Premier League 2016/17 preview

The wait is almost over. The new Premier League season is upon us and what a season it promises to be. From Pep to Zlatan and everything in between, 2016/17 has the potential to be the best year of English football to date. So with just under a fortnight to go the stage is set, and I thought now would be as good a time as ever to look ahead and discuss what we can expect from everyone involved.

Before starting this it’s worth noting that the transfer window is still open until the 31st August. A lot can change between now and then in terms of sales and/or signings of players but with the first game taking place in the middle of the month, I’m going to call it as I now see it.

Team Overviews  

Team – Arsenal

Signings so far – Granit Xhaka, Takuma Asano, Rob Holding

Wenger gears up for what could well be his last year in charge at the Emirates and to be honest it looks like he’ll go out with a whimper. The Gunners are yet to address their problems in attack and with Mertesacker out for 5 months a hole has also appeared in defence. That said, he’s got a month to still make signings, he also brings stability to the club in a Premier League full of change. Prediction – 4th

Team – Bournemouth 

Signings so far – Emerson Hyndman, Nathan Ake, Lys Mousset, Mark Travers, Mikael Ndjoli, Lewis Cook, Jordon Ibe, Brad Smith

The Cherries look set to build upon a solid maiden voyage in the Premier League last term and in Eddie Howe Bournemouth hold one of England’s brightest young managerial talents. They’ve added depth to their squad whilst welcoming back long term absentees in the form of Wilson, Gradel and Mings although the loss of Matt Ritchie will sting. Prediction – 12th

Team – Burnley 

Signings so far – Jimmy Dunne, Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Nick Pope

It’s going to be a tough year for the Clarets. A really well run club that in truth punches far above its proverbial financial weight. The loss of Joey Barton to Rangers was a blow and if the Championship winners are to stay up they’ll need star striker Andre Gray firing on all cylinders. Prediction – 18th

Team – Chelsea

Signings so far – Michy Batshuayi, N’Golo Kante

Coming off the back of a horror season last time round, new boss Antonio Conte has his work cut out. That said, the Italian is a master tactician with a trophy laden CV to match. Having no European football will work hugely in their favour and the signings of Batshuayi and Kante represent a deadly goal threat and the best defensive midfielder currently on English shores respectively. Prediction – 1st 

Team – Crystal Palace

Signings so far – Andros Townsend, Steve Mandanda, James Tomkins

The Eagles enjoyed a comfortable mid-table finish last season whilst reaching the FA Cup final and have made some rather impressive signings. One major criticism levelled at Palace however was their lack of goals and as of yet they haven’t bought a top striker still (although I believe they will.) I’m still not won over by Pardew as a manager but his side have more than enough quality for another mid-table showing. Prediction – 13th

Team – Everton

Signings so far – Bassala Sambou, Chris Renshaw, Maarten Stekelenburg

Everything’s looking rosy on the blue half of Merseyside. Wealthy new owners, a new quality manager and yet to lose any star players to bigger clubs. Unfortunately success won’t happen over night and I still expect Stones and/or Lukaku to be sold. That said, they now have the money to replace them and a new director of football in Steve Walsh renowned for unearthing gems. Prediction – 8th

Team – Hull City

Signings so far – Will Mannion

Having parted company with their manger Steve Bruce just a matter of weeks before the season is due to start and with no significant signings thus far things don’t half look bleak for Hull fans. The Tigers saving grace may be that many of their players already have experience of top-flight football but the boards decisions in the next month will prove vital in resurrecting any hope for the coming campaign. Prediction – 20th

Team – Leicester City  

Signings so far – Ron-Robert Zieler, Luis Hernandez, Raul Uche Rubio, Nampalys Mendy, Ahmed Musa

The defending champions will mark their first ever title defence with a debut season in the Champions League. It’s a lot to take on for the relatively small Foxes but something everyone associated with the club will relish. Having lost star man N’Golo Kante and with most other top clubs having strengthened significantly, it’s going to be even harder for Ranieri this time around. Prediction – 10th

Team – Liverpool

Signings so far – Joel Matip, Loris Karius, Sadio Mane, Ragnar Klavan, Alex Manninger, Georginio Wijnaldum

Jurgen Klopp embarks on his first full season at Anfield with the expectation levels as high as ever. The players will be starting to adapt to the German’s self-proclaimed ‘rock & roll style’of football however Liverpool’s problems sit a little deeper than that. With a budget not capable of competing with the Premier League’s big guns I think the Reds are still a work in progress for the time being. Prediction – 7th 

Team – Manchester City

Signings so far – Ilkay Gundogan, Nolito, Oleksandr Zinchenko

The Citizens have made a modest start to the transfer market on the player front however it’s another coup that’s got everyone talking- manager Pep Guardiola. Widely regarded as one of, if not the best coach in world football, Pep has a near enough blank canvas at City upon which to paint his latest master piece. I expect the purchases of Stones and Sane to be made but these things take time. A year spent implementing the Spaniards vision before total dominance in the years to come. Prediction – 3rd 

Team – Manchester United

Signings so far – Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Whilst United’s ‘noisy neighbours’ City have been making the occasional headline, United have been selling out news stands. New head coach Jose Mourinho knows the Premier League all too well and has bought a new plethora of talent to the Red Devils ranks and is also waiting on Pogba to re-join. For the first time since Fergie I see Old Trafford becoming a fortress. No one will want to play Manchester United. Prediction – 2nd

Team – Middlesbrough 

Signings so far – Viktor Fischer, Bernardo Espinosa, Marten De Roon, Jordan McGhee, Victor Valdes, Antonio Barragan, Alvaro Negredo, Gaston Ramirez, Brad Guzan

Boro step up into the Premier League with a water tight defence and one of the most highly rated young gaffers around. With some more than impressive signings to boot, it could well be a campaign to remember for their fans back amongst England’s elite. The only concern is do their signings say they mean business, or a deja-vu of QPR? Prediction – 14th

Team – Southampton

Signings so far – Nathan Redmond, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg

Knocked back yet again by the sales of Mane, Pelle and Wanyama and the departure of boss Ronald Koeman, it’s another year of rebuilding for Saints. As they always do however they’ve picked themselves up, dusted off and signed smartly whilst bringing in another great manager suited to their philosophy. It’s hard for Southampton to progress given the way things are but I can’t see them taking many steps backwards. Prediction – 11th

Team – Stoke City

Signings so far – Ramadan Sobhi, Joe Allen

The Potters are a side that scream security. Mark Hughes has successfully transformed them from a big, burly side into a slick, passing outfit. Signing Sobhi represents an exciting prospect and Allen adds yet more solidity and calmness in possession. Having finished in the top half of the table yet again last time round I see no reason as to why they can’t emulate this feat once again. Prediction – 9th

Team – Sunderland

Signings so far – None

Sam Allardyce’s appointment as England manager was undoubtedly a big blow to the Black Cats but the appointment of David Moyes offers some consultation. The Scot is yet to make a signing at the Stadium of Light but inherits a decent squad that improved drastically under Big Sam’s leadership. Expect to see one or two new faces and Moyes sticking to the Makem’s status quo. Prediction – 16th

Team – Swansea

Signings so far – Leroy Fer, Mike van der Hoorn, Tyler Reid, George Byers, Mark Birighetti

One of the clubs I fear for.The sales of Paloschi and Gomis have left manager Francesco Guidolin without a recognised striker in their entire squad just 2 weeks before the Premier League kicks off. Star man Gylfi Sigurdsson has been linked with a move away whilst another top performer last year Andre Ayew was largely anonymous towards the back end of the season. I may be wrong but there’s concern to be had here. Prediction – 19th

Team – Tottenham Hotspur 

Signings so far – Victor Wanyama, Vincent Janssen

Although finishing 3rd in the end last season, Spurs are the only team that can really say they challenged Leicester for the title at any stage. Pochettino is a fine young coach and has turned Spurs into a top side. They’ve only made 2 signings who seem to be more squad fillers than game changers and have the added pressure of Champions League football this time around. Prediction – 5th

Team – Watford

Signings so far – Jerome Sinclair, Christian Kabasele, Isaac Success, Juan Camilo Zuniga, Brice Dja Djedje

Another season, another managerial change at Vicarage Road. This time it’s Italian Walter Mazzarri taking the reigns at the Hornets. His first job will be to ensure he gets Deeney and Ighalo’s strike partnership back up and running after a stuttering 2016 so far. They’ve made some good signings yet again but I can’t see anything special happening this season. Prediction – 15th

Team – West Brom

Signings so far – Matt Phillips

The Baggies to me simply don’t look like a Premier League outfit. The inevitable sale of Sadio Berahino will come as no shock and the hopeful signing of Diafra Sakho could turn out to be hit or miss. Positive’s are they have one of the stingiest defences going thanks to Tony Pulis, a man who has never been relegated as a manager and some promising youth talent flourishing in the form of Jonathan Leko. Prediction – 17th

Team – West Ham

Signings so far – Toni Martinez, Havard Nordtveit, Domingos Quina, Sofiane Feghouli, Gokhan Tore, Ashley Fletcher

The Hammers move to the Olympic Stadium is a signal of intent. As is the ambition of their owners that’s shared by manager Slaven Bilic in their resolve to keep hold of the world class Dimitri Payet. West Ham are quickly establishing themselves as a big team in the Premier League and it looks like they’re on course for another impressive finish. Prediction – 6th

Final Predicted Standings

1st Chelsea

2nd Manchester United

3rd Manchester City

4th Arsenal

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5th Tottenham Hotspur

6th West Ham

7th Liverpool

8th Everton

9th Stoke City

10th Leicester City

11th Southampton

12th Bournemouth

13th Crystal Palace

14th Middlesbrough 

15th Watford

16th Sunderland

17th West Brom

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18th Burnley

19th Swansea City

20th Hull City

Do you agree with Charlie’s prediction? Comment below! 

By @CharlieJC93 – Charlie’s blog