Arsenal: 4th – Alexis Sanchez is the headliner of a successful transfer window for the Gunners but Arsenal’s downfall is getting those big results and keeping key players fit. If Wenger can turn that around a title challenge may well be on the agenda. Another trophy is a possibility, but not this one
Lynsey Predicts… 3rd – Finally Arsene Wenger has loosened those purse strings and with acquisitions like Alexis Sanchez and Mathieu Debuchy to bolster the squad I predict good things for the Gunners this campaign. My only concern is in defence. With Thomas Vermaelen heading to Barcelona they may well (like Liverpool last season) ship a few too many goals. I predict a good run in the Champions League (possible semi-finalists) and a third-place finish in the league. They won’t have quite enough to keep apace with Chelsea and Man City who will slog it out for the title.
Aston Villa: 18th – It looks like it could be another struggle for the Villains this season as they go into it with a chairman that wants to sell, Christian Benteke injured and Ron Vlaar seemingly on the move. Joe Cole and Kieran Richardson head the arrivals but more is needed to avoid the trap door once again.
Kait Predicts… 17th – Everyone’s worried for Villa this season. Their fate can’t be left with Joe Cole that’s for sure. Strength from signings is desperately needed. Fingers crossed for Carlos Sanchez. Last year’s youngsters are richer for their experience so far but do they have the right punches to save a team from relegation? If Paul Lambert doesn’t do the business, a swift change of manager and a canny appointment will change Villa’s fortunes. I think they’ll stay safe. Just. 17th place.
Burnley: 16th – Burnley could be this season’s surprise package. Sean Dyche and his team are being seriously underrated going into the new season. The Sam Vokes and Danny Ings partnership will give the Clarets a platform to build upon. If they can be solid at home, I see them staying up.
Hayley Predicts… Relegation: Here for a party and a battle to survive under the ginger Mourinho, they could really do with the budget of Jose Mourinho. Who’d have thought Burnley, a team tipped for relegation from the Championship last season would be playing in the Premier League this season? No such luck in the league this time around, unfortunately, I think they will struggle. Keeping hold of key players in the transfer window is essential. Neutrals will enjoy watching them try their hardest to cause an upset.
Chelsea: 2nd – Jose Mourinho should be very happy with his transfer business, bringing in Felipe Luis, Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas, but they could fall just short in their challenge as they struggled to juggle Europe and the League in the final weeks of last season. They will be closer to the champions but not quite close enough.
Kait’s Predicts… Champions: Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa and the size of Jose Mourinho’s ego – that’s enough for me to predict Chelsea will win the Premier League title this season. There’s sufficient bang behind the buck Chelsea have invested pre-season, the rest will be down to Mourinho. He has sufficient history with each of his competing managers in the top four to ensure this season the desire to reign supreme elevates his team to the very top come May. And by more than five points.
Crystal Palace*: 14th – The Tony Pulis X Factor will still have an impact this season as momentum will carry over for the ex Stoke man’s hungry squad. The home support is raucous and passionate, and with a tactician like Pulis in charge and experienced acquisitions in Hangeland and Frazier Campbell, Palace should be comfortable.
Lynsey Predicts…8th: Can Tony Pulis weave his magic again? The answer, I believe, is yes. He has two of my favourite players outside the top four Premier League clubs in Mile Jedinak and the newly acquired Brede Hangeland. He has a bunch of players who are willing to bust a gut for him and who will be buoyed by their accomplishments last season. I predict an eight.
Hayley Predicts…5th/6th – I love Roberto Martinez, I’d like to see him do well at Everton and challenge for a top four place after a solid season of settling in. I predict they will finish either fifth or sixth. There’s pressure there now where there wasn’t last season. Everton’s problem is that City, United, Liverpool and Arsenal are all stronger heading into the new season. I fear the Europa League will hinder their chances of a top-four finish. I’m excited about Romelu Lukaku though and youngsters like Ross Barkley and John Stones. I think Lukaku is a contender for the golden boot.
Kait Predicts… Mid-table finish: Steve Bruce was one of my managers of the season for 2013/4. Key signings and a team unfazed by the big boys after a long absence were key to their survival. The best of British transfer policy continues with two very good bits of business in Tom Ince and Robert Snodgrass. The onlyglitch? The distraction and exhaustion of the Europa League. But Bruce is canny enough not to be undone and an enhanced squad helps. No second-season syndrome here, I predict a mid-table finish for last season’s FA Cup finallists.
Leicester City: 20th – Leicester were mightily impressive in gaining promotion last season and though the stadium and infrastructure scream Premier League, the squad doesn’t. The jury is out on £7million man Leonardo Ulloa and the defence looks shaky, even if Kasper Schmeichel in goal doesn’t. He will be a busy man.
Hayley Predicts… Premier League Survival: By far and away the stand-out side in last season’s Championship, having secured promotion with six games to spare. It will be interesting to see if they can cut it in the top tier but looking at their squad I think they can. The owner has set a target of finishing in the top five within five seasons and that has to start somewhere. I can’t see it myself but think the squad assembled by Pearson is too good to go back down. Let’s hope they shake things up.
Liverpool 6th: So close yet so far for Liverpool last season, and that was that for Luis Suarez. The main man has left and although Brendan Rodgers has reinvested, the squad still seems like it may struggle to cope with the Champions League and the Premier League this season. If another striker is added before September they should be closer than I think, but losing Suarez could take a chomp out of their chances.
Lynsey Predicts 5th: It’s a tough ask for Liverpool to replicate the free flowing goal-scoring form they displayed last season. Firstly, and most notably, they are without a certain Mr Suarez. That’s an £85m gaping hole in their attack that when writing this Liverpool were struggling to fill. Well, it was always going to be a big ask! Having said that, there’s some good business to admire in the form of Emre Can, Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic – that’s as well as marvelling at the quick pace of Raheem Sterling once more. The demands of Champions League football may well be telling and taking that in to consideration I predict a fifth-place finish behind Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal and Man Utd.
Kait Predicts…2nd:Even before their Community Shield blip I hadn’t earmarked City for the title. That, in my opinion, belongs to Chelsea. It will be close though. City felt it was job done without great aplomb last season, they won’t be so fortunate this time round. Their new signings will strengthen them further but a lack of co-heasiveness and questions over true grit on the pitch could well be their undoing. For the sheer size of their talent pool and Maunel Pellegrini’s ability to reduce Jose Mourinho to the role of annoying kid brother I predict a second-place finish.
*Preview made ahead of Tony Pulis leaving the club on 14th August
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