The 2019-20 Premier League season is almost here!
It’ll be hard to top last season’s campaign, when FFP violating Manchester City topped Champions League winner’s Liverpool by one point on the final matchday.
This season, Liverpool and City are clear favorites. Who will claim the other two UCL spots? Have Chelsea and Manchester United done enough to stay in the top 6? Who’s getting relegated?
Here’s what we think.
Back to do predictions are site contributors Tyler Everett and ex-Newcastle forward Carl Cort. Joining the panel this year is Statsbomb writer and HPS contributor Grace Robertson. Let’s get into it.
2019-20 Premier League Predictions: Who will win it all?
|Chops||This is a classic heart vs mind battle. My heart says Liverpool. My mind says Manchester City.
I can make a credible case for Liverpool on three factors: 1) THEY ONLY LOST ONE FREAKING DOMESTIC GAME LAST SEASON AND FINISHED WITH THE 3RD HIGHEST POINT TOTAL EVER, 2) if there’s one thing the squad has shown is a resilience to claw back from adversity. They did it with the UCL last year, maybe it happens with the EPL this year, 3) I believe in God, and there’s no way God would be cool with City winning three times in a row.
There are plenty of reasons to not think Liverpool will win. Sure, getting Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain back helps, as does the emergence of Rhian Brewster. Otherwise, they didn’t add depth to a squad that was very healthy last year and is competing for seven total trophies (well, six now). They’ve exceeded xG two seasons in a row (and have particularly killed it on set pieces) and regression seems likely.
However, the lads show time and again a hunger to be the best. The league is stronger and deeper this year. It’ll be close, maybe down to the final matchday again. But Klopp has shown — both in game and over the course of a season — that he learns from mistakes. Don’t expect another winter swoon. He’ll have them consistently strong all season. Liverpool just edge out City for their first Premier League title.
|Tyler||I think Manchester City wins the league again, whether I like it or not — and I’d love to be wrong here. (You don’t have to be a diehard Reds fan to be pretty turned off by City’s ability to buy whoever they want, among other things).
Liverpool will tally enough points (low, maybe mid-90s) to win in a normal year, but I don’t see anything to prevent Man City from enjoying another absurdly successful campaign.
Pep Guardiola’s team’s depth will be the difference over another long season, especially after Liverpool’s fruitful, but nevertheless exhausting, run to the UCL final last year. The low likelihood of Liverpool enjoying the health it did a year ago, plus the number of players who played big roles in major summer tournaments with their countries — Mo Salah, Naby Keita and Sadio Mane in the Africa Cup of Nations, Alisson and Firmino in the Copa America — makes fatigue/fatigue-related issues an even bigger concern.
|Grace||As much as it pains me to say it, I just can’t look past City’s strength in the numbers.
They generate better chances than Liverpool. They concede fewer good chances than Liverpool. There’s no getting around the fact that this City team is simply the real deal. If the Community Shield is a sign of what’s to come, Guardiola has added better set piece work over the summer. That’s another edge he’s now exploiting.
The case for Liverpool really involves finding ways to genuinely improve as a team. Maybe Oxlade-Chamberlain adds something? Maybe Keita pushes on? It’s all possible. But I’m not convinced. I think Liverpool pretty much maxed out in terms of getting the most out of the talent available last season, while City still have more quality.
|Carl||I believe we’re still another season or two out before you can start to add the likes of Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal and Manchester United to this equation.
As an Arsenal fan, unfortunately I’m going to have to give it to Liverpool!
Even though they haven’t added to the squad, what they do have is still much better than the majority of the league. Looking at the off-season acquisitions as a whole, there haven’t been any major game changers. I think it will again go right down to the wire. Both teams have fantastic fire power but what will separate Liverpool from City is their strength at the back.
Predictions: 2 for Liverpool, 2 for City
2019-20 Premier League Predictions: After City and Liverpool, who will round out the top 4?
|Chops||As much as I want to say that Everton, Wolves, or West Ham will crack the top 4, I just can’t.
After finally spending some money on transfers this summer, Tottenham feels like a lock (oddsmakers agree). Then it comes down to Chelsea, Manchester United, or Arsenal.
Oddsmakers favor Chelsea and Man U, but I like what Arsenal did this summer. Their defense will still be porous, but they’ll score so much it won’t matter. They have a 2017-18 Liverpool feel to them. I don’t believe in Lampard at Chelsea or OGS at United (though I do believe both have positive qualities). Emery is more proven. He’ll steer the Gunners back to the UCL.
|Tyler||I’m with Chops on Spurs staying in the top 4. This team didn’t lose any major pieces besides Kieran Trippier, and Tanguy Ndombele seems like a high-impact signing. For a price tag over $70M, he better be. You also have to imagine they have better injury luck than they did a year ago.
I don’t feel terribly confident in Chelsea, Manchester United (especially not this team) or Arsenal, but I’ll go with Chelsea in fourth. It’s probably wishful thinking, but Christian Pulisic seems like a huge addition, even if he’s undeniably no Eden Hazard. So, in order, I’ve got City, Liverpool, Spurs and Chelsea.
|Grace||I do think Spurs are the most likely team here, but I do still have some reservations. That side was really quite poor in the second half of the league season, coming 11th in the table if you only include the last 19 games.
But Ndombele feels like a big get for them. He’s the midfielder Pochettino needed but didn’t get last summer as the long term Mousa Dembele replacement. He should help glue their better buildup play in previous years with their more direct stuff from last season.
After that, I’m surprisingly into Arsenal. The squad is, to put it politely, top-heavy. But I do think Emery’s qualities at Sevilla were of someone who could produce a strong, compact defensive side with speed on the counter. A team that regularly plays Mustafi is never going to have a great defence, but I think he can tighten them up a bit more after a year of coaching.
|Carl||Maybe I’m being a little biased but I actually think Arsenal will surprise people this season. It’s never really been an issue on the offensive side of Arsenal’s game. The last several seasons they’ve just been soft and mushy in the midfield and as solid as a house of cards defensively. Emery is aware of this. I believe Arsenal had a bid rejected for Dayot Upamecano. If Upamecano does eventually become a Gunner I believe he could be the answer to their issues defensively.
Spurs I believe will capture the other spot. I look at Spurs as a team that have the capabilities to beat any squad in the league but are missing an ingredient (I believe mentally) to do this on a consistent basis, therefore diminishing their chances of winning the league.
Would I have chosen Arsenal and Spurs to claim 3rd and 4th spot if Chelsea and Man U were not in a transitional period? Maybe not. But right now I think they are more equipped to succeed.
Predictions: Liverpool (4), Man City (4), Tottenham (4), Arsenal (3), Chelsea (1).
2019-20 Premier League Predictions: Who rounds out the top 6?
|Chops||Yeah yeah, I know I said I don’t think Lampard is a quality manager yet. However, I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Chelsea and particularly Christian Pulisic this preseason. There’s enough talent there to earn a Europa League bid.
Then it comes down to Manchester United, Everton, Wolves, or West Ham.
I was on Wolves’ corner all last year. I want to go with Wolves. I think there’s a little “too much too soon” with them. Do they have the infrastructure to support a Europa League and Premier League run? I’m not sure.
To me, this United season has all of the makings of a “bottom falls out” year. They just seem unstable. I liked what they were doing this summer on transfers — young British players who remind OGS of his 90’s squad. Then they make Harry Maguire the most expensive defender in the world. While I don’t think OGS is a bad manager, I don’t think he’s a great one either. He has the right temperament to weather criticism, but there’s too much turmoil at Old Trafford both organizationally and from the fan base. It’ll seep down to the players. It has to, especially if they start off slow. If they lose to Chelsea on matchday 1, the wheels could fly off quickly.
That leaves Everton and West Ham. Both had impressive summers. Both added legit quality to their squads. I had been leaning towards West Ham because they have an edge at manager. But damn, that Everton roster is impressive. And it’s worth about $200M more than West Ham. That’s a hard talent disparity to overcome. Everton edges out West Ham and Man U in May.
|Tyler||I see Arsenal finishing in fifth place. After Man City and Liverpool, Arsenal were, by total goals scored, the best offensive team in the league a year ago. They added another player capable of scoring double-digit goals in Nicolas Pepe. Any team with three offensive threats as dangerous as Pepe, Aubameyang and Lacazette is going to be fun to watch. More importantly, they’ll be successful, even if the defense leaves something to be desired.
And I’m going with Everton ahead of ManU in sixth. I just don’t trust ManU based on what I saw from them last season. The perpetual soap opera at Old Trafford will once again be a must-see spectacle, even if the on-field product is poor.
I don’t feel a whole lot better about Everton than I do West Ham or Wolves, but I really like the Moise Kean signing and think he’ll fit in nicely alongside Gylfi Sigurdsson and Richarlison.
|Grace||The whole world has forgotten that Chelsea finished third last season and won the Europa League. Yes, they have lost Eden Hazard. Yes, Frank Lampard probably isn’t an amazing manager. But this group of players should still be capable of being basically fine. I’m not sure they’ll look amazing this year, but I find it hard to believe it’ll go catastrophically wrong.
Similarly, Manchester United have felt one game away from complete collapse for years now. But I feel like they might be a touch underrated at this point. Wan-Bissaka and Maguire are not hugely exciting signings, but they’re at the very least an upgrade on who they had last season. I’m not expecting much in the way of real progress at Old Trafford, but they should be fine.
|Carl||Even with the addition of Frank Lampard and his lack of experience as a head coach, Chelsea still have enough to claim a top six spot. Their last three head coaches have been successful in delivering silverware to the club. However, the style of play as a team hasn’t been easy on the eye and has somewhat been boring to watch. I think Frank adds a little bit of fresh air to Chelsea as a whole. He will begin to change the identity of the club, adding more flair and a dynamic aspect to the team.
I automatically want to give my next choice to Man United but it’s actually going to Wolverhampton. Nuno Santo has Wolves playing attractive and effective soccer. It’s how I like to see the game being played. I think they can do even better than last season.
Predictions: Chelsea (3), Everton (2), Arsenal (1), Man U (1), Wolves (1)
2019-20 Premier League Predictions: Who gets relegated?
|Chops||This feels like the easiest call of them all. Recent call-ups Norwich and Sheffield don’t have the squads to properly compete. They have the lowest squad market values by a large margin. It’ll be a short stay in the top division.
Brighton & Hove Albion barely survived last year. They’ve done little to improve their squad. They’re heading down to the Championship too.
|Tyler||I’m going with Chops on this one, and would have gone with Norwich and Sheffield even if I hadn’t seen his take here, I swear.
Newcastle is in for a long season, but maybe this is the year Mike Ashley finally finds a buyer willing to pay whatever it is he’s looking for???
However, I think Brighton is a more likely relegation candidate than Newcastle.
|Grace||Aston Villa have spent a lot of money on a lot of players. One or two aside, I can’t figure out why they were signed. Perhaps it’ll suddenly all come together. I suspect the more likely scenario is they go straight back down.
Newcastle, poor Newcastle. Trapped in the grip of Mike Ashley. He only cares about keeping the team in the Premier League, but I don’t think Steve Bruce will manage to pull that off. It’ll be a sad day for football when they go down.
Finally, I feel a bit guilty for putting Norwich here because I like what Daniel Farke wants to do. They’re a team that play good football and should be an enjoyable watch if ever you’re looking through the Saturday games for something to put on. But this is largely the same side devoid of top flight experience from last year’s promotion and I don’t know if the quality is quite there.
|Carl||It’s easy to look straight towards the newly promoted teams but I actually think two out of the three promoted teams will survive (Norwich and Sheffield United). It’s not due to the fact that they’re going to cause any major surprises with electrifying performances but in their own little league at the bottom half of the table there’s enough poor teams down there they can beat.
With that being said I think it’s the end of the road for Newcastle, Brighton and Aston Villa. They will rebound straight back down.
Predictions: Brighton (3), Norwich (3), Sheffield (2), Aston Villa (2), Newcastle (2).