Coral’s Premier League predictions 2015/16: Lee Gormley
It’s that time of year again. With the new Premier League campaign about to kick-off, Coral experts bring you our predictions for which teams we think will finish top of the pile and who will be left scrapping for survival…
The Gunners showed they have the capabilities to not only flaunt their usual freeflowing style, but also grind out results now under Arsene Wenger, after toppling Chelsea in the Community Shield. Signing Petr Cech could prove to be a hugely significant turning point, with Wenger set to go head-to-head with bitter rival Jose Mourinho this season, and is 7/2 with Coral to triumph.
A lack of transfer activity may not be as worrying as fans may fear, with only Asmir Begovic and Radamel Falcao arriving, but the Blues squad is already an astute set-up. This is the year Mourinho’s rivalry with Wenger could reach boiling point, but they will push the Gunners all the way to the last day.
3. Manchester United
Louis van Gaal has completely revamped his side, adding an abundance of talent in the midfield areas, including Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger, though Memphis Depay is sure to be the new Old Trafford hero. The deadly Dutchman’s attacking prowess will help the Red Devils push for the title, but an underwhelming central defence could cost them vital points.
4. Manchester City
With an air of doubt still surrounding Manuel Pellegrini’s position at the Etihad and a constant reliance on goals from Sergio Aguero, City could face a tough campaign. Raheem Sterling is yet to prove he can be a regular match-winner, but the Sky Blues possess enough to stay in the Champions League places.
Brendan Rodgers began business early at Anfield, acquiring plenty of attacking and midfield talent to help the Reds challenge on all fronts. Philippe Coutinho should enjoy his most explosive season to date alongside fellow countryman Roberto Firmino, but their strikers will have to perform at the highest level throughout the campaign.
Many expected the Saints to falter last season after the loss of so many influential stars, and this term will be a familiar scenario, having seen more key men depart. However, Ronald Koeman has proved he can cope with the pressure and has added elegant deep-lying midfielder Jordy Clasie to his ranks. Southampton are 11/4 to secure a top six finish this campaign.
Capturing Toby Alderweireld was a genuine transfer coup for Mauricio Pochettino and, alongside fellow Belgium international Jan Vertonghen, Spurs’ defence looks solid. Although, in attack, the heavy reliance on Harry Kane could prove too much of a strain, with top-flight defenders now knowing what the Englishman is all about.
8. Stoke City
Mark Hughes has worked wonders with the Potters and, after guiding them to their highest ever points tally, quickly injected more talent to slot alongside his experienced heads. Bojan Krkic has returned from injury and will undoubtedly rediscover his clinical eye for goal, while Joselu, Ibrahim Afellay and Marco van Ginkel are incredibly gifted Stoke signings.
9. Crystal Palace
The Eagles are truly ready to soar this season under Alan Pardew, and the capturing of France midfield maestro Yohan Cabaye can help keep them in the top 10. Palace’s shrewd luring of Patrick Bamford on loan was genius, with the youngster aiming to prove a point to his parent club Chelsea.
10. West Ham United
Despite looking fairly shaky in pre-season, Slaven Bilic will feed off of the atmosphere during this season and help his Hammers enjoy a successful campaign. Alex Song looks set to return to the club, though attacking reinforcements are needed to replace an injured Enner Valencia. Dimitri Payet is the one to look out for, with his dazzling creative abilities set to light up Upton Park.
Roberto Martinez has yet to bring a sense of calm and consistency to Goodison Park since arriving, with the Toffees regularly jumping from one extreme to other each campaign. This term could be another one which sees them floating around mid-table, with Tom Cleverley not the marquee signing needed and especially if John Stones departs. Though, Gerard Deulofeu is sure to deliver another majestic campaign on Merseyside.
12. West Bromwich Albion
Tony Pulis has put his own spin on the Baggies squad this summer ahead of his first full season in charge, and the demanding coach always manages to steer his sides to relatively impressive finishes far from the relegation zone.
13. Aston Villa
After narrowly surviving a daunting drop down divisions last term, Villa will want to push further up the table under Tim Sherwood, but have lost their star men Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph. However, plenty of new arrivals could help build a new foundation this term, especially that of Jordan Ayew.
14. Swansea City
The Swans are constantly impressive under the guidance of Garry Monk, but every top team has a bad run and this could prove to be the campaign which sees a miniature downfall in Wales. Not many big signings have arrived, but Swansea should have enough firepower to avoid being dragged into a relegation scrap.
15. Newcastle United
In Steve McClaren’s maiden season, the Toon will want to recapture form and move well away from the relegation places, but controversy is never far from this passionately followed club and proceedings could easily turn sour.
16. Norwich City
One of the newly-promoted sides, but Norwich have an efficient squad to oversee a successful retaining of their top-flight status.
Eddie Howe’s men have become a hit with most football fans, having reached the top tier for the first time in their history and that determination from last season should help them conquer the latest challenge.
18. Leicester City
Claudio Ranieri is the man to lead the Foxes out, but his managerial skills are still based on his time with Chelsea a decade ago, meaning this already previously stuttering club could face the drop.
The Wearside outfit have been flirting with relegation for many seasons and this could be the one when they finally seal their unwanted fate, despite the appointment of Dick Advocaat.
Of all the promoted sides, Watford look to have made too many wholesale changes and tampered with their previous systems. It could be a very tough campaign ahead for the Hornets and they are 11/4 to finish bottom.