Sky Sports pundit predicts Premier League standings for the season

Sky Sports pundit predicts Premier League standings for the season

Sky Sports pundit Charlie Nicholas has predicted his Premier League standings of the season on the eve of the tournament induction. Here are his thoughts.

Title winners: Manchester City

Golden Boot: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Prediction: “I am going for Manchester City to win the league again. They have not needed to strengthen much as there are no weaknesses, so Pep Guardiola is really pointing the finger at John Stones and will be wanting him to deliver. Last season I thought Aymeric Laporte was as good a centre-half as I have seen – his leadership, calmness and consistency throughout the season was superb.”

“The signing of Rodri is important. When Fernandinho hasn’t played they looked vulnerable and Pep has seen that. We are going to see more of Phil Foden and far less of David Silva, who will still demonstrate expert bits and pieces throughout the season. Kevin De Bruyne has something different to other teams and is an all-rounder in the abilities he possesses – if they can keep him fit they will win the title again.”

“Naturally, I am going for Liverpool to finish second. These two clubs are a distance above the rest of them. Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah have been busy in pre-season, along with Roberto Firmino, in their respective tournaments. These three will have to take some form of breather this season, and I am not convinced they have strengthened in midfield or defence, although Joe Gomez will be fit which is a big help. I still feel, the way it stands today, that they will not be as dynamic as they were last season. There will be a certain amount of fatigue with the front three, so Liverpool will finish second.”

“With the signings they have made, I am hoping Arsenal will be dynamic in attack. They were last year, but not to a significant level where they could blow teams away. Arsenal have signed a centre-back in David Luiz and they will be in much better shape than last year and will kick on. This will be a real high-scoring side this year so this is where Arsenal will finish.”

“Fourth will be Tottenham. Kieran Trippier is a big loss and there is something underneath that is not right. Toby Alderweireld is in his last year of his contract as is Jan Vertonghen. There may be a little bit of upset throughout the campaign but Tottenham will still be good enough to finish fourth.”

“Manchester United will finish fifth, which leaves Chelsea in sixth. The single fabric of this is that Frank Lampard did a good job at Derby, but it was Derby. Chelsea are going for the Champions League but are under the transfer embargo which is a hindrance. Long-term it will be good for Chelsea but short-term not so much.”

“Sheffield United have spent a lot of money. I really like Chris Wilder and their style of play. They are prepared to be expansive and mix it up. Their defensive record in the Sky Bet Championship was sublime, but when you step up to this level it is tough. They will play good football but I do think they are one of the favourites to go down, so I think they will finish third-bottom.”

“The one that stands out to me is Brighton. They have a new manager and I thought the fact that Brighton survived meant it was a good season. They were hanging on to goals from Glenn Murray and the reality was staring them in the face. Their recruitment wasn’t great, so is Graham Potter going to change it? What does a new, modern coach do to change the fabric of Brighton? Do you have a goalscorer? Brighton have a lot of convincing to do and I think they will falter.”

“I am also going to go with Norwich, just looking at what they have and who they are signing. They are at their best when they go forward and score a lot of goals at home. Teemu Pukki scored over 20 goals last season, even if he got half of those in the Premier League then that is a good return, which would in turn get you a few points, but I don’t think this will happen. Aleksandar Mitrovic was the same – he started off well and then could not score and did not get a lot of the ball either. Teams will pick Norwich off and they could finish bottom for me.”

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