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My Premier League 2012-13 predictions

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Phil McNulty | 08:15 UK time, Friday, 17 August 2012

The after-glow of London's 2012 Olympics still burns fiercely - but Premier League football takes its place back on centre stage as the new season begins on Saturday.

Will Manchester City retain the title they claimed so dramatically in the final moments of last season or will Manchester United restore what Sir Alex Ferguson will regard as normal service?

Will big-spending Chelsea challenge under Roberto Di Matteo, who was confirmed as permanent manager after winning the Champions League? And what about the fortunes of Tottenham and Liverpool, under new management in the shape of Andre Villa-Boas and Brendan Rodgers?

There will be plenty of interest in all parts of the Premier League as West Ham United, Reading and Southampton return to the top tier.

With the usual armour-plated protection required in these circumstances, here are my Premier League predictions for 2012-13.

German international Lukas Podolski joins the Gunners from Cologne. Photo: Getty

Arsenal
Despite the impending departure of last season's top scorer Robin van Persie to Manchester United there is cause for real optimism thanks to a transfer policy that appears more structured than last season's late trolley dash by manager Arsene Wenger.

For all the turbulence that engulfed Arsenal at times last season, they still finished third and the signings of Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski gives them a real potential for added potency. Wenger might also have pulled off one of the shrewdest deals of the summer by landing outstanding winger Santi Cazorla from Malaga.

A first trophy in seven years is a must - not title contenders but top four beckons once more and contenders in the cups.

Finishing position - 4th

Aston Villa
The air will be cleared around Villa Park after the end of Alex McLeish's fruitless and unpopular season in charge - and by the appointment of one of the domestic game's finest emerging managerial talents in Paul Lambert.

The Scot did superbly at Norwich and the divisive atmosphere that bordered on rebellion at times on the Holte End will be replaced by a unity of purpose Lambert will hope to replicate on the pitch.

They have been busy in the transfer market but the main reason for predicting a much-improved Premier League placing for Villa this season is the arrival of the single-minded Lambert. I expect Villa to be much more formidable this season.

Finishing position - 8th

Oscar (centre) joins up with his Chelsea team-mates after winning a silver medal with Brazil at the Olympics. Photo: Getty

Chelsea
Roberto Di Matteo deservedly holds the manager's post after a truly remarkable conclusion to his spell in interim charge, following up an FA Cup triumph by finally claiming the crown owner Roman Abramovich craved above all others - the Champions League.

The Russian owner has responded with renewed generosity in the transfer market. Marko Marin's arrival from Werder Bremen was confirmed last season but the big arrivals came in the shape of the much-prized Eden Hazard from Lille and Brazil's Oscar.

Can Di Matteo maintain his Midas touch? Can he manoeuvre such rich midfield resources successfully? Can he stave off the onset of time for key men like Frank Lampard and John Terry? And can Fernando Torres adequately replace the huge match-winning influence of Didier Drogba.

Abramovich will expect the title. Not so sure that will arrive but the Blues have a squad with enough experience and quality to challenge for trophies.

Finishing position - 3rd

Everton
Everton's season will depend on whether they can shed their tag of slow starters. They finished seventh last season despite once again not getting their campaign going until January. They can be genuine top-six contenders if they can kick off with everyone else.

Nikica Jelavic proved an outstanding signing and at long last gives them a serious goal threat in attack. Steven Pienaar made Everton tick once he returned on loan from Tottenham and manager David Moyes will be elated at completing his permanent return. Steven Naismith could prove another shrewd acquisition from Rangers if he can avoid injury. Moyes will look to him to replace the goals provided by arguably his finest piece of transfer market business Tim Cahill, who has left to join New York Red Bulls.

The departure of Cahill and Jack Rodwell gives the squad a somewhat skeletal look and Everton may prove vulnerable to injuries. Even so I expect them to finish at least as high as last season - and perhaps time for Moyes to win some silverware after more than a decade at Goodison Park?

Finishing position - 7th

Fulham
Martin Jol oversaw a solid season at Craven Cottage after his appointment and there is no reason to expect anything other this time around. The former Tottenham manager proved to be a good choice and showed he knows his way around the Premier League.

The experience of Danny Murphy will be missed but Jol will hope Hugo Rodallega and Mladen Petric will ensure another campaign that confirms the Cottagers as a member of the top-flight establishment.
I expect Fulham to achieve respectability once more and Jol might just fancy a shot at one of the cups as an added bonus. No trouble here.

Finishing position - 11th

Will Brendan Rodgers still be smiling come the end of the season? Photo: AP

Liverpool
Kenny Dalglish paid the price for only finishing eighth last season following a dubious return on his transfer market business and was sacked despite winning the Carling Cup.

New manager Brendan Rodgers has spent plenty of time outlining his grand vision for Liverpool based on his work at Swansea City, but he will know demands are always high at Anfield despite some careful expectation management from the men who appointed him.

Rodgers is a manager of real promise but Liverpool will be an alien environment to anything he has experienced before. He certainly does not lack confidence but this is a huge test.

He will rightly expect patience while he puts his plans in place. For all the talk of new arrivals setting the tone for a fresh era, especially Joe Allen from Swansea City, Rodgers will still rely heavily on Liverpool's iconic captain Steven Gerrard and the brilliance of Luis Suarez.

They finished below neighbours Everton last season but I expect their greater depth of squad to just reverse that this time around - and it would be a major surprise if Liverpool were not in contention for one of the cup competitions.

Finishing position - 6th

Manchester City
Manchester City cleared the weight off their shoulders by pipping Manchester United to the Premier League title courtesy of Sergio Aguero and virtually the last kick of the season. Manager Roberto Mancini has complained about lack of transfer market activity - but he already had a squad strong enough to repeat the feats of last season.

Jack Rodwell adds depth in midfield and it would be a major surprise if more big arrivals did not pitch up at the Etihad before the end of the season.

They have the best squad and best first XI in the division. Champions again.

Finishing position - 1st

Japan international Shinji Kagawa joins Manchester United from Borussia Dortmund after winning two consecutive Bundesliga titles. Photo: AP

Manchester United
Manchester United's squad may not be regarded as one of their greatest - but those who choose to dismiss them do so at their peril and should be reminded they only lost out on title number 20 in the dying seconds of the season.

Sir Alex Ferguson will be hurting - never good news for his rivals - and he has made a major statement in the transfer market, signing Robin van Persie from Arsenal. Van Persie's arrival adds world-class quality to the Old Trafford squad. What a partnership he could now form with Wayne Rooney.

Shinji Kagawa brings intelligence and energy in midfield while young players such as goalkeeper David de Gea and Phil Jones will be better for a season at Old Trafford. Questions still remain, however, about the quality of United's central midfield. How long can Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs be relied upon to turn back time?

United will win a trophy this season - but I suspect it may not be the Premier League and certainly not the Champions League. I fully expect a serious title challenge though and they will still be feared if they are anywhere near contention towards the end.

Van Persie aside, I will stick with City as champions.

Finishing position - 2nd

Newcastle United
Newcastle had a magnificent season under manager Alan Pardew to finish fifth last time out on the back of some wonderful work in the transfer market inspired by veteran chief scout Graham Carr.

They may find it difficult to reproduce that again this time around. Expectations, however, will be very high on Tyneside but the goals of Papiss Cisse, a deadly attacking presence after his arrival from SC Freiburg, make that understandable.

Newcastle will be formidable in front of their own fanatical support - but will the Europa League prove a distraction or a bonus? I fully expect another good season for the Toon Army to enjoy, but perhaps not quite as good as the last one.

Finishing position - 9th

Centre-back Michael Turner joins Norwich after three seasons at Sunderland. Photo: Getty

Norwich City
Norwich City have chosen wisely in replacing manager Paul Lambert with Chris Hughton - a calm presence who has proved his quality at Newcastle United then Birmingham City.

Hughton has given Robert Snodgrass and Steven Whittaker the opportunities to prove they can thrive in the Premier League after their moves from Leeds United and Rangers respectively, while it was not long ago Michael Turner was being touted as a defender of outstanding promise.

Under Hughton's guidance, I expect Norwich to survive.

Finishing position - 14th

Queen's Park Rangers
QPR manager Mark Hughes has embarked on a hefty rebuilding programme after surviving on the final day of last season - and he looks to have done enough to ensure there will be no repeat.

He will expect big things of Park Ji-sung after his arrival from Manchester United while Robert Green, Ryan Nelsen and Andrew Johnson all provide Premier League experience.

Most exciting of all, perhaps, for QPR fans is the signing of Junior Hoilett from Blackburn Rovers. The exciting youngster's decision to move to Loftus Road could prove a real coup and is certainly a sign of how they are now viewed in a very positive light as a club of potential under Hughes.

Hughes always sets his sights on trophies so do not be surprised at a cup run - beyond that I expect a much more satisfying season than last year.

Finishing position - 13th

Can Reading's new signing Chris Gunter make the step up from the Championship into the Premier League? Photo: Getty

Reading
Premier League new boys Reading have been busy in the transfer market backed by the finances of new Russian owner Anton Zingarevich after Sir John Madejski handed over the baton. Whether this will be enough to ensure a prolonged stay in the division remains to be seen.

Brian McDermott has done brilliant work and he will hope the signings of experienced striker Pavel Pogrebnyak from Stuttgart and the additions of the likes of Chris Gunter, Garath McCleary, Danny Guthrie and Adrian Mariappa can make the Royals a force.

It will be a tough transition and I see it as a season of struggle back in the top flight for Reading.

Finishing position - 20th

Southampton
Big club with big ambition and a fine manager in Nigel Adkins. No shortage of ambition in the boardroom at St Mary's either as proved by the signings of Steven Davis, Jay Rodriguez and the youngster tipped for such great things in Nathaniel Clyne from Crystal Palace.

Saints will get great support at home but, like Reading, I fear the haul of the long season will turn into one of anxiety. Borderline - but relegation candidates in my opinion.

Finishing position - 19th

Stoke City
Stoke City are unloved in quite a few places but not here. Manager Tony Pulis has done a wonderful job in establishing them firmly in the Premier League and there is no reason to suspect this season will be any different.

A visit to the Britannia is always atmospheric - or harrowing if you are the opposition. Home form alone in front of fervent fans usually guarantees a comfortable league placing, and Pulis and Stoke would not say no to a run at a cup competition.

Finishing position - 12th

Sunderland
Martin O'Neill had the desired effect of instant improvement when he replaced Steve Bruce but Sunderland's season faded somewhat after a disappointing FA Cup quarter-final replay defeat against Everton at the Stadium of Light.

O'Neill will have had a solid summer's work with his players now and will feel that if he can add the powerful striker he always makes a centrepiece of his teams, with Wolves' Steven Fletcher seemingly the chosen one, Sunderland can hit the top 10 this season.

I expect them to achieve this, although I suspect plenty will disagree, while O'Neill has always had a liking for the cups.

Finishing position - 10th

Swansea City
Swansea City have had a turbulent summer with the departure of Brendan Rodgers to Liverpool, followed in the same direction by gifted young playmaker Joe Allen. Also Gylfi Sigurdsson, so impressive on loan, is now at Spurs.

Chairman Huw Jenkins responded with an imaginative managerial appointment in Michael Laudrup, a figure of real presence and experience with the capacity to prove another wise choice from the Swansea board.

Sound judges believe he has pulled off a real coup in landing Michu from Rayo Vallecano for just £2m - tougher than last time but I am still backing the Swans to stay up and maintain the attractive style that was their trademark under Rodgers.

Finishing position - 17th

After a failed spell in-charge of Chelsea, Andre Villas-Boas is given a quick chance to redeem himself in the Premier League at Spurs. Photo: Getty

Tottenham
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy clearly felt fourth place last season under Harry Redknapp was not good enough - hence his sacking.

The task of improving on that now falls to Andre Villas-Boas, dismissed after a brief and desperately unfulfilling spell at Chelsea last season but backed by Levy on the basis of the reputation he forged as an outstanding young coach at Porto.

The wisdom of Levy's decision hangs in the balance because of those contrasting performances but Villas-Boas has a fine squad at his disposal, augmented by the signings of Gylfi Sigurdsson and central defender Jan Vertonghen, excellent at Ajax and adding strength in a department weakened by the retirement of Ledley King.

The potential loss of Luka Modric to Real Madrid will be a blow, such is the little Croat's artistry, but Levy will undoudtedly let Villas-Boas strengthen further.

If Villas-Boas can regain his touch from Porto, Spurs will be real contenders for the Champions League places once more - if it is the AVB of Stamford Bridge then Levy will be swiftly reminded that he has made a mistake.

Finishing position - 5th

West Bromwich Albion
West Brom's comfortable top 10 placing last season cost them manager Roy Hodgson to England, allowing Steve Clarke the chance to prove he can make the occasionally hazardous journey from respected number two to the man in charge.

The Scot is vastly experienced and has worked alongside some of the game's most illustrious figures so has plenty of pedigree to call on. He has a workmanlike squad at The Hawthorns and will hope Peter Odemwingie can provide the goals required to ensure safe passage through next season.

Finishing position - 16th

Big Sam is back in the big time with West Ham. Photo: Getty

West Ham United
Sam Allardyce had his detractors at Upton Park but he delivered what was required as West Ham returned to the Premier League.

He has been typically busy in the transfer market, with his old Bolton loyalist Jussi Jaaskelainen arriving as goalkeeper. James Collins is back at West Ham and will be vital, he is a proven Premier League defender in the mould Allardyce loves.

There may be bumps along the road but expect the Hammers to stay up and revel in the return of one of the grand old clubs to the Premier League playing at one of the most atmospheric grounds.

Finishing position - 15th

Wigan Athletic
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez was hailed as a genius for his work in the last two months of last season and victories against the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal that saw them stay up.

It even put him in contention for the Liverpool job - but the question has to be asked why he seemingly cannot get the job done in the first six months of the season.

It is hopeless trying to predict Wigan Athletic as the outcome of their campaign depends on what time of the season they get out of bed. Will it be any different this time? Will Martinez finally be tempted away?

With little degree of confidence or conviction I tip these great unpredictables as relegation strugglers.

Finishing position - 18th

Comments

Page 1 of 6

  • Comment number 1.

    Looking forward to revisiting in May.........

  • Comment number 2.

    1. Man United
    2. Man City
    3. Arsenal
    4. Chelsea

  • Comment number 3.

    It is an almost impossible task to have an accurate prediction at this stage.... that is as good an effort as anyone, hard to dispute the main positions toooo much.

    Liverpool fans will be hoping for more, I expect. Villa fans probably aren't as optimistic as you also....

    bring it on saturday!

  • Comment number 4.

    Best of luck Phil as I'm sure almost nobody will be able to call the top 6 correctly let alone the rest!

  • Comment number 5.

    A very unimaginative top 4 selection there Phil.

    I will give you the top 2 - pretty settled squads and management. I'm not convinced by Arsenal without RVP - they looked fragile at times last season and certainly relied far too much on RVP for both goals and assists. The potential loss of Alex Song will also hurt them, if he goes.

    But its a bold selection to make for the rest of the top 6 - new managers, new ways of playing and new staff on the field.

    Di Matteo managed West Brom and nothing there suggested that he was anything other than a competent manager, certainly nothing to suggest an elevation to a top-4 side at that stage in his career. He played pragmatic hard-to-beat stuff when he took over at Chelsea to deliver the CL. That won't be tolerated for long this term.

    AVB at Tottenham is an interesting choice, and the decision to ditch Harry Redknapp was interesting given his series of top-5 finishes. Vilas-Boas will have a more malleable set of players at Tottenham, but again, I'm not sure that they have the pace and discipline at the back to play a high line. The first few games of the season will provide a big pointer for their season.

    Liverpool - probably the most dissappointing in terms of results last term - have taken a gamble on a young manager (like Tottenham) with some premier league experience and plaudits over the style he has his team playing. Preseason (never a great indicator) has been encouraging, with several youngsters involved, particularly eyecatching were Sterling and Shelvey. I fail to see how there can be no improvement on the results from last term, given that the sum of the parts filed to live up to the whole in terms of goals scored.


    I'm not in the business of predictions generally (that's your job Phil, its how you earn your corn!), but a fag paper probably separates Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham...

  • Comment number 6.

    Villa to finish ahead of Newcastle? Really?

  • Comment number 7.

    Anyone have the link to last seasons predictions? Be interesting to compare and contrast. (Good idea for an article Phil).

  • Comment number 8.

    I think predicting Reading to come bottom will come back to haunt you, especially when we beat Liverpool at Anfield, I suppose you have to put someone there, but have you ever watched them Phil.....doesn't look like it

  • Comment number 9.

    @ 7.
    --
    The best year was when Phil (I think) predicted that Liverpool would be champions or runners up, anyway here's last years - http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/philmcnulty/2011/08/my_premier_league_201112_predi.html

  • Comment number 10.

    @5 a fag paper probably separates Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham...

    Really?? I beg to differ. Chelsea are the Valencia of the premier league at the moment. Better than the rest, but not quite as good as the Manchester clubs (or Barca and Real with reference to my analogy).

    Arsenal will struggle without RVP, Podolski will take time to adapt, and Giroud is unproven. Deffo need to keep hold of Song, and Wilshere will be a huge boost in October.

    Spurs will push on second half of the season, but have a shaky start. Modric is overrated no doubt, but he's still a quality player that fits into the spurs system very well. Moutinho would be a good replacement, but with King gone they've lost a leader and quality CB (Even if he does only play half a season's worth of games).

    Liverpool will not threaten top 4 this season. Far too wasteful, both on and off the pitch. They'll do what they always do and beat the big teams and drop points to the lesser teams. If Agger goes, that 'solid' defence of last season will begin to slowly crumble. Carragher = past it and Coates = too young and inexperienced.

    Personally going for same top 4 as McNulty. Leading scorer will be Rooney.

  • Comment number 11.

    I wouldn't argue with most of these predictions although I do think the arrival of Van Persie does give United a slight edge, there still isn't much to separate the Manchester two (who will dominate again).

    As for my team, Liverpool, 6th is about the best I can hope for preferably not too far from the top 4 pointswise.

  • Comment number 12.

  • Comment number 13.

    I think you are being a bit over optimistic with predicting Stoke to finish as high as 12th. Their style of play was found out towards the latter half of last season so I think they will struggle.

  • Comment number 14.

    Thanks for the article! It seems like the season has begun when your cast your predictions. Although I think you underestimate Newcastle. You would not be the only one or will you be doing it for the first time. Last year everyone pointed to how there was a mass exodus in the form of Enrique, Nolan, Carrol and Barton. In the process the rebuilding of the squad had already started. This year it seems that people are writing Newcastle of because of the strain of what the Europa league brings. Last year Newcastle were able to adapt their play to the loss of key players in the African Cup of Nations, the loss of 3 central defenders and to difficult away games like at Stoke. Part of last seasons success wasn't only the good football upfront played by Cabaye, Ben Afra, Cisse and Ba but also the practical work effort brought by players like Perch, Simpson, Gutierrez and Ryan Taylor. The strong team unit in newcastle, which emerged from the 4-4 come back against Arsenal, has helped them find results with their back to the wall and I think this is the sort of thing Newcastle will use to cope this season as well.

  • Comment number 15.

    These predictions lack vision and understanding.

    Clubs on the decline are Arsenal and Tottenham, and will finish sixth and seventh.

    Liverpool have strengthened and have a renewed confidence - the cups will be sacrificed this season in favour of the league and I expect them to finish second or third.

    Man United are in for a turbulent season which will be Ferguson's last. Fourth.

    Di Mateo will be fired but Chelsea will still finish top three.

    At the bottom - the promoted teams varey rarely go straight back down, surprised you don't know that Phil.

    Swansea, West Brom and Norwich will fall.

  • Comment number 16.

    Bold to write off united I think, although the city squad really has gelled well now.

    Completely disagree about villa in particular - lambert is hardly the prodigal young manager he's been made out to be, and with next to no alteration of a very, very shallow pool of players I see them down somewhere around the 16th mark.

    I can see Liverpool being overtaken by everton again too. Letting go of kuyt and Bellamy is letting go of two of their main goal threats. Borini is unproven and Suarez can't hit a barn door so I don't think a new style of play will change that.

    For fun:
    Man utd
    Man city
    Arsenal
    Chelsea
    Tottenham
    Everton
    Liverpool
    Newcastle
    Sunderland
    QPR
    Stoke
    Fulham
    West ham
    Wigan
    Villa
    West brom
    Swansea
    Norwich
    Reading
    Southampton

  • Comment number 17.

    I don't think I've ever read as ludicrous a prediction that Aston Villa will finish 8th. You can add a 1 in front to get the 18th that they deserve.

    I'm tired of the mainstream continually predicting a recovery for Liverpool, year after year. Liverpool will do well to finish above Everton.

    Overachievers this year will be Wigan, Reading & West Brom.

    1...Man City, 2...Man Utd, 3...Chelsea, 4...Arsenal, 5...Everton, 6...Newcastle, 7...Tottenham, 8...Wigan, 9...Reading, 10...Liverpool, 11...West Brom, 12...Fulham, 13...Sunderand, 14...QPR, 15...Swansea, 16...Norwich, 17...Stoke, 18...Aston Villa, 19...Southampton, 20...West Ham

  • Comment number 18.

    Let's not forget that the tiki-taka of Barcelona has consistently lost out to the tactical nous of Chelsea and of Jose Mourinhno - expect Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool similarly to suffer.

  • Comment number 19.

    Few, I was worried you'd tip United for the title, but now I know my beloved Red Devil's 20th title is secure... :P

  • Comment number 20.

    StJohn_Red_Legend wrote:

    A very unimaginative top 4 selection there Phil.
    --------------------------------
    Yeah Phil, please tip Southampton, Reading, West Ham and Norwich in future to make it more interesting to us :)

  • Comment number 21.

    Well, apart from a few tweaks here and there, I find myself broadly agreeing with Phil in the flavour of his predictions.

  • Comment number 22.

    I expect Man city to win the title over Man utd. They now have the experience of winning the league and it will be easier to handle the pressure. They have the strongest XI. Man Utd signing Van Persie was more of creating excitement. Goals have never been a problem at Old trafford. They lost the league last season on goals difference not because they didn't score enough goals, but because they conceded too much from winning positions when 8 pts clear (Everton 4-4 draw). The defence hasn't been addressed and they lack a midfield terrier in the mould of Yaya Toure. Arsenal will finish 3rd. They are pretty used to losing Key players every year and they always survive. The big factor at Arsenal is Arsene Wenger, not Players leaving. I don't trust Roberto Di matteo to galvanise Chelsea to the title, especially now that he's got the pressure of a full time Job. Chelsea losing Didier Drogba is more crucial to Arsenal losing RVP. Now, they have to change their still to suit the inconsistent Fernando Torreswhich will make them easier to play against. They will take 4th! Newcastle 5th, Tottenham 6th and Liverpool 7th!

  • Comment number 23.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 24.

    #22 rambo_chambo

    I don't trust Roberto Di matteo to galvanise Chelsea to the title, especially now that he's got the pressure of a full time Job. Chelsea losing Didier Drogba is more crucial to Arsenal losing RVP. Now, they have to change their still to suit the inconsistent Fernando Torreswhich will make them easier to play against. They will take 4th!
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hmmm, you don't 'trust' Di Matteo? Should you? Does it matter?

    I don't think, in the league at least, that Drogba going is as significant as you suggest and certainly less crucial than Arsenal losing Van Persie.

    Drogba was key in some big matches last season, but mainly in Europe. Van Persie was key in almost all of Arsenal's matches last season. Chelsea's additions are no more proven than Arsenal's and Chelsea share the goals around more.

    I don't see how you arrive at your conclusion.

  • Comment number 25.

    lol at all the people who simply look at last season's table and can't think further than that.

    Where's the vision? Oh, you don't have any :o)

  • Comment number 26.

    #25 dogeard

    Looking at #15 you have relied on cliches and hope rather than vision.

  • Comment number 27.

    I think United will reclaim the title. They will be angry and hurting and embarrassed, they have everything to prove now. Last season it seemed our players became complacent and assumed it would be another straightforward title, it became too casual... then a few individual mistakes and performances lost us 8 points. That was the difference. Nothing else. They still have years of experience winning trophies and that's why they're always up there. Having Vidic back will make them 10 times stronger, he's possibly the best CB in the league. Van Persie was last year's best striker. We have other new additions as well as a few of our current players getting international experience.

    When you compare CIty and United man for man, City are far stronger. But a large part of winning the premier league is about mentality and that it how Fergie wins it more often than not.

    Looking forward to a very competitive season, but I would be shocked if United didn't win it back if I'm honest.

  • Comment number 28.

    @25 dogeared

    You are blinded by your hatred of United and have once again (no doubt for the 25th consecutive year) envisaged United coming 4th or worse.

    We will challenge city i have no doubt about it. We have strengthened our team, yes we will get blitzed through the middle by teams that play quickly through midfield (City being the most painful one to watch again no doubt) but overall our team is stronger.

    Chelsea will finish 3rd in my opinion, 10 points behind 2nd and 10 points ahead of 4th. Equivalent to Andy Murray at the minute. Very good but not challenging for a major.

    Predictions for 4th will be interesting. I will be one of those that think Arsenal will slip out this season, RVP was so important. The issue is i don't think Spurs have improved too much to get 4th and Liverpool are still a team with only 6th place quality running through the entire team.

    United
    City
    Chelsea
    Spurs
    Arsenal
    Liverpool

  • Comment number 29.

    My view

    1. City (Especially if they get De Rossi as in the papers today)
    2. Utd (Will be close)
    3. Chelsea (Bedding in season)
    4. Arsenal (Last season in the top 4)
    5. Liverpool (Steady season ahead)
    6. Spurs (Lost Manager, club captain, top scorer and another top players is nearly gone, wills start slow)
    7. Newcastle (2nd season hangover)
    8. Everton (Small squad, injuries will play a part)

  • Comment number 30.

    Re #17. While Villa at 8th may be optimistic, your overachievers are just as unbelievable, probably one out of the three might be right.

    You obviously have an issue with Villa saying they deserve 18th, but you perhaps haven't considered the impact a new manager can have.

  • Comment number 31.

    #27 mockingbird

    Man U have a history of showing the sort of characteristics that you refer to. But, Man City are not the same proposition last season either.

    Having won the title, they now KNOW that they can win it again. Any edginess that may have existed in the run in last season will be less this season. Also, you say certain things let the 8 point lead slip. Well, what if certain things mean that they don't have an 8 point lead this season?

    As for Vidic, yes, class. But, surely, we don't yet know if the serious injury has had a lasting effect on someone who will be 31 in just a couple of months.

    All said and done though, I DO see it being between the two Manchester teams.

  • Comment number 32.

    Any amendments on Arsenal now that Song is almost certainly gone anyone?

    They have lost their best two players - again, replaced with mediocrity.

    Spurs - lost their best two players, replaced with mediocrity.

    Two clubs in decline.

    Liverpool have strengthened on and off the pitch, but glad people are writing them off - reduces the pressure ;o)

  • Comment number 33.

    I'm assuming you didn't know about Saints agreeing a deal to sign Gaston Ramirez when you said Saints were relegation candidates.

  • Comment number 34.

    Liverpool will get top 4 this season. You heard it here first ;-)

    One of the Mancs will will the title, here is hoping its City. As for the rest? Well who cares really? :-)

  • Comment number 35.

    I don't agree with most people predictions of Chelsea being in the top 3, especially if they keep Di Matteo in charge all season. A defensively resolute, but sometimes unbearably lucky, Champions League win and a far from stellar league performance during that time seems to have been forgotten, I just don't believe RDM is the one to take Chelsea forward - they won't come 3rd in the league playing anywhere near like they did after AVB's deserved sacking

  • Comment number 36.

    I don't understand why Arsenal fans think that the Chelsea signings are less likely to gel than the Arsenal one's? Giroud was from France and as a CF got 3 more goals than Hazard did from the wing? Drogba spent 75% of last season not scoring goals and being actually fairly abysmal. He is a Chelsea legend, but that was more down to his fitness after contracting Malaria that he wasn't able to produce anymore. Chelsea were awful last season in the league, and I don't think a massive improvement will be necessary to get into the top 4. A change of style to suit Fernando Torres will help, and I whilst I expect Arsenal's signings to probably work (I think one of them will fail) 4th might be the best they can go.

  • Comment number 37.

    @10 - Chelsea best of the rest? Not by the amount you seem to think. The players are good, but there are huge questions over the style employed. Preseason has been dreadful - it may be just new players coming in and trying to gel, it may be the manager trying to get a new system working, but the result is that, while the personnel on pitch are good, they aren't performing.
    Chelsea were flattered to lose 3-2 to City in the Community shield.

    I agree that Arsenal may be in a difficult situation, particularly if they lose Song as well as RVP - Song's contribution from midfield is sometimes overlooked.

    Spurs - it very much depends on how the AVB 'project' gets underway and how much leeway Levy gives Villas-Boas regarding a poor start - they will have to remain in touching distance of the top 4 or Levy might start to question the decision to sack Harry.

    However, your dismissal of Liverpool, given the quality of play last season (only the goals failed to materialise - performances merited a better return than they got) is questionable. Agger is important to the team, and I agree that Coates is probably a little inexperienced at the moment, while Carra's legs have lost another yard of (what little) pace (they had). Retain Agger, and the platform is already there. Improved performances from the likes of Downing (already a better return than last season), Carroll and Henderson, allied with the observed improvements from Shelvey and Sterling, and a top 4 isn't far off. Too early for saying 'This is our year', tho.

  • Comment number 38.

    @32- Have Liverpool really strengthened sufficiently?? Fabio Borini and Joe Allen will have their work cut out to make up for the inadequacies of Adam, Downing et al. They will play better football undoubtedly but they haven't got the quality to finish in the top 4.

    Arsenal will also over-achieve this season if they make the top 4. Still look fragile defensively, and could me more so with the impending sale of Song. They have also lost their most prominent attacking threat, replaced with players new the PL. Tough seaon ahead I think.

  • Comment number 39.

    Trying to predict places in the PL is like trying to pick lottery number winners.
    There's almost always a surprise relegation candidate, and I agree with Savage (!!) that Villa could be in trouble. It will depend on whether Bent can get goals and Given can prevent them.

  • Comment number 40.

    Relegation is always a tricky one to predict as one of the newcomers tend to spring a surprise.

    I will once again back Wigan for the drop along with Saints and Swansea. Norwich and Swansea will both have second season syndrome but Norwich will finish 17th and Swansea 18th.

    Allardyce will keep hammers up and i think Reading will spring the surprise and finish a comfortabl 14th or so.

  • Comment number 41.

    Have to agree with Phil here. Based on squad quality and depth, the tile race will once again be fought between the two clubs from Manchester, while Chelsea have also done incredible business over the summer, so really expect them to be top three. Still, like you said, Man City by far have the best team, and even without an active transfer window for them, I believe they will be champions once again. Seeing RVP go to Man U, almost gave me a heart attack, but I respect where he is coming from, but I would have dearly wished to have moved abroad. A partnership of Rooney and RVP looks deadly, but I fear a little bit for Kagawa (my pick for signing of the season), as he plays when he in the whole, and with RVP coming in, he might be shifted to the left, but only time will tell. Nevertheless, Man City I feel just have way too much quality for Utd, so we'll see. As far as my Arsenal are concerned, what can I say? Just frustrated that yet again our best player leaves for another club sighting lack of ambition. While people keep dismissing RVP as injury prone with only one good season, he was the BEST player of the PL last year. For me is on par with Messi and Ronaldo, and for what he did for us, considering the type of players he is surrounded by. I'm not really convinced by our signings, as we still need a DM (shocked that Song could leave as well), a left back (don't have much faith in Santos or Gibbs), as well as now another proven world class striker. Don't think we are going to do anymore business, and as usual we look squad light. Pains for me to see another season without a trophy, but I guess that's inevitable when you sell your best players and don't have adequate replacements. Its just tiring now for me to hear Wenger boast about us constantly making it to the CL... yeah its great, but what about trophies? Even with FFP, I don't see us winning the league or CL anytime soon. Guess have to tolerate another season of mockery from my City and Utd friends, but by now I am already used to it.

  • Comment number 42.

    @32 - What do I know?

    Didn't Arsenal finish 3rd last season with more points than when they had Nasir, Fabregas and Wilshere the previous season?

    I know nothing. Club on the decline? The club is getting rid of players unable to deliver a trophy for the past 7 years. I can't complain.

    My top 4

    Arsenal
    Man City
    Chelsea
    Man U

  • Comment number 43.

    @35, Surely you noticed that the games they were lucky in were against Barcelona (only Madrid can defeat them without luck) and Bayern, where we had 2 CB's who were injured, a teenager on debut in the CL final and4 players suspended. If you notice when Gomes blasted a shot over the bar Cahil grabs the back of his hamstring and it has clearly gone at that point. That's in the first half. Luiz basically gives up running back in the second half because he's pulled his hamstring as well.

    3rd is probably realistic, Spurs are losing Modric and Adebayor, Arsenal are hoping that Cazorla is a success, which he might well be, but you can't guarantee that, and Giroud is up against some of the biggest defenders in world football, so his strength will be tested more than ever. Podolski is a top player, but mainly for Germany. He failed at Baryen, though I think he will do well at Arsenal. Theres quite a bit of risk attached to all of those signings. Chelsea have added Hazard who was being chased by Madrid (according to Zidane) and the two Manchester clubs, which means Fergie, Mancini and Mourinho all saw some quality in the boy, which is enough for me to think he is a good player.

  • Comment number 44.

    Can't wait for the new season. This is a great article about how, despite the joy of the olympics, the Premiership is king!

    http://trivialpursuits.org/2012/08/17/the-greatest-show-on-earth/

  • Comment number 45.

    #35 PompeySamJW

    The job at hand for Di Matteo when he took over is different to the job at hand now. You can't really compare how he handled something of a desperate situation with a couple of months to go with a more open ended blueprint now.

    As for Chelsea in the league, again, this was a by-product of prioritising in a needs must way.

    #37 StJohn_Red_Legend - 'Chelsea were flattered to lose 3-2 to City in the Community shield.'

    Well, as Chelsea won't be playing the reigning champions every week and as I expect them to have 11 men on the pitch for 90 minutes more often than not, your data sample is a bit limited.

  • Comment number 46.

    @28 - How is United stronger? Signing RVP and Kagawa is the basis on which you say that? Where are the replacements for Rio and Vidic? Rio's back seems to give him more gip than ever. Will he make half the games this season? Vidic has just returned to fitness, so it's early to say he'll stay fit.
    In midfield, you're still not replacing Fletcher, Scholes or Giggs - and your cover at left back is non-existant with Fabio going on loan.
    There are an embarressment of riches going forward, but who'll be winning the ball back for you? Who will be shielding your back line? As you admit, teams will play straight through you down the middle. Fergie's absurd boast of having a team to match that in '99 is naive and, at the very least, optimisitic...

  • Comment number 47.

    @45 - the sample is also based on the performances in preseason and last season towards the end.

    Limited performances in the CL semi and finals where on each occasion Chelsea couldn't live with their opponants for much of each game, but sneaked it on the counter.

    In the league in May Liverpool spanked Chelsea, Carroll, allegedly £35mil wasted, owned Terry and indeed, had he started in the FA Cup final, the result would almost certainly have been different.

  • Comment number 48.

    Think outside the box gentlemen....Southampton to win it for me!

  • Comment number 49.

    1. Man Utd (will have learnt from losing silly games last season)
    2. Man City (no great additions yet and can't rely on tevez and balotelli)
    3. Chelsea - better signings and manager
    4. Arsenal - just. would be 3rd if they kept RVP
    5. Spurs
    6. Newcastle
    7. Everton
    8. Liverpool (replacing kuyt maxi and bellamy with allen and borini is not a sign of improvement)
    9. Sunderland
    10. Fulham
    11. Aston Villa
    12. QPR
    13. West Brom
    14. West Ham
    15. Swansea
    16. Stoke City
    17. Southampton (just. thanks to brilliant man-management of adkins)
    18. Wigan (not enough goals especially if moses goes)
    19. Reading (not enough goalscorers and lack top class defenders)
    20. Norwich (will miss Paul Lambert)

  • Comment number 50.

    #47 StJohn_Red_Legend

    I was extremely disappointed with the 4-1 at Anfield at the end of the season. At the same time, in the scheme of things, who cares? But there were mistakes all round, though largely out of character.

    Pre-season is 'pre' and the performance matters more than the result. Do you know much about Chelsea's pre-season or are you going on what you've just heard from someone else?

    As for your FA Cup prediction (made with hindsight), well, we'll never know.......

  • Comment number 51.

    @47, Andy Carroll came on in the FA cup final and was fairly ordinary until he was too lazy to get back and defend (something you could actually hear Dalgliesh telling him to do from a mic that must have been near him) and from then on he was very good. Although Cech made 1 save, which admittedly won the game, but Carroll wasn't as incredible as made out. Against Chelsea in the league game, Chelsea were preparing for the Champions League, they really didn't care whether they won that game or not. Terry slipped which was what caused the most problems, better studs, not Andy Carroll won Liverpool that game.

  • Comment number 52.

    1.Chelsea
    Man city
    Man u
    Tottenham

  • Comment number 53.

    @48, Love it :-)

  • Comment number 54.

    i disagree with this, west ham as usual will probable stuggle but will survive and somehow will finish about mid table. Man utd will be champions and i reckon: Southampton, Wigan and Swansea are for the drop.

    I predict that the following will be the final standings in the premier league:
    Man utd
    Man city
    Chelsea
    Tottenham
    Arsenal
    Everton
    Liverpool
    Fulham
    Sunderland
    Newcastle
    West ham
    Reading
    Stoke
    QPR
    Villa
    West brom
    Norwich
    Swansea
    Wigan
    Southampton

  • Comment number 55.

    Surprised at the number of people who think Arsenal will finish outside the top four. Despite the loss of RVP the squad is still stronger now than the one that finished last season. I'd honestly be surprised if they didn't finish third again, I just can't see who's going to overtake them, AVB is still unproven in England and I expect Di Matteo to be sacked by Christmas. I expect City to have it wrapped up early doors this season, though this may depend on how far they progress in the Champions League.

  • Comment number 56.

    Yes it is very difficult to predict. But this is my prediction for this years League table.

    Manchester City
    Manchester Utd
    Liverpool
    Arsenal
    Chelsea
    Tottenham
    Newcastle
    Everton
    QPR
    Westham
    Fulham
    Wigan
    Astonvilla
    Stoke
    Southampton
    Sunderland
    Norwich
    Reading

  • Comment number 57.

    I don't know Phil why everybody is kicking up about Chelsea they've got an incredible midfield with juan mata and Oscar but realistically they've only got two main strikers in Torres (who managed to perform in the last part of the season and was useless otherwise) and daniel sturridge who I feel is getting slightly big headed and failing to gain valuable experience as a Chelsea forward. If torres goes down hill again the pressure will be on sturridge to perform and I can't see that happening. The other problem is the age in the club such a terry lampard and Czech players who will need to replace. Finally abramovich if di matteo gets a few things wrong abramovich will leap on that and exclude him from the Chelsea post so the pressure will be on.
    Chelsea- 4th/5th ( depending on spurs Newcastle and Liverpool )

  • Comment number 58.

    #55 alexltfc

    As bizarre as making this statement is, there have only been two managerial sackings pre-Christmas at Chelsea in the last 20 years. Vialli in September 2000 and Mourinho in September 2007.

    What makes you think Di Matteo will go so soon?

  • Comment number 59.

    Top3 is anyones guess but it'll be between the Mancs and Chelsea. 4th place will be a bun fight between Arsenal, spurs and Liverpool.
    Southampton, WBA and reading will go down.

  • Comment number 60.

    Can't see past Manchester City for the title but agree that the title will be between the two Manchester clubs. With Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool having new managers, the order of the top six isn't set. Rodgers will do a good job at Liverpool but not convinced he can bridge the gap. Villas-Boas at Spurs will be an interesting sub plot and think he has a tough act to follow in Redknapp. Chelsea have spent money but must now change their style now Drogba has departed. Will El Nino finally come good? I think Arsenal could surprise a few people. They finished third last season and have enjoyed a much better transfer window with a few astute signings with the penny finally dropping for Wenger, who has returned to spending good money on players in their prime.
    I'm not sure Villa will finish 8th but they will do much better under Lambert. The do have good players in Bent, Given, N'Zogbia, Ireland and their new signings. In terms of relegation, I think WBA will struggle as not convinced Clarke will be a good number 1. Reading might fall short but I do think Southampton will survive and can see West Ham finishing well under Allardyce. Again some good buys mixed with Big Sam's ability to get results.
    One thing for sure, it's going to be a tight and tough season. Good promoted teams and QPR, Fulham, Villa improving, who finishes down the bottom can feel unlucky.

  • Comment number 61.

    Also I wont't agree with Phil's prediction it is not correct last year I would say the same again.

    SO my 7 will be
    Mcity
    MUtd (Vanpersi, Vidic ,Rooney)
    Liverpool (New Mngr, gud team)
    Arsenal (Podoski, girould will assure them champion league again)
    Chelsea (No Drogba factor)
    Tottenham (New Mngr)
    NewCastle
    Everton
    Westham

  • Comment number 62.

    Thanks for the Villa prediction Phil. We will see. Any chance of you re-publishing the blog next May when it is all over?

    Please could all the pundit programmes, blogs, phone ins etc remember that not everyone is Manc-centred in their team choice, and try to spread the subject matter around a bit?

  • Comment number 63.

    1. City
    2. Chelsea
    3. Man United
    4. Arsenal
    5. Spurs
    6. Liverpool

    With a bit of luck maybe swap Spurs/Liverpool. Don't think Liverpool will be as far off points wise. May do better against the sides they dropped points against last season but may also be on the end of one or two tonkings by the better sides if they leave themselves too open.

  • Comment number 64.

    I agree with #57 Concrete_villian_Vlaar4 in that the current squad will rely heavily on how Torres performs. I feel Sturridge will disappoint, and Hazard will have to learn to stay on his feet to impress.
    There are quality players in the squad, will Matteo pick the right blend?
    Also, the defence still shows signs of weakness.

  • Comment number 65.

    Phil's predictions are always a bit dodgy! But then again how many people actually get it correct, here's mine for what its worth.

    Man U (Probably go down to the final day of the season again)
    Man C
    Chelsea (Better than the clubs below but still can't touch the manc clubs)
    Spurs
    Newcastle
    Arsenal (Club in decline but either them or Newcastle for 5th I'm going with Newcastle)
    Everton
    Liverpool

  • Comment number 66.

    Phil - Can't fault your opinion, although I do see you have failed to remember that a goal is all that seperated United and City in the title race last season!!!

    And what have City done to make sure they win teh title more comfortable this season? Signed Rodwell (I believe he has good potential, but it doesn't really strengthen what they already have)

    On the flip side United have gone out and signed by stats one of the most impressive midfielders in Europe from last season in Kagawa. Already looks to have settled in well during Pre-Season. And of course they have also signed RVP. Although I myself am not too convinced on the signing I recognise he is an amazing player!! And if (big IF) but if him and Rooney can get it going then I don't think a defensive line in England will be able to cope with them!!.. Although the same could be said about Tevez and Aguero.

    And then we move on to Chelski, spent the most and have psent well!! Marin is a very good player, Hazard was maybe the most wanted midfielder in Europe over the summer. Torres is scoring goals again, they have Oscar, Mata, Lampard (still doing the business) and maybe the most important midfielder at the club Ramires. If they can stop playing Luiz and concentrate on getting a right back which will release Ivanovic to the centre back position as well as Cahill and Terry, then they really could be the team to beat!!

    As a United fan I have to speak from the heart and say United for number 20!!!

  • Comment number 67.

    1. Man Utd
    2. Man City
    3.Chelsea
    4.Arsenal
    5. Liverpool
    6.Spurs
    7.Newcastle
    8.Everton
    9.Sunderland
    10.Fulham
    11.West brom
    12.Stoke
    13.West Ham
    14.Norwich
    15.A.Villa
    16.Swansea
    17.Reading
    18.QPR
    19.Southampton
    20.Wigan

  • Comment number 68.

    I find myself hoping even more that we (Reading) will survive, now that Phil has predicted us as last. Being a Man United fan it must have hurt him to predict a City Title...

  • Comment number 69.

    As a season ticket holder at the Villa, hoping 8th is about right but would settle for 10th after last year. It's not necessarily just the impact of a new manager but a whole different philosophy that sees us looking to play football rather than sit back and defend constantly. A few wins gained (even if a few losses too) from the huge number of draws last season would have seen us comfortably mid-table. Like Jelavic for Everton, goals from Bent will be key if we are to achieve Phil's predictions. Other than that, predictions don't seem too far off with Arsenal & Spurs probably interchangeable from one week to the next!

  • Comment number 70.

    i really don't think that Liverpool will make any recovery. i think they'll do just as bad as last year. city will win the league again, with united 2nd and chelsea a close 3rd. full table:
    1. Man City
    2. Man Utd
    3. Chelsea
    4. Arsenal
    5. Everton
    6. Tottenham
    7. Newcastle Utd
    8. Sunderland (somehow)
    9. Liverpool
    10. Fulham
    11. Stoke
    12. West Brom
    13. QPR
    14. Aston Villa
    15. Norwich City
    16. West Ham
    17. Wigan Athletic
    18. Reading
    19. Swansea
    20. Southampton

    Now i'm going to wait for all the liverpool fanboys to cry at me for putting liverpool in 9th.

  • Comment number 71.

    Love the blog and the contrasting views - always good to look back and see those with outrageous predictions eating a big slice of humble pie....

    IT is a coin flip between the 2 Manchester clubs with Chelsea finishing 3rd. As for fourth, I really think it is a 3 horse race between Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool and this is merely because Arsenal and Spurs have got weaker - not because we are that much stronger. Newcastle will fail to replicate last years position.

    In terms of Liverpool, a lot is going to depend on our first 3 home games (how can you have the top 3 at home at the start of the season!!!). If we can get at least 5 points from these games (I reckon we'll get 4) then it will give us a good platform to push on. Our problem is always starting slowly.

    Anyhow - can't wait for tomorrow - gotta be the most exciting PL for a while after last years drama.

    Bring it on.........

  • Comment number 72.

    It's a tough one.

    I'm a staunch Manchester United fan. I'm happy for Manchester City to be favourites, but I can't help feel that seeing as City won the title on goal difference, with United getting Vidic back, Kagawa and RVP in, that could be enough to win the Premier League and have a real go at the Champions League. I'm not saying certainly but I just get a real feeling of optimism this year, which makes me feel all warm inside.

    So I'm going to stick my neck out and say 1) United 2) City 3) Chelsea 4) Arsenal

  • Comment number 73.

    As a United fan I just think that we will again be pipped, there will be 2 or 3 points in it, I just don't see us winning the bigger games or the tricky ones (such as away to newcastle) we have probably the 6th most dynamic central midfield and that is where the tight games are won. That said, I want us to win the FA cup, it's been too long and I'd be more than happy with the Semi's in the CL (though obviously that's a big ask).

    I think we will have the highest GD, we will utterly pulverise the weaker sides in the PL, expect alot of 4-0, 5-0's at OT if RvP and Rooney gel.

    As for Liverpool, your fans are deluded and you are clinging to hopes that simply shouldn't exist, your squad is weaker than United, City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and even Newcastle. Not to mention that the first XI for all those teams is superior and even Evertons first XI also kicks yours up and down the park. You'll be battling Everton for 7th if you perform well, which based on last season, you won't. If you perform badly, bottom half and embarrassment.

    Top Four

    Man City - 90+
    Man Utd - 90ish
    Chelsea - 80+
    Arsenal - 75ish

  • Comment number 74.

    With Vidic back from injury and the addition of Kagawa and RVP, I think Man Utd will win the league. my top 4 prediction:
    1: Man Utd
    2: Man City
    3: Chelsea
    4: Arsenal

  • Comment number 75.

    #64 who_dat

    I think I hear the sound of you clutching at straws. Have fun though.

  • Comment number 76.

    Can't wait for May to come to see this dumb dumb's prediction proved completely wrong.

  • Comment number 77.

    @73

    Go player for player with our team against any of the clubs (excluding the Manchester clubs and Chelsea) and see what you come up with....

    Weaker than Everton? Have you seen Everton's squad? Apart from Baines and maybe Jelavic they are a team of nobodys and we are far superior in every department.

    Spurs and Arsenal are weaker and let's be honest, Newcastle had a freak season (Cisse coming good as Ba became bad). Surely if Ba was that good the 7m clause would have been activated.

    Bottom half - come back and may and there will be a big slice of humble pie for you even mentioning bottom half. Deluded.

  • Comment number 78.

    73. At 11:17 17th Aug 2012, Thundrle wrote:

    People i am sure said the same about Newcastle the year before but they slowly went about their job and made it to 5th.

    Its not a great leap of the imagination to think Liverpool could move up 3 places in the league up to 5th. You are the deluded one to believe that such a thing couldn't happen.

  • Comment number 79.

    1.Man United 2. Man City 3.Chelsea
    I think Man United will regain the Premier League simply because we have strengthened our squad from last season and our younger players (Jones, Smalling etc) are more experienced. In addition we have Tom Cleverly back to give us strength in midfield while Carrick plays the deeper role. Having Kagawa and Van Persie helps too...

  • Comment number 80.

    United were joint leaders at the end of a season that saw them lose 11 players at one point...now if this season is injury free, I think united might just clinch it. On the other hand,there are three or four other teams hungry for that title...let the games begin.

  • Comment number 81.

    Phil if you are predicting Wigan Athletic to finish 18th after 8 seasons in the premier league I think its time as BBC sports chief football writer to do your homework. I also noticed you predicted Wigan to finish BOTTOM last season! So it wouldn't suprise me if you have predicted Wigan to get relegated for the past 7 previous seasons! Every year we lose our best players and have a bad start AND every we year we stay up! Its the same old story from football pundits:
    05/06 "Wigan will finish bottom, they are not good enough".
    06/07 "2nd season blues, wigan will be relegated, they over achieved".
    07/08 "McCulloch and Baines gone, you wont survive"
    08/09 "Palacios gone Heskey gone, wigan will be relegated"
    09/10 "Valencia and Cattermole Gone, This year wigan will be relegated"
    10/11 "Lost 0-4 to Blackpool then 6-0 to Chelsea after 2 games, this will be the year wigan drop"
    11/12 "Without N'Zogbia Wigan are screwed and this will be the year"

    Change the record WIGAN ARE PREMIER LEAGUE! Show us some respect, there will always be 3 teams worse than wigan and I hope this is the year we kick on up the table!

  • Comment number 82.

    Apart from the top 3, Man City, Man U & Chelsea (although maybe not in that order), there's as much chance of winning the lottery as predicting the rest.

  • Comment number 83.

    In general I agree with most of this.

    To summarise:

    1-2 Man U and City (straight fight between those 2)
    3 Chelsea
    4-5 Arsenal and Spurs
    6-8 Liverpool, Newcastle and Everton
    9-11 Stoke, Sunderland and Fulham
    12-14 QPR, West Brom and West Ham
    15-20 Norwich, Swansea, Southampton, Villa, Wigan and Reading

    Within those groups I wouldn't want to guess who would be where

  • Comment number 84.

    Good reading Phil.

    My breif predictions...

    The title will definately go to Manchester.
    3rd/4th will be completed by a London club.

    Liverpool? top 10 at best.

    Southampton,Reading,Norwich to go down.
    Stoke,Villa,Wigan,QPR will be scrapping it out to avoid the drop.

  • Comment number 85.

    @81

    You must love the fact we all write you off each year. I completely forget you've been around for so many seasons!

    I for one am again writing you off as getting relegated so enjoy staying up again.

    Also it must be far more exciting being a Wigan fan than say a Fulham fan (no disrespect) who are comfortable each year.

  • Comment number 86.

    I prefer to predict AFTER watching the first round of games, always works for me. but then for me, this season will shape up as follows:
    - The title is between the Manchester clubs and Chelsea, BUT I believe Chelsea will finish above Manchester City, so that basically leaves ManU as the joker.
    - 4thplace: This may be the year it finally catches up with Wenger, however, that position would depend on how BR can gel his Liverpool team. If liverpool dont gel quickly, Arsenal will take 4th comfortably. Either way, Tottenham will finish 6th.
    - Wigan wont be relegated. Relegation candidates would likely be, southampton, reading and norwich,... however u never really know with promoted teams, hence why its best to predict after the first round of games. last season, even though swansea lost 4-0 to mancity, it was clear to me then that with a keeper like that and a first 45mins performance, they would be tough to beat.

  • Comment number 87.

    76.At 11:23 17th Aug 2012, Bowler wrote:
    Can't wait for May to come to see this dumb dumb's prediction proved completely wrong.
    _______________________________________________
    Care to add your own so that at least Phil can reciprocate.

  • Comment number 88.

    @84

    God - the Liverpool hate boys are out in force today. Do you know how ridiculous saying Liverpool will finish top 10 at best sounds?

    Reina - top 3 GK's in the league.
    Agger - IMO, best and most naturally gifted defender in the league.
    Gerrard - Best player at the WC and along with Yaya is the most dynamic midfielder in the league.
    Suarez - Unbelievable. Superlatives cannot put in to words how good this guy is. If he can add goals to his performances he is untouchable.

    And you predict a bottom half finish. Oh my goodness.....

    Look at our squad in comparison to Spurs who have 1 recognised striker - Arsenal who are going to lose their best players.

    I will spare a thought for you in May.

  • Comment number 89.

    Villa to finish 8th? Not sure cant that phil. Also noted that you predicted all but the bottom 3 to have good cup runs! Manu, chelsea, manc, arsenal, spurs, liverpool. Bottom 3 villa, norwich, reading. reading will only have one win all season and set records for the worst premiership team. My 'suprises' will be swansea to finish top 10 and everton to flirt with relegation.

  • Comment number 90.

    Might be slightly biased but I think a lot of people will be surprised by Southampton this year. Play good, attractive, attacking football and have a very good manager who always tries to look at positives. Swansea played in a similar way last season and they won lots of plaudits and with the signings of Gaston Ramirez (£11.6 million a new club record) and Matty Phillips all but complete, it shows Saints have ambition to kick on. For what it's worth this is how I think the League will finish. Rather predictable top 2 and they will be the top 2 by a country mile

    1 Man City
    2 Man United
    3 Chelsea
    4 Liverpool
    5 Arsenal
    6 Newcastle
    7 Spurs
    8 Aston Villa
    9 Sunderland
    10 Everton
    11 Fulham
    12 Southampton
    13 Swansea
    14 Stoke
    15 Norwich
    16 West Ham
    17 West Brom
    18 QPR
    19 Reading
    20 Wigan

  • Comment number 91.

    I think it is very difficult to predict due to the variables (from last season) such as: injuries to key players (Fletcher, Gerrard, Wilshere), fringe players suddenly hitting form (Dzeko, Gutierrez, Ramirez), signings being bad (pick any three from Liverpool), signings being good (Cisse, Jelavic, Cahill) and poor management (A.V.B., Kenny Dalglish, Alex McCleish).

    But........

    Manchester City (too much fire power)
    Manchester United
    Chelsea (bought well, but Terry, Lampard and Cole are downfall)
    Liverpool (surprise of the season)

    Arsenal
    Spurs
    Everton (Jelavic will power them)
    Newcastle (difficult second season)
    Aston Villa (Bent will power them)
    Stoke
    Sunderland (very good manager)
    Southhampton (very good manager)
    Fulham
    Wigan
    Q.P.R.
    Swansea
    West Ham (love the Hammers, hate the way Big Sam plays football)

    Reading
    West Brom
    Norwich

    Man City will have far too much fire power all over the park and will win the league by 9 points at least. Manchester United for a cup.

    I am a Liverpool fan but I think this is fair. You can't choose between Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool for 4th place. Everyone seems to have forgotton that Spurs are Losing Modric AND have lost Adebayour!! There main striker last season. Arsenal have replaced R.V.P. already and look almost the same as last season, Liverpool have a fit Steven Gerrard a couple of decent summer signings but, most importantly, a host of youngsters ready to play from the Acadamy. Watch out in the next 18 months for: Sterling, Suso, Morgan, Robinson, Coady, Pacheco, Wisdom, Flanagan, McLaughlin, Ibe and Adorjan.

    Chelsea have bought very well but until Terry, Lampard and Cole are gone they will not perform on the pitch (overrated and ageing) and the manager will not have complete control of the dressing room.

    Lastly, I am not a fan of Big Sam and I am not looking forward to playing West Ham. I have always liked our games with West Ham but I fear this season it will be a case of sore neck and Big Sam using the word "effective" in his interviews. Unfortunately, I can see them staying up, but hope they sack Big Sam anyway and get a manager that a club like West Ham merits.

  • Comment number 92.

    1. Manchester City
    2. Chelsea
    3. Man U

  • Comment number 93.

    ...and to go down.

    1. Wigan
    2. QPR
    3. Reading

  • Comment number 94.

    Sometimes I wonder whether these blogs are just encouragement for the betting companies. Here goes with my prediction even if only for bragging rights. The top three positions will be close, followed by a gap.

    Man City, they have a settled squad but are totally reliant on Yaya T.
    Chelsea were better than City in the Charity Shield while they had 11 and City weren't fouling.
    Liverpool, I love laughing at them, but this year could play the best football to watch.
    Man U have not fixed the defensive midfield problems.
    Arsenal will not improve without a true captain.
    ...
    Tottenham mid-table sorry AVB, your football knowledge is great, but you should have learned more man management skills before trying again.
    ...
    QPR will be the most improved.
    ...
    Villa, West Ham and Southampton I expect to go down.

  • Comment number 95.

    The usual pre season rubbish. Southampton are going to be better than most think. We were the best footballing side in the championship last year similar to Swansea the year before. Most of you fans already in the prem are predicting us to drop again, but you haven't seen us play. Reading will also be a decent side so quite why you all think West Ham will finish above us both I don't know. They didn't last year...
    Add to that we have spent money, with a few more to come and potentially today a 12 million record signing that was wanted by Spurs and Liverpool and I think we will have at least enough to be clear of the bottom three.
    Note = we expect to be near the bottom after 4 games as we start with City, United and Arsenal, but after that who knows.....

  • Comment number 96.

    Reading won't go down Phil, as someone else commented have you ever seen them play? Good style, good manager, some good players as well.
    People predicting Liverpool for top 4 are obviously smoking something funny! Top 10 if they're lucky!
    Spurs under AVB could do well, and finish where they would have last season if not for 'Arry's shameful chasing of the England job.
    Arsenal have made a good signing in Carzorla, but the loss or RVP will be too big for them!
    Man City
    Man Utd;
    Spurs;
    Chelsea;
    Arsenal;
    Newcastle;
    Everton;
    Liverpool;
    Vill;
    QPR;
    Fulham;
    Stoke;
    Sunderland;
    Swansea;
    Reading;
    West Ham;
    Norwich;
    Southampton;
    Wigan;
    West Brom

  • Comment number 97.

    People predicting the downfall of City are misguided.

    They have by far the best front six in the league. They have one of the best defences when all are fit (that is the key for them this season), and they have one of the best goalkeepers in Europe. The fact that they have only bought in one player says that they are confident in the squad they have, despite Mancini already starting his mind tricks (he's a wily fox).

    They also have the massive benefit of knowing they are champions and that on their day no-one can touch them.

  • Comment number 98.

    Can't see Villa doing that well, also you might be being a bit harsh on Newcastle and Liverpool. I think Chelsea could mount a title challenge, but their new players will have to click. This should be a great season and I think any one of City United and Chelsea could win it. But I'll go for City.

    http://asportinginsight.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/premier-league-season-201213-who-will.html

  • Comment number 99.

    At 11:35 17th Aug 2012, luissaurezisamazing wrote:
    @84

    God - the Liverpool hate boys are out in force today. Do you know how ridiculous saying Liverpool will finish top 10 at best sounds?
    ---------------------------------------------------

    It sounds Genuine. Typical deluded Kop supporter.
    I bet you beleived with the Queen Dalgish you was going to some how win the league if he was given another season as boss.

    Rogers will not be able to change things for the better.
    He is at heart still a Swansea man. Look at his signings or he has been linked with?

    Swansea based players.
    Thats what Liverpool will become with BR, The man needs to think outside the box and stop relying on his previous club for new recruits.
    As for his so-called keep the ball and win it back inside 7 seconds when not in posession will not work with the plodder Liverpool already have and more plodder Liverpool will bring in. Liverpool are yesteryears club. Now going backwards.

    Top 4 some people say...

    You must be joking.

  • Comment number 100.

    Of far more entertaining value is looking at last year's predictions, and then looking at the comments of those that Phil upset with his predictions to see how well they performed. Perhaps we could impart some verbal beatings on all of those hopelessly inaccurate ones in the same way Phil inevitably cops it each year for daring to have an opinion...

 

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