Coral’s Premier League predictions: The Editor
It’s head over the parapet time for Coral’s football experts. With the big Premier League kick-off just days away, our content editor Jamie Clark goes first in predicting how the season shall pan out.
Title winners: Chelsea
“The signings of Spain pair Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa tip the title race firmly in Jose Mourinho’s favour. Other challengers have failed to strengthen as significantly or decisively as this.” Chelsea are 2/1 favourites to win the title.
Runners-up: Manchester City
“Manuel Pellegrini’s purchase of Eliaquim Mangala shores up defence well enough, but that isn’t the main problem. How can City’s Chilean coach keep his striking options fit? This is where they’ll come up short in defending their crown.” It’s 13/5 they retain the title.
Third place: Manchester United
“Louis van Gaal’s appointment, coupled with an expansive tactical set-up, gives reason for renewed optimism at Old Trafford. The Dutchman, however arrogant, has to deliver a top four finish, because the consequences of United missing out again are too dire to contemplate.”
Fourth place: Arsenal
“Arsene Wenger’s FA Cup triumph last term proves he has still got it. What is missing at the Gunners is central defensive cover and a holding midfield player. If these issues aren’t addressed, then it’s the perennial top four finish for Arsenal, though Alexis Sanchez will excite.”
Fifth place: Liverpool
“If the Gareth Bale sale and subsequent recruitment drive at Spurs last summer taught us anything, then it’s very hard to replace world class talent with many bodies. Reds boss Brendan Rodgers will not be afforded the luxury of midweeks off this season, and success is dependant on new names gelling.”
Sixth place: Everton
“Roberto Martinez has made a major statement by permanently capturing Romelu Lukaku, but the Toffees still look light in attack. A modest squad could struggle on all fronts, but taking the Europa League seriously looks like their best route into the 2015/16 Champions League.”
“New head coach Mauricio Pochettino has a lot on his plate at White Hart Lane. A dodgy defence still needs addressing, while he must find a way to get the best out of compatriot Erik Lamela and Spanish striker Roberto Soldado. A season of transition to tackle at Tottenham again, then.”
“Alan Pardew has conducted some very shrewd business this summer. False dawns are commonplace on Tyneside, however, and that always makes you weary. Remy Cabella, Daryl Janmaat and Ayoze Perez look like worthy additions to the Premier League, though.”
“Potters boss Mark Hughes has once again used his continental connections to make a bargain buy in Bojan Krkic. The Spain cap’s career has clearly stalled at Barcelona, but Stoke’s other astute signings, including Mame Biram Diouf can deliver.”
Tenth: West Ham
“It would be just desserts for the Hammers board and fair-weather fans if Sam Allardyce delivered exactly what they want of him, in spite of their shabby treatment. Signing Aaron Cresswell was something of a coup, and here’s the hoping the left back continues to be an assists machine in the Premier League.”
“Ronald Koeman must see the so-called ‘exodus’ of Saints stars as an opportunity to put his stamp on the side. Step forward Graziano Pelle, who has had the best brought out of him by the Dutch coach. Southampton will still have more than most in this division.”
Twelfth: Crystal Palace
“Tony Pulis is steadily evolving the team with calculated swoops designed to strengthen the Eagles. Fraizer Campbell will add extra enthusiasm to go with hard work in attack. Martin Kelly’s imminent arrival looks a steal for the Palace defence, which will remain resolute.”
“Gus Poyet is short on guile at the Stadium of Light, but buying Brighton winger Will Buckley from his former club may help matters. It won’t be as much of a struggle for the Black Cats this term, but all eyes will be on Jack Rodwell in the engine room.”
“The Foxes are back in the big time for the first time in a decade, and their raft of Manchester United academy graduates will help steer them to safety. Nigel Pearson has spent a lot on Leonardo Ulloa, but expect him to disappoint.”
“Lessons have clearly been learned when it comes to recruitment at Loftus Road. Tony Fernandes’ resources are no longer being used to recruit mercenaries. Hoops boss Harry Redknapp will be targeting higher than this, but a season of consolidation is the next step.”
“Should Shane Long be sold, this is all Steve Bruce can hope for with a small squad trying to juggle a campaign in Europe. Recent years have proven sides of this stature, which are not used to regular involvement in continental competition, struggle to find the balance.”
Seventeenth: Aston Villa
“Paul Lambert is overseeing a side that is becoming perpetual relegation battlers. Experienced additions like Kieran Richardson will just give Villa enough to keep their heads above water. Finding new ownership is essential if they are to break this cycle.”
“Managerial novice Garry Monk is heading for a fall. Almost every Spaniard on the Swans’ books has thought the grass is greener elsewhere. His only hope is to hang onto Wilfried Bony, but someone shall come in for him. Swansea will struggle and, without replacing what they’ve lost, are in real trouble.” It’s 5/1 they are relegated.
Nineteenth: West Brom
“Alan Irvine took a job that nobody wanted at The Hawthorns. He is banking on record Baggies buy Brown Ideye performing in the Premier League, so he will have to do much better than compatriot Victor Anichebe. Relegation looms large for Albion.” West Brom are 13/5 chances to go down.
“Sean Dyche neither has the resources, nor the infrastructure at Turf Moor than to do anything other than take the Premier League TV money. A repeat of what happened when Burnley last graced the top-flight is inevitable. Here’s hoping Dyche can keep his job.” The Clarets are odds-on 8/13 favourites for the drop.