We’re just days away from the start of the 2019/20 Premier League.
Manchester City will be looking for a third Premier League title on the spin, while Chelsea will be hoping the appointment of Frank Lampard ushers in an exciting new era at Stamford Bridge. Some familiar faces will also be making a comeback as Norwich City, Sheffield United and Aston Villa all return to this level.
Part 2 of our preview looks at the teams we think will be fighting it out for top spot and the European places.
Premier League Predictions for 2019/20 – Every Team’s Estimated Finish from 10th – 1st
10TH – WEST HAM UTD
Manager: Manuel Pellegrini
Title odds 500/1
Reasons to be cheerful: Last season was always going to be a transitional one for Pellegrini. The Chilean arguably exceeded expectations in guiding the Hammers to a top-half finish in his first season in East London after they flirted with relegation for much of 2018/19. With a year under his belt to reshape an uneven squad, Pellegrini has some strong foundations to build upon to beat last season’s finish.
Reasons to be fearful: While the Hammers have bolstered their attacking ranks, they still don’t look to have the back line needed to genuinely trouble the European places. Wolves, Everton and Leicester all boasted meaner defences last season and that could put those clubs in the box-seat again to be the main challengers to the Big Six.
9TH – WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS
Manager: Nuno Espirito Santo
Title odds 150/1
Reasons to be cheerful: Wolves show no signs of slowing down in terms of ambition. Aside from bringing in Raul Jiménez and Leander Dendoncker on a permanent basis, the club have also acquired one of the most exciting young talents in Italian football. Former AC Milan Patrick Cutrone adds to their attacking options to take some of the pressure off Jiménez.
Reasons to be fearful: The dreaded curse of ‘second season syndrome’. Wolves will be hard-pressed to match last season, particularly with an assault on the Europa League to contend with. Nuno’s side also struggled against smaller teams last year and will need to eliminate that tendency to exceed last season’s impressive seventh-place finish.
8TH – EVERTON
Manager: Marco Silva
Title odds 150/1
Reasons to be cheerful: A cutting-edge new ground in the pipeline, some bold signings in the transfer window – the future is looking bright for the Toffees. Could this be the season they finally unsettle the Big Six? After an indifferent start last season, Marco Silva showed signs of getting the formula right with his Toffees team by the final third of 2018/19 and the imminent signing of one of European football’s most exciting young talents in Moises Kean from Juventus is a real statement of intent.
Reasons to be fearful: This looks to be a defining season in Marco Silva’s career. The Portuguese manager was cut some slack during his first full season in charge but fans won’t be as forgiving if the Toffees continue to be infuriatingly inconsistent in 2019/20. The fixture computer could also leave Silva on a ‘sticky wicket’, with games against Leicester, Liverpool, Chelsea, Man Utd and Arsenal in quick succession in December and in reverse in March/April.
7th – MANCHESTER UTD
Manager: Ole Gunnar Solskjær
Title odds 25/1
Reasons to be cheerful: For the first time in a long time, the powers-that-be at Old Trafford have parked the ‘galactico’ approach to the transfer window and looked for players hungry to make a name for themselves. United may have spent big on Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Dan James, but the pair will be in it for the long haul at Old Trafford and will be given time by Utd fans to prove their worth. Despite the price tag, Harry Maguire is another astute signing given his desire to win major silverware.
Reasons to be fearful: The extensive squad overhaul needed to turn Utd into genuine title contenders has so far failed to materialise – although the signing of Harry Maguire is a positive step in the right direction. Even if Utd make more moves in the final week of the transfer market, Solksjaer surely has too much work to do to turn this squad into anything other than a side capable of challenging for the final Champions League spot. Doubts also remain about the manager’s long-term fitness for the role after his initial ‘managerial bounce’ faded fast in the latter stages of last season. Ole might well be a club legend, but will patience be in short supply if he gets off to a rocky start?
6TH – CHELSEA
Manager: Frank Lampard
Title odds 25/1
Reasons to be cheerful: The Blues’ transfer ban may end up being a blessing in disguise. The appointment of Frank Lampard and a renewed focus on youth means that despite everything, there’s an air of positivity around Stamford Bridge this summer. Lampard may also benefit from lowered expectations, with many Chelsea fans happy to give their former midfield man some wriggle room to adjust to life managing in the top flight.
Reasons to be fearful: While fans will be excited to see the likes of Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek play their part this year, there are question marks over who will be able to step up in attack and provide the goals Chelsea will need for Lampard to deliver Champions League football. Tammy Abraham is proven at Championship level but struggled at Swansea in 2017/18, while Michy Batshuayi looks too inconsistent to deliver over a 38-game campaign. An Eden Hazard-shaped hole in midfield also presents a massive headache for the Blues’ rookie manager.
5TH – LEICESTER CITY
Manager: Brendan Rodgers
Title odds 150/1
Reasons to be cheerful: The blend looks right at the King Power. Rodgers has a heady mix of youth and experience throughout his squad – and that could elevate Leicester into the discussion for the European places. With a full pre-season under his belt, the Northern Irishman will want to prove he still belongs among the elite in this division. With the talent at his disposal in this squad, he might just get there.
Reasons to be fearful: The speculation around Harry Maguire’s future can’t be helping Brendan Rodgers with his pre-season preparations. If the Foxes opt to cash in, Rodgers could face a late scramble to replace the England star, something that could disrupt a generally well-organised Leicester defence. Three years on from their greatest day, the Foxes are also no longer viewed as plucky underdogs. Expect teams to try and sit deep and frustrate them. Rodgers will be hoping £70m pair Youri Tielemans and Ayoze Perez can help counter that tendency.
4TH – ARSENAL
Manager: Unai Emery
Title odds 33/1
Reasons to be cheerful: Nicolas Pépé could be the gamechanger. An anticipation of a low-key transfer window – much to the frustration of Arsenal fans – was shattered as the Gunners smashed their transfer record to land one of football’s hottest young talents in a £72m deal. The Gunners have a Champions League-ready front three. Now they just need a squad to match. Capturing the highly-rated Dani Ceballos on loan is another step in the right direction.
Reasons to be fearful: As ever, it’s defensive lapses that look likely to hold Arsenal back from a genuine tilt at the frontrunners. William Saliba looks an exciting ‘one for the future’ but will return to Saint-Étienne to continue his development this summer. Otherwise, Arsenal have failed to address their problem area. Can Emery finally fix Arsenal’s Achilles’ heel?
3RD – TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
Manager: Mauricio Pochettino
Title odds 16/1
Reasons to be cheerful: Reaching the Champions League final has put Spurs on the map, with the club now finding it far easier to compete at the top end of the market. The purse strings have finally been relaxed as Spurs settle into their luxury new home with Tanguy Ndombélé boasting all the attributes needed to make an instant success of life in the Premier League. If Spurs can make some late moves in the market, they should reel Man City and Liverpool in closer this season.
Reasons to be fearful: Despite Spurs finally opening up the chequebook, Poch doesn’t seem overly thrilled by this summer’s business. The Argentinean remains the club’s most important asset but his recent ‘Head Coach’ comments suggest he could be getting itchy feet. If any of the European super-giants opt to make an early change, this could be the year where his faith in the Spurs project finally shows signs of waning.
2ND – LIVERPOOL
Manager: Jürgen Klopp
Title odds 23/10
Reasons to be cheerful: Klopp has finally broken his trophy duck at Anfield. That answers the critics suggesting he’s a serial bridesmaid when it comes to major titles. It also paves the way for the German to fully concentrate his mind on the prize every Liverpool fan really wants – a maiden Premier League title. Expect Klopp to switch focus away from Europe this season to help his side maintain the levels needed to topple City from the summit. Transfer business has been negligible, but sticking with what you know could be the ideal strategy for a Liverpool outfit creeping ever closer to that elusive title.
Reasons to be fearful: Pre-season is rarely a bellwether of future success, but Liverpool’s has been particularly underwhelming. Jurgen Klopp seems to be sticking by the players that delivered Champions League glory in June, but the Reds still appear to lack the strength-in-depth of their main title contenders if injuries mount up during 2019/20. Is there time left for Klopp to spring one major surprise in the window to help Liverpool land their first Premier League title?
1ST – MANCHESTER CITY
Manager: Pep Guardiola
Title odds 1/2
Reasons to be cheerful: Man City carried on where they left off the previous season, securing another hefty points haul in the process. However, this time they managed it with a genuine rival chasing them every step of the way. City showed they can cope with the pressure of being the ‘hunted’ and that should give Guardiola the confidence his side can repeat that trick this season. Rodri also looks an astute signing to add presence in central midfield.
Reasons to be fearful: Winning a Premier League title is hard. Retaining one is even harder. Claiming three on the bounce is even more rare. In fact, only Sir Alex Ferguson has managed that feat in Premier League history. Pep will be fully aware of the dangers of complacency creeping in after securing 198 points across two seasons. As one of the best motivators in the business, expect Pep to keep evolving this City side to new levels – although he’ll have to do it without the inspirational Vincent Kompany in the dressing room.
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Odds correct at time of writing but may be subject to change.
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