Premier League: A season like no other to come

John Roycroft tries to work out who will claim the Premier League title next May, despite the troublesome fact that a World Cup will interrupt proceedings mid-season.
Premier League: A season like no other to come

John Stones and Pep Guardiola of Manchester City celebrate with the Premier League trophy after their side finished the season as Premier League champions. Picture:  Michael Regan/Getty Images)

The Premier League season returns early this year, with the summer sun still high in the sky, albeit mostly behind the clouds, and the Charity Shield taking to the field even before August is a pup.

Denied our usual summer World Cup, it has probably got most of us heightened with anticipation for the return of competitive football on our TVs. But the Fifa elephant in the room, the aforementioned World Cup, makes predicting who will claim the Premier League a bit of a minefield.

From the middle of November to nearly Christmas week, the Premier League's best players will depart for the Middle East to work for their countries, and how that impacts the 2022-2023 Premier League trophy's final destination makes predicting even harder than usual.

But here goes anyway.

AFC Bournemouth: The Cherries bring little except a great home atmosphere to the Premier League table. It's hard to see them not finishing in the last three.

Key man: Joe Rothwell.

Finish: 20th.

Firmer Man City star Gabriel Jesus will be doing the business for Arsenal this season.
Firmer Man City star Gabriel Jesus will be doing the business for Arsenal this season.

Arsenal: The arrival of Gabriel Jesus gives the Gunners a good shot this year, but there's still a lot for Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta to do to get this side into the top four.

Key man: Gabriel Jesus.

Finish: fifth.

Aston Villa: Boss, Steven Gerrard has done a lot of good business off-season and they may spring a few surprises.

Key man: Phillipe Coutinho

Finish: 11th 

Brentford: The London side battled well to survive last year. It may be a bridge too far this season to survive again.

Key man: Ben Mee 

Finish: 18th 

Brighton: Stayed up like I predicted last season and I think they will continue to progress this season.

Key man: Shane Duffy.

Finish: 13th.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has his hands full with off-the-field concerns at the Bridge.
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has his hands full with off-the-field concerns at the Bridge.

Chelsea: Thomas Tuchel still seems to be struggling to find his goalscorer after the mess that was the Romelu Lukaku situation last season. Can Raheem Stirling do the business?

Key man: Kalidou Koulibaly.

Finish: Fourth.

Crystal Palace: Patrick Viera continues to impress at Palace. And the progress looks set to continue.

Key man: Wilfried Zaha.

Finish: Ninth.

 

 Everton boss Frank Lampard will quickly need to prove himself this season at Goodison Park.
 Everton boss Frank Lampard will quickly need to prove himself this season at Goodison Park.

Everton: The Toffees nearly dropped out of the division last season. Frank Lampard will have a small window to prove he can stop the rot.

Key man: Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Finish: 14th.

Fulham: Impressed in their promotion from the Championship, but don't look like they've added enough to the squad to survive.

Key man: Ivan Cavaleiro.

Finish: 19th.

Leeds' Patrick Bamford will be key to any progress Leeds can achieve this season.
Leeds' Patrick Bamford will be key to any progress Leeds can achieve this season.

Leeds: Another team lucky to get away with the drop last season. Still, a lot of work is needed. But there are worse sides here.

Key man: Patrick Bamford.

Finish: 15th.

Leicester: Brendan Rodgers' side blew hot and cold last season, expect much the same this season.

Key man: Jamie Vardy.

Finish: Eighth.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will want to go one better this year.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will want to go one better this year.

Liverpool: Jurgen Klopp is without Sadio Mané and we all wait to see if Darwin Núñez can fill the Senegalese' boots. It may be the difference between second or first.

Key man: Mo Salah.

Finish: First.

Manchester City: Pep Guardiola and City have taken four Premier League titles in five years. Do not be surprised if they make it five from six. Still, the Champions League must be Guardiola's main target again.

Key man: Erling Haaland.

Finish: Second.

Man United's new manager Erik ten Hag is set the task of reviving the giant club's fortunes on the field.
Man United's new manager Erik ten Hag is set the task of reviving the giant club's fortunes on the field.

Manchester United: Erik ten Hag has his hands full and will need time to get the giants back competitive.

Key man: Christiano Ronaldo?

Finish: Sixth.

Newcastle: The oil money experiment continues on course. Time will tell what success it will bring. But not just yet for the Geordies.

Key man: Chris Wood.

Finish: 10th.

Nottingham Forest: Back in the top flight for the first time in 23 years, they do not look great but maybe being back where they enjoyed so much success will inspire them.

Key man: Wayne Hennessy.

Finish: 17th.

Ireland's Gavin Bazunu will be hoping to make his Premier League breakthrough with The Saints.
Ireland's Gavin Bazunu will be hoping to make his Premier League breakthrough with The Saints.

Southampton: More of the same from The Saints, who thread water most seasons. They look like a side either on the verge of making a great breakthrough or about to get relegated.

Key man: Gavin Bazunu.
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Finish: 16th.

Tottenham Hotspur's South Korean striker Son Heung-Min will be one of the main reasons behind any advances on the Premier League table for Spurs.
Tottenham Hotspur's South Korean striker Son Heung-Min will be one of the main reasons behind any advances on the Premier League table for Spurs.

Tottenham Hotspur: Some great buys in the transfer window will see them make advances this season with Antonio Conte's side set to make a challenge on the top four and maybe beyond.

Key man: Son Heung-min.

Finish: Third.

West Ham: The Eastenders and boss David Moyes impressed again last season with their seventh-place finish. But have they the resources and aptitude to take the next step?

Key man: Michail Antonio.

Finish: Seventh.

Wolves: The midland side are still looking to find the form they had under Nuno Espírito Santo, before his eye was grabbed by greener pastures. But they did show signs of recovery towards the end of last season, which looks exciting.

Key man: Raúl Jiménez.

Finish: 12th.

Wolverhampton Wanderers' Raul Jimenez has led by example for the midlands club.
Wolverhampton Wanderers' Raul Jimenez has led by example for the midlands club.

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