Coral’s Premier League Predictions: Matt Haynes
“The signings of Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas are a clear signal of intent from Jose Mourinho, who looks like a different person compared to last campaign. He’s no longer the calm, relaxed person when he re-signed, but seems focused and determined.
“Bringing in Filipe Luis could be a masterstroke, he will be used to the runs Costa makes into the area, having played with him at Atletico last season, and the two could form a lethal partnership.”
“They could even win the league, and are definite dark horses. Olivier Giroud will be key again, though Arsene Wenger needs to use him economically.
“Alexis Sanchez can take the Premier League by storm and his pace, combined with Theo Walcott, will create space for Mesut Ozil. If they get a couple more signings over the line, such as a holding midfielder, and an attacker to provide more depth, the Gunners can challenge right until the end.”
Third place: Manchester United
“In Louis van Gaal, United have a winner at the helm and, while they may come up short, the effort involved from everyone will be nothing short of exceptional.
“Ander Herrera looks the finished article and should be an assists machine in the middle of the park. With a couple more signings, and Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney back to their best, United have a great chance, though it could take a season to adapt to a 3-4-1-2 system.”
Fourth place: Liverpool
“Brendan Rodgers will be keen to extinguish reports that his summer transfer window has had an element of Tottenham Hotspur a la 2013 about it. His signings have been the result of well thought out and deliberate scouting so, although he has had to pay a premium, they are players who will add quality.
“Daniel Sturridge will step up this term, though if Rodgers is able to land another attacker, the Reds can secure another top four finish.”
Fifth place: Manchester City
“This could be where City start to pay the price of heavy spending in previous seasons, and the vision could unravel. Their backline looks a worry and, despite capturing Eliaquim Mangala, it could prove to be an expensive mistake, if his positional sense is off.
“Sergio Aguero is mentally shot, and Alvaro Negredo injured, while it remains to be seen whether Stevan Jovetic can step up when the going gets tough. It’s alot of responsibility for Yaya Toure to shoulder on his own.”
Sixth place: Everton
“Roberto Martinez will be the next best manager to emerge from the Premier League. With a penchant for attractive football, he also motivates maximum potential from his players.
“Having secured the signing of Romelu Lukaku on a permanent deal, the Belgian will be looking to push on from last term. They are looking strong all over the pitch, and have the requisite depth to push for a European place once more. Everton will probably turn out to be the best of the rest.”
Seventh place: Tottenham
“It will be a season of transition for Spurs under Mauricio Pochettino, whose challenge will be to get last season’s signings firing. Erik Lamela could flourish under his compatriot, and Christian Eriksen will go from strength to strength. If they can erase defensive errors from last term, it gives them a great platform to build on going forward.”
Eighth place: Newcastle
“Alan Pardew has recruited well, and Remy Cabella could be the spark they so sorely need. Young Spanish striker Ayoze Perez will also surprise many people and come next summer may be the subject of a £20m-30m bid from a big club. He has everything and will surprise many Premier League teams. Eighth or higher is a definite possibility.”
Ninth place: Stoke City
“Another club who could be a surprise package this term, and striker Bojan could turn out to be signing of the season for £500k. Already he has struck three in as many pre-season matches and, with Marko Arnautovic supplying him, he can continue in the same vein.”
Tenth place: West Ham
“A raft of offensive signings could transform the Hammers this season. Enner Valencia will provide an edge to their attack, as well as extra dynamism, while Mauro Zarate is also good for goals. Sam Allardyce has also freshened up his defence, and they will still be hard to beat.”
11th place: QPR
“Harry Redknapp has been smart in the transfer window, and what’s more has had a full summer to get recruits in. Rio Ferdinand and Steven Caulker can form a terrific partnership, while Mauricio Isla bombing down the right in a wing back role lends an extra dimension. If Loic Remy can repeat the same flashes of brilliance he showed at Newcastle, QPR could steer themselves clear of the relegation zone early.”
12th place: Southampton
“Despite the fact they have sold most of last season’s team, manager Ronald Koeman has at least brought bodies in, and players that he knows. With money still to spend, the first game will tell him where else he needs to strengthen. If new attackers Dusan Tadic and Graziano Pelle settle well and open their accounts early, they will be okay.”
13th place: Swansea City
“Chairman Huw Jenkins seems to have pulled off some impressive deals for the Swans, though manager Garry Monk needs to get the signings playing to the best of their ability. Striker Bafetimbi Gomis will be interesting and has goals in him. Lukasz Fabianski, Gylfi Sigurdsson, and Jefferson Montero are all solid recruits, though it is likely the Swans will be fighting for a mid-table spot.
14th place: Sunderland
“It seems unlikely that the Black Cats will do any better than mid-table, though manager Gus Poyet proved he can get the best out of his team last term. He has bought well in the close season, and should have more than enough to survive. If Jack Rodwell can discover his potential, he will be a key player.”
15th place: Hull City
“If Steve Bruce doesn’t replace Shane Long, the Tigers could struggle, though they have bought in key areas. Robert Snodgrass and Tom Ince will be instrumental in wide areas and gives a clue to how Hull may play. They need a target to aim at though.”
16th place: Aston Villa
“There has been a lot said about Villa’s survival chances this season, though in Paul Lambert and Roy Keane, they should have enough fight in them to inspire the team. If they can replace the injured Christian Benteke in the short-term, they should be okay, although Ron Vlaar showed at the World Cup just how important he is.”
17th place: Burnley
“They could be another surprise package this season. Sean Dyche is an exceptionally talented manager, and while the Clarets squad isn’t the biggest, they excelled last term through outstanding organisation; every player knew their role on the pitch. Dyche knows when to attack, and when to defend, and they definitely have enough about them to survive.”
18th place: West Brom
“The Baggies could really struggle this term. Signing a striker for £10m (Brown Ideye) before you’ve even seen him play, says a lot about Alan Irvine’s judgement, and should similar decisions be made in that vein over the coming months, West Brom will be in a lot of trouble. Joleon Lescott could be a promising capture, however he is injured, and may battle with fitness throughout the campaign.”
Irvine’s team are 12/5 to get relegated.
19th place: Leicester City
“A lot of noise is being made in Leicester about them having a chance to finish in the top half of the table. Frankly this is ludicrous, and none of their signings jump out. A fee of £8m for a Championship striker (Leandro Ulloa) seems to be the norm these days, though he is nothing special and could be found out in the Premier League.”
20th place: Crystal Palace
“Everything depends on who the Eagles replace Tony Pulis with. David Moyes has been rumoured, and if they can get him in, he is proven at operating on a budget, as he proved over the past decade with Everton. However, Pulis’ exit may have a big affect negatively on the whole team, and they could be in deep trouble.”