The 2019-2020 Premier League season is under way in England, and with that, it is time to wildly overreact to the first few weekends of games. Yes, the league runs all the way until May of 2020, however it would be unjust to not act irrationally and theorize who will finish in the top six, even if it is this early in the season. With that, here are my predictions for what the top of the Premier League table will look like seven months from now.
- Manchester City
City is, once again, a juggernaut that will step all over teams without even blinking an eye. They’re deep in every position on the field, they are coming off of two league titles in a row and they have one of the best managers on the planet in Pep Guardiola. City is currently sitting in second behind Liverpool, but their ability to trounse teams and maintain their form leads me to believe that they will be back at the top of the table sooner rather than later.
Star winger Leroy Sane is likely out for the season with a torn ACL, but Riyad Mahrez seems to be a worthy replacement. As long as game changers such as Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero stay healthy, “Man City” will be fighting for the top spot with Liverpool throughout the season.
Much different than City’s approach, Liverpool’s stifling back line and quick wing backs will be what sets them apart this season. Yes, they have global superstars in Mo Salah and Sadio Mane, but Liverpool’s defense is their main attraction.
Human brick-wall Virgil van Dijk will be looking to retain his position as the world’s best defender, and full backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson give the Reds a different component than any of their Premier League cohorts. Similar to last year, we could be looking at a two-horse title race between City and Liverpool.
With Liverpool’s starting goalkeeper Allison out for the beginning of the season, City could take advantage in the early months.
Spurs are looking to bounce back from their forgettable end of season last year in the Premier League. They won only one out of their last five games, and three out of their last 12. They are back this season with similar personnel to last, though they lost full-back Kieran Trippier to Atletico Madrid. Taking on the roles of outside backs this year are Serge Aurier, a solid but less proven defender, and Danny Rose, a seasoned Premier League player.
Tottenham’s attack is still as potent as ever, with creative players like Son Heung-min and Cristian Erikson in the middle and clinical striker Harry Kane up top. However, Erikson has expressed interest in leaving the club. They also added Tanguy Ndombole from Lyon to their midfield for a club record of $71 million.
The depth of Spurs is at question, and while Dele Alli is a solid player coming off the bench in the middle of the park, their defense and strikers have little to no support. If Tottenham can play like they did for the first two-thirds of last season, they will be safe from falling outside of Champions League contention.
While Arsenal hasn’t been in the conversation as a Champions League contender the last few years, this season could be a different story. They capitalized on the summer transfer window, picking up a crafty attacker in Nicolas Pepe, who could create a lethal trio with already-established strikers Pierre-Emerick Aubamayang and Alexandre Lacazette.
The Gunners also scooped former Chelsea veteran David Luiz to anchor the defense, with speedy wing-backs Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin on his flanks. Along with these additions, midfielder Dani Ceballos is on loan to Arsenal for the season. He has impressed in the first few weekends, and he already seems to have won over the Arsenal faithful.
Their lineup in the coming weeks could look completely different than what the Gunners are playing with now, with potential improvements coming to their back four. While that might be true, there is no telling what will happen with Arsenal’s defense this year. It has been unpredictable in prior seasons, something that has held them back. As the most sporadic team in the Premiership, Arsenal could be back to competing with the best in the world by the end of the season if they find a way to remain consistent.
- Manchester United
After finishing sixth in the league last year, Manchester United is looking to make their way back up the ranks. They recently dumped both Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanches to Inter Milan, two expensive players that weren’t producing as promised.
Daniel James was added this summer coming from Swansea, a youngster that has already impressed in the few games that he has appeared in. Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial will play a major role up top again this season, although Martial has been battling injury at the start of the 2019 campaign.
The questions for this team remain behind the top line, as the production of their midfield and defense is again something that needs to be brought up. Harry Maguire was added from Leicester at the end of the transfer window for a record deal of $97 million. Thus far, he has been solid in defense, however $97 million is a lot.
There were questions over the summer as to whether Paul Pogba would remain at the club, but he is back for another season with the Red Devils. His consistency, along with their strikers, will be a factor in how United’s season will end.
Everton traditionally finds themselves just outside of the top six, but they have made some major moves over the summer. They added Moise Kean, a 19-year old prodigy, from Juventes to add some attacking power. On the wing, Everton signed former Arsenal speedster Alexander Iwobi. The two young players are great additions to an already young core that consists of Richarlison and Andre Gomes.
They also added some leadership and experience by signing Fabian Delph from Manchester City to help out in the midfield. After finishing 8th in the league last year, Everton is trending upwards and is able to compete with the top teams in the Premier League. Problems could arise within their defense, seeing that Kurt Zouma’s loan from Chelsea is over, leaving little to no depth in the back four. Everton could be a sleeper to place top-six in the Premier League this year, but to do so they will need to remain focused and confident throughout the season, which is something that they struggled with last year.
The race for places three through six in the Premier League will be tight this season, so every point will count. Obviously, Chelsea is a notable team left off the list, but with their star Eden Hazard now in Madrid, they could potentially struggle. Hazard was both their top goal scorer (16) and assister (15) last Premier League season. They are filling the void with young players such as Christian Pulisic and Tammy Abraham. Abraham has started the 2019 campaign with two goals in each of his last two games, but he has yet to see a top-six team. Another sleeper could be Wolves, who finished in seventh last year. Although they have started off slowly this season, they have a young core of players that could give the bigger clubs some problems. Ruben Neves has impressed early in the season, and Raul Jimenes is a known goal scorer in the Premier League at this point. It’s way too early to speculate how the Premier League table will look by the end of the 2019-20 season, but here I am, speculating.
Cover photo courtesy of Flickr