Premier League predictions: The Offside Rule team pick their 2022/23 champions, top four, sack race favourite, goal heroes and zeroes

Who’ll claim the title? Who’ll be top scorer? Which manager will be sacked first? And who will the winter World Cup prove costly for? Our squad give their shouts…

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Who will win the league?

Lynsey Hooper, co-founder and presenter: It’s between Man City and Liverpool again, purely because we know how good City are at getting over the finish line, it feels like they go up a gear after Christmas and I think that could be the difference, so I’m predicting a third consecutive title for Pep and City.

Kirsty Roarty, editor: Man City — and by more than one point this season. With the added firepower of wonderkid Erling Haaland, I can’t see past them. He could make all the difference against Liverpool, turning last term’s 2-2 draws into victories, and for their Champions League final ambitions.

Beth Potter, sub-editor: Liverpool, by a whisker. Full transparency: I’m a red and I think the Quintuple is on (Community Shield counted as trophy No.1, I don’t make the rules).

Rachel Roberts, writer: With added motivation after the final week last season, I think Liverpool have enough to pip Manchester City to the title. 

Ruby Malone, writer: Man City. I know it’s the boring option, but its unavoidable these days… Pep Guardiola’s side were already the best team in England and have now only further improved their astounding squad depth with signings such as Haaland and Julian Alvarez. Seriously scary!

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Who will finish in the top four and secure Champions League football?

LH: 1. City, 2. Liverpool, 3. Spurs, 4. Arsenal.

KR: City, Liverpool, Spurs, Arsenal. I’d absolutely love to see ex-Celtic star Kieran Tierney back playing in the Champions League next season so I’m manifesting it.

BP: Liverpool, Man City, Arsenal, Spurs — in that order. Spurs are touted as the only potential challengers to the title, but their being in the Champions League this season, relying on star players Kane and Son (who will also be key to their teams’ successes in the World Cup), makes me feel some problems could be on the cards; in a packed season injuries are never far away. Plus I think Mikel Arteta could spring a surprise with his young, newly-strengthened squad.

RR: Arsenal and Tottenham, to join Liverpool and Man City. I don’t think Chelsea or Manchester United, after recent events, will be steady enough this season. 

RM: Man City, Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal. As a lifelong Gooner, I’ve got to have faith in Arteta and the team (despite being burned so many times in recent years!). It physically pains me to put Spurs third, but with Antonio Conte in full swing and an impressive summer transfer window, I think they may just go one better than last season.

Images: @ManCity and @LFC

Who’ll be the top scorer?

LH: Harry Kane.

KR: Haaland. He scored 86 goals in 89 games for Borussia Dortmund and 22 goals in the Bundesliga last season. Now as part of such a talented City team previously only lacking that Sergio Aguero replacement up front, the young Norwegian striker will edge Mo Salah for the Golden Boot in his first EPL campaign. 

BP: I reckon it’ll be tied between Salah and Haaland. Haaland will have a slow start — City tend to in general before ramping it up after Christmas, and Haaland will echo that and rack up his tally accordingly.

RR: Salah for a fourth Golden Boot in six seasons. 

RM: Salah. I so wish I could confidently say Gabriel Jesus (I do think he’ll surprise many with how many goals he bags) but I just can’t look past Salah, especially considering he won’t have the distraction of the World Cup. I did consider saying Haaland, but I’ll give him a season to bed in before throwing the insanely high expectations on him!

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Who’ll claim the Golden Glove?

LH: Alisson, I can see City being the high-scoring team but I still think with Van Dijk in front of him at Liverpool Alisson will keep the most clean sheets.

KR: Reds keeper Alisson. Liverpool will be defensively strong thanks to Alisson and a fit Van Dijk, whose considerable talents I’m proud to say were nurtured at Celtic Park.

BP: Alisson.

RR: Alisson — his clean sheets will be significant for league title success. 

RM: Alisson. No surprises here! As with recent seasons, it’ll be a pretty even toss-up between Alisson and Ederson…

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Which manager will win the sack race?

LH: Brendan Rodgers.

KR: I’m torn between Frank Lampard, as Everton will flirt dangerously with relegation again this season, and Brendan Rodgers. Expectations were raised at Leicester, firstly, by their fairytale title win in 2016 and then back-to-back fifth-placed finishes under the Northern Irishman from 2019-2021. We know they can be quick to give managers the bullet, so another bad run like last May and Rodgers is first in the firing line.

BP: I think Leicester are in danger of slipping far down the table this season, so I’m going to push the Lampard and Ralph Hasenhuttl temptations aside and say Rodgers.

RR: After scraping survival last year, Lampard could be in serious trouble if Everton fail to make a solid start this season.  

RM: Lampard. After their woeful season last year (not all his fault, in fairness), I can’t imagine Lampard will be given much time to prove himself. If Everton don’t start the season well, fan unrest will grow and he could be chopped pretty quickly. Plus, he has to prove they can survive without Richarlison — gulp!

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Who’s going down?

LH: Bournemouth, Brentford and Leeds.

KR: Bournemouth, Fulham and Leeds. I desperately hope Nottingham Forest stay up — the Premier League needs iconic clubs with such a rich domestic and European history to thrive in the top flight.

BP: Bournemouth, Fulham, Everton. Without Richarlison and having made some strange acquisitions this summer (Dwight McNeil I’m looking at you), I see Everton really struggling.

RR: Fulham, Bournemouth, Everton. 

RM: Fulham, Bournemouth and Leeds. I think Nottingham Forest will just manage to hold on in there (for one season, at least!), but the other two will go straight back down again. The loss of star players Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha will be too much for Leeds and they’ll become a sinking ship.

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Who’ll be the biggest flop?

LH: Newcastle — they won’t get near top four despite some bold predictions I’ve heard elsewhere.

KR: Ronaldo and Man Utd if he stays under this cloud at Old Trafford. Not only will he tarnish his legacy there but it’s the kind of situation that can upset the entire dressing room and derail a season that should be a fresh start under a new manager. Erik ten Hag has to do a Jose Mourinho and stamp his authority by getting shot of him pronto!

BP: Fulham’s Mitrovic. He returns to the PL with some hype surrounding him, having had an incredible season in the Championship, but honestly I think he’s just that: an incredible player in the Championship.

RR: Richarlison to Spurs — £60 million for someone unlikely to start is a large price tag to recuperate. 

RM: Kalvin Phillips. I have a feeling he’ll struggle to quickly adapt to Guardiola’s tactics. City’s squad depth may just swallow him up a bit in his first season, but who knows after that!

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Which team’s likely to pick up the most cards?

LH: Everton.

KR: It’s usually a team that’s fighting for their lives, so on that basis I’d say Leeds. They were not afraid to put the boot in last term either.

BP: Everton, from desperation and with a short-tempered manager on the sidelines.

RR: Leeds were the culprits last season and I don’t think this year will be any different. 

RM: Leeds, who else? Their reputation precedes them!

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Who will the World Cup be the biggest distraction/headache for?

LH: Looking at squads, I’d say Chelsea. They have quite a few players who could get deep in to the tournament.

KR: I think Chelsea have the most international players of any EPL side, which will give manager Thomas Tuchel some selection headaches around the crucial festive period and hamper their top-four bid. But it’s going to be interesting to see how everyone handles it — players torn between club and country, wanting to impress national bosses but also stay fit; teams potentially decimated by the World Cup, costing them in the league. This winter could be chaos.

BP: Chelsea. Around half of their squad will feature in the World Cup; with an unhappy pre-season Tuchel already making noises about a stretched squad, the mid-year disruption will add fuel to the transfer fire behind the scenes.

RR: I think Chelsea could suffer. If they have a difficult start to the campaign then the disruption of the World Cup could stall any recovery — especially with the risk of injuries and loss of form. 

RM: I should really say Liverpool or Man City, considering how many players they’ll have going to Qatar, but I just can’t see past my Gooner-panic. Their mid-season injuries have caused major problems for decades, so the fear of losing top players to injury or overexertion and not having equally talented back-ups is real.

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Who will be pundit of the season?

LH: Ian Wright — for the work he does in the men’s and women’s game.

KR: I’ll always love a Roy Keane rant, but I’m hoping the Alex Scott/Wright double act we were treated to during the Euros is given more game time. Wright is just brilliant and Scott’s not only talented but straight talking, and knows the value of a good co-ord!

BP: Wrighty, always!

RR: Personally, I really enjoy hearing from Keane; his blunt and ruthless analysis of players and performances is great viewing. 

RM: Alex Scott or Ian Wright. Totally and unashamedly biased — I just love them both so much! Plus, they’re seriously good at their jobs.

Follow The Offside Rule on Twitter @OffsideRulePod

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