SPORTbible writers issue their way-too-early predictions for the 2023/24 Premier League season
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The new Premier League season is now less than a month away and, with pre-season schedules beginning to ramp up for all clubs, we decided to put a number of our writers to the test and ask them for their 'way-too-early' predictions.
The 2023/24 campaign will see Manchester City bid to become the first-ever club to win four top-flight English titles in a row, with last season's second-placed team Arsenal, a potentially rejuvenated Liverpool and Manchester United appearing to be their closest challengers at present.
There have already been big-summer transfers but with pre-season only just underway, it's difficult to make too many definitive conclusions just yet... only that's all part of the fun, so we've decided to do just that.
We asked five of our writers to pick their top five because, with the revamped Champions League in 2024/25, as of this season the top five Premier League teams will qualify for Europe's elite competition based on the latest association club coefficients, with England comfortably topping the pile after City's Champions League win and West Ham's Europa Conference League win.
In addition, we've selected the teams who will be relegated, player of the year, best signing and flop of the year.
Here is who they picked.
Champions (plus rest of the top five): Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United and Newcastle
I am backing Manchester City to make it four titles in a row. It's very difficult to argue with a team who have just won the treble adding to that and becoming the first team in English top-flight history to win four on the spin and make it six from a possible eight titles for Pep Guardiola. Liverpool will be stronger this season and I expect the rest of this season's top four to complete the set of teams qualifying for the Champions League.
Relegated teams: Burnley, Luton and Nottingham Forest
I am going against the grain a bit here by tipping Sheffield United to be the only promoted team to stay up. Burnley are being fancied by many but I am not convinced their domination of the Championship will translate into the Premier League. Luton will win many plaudits along the way but there is an obvious lack of quality at this level and Forest haven't strengthened enough sp will suffer second-season syndrome as a result.
Player of the Year: Mohamed Salah
That apology letter after Liverpool failed to qualify for this season’s Champions League screamed, ‘I want to prove everyone wrong this season.’ He was back in the gym just a couple of weeks into his so-called ‘summer break’ and recently smashed the annual lactate test at Melwood. I’m feeling a 25-plus goal season on the horizon. He’ll bring Champions League football back to Liverpool, I’m sure.
Best signing: Pau Torres
After being linked with the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal in recent seasons, I feel like the signing of Torres is a massive, massive coup for Aston Villa. £33 million is an absolute steal, in my opinion. He’s been one of Europe's top defenders over the last 18 to 24 months and, at 26, he has plenty of years ahead of him. Comfortable in possession and will drastically improve Villa’s backline. A top-six finish could be on the horizon.
Flop of the year: Kai Havertz
Havertz's shot conversion rate last season was 9.86 per cent, while his 'Big Chance' conversion came in at just 22%. Compared to Saka (70%), Gabriel Martinelli (62.5%) and Martin Odegaard (55.6%), the German will have to improve his finishing if he wants to succeed under Mikel Arteta. £65 million for a player that’s scored 19 times in 91 Premier League appearances? I'm just not sure. There’s no doubting Havertz's potential but those top-tier performances in a Chelsea were few and far between.
Top five: Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea
Manchester City are the best team in the world at the moment and I’m fully backing them to win a historic fourth Premier League title in a row.
This time, however, I think Liverpool will be back up there challenging and renewing that title rivalry from a few years ago.
Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea will complete the top five and secure Champions League football.
Relegaed teams: Sheffield United, Bournemouth, Luton Town
Luton Town will likely get a historic night at Kenilworth Road in the big time but sadly I think they will struggle and ultimately finish bottom, with Sheffield United and Bournemouth joining them in a relegation zone.
Player of the year: Phil Foden
This was a tricky one but I’ve gone for Phil Foden. With Ilkay Gundogan moving on and Kevin De Bruyne unlikely to be fit for the start of the season, I’m tipping him for a really big season.
He’s more than played his part in City’s recent success but this could be the season where he well and truly explodes and shows what he’s all about in a central role.
Best signing: Youri Tielemans
Aston Villa will be playing European football this season and the capture of Youri Tielemans on a free after his Leicester City exit is a tidy bit of business. I also like the signing of Pau Torres from Villarreal for £33 million.
Flop of the year: Sandro Tonali
Newcastle have splashed out a club-record £55 million for AC Milan midfielder Sandro Tonali even though he doesn’t appear to be too happy with his decision.
While the Italy international is a very good player, I don’t think it will quite work out for him in the North East and fully expect him to return to Serie A.
Champions (plus rest of the top five): Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United, Aston Villa.
City are going to win the league again, there’s almost no doubt in my mind. Liverpool and Arsenal will battle out to be best of the rest and I’m backing Jurgen Klopp to turn things around enough to be runners-up, though the Gunners’ transfers have me questioning that. United should round off the top four. I’m convinced Villa are as much a threat to the ‘big six’ as Newcastle United. A full season of Unai Emery plus the signings of Youri Tielemans and Pau Torres have me believing they’ll beat the Magpies, Tottenham and Chelsea to that final spot.
Relegatd teams: Luton, Sheffield United, Crystal Palace.
I’d love to have not predicted Luton to go down, or Sheffield United for that matter but it’s tough not to. Hopefully one of them proves us all wrong. With Wilfried Zaha potentially leaving and still no obvious goalscorer I’m predicting that the decision to stick with Roy Hodgson will backfire. It worked out last season, surely it can’t keep working?
Player of the year: Erling Haaland
Likewise I really wanted to pick someone who wasn’t Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne or Mohamed Salah but it seems somewhat inevitable it’ll be one of the three. The Norwegian may not score as many this time around but it seems inevitable he’ll be top scorer again.
Best signing: Alexis Mac Allister
At £35 million, Mac Allister doesn’t need to be the greatest player on earth to live up to his price tag. The World Cup winner is more than capable of producing enough magic and consistent enough performances to be value for money.
Flop of the year: Christopher Nkunku
This feels like the most likely prediction to lead to egg on my face but Chelsea strikers don’t tend to end up as good signings outside of Didier Drogba and Diego Costa. Big price tag, high expectations, lots of pressure to work out and playing with a threadbare midfield, there are plenty of ingredients for Nkunku to flop.
Champions (plus rest of the top five): Man City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Newcastle and Chelsea
This is the easiest pick of the lot - City will win the title again. You could probably make two separate teams out of Pep Guardiola’s squad and they would meet in the Champions League final. In terms of Arsenal, Champions League football could take its toll, but Mikel Arteta has been busy in the transfer window and with even more squad depth, I expect them to push City to the bitter end while there’s no way Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will allow two poor seasons on the bounce and with an almost entirely new midfield, I think the Reds will be back with vengeance.
Many fans have predicted Newcastle will suffer a hangover from the success of last season, but I think it will drive them on. I can see them going deep in the Champions League too and to round off the top five, I am going for Chelsea. There are simply too many players in that team for them not to qualify for Europe.
Relegated teams: Bournemouth, Sheffield United and Wolves
The sacking of Gary O’Neil still seems baffling. He single-handedly transformed Bournemouth last season and I think they will suffer without him while the Blades are the only newly promoted team I don’t see surviving the drop. I think they will put up a good fight, but ultimately fall short. No team scored fewer goals than Wolves last season and, without Ruben Neves, I don’t see anything changing.
Player of the year: Darwin Nunez
This will feel like a pick from last season. But I think the unpredictable Uruguayan will rival Haaland for the golden boot this time round.
Best signing: Youri Tielemans
The Belgian’s move to Aston Villa seems to have gone under the radar this summer. But rewind to last season and a number of Premier League clubs were queuing up for his signature. Him and Douglas Luiz in midfield will be a force to be reckoned with.
Flop of the year: Richarlison
I don’t see his fortunes changing next season. I’m expecting red cards, disallowed goals and all the good stuff.
Champions (plus rest of the top five): Arsenal, Man City, Man United, Liverpool, Chelsea
I am going to go out on a limb and say Arsenal will win the Premier League. This Gunners side, led by Mikel Arteta reminds me of the Liverpool team that were firing on all cylinders under Jurgen Klopp.
The Reds lost the title to City but then managed to wipe the floor with everyone the season after and, while I’m not expecting Arsenal to do the same, I expect the new signings to provide the quality they need to hold off Pep Guardiola’s men.
For Liverpool, the signings of Dominik Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister will improve their midfield. The question remains whether they can get back to their very best. Chelsea will be much better than last season and will edge out Newcastle and Spurs in the race for the Champions League.
Relegated teams: Bournemouth, Sheffield United, Luton Town
Unfortunately, I am struggling to make a case for two of the three promoted clubs. You only have to look at the calibre of players they are signing in this transfer window to see how much of a struggle it will be to make the jump from the Championship to top-flight football. And I think Bournemouth will also drop down into the Championship after the bizarre dismissal of Gary O'Neil.
Player of the year: Martin Odegaard
Odegaard was one of the best players from last season after his 15 goals and eight assists. I expect the Arsenal skipper to improve on that in the new season to inspire the Gunners to the Premier League title.
Best signing: Kai Havertz
The addition of Kai Havertz is a brilliant bit of business from Arsenal, a change of scenery and a new system could be the catalyst for Havertz to finally ignite his Premier League career.
Flop of the year: James Maddison
I am by no means knocking the qualities that Maddison possesses. I just feel he will take time to adjust to playing for Spurs and, if Harry Kane does leave, I suspect Maddison’s impact will not be as significant as expected.
Featured Image Credit: Getty Images
Topics: Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle United, Liverpool, Mohamed Salah, Kai Havertz, James Maddison, Sandro Tonali, Premier League, Martin Odegaard, Darwin Nunez, Erling Haaland, Phil Foden, Youri Tielemans, Richarlison, Christopher Nkunku, Alexis Mac Allister