Join with us and laugh aloud at our ineptitude as – just like last season – we run you through our predictions for the 2019/20 season, with a little twist this time around.
We got our crystal balls out over what to expect this coming campaign so you can be safe in the knowledge that the exact opposite will probably happen, especially when we’ve bravely taken on the challenge of a 10-year-old football nut!
Barnsley lad Luke is an avid Tottenham fan and regular reader of TEAMtalk and thought he could do better with his predictions than the TT ‘experts’. So we’ve decided to call his bluff and will happily part company with a 99′ with two flakes, strawberry sauce and sprinkles if he beats us!
Once the season is through, we’ll run back over these and review who was most accurate and who just looked damn-right ridiculous.
Who will win the Premier League?
James: I’d tipped Liverpool last season and in so many ways they had the stellar season I thought they would. However, I think that 97-point haul can’t and won’t be repeated by Jurgen Klopp’s side and I think Man City will do them again.
Matty: It’s difficult to see how anyone can make up the ground on Man City and Liverpool, and with Rodri strengthening Man City it’s hard to see past them retaining their title. Pep though is their biggest asset and expect more innovation from him and his City side this time around.
Rob: Revenge for Klopp’s Reds I reckon as they pip City to the title this time around in another humdinger of a Premier League season. City may just suffer from not having Vincent Kompany’s leadership around the place and that could be the difference between the two sides.
Oli: Manchester City. I picked them last year and although Liverpool ran them incredibly close, I still think Pep’s boys have the strength in depth to once again finish top of the pile.
Sam: I think it could go all the way to the last day again, with City’s superior squad depth giving them the advantage over Liverpool.
Luke: Liverpool, because they want revenge over Man City.
And who else will finish in the top four?
Oli: Liverpool, Spurs, Arsenal – in that order. The two north London sides look set to strengthen very well while Liverpool still have a fearsome squad that could produce yet another exciting title race. Manchester United and Chelsea omitted as both feel to be undergoing a bit too much of an overhaul this summer, though admittedly either could squeeze in there.
Sam: Liverpool will be close runners up again, followed by Tottenham and Man Utd. The top three seem fairly settled these days, and I’ve got a feeling United will do better than last year, with Solskjaer having had a full pre-season to work with his squad.
Matty: Liverpool will be the closest challengers to City again, but will fall just short and I expect Tottenham and Arsenal to make up the top four.
Rob: Man City, Tottenham, Arsenal. Spurs have really improved their midfield with the signing of Ndombele and there could be more to come, while the Gunners have enough firepower to get the points they need to get back in the CL spots.
James: Liverpool – but then a big jump down to Arsenal and Tottenham.
Luke: Man City, Tottenham, Man Utd. All three will have good seasons, but not as good as Liverpool!
Prem’s ‘surprise’ package?
Rob: Always a tough one to predict but I’m gonna take a big punt and say that Sheffield United avoid the drop, and that would be a big surprise in itself. They are well organised and play a system that could surprise a few teams and earn the 40 points that should keep them up.
James: It may sound slightly daft, but I’m going to say Arsenal. I’m not saying they’ll push for the title, but I do think they can make that leap from top-four hopefuls to top-four certainties, with Unai Emery learning a lot from his first season at the helm.
Oli: Perhaps won’t be a huge surprise to some but I see Aston Villa adapting well to life back in the top flight. They have a talented squad and a manager who plays the right way – they could even push for a top half finish.
Sam: Leicester could have an opportunity to break into the top six. I also think Sheffield United will take some by surprise and stay up, even if it’s by a narrow margin.
Matty: It’s a difficult one to nail down, but I think West Ham will improve on their 10th place last season and could push for the top six. They were 14 points adrift last season and I think they will get a lot closer to the European places with some shrewd signings.
Luke: Everton. I really like Marco Silva and they looked like they could challenge the big six at times last season.
Your three relegation picks?
Sam: Brighton showed some worrying signs towards the end of last season and despite the change in manager, I can’t see them staying up this time around. Norwich will go straight back down and I’d even be worried for Newcastle. It will only go one of two ways for them – they’ll either do surprisingly well and maybe reach the top half, or really struggle. I think it’ll be the latter.
Rob: Palace, Brighton, Norwich. The Eagles will probably drag the Zaha saga out until the final day of the window to get the best price and then not be able to get in the recruits they need until January – that will end up costing them dear. I just don’t fancy Brighton having the quality to avoid the drop again, while Norwich will score goals but let in tons at the other end.
Matty: I think Burnley’s time might be up this season, while Brighton could also find it tough with their signings untested in the Premier League. It’s also hard to get away from tipping one of the new boys and I think Norwich will be the team to go down after one season.
James: Brighton, Sheffield United, Norwich for me!
Oli: Sheffield United, Brighton, Crystal Palace. The latter two have had some very tough stretches in the last two seasons where they have been treading water and it might just be a bit too much this time around, and while I want the Blades to do well they’re going to find it difficult to play the way they did last season.
Luke: Palace, Brighton and Norwich. If Zaha goes Palace are stuffed, Brighton got lucky last season and Norwich just aren’t good enough.
Premier League’s top goalscorer?
Oli: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. He shared the Golden Boot last season and with Nicolas Pepe’s impending move to Arsenal and Alexandre Lacazette already there, they could have the best front three in the league.
Matty: After 17 goals last season, I’m going to go for Raheem Sterling. The England man has been growing in stature over the last 18 months and I think he might have a season to remember. He’s a 16/1 shot too!
James: I agree with Oli’s Aubameyang assessment. It also ties in with why I think Arsenal will have a really decent season.
Rob: A bounce-back season for a rejuvenated Harry Kane, who will have a full pre-season behind him and make up for an injury-hit campaign in 2018-19.
Sam: Mohamed Salah. He’ll play a big part in another title push for Liverpool, and with the quality he has alongside him, can replicate the goalscoring form he showed in his first season at Anfield.
Luke: Harry Kane, because he’s Harry Kane and he’s the best.
First Prem manager to lose their job?
James: Graham Potter. I’m judging from afar, but he doesn’t have the charisma for me. I also think they erred sacking Chris Hughton.
Rob: I’ll go with Steve Bruce at Newcastle. There’s no doubting that he’ll be desperate to succeed with his hometown club but he appears to be a manager who seems to suit certain clubs and he had a good thing going at Sheffield Wednesday and should not have left. An iffy first 10-15 games could see Ashley pull the trigger.
Oli: Roy Hodgson. Based on nothing other than Palace starting the season poorly, them panicking and hiring someone out of work.
Sam: Tough one – I’ll also go with Hodgson, since Palace might have a rocky start following the departures of Wan-Bissaka and (probably) Zaha.
Matty: I agree that Graham Potter might struggle if Brighton get off to a poor start and he could go before Christmas.
Luke: Graham Potter, because he sounds like he should be a supermarket manager.
FA Cup winners?
Oli: Liverpool. Klopp to capture his first FA Cup with the Reds by beating Tottenham in the final.
Sam: A first piece of silverware for Solskjaer, with Man Utd to go all the way.
Matty: Man City again.
James: Tottenham – and, at last, a well deserved first trophy for Pochettino!
Rob: Every year I go for Tottenham so guess what! Trophy drought finally over for Poch and Spurs.
Luke: Tottenham. We have to win something and the Audi Cup doesn’t count!
EFL Cup winners?
James: Manchester United. But that’ll be all for them. For what it’s worth, I can see Newcastle having a good run in this competition too as Steve Bruce says he’ll be some emphasis on the cups…
Matty: Man City again.
Rob: Man City to retain their crown as Pep takes everyone competition seriously and will bag the first trophy of the new campaign.
Oli: Going to try and be a little bit different here and say Everton. It’s been a long 25 years for Toffees fans…
Sam: Arsenal will have a decent season which I reckon they’ll cap off with one of the domestic trophies.
Luke: Man City, because their squad is so strong.
Champions League winners?
Rob: Barcelona for me, with that attacking trio of Messi, Griezmann and Suarez (not to mention if they got Neymar back!) having too much for the rest of Europe as they beat Juventus in the final.
James: Manchester City. It’s finally their year…
Sam: After what’s happened in the last two seasons, I think Barcelona are really going to prioritise the Champions League and make a big effort to win it. No European trophy in five years would be unacceptable by their standards.
Matty: Liverpool come into their own in this competition and I think they can retain their crown.
Oli: Barcelona. They will go one better than last season to reach the final with the help of Antoine Griezmann, and they will beat club hero Pep Guardiola and City to lift their sixth European Cup.
Luke: Barcelona. It’s simple – I love Messi and I’ve done a stadium tour of the Nou Camp and thought it was amazing.
Europa League winners?
Sam: Roma, of course! New coach Paulo Fonseca and most of the summer signings seem eager to make an impression. The fans are still a bit unsettled, so a first trophy in over a decade would be the perfect remedy.
Matty: You would fancy one of the Champions League drop-outs, but Arsenal might just go one better.
Rob: So hard to pick when you don’t know the Champions League drop-outs but I’ll take a punt on Arsenal (ouch) going one better than last season.
James: A random guess here….Getafe!
Oli: Picking the Europa League winner at this stage is always a pure punt as an elite side could easily drop out of the Champions League and become clear favourites, but for now I’ll go with Roma (you’re welcome Sam).
Luke: Chelsea to drop out of the CL and win it again.
Championship top two?
Matty: Fulham and Leeds.
Oli: Fulham and West Brom. Huddersfield in the play-offs, of course.
Rob: Leeds and Fulham for me. Keeping Bielsa was massive for Leeds and although I have some doubts about Scott Parker, Fulham have a quality squad that should go straight back up.
Sam: West Brom and Leeds – arguably the two best managers in the division.
James: Fulham and I have to say Leeds. As I write this, I still think we need to sign a new defender though….
Luke: Leeds, West Brom. I like Leeds and met a lot of their players once, they were really good to me. West Brom have a good manager in Bilic.
Winners of other European leagues?
Oli: Bundesliga – Bayern Munich. LaLiga – Real Madrid. Ligue 1 – PSG. Serie A – the mighty AC Milan! (probably Juventus again).
Sam: Borussia Dortmund to win the Bundesliga – they came close last year and have made some exciting signings, while with Robben and Ribery gone it really could be the end of an era for Bayern. Real Madrid to win La Liga as a reaction to last year’s disappointments, PSG to win Ligue 1 again and Juventus to edge Napoli for Serie A.
Matty: Bayern Munich, Barcelona, PSG, Juventus.
Rob: Bayern Munich, Barcelona, PSG, Inter Milan.
James: Bayern, Barcelona, PSG, Juventus – same as last season!
Luke: Bayern, Barcelona, PSG, Juventus.
What can we expect from the team you support…..?
Sam: As mentioned above, it’s Europa League glory for Roma! It’s been a summer of change, but the signings we’ve made will slot straight into our starting lineup. Still need another defender, but the squad has pretty much taken shape now. A good European run and a return to the top four, and I’ll be happy. Reckon it’ll be another year before we can really challenge Juventus, Inter and Napoli, but it can’t get much worse than last season… (Also a shout-out to Garforth Town, who are going to storm the Northern Counties East League this year!)
Matty: For those who are interested in the bottom tier – I’m hopeful Gary Bowyer can steer Bradford City back into League One at the first attempt. After 18 months of hell under the tyranny of Edin Rahic though a top-half finish would be ok.
Rob: A big improvement on how they fell away in the second-half of last season for Tottenham. Reaching the Champions League final kind of papered over the cracks for Pochettino, but the addition of probably two more full-backs and maybe another central striker could see Spurs run Liverpool and City close for the title again. Ndombele could give them that dominant force centrally that can run games, especially against their major rivals, while I expect Harry Kane to get back to his best again. If someone could get a tune out of Dele Alli again that would be nice too!
Oli: It has been a summer of drastic change on and off the field for Huddersfield and for that reason the re-adjustment back to life in the second tier may not be as seamless as hoped. However, we do have a young manager with a clear style and a core of players in Schindler, Kongolo, Mooy, Hogg, Bacuna and Grant which is as good as any other in the division. Top half would be decent, top six would be fantastic.
James: I won’t lie: I’m still hurting from last season’s near-miss at Leeds. I’m hoping we can use that fuel though to fire us onto new heights this time around. I’ve always played us down previously, but Bielsa is a remarkable coach and he’s shown himself capable of taking this group to new heights. The Champ is so open and hard to call that there’s no obvious candidate to win it, but if we can avoid injuries – and some of the off-field dramas – I’m tipping us to finally go up this time….
Luke: Tottenham will fight Liverpool and City for the title again but still need some more signings to keep their challenge going for longer.
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