Didier Drogba, Dwight Yorke and Ji-Sung Park are among the star international footballers confirmed for the special Football For Fires match in Sydney in May.
It’s that time of year for a Premier League prediction. Last year, I correctly called Chelsea winning it, so it is time to predict the champions again!
1) Manchester United
The Special One does it! Jose Mourinho will win the EPL title and fans will start cheering. United splashed the cash this transfer window, headlined by a 75 million euro transfer for Romelu Lukaku. The missing key was actually the recent signing of Nemanja Matic, who now provides the quality cover for the defence that has been suspect at times.
Now there is enough depth in almost every position to compete with every team in the EPL and even most teams in the Champions League.
2) Manchester City
Well done City and well done Pep Guardiola. You finally started to fix what has cost your team many games the past few years, your rubbish defence! With the defensive reinforcements made this transfer window and Pep getting a reality check on how hard the Premier League is last year, City will end up playing more consistent football and challenging for the title.
The one big missing thing is there is still no cover at centre back for when Vincent Kompany gets injured, which judging by previous years will happen. I just can’t trust John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi as a centre-back pairing.
Last year’s champions have made some quality signings in the likes of Alvaro Morata, Antonio Rudiger and Tiemoue Bakayoko, so why are they placed down in third?
Last year, Chelsea did not have to worry about any European football and the two teams above them have more depth. That, plus no team has won the EPL twice in a row for a while, means they won’t repeat last seasons success.
Arsenal will get a kick up the behind after missing the Champions League for the first time in two decades and play enough decent football to secure the top-four finish they are known for.
The signing of Alexandre Lacazette should mean consistent goals. However, if Alexis Sanchez ends up leaving and is not replaced properly, then Arsenal will be a laughing stock yet again. In that case, be prepared for more quality from ArsenalFanTV.
The signing of Mohamed Salah give the Reds yet another attacking threat, however, I can’t put them in the top four as their defence still needs work.
If they manage to secure the signing of Virgil Van Dyk from Southampton, then I will place them in fourth.
I’m very disappointed with Spurs. They’re a team that was on the brink of an elusive EPL title for the last two years, so you’d think they would have had a busy transfer window, right?
Wrong! No team ever seems to do well with a lack of transfer activity, hence their big drop from second last year. The loss of Kyle Walker also leaves a gap in that defence that has been a brick wall the last few years.
What a window it has been for the Toffees. Key signings in Jordan Pickford, Michael Keane, Davy Klaassen and Wayne Rooney, as well as Sandro Ramirez and maybe even Gilfi Sigurdsson, will definetely mean Everton will be challanging for that top six finish.
I’d even say that if they don’t qualify for Europa League, they could end up as high as fifth with the quality they have. Expect a massive season full of big wins against top clubs.
8) West Ham
The biggest movers in terms of finishing position, West Ham will finally adjust to playing at the Olympic Stadium and with the signings they have made this window like Marko Arnautovic, Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez and Joe Hart, they will give the Hammers fans something to cheer about and show them signs of progression as a club.
I don’t know how they do it, but the Saints keep finishing around here. Even with most their key players always going to Liverpool, they always find a way to manage a top half finish, which is why I have stuck them here.
10) Leicester City
Craig Shakespeare and the signings of Iborra and Ihenacho will let Leicester avoid a start to the season like they had last year and will get a top half finish. They will also be a trickier team against the big boys than last year. Expect a few upsets from them.
11) West Brom
Tony Pulis’ men had a season no one predicted last year. Another season of beating the teams below them and maybe getting one win (sorry Arsenal fans) against a top-six team will get them close to a top half finish.
With a great transfer window with the buys of Jermain Defoe and Asmir Begovic, Bournemouth will grow even further grow in confidence with the quite surprising performance last year. I don’t think they can cause many upsets against the big teams, but they will do some damage to those teams below them.
13) Stoke City
The middle club team no one really cares about unless it’s talking about whether can they do it on a Tuesday night at Stoke, the Potters will do what they have done the last few years and manage a mid-table finish. The loss of Arnautovic, who was their best player last year, explains the drop in rankings.
14) Crystal Palace
A new manager in Frank de Boer, who was successful during his time at Ajax, will get near the best out of this team and make them a hard team to play at Selhurst Park. Their away form will be shocking though, hence they end up 14th.
Two words, Marco Silva. The man made Hull go from the laughing stock of the EPL to the brink of survival. With him and the likes of Roberto Pereyra, Watford will stay in the EPL comfortably.
The Championship champs last year already had some EPL quality in their team with the likes of Jonjo Shelvey and Matt Ritchie, that plus Rafa Benitez as their manager will comfortably keep them in the EPL.
Without Michael Keane in their defence, Burnley will struggle keeping the goals out and will scrape through this season with Andre Gray scoring more than 15 goals.
They’ve been very active in the transfer market this window, however, like Brighton, they will find life tough in the EPL and go down the first time of asking.
This will be the year that Gilfi Sigurdsson will not be able to save them from going down.
No real transfer activity and not enough quality in their team to avoid the drop.