All of the top European leagues are now completed for the 2012/2013 seasons and the transfer season is now upon us. What better way to close out a season than to look toward the next season? There has been a noticeable increase in searches for Premier League predictions for the upcoming season so I will offer my personal predictions before, during, and after the transfer window in three separate parts. The first part is now, mainly based on transfer rumors and the squads from last season. Around the end July/beginning of August, part two will be available as an update to how the transfer window is shaking out. Part three will commence on September 1st following transfer deadline day as all squads will be final for the most part.
Check out my first ever prediction post from last season as a part of my prediction history and also if you need to refer to last season’s final table.
Here is how I see the top 10 stacking up for the 2013/2014 season as of today:
1) Manchester United – I think they are strong enough to repeat as Champions, especially if they can keep Rooney and Chicharito. If Rooney leaves, it all depends who they bring in to replace him. But as of today, they are still the favorites in my book to win the title once again.
2) Chelsea – With the recent addition of Andre Schurrle, Chelsea have added a quality young (22 years old) forward who will only get even better with time. Schurrle, Hazard, Mata, and Oscar are a great young nucleus to build a squad around. With the impending departure of Terry, I could see Chelsea bolstering the back four with a transfer or two and if they do, they could contend for the title. I think Chelsea adds at least 2-3 more high profile transfers. Possible additions being Cavani, Hulk and a top defender or two.
3) Manchester City – They are definitely spending cash early on in the transfer window by adding Jesus Navas and Fernandinho for a combined £50 million. Are they good players? Absolutely. Are they top class players that will propel Manchester City to a title? Probably not. I think there are better ways to spend £50 million than on two “good” midfielders in their late 20’s. When you already have Yaya Toure, David Silva, Nasri, Javi Martinez, and even James Milner, it’s already a bit crowded in the midfield. Also throw in the possible departure of Dzeko and Tevez and you have a squad that has not improved from last season. They will have to spend wisely the rest of the summer if they wish to contend for the title. However, if you throw Cavani and/or Hulk into the mix, that would instantly make them a much better squad so I don’t think they are too far away.
4) Arsenal – Finally a transfer window where they aren’t selling their top players. The opposite is occurring as they are dumping the dead weight that has handcuffed them for the past few seasons. With all the rumored purchases (some highlighted here), you would think they would get at least a couple of them. However, Arsene Wenger has disappointed before so this is a ‘wait and see’ situation before anyone can tell if Arsenal will be contenders this season. As of now, they are behind the top 3, but ahead of the next tier of squads. They are in their own tier at the moment and it all depends if Wenger can bring in top quality this summer. If they add a Higuain, David Villa, and/or Jovetic, then they could get a bump up into the top tier. However, if they sit back and buy mediocre talent and don’t bring any top quality in, they will be forced to fight it out with Spurs/Liverpool/Everton for a 4th place “trophy” once again.
5) Tottenham – A 5th place finish here is solely dependent on retaining Bale. They were a top 5 squad last season because Bale carried them and earned the squad countless points throughout the season. If he leaves, so does their hope of finishing in the top 4. However, if they can somehow retain Bale and add one or two quality starters, they can absolutely push Arsenal for a 4th place finish next season.
6) Liverpool – Similar to Tottenham, Liverpool’s spot here is dependent upon retaining Suarez. He is their scoring machine who can single-handedly win matches, much like Bale for Tottenham. They have added a couple decent transfers thus far in Kolo Toure and Iago Aspas, but nothing that will make them significantly better than last season.
7) Everton – The departure of manager David Moyes to Manchester United has been the biggest blow so far this offseason. I would imagine Moyes would be looking to bring with him some of his top players he brought into Everton. Rumors of Leighton Baines and Fellaini being linked to a move to United comes as no surprise. Should they lose even one of those players, they are in trouble with regards to challenging for a Champions League birth. On top of that, they are in desperate need of a quality striker. They have some work to do this transfer window.
This tier is very difficult to predict considering just 8 points separated 9 clubs from 8th all the way down to 16th. With that in mind, here’s the squads in the next tier that I see finishing in the top half of the table:
8) Swansea – A fairly young club with one of the best Premier League scorers from last season, they should improve upon a relatively successful season. Michu is obviously the man that makes them tick. As he scores, the club earns points. Unfortunately, there is not much help from the rest of the squad in the scoring department. Their defense should be better with 20 year old Ben Davies getting a full season under his belt. I look for them to add a couple mid-level talent transfers to provide depth up front, which could go along way to taking some of the goal scoring pressure off of Michu.
9) Newcastle United – One of the more disappointing squads last season (aside from QPR), Newcastle looks to regain its 2011/2012 form that saw them push for a top 4 finish. The loss of Demba Ba to Chelsea obviously hurt their goal scoring chances. However, they are a relatively young squad and with players like Cisse, Cabaye, Tiote, and Ben Arfa, they have the quality to make a run at the Tier 3 clubs. Let’s see if they can add a forward to replace Ba this transfer window. If they do, I could bump them up to as high as 5th depending on the player(s) brought in.
10) Fulham – Fulham had a horrible last two months of the season, only earning 4 points out of a possible 24. This bad run of form entrenched them at the middle of the table after beginning the season with a promising run of form. Fulham is an aging squad that will need to be replaced with some youth in the upcoming seasons. Berbatov will be another year older, but he is still a clinical finisher. The ageless Mark Schwarzer will also be 41 next season so his days are numbered, however, he is still one of the better Premier League keepers despite his age. This doesn’t mean they can’t finish in the top half of the table next season, it just means they are a club on decline and need to infuse some youth if they would like to improve.
Keep in mind these predictions are mostly based on last years squads so obviously there’s not much movement from last season’s final table. With that said, there should be some more shuffling in the predictions as the transfer market takes shape so these are far from my final predictions for the upcoming season.
UPDATE: Make sure you read my updated predictions here.
Have your own predictions? Want to win a free jersey? Check out the details on our Premier League Prediction contest and submit an entry before it’s too late!