Just over a month removed from that heartbreaking final at Euro 2020 after an incredible summer of football, the Premier League is on the horizon. Making its eagerly anticipated return this weekend to take back all of the attention from sports fans globally, there is so much to be excited for! Whether you’re an armchair supporter, die-hard home and away traveller or an avid pub watcher, we all have our own predictions for the Premier League this season.
The last two seasons have been insane. From Liverpool’s complete dominance of the league which ultimately fell flat in the face of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in empty stadia to last season which was played almost completely behind closed doors. We haven’t had true Premier League fixtures, with the excitement and roar of a crowd since March 2020. It was hard not to see how much of an impact crowds make to home matches with some bizarre and crazy results throughout the season. For what felt like the first time in a good few years, anybody could beat anybody on their home turf. And that is what we love about the Premier League. Yes, there are still those top few teams who dominate every year, but this truly is an unpredictable league across a season. Shocks and upsets are not really upsets in the Premier League, on any given day a team at the bottom can put on a resounding and dominant display against the defending champions. Fans are finally back and we cannot wait to be reminded of just how integral they are to the sporting landscape in this country’s domestic competitions.
The Gold Medal Race
Let’s be honest, we haven’t had a solid and meaningful title race now for a few years – two seasons of pretty much dominance from Liverpool and Manchester City since that colossal battle of 2019 with City’s win over Liverpool being the only difference between the two sides come the end of the year where both could easily have topped 100 points. Liverpool responded in an intense fashion with one of the most dominant displays English football has ever seen (before a major collapse through the COVID outbreak and resumption of the league). City were the strongest last season by far having refound their form, and while it was far from the dominance we’ve seen from them before, with one of their lowest points tallies in a winning season, they were miles ahead of the competition once again. It’s time we had a real title battle on our hands again, one that comes down to the wire, the final few games of the season. Edge of your seat stuff! Could the 2021/22 season, after everything we’ve been through together over the last 18 months, really be that spectacle of domestic football and bring us a competitive and thrilling title challenge?
Last Time Out
Manchester City with the addition of Ruben Dias took advantage of a faltering Liverpool, Lampard-led Chelsea and misfiring Manchester United to take the title by 12 points last term. United were the closest challengers after an impressive season for Solskjaer but stuttered at the end. Will the addition of Jadon Sancho take them one step further? Who would have ever thought the team that fired club legend Frank Lampard midway through the season would go on to lift the UEFA Champions League just four months later. It’s been confirmed that Romelu Lukaku is returning to the Bridge, how will that add to Tuchel’s in-form Blues? Liverpool, after riding incredible form (and injury luck) for the past 3/4 seasons were destroyed by injury last time out which almost saw them finish outside the UCL places just 2 years after winning the competition. Van Dijk is back, Konate has been added, can Liverpool return to the summit this time around?
Fans View – Premier League Predictions
As we head into opening weekend, we asked our fans once again their views on what is to come. Instead of the usual score and starting 11 predictions, we are kicking off our Premier League Fans View columns with the almighty end of season predictions. The usual faces are here, there are no real surprises in who makes up the top 4 but some very varied positions and nobody can agree on who will lift the world-famous trophy in May. Here is what they had to say:
Mark – Liverpool Fan
Mark’s Premier League Predictions:
“Top four: Liverpool: Although they have only brought one player this season, they have players coming back into the squad that will mean that they will be able to field the same team that destroyed everyone in 2020/2021 – they also have a number of players who underperformed last season, who will be looking to prove that they are still capable of delivering another premier league title. Manchester City: Spent big again however, unrest in the camp will be the undoing. Superstars do not want to be left out of the team warming the bench. I can see trouble brewing at City with disharmony in the squad which will ultimately impact their performances on the pitch. Manchester United: Spent well this summer, excellent signings in Sancho and Varane who will bring stability to both the forward and midfield positions. I cash see united running City close for the second spot. Chelsea: A big season for them this year with an excellent appointment in Thomas Tuchel. They have a strong squad and if reports are true in them adding to their frontline in Romela Lukaku then I can see them having a strong season.
Bottom three: Burnley: I can see them struggling this season – I think it will be tough for them to survive given that teams who are normally fighting for 40 points have spent more to improve their squads. Crystal Palace: Jury is certainly out on the appointment of Patrick Vieira who did struggle in his previous coaching positions. Lots of changes in the squad with seasoned players leaving Palace over the summer, which will make it extremely hard for the new coach who will be judged on results. Brentford: Strong finish to their season which eventually through the playoffs result in them getting promotion to the premier league however, there is a huge difference between the two leagues and they will struggle to compete with the seasoned premier league teams and also the two who finished above them in the Championship Norwich and Watford.”
David – Wigan Athletic Fan
David’s Premier League Predictions: “Despite Liverpool not having an impressive transfer window like their title rivals I feel as if this Liverpool team has the mental toughness and togetherness in the squad to push on for the title – the return of VVD, Gomez, Matip alongside the addition of Konate will transform Liverpool this term; the instability in the squad last season as a result of players playing out of position really cost Liverpool – with Fabinho and Hendo playing in their normal positions without having to play makeshift centre backs coupled with a solid back-line will be transformative for this Liverpool side this season – with the return of Jota upfront to bolster Liverpool’s attacking options coupled with Harvey-Elliot and Taki impressing pre-season provides options that Liverpool didn’t have last season. The fact Liverpool by many pundits are being questioned as to whether or not they’ll make top 4 gives Liverpool the underdog / dark horse position which the club thrives off of. City, Chelsea and United I feel are equally matched this time around – with Ole Gunnar – Solskaer strengthening with Rashford and Varane, City with Grealish and Chelsea with Lukaku – this is going to be one of the closest title races in recent years.
Ryan – Blackburn Rovers Fan
Ryan’s Premier League Predictions: “1st – City, obviously strong team with incredible depth which over a full season is going to play its part, as well as, in my eyes, the best manager in football right now. 2nd – Could be either of the next three teams I’m putting in the top 4 but if I have to choose I’m going with Chelsea simply because they’ve won the UCL and with Lukaku coming in if he gets half the chances Werner was given last season then they’ll be challenging city. 3rd – United, squads just getting stronger with Sancho and the players they already have. If they got another central midfielder they’d be challenging, even more, 4th – Liverpool, again like I said this top 4 could be any other way round but the reason I have Liverpool 4th is that they’ve got the same squad as they did a couple of years ago it’s all very stagnant but with the best CB in football coming back it might not matter, as well as Harvey Elliot who’s such a baller give him a chance he’s getting G/A involvements in the doubles. Bottom 3 is harder but I’m going with Norwich, Watford and it’s a toss-up between Brighton and Burnley. I’m going Brighton just because Burnley always manage to stay up. Norwich always go down, it’s a given. Watford from what I saw of them last season are great on the attack but out of the other teams to choose from I can’t see them staying up and again I’ve chosen Brighton because they were on the edge last season and I think Burnley have what it takes over Brighton to stay up and the manager to do it as well. Another shout would be Southampton but I’m putting faith in Adam Armstrong to bag 30.”
Steven – Liverpool Fan
Steven’s Premier League Predictions: “1st: Liverpool I think people underestimate just how many players we lost last season. A lot of focus was on VVD because of his ability and he was clearly missed, but so was Matip, Gomez, Fabinho at DM pretty much all season and Henderson at times in CM. Not to mention Thiago and Jota’s lengthy time out with injury. For a side that went through what they did, without the atmosphere that Anfield generates, to finish 3rd was nothing short of incredible and with a fully fit squad I think it’s theirs to lose. 2nd: City. City have never struggled scoring goals, I don’t particularly think they needed Grealish as they already have an abundance of talent in the wide areas and I can’t see him playing CM for Pep. They need a striker, they need a Harry Kane if they’re going to make a push for the league and UCL. I think they’ll be up there from the start and it’ll be close between them and Liverpool, could go either way because City have the most expensive sporting side ever assembled and one of the best benches in modern football. 3rd: Chelsea. Lukaku is a huge boost for them, Werner just isn’t built to be the main man for a team of that size. Off the back of winning the UCL they’ll have a massive amount of confidence going into this season, so much talent all over their squad. If they get off to a good start then they should be in the mix but I just feel Liverpool and City have proven they know how to get 90+ points and that will be the benchmark this season. 4th: United It was a toss up between them or Chelsea, I do think United are slightly earlier in their journey than Chelsea are. Varane could be a monumental signing for them, more so than Sancho. It depends on how he adapts to the pace of the premier league, defending without Ramos next to him and a world-class DM in front of him because that’s what he’s tasked with now. Bottom 3: Palace Brentford Southampton In no particular order Palace have just lost a fair chunk of their squad and have a fairly inexperienced Patrick Viera managing them. Haven’t really signed anyone and they weren’t exactly spectacular before all that so I just fear for them. Brentford play a very attacking brand of football and that’s not always a good thing when you’ve just been promoted especially if you don’t have a plan B. Hopefully, I’m wrong and they break a few sides down but it’s not often teams survive who come up and try and have a go Southampton have just lost their main man to Villa and although they went through streaks of form last season I just don’t see how those streaks happen without a recognised goal scorer in your side.”
Jay – Coventry City fan and We Love Sport editor
Jay’s Premier League Predictions: “All of us here at We Love Sport are by our very nature sports fans so how could I not also have a go at this one!? I’ve probably gone with the most drastic change in the top four than any of the others above but I will contextualise this by saying it will be, by far, the closest run title race in history with less than 15 points separating 1st and 5th. Right now, I don’t see anybody beating Chelsea on their best day, I think Tuchel has instilled some confidence into that team, similar to the earlier days of Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool and IF (and it is a big IF) Lukaku can perform, this side will have the confidence to outlast the others. I don’t think they have the best team all round, but as Liverpool have proven before, you don’t actually need that. Liverpool will finish first or second, I’m very confident about that. I feel the squad, while relatively unchanged, is the strongest it’s been for a number of years with reinforcements there in the wider squad who can do some damage. This is the year of Diogo Jota who will finally break through and take the starting role from Bobby, and I also think you’ll see a standout breakthrough year for Harvey Elliot. For me it’s the consistency and the team atmosphere Liverpool have, the sense of togetherness that is bringing this glory, avoid the injuries and you’ve got a very strong team here. City will struggle to dominate this year, I don’t feel Grealish will justify his absurd price tag and they will dramatically miss Aguero. City dominated last year where other teams faltered through injury or poor management, those issues won’t be there this year and they will get caught out. I see it being a matter of 3/4 points separating 1st and 3rd here but City will be edged out by stronger teams not necessarily better players. Manchester United will be up there for the majority of the season but I don’t think they’ll have enough to see it through to the end. Sancho and Varane are key signings but both need time to embed into the Premier League. 2022/23 United will be true contenders, I just don’t see it this year and I see the confidence of this Leicester side improving and them finally taking 4th position in the last few games.
In terms of the bottom three, Watford have by far the weakest team in the division, I don’t see them hanging around for long and it will be an early relegation. Newcastle and Burnley will survive until the final 2/3 weekends but both will go down as victims of terrible recruitment and poor investment. Burnley have overperformed for a number of years and Newcastle really are just bang average. I see Brentford surviving but the second season curse will come to haunt them and Norwich will have just enough to finally survive more than one season at the top table, but it will be very close. ”
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