Despite this transfer window not being as busy as the previous, Liverpool managed to finally spend the money they needed to, whilst the other top clubs spent relatively nothing compared to their previous windows. New boys Fulham and Wolves didn’t waste any time picking up players from all across Europe, a huge reason as to why I do not have them going back down to the Championship.
1st: Liverpool. Star Man: Mohammed Salah. One to watch: Naby Keita.
Jurgen Klopp contradicted himself when he said a couple of years ago that he went about transfer business differently to other clubs, Liverpool finally decided to spend double the amount of any other club in the Premier League and improved the areas of their team that they needed to. Allison adds the goalkeeping prowess they have blatantly lacked, Fabinho is a much needed improvement of Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita is one of the best midfielders in the World. I will give Liverpool the edge over Manchester City at this point, they match up against them perfectly, but of course they will need to be fortunate with injuries and hope the front 3 of Mane, Salah and Firmino replicate their form of last season.
2nd: Manchester City. Star Man: Kevin De Bruyne. One to watch: Phil Foden.
Manchester City were phenomenal last year, they have Mendy returning and also brought in Mahrez to give them another diverse, attacking option. It is very possible they can win the league again but I think Liverpool will have their number this year, it is incredibly hard to retain such dedication and focus for two years running and we haven’t seen a champion retain for the past 9 years. Hopefully Pep decides to give Foden a chance at some point of this season, certainly a talent that will excite the English fans and European football may be a priority for this City side due to not reaching a final since returning to relevance.
3rd: Manchester United. Star Man: Paul Pogba. One to watch: Andreas Pereira.
By all means, this season could be a disastrous one for United, Jose could walk out any second, which means the opening game of the season is a must win against Leicester. Despite only spending 60m, United still have a side that is capable of winning the league, bolstered by the return of Pereira and a manager known for winning the leagues. The clubs that finished behind United last season haven’t really made pressuring signings, despite Liverpool, and if Bailly and Pogba remain fit then United have every chance at challenging for the title. However, with the rumours circulating the media and Jose’s unhappy press conferences, I would not be too surprised if they ended up slipping out of the top 4 and looking for a new manager. Not adding a defender was not the biggest mistake in the World for United who have the best defensive record in the league under Jose Mourinho who is the best defensive manager in the World.
4th: Chelsea. Star Man: Eden Hazard. One to watch: Jorginho.
I was struggling who to decide for this spot out of Chelsea and Spurs but went with Chelsea, it may take some time for Sarri to implement his tactics but he already has some brilliant, well established players. Jorginho will be the main piece of Sarri’s set up, his role of dictating the flow will be essential to any success that Chelsea will have this season, key players will be rested in the Europa League, giving them the advantage in the Premier League over Spurs. Eden Hazard will be back to top form, but Ngolo Kante must also get back to his best form in a new system that demands much more from him technically, his poor form last year was often overlooked by the media due to the scandal of International teammate Paul Pogba. The defence is a big worry for Chelsea fans, Alonso is out of place as the left back, and the Community Shield game highlighted how easy it can be to get in behind the centre backs.
5th: Tottenham Hotspur. Star Man: Harry Kane. One to watch: Davison Sanchez.
It was certainly brave from Spurs to not bring anyone in, but they do have a well established side under a manager that has been there for a few years. I am not struck of Pochettino, he’s not versatile and often makes the same mistakes, certainly a manager that receives way too many plaudits. Spurs should contend for the top 4, but their midfield is a very weak area and often gets overrun in big games, they will be heavily reliant yet again on the best striker in the World, they could be in danger of losing him next summer if they miss out on the Champions League this year. Dele Alli must also step up after a poor season and a World Cup in which he disappeared when it mattered.
6th: Arsenal. Star Man: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. One to watch: Lucas Torreira.
Given they have brought in a new manager, he should be given time, they don’t have a side good enough to compete for the title, anything higher than 6th will be a miraculous achievement. It is essential that Premier League underachievers the last couple of years such as Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan step up to feed the strikers and work for the team in big games. Truth be told, the signings have been disappointing and have really only improved the side in one area with Torreira who should fit right into the Premier League, defence will still be a big problem for Arsenal. To add to the disappointing transfer window, Arsenal also have a hard start, this will put pressure onto Emery from the start.
7th: West Ham. Star Man: Marko Arnautovic. One to watch: Felipe Anderson.
A pleasing window for the Hammers, they kept hold of their main men, and added quality in every department, along with a quality manager that knows his way around this league. Felipe Anderson is an exciting prospect, Issa Diop is a great defender, and a healthy Jack Wilshere can play as well as any Premier League midfielder on his day. West Ham should be looking to push on for Continental football next year, before last year they were tipped for around this spot so after a big spend in the summer they deserve to be put in that category again.
8th: Leicester. Star Man: Jamie Vardy. One to watch: Caglar Soyuncu.
Leicester added some quality to the side but also lost their best player, the challenge for them this season will be replacing the creativity that Riyad Mahrez brought to the side every single game. James Maddison is an exciting player but the Premier League is a huge step up from the Championship. Defensively Leicester have added a few players, Pereira fills in the needed right back position, Soyuncu was wanted by the big clubs around Europe so he should clean up some of their repetitive errors from last year. The biggest mistake of their transfer window was not selling Harry Maguire, his transfer value will go down vast amounts if he continues to make the same mistakes as he did last season in a back 4 formation, you should always cash in on players that are average but received plaudits from an international competition.
9th: Everton. Star Man: Idrissa Gueye. One to watch: Cenk Tosun.
A questionable transfer window from the Toffees, the transfer of Richarlison highlighted the price of average players in today’s game. Marco Silva was sacked last year after a poor run at Watford, but Everton have certainly had no worries backing him buying half of Barcelona’s reserves. This team will leak goals, Yerry Mina is not an improvement on what they already have defensively, but defence doesn’t seem to be a priority for Marco Silva anyway. Idrissa Gueye is a special player, Tosun should provide enough goals upfront to secure them a top half finish, but I can’t see them placing much higher after a mediocre but expensive transfer window.
10th: Burnley. Star Man: James Tarkowski. One to watch: Matej Vydra.
I am not overly impressed by Matej Vydra, but their wasn’t too many options to put in that one to watch spot. Sean Dyche is a special manager, Burnley were tipped to go down last year and somehow finished 7th, pushing Arsenal all the way. I predict them to finish 10th or even a few places lower this year given the focus of Europa League as well, their squad is not massive and again they didn’t spend much, a few additions more would have helped. They are in safe hands with an unappreciated manager that gets the most out of his players, playing a nice style of football which is also comfortable defensively.
11th: Crystal Palace. Star Man: Wilfried Zaha. One to watch: Maximillian Meyer.
I am looking forward to seeing Meyer play in the Premier League after his big contract demands, but Crystal Palace rely heavily on the creativity of Wilfried Zaha. He missed 10 games last season, they lost them all. For Palace to creep into the top half they will need Zaha and co to be as consistent as they was when Roy Hodgson took over early in the season. A key problem for them is the attacking options, Christian Benteke missed the most key chances in the Premier League last year, and they haven’t brought in another centre forward to challenge him, this could be something that holds Palace back from improving this season.
12th: Wolves. Star Man: Ruben Neves. One to watch: Raul Jiminez.
Many are tipping Wolves to finish in the top half and even push on for Europa League qualification after their business in the summer, I don’t see it. Personally I don’t think their window was as good as others are making out, the likes of Joao Moutinho and Adama Traore are not players that will strike fear into the sides ahead of them, and most of their other signings were making loans from last year permanent. A positive for Wolves is that they didn’t lose any key features of the side that won the Championship last year, and the dynamic threat of Raul Jiminez should add goals along with the wide threats of Jota and co. A mid-table finish seems about right for their first year back in the big league.
13th: Fulham. Star Man: Jean Michael Seri. One to watch: Andre Anguissa.
Possibly the best business done this summer out of all sides in the Premier League, Fulham spent big and brought in a decent amount of quality in all areas. The midfield of Fosu-Mensah, Seri and Anguissa is certainly a midfield good enough to compete with most midfields in the league. It will be exciting to see Ryan Sessegnon compete against the best after the high expectations he has been given but again this league is another huge step up, they may not have the best defence so this should even out the amount of games they throw away from leading positions. The opposition will fancy their chances going forward against Fulham.
14th: Newcastle. Star Man: Jonjo Shelvey. One to watch: Jamaal Lascelles.
Newcastle fans must be pulling their hair out yet again with owner Mike Ashley filling his pockets even more. They had a positive net spend, and did not back manager Rafa Benitez after a fantastic run in 2018, Newcastle are in a dangerous position and the mess in the summer could see Benitez walk soon enough. However, Benitez is a great manager, I don’t see the Magpies going down because of him and the addition of Salamon Rondon will add a much needed threat up top. Their stadium is not a place that the opposition will look forward to playing in, this should get them the points they need to stay up, but no surprises if they get dragged into that relegation race.
15th: Southampton. Star Man: Mario Lemina. One to watch: Mohamed Elyounoussi.
Mark Hughes did well to keep Southampton up last year but hanging around the 15th spot is something he succeeds in, Southampton were poor last year and I don’t expect them to be a bigger threat this year. They have just about enough quality to stay up, but times are looking worse than they were a few year ago under Ronald Koeman reaching the Europa League. The money gained from Virgil Van Dijk has not been fully reinvested, Vestegaard should bring some safety to the back line but their summer work has not been good enough to place them much higher than the 15th spot. Don’t expect Southampton to break any pots, especially in the goal scoring department.
16th: Brighton. Star Man: Pascal Gross. One to watch: Yves Bissouma.
Another exceptional transfer window for Brighton, they added a couple of needed attacking options and improved the full back areas with Bernardo and Montaya. A finish higher than 16th wouldn’t surprise me but they must improve on their away form from last year, the midfield still looks a little weak and should be an area that Chris Hughton looks to improve next year if they manage to stay in the league. Glenn Murray overachieved with his performances last year, a couple of other players need to step up and finish off the creativity that Gross provides if Brighton are going to push on from last season.
17th: Bournemouth. Star Man: Callum Wilson. One to watch: Jefferson Lerma.
Bournemouth flirted with relegation early on last year, I believe they will be even closer this time around. They have been in the league a few years now and are just as predictable as they were when they first arrived, I think this will be the year where Howe and Bournemouth split ways, they keep making the same mistakes that we all thought they would improve on. They are an exciting side to watch but don’t seem to be going anywhere and the defensive problems will still be highlighted next year after no improvement once again.
18th: Huddersfield. Star Man: Aaron Mooy. One to watch: Adama Diakhaby.
Huddersfield were fortunate to stay up last year, they grinded their way into the last couple of games and finally managed to stay in the league through Tom Ince who has since departed. David Wagner has often used a deep block against teams higher than Huddersfield and I feel like that tactic has run it’s course in modern football, their isn’t much quality in this side and not much quality has been added. With a great home support, I expect them to pick up points in their own stadium, I wouldn’t be surprised if they stayed up but when I compare them to sides I have predicted above them I certainly feel like they’re a favourite to go down.
19th: Watford. Star Man: Abdoulaye Doucare. One to watch: Domingos Quina.
An abysmal summer has not left Javi Garcia with much to work with, it’s clear that Watford are not in a good place to me and failed to sign the key targets they were after. A trip back down to the Championship could be needed for this club to regroup and head in a different direction with key players in their squad past their prime. Unlike Huddersfield, I would certainly be surprised if Watford managed to make it out of the drop.
20th: Cardiff. Star Man: Junior Hoilett. One to watch: Josh Murphy.
Cardiff really do need a miracle to stay in the Premier League, they need to hope that their advantage at home works wonders. Their recruitment has not been good enough to retain a spot in the Premier League and I can see them taking the wooden spoon quite comfortably. Neil Warnock said last season that Sol Bamba is a better defensive player than Virgil Van Dijk, I think this season we are going to see more ridiculous comments and press conferences from Warnock as Cardiff are beaten easily by many teams in the big league.