club so late in this summer transfer window then you have to question how effectively they can replace them and the detrimental impact it will have on the squad.

In fairness, Leicester still boast a decent squad outside of those three star players with the likes of Jamie Vardy, Patson Daka, Caglar Soyuncu, Ricardo Pereira, Harvey Barnes, Youri Tielemans, and Kelechi Iheanacho all big players for this level. Brendan Rodgers himself is also one of the most highly rated head coaches in the British game right now. There is this nagging sense that his time at Leicester is on the down turn now though. Last season saw the squad suffer an injury-plagued campaign but still finish 8th in the table. Keeping the first team players fit will be even more critical this season if certain player exits materialise.

I’ve seen a few people stating their concern for Leicester this season but Rodgers is still a reliable pair of hands at the wheel of the ship. The midfield remains a strong area and if he can strengthen with 2-3 new faces before the end of the month then this prediction could prove a little harsh. However, there is also the worry that Leicester lose those important first team players and don’t find adequate replacements leaving them short until at least January. That could be a problem. It’s probably not dramatic to say that the next 2-3 weeks of transfer business could define Leicester’s season. I’m worried that there’s a risk that things are going stale under Rodgers. He’s 8.50 with William Hill to be the first Premier League manager sacked this season. Not bad odds at all.

Final Position: 10th

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Crystal Palace

If there was one team that impressed and surprised me last season then it was Crystal Palace. I don’t want to lash myself too much but I didn’t exactly have the highest of hopes for the Eagles last season under Patrick Vieira but, as it turns out, the Frenchman managed to communicate his philosophy and bring in the necessary players to transfer it onto the pitch over the course of the campaign. It didn’t happen overnight with the team winning just 1 of their opening 9 league games but with the team ending the season in 12th position and losing just 1 of their final 6 league games it’s clear that Vieira’s approach started to pay off. The big question now is whether or not the club can make progress from the foundations put in place during last season.

It's a big blow for Vieira that key central midfielder Conor Gallagher won’t be returning to the club on loan from Chelsea this season. The England under-21 international won huge plaudits for his displays last season and he’ll be a massive miss this season. However, Vieira has moved quickly to strengthen that central midfield area with the £20 million signing of Mali international Cheick Doucoure from Lens. Centre back Chris Richards, keeper Sam Johnstone, and winger Malcolm Ebiowei have also been drafted in by Palace. The fact these players have come in and no players of real note belonging to Palace have left suggests that Vieira is keen to build on last season’s first step of revolution.

This could be a big season for Crystal Palace. I was not only amazed that Vieira managed to do so well last season but the way his team played was pleasing on the eye. The players he signed last season both on permanent deals and through the loan market had an immediate impact. He also knew how to get the best out of his creative stars such as Wilfried Zaha, Odsonne Edouard, and Michael Olise. I feel Vieira is creating a solid environment at Palace and they are only 2-3 signings away from becoming a team that could push on and make a real go of qualifying for Europe this season. Their run to the FA Cup Semi-Finals last season proved they are heading in the right direction and very close to achieving a level that the fans probably didn’t think was possible just a couple of seasons ago.

Final Position: 9th

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West Ham

Undoubtedly, one of the biggest over-achievers last season was West Ham with the David Moyes revolution not slowing down as the club finished in 7th position and secured European football once again. The Hammers are finally starting to fulfil their potential and a lot of the credit for that goes to Moyes for the way he has built this team back up from the root. Last season still has a feeling of what could have been if centre back Angelo Ogbonna hadn’t suffered a long-term injury and the loan signing of Jesse Lingard had been made permanent. The break through of Jarrod Bowen and consistent displays from Declan Rice were highlights though.

Moyes has been keen to simply tweak his squad during the summer with no real need for an overhaul of changes. The only noteworthy departures from the club have been Andriy Yarmolenko, Ryan Fredericks, and Mark Noble. The elephant in the room has been the need to bring in more strength up top so that all the responsibility is so much on Michail Antonio to score the goals this season. The fact the Jamaican international only scored 3 goals in the league in 2022 and that the team relied on Bowen’s clinical finishing to see them through emphasises the problem. The club have moved to sign highly-rated Sassuolo striker Gianluca Scamacca for a reported £32 million in an effort to address the striker issue. Moyes was also keen to avoid a potential repeat of the centre back problem from last season with the signing of Moroccan centre back Nayef Aguerd from Stade Rennais for £31 million. Central midfielder Flynn Downes being snapped up from Swansea and goalkeeper Alphonse Areola joining from PSG are the other two very shrewd additions to the squad that will only strengthen the depth in the team.

I’m really pleased to see Moyes doing a good job at West Ham. I have a soft spot for him as a manager but also the fans of the club. He’s doing exactly the same in East London that he did in Merseyside with Everton. If he’s given time and full control then this is what happens. I am expecting West Ham to repeat their performances of the last couple of seasons. They have retained the star names in the team and only added more quality. Is Scamacca the answer? Is he the next Paolo Di Canio? Or will he be just another Simone Zaza? I think even if he can contribute half a dozen goals in his first season then that could be the difference between West Ham qualifying for Europe and being mid-table mediocrity. This is a team crying out for an instinctive finisher so Scamacca could well benefit from the service this creative midfield will provide.

Final Position: 8th

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The only reason I don’t think West Ham will finish as high as last season is because there is another revolution growing nearly 300 miles north of the capital city in Newcastle. The Magpies have benefited from the controversial takeover by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund. I’ll avoid being drawn into the morality of this all and just focus on the bare facts of what this financial backing will mean for the team in the Premier League. The appointment of Eddie Howe to replace Steve Bruce had an immediate impact last season with the team seemingly destined to go down somehow finishing the season in 11th place after a change of playing style and some clever signings in January by Howe. There is no doubt now that the owners will want to see Howe starting to move the club up the table. It’s clearly too early to consider a title challenge or even a Champions League qualification push but you have to feel that the owners will be demanding a fight for European qualification to some degree this season.

Given the vast sums of money allegedly at their disposal, Newcastle have been relatively quiet in the transfer market this summer. Admittedly, the signings in January have been doing the business with central midfielder Bruno Guimaraes from Lyon for £33 million being a particular game changing addition. This summer has seen Howe add left back Matt Targett from Aston Villa for £15 million, keeper Nick Pope from Burnley for £10 million, and centre back Sven Botman from Lille for £35 million. It seems that the club is following the gradual evolutionary approach to building a dominant squad similar to that adopted by Manchester City over the past 12 years rather than the throwing vast sums of money at new signings to overhaul squad approach a la Chelsea under Roman Abramovich in the early 2000s. The only outgoings have been loan transfers of fringe players so the squad is certainly stronger this season than last season.

I will admit that I wasn’t sure if appointing Howe was a wise move by Newcastle at the time. He’d notoriously squandered a lot of money at Bournemouth and his time there seemed to go awry when he received financial backing. It does appear that the 44-year old Englishman has learned from his mistakes last time around. The signings this time have more thought and consideration behind them. He is not spending for the sake of spending. He’s also taking into account the impact new signings will have on the overall squad morale too. It’s very astute squad building from Howe and I have to confess that he’s probably been an excellent appointment for Newcastle so far. I think if they can add one or two more signings before the transfer deadline then there’s no reason Newcastle can’t be involved in the Europa League qualification conversation come May. At the very least, they’ll be aiming to reach Europe in some form this season. It’s another step in the right direction for the club… and I do say that with gritted teeth because I hate everything about this ownership!

Final Position: 7th

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Manchester United

Up next, it’s the club that never seems to learn its lessons! Everybody’s favourite team to hate. It’s Manchester United! Yes, I was one of those kids in class surrounded by plastic Manchester United supporters growing up as I continued my self-harming love affair with my hometown team Cardiff. Class mates arrogantly boasting about their team winning yet another Premier League title as the team I supported got hammered 5-0 by Maidstone at home in the fourth tier of the football league system. So, I’ve always partaken in some classic Schadenfreude in recent years with the iconic football club going through such tough times. It’s beginning to feel a little weird enjoying their constant under-achievement though.

Erik ten Hag is the latest man given the chance to get the Red Devils back to the top of the Premier League but the same old problems have already started to become evident. Despite being told he would have complete control of management decisions at the club, ten Hag is already sending conflicting messages to the owners in press conferences regarding the future of Cristiano Ronaldo so you get the impression not everything is smooth behind the scenes. The former Ajax head coach is doing his best to turn around the oil tanker that is United. A lot of deadwood and fringe players have moved on including Dean Henderson, Edinson Cavani, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba, and Andreas Pereira. In an effort to inject some new blood into the squad, ten Hag has brought in a number of new faces including centre back Lisandro Martinez from Ajax for £51 million, left back Tyrell Malacia from Feyenoord for £13.5 million, and attacking midfielder Christian Eriksen on a free from Brentford. The squad definitely needs more quality added though with particular attention needed in the wide areas.

You look at this Manchester United squad and see the talent that flows throughout the team. The likes of David De Gea, Raphael Varane, Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial, and Jadon Sancho alongside the new additions and there’s the crux of a squad that ten Hag can work with. Unfortunately, so much is rotten at United behind the scenes that it’ll take more than one pre-season and a transfer window to fix those problems. If United can have the patience to stick with ten Hag over the next few seasons then they may get back to challenging for the title under his stewardship but right now the team is so far off that reality that I can’t see them finishing in the Champions League qualification spots this season and any finish of 6th or above would be deemed satisfactory.

Final Position: 6th

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If there was one team I had to describe as experiencing a rather odd pre-season then it would be Chelsea. Last season, Thomas Tuchel’s side were being tipped as the team that were most likely to push Manchester City and Liverpool for the Premier League title after their Champions League success in 2020/21. Unfortunately, the Blues still ended up 19 points off the league title pace and the campaign drew to a controversial climax as owner Roman Abramovich was forced to relinquish control of the club to a consortium led by US businessman Todd Boehly. This led to the club being placed under a transfer embargo so dealings have been limited over the summer. Changes to FIFA loan rules over the coming years also mean that the club is having to adapt in the way it handles loaning out players to other clubs.

There have certainly been more players out through the exit door this summer than those coming in through the entrance at Stamford Bridge. A number of big names have departed the club including Romelu Lukaku, Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, and Danny Drinkwater. The club may have seemingly been linked to every single major transfer this summer with the likes of Gabriel Jesus, Raphinha, Richarlison, and Jules Kounde but the reality has been a lot less extravagant. That’s not saying Tuchel hasn’t invested well this summer. The German head coach has opted to go for experience with the signings of Raheem Sterling from Manchester City for £50 million and Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli for £34 million. A number of younger players returning from successful loan spells such as Conor Gallagher, Ethan Ampadu, and Armando Broja also add some much-needed depth and exuberance to the squad. The double signing of 18-year old duo of central midfielder Carney Chukwuemeka from Aston Villa for £16 million and keeper Gabriel Slonina from Chicago Fire for £8 million are also interesting long-term investments. At the time of writing this it’s still not certain what the Marc Cucurella situation is regarding his move from Brighton!

This could be a tricky season for Chelsea to navigate under their new ownership. There’s still a degree of uncertainty about what sort of owners Boehly and his fellow investors will be but the fans seem satisfied with their operations so far. There is obviously an emphasis on giving youth more opportunity and that’s likely motivated by a more restricted budget as well as the change of the loan rules over the coming seasons. Chelsea do still boast a large amount of quality. I still feel they need another defender and the lack of a potent striker is a worry. Will Kai Havertz be utilised as a false nine? Or will Timo Werner be giving a chance to shine up the middle? I don’t think Chelsea are in a stronger position this season than they were last season. Losing Rudiger was a massive blow but Sterling and Koulibaly are outstanding arrivals who will hit the ground running. There’s still time for Chelsea to add even more quality but I just feel right now they are the one team I think are most likely to just miss out on qualification for the Champions League.

Final Position: 5th

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It’s funny how every season there is one team people label a “surprise package” but it can often be one team that so many people claim as being a “surprise package” that they no longer end up being a “surprise package”! This season, that team appears to be Arsenal. For years now, supporters that back Mikel Arteta have stated that fans must “trust the process”. The Spaniard has led the team to the 2019/20 FA Cup and the 2020/21 FA Community Shield but the club has continued to go without the sought-after Champions League qualification that they were regularly involved in under the management of Arsene Wenger. Last season saw the Gunners narrowly miss out on the top four by the narrowest of margins on the final day of league action so there is a general feeling around the club that it’s now or never for Arteta and his staff.

To be fair to Arteta, he’s got the fans talking with his transfer business over the summer. The £47 million signing of striker Gabriel Jesus has been seen as one of the signings of the year in the Premier League and is seen as the exact sort of player Arsenal have been craving since the departure of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Barcelona back in February of this year. Arteta also turned to City for another impressive signing in the form of Oleksandr Zinchenko for £31.5 million. The versatile Ukrainian international is a big coup for the North Londoners and it’ll be interesting to see where Arteta plays him. He’s done a job for City at full back but he’s looked very accomplished across the midfield line for his national team. The more subtle additions of keeper Matt Turner from New England Revolution, winger Marquinhos from Sao Paulo, and attacking midfielder Fabio Vieira from Porto have also added depth to the squad. We then have to also remember that the club have the likes of William Saliba, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, and Reiss Nelson back from loan spells. When you think that the only major player departures have been Alexandre Lacazette and Bernd Leno then you can see why so many are backing Arsenal to finally break back into the top four.

I’ve had a feeling for some time that Arteta has been moving Arsenal in a positive direction but it was obvious it was going to take a number of seasons to get the club back in amongst the elite at the top table. I can see why there is still scepticism around Arsenal this season with a number of weaknesses such as central midfield and central defence still a concern. This is an exciting Arsenal squad though. It has the ideal blend of youth and experience. I think this is the season we see the likes of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe step it up another level. Title contenders? Not yet. Champions League qualifiers? I’d say it’s theirs to lose this season.

Final Position: 4th

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Perhaps quite naively I put Tottenham down as finishing 2nd initially. No doubt that I was probably drunk on a big gallon of Antonio Conte machismo and after reconsideration I’ve decided that a 3rd place finish is more realistic. I will confess that I do have a man crush on the Italian stallion but who can blame me?! The man is a natural born winner. You look at his CV and it’s clear to see why he’s one of the most highly-rated managers in the game right now. At 53 years of age, he’s already won three Serie A titles with Juventus, one Serie A title with Inter Milan, the Premier League title with Chelsea, an FA Cup win with Chelsea, and led Inter Milan to the 2019/20 Europa League Final. None of those teams were exactly in a great place when he took over yet he’s managed to go into those clubs and turn them into trophy winners. Can he do it at Tottenham or will we see a classic “Spursy” thing happen and they bottle it again?

The relationship between Conte and Tottenham owner Daniel Levy has already endured its dodgy period with the two clashing over transfer policy. It almost resulted in Conte walking out on his contract with the club. Fortunately, things were smoothed over and everything appears to be settled… for now. Conte has gone about tweaking this Spurs team knowing that at the end of last season he’d built a team that was going toe-to-toe with the very best in the Premier League including beating Manchester City, drawing with Liverpool, hammering arch rivals Arsenal, and qualifying for the Champions League. Conte has moved to bring in a few players to strengthen what he already has at his disposal in the form of Richarlison from Everton for £52 million, Yves Bissouma from Brighton for £26 million, Djed Spence from Middlesbrough for £13 million, and the duo of Ivan Perisic and Fraser Forster on free transfers. The only exits of note have been Steven Bergwijn to Ajax for £28 million and Joe Rodon to Stade Rennais on loan. I get the impression that there’s still the potential for a number of arrivals and departures at the club before the transfer window closes too.

Maybe it’s my rose-tinted Conte goggles being on but I have enjoyed seeing the way Conte is developing this Tottenham team. The team only lost 1 of their last 11 league games including winning their last 3 league matches in a row. He appears to have strengthened the mentality of the squad and is bringing the best out of players such as Eric Dier, Ben Davies, and Son Heung-min. The arrivals of Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur last season have been very understated but they’ve been crucial to the team’s evolution under Conte. It’ll be interesting to see how they balance Champions League and Premier League football but I’m expecting big things from this Tottenham team under Conte this season.

Final Position: 3rd

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OK, I know. I’m so predictable. Putting the top two as they are but, let’s be honest, they are not only the top two teams in the Premier League but also two of the best teams in the entire world of club football. Liverpool might not have won the league title or Champions League last season but they were 18 points ahead of 3rd placed Chelsea in the league and only narrowly lost the Champions League Final to an unreal Real Madrid display. Yes, I’ve seen some people stating that the slow demise of their famous front three has started and it’s the beginning of the end for the Jurgen Klopp era. I had to question that myself too. However, you look at how Klopp is going about adapting his squad and preparing it for the post-front three era and there’s a lot for the Reds fans to be optimistic about.

The big talking point this summer was whether Liverpool would be able to keep either Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah. In the end, it looks like Liverpool chose to favour Salah with Mane joining Bayern Munich for £30 million whilst Salah was offered a new multi-million pound contract extension. Was it the right decision? Only time will tell but I think a lot of people under-estimate just how important Mane has become for Liverpool since his arrival from Southampton back in 2016. Klopp wasted no time in signing Mane’s successor with Benfica attacker Darwin Nunez arriving for £67.5 million. The Uruguayan front man had a few horror misses in pre-season that left a few of us wondering whether Liverpool had dropped the ball with this one but he remains a player of absolute quality and his display in the FA Community Shield win over Manchester City last weekend showed a lot more promise. Klopp has also made the decision to sign a couple of younger players to his squad with 19-year old Fabio Carvalho completing his permanent transfer from Fulham for £5 million and right back Calvin Ramsay joining from Aberdeen for £4.4 million. A number of fringe players such as Neco Williams, Marko Grujic, Takumi Minamino, Ben Davies, and Divock Origi have departed the club so I would anticipate Klopp to make further additions to his squad yet purely to add more depth in what is set to be another arduous campaign.

We all know what Liverpool are about now under Klopp. He’s built one of the greatest Premier League squads of all time and they will once again go toe-to-toe with their rivals Manchester City on all fronts this season. I still think they will fall short of matching City in the league but I wouldn’t put it past this Liverpool team to win the Champions League trophy again or even win one or more of the domestic cup competitions. I do think they will miss Mane more than some anticipate but will we see the rise of Luis Diaz and Nunez? They are big shoes to fill but if any manager can help them adapt to life in the Premier League then it’s Klopp and his high-octane approach to football.

Final Position: 2nd

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Manchester City

Yes, I can hear you all now. Stop calling me boring! You’re all thinking it too! Can anybody see past Manchester City winning the Premier League title? They stormed to the title last season and were unfortunate to not go all the way in the Champions League. Will Pep Guardiola ever win the biggest trophy of them all again? It does have a sense of inevitability about it that City will win the Champions League soon under Pep but will he have to sacrifice the Premier League to do so? If so, is it a sacrifice he’s willing to make?

If one team made a big statement of intent with their transfer business this summer then it was Manchester City. The early doors confirmation of signing one of the most wanted strikers in world football in Erling Haaland sent tremors through the Premier League. He was exactly what they needed with the club needing to fill the position of striker since the departure of potent finisher Sergio Aguero. The Norwegian front man’s scoring record is frightening and he’s been seen by many as the missing cog in this City machine that now seems destined to clean sweep everything. However, after signing Haaland, City started to raise eye brows by selling a number of decent first team players. Raheem Sterling was sold to rivals Chelsea for £50 million. Gabriel Jesus left for Arsenal for £46 million. Oleksandr Zinchenko has exited the club for Arsenal too for £31 million. You have to wonder if financial fair play regulations have finally caught up with City and they’re simply looking to balance the budgets. Or did these players just want out and Pep follows the Sir Alex Ferguson mantra that if there’s any doubt about a player’s commitment then there’s no doubt that you need to move them on? I just wonder if Pep’s efforts to bring in the elite players such as Haaland and, of course, central midfielder Kalvin Phillips from Leeds for £44 million have come at the detriment of the overall squad strength? Or are these the calculated gambles you need to take to go to the next level? I still feel City are a little weak at the back and with Fernandinho departing is there a lack of experience in the middle of the park? Surely Rodri and Ilkay Gundogan are enough?

Despite the controversial player sales, I do think City are still a stronger force this season and the fact they look like they have goals all across the pitch means even if their defence is leaky they will still win games. I think Pep may still try to bring in another full back with the future of Benjamin Mendy still up in the air. This City midfield and attacking line is one to fear though. Kevin De Bruyne feeding Haaland with the likes of Jack Grealish, Riyad Mahrez, and Phil Foden in the attack too? Jesus Christ. Surely nobody will stop City this season in the league.

Final Position: 1st

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OK, so there it is, my 1-20 of the 2022/23 Premier League predicted final table. Just to summarise, I've gone for...

1st: Manchester City
2nd: Liverpool
3rd: Tottenham
4th: Arsenal
5th: Chelsea
6th: Manchester United
7th: Newcastle
8th: West Ham
9th: Crystal Palace
10th: Leicester
11th: Brighton
12th: Aston Villa
13th: Southampton
14th: Everton
15th: Wolves
16th: Fulham
17th: Brentford
18th: Nottingham Forest
19th: Leeds
20th: Bournemouth

What are your final table predictions for this upcoming season? Post yours below so we can see what you think! :ok

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1 hour ago, DrO said:

Just wanted to say a big 'thank you' @StevieDay1983 for the posts. This required a lot of effort and a lot of time. I really appreciate it. :ok

You're welcome, @DrO. Glad you're enjoying them. Even if I don't get every prediction correct at least it hopefully shares some light on the thinking behind it. I would go into the in-depth tactical side of it all but think we might lose readers if I got that intense! :lol

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On 8/3/2022 at 4:46 PM, StevieDay1983 said:

OK, so apologies for the delay to this being released. I know the Championship one went down well so I was keen to release all of the teams in one fell swoop. Unfortunately, I suffered a nasty injury in football on Monday night that resulted in my finger being dislocated and the dislocated bone severing the skin and poking out. Lovely stuff. Anyway, 48 hours later and a wonderful bit of reconstructive surgery by the medical team at Swansea Morriston Hospital (one of the only times I'll be thankful for Swansea! :lol) and I am back home, one-handed, and back on the content production! So even though I haven't quite been able to complete the club-by-club preview completely, I'm still able to release it in two parts. I'll dedicate a post per team like the Championship preview but I'll do the teams I am predicting to finish 20th to 11th first and then release the second part hopefully tomorrow when I've completed it. I hope you enjoy! :ok

hope you fully recover soon.sounds extremely painful.😭😭

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