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Premier League predictions: How will YOUR team fare this season?

After an exciting summer of football, the wait for the new Premier League season is almost over and fans will be back to fill out stadiums up and down the country.

There has been plenty happening during the break and top flight clubs have certainly been busy in the transfer market.

Manchester City smashed the British transfer record to sign Jack Grealish from Aston Villa for £100million while rivals United finally secured a £73m deal for Jadon Sancho. On Thursday, Chelsea casually dropped £98m on Romelu Lukaku.

Manchester City smashed the British transfer record to sign Jack Grealish for £100million

There is much to get excited about but there are several unknowns going into the new campaign. Will Harry Kane finally get his hands on a trophy? If he does, will it be in a Tottenham or Manchester City shirt? 

How will the return of fans affect clubs like Liverpool and Manchester United? Can Southampton get through the season without another 9-0 defeat? 

There’s much to consider ahead of tonight’s season opener between new boys Brentford and Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal and with the excitement building, Sportsmail has brought out the crystal ball to predict how the final league table may look at the end of the campaign.

1. Manchester City

It’s becoming increasingly difficult for clubs to defend the Premier League title but Pep Guardiola managed it in the 2018-19 campaign and was the first to do so since Sir Alex Ferguson. 

It’s hard to look past the current champions for top spot again this season after they splashed out on Grealish but they’ll need their new No 10 to make a quick start with Phil Foden to miss the start of the season through injury. 

City may feel light up top if they fail to agree a deal for Kane, with Sergio Aguero yet to be replaced. 

Guardiola preferred to play without a recognised centre forward for his big games last season and his squad is already full of goalscoring options – but adding Kane would take them to another level.

One to watch: Ferran Torres – Will be looking to build on a steady debut season after a strong campaign with Spain at the Euros.

It will be hard to stop City retaining the Premier League title, especially if they sign Harry Kane

It will be hard to stop City retaining the Premier League title, especially if they sign Harry Kane

2. Chelsea 

Thomas Tuchel laid down a marker to Chelsea’s rivals by starting the season with a trophy as the Blues followed up their Champions League triumph by beating Villarreal to win the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday. 

However, it was clear they still lacked a clinical edge as they failed to kill off the game in 120 minutes before winning on penalties… enter a £98m striker from Inter Milan.

Chelsea have re-signed Lukaku after selling the Belgian in 2014. The 28-year-old is a proven goalscorer in the Premier League and could be the final part of the jigsaw for Tuchel. The German sured up the Blues’ leaky defence last season but his team often struggled in front of goal. 

Lukaku will bring the firepower up front that Chelsea lacked and his arrival could pose a real threat to City’s crown.

One to watch: Kai Havertz – Grew in confidence towards the end of last season and had a strong Euros after scoring the winner in the Champions League final. Lukaku’s arrival will take the pressure of being the record signing off his shoulders.

Kai Havertz (left) improved towards the end of last season and should be confident this year

Kai Havertz (left) improved towards the end of last season and should be confident this year

3. Manchester United

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side briefly looked like they could pose a title challenge last season but didn’t seem to have the belief as City pulled clear with relative ease.

United are hoping £73m Sancho will replicate the goalscoring form he showed for Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga while £42m centre back Raphael Varane should make their defence significantly stronger. 

The addition of Sancho alongside Bruno Fernandes, Edinson Cavani, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford, when he returns from injury, makes for a potentially devastating attack.

City have a winning mentality while Chelsea are starting to build one under Tuchel. Solskjaer is still looking for his first trophy as United boss but knows he now has a squad capable of competing for the title this season.

One to watch: Mason Greenwood – Ended last season strongly and will have benefitted from a rest over the summer. Sancho’s arrival provides competition but Rashford’s absence should see him get opportunities. 

Manchester United signed Jadon Sancho for £73m

Bruno Fernandes will continue to be a key player

Jadon Sancho (left) and Bruno Fernandes (right) will form part of devastating attack at United

4. Liverpool

It’s fair to say Jurgen Klopp didn’t have an easy ride last season. Long-term injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez saw Fabinho playing as a makeshift centre half for much of the campaign, meaning the Reds lost the Brazilian’s influence in midfield.

Despite all their problems, Liverpool still managed to finish third and they’ll be expecting to pose a challenge to City this term. 

With the majority of his squad fully fit, Klopp will be confident he can get his team back to their levels of their title-winning season. But they are set to lose Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane to the Africa Cup of Nations from January 9 to February 6 and this will leave them short in attack.   

Andy Robertson is also set to miss the start of the season after picking up an ankle ligament injury, meaning Kostas Tsimikas will finally get a chance. The Greek left back has been impressive in pre-season but has just five minutes of Premier League football under his belt. 

One to watch: Harvey Elliott – The midfielder has lit up Liverpool’s pre-season matches and is set to be given opportunities rather than being loaned out.

Liverpool will lose Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane to the Africa Cup of Nations in January

Liverpool will lose Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane to the Africa Cup of Nations in January

5. Leicester

Despite another impressive campaign, the Foxes missed out on a place in the Champions League on the final day for a second season in a row.

Leicester will be desperate to finish in the top four but Brendan Rodgers may also fancy a run in the Europa League after a disappointing exit in the round of 32 last term. 

Patson Daka and Boubakary Soumare both look to be astute signings but Wesley Fofana will be a big miss after the defender broke his fibula in pre-season.

The return of Harvey Barnes is a huge boost and Rodgers will be hoping James Maddison can have an injury-free season – assuming they continue to rebuff Arsenal’s interest.

One to watch: Kelechi Iheanacho – Scored 12 goals in the second half of last season and will be looking to prove he can be Jamie Vardy’s long-term successor. 

Kelechi Iheanacho finished last year strongly with 12 goals in the second half of the season

Kelechi Iheanacho finished last year strongly with 12 goals in the second half of the season

6. Tottenham 

It’s not been an easy summer for Tottenham. Their long and drawn out managerial search finally came to an end when Nuno Espirito Santo was appointed in July after talks with other targets collapsed. 

Nuno has spent much of pre-season fielding questions about Kane and the striker’s future remains the big talking point going into the new campaign. 

Kane has made it clear he wants to leave for champions City but Spurs have remained adamant he is going nowhere. Tottenham need the England captain to stay if they are to have any chance of challenging for the top four this season.

While Spurs’ preparation has been far from ideal, there are some positives. Son Heung-min has signed a new long-term contract and Cristian Romero is a much needed reinforcement in defence. 

Nuno finished seventh with Wolves in his first Premier League season but he will find it difficult to force his team into the top four if he loses his most important player.

Harry Kane's future at Tottenham remains uncertain

Nuno Espirito Santo has insisted the striker will stay

Tottenham boss Nuno Espirito Santo (right) has spent much of pre-season fielding questions about Harry Kane’s future amid Manchester City’s interest in the England international (left)

7. West Ham

Few people had West Ham down to finish in the European places last season but David Moyes’ side were the surprise team of the 2020-21 campaign. 

The loan signing of Jesse Lingard in January undoubtedly helped cement the Hammers’ European charge and Moyes will be disappointed he has so far been unable to sign the midfielder on a permanent basis.

The Scot will no doubt be hoping to bring in a few more before the end of the transfer window. He will will also be desperate for Michail Antonio to stay injury free. 

West Ham have looked strong in pre-season with 16 goals in seven games and they will be looking to surprise more people this term.

One to watch: Jarrod Bowen – Will be looking to improve on the eight goals and five assists from his first full Premier League season after tentative links with Liverpool earlier in the summer.

West Ham will be looking for another impressive season after finishing sixth last term

West Ham will be looking for another impressive season after finishing sixth last term

8. Arsenal 

Mikel Arteta’s side recovered after a dreadful start to last season but still missed out on a place in Europe for the first time in 25 years. 

It’s a big season for Arteta and he will start to feel the wrath of supporters if he can’t get his team firing. The addition of £50m centre back Ben White will bolster Arsenal’s defence while midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga could also prove to be a smart signing.

The Gunners haven’t looked confident in pre-season and they’re yet to strengthen their attack, meaning they’ll be relying on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, who is in the final year of his contract.

Aubameyang was poor by his standards last season and Arsenal will need their captain to step up if they’re to finish higher this time around.

One to watch: Emile Smith-Rowe – Arsenal rejected two bids from Aston Villa before handing the youngster the No 10 shirt. Arteta has a lot of faith in the midfielder.

Arsenal need captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to have a good season in front of goal

Arsenal need captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to have a good season in front of goal

9. Aston Villa

There’s no doubt losing Jack Grealish is a huge blow for Aston Villa, given how they struggled when the midfielder was injured last season.

But Dean Smith has been smart in his recruitment and has brought in several talented players who will help fill the void Grealish has left. 

Emi Buendia registered 15 assists in the Championship last season while Leon Bailey made nine in the Bundesliga and also scored nine goals.

Danny Ings is a proven Premier League striker and Ashley Young is another experienced addition. 

Villa finished 11th last season and will fancy pushing further up the table this term. They will look at West Ham’s example and may feel they have enough to make a real challenge for Europe. 

One to watch: Jaden Philogene-Bidace – Villa have made some exciting signings but the youngster has impressed when given his chances in pre-season and could get more opportunities in the first team.

Aston Villa have recruited wisely with Emi Buendia (left) and Danny Ings both strong signings

Aston Villa have recruited wisely with Emi Buendia (left) and Danny Ings both strong signings

10. Everton

Carlo Ancelotti’s shock departure from Everton was matched by Everton’s shock appointment of former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez.

The Spaniard was not a popular choice among supporters and he faces a tough task to win over the Goodison faithful. 

A 4-0 thrashing by Manchester United in pre-season did little to lift optimism but the Toffees have a decent set of fixtures at the beginning of the season and a positive start could do much to raise spirits. 

Benitez has not been able to spend, with Demarai Gray the only player the club have paid a small fee for, but he still has Calvert-Lewin leading the line up front. The forward will be key if Everton are to improve on their 10th place finish from last season.

One to watch: Demarai Gray – Has another chance to make it in the Premier League after falling out of favour at Leicester. Failed to set the world alight during his brief spell with Bayer Leverkusen but needs this move to go well.

Rafa Benitez faces a tough task to improve on the 10th place finish managed by Carlo Ancelotti

Rafa Benitez faces a tough task to improve on the 10th place finish managed by Carlo Ancelotti

11. Leeds

Marcelo Bielsa’s side never looked like being drawn into a relegation battle last season and picked up draws with City, United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal at home. They also managed a memorable win at the Etihad. 

Elland Road is an even more intimidating place when full and Leeds will want to entertain their supporters after their long wait to see them back in the top flight.

The club have signed Jack Harrison on a permanent basis after two impressive seasons on loan while Junior Firpo is another exciting addition.

Another mid-table finish should be within Leeds’ reach but they too may fancy pushing higher up the table. They will be wary of Sheffield United’s demise following their second season in the top flight. 

One to watch: Tyler Roberts – Finally got his first Premier League goal towards the end of last season and has a lot to prove.

Leeds will be looking to build on their impressive debut season back in the top flight

Leeds will be looking to build on their impressive debut season back in the top flight

12. Newcastle

Possibly the most unpredictable team in the Premier League, Newcastle flirted with relegation last season before pulling clear and finishing 12th.

Their strong end was largely down to the form of Joe Willock, who scored eight goals in eight games to lift the pressure on Steve Bruce.

The Magpies are yet to strengthen their squad but if they can bring Willock back, either on loan or on a permanent deal, they will be in a stronger position.

Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin provide attacking strength but both spent time on the sidelines last season and that is when Newcastle fell into trouble. They should be safe if they keep them fit and bring in reinforcements.

One to watch: Allan Saint-Maximin – Easily one of Newcastle’s best players when fit and will provide a spark that was lacking for much of last season. 

Newcastle need to keep Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson fit and strengthen their squad

Newcastle need to keep Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson fit and strengthen their squad

13. Wolves

Wolves struggled without their star forward Raul Jimenez last season but the Mexican is back and the club will hope he can return to his best form.

The club have so far managed to hold on to midfielder Ruben Neves, despite reported interest from Arsenal and Manchester United, and Adama Traore has also remained at Molineux.

Bruno Lage has not been able to spend big since his summer arrival as Nuno’s replacement, but former Barcelona forward Francisco Trincao should provide more competition in the attacking areas.

One to watch: Fabio Silva – There will be less pressure on the forward’s shoulders with the return of Jimenez and he will be hoping to get off to a strong start.

Having star striker Raul Jimenez back will make a big difference for Wolves this season

Having star striker Raul Jimenez back will make a big difference for Wolves this season

14. Southampton

The Saints have lost their top goalscorer in Danny Ings but the arrival of Adam Armstrong should excite supporters.

The striker netted 28 goals in the Championship last season and deserves his chance in the top flight. 

Jannik Vestergaard looks set to join Leicester and will be another big loss but Ralph Hasenhuttl will have £45m to reinvest in his squad. He will be desperate to keep hold of James Ward-Prowse, however. The Southampton captain is central to their style of play and losing him could throw them into trouble. 

If they can keep hold of their skipper, bring in reinforcements and get off to a good start they should have enough to avoid the drop. If they can get through this season without another 9-0 defeat, that will be a bonus. 

One to watch: Adam Armstrong – Still only 24 and full of potential. Will be interesting to see how he links up with Che Adams in attack. 

Southampton are desperate to keep hold of James Ward-Prowse after losing Danny Ings

Southampton are desperate to keep hold of James Ward-Prowse after losing Danny Ings

15. Brighton

If Graham Potter had been able to call on a reliable goalscorer last season, Brighton could easily have finished higher than 16th. 

Quite often the Seagulls played good football but ended up dropping points because of their failure to take their chances.

The club are yet to recruit a new striker but want Celtic’s Odsonne Edouard and the 23-year-old would bolster their attacking options. 

The Seagulls have lost Ben White but have kept hold of key midfielder Yves Bissouma. Brighton showed enough to indicate they should be safe this season but they will surely struggle if they don’t bring in another striker.

One to watch: Moises Caicedo – Brighton beat a number of top clubs to sign the 19-year-old Ecuardor international last January and he will be looking to force his way into the first team. 

Brighton struggled to convert their chances last season and need to strengthen their attack

Brighton struggled to convert their chances last season and need to strengthen their attack

16. Crystal Palace  

Patrick Vieira’s youthful revolution is underway after taking the reins from Roy Hodgson, who departed at the end of last season.

The Eagles have signed centre back Marc Guehi from Chelsea while Conor Gallagher has also joined on loan from the Blues.

Michael Olise, who managed seven goals and 12 assists in the Championship last season, joined from Reading while Joachim Andersen is another strong signing in defence.

Several experienced players have left the club and it will take time for Vieira to get his new team playing the way he wants. But, there should be enough talent in his squad to avoid slipping into the bottom three. 

One to watch: Marc Guehi – Was hugely impressive during his loan spell with Swansea and is set to be a key part of Palace’s defence after the departures of Gary Cahill and Scott Dann.

Crystal Palace have signed several young players including Marc Guehi from Chelsea

Crystal Palace have signed several young players including Marc Guehi from Chelsea

17. Norwich

The majority may have Norwich down to suffer a fourth relegation from the top flight in eight years but Daniel Farke has the edge on the other two newly promoted managers.

The German has top flight experience and should have learned from his side’s dismal 2019-20 campaign and his squad looks stronger than it was last time round.

The Canaries have a particularly difficult start with their first four games coming against Liverpool, Manchester City, Leicester and Arsenal.

A slow start could set them back but their victory over Guardiola’s City in their previous top flight season showed they can cause the odd shock.

One to watch: Billy Gilmour – Norwich did well to sign the midfielder on loan and he could flourish alongside Todd Cantwell. 

Norwich will hope they have learned from their dismal top flight season in 2019-2020

Norwich will hope they have learned from their dismal top flight season in 2019-2020

18. Burnley

Every year Burnley prove people wrong by staying up with several games to spare but could this be the season they finally struggle?

Sean Dyche has only been able to bring in goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey on a free transfer and young defender Nathan Collins and has already admitted his team need more depth.

There is experience in the Burnley squad and that may give them the advantage over the other teams set to be battling around the bottom of the table.

They will be reliant on Chris Wood providing the goals and picking up enough clean sheets to stay clear of trouble.

One to watch: Dwight McNeil – Made five assists last season and has been linked with a move away. Will be looking for a big season after three steady campaigns in the top flight. 

Burnley could fall into trouble if they do not strengthen before the end of the transfer window

Burnley could fall into trouble if they do not strengthen before the end of the transfer window

19. Brentford

The Bees finally made it to the Premier League after agonisingly missing out in previous years and many are excited to see how they will do in the top flight. 

Brentford were the top scorers in the Championship last season and Ivan Toney broke records with 33 goals in 48 games.

The club have brought in Frank Onyeka and Kristoffer Ajer but will be looking to strengthen further before the end of the window.

Thomas Frank’s side lack Premier League experience and that could prove costly but the Bees play exciting football under the Dane and his charismatic post-match interviews should be entertaining.

One to watch: Ivan Toney – After breaking the Championship goalscoring record, can he make the step up?  

Ivan Toney broke the Championship scoring record last season and will be key for Brentford

Ivan Toney broke the Championship scoring record last season and will be key for Brentford

20. Watford 

Xisco Munoz did a brilliant job to take Watford back into the Premier League and his squad will no doubt relish being underdogs this season.

They face a tough task to avoid relegation back to the Championship and will need their experienced players like Danny Rose and Troy Deeney to lead the way.

The Hornets have done well to hold on to Ismaila Sarr and Josh King could prove to be a good addition on a free transfer. 

The club are known for changing managers if things are going badly so Munoz will know he can’t afford to be playing catch up early on in the season. 

One to watch: Ismaila Sarr – The forward was linked with Liverpool and Manchester United after Watford’s relegation. He will be out to impress in the top flight once again.

New boys Watford face a battle to avoid relegation back to the Championship this season

New boys Watford face a battle to avoid relegation back to the Championship this season

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