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: BURNLEY
Burnley rode an impressive home record and a stingy defense to a surprising 6th place last season. Their prize for that feat is the Thursday calamity of a competition known as the Europa League which will prove perilous for their fortunes this campaign.
Their lack of reinforcements contrasts unfavourably with the usual midtable “ignorables “ Everton, West Ham and Watford. They should all leap the Clarets and make this the first and last European campaign for the ginger Mourinho.
Expected finish – 12th
TABLE RISER/SURPRISE TEAM: WEST HAM UNITED
Last season was a clear disappointment for the Hammers finishing 13th but there has been a complete summer revamp in preparation for their second season in the Olympic stadium.
Most importantly out goes the relic David Moyes replaced by proven premier league winner Manuel Pelligrini.
That has clearly influenced the recruitment drive with a flood of quality arrivals in the form of Felipe Anderson, Andriy Yarmolenko, and Issa Diop,
Expected finish – 8th
GOLDENBOOT/TOP GOAL SCORER: MOHAMMED SALAH
The consensus favourite would be Mohammed Salah on the basis of his record breaking season in 2017/18. New midfield additions in the form of Keita and Fabinho only enhance his chances with the increased turnover of the opposition in dangerous areas.
His main competition would come from Sergio Aguero, our tagged favourite last year, but rotation worries cast a shadow on his chances.
Romelu Lukaku and Harry Kane both have a late start to the season after World Cup exertions.
Meanwhile there have been suggestions Unai Emery is favouring a wide left role for Pierre Aubemeyang which dents his chances.
Our dark horse in the race would be Soccer Surgery favourite Alvaro Morata but the worry would be the uncertainty of starts. Will he impress Sarri early in the season and push on?
Expected top goal tally – 27. We project fewer lopsided scores as midtable teams have strengthened.
CHAMPION: MANCHESTER CITY
The champion’s last game of 2017/18 on the road at Southampton was the perfect summation of its season. After a possession heavy but wasteful performance Gabriel Jesus climbed off the bench to score unexpectedly in the last minute. There were similar late winners at Bournemouth and Huddersfield courtesy of the most wasteful of them all – Raheem Sterling.
To support this theme ESPN’s new scientific “Luck Index” calculated that 13 of City’s 106 goals were down to pure luck – highest of any team in the league last season.
We pile all this to solely make the point there was a false gap in the table last season. This could fairly fool City into a dangerous state of complacency if Guardiola allows – but he won’t.
Additionally Riyad Mahrez and Benjamen Mendy will have big years in Guardiola’s system to assist in holding off a hard charging pack .
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PLACES (in order): MAN CITY , CHELSEA, LIVERPOOL, ARSENAL
Will this be finally the year the parity at the top of the Premier League reflects in the final points table? We think so (or at least hope so).
Chelsea has clearly decided to financially back new manager Mauro Sarri in ways it shamelessly refused to back Antonio Conte – and it should pay off handsomely. Ignoring the ransom paid to Atletic Bilbao, new keeper Kepa was an essential addition along with Mateo Kovacic if the deal goes through as expected. There is no need to discuss the impact of Jorginho – one of the best deep lying playmakers today. Lined up next to Kante it’s the best midfield in the Premier league by a pinch.
Big name additions has the Liverpool fanbase giddy with expectation after weaknesses in midfield and goalkeeper were addressed impressively. What still remains true however is that Guardiola’s men already have a 2 year head start as a unit whilst Fabinho and especially Keita still need some time potentially to be integrated into Liverpool’s play.
Emery is a fantastic coach and frankly this is the best Arsenal squad for several years maybe dating back to the Invincibles. The attacking quartet (Aubameyang, Lacazette, Ozil, Ramsey) will surely finish in the top 4 in goals. In the last 2 years no player has won more interceptions(158) in Seria A than new signing Lucas Torreira. Add Sokratis experience alongside the hugely underrated Mustafi and that should be enough to squeeze the final champions league spot
Spurs have made no additions at the time of writing. Standing still is going backwards in these times and backwards translates to 5th place.
Mourinho’s best efforts to demoralize his troops early suggest his 3rd season collapse is not only a real phenomenon but arriving premature. There appear to be real issues between Mourinho and the talisman of the team Paul Pogba. We bet Mourinho’s ego won’t let him solve them in time to keep pace with the other beasts in the “big 6”. Furthermore, Mourinho’s style will induce draws this season where luck fell their way the last campaign.
FIRST SACK: Nuno Santo (Wolves) ; Darkhorse – Jose Mourinho (Manchester United)
RELEGATED TEAMS: FULHAM, CARDIFF CITY, HUDDERSFIELD
All 3 teams have something in common – a comparative lack of a firepower up front and they’ll face demotion as a result.
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Disclaimer: Although we are noted for the 99.7% 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 🙂