ROUNDBALL DAILY

2019-20 Premier League season predictions: Who’ll finish where?

header image

Can Harry Kane and Tottenham challenge for the title this season?

The Premier League is back! Yup, already. Nope, you didn’t just wake up from a coma. You’re fine. Relax. Just… sit down and read. Even though it feels like the last season ended about five days ago, a new one is already here. No wonder everyone gets injured all the time. Which teams have moved up, which are trending downwards, and can anyone stop Man City?

Check out our predictions below:

1. Manchester City– Yawn. The rich get richer as this super-club adds Joao Cancelo from Juventus and Rodri from Atletico Madrid, to go with its already stacked cast of characters including Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva. They’ve got everything you could possibly want on a soccer team, and are as annoying and distasteful as Duke in college basketball. I’m not sure how anybody roots for this insufferable group of uppity mercenaries, but they’re going to win again, anyway.

2. Liverpool– The Reds had a magical season last year, steamrolling through the league with only one (!) loss in 38 games. Draws against Leicester, West Ham and Man U might have cost them the Premier League title, though, of course, they captured the Champions League trophy. With Jurgen Klopp (maybe the best manager in football) in charge, the menacing Virgil van Dijk manning the backfield and Mo Salah dissecting everybody up front, this team is still formidable. There may be a hangover after expending themselves so much during a banner season, but there shouldn’t be too much of a drop-off.

3. Tottenham– This was the third-best team in the league last year, but an overwhelming number of injuries and a paucity of depth (due to two consecutive transfer windows with no additions) doomed them down the stretch. Spurs sputtered to the finish line and barely escaped falling out of a Champions League place despite being in the title race for much of the season. Depth shouldn’t be an issue this season, as Spurs signed talented midfielders Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso. They also boast an embarrassment of riches when it comes to attacking players (Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son, Dele Alli, Lucas Moura), solid defense and one of the best managers in the game in Mauricio Pochettino. Much of the season could come down to whether or not Christian Eriksen sticks around (he’s made it clear he wants a bigger payday), but if he does, this team has a shot to hang around the title race for a while once again.

4. Manchester United–
The soccer-watching public gave up on Manchester United, and more specifically on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, after their disastrous finish to last season. It was remarkable how quickly everyone forgot the incredible run Solskjaer went on when he first got hired, as Man U went unbeaten in 16 straight games and came from behind to knock off PSG in the Champions League Round of 16. The Red Devils added Leicester defender Harry Maguire on a record transfer fee and shipped enigmatic forward Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan. Paul Pogba may want out as the season begins, but if Solskjaer can motivate him and the rest of this group, there’s a solid chance this squad can rally and finish in one of the Champions League places, which would make this season a success.

5. Arsenal–The Gunners suffered an epic collapse at the end of last season, dropping points in game after game and failing to capitalize as arch-rival Tottenham ran out of gas. (Editor’s Note: As a Spurs fan, it was hilarious to watch.) Arsenal was horrendous on defense, and despite plenty of firepower, couldn’t score quite enough goals to overcome that. The transfer window was good to the Gunners, as they added Nicolas Pepe and David Luiz, among others, and those reinforcements could help Unai Emery reach the next step in his project. Arsenal will be gunning for the Champions League, and finishing there would be a good step forward.

6. Wolves– Wolverhampton was one of the feel-good stories of the season last year, finishing seventh (the best of the rest) and just out of a Europa League spot. These guys are dangerous, and Nuno Espírito Santo has done a remarkable job with the club. Ruben Neves and Raul Jimenez are two of the most explosive talents in the league, and like their nickname, they play hungry. It wouldn’t be stunning to see them challenge for a Champions League spot, and they’ll be a headache for the established clubs at the top once again.

7. Everton– There’s plenty of buzz around Everton this season, and with good reason. The Toffees finished last season strong, taking points in seven of their last eight matches and smoking Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal by a combined score of 7-0. They also brought in ballyhooed prospect Moise Kean from Juventus and Jean-Philippe Gbamin from Mainz. This is a solid offensive team with Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurðsson, and if it can perform consistently, European qualification is a real possibility, and top four could be within shouting distance.

8. Chelsea– The Blues lost Eden Hazard, couldn’t bring in any players due to a transfer ban, lost Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi to devastating injuries, and are starting out with a new manager. This is Chelsea, so there’s obviously still a ton of talent, but it’s going to have to come together quickly if they want to avoid a slide down the table.

9. Leicester–There’s a lot of optimism in Leicester about this group of Foxes, and for good reason. Brendan Rodgers is an excellent manager, and he did a fine job down the stretch last season in keeping this team in the race for seventh. This team is fun, they always push the pace, and they’ve got a truckload of young talent. Losing star defender Harry Maguire to Manchester United hurts, but the record 80-million pound transfer fee will be used to reinforce this club even more. Nigerian Wilfred Ndidi can fly, and it’s fun to watch him attack the net. Fan favorite Jamie Vardy is 32 now, and may be suffering from a dip in performance, but these Foxes don’t need him to be what he was in 2016 in order to compete. We’ve got them at No. 9, but a higher finish is possible if the defense holds up and they can find consistent goals.

10. Watford– The Hornets were among the best of the rest last season, finishing 11th in the league, earning big wins over some of the top sides, and reaching the FA Cup final (where they were blasted by Man City, but still). This is a solid group, led by top goal-scorer Troy Deeney. His counterpart up front, Andre Gray, is also potent, and the duo make up one of the better attacking combos in the league.

11. West Ham– Like Everton, Leicester, and Wolves, Hammers fans are optimistic that their team can challenge for a Europa League spot this season, and there’s good reason for that. West Ham earned some solid results against top teams towards the end of last season (draw with Liverpool, win at Tottenham Hotspur in the new stadium), and has talent up and down the field. Manuel Pellegrini is one of the best managers the club has had in a long time, and he wants to play aggressively and attack.

12. Bournemouth– Given the club’s history, it’s nothing short of a miracle that Bournemouth is even in the Premier League. But now that they’re here, wunderkind manager Eddie Howe has done a masterful job of keeping them up. Bournemouth finished a solid 12th in the league last season, and despite not having the funds to spend much in the transfer window, has what it takes to stay mid-table again. Strikers Josh King (12 goals last season) and Callum Wilson (14) are two of the most prolific scorers in the league, and they helped this squad earn a win over Tottenham and a truly unbelievable 5-0 thrashing of Chelsea. As long as Howe is in charge, this club looks like it has what it takes to stay in the league for a long while.

13. Burnley– After finishing seventh in the Premier League in 2017-18 and earning European qualification, Burnley came crashing back to Earth last year, spending much of the first half of the season in danger of being relegated before picking themselves off the mat and finishing 15th. Sean Dyche is a good manager, Ashley Barnes is a solid and underrated striker, and Turf Moor is a difficult place to play. Throw in an often-frustrating defensive approach, and this team has what it takes to remain in the upper echelon of English football for another year.

14. Crystal Palace–This is more than a one-man team, but not much more. Almost everything Palace earns, it owes to the transcendent Wilfried Zaha, who is one of the best players in the league. Still, without much of a supporting cast surrounding him, it could be a struggle for this side to retain its annual mid-table status. Most of the drama with Palace will revolve around whether or not it decides to sell Zaha for big money, and start to build the rest of the squad.

15. Southampton– Danny Ings is a tremendous player, but there’s not a whole lot more to be excited for in Southampton. The Saints are good enough to beat the worst teams in the EPL, but they’ll struggle against mid-to-upper tier sides.

16. Aston Villa– The Villans ran roughshod over the rest of the league through the final stretch of the Championship last season to earn promotion, and there’s reason to believe they can remain up this season. John McGinn is a terrific midfielder, Jack Grealish is an up-and-coming star, and Tyrone Mings has the potential to be an absolute stud on the back line. Goalie Tom Heaton is legit, as well. Manager Dean Smith has done a terrific job with this club, and we think they’ve got what it takes to hang around for a while.

17. Newcastle–
Things were looking up on Tyneside until Rafa Benitez decided to bolt for a truckload of money in the Chinese Super League, and take striker Salomón Rondón with him. Former Atlanta United (MLS) star Miguel Almiron will have his hands full going forward, even as he searches for that elusive first goal for the club.

18. Brighton– This group doesn’t have much offense, and even though they can park the bus defensively, that might not be enough to get it done anymore. Glen Murray is a terrific player, but outside of him, this team is about as intimidating as its Seagulls nickname. They never should have fired Chris Houghton, who carried the club to the Premier League and whose absence will be felt this campaign.

19. Norwich City– The Canaries have a solid group of attackers and a fun, opportunistic style, but there just might not be enough here to keep them out of the drop zone. If Norwich stays up, it will be because of talented up-and-comers like forward Teemu Pukki and defender Jamal Lewis.

20. Sheffield United– Despite a surprising showing at Bournemouth in game 1 and a sure-fire Premier League attacker in Billy Sharp, we don’t think the Blades have enough to stay up in the top flight. Sorry, Sheffield fans.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.