The Soccer Surgeons are back. The Premier League is back. Happy days!
Soccer Surgery breaks out the crystal ball to give you our nailed on predictions for the new season.
If curious about our Premier League predictions from last season you can find them here.
TABLE DROPPER: LIVERPOOL
Big disclaimer here. Liverpool tanks for us based solely on the failures of the transfer market to date(Van Dijk, Keita) and the fact they have a star player(Coutinho) begging to leave Anfield. Champions League obligations further complicates matters no doubt.
We have modelled a 7th placed finish but that all changes if they manage to keep Coutinho and somehow kidnap Virgil Van Dijk from Southampton..
TABLE RISER/SURPRISE TEAM: BURNLEY
The Clarets narrowly avoided the drop last year finishing 16th but a big turnaround is around the corner. Despite losing Michael Keane to Everton their sound defensive principle under Sean Dyche will remain we think. The boost this year is that they have found a legitimate 20 goal threat in Sam Vokes who only received starts late in last year’s campaign and already placed a stake through Chelsea’s heart in the opening fixture.
GOLDENBOOT/TOP GOAL SCORER: SERGIO AGUERO
The consensus favourite is Romelu Lukaku on the reasoning of “proven performance” and a better supporting cast than Everton. That is a fair argument but assumes Lukaku adjusts to the pressure in his first season or that Sergio Aguero won’t be playing in front of the slew of talent available at Manchester City these days.
CHAMPION: MANCHESTER CITY
The deciding factors here remain (1) squad strength to withstand inevitable injuries and (2) an ability to manage other obligations i.e Champions League, FA Cup and the Mickey Mouse league Cup.
Frankly the Manchester teams have the biggest spend over the summer window whilst rivals have either stood still(Spurs) or regressed(Chelsea). Unlike the last two seasons this title chase is setup to be a tight one but the added depth in the blue side of Manchester will make the difference. Gundogan, Sterling, Sane and Danilo are prominent names on the most expensive subs bench in history.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PLACES: CHELSEA, MAN UTD, SPURS, MAN CITY
Clearly the Manchester teams would be safe for the Champions league places so the questions as last year would be who joins them? This year we go with Spurs and Chelsea and we support our selection by explaining why the challengers will fall short of the mark:
Liverpool’s struggles to add their preferred targets has been well documented and will be the death of their season. Salah‘s pace up front will enhance an already potent attack. That said they have managed to fail to address the two key plagues on their house last year being (1) inconsistent centrebacks play/defending of set pieces and (2) breaking down deep defenses. The latter issue now all the more worrying with the probable departure of Coutinho.
Arsenal live under the same cloud of uncertainty. These two clubs are neighbours in that respect. Arsenal has its own want away stars in Alexis Sanchez and Alex Oxlaide Chamberlain and failed to address needed quality backup for Koscieny, Bellerin and Cazorla. Lacazette is a great buy but we remain unconvinced by Granit Xhaka, a member of our 2016 list of the worse summer transfers, and time will tell how the players adapt to Wenger‘s newly minted 3-5-2 formation.
RELEGATED TEAMS: NEWCASTLE, SWANSEA CITY, HUDDERSFIELD
Rafa Benitez transfer budget at Newcastle has been strangled and his frustrations have found their way to the press leading to his tempered expectations for the season. If he has concerns so do we.
Swansea City has sold their talisman Gylfi Siggurdson to Everton and replaced him thus far with Tammy Abraham..You are forgiven if you reached for Google!
These two will be joined by our “softspot” team Hudderfield Town who are coached by Jurgen Klopp disciple David Wagner. They added a quality striker in Steve Mounie(15 goals for Montpellier) and their combative pressing style will cause teams problems just as Crystal Palace found out. However living by the sword through that combative style we expect will wear out their small squad by February.
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Disclaimer: Although we are noted for the 99% accuracy of our predictions none of the surgeons bear any liability for financial losses as a result of a reliance placed on the information contained herein 🙂