Premier League 2015/2016 Predictions
Like many football fans (the English game that involves kicking the ball, not the American one where you throw it) I enjoy predicting the final league table before the season begins (I’m fully aware that my predictions are extremely early, but I was bored). Most of the time I’m utterly wrong; from which I’ve extrapolated that I have absolutely no insight whatsoever. However as uninformed celebrities like Noel Gallagher are inexplicably asked for their opinion with alarming regularity, I thought I may as well record my predictions on this blog for the 6 people who’ll read it.
Anyway, going through each team in alphabetical order, I’ll explain in 3 or 4 sentences where I think each will finish and why. I’ll also be checking this at the end of the season to see if I am even remotely accurate.
Arsenal: 3rd – Though I’m a Spurs fan, I’m fully prepared for yet another season trailing in their wake. Given the individual quality in their squad and the recent signing of Petr Cech (which I believe will lead to more impressive signings) I think they’ll be right up there again this year.
Aston Villa: 13th – Even though Tim Sherwood is almost insufferably arrogant, his abilities as a manager are undeniable. If the signing of Micah Richards and the sale of some average fringe players is anything to go by, Villa will have a much stronger squad this year and will subsequently avoid being dragged into another relegation battle.
Bournemouth: 20th – I don’t think Bournemouth have much hope of survival, even with Eddie Howe at the helm and 1 or 2 valuable players e.g. Sylvain Distin. They’ll struggle to attract the players they need and, much like Burnley last year, will find it difficult to pick up points consistently with their current squad.
Chelsea: 1st – A bit obvious perhaps, but Chelsea’s already impressive team will only get stronger this year; any team that can afford to sell one of the best keepers in the world to one of their biggest rivals, is clearly in a strong position. Playing a brand of football that is dynamic in attack, solid in defence and anything but boring (a baffling accusation) they will be tough to overthrow.
Crystal Palace: 12th – Although they’ve been a revelation over the past 2 seasons under Tony Pulis and Alan Pardew, I think they’ll hit a wall somewhat this year. Opponents will figure out how to play them more effectively, resulting in 1 or 2 weak links becoming slightly more exposed than before.
Everton: 8th – Everton will be far stronger this season with the exceptionally talented Roberto Martinez almost certain to replace some of the older players such as Osman and Distin with players suited to his managerial style. Should they start badly, they must resist the inevitable calls to sack Martinez; after all, who are they expecting?
Leicester: 17th – An amazing end to last season aside, I think they’ll struggle to improve much this year. Nigel Pearson is a good, if somewhat narcissistic manager, who’s helped by the ability of the club to attract star players but, in my opinion, they’ll struggle to win on a consistent basis this term.
Liverpool: 5th – It’s always difficult to predict what Liverpool will do. Brendan Rodgers seems to buy the same type of player each year (small, technical attacking midfield types) instead of addressing the main areas of concern. For example, today they signed Roberto Firmino who may be a useful player in his own right, but adds nothing different to Philippe Coutinho or Raheem Sterling.
Manchester City: 2nd – Unless they freshen up their squad with someone like Paul Pogba, another season as runners-up appears likely. I expect Manuel Pellegrini to be gone come December/ January if they’re not on maximum points with a +98,923 goal difference, and wouldn’t be surprised if they slipped to 3rd or even 4th thereafter.
Manchester United: 4th – 1 or 2 big signings will arrive at Old Trafford this summer, which will help add depth to and rejuvenate the squad. Louis van Gaal’s men will secure 4th position without much of a challenge from the teams immediately below them; though I think the top 4 itself will be full of intrigue this season.
Newcastle United: 14th – I think 14th is about right for Newcastle, as I doubt they’ll have such a poor season with Steve McClaren in charge. A number of fringe players are likely to leave, replaced by a smaller number of talented players who’ll add greater rigidity and depth to the squad. The main question on everyone’s lips however is: will McLaren speak in a Geordie accent during his early press conferences?
Norwich: 16th – Unlike the other 2 promoted teams, I think the size of the club will make Norwich much more able to attract high-quality players. Moreover they have a solid group of players on which to build along with electrifying prospects such as Nathan Redmond. I fully expect them to finish highest of the 3 promoted teams, though not much higher than 16th come the final day.
Southampton: 7th – Another decent season is in the offing for the Saints, yet one in which they fail to compete with the bigger teams to the same degree as last season. They have a good squad as things stand but this could be seriously damaged if a couple of their better players leave for higher profile clubs.
Stoke: 9th – Much like Southampton, Stokes season will be analogous with their previous campaigns. They’ll undoubtedly make some astute purchases and get rid of the surplus players, but due to the strength of Southampton, Everton and Spurs, 9th should be their primary target.
Sunderland: 18th – Even though Dick Advocaat has agreed to remain as manager, at least for the foreseeable future, I fear they’ll go the same way as Hull last term. It’s unlikely any top players will join due to the number of players and managers who have come and gone in the last 3 seasons or so. If they are slow out of the blocks, Advocaat may decide the job isn’t worth the hassle and leave.
Swansea: 10th – Impressive football that will be popular among pundits and people who like football to be played ‘in the right way’ is almost guaranteed once again, however I don’t anticipate this leading to a higher placed finish. Few players will join or leave the club, as the Swans correctly focus on stability, consistency and a shrewd transfer policy.
Spurs: 6th – Though I am Spurs fan, I’m also a pessimist; therefore a 6th place finish is, I think, the best they can expect. Mauricio Pochettino will definitely improve the squad, selling some of the (many) average players collected since the sale of Bale, however it will take time to assemble a squad that can legitimately challenge for a champions league spot.
Watford: 19th – A club that has struggled to maintain a premier league place in previous years, Watford will struggle again this season. Their squad doesn’t contain many players with premier league experience, which may result in attractive football, but the kind Blackpool played in their inaugural season. Meanwhile, Troy Deeney will be interesting to watch and could provide the goals they’ll need.
West Brom: 15th – Despite the steadying influence of Tony Pulis and a decent Squad, the competitive nature of the premier league combined with a lack of creativity, will hamper the progress of the Baggies. I don’t imagine Saido Berahino will leave as he appears rather sensible, but if he does, they could really struggle to score the goals required for a mid-table finish.
West Ham: 11th – I’m expecting a much more consistent season from the Hammers this year; not threatening to break into Europe but likewise never needing to worry about relegation. New manager Slaven Bilic will attract decent players, due to his managerial style and the imminent move to the Olympic stadium, but the consistency of Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho will be pivotal. By the way, Paul is a West ham fan (despite being the antithesis of the archetypal supporter) so I do have somewhat of a soft spot for them.
Hope you enjoyed my ramblings!