Lynsey Predicts… 3rd/4th- A new manager, a new captain, a new formation – it’s all change at Old Trafford. But is it too much all at once? There’ll certainly be a marked improvement on last season under Louis van Gaal (that wasn’t going to be difficult to predict), but challenging for the title is going to be where they come undone. With the news that big money signing Luke Shaw will be missing for the first month and with other defensive question marks I expect United to be battling it out for third spot with Arsenal rather than with Man City and Chelsea for the title. No Champions League football will see them secure a top four finish at the expense of Liverpool. I predict they’ll finish in third or fourth.
Kait Predicts… Mid-table finish- If Geordie Shore had been allowed to film their entire last series at Newcastle United last season it would have made for a much more enticing 42 minutes. It’s time to get back to the football, though, fans and club alike. There have been numerous signings this summer. Although Remy Cabella looks the most exciting, expect another gem or two to emerge. I like the potential of Jack Colback and Emmanuel Rivière. The loss of two fans last month who were heading out to support their team in New Zealand provides a stark reminder of the balance this club needs to readdress. With the right focus, Newcastle will earn a respectable mid-table finish.
Hayley McQueen Predicts… 13th/14th- A big clear-out was much needed and it has happened with solid additions, particularly in defence. A comfortable season ahead with Harry Redknapp, Joe Jordan and the newly appointed Glenn Hoddle will help steer Rangers to somewhere around a 13th or 14th-place finish. And hopefully with some good football to boot. There is now a healthy balance of experienced youth and new signings. With reshaping and lessons learnt from the last campaign in the Premier League, this time round proceedings are set to be much smoother.
Lynsey Predicts… 12th – The bare bones that Liverpool have left at Southampton are going to need extra calcium if they’re to try and match their eighth-place finish last season. That nutrition needs to come in the form of extra signings before the transfer window closes. As it stands I can’t see Saints finishing in the top half of the table. With sides like Hull, Crystal Palace and Stoke set to take more points than last time out I fear Southampton may be one of the sides to surrender. Fraser Forster is a good acquisition but more are needed. I predict a 12th place finish.
Stoke: 9th- The job Mark Hughes is doing at Stoke is quite impressive. They are playing good football and he is getting the best out of players like Arnautovic and Odemwingie. This season he has added Bojan and Mame Diouf to that front line. The former Man United man has some sway with players and there shouldn’t be any reason to believe Hughes and Stoke won’t continue to be successful.
Kait Predicts… 8th- Sometimes the perfect two halves of a relationship have a way of finding each other. Mark Hughes, the man who let his ego walk him out of Fulham and who indulged too heavily at QPR, needed the grounding that Stoke provided. Stoke needed a firm hand and some flair in their play. And thus the love affair began. I can only see an improvement on last season’s best-ever top flight finish. If integrated well, 23-year-old ex-Barcelona man Bojan could be the coup of the summer. Other signings have provided further strength and experience and if the talent of Marko Arnautovic, already a season in, can be harnessed, I predict at least an eighth-place finish.
Sunderland: 10th- Sunderland finished last season in impressive fashion and Gus Poyet will be hoping that the momentum from that will carry over into this season. Jack Rodwell could prove to be an astute bit of business. Mid-table finish for the Black Cats this term.
They still need some pace up top and Poyet must add to the squad before the window closes. The owners must give him the money and freedom to act. There is, though, stability in the squad and I like that Sunderland have so many British players who compliment the healthy smattering of Poyet’s foreign picks. A mid-table finish for me.
Lynsey Predicts…Relegation Candidates- With no Ben Davies and Michel Vorm I wonder whether Swansea might prove to be the whipping boys for a few of the top sides this season. Lukasz Fabianski is yet to convince me as a number one and despite the creative flair Swansea possess Garry Monk is going to have to steady up his defence when facing names like Diego Costa, Robin van Persie and Daniel Sturridge. With or without Wilfried Bony I can see Swansea in a fight for survival with Aston Villa and West Brom. For the record: if I was to call it now I’d say Burnley, Leicester and the Welsh outfit will go down.
Kait Predicts…6th/7th- Spurs are one of the teams I’ll be watching closely this season. Can new manager Mauricio Pochettino successfully transition his brand of football on a team too oft disjointed last term? After the ins and outs of their last three managers Spurs fans deserve some loyalty from Daniel Levy. Let the new man in charge do his job and the team will thrive. Pochettino’s quick, attacking style will delight fans. It’s time to get back to what Spurs know best. Expect much more from key signings last season, Erik Lamela in particular. They’ll fight it out with Everton for sixth or seventh place.
Kait Predicts…15th- If West Brom were a middle-aged man I’d have bought them a fast car and exchanged the Marks and Spencer flannels for something a bit less, well, grey, this pre-season. At least the perfectly nice, but completely uninspiring Pepe Mel has departed. I’m unconvinced how strong Alan Irvine will be, particularly when he has to adapt to a club philosophy that needs to reassert itself. The arrival of Nigerian striker Brown Ideye should at least bring more goals. They’ll stay safe, but not by much. 15th place finish.