Football certainly isn’t the same without the presence of boisterous supporters filling the stands, but it hasn’t resulted in a decline in standards or indeed entertainment on the pitch, at least not in the English top-flight anyway.
The new Premier League season has already witnessed an incredible number of goals, as well as the usual shaky starts for certain clubs and several exciting players making their debuts. With two gameweeks finished, we’ve decided to make our predictions for the season ahead!
Prediction odds provided by William Hill – correct at the time of publishing and are subject to change.
Best Transfer Signing
Where better to start than with the endless list of talented players that are new to the division? Fortunately the league has witnessed some phenomenal talents arriving on these shores over the years, and it certainly hasn’t stopped this time around, but do the Merseyside clubs boast the two top deals?
It’s the third time in his career that the Colombian has joined up with boss Carlo Ancelotti, and it’s clear to see that it really is a match made in heaven. The attacker has shown glimpses of what he is capable of already in these early stages, and could well be the man to guide the Toffees to a European spot.
The Spaniard played just 45 minutes in the win against Chelsea, but showed what he is all about with more completed passes (75) than any opposition player managed in the entire match. It seems to be the perfect fit for Jurgen Klopp’s side, and at 29 years old, there is still plenty left in the tank to drive the Reds forward.
Other world-class recruits looking to make their mark include Chelsea’s German duo Timo Werner and Kai Havertz, Manchester United’s Donny van de Beek, and forward Gareth Bale upon his loan return to Tottenham Hotspur.
PFA Player of the Year
The aforementioned new arrivals will undoubtedly be keen to immediately clinch this prestigious honour, but they come up against a handful of top-class players who have already shown their abilities in the division.
Kevin De Bruyne – 3/1
The Belgian’s 13 goals and 20 assists saw him deservedly secure the award for the 2019/20 campaign, and with a goal and assist in the win against Wolves, it looks like another typical De Bruyne season is on it’s way.
Bruno Fernandes – 11/1
But one player that certainly has the potential to rival the City playmaker for the honour is his Manchester rival Fernandes, who has almost single-handedly turned United’s fortunes around since his arrival from Sporting Lisbon. His ability on the ball and eye for a crucial pass will be key to his club, but could also see some personal success come his way.
Young Breakout Star
Along with the Premier League veterans and well-established stars, there are always a group of youngsters whose aim is to take the league by storm. Chelsea’s transfer ban saw the emergence of Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham, while Liverpool’s flying full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold picked up the latest PFA Young Player of the Year award. But which fresh-faced players will step up to the plate this season?
The Man United attacker is another to have showcased his talents last time out, but the 2020/21 campaign could well be his for the taking. At just 18, he has already established himself in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first team squad, having netted ten times in the league and five in the Europa League last season.
The Brighton defender is doing his utmost to replicate Alexander-Arnold’s exploits for Liverpool, with his constant runs forward and deadly deliveries already proving unstoppable in the new campaign. His time at Chelsea will stand by him, but the 19-year-old is paving his own future on the south coast, with an England call-up on the horizon.
Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson has challenged left-back Mitchell to have the same rise as former Eagles full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and the 21-year-old is showing all the signs of doing exactly that. He’s even registered 10 tackles in his two games so far, second only to Stuart Dallas of Leeds.
Biggest Transfer Flop
Being a club record signing brings with it the inevitable pressure to deliver, and new Elland Road arrival Rodrigo is certainly feeling the heat after his switch from Valencia for over £30m. The Spaniard gave away a penalty just moments after coming on to make his debut against Liverpool, and has been overlooked in a starting role due to the goals of Patrick Bamford.
Chelsea’s new centre-back has already proved doubters wrong with a clean sheet in his debut in blue, but many are still questioning his appetite for success at the age of 36. The Brazilian defender certainly brings with him a wealth of experience, but whether or not the switch to Premier League football after several years in Ligue 1 will cause him problems remains to be seen.
Mohamed Salah – 3/1
An opening day hat-trick ensured the Egyptian started this campaign much like he finished the last one. A gifted finisher, Salah’s pace and trickery are simply unplayable at times, and he will be keen to clinch another Golden Boot having narrowly missed out last season.
Harry Kane – 7/2
The Spurs striker has been at the very top of his game for several years now by continuously hitting incredible heights in front of goal. Injuries couldn’t even prevent him from recording 18 last time out, so expect an even higher tally should he manage to stay fit.
Having netted four in one game, it’s impossible to rule out Spurs forward Son Heung-min, along with Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who also has four goals from his two games. Deadly finishers Jamie Vardy, Danny Ings and Raul Jimenez certainly won’t be far away either.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 9/1
But neither Salah nor Kane can do anything about the final standings should Arsenal man Aubameyang have things his way. He’s managed 22 league goals in each of his previous two campaigns and, with a new and improved contract under Arteta, he will once again be among the leading frontmen.
Top 4 Finish
Manchester City – 1/20
Any side boasting the attacking talents of Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus, Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva and Ferran Torres will undoubtedly fancy their chances against anyone, but put that together with one of the greatest managers in the world – and one with revenge on his mind – and City will most certainly be in the top four this season.
Liverpool – 1/10
The champions have recruited wisely in recent weeks, with Klopp now leading a team that can afford to rest key players in other competitions in order to keep a strong focus on defending the league title. Top four is an aim, but winning the trophy again is the main priority.
Chelsea – 8/11
By bringing in a wealth of exciting talents in the form of Werner, Havertz, Hakim Ziyech, Silva and Ben Chilwell, Frank Lampard’s men will certainly be entertaining to watch. But the Chelsea legend will want much more than to thrill fans watching from home, with a European spot unquestionably his main goal.
Manchester United – 7/4
Despite a disappointing opening day loss to Crystal Palace, United’s talented young squad should come good, much like they did in the previous campaign. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will want a similar finish to the third spot they clinched last time out, and there is no reason it can’t be achieved with Bruno Fernandes playing behind the likes of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.
A potential Arsenal revival under Mikel Arteta shouldn’t be ignored, however, with the Gunners available at 7/4 to fight their way back into the top four. The likes of Everton (9/2) under Carlo Ancelotti and Spurs (7/2) under Jose Mourinho will also be knocking on the door, as well as a hugely exciting Wolves (9/1) squad led by the talented Nuno Espirito Santo.
West Ham – 6/1
Unlike other sides around them near the bottom of the table, it certainly isn’t a lack of Premier League experience that may be West Ham’s downfall. Problems off the field are seemingly a constant in east London, and they could once again drift onto the pitch at the London Stadium.
West Brom – 1/2
The young, exciting but ultimately inexperienced squad may find wins hard to come by on their return to the top-flight. Their second place finish in last season’s Championship was well-deserved, but they may find the increase in standards just a stretch too much.
Fulham – 1/4
Another newly-promoted side who may also be unable to cope with the pressures and the new level of football that they now find themselves playing at week in week out. They picked up just seven wins in their last visit to the top-flight in 2018/19, and could well be on their way to a similar outcome if they fail to turn things around.
First manager to be sacked
No manager wants to lose his job, but it is often inevitable in the top-flight given the money at stake. Newly promoted sides are almost always at the biggest threat of losing their boss due to the jump in standards from the Championship, and the latest odds show that this trend is set to continue.
Scott Parker – 7/1
The former midfielder knows all about the difficulty of the division from his time at several top-flight clubs, and his Fulham side have already been given a harsh welcome back to the very top with two defeats from their opening two games.
Slaven Bilic – 12/1
Another with Premier League experience, and one whose previous decisions were deemed not good enough when he was sacked by West Ham in 2017 after leading them into the bottom three. The Baggies have also lost their first two matches, conceding eight goals in the process.
David Moyes – 13/8
Despite a squad filled with talent and experience, the Hammers seem to continuously frustrate their own fans year after year with disappointing displays. Moyes has twice now saved the club from relegation, but it may just be third time unlucky for the Scot.
Premier League Prediction Highlights
- Best transfer signings – James Rodriguez & Thiago Alcântara
- PFA Player of the Year – Kevin De Bruyne & Bruno Fernandes
- Young breakout stars – Greenwood, Lamptey & Mitchell
- Biggest transfer flops – Rodrigo & Thiago Silva
- Top goalscorers – Salah, Kane & Aubameyang
- Top 4 finish – Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea & Man United
- Bottom 3 – West Brom, West Ham & Fulham
- First Manager to be sacked – Scott Parker, Slaven Bilic & David Moyes.