Here they are, the long awaited Conor Ketley Premier League Predictions.
Barely a month since the World Cup, we’re back into the swing of things. I for one cannot wait for reality to slap me in the face as Liverpool actually look like a competent team for once, meaning they will finish 5th at best.
Either way, read on to see who I think will take the title this year, and who will miss out on Champions League football.
- Manchester City
It’s hard to look past Pep Guardiola’s team for the title. After breaking countless Premier League records last season, Manchester City have strengthened even further with Riyad Mahrez. Their squad was already very strong, and the Algerian will only add to their firepower.
They won’t win as convincingly as last year. It would be incredible if Guardiola were to repeat the record breaking 100 point season. Liverpool should push them close, but the depth in that Manchester City team is astounding and they should win the title again.
Manchester City are 7/10 to retain the title this season.
Of the top 6 teams, Liverpool undoubtedly had the best transfer window. They strengthened in the two key areas where they needed it: goalkeeper and central midfield. I was lucky enough to go to Liverpool’s pre season friendly against Napoli where Alisson made his debut for the Reds, but he looked quite unconvincing. Here’s to hoping that his performance was a one off and he can have a great season.
Naby Keita and Fabinho are great additions to the midfield and add a bit of grit to the middle of the park. Fabinho playing in a deeper role should allow his teammates to push on and contribute to the attack more, despite not taking off massively in preseason.
I don’t expect Salah to have as breathtaking a season as last year in terms of goals, at least. Teams will be more aware of his threat, and the goals may be more spread around the Liverpool side. Firmino looked very sharp in preseason and Sturridge scored six goals in the run up to the campaign.
Man City 1st/Liverpool 2nd is 3/1.
Okay, hear me out.
Arsenal begin a Premier League season without Arsène Wenger for the first time in my living memory. The Gunners were roundly mocked for the appointment of Unai Emery, but a three time Europa League winner and multiple Ligue 1 winner doesn’t deserve that.
Aubameyang will have his first full season in North London, too, and he was on fire towards the end of last season’s campaign. Expect him to pick up where he left off.
Arsenal have made some much needed signings, too. Bernd Leno will challenge Petr Cech for a spot between the sticks, and Lucas Torreira looks like a great ball winner in central midfield, something they have lacked for years.
Arsenal are 15/8 to finish in the top 4 this year.
Chelsea are the biggest question mark for me this season. I personally think the sacking of Antonio Conte was a mistake and that Sarri may take a while to get going in the league.
Eden Hazard looks to be back to his best following his stellar World Cup, and will be massively important for the Blues’ push to return to the top four. They’ve strengthened in midfield with Jorginho joining the ranks and he should provide even more support to allow the Belgian to do his thing.
Watching Chelsea’s pre-season game at Lyon, they didn’t impress me massively, but were far from full strength. Youngster Ethan Ampadu had a strong performance and Ngolo Kante was the best player on the pitch during his 30 minute cameo.
Chelsea are 11/8 to finish above Manchester United.
Spurs have not made a single first team signing this summer. They have a fantastic first team, but depth is required if Tottenham want to compete on multiple fronts. Dele Alli has also had a significant drop in form and needs to be back to his best to push the team up the table.
If Spurs signed another attacking midfielder alongside a left back, it would have helped massively, but for now, I think they may fall just short of Champions League qualification unless something changes in January.
Tottenham are 6/5 to finish outside the top four this season.
- Manchester United
This feels wrong. Predicting Manchester United to do badly feels wrong. You never know with this club, as whenever they look at their weakest, they just grind out the results and end up quite high in the rankings.
This year, though, I just can’t see them getting into the top four. Paul Pogba had an imperious World Cup, and he is vital if United are to secure Champions League football again this season. The question mark is around the manager. Mourinho is going sour quicker than milk these days, and he is the obstacle to the club’s success this year.
Martial looks miserable under the Portuguese, and Pogba is not playing in the position in which he excels. If the bitter mood around Old Trafford continues, the points may not come.
Jose Mourinho is as high as 7/1 to be the first manager sacked this season.
When I started writing this prediction article, I had Everton ranked a few spots lower. Their deadline day has convinced me to bump them up from scraping a top half finish to seventh.
Yerry Mina really impressed me in the World Cup. He and Digne coming into the defence will be a real step up in quality. At times last season, I was convinced that Cuco Martina had never kicked a ball, never mind scored that screamer against Arsenal a few years ago.
Their attacking options are impressive: Walcott was in great form last season, and Tosun looked like he had more to give. He should show his best this year and grab around 15 goals.
I still have a bit of a question mark over manager Marco Silva, but top half should be a bare minimum for this team.
Cenk Tosun is 9/4 to be Everton’s top scorer in the league.
- West Ham
Manuel Pellegrini could finally be the manager to provide some stability and quality to West Ham. He’s brought in numerous signings of high quality such as Yarmolenko, Lucas Perez, Jack Wilshere and others.
The one issue may be the amount of new faces and them gelling together, but once the Hammers get up and running, they should achieve a comfortable top half finish.
I said the exact same about West Ham last year, but this summer has really given the fans some hope ahead of 2017/18.
West Ham are best price 5/4 for a top half finish.
- Leicester City
Leicester should be comfortable enough to end up in the top 10. Kasper Schmeichel and Harry Maguire have stayed amid interest and Jamie Vardy guarantees goals with his pace up front.
James Maddison was a great signing for the Foxes, and he’ll have to transfer his form at Norwich to succeed in the top flight.
Claude Puel is a solid manager and should be able to guide this team to a comfortable top half finish. I personally think he gets far too much criticism for the job he does.
Leicester are just below evens for a top half finish.
This one may be a bit ambitious, but Fulham have made a number of coups in their transfer window. Jean Michael Seri was linked with a move to Barcelona last summer, but will now be playing his football at Craven Cottage.
Andre Schurrle, if he gets back to his best, could be a great signing. Mitrovic is probably the most important of the bunch, though. His loan to West London last season got Fulham into the playoffs and then the Premier League.
His hold up play will be vital when Fulham need to relieve pressure, and he’ll likely hit double figures for goals this season.
Alfie Mawson is also a great addition and will be vital if they harbour hopes of finishing in the top half of the table.
Fulham are between 2/1 and 3/1 to be the best promoted side in the Premier League this season.