Coral’s Premier League predictions 2015/16: Holly Thackeray
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…
They may have missed out on the Community Shield, but Jose Mourinho’s Blues boys are a well-oiled machine and it is tough to see anyone taking the title away from Stamford Bridge, with Chelsea 7/4 to retain.
Few can doubt Arsenal’s recent improvements, and another cup added to the trophy cabinet will surely boost their confidence. Yet, the Gunners still need to prove they have the mentality to go the distance.
3. Manchester United
United have undeniably spent well, fixing problem positions at right back and defensive midfield, but with Louis van Gaal still tinkering with his starting XI (no Ander Herrera? Daley Blind as a potential Premier League centre back?) they will drop unnecessary points.
4. Manchester City
City are still strong, but have so far seemed stale in the summer transfer window and also have an ageing spine. Manuel Pellegrini may be in his last chance saloon and needs to keep one eye on improving in the Champions League.
The Merseysiders have made some intriguing captures in Roberto Firmino and Christian Benteke but, as it stands, their rearguard is far from top four gatecrashing quality.
Always hereabouts, expect this season to be no different for Spurs. In contrast to rivals Liverpool they have improved their defence but badly need a new striker to support Harry Kane.
7. Swansea City
The Swans (6/4 for a top 10 finish) could also use a top quality sharpshooter, but Garry Monk is adept at making the most of what he has, with the challenge to go one step further than last season well within reach.
Despite being smart in the transfer market once again, the Saints cannot retain their best players and may be distracted by continental competition.
9. Crystal Palace
Palace are a club on the up, with Alan Pardew continuing to create optimism and excitement around Selhurst Park, while tantalising new signings just keep on arriving.
10. Stoke City
Mark Hughes has added guile to solid Stoke, but failure to lure the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri to the Britannia may limit just how far he can guide the Potters.
12. West Ham United
Another club set to be stretched by continental competition, the Hammers have bought well but are not quite ready to fight on four fronts.
13. Aston Villa
With Tim Sherwood on board to keep the ship steady, Villa’s sensible spending of the Benteke funds could see them just avoid another relegation dogfight.
14. Newcastle United
The Magpies have been ambitious during the off-season so purple patches, as well as wobbles, are to be expected from the Tyneside team’s entertaining union with Steve McClaren.
Dick Advocaat should help the Black Cats keep their heads above water for another season, though a few more high-profile purchases would help.
16. West Bromwich Albion
The Baggies just lack spark, but have enough tenacity under Tony Pulis to stay in the top flight for another term.
17. Norwich City
Norwich may have had to navigate their way through the play-offs to get here, but are a settled side and have made some astute signings with the likes of Robbie Brady arriving.
18. Leicester City
Leicester rode their luck last season, but have lost crucial leadership after the exits of Esteban Cambiasso and Nigel Pearson. Claudio Ranieri does not appear to be cut out for a survival scrap.
Too many cooks could spoil this return to the top tier for Watford, odds-on at 4/5 to be relegated, as 10 fresh faces join yet another new manager at the unpredictable Hertfordshire outfit. This term’s QPR?
The step up could just be too much for the Cherries and their modest budget, despite the south coast club impressively winning the Championship.