Premier League: City may be the only side to stop City 

John Roycroft makes his predictions for the coming Premier League season. Who will be the big winners and who will face the dreaded drop?
Premier League: City may be the only side to stop City 

Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne celebrates scoring at The Etihad Stadium, Manchester. Will City retain their Premier League crown or will their desire for Champions League success distract them? Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

HOPEFULLY, Covid will not affect our return to Premier League football this season and we can get back to the old normal, where sides win at home, defending is not a dirty word, and we don't have to listen to canned fans on our televisions.

Anyway, here we go for our predictions for the 2021/22 season.

Arsenal: The Gunners will not look back at last season with nostalgia. Poor results leave Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta under pressure to get the north London giant back where they belong. However, little has been done to show they are heading in the right direction.

Keyman: Nuno Tavares.

Finish: Eighth.

Aston Villa: Tough call for the Birmingham side after losing their talisman Jack Grealish. From hoping to break into European contention in the table, they now may be looking to avoid the drop.

Keyman: Emiliano Buendia 

Finish: 16th

Brentford: The London side are probably in the Premier League a season or two ahead of what they were planning. But they are here now and will be keen to stay defy the odds and stay there. But I fear they do not have the depth to stay in this company.

Keyman: Ivan Toney.

Finish: 20th.

Brighton: A club I continue to predict going down. So I will predict they will stay up this season. Sorry, Brighton.

Keyman: Aaron Connolly.

Finish: 17th.

Burnley: Burnley, under manager Sean Dyche, continue to be the bogey team for many a side in the league, especially sides above them in the table. Solid as Dyche himself.

Keyman: Chris Wood.

Finish: 15th.

Chelsea: The side was completely transformed after hiring Thomas Tuchel to manage the side in late January. Going from mid-table mediocrity to Champions League winners and title contenders in the league.

Keyman: Christian Pulisic 

Finish: Third.

Arsenal's Patrick Viera holds aloft the 2002 FA Cup. The Gunner legend now will take the helm at Crystal Palace. 
Arsenal's Patrick Viera holds aloft the 2002 FA Cup. The Gunner legend now will take the helm at Crystal Palace. 

Crystal Palace: While former manager Roy Hodgson achieved great things, it will be exciting to see what new man Patrick Viera can do. The Gunners legend was a legend on the pitch, how will he compare on the sideline?

Keyman: Wilfried Zaha.

Finish: 14th.

Everton: How Liverpool legend Rafa Benitez will do at the helm of the neighbours is the biggest question this season. Carlo Ancelotti got the Toffees to a high level but they faded late on. Expect the same this season.

Keyman: Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Finish: 11th.

Leeds: The side enjoyed a successful return to the Premier League. They now face the difficult second album and staying up in the top flight.

Keyman: Junior Firpo

Finish: 10th.

Leicester: Brendan Rodgers’ continues to push on, collecting the Community Shield against Man City after bringing a historic FA Cup to the midland club for the first time last season. The ambition is there, who knows where it will go this season?

Keyman: Jamie Vardy.

Finish: fifth.

Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk (left) during a pre-season friendly against Athletic Club at Anfield, Liverpool. His return from injury is seen as crucial to Liverpool title hopes. Picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk (left) during a pre-season friendly against Athletic Club at Anfield, Liverpool. His return from injury is seen as crucial to Liverpool title hopes. Picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Liverpool: Jurgen Klopp’s side had a horrible defence of their Premier League crown last season. But no club without a central defence can expect much different. Finishing third looked good in the end considering the season-long injuries the club suffered.

Keyman: Virgil Van Dijk.

Finish: Second.

Manchester City: Pep Guardiola and City regained the Premier League crown from Liverpool but will feel unfulfilled by the absence of Champions League success. It is still their target again this season and it may be the distraction that will cost them success at home. That's what the opposition will hope.

Keyman: Kevin De Bruyne.

Finish: First.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer did better than expected last season, can he go one better this season? Picture: Phil Noble/PA Wire.
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer did better than expected last season, can he go one better this season? Picture: Phil Noble/PA Wire.

Manchester United: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has managed to stay ahead of the 'Ole Out' brigade and finishing second last season was a big boost when optimism was low. But not enough has been done to see more progress this season.

Keyman: Jadon Sancho.

Finish: Fourth

Newcastle: Steve Bruce got the Magpies to 12th last season but they are seriously drifting when it comes to building for the future. I fear they may go down this season.

Keyman: Callum Wilson.

Finish: 18th.

Norwich: The Canary's have a tradition of oscillating between the first and second leagues but one side promoted usually does enough to stay up and we wish them success not least for Cork player, Adam Idah's sake.

Keyman: Teemu Pukki. 

Finish: 13th.

Southampton: A year of peaks and troughs last season as usual. Big wins followed by hopeless defeats. Maintaining form will be important but they should be safe.

Keyman: James Ward Prowse.

Finish: ninth.

A 2020 picture of Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Nuno Espirito Santo. This season he takes on the role of running a tempestuous Spurs side that may or may not have its captain Harry Kane for the start of the Premier League. Picture: Clive Brunskill/NMC Pool/PA Wire.
A 2020 picture of Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Nuno Espirito Santo. This season he takes on the role of running a tempestuous Spurs side that may or may not have its captain Harry Kane for the start of the Premier League. Picture: Clive Brunskill/NMC Pool/PA Wire.

Tottenham Hotspur: Can there be life without Harry is the question. As of now he still is in a Spurs shirt but he is not back in training, not a good look for the English striker. Come or go, it will hit Spurs adversely.

New boss Nuno Espirito Santo, has brought success to Premier League teams before but is inheriting a poor situation in north London.

Keyman: Harry Kane???

Finish: sixth.

Watford: They finished the season on a fairly hot streak, though that is unlikely to translate to the Premier League. The drop awaits them I fear, but they will fight to the end and may spring a surprise or two.

Keyman: Troy Deeley 

Finish: 19th.

West Ham: The Eastenders and boss David Moyes had their best season in a while last season. But face some strong headwinds as they start this season, not least losing their successful loanee Jesse Lingard back to Man United. And continued rumours of captain Declan Rice looking to leave the Olympic Stadium.

Keyman: Declan Rice.

Finish: 12th.

Wolves: The midland side, last season, once again continued to confound their critics and punch far above their weight - now must do it without their talismanic manager over the past few seasons, Nuno Espírito Santo.

Keyman: Adama Traore.

Finish: Seventh.

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