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Manchester City to retain the Premier League: Sportsmail’s experts make predictions

The transfer window is close to shutting and the new Premier League season is just days away – so what better time for some predictions?

Will Manchester City retain the title? Who will be relegated? And can anyone stop Real Madrid winning the Champions League again?

Sportsmail’s experts answer those three questions and have their say on plenty more as we look forward to another huge campaign.  

Pep Guardiola and Manchester City are primed to successfully defend the league title

IAN LADYMAN

Champions: Manchester City

Top four: Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea

Relegated: Cardiff, Huddersfield, Leicester

FA Cup: Manchester City

League Cup: Liverpool

Promoted: Stoke, Swansea and Middlesbrough

Champions League: Juventus

Manchester City are favourites to win the Premier League after earning 100 points last time

Manchester City are favourites to win the Premier League after earning 100 points last time

Pep Guardiola said his team can’t match last season’s phenomenal effort but why not? City have added Riyad Mahrez and their players will be better for last year. Europe may distract them but their rivals have too much ground to make up. Liverpool will improve on the back of summer business but not enough to make up last season’s 25-point gap. I’ve put Jurgen Klopp down for the League Cup because has to win a trophy some time. Hasn’t he?

Manchester United will not be as bad as people have suggested simply because they never are while Spurs will be this season’s big surprise and not in a good way. They have not invested properly and could suffer because of it.

It’s a shock to include Leicester to go down but they have lost their best player and will they keep Harry Maguire and Peter Schmeichel?

In the Championship, Stoke have done some decent summer business and hired a sound manager in Gary Rowett while Swansea appointed the bright and talented Graham Potter. Middlesbrough have Tony Pulis at the helm and nobody would bet against the 60-year-old doing what he does best.

IAN HERBERT 

Champions: Manchester City

Top four: Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea

Relegation: Huddersfield Town Brighton Cardiff City

FA Cup: Manchester United

League Cup: Liverpool

Promoted: Aston Villa, Stoke, Middlesbrough

Champions League: Juventus

Jose Mourinho is under pressure to win a trophy after a disappointing 2017-18 season

Jose Mourinho is under pressure to win a trophy after a disappointing 2017-18 season

Manchester City will dominate again because it is a season of transition for Chelsea and Arsenal while Manchester United, consumed by Jose Mourinho’s relentless negativity, are flat-lining and better off without him. Liverpool will be stronger but their defence is still a weakness. Tottenham may struggle to keep happy that English core who could earn bigger money elsewhere.

At the other end of the table, Huddersfield and Brighton both looked vulnerable last season. Aston Villa’s new wealth will catapult them back.

SAMI MOKBEL

Champions: Liverpool

Top four: Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham

Relegation: Cardiff, Huddersfield, Newcastle.

FA Cup: Tottenham.

League Cup: Arsenal

Promoted: Stoke, Middlesbrough, Derby

Champions League: Juventus

Liverpool appear well placed to challenge Manchester City for the title next season

Liverpool appear well placed to challenge Manchester City for the title next season

Liverpool’s squad is significantly stronger following their summer signings.. If Alisson can live up to his billing, Klopp’s men can overcome City. If Chelsea strengthen, they could push Spurs for the top four. I expect Mauricio Pochettino to finally lift the trophy noose around his team’s neck while any trophy will be a satisfactory first season for Unai Emery. And even with Rafa Benitez, I fear the Magpies’ lack of investment will catch up with them this season. In Europe, who’d bet against Cristiano Ronaldo?

DOMINIC KING

Champions: Manchester City

Top four: Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham

Relegation: Bournemouth, Huddersfield, Cardiff 

FA Cup: Liverpool 

League Cup: Manchester United

Promoted: Stoke, Middlesbrough, Aston Villa

Champions League: Juventus

Cristiano Ronaldo is looking to lead Juventus to the Champions League after moving to Italy

Cristiano Ronaldo is looking to lead Juventus to the Champions League after moving to Italy

City set an incredible standard last year and history says Pep Guardiola’s teams improve with each year under his supervision. It won’t be as straightforward as last season but they are the team to beat.

There is an idea that Tottenham are vulnerable and could miss the top four but Chelsea and Arsenal both have the Europa League to contend with and that likely schedule of Thursday-Sunday in the jam-packed first half of the season will be crucial. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to be wrong about Huddersfield but it is going to be a big struggle for them.

MATT BARLOW 

Champions: Manchester City 

Top four: Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham

Relegation: Cardiff, Huddersfield, Bournemouth

FA Cup: Chelsea

League Cup: Manchester United

Promoted: Middlesbrough, Stoke, Aston Villa

Champions League: Juventus

Maurizio Sarri has been tasked with turning Chelsea's fortunes around in the Premier League

Maurizio Sarri has been tasked with turning Chelsea’s fortunes around in the Premier League

No team has defended the title since Manchester United in 2009 but Manchester City were so far ahead last season, 19 points clear. They are settled with scope to improve and Guardiola has form for stacking titles once his team is the way he likes it. Unless there is a calamity around the corner, it is hard to see them collapsing, while those in pursuit have differing degrees of disruption to work through.

RIATH AL-SAMARRAI 

Champions: Manchester City

Top four: Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea

Relegation: Cardiff, Huddersfield, Brighton

FA Cup: Tottenham

League Cup: Everton

Promoted: Stoke, West Brom, Leeds

Champions League: Juventus

Marco Silva (centre) has been tasked with ending Everton's long trophy drought

Marco Silva (centre) has been tasked with ending Everton’s long trophy drought

City haven’t added much but what they have brought in – Mahrez – has strengthened an already exceptional squad. There’s no place for Manchester United in my top four – Mourinho has already sucked the life out of them. Arsenal will need time to adjust to regime change and Liverpool will excel now that they have a top goalkeeper. 

Mauricio Pochettino and Tottenham badly need a trophy and ought to go all out for the FA Cup. In Europe, I fancy that £100m buys you rather a lot when it’s Cristiano Ronaldo.

CRAIG HOPE 

Champions: Manchester City

Top four: Tottenham, Liverpool, Manchester United

Relegation: Cardiff, Huddersfield, Southampton

FA Cup: Tottenham

League Cup: Manchester United

Promoted: Stoke, Middlesbrough, Leeds

Champions League: Juventus

Tottenham have what it takes to win the FA Cup next season, according to our man Craig Hope

Tottenham have what it takes to win the FA Cup next season, according to our man Craig Hope

Even if Spurs and Liverpool improve, the gap to Manchester City is too great to reverse in one season, but I expect those two to be the nearest challengers. 

Manchester United may well take fourth and a League Cup, but I fear another miserable season of listening to Jose Mourinho sully what should be a brilliant and exciting football club to follow.

LAURIE WHITWELL 

Champions: Manchester City

Top four: Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham

Relegation: Cardiff, Huddersfield, Brighton 

FA Cup: Tottenham 

League Cup: Liverpool 

Promoted: Stoke, West Brom, Leeds 

Champions League: Manchester City

Gary Rowett's Stoke side are favourites to win the Championship after investing in new players

Gary Rowett’s Stoke side are favourites to win the Championship after investing in new players

This has all the hallmarks of a Mourinho meltdown season, meaning United missing out on Champions League, while Sarri should bring the fun back to Chelsea. Picking teams for relegation is tricky – but it feels like gravity might just get the better of three clubs punching above their weight. This is the season Pochettino and Klopp are rewarded with silverware in the cups. It is tough to look past Real Madrid for the biggie, but Guardiola might just get it right again.

SIMON JONES 

Champions: Manchester City

Top four: Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham

Relegation: Cardiff, Bournemouth, Fulham 

FA Cup: Manchester United

League Cup: Liverpool

Promoted: Stoke, West Brom, Middlesbrough

Champions League: Manchester City

The signing of Riyad Mahrez could help  City go all the way in the Champions League

The signing of Riyad Mahrez could help City go all the way in the Champions League

City’s race to the title will be closer run this season with Liverpool and Chelsea providing greater challenge. However, the addition of Riyad Mahrez plus the growing experience of their younger players will keep City ahead and capable of going all the way in Europe. 

The summer investment from Stoke City and West Brom should see them make a swift return to the top flight.

ADAM CRAFTON 

Champions: Manchester City 

Top four: Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal

Relegation: Watford, Huddersfield, Cardiff

FA Cup: Tottenham

League Cup: Manchester United

Promoted: Stoke, Nottingham Forest, Bristol City

Huddersfield could suffer from second season syndrome after avoiding the drop last term

Huddersfield could suffer from second season syndrome after avoiding the drop last term

No side has defended the Premier League since Manchester United in 2009 and a decade on, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City will prove themselves the greatest team since Sir Alex Ferguson’s team of Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez. 

At the bottom, Watford’s high-turnover model will finally be caught out, Cardiff look too limited and Huddersfield will not be fuelled by the adrenalin of last season.

JACK GAUGHAN

Champions: Manchester City  

Top four: Liverpool, United, Arsenal 

Relegation: Cardiff, Huddersfield, Brighton 

FA Cup: Tottenham 

League Cup: Liverpool 

Promoted: Stoke, West Brom, Middlesbrough  

Champions League: Juventus 

A summer of struggling in the market could take it's toll on Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham

A summer of struggling in the market could take it’s toll on Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham

It’d be a huge achievement if Pep Guardiola became the first manager in a decade to defend the title but they have all the tools to do it. City must be wary of Liverpool though.

After coming so close twice in four seasons, the capture of Cristiano Ronaldo might be enough to see Juventus go one better this time. It’d be Ronaldo’s fifth in six years if they pulled it off. 

Another summer of struggling in the transfer market could take its toll on Tottenham, with Arsenal having enough to potentially edge them and Chelsea. Manchester United will finish in the top four providing they start well.



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