Gary Lineker Has His Say On This Season's Premier League
We all love trying to predict how well our sides will do in the new Premier League season.
Can Chelsea defend their title? Can Manchester United's signings catapult them to the top? How will Brighton and Huddersfield fair in their first season's in the top flight?
Just to whet your appetite a little:
SPORTbible grilled Gary Lineker on the 2017/18 season to see who he reckons has a serious shot at the title, and who may suffer.
We started at the top, with the ex-Everton, Spurs and Leicester legend predicting good things for the two Manchester clubs.
"It looks like Manchester United, with Matic and Lukaku, are quite strong," he said.
"Manchester City look to have plugged a lot of holes that were obvious to see last season, so they've bought in the right places."
However, he also predicts good things for all three of his former Premier League sides.
He added: "The clubs lower down, such as Everton, look like they've spent well although they've lost their primary goal-scorer [Lukaku].
"Leicester have bought well, but until the season starts you can never be that sure about who's going to settle in, who's going to cope with the pressures of a big club, and who can cope with handling a big transfer fee.
"While you can look at it like that, there are people who'll say Tottenham haven't bought anyone and say they are having a shocking window.
"Well that could work in their favour. They go into the start of the season knowing their best team, they know their best system that they can play, they've not got to wait for players to adapt which takes a bit of time. It might be a massive advantage not to buy anyone."
Gary highlights Everton could struggle, by using the example of Tottenham soon after they sold Gareth Bale to Real Madrid for £85m.
"[Spurs] spent pretty much all of it on eight players and only one or two of them worked and it caused them a lot of problems that season.
"That might be the case at Everton. It's easy to say in the window that the clubs who haven't spent in the window won't do well, but perhaps they have."
But, in coming back to Spurs, Gary would go as far as saying Spurs are title-winners-in-waiting.
"Looking at them they need two or three signings to help with their squad strength, but I don't think they need to invest in someone who needs to be in their starting line-up.
"It's easy to say, 'we've bought four or five players, that's good' but it's not always the case.
"Tottenham will go close this season, if they were at White Hart Lane I think they'd win it. But they are not, it will have an effect.
"It will be tougher for them. They are a very strong side, if they keep all their players together, I know they've lost Walker, but they've got a really good replacement in Tripper, they are an improving young side who are going to get better and better so don't rule out Tottenham.
"Tottenham, I would fancy quite strongly if it weren't for Wembley because of the negative results they've had there in the last season or two.
"You don't need the lack of positivity, but if they get a quick start at Wembley, with a couple of wins there, to instil a bit of confidence they could well be a threat."
But we've missed out the current holders of the Premier League. Gary doubts that the Antonio Conte's men can defend on to their title.
"Chelsea have lost a couple of key players, they've got injuries as well, and they don't look like they've got a big squad to cover as well - which is remarkable considering the money they've spent."
And then there is the other end of the table. The end of the 2016/17 season saw Sunderland, Hull and Middlesbrough replaced by Newcastle, Brighton and Huddersfield.
"I hate predicting, it's such a negative thing to do," Gary told SPORTbible.
"We know the clubs who get promoted into the Premier League find it difficult in their first season, it's all about survival, but we also know it's very, VERY rare that all three go down.
"It'll be tough for them, particularly the club who comes up via the playoffs [Huddersfield], but they are well managed play good football, so we will have to wait and see, but yes they'll all find it difficult I'm sure.
"But that's part of the allure of the PL that when you come up, it's a challenge."
So, expect Spurs to be in the mix, a surge from Manchester United, a season of being in the top four for Chelsea, and one of Brighton, Newcastle and Huddersfield to impress us all.
To the 20 clubs in the Premier League, we look forward to your unrivalled unpredictability all over again.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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