At long last, the Premier League is back. Even though many may have not wanted it to return amid safety concerns surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the season is finally continuing, despite the lack of presence involved at game days with the empty stands. The long pause has given sides time to address their situation and current league standings. Many will be fighting for survival whereas others will attempt to attain European football for next season. Having researched each side, this is my prediction for the final Premier League table at the end of the season.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Norwich are my bet to finish rock bottom come the end of the season. Despite starting the season off to a respectable pace, with an early win over Manchester City as well as Finnish striker Teemu Pukki on goal scoring form, The Canaries have fallen short of Premier League standards and it is hard to vision any other outcome than finishing last come the end of the season. With tough games ahead against the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and both Manchester sides, the final part of the season is looking gloomy for Daniel Farke’s men.
19. West Ham
Bad news for fans of the Hammers, I’m predicting a gloomy future for the East London team. It seems that West Ham’s season has been overshadowed by ongoing frustrations between the fans and the club’s owners, something which has arguably been an occurrence for years. David Moyes’ side have hard fixtures coming up against the likes of Chelsea and Wolves, along with relegation scraps against Aston Villa and Watford. I believe West Ham are going to be the side on the wrong end of results come the end of the season and ultimately, they will be sent back down to the championship.
18. Aston Villa
Despite kicking off the restart with a respectable draw against Sheffield United, I still deem Villa as one of the weaker sides come the end of the season, and my third pick to face relegation. This is mostly due to my belief that the teams currently situated above them in the league (with the exception of West Ham) will have more recent experience of surviving the drop. More so, five of Villa’s last nine games are against sides currently in the top half of the table. There is no doubt that Dean Smith’s squad will put up a fight, but it may be a mountain too high for the West Midland team.
My pick to survive relegation by the skin of their teeth, Brighton will no doubt have a hard task ahead of them, and a win in their first game back against Arsenal could be instrumental to the rest of their season. Albion do not have an easy task by any stretch of the imagination, with games against other bottom-table sides such a Southampton, and tough battles against both Manchester teams as well as Liverpool. Something which may help Brighton is their last two games of the season against Newcastle and Burnley, two sides who will most likely already be on the beach come the end of the season.
The Hornets may have the recent experience to help them remain in the Premier League for another season. Players such as Troy Deeney, Abdoulaye Doucouré and young stars such as Ismaïla Sarr should have enough quality to avoid the drop. Since Nigel Pearson’s appointment, Watford have gained points against the likes of Tottenham, Man United and even Liverpool and may be able to win more points than those below. With a less daunting fixture list on paper, especially compared to Villa, Watford should be safe for another year.
Coming back to the topic of beaches, Eddie Howe’s southern coastal side should also be able to avoid the drop this season, despite currently being in the relegation zone. Even though five of their remaining games are against sides in the top half of the table, Bournemouth have always been a side to surprise many by being the underdog, and the end of the season could be no exception. It will be vital for The Cherries to pick up three points against Crystal Palace and Newcastle in order to bolster their standing in the table, especially before they have to face the likes of Manchester City and Leicester.
Sticking to the south coast, despite inconsistent form throughout the season, The Saints should already have enough points to see them safe in the Premier League for another year. Regardless, it should be a rocky ride for Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side, with a tough fixture list ahead. Southampton are going to need striker Danny Ings picking up where he left off if they are to gain six points, which should be enough to guarantee safety.
It may be an exciting summer for fans of Newcastle, amid reports of a potential big money takeover, but it may also be a rather mundane end to their season in terms of quality. Realistically, Newcastle should be clear from the fight taking place beneath them in the table. The Toon’s remaining fixtures are not easy, but, like Southampton, they should have enough quality to gain points in their final games. With the speculation surrounding the club’s ownership, many players may see the restart as a way of proving their worth to the side in order to remain in the squad for next season.
12. Crystal Palace
The next two sides in my predicted table may as well already be building sandcastles on a beach in Dubai. Firstly, Crystal Palace will have little to play for come the end of the season. The Eagles may pick up points along the way to the final day of the season but, in general the club have little to play for and may be relaxed for the remaining fixtures. Saying that, Wilfred Zaha may be looking for a move away from Selhurst Park come the summer and may be looking to impress.
It seems like a lifetime ago when Burnley were considered to be one of the teams involved in this season’s relegation battle, but, as they have done since they were promoted to the Premier League back in 2016, Sean Dyches’s side have once again shown their class. Burnley have gained points against the likes of Man United, Leicester and Tottenham in 2020, leaving their critics back in 2019 in the process. Currently sitting in tenth, we may see a more relaxed Burnley come the end of the season thus my prediction of them dropping down slightly in the table, but Burnley can ultimately be satisfied with the fight and results they have already achieved in the first few months of the year – perhaps one of the only positive things this year has brought so far.
In the short time he has been at the Toffee’s, Carlo Ancelotti has already been a success for Everton. Having taken over a side that was struggling in the first half of the season, the legendary football manager has brought new life to a side that has been lacklustre for years. For the players, they will now be using the remainder of the season to show that they are good enough to keep their place in a squad that Ancelotti will no doubt be looking to rebuild next season. The likes of Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison will be looking to impress and should be able to help Everton pick up wins and push them into the top half of the table.
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. It doesn’t take an expert to see that Arsenal are in a bad position. Having just lost to Manchester City 3-0, this could just be the tip of the iceberg for The Gunners. Arsenal’s fixture list is looking very tough for a side who appear to be slightly inexperienced at the moment, with sides such as Brighton, Watford, Villa and Southampton all looking to take vital points from Mikel Arteta’s team. On top of this, the likes of Sheffield, Leicester and rivals Tottenham may be licking their lips at the chance to play Arsenal in their bid for European football next season. I have them to finish in ninth, but don’t be surprised if they fall even further down the table. Whatever happens, Arteta is going to have a bumpy ride at the North London side.
8. Sheffield United
Taking over from Leicester as everyone’s new second favourite side, Chris Wilder has done an incredible job with Sheffield United. This time three years ago they were in League One, and now they sit comfortably, fighting in a bid to gain European football next year. Despite the amazing achievement that The Blades have managed, Wilder’s side will have a tough fixture list ahead of them and, having already failed to pick up three points against Villa, may not have as much experience to gain European football next year, unlike the sides who may finish above them.
Currently in eighth place, it has been a rather horrid season for Tottenham. Since playing in the Champions League final last year, things have spiralled out of control for the North London side but one thing may benefit them come the end of the season – the return of Harry Kane. There is no doubt that Kane can help rejuvenate Spurs for their final fixtures, but top four could be a bridge too far, with a seven-point gap currently between them and Chelsea. Their first game back against Man United could be vital for them if they want to try and compete with those currently above them in the standings.
6. Manchester United
This may come as a surprise. Manchester United are a team, like top four competitors Chelsea, who can be seen as in a transitional period. A big problem that United may face in their bid for a finish in the top four is the clash of personalities in their side. With Paul Pogba potentially back in the starting line-up along with new signing Bruno Fernandes, United’s final fixtures could either go incredibly well, or incredibly poor. The Reds will have to travel to away games against the likes of Brighton, Norwich and Villa who are all fighting for their lives. They will also have to win potentially dangerous games against Sheffield, Spurs and Leicester. Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side could miss out on top four if personalities clash and they are not as united as the teams surrounding them in the table.
Just missing out on my predictions in the bid to gain Champions League football is Wolverhampton. Like Sheffield, Nuno Espírito Santo’s side have done an incredibly good job this season and have exceeded many people’s expectations at the start of the season. One thing which has helped Wolves throughout the season, is their form against the top sides. With the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Sheffield still to come, Wolves will continue to fight for top four until the end of the season. What could see them come short, is their inconsistent form against lower table sides as they still have to play teams such as Palace, West Ham and Bournemouth. Despite this, Wolves have been impressive this season and will continue to push for Champions League football this season, and probably next year as well.
Chelsea fans are already eagerly anticipating next season. Having already signed Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech for next year, Frank Lampard will be working hard to ensure his big new signings will be playing in the Champions League once they arrive. As it appears that Chelsea are looking to strengthen their squad further, their current players will not only see themselves as fighting for the top four, but also fighting to keep their place in the team. The likes of Barkley, Mount, Loftus-Cheek and Abraham will need to show Lampard that they are just as good as The Blues’ incoming transfer signings. Although they have tough fixtures upcoming, such as Liverpool and Manchester City, Chelsea should have enough drive and talent to ensure that Lampard’s first season at the helm of The Blues is a successful one.
3. Leicester City
Once again, Leicester have surprised the country as they seem to be on board to achieving top four this season. With a five-point gap between them and fourth place Chelsea, as long as they play the way they have been all season, there should be little worry for Brendan Rodgers and his side in their bid to remain in third place. There have been very little times in recent memory where Leicester have taken their foot off the pedal and, with the likes of Jamie Vardy, Harvey Barnes and James Maddison in their attacking half, the end of the season should be no exemption.
2. Manchester City
They’ll be disappointed with mishaps in their form this season, but despite not having much more to play for now, Guardiola will still expect his side to compete to the top of their game in the final part of the season. Ironically, even though they have little to play for, City have, on paper, the better-looking fixture list for the end of the season and will be still be aiming for as many points as possible from them. What may be interesting is how they perform and line up against the sides lower down in the division who will be fighting for survival.
Well, many people didn’t think the day would come, but Liverpool are on the verge of winning their first Premier League title, and it has been thoroughly deserved. Jürgen Klopp’s side have been miles ahead of any other team this season and will continue to fight until the last game as they attempt to reach 100 points in the league, and thus go down as one of the greatest Premier League sides that the division has seen.← Back to portfolio