The 6 teams I think will be scrapping it out for their Premier League status are featured in this post in my countdown to kick-off series that you can find here. This post is the final part of my preview of each team’s chances this season (but remember, all transfers after 9th Aug are not taken into account). I’ll probably fail the predictions miserably and one of the following 6 teams will win the league… but anyway, let’s get on with it…
Francesco Guidolin was a great appointment last year, keeping the Swans up comfortably in the end. It will be hard this time, but new owners have shown promise by giving Guidolin money to invest. Leroy Fer is a good buy, and they have kept hold (so far) of prized asset Gylfi Sigurdsson, who will have to play a pivotal role yet again. However, a problem area is up front, as after selling Bafetimbi Gomis, Eder, Andre Ayew and Alberto Paloschi, they as yet have only brought in one out-and-out striker in Fernando Llorente – and it is a gamble whether or not he can do the business. If he can, or if they can find goals from elsewhere, then they will stay up.
16. West Brom
New owner, and very little transfer activity, all means that West Brom are no better off than they were when they finished 14th last year. Matt Phillips will have a big role to play in a season which could go either way. They may well go down, and haven’t won a game since 6th March, but I have faith in Pulis’ ridiculous ability to never get relegated, even with the some of the worst players in the league! I reckon it’ll be close, but they will secure their status as a Prem team at least for one more year.
Losing Sam Allardyce was a huge blow for the Black Cats, who narrowly avoided relegation last year and probably would’ve gone down if it wasn’t for some Jermain Defoe heroics. The replacement is David Moyes, a manager who is good at working at mid-table clubs like Everton, but may not be what Sunderland need – he might’ve come a bit too early. Now all they need is to stay in the division. As it stands, in a crazy summer with managerial changes, Papy Djilobodji is the only signing they’ve made so far, and you have to expect that David Moyes is given money to spend. It will be a long, hard struggle, and Moyes will have his work cut out, but I reckon they will manage to stay up in the end.
Quique Sanchez Flores was an excellent manager for Watford, comfortably keeping them up last year. However, the board decided to sack him for some reason not understood by man. Walter Mazzari, and a new record signing – Isaac Success, a young, strong and quick striker – have joined, and it is all change at Vicarage Road. If Success, and fellow strikers Deeney and Ighalo, can carry the team, then maybe they will survive, but it will be hard as they don’t seem to have much else about them apart from a potent frontline. They will go down.
Chaos. Steve Bruce fell out with the owners and left. The owners fell out with the club and are looking to sell. The club haven’t signed anyone with good enough credentials for the league, and have sold prized asset Mohamed Diame to Newcastle. It will take a miracle to save this sinking ship, and if I didn’t expect something to happen to bring in some players and a manager quickly, I would back them to finish rock-bottom. Certainly not what the club wanted after their famous, amazing day at Wembley in May.
Sean Dyche has done a fantastic job at getting promoted a second time at a club with such little money. In ‘preparation’ for the biggest league in the world, the cash-strapped club could only spare £1.1 million so far on transfers. Much rests on Andre Gray to get important goals to win games, and even if he performs they don’t have very much about them to pose any threat and look very much like a Championship team, not a Premier League one. Unfortunately, they will come last.
Will any of these teams do a Leicester? Are Watford, Hull and Burnley doomed? Have my predictions for this year’s most unpredictable season been any good? Have a go yourself below!