Premier League 2017/2018 Table Prediction and Team Guide

#1: Manchester City
#2: Manchester United
#3: Chelsea
#4: Liverpool
#5: Arsenal
#6: Tottenham
#7: Everton
#8: Leicester
#9: Southampton
#10: West Ham
#11: Crystal Palace
#12: Bournemouth
#13: West Brom
#14: Swansea
#15: Stoke
#16: Newcastle
#17: Watford
#18: Huddersfield
#19: Brighton
#20: Burnley

Why will Man City win the league? Who drops out of the top 4 and why? Who is the best Fantasy Premier League option for all 20 teams and who in the world plays for Brighton & Hove Albion? Here’s the 2017/2018 Premier League Team Guide and Prediction featuring thoughts on each team from @kevnissanka

#1: Manchester City

Manager: Pep Guardiola

Last year’s position: 3rd

Transfers: 

IN:
Benjamin Mendy (£52m, Monaco)
Kyle Walker (£46m, Tottenham)
Bernardo Silva (£45m, Monaco)
Ederson (£36m, Benfica)
Danilo (£27m, Real Madrid)
Douglas Luiz (£11m, Vasco da Gama)
Samir Nasri (Loan Ended, Sevilla)
Eliaquim Mangala (Loan Ended, Valencia)

OUT:
Kelechi Iheanacho (£25m, Leicester)
Enes Ünal (£12.5m, Villareal)
Aaron Mooy (£8m, Huddersfield)
Nolito (£8m, Sevilla)
Aleksandar Kolarov (£4.5m, Roma)
Joe Hart (Loan, West Ham)
Douglas Luiz (Loan, Girona)
Pablo Zabaleta (Free, West Ham)
Willy Caballero (Free, Chelsea)
Gael Clichy (Free, Basaksehir)
Jesus Navas (Free, Sevilla)
Bacary Sagna (Free Agent)

Starting XI:

Man City Final

Best plausible position: 1st

Worst plausible position: 4th

Players to watch: Bernardo Silva, Jesus, Foden

Best FPL Option: Kevin de Bruyne (10.0)

Why they finish 1st:

Here we are, back again; I’m predicting Manchester City to win the Premier League this season.

I might be doing the same mistake I did last year picking them as champions, but I think now that Pep Guardiola’s style of team has settled in the Premier League, they will more consistently play at their best level and when they do, there is not a single team in the league that can stop them.

Gabriel Jesus came in and took the league by storm, but coming into the league at the halfway point and getting injured shortly thereafter, he only managed to play in 10 games, scoring 7 and assisting 4 times. City won 7 and drew 1 time in the 8 games Jesus started in and with their Brazilian wonderkid in their team from the start of the season, the sky blue part of Manchester will be given a big boost. As Arsène Wenger would say: “It is like a new signing!”

The other big change in Pep’s team, is at both full-back positions. The 4 full-backs they had last season are all gone, and in comes £125 million worth of full-backs in the form of Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy and Danilo. Much has been said and written about Pep’s use of full-backs and now he finally has his own hand-picked players in those positions. He has done wonders for the likes of Dani Alves and David Alaba before, so it will be interesting to see what he does with a talent like Benjamin Mendy.

After the failed experiment of Claudio Bravo as their goalkeeper, City have moved swiftly and signed Ederson Moraes as the most expensive goalkeeper of all time, breaking Gianluigi Buffon’s 16 year old record. Ederson is – as expected by a Guardiola style GK – good with his feet and he is also a prototypical “sweeper keeper” who isn’t afraid to leave the goal line.

Even with his very quick feet, he plays too hazardous at times, which will likely cost them a couple of points. That, along with the still shaky central defence and a pretty pedestrian central midfield compared to the other top teams are my only worries for Man City this season. I’m more worried for the other team, trying to stop Kevin de Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Leroy Sané, Gabriel Jesus, Sergio Aguero and the rest of Man City’s superstar offence.

Kev’s Corner

  • Watch out for Bernardo Silva, he might not start straight away, but he can become one of the best players in the league! He did bits at AS Monaco and has all the potential to become a world-class player #WatchThisSpace.
  • What happens when Kompany gets injured? Stones and Otamendi have struggled in a City shirt and Chelsea proved that “The best defense is a good offense” can win you the league, so City might be a Kompany injury away from losing the title
  • With so many attacking players like Silva x2, Sané, de Bruyne, Sterling, Jesus, Aguero and etc. will they be able to use everyone and keep them happy?
  • Keep your eyes on youngsters Phil Foden and Brahim Diaz, two of the most promising talents to come out of Man City’s academy and Diaz in particular was excellent in pre-season.

#—

#2: Manchester United

Manager: José Mourinho

Last year’s position: 6th

Transfers:

IN:
Romelu Lukaku (£75m, Everton)
Nemanja Matic (£40m, Chelsea)
Victor Lindelöf (£31.5m, Benfica)

OUT:
Adnan Januzaj (7m, Real Sociedad)
Timothy Fosu-Mensah (Loan, Crystal Palace)
Cameron Borthwick-Jackson (Loan, Leeds)
Wayne Rooney (Free, Everton)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Free, Unknown)

Starting XI:

20616963_1544050222283061_3659850497601260720_o.jpg

Best plausible position: 1st

Worst plausible position: 4th

Players to watch: Mkhitaryan, Pogba, Rashford

Best FPL Option: Romelu Lukaku (11.5)

Why they finish 2nd: 

After getting José Mourinho and spending a then record £89 million on Paul Pogba, many people believed that Man Utd would be a title contender last season. The PL season turned out to be a disappointment however, as it would take more than the presumed best manager in the world and a world record signing to bring Man Utd back to their former glory.

The thing they needed the most, was time. A year later, I think Man Utd can finally live up to the title contending hopes many had for them this time last year.

The biggest issue Man Utd had last season was finishing their chances and what better way to eradicate that problem than to bring in one of the best PL strikers the last couple years, Romelu Lukaku. The big Belgian is a proven goalscorer in the league, scoring 68 Premier League goals for Everton, including 25 in last years campaign. Not bad for a striker who was deemed not good enough by Mourinho 3 years ago.

Another familiar player to Mourinho, Nemanja Matic, has been brought in to shore up a defensive midfield spot that was a weakness for Man Utd last year. More importantly, it eases the defensive burden off of Paul Pogba who can build on a slightly disappointing first season back with the Red Devils.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan also had a slightly disappointing season, but should now be fully acclimated to his new team and the Premier League. He has been in blinding form this pre-season and I expect very good things from the 2015/16 Bundesliga Player of the Season. With all the new improvements offensively, Man Utd should comfortably eclipse the lowly 54 goal tally they got last season. It’s time to turn those draws into wins and a 6th place into title contention.

Kev’s Corner

  • #DareToZlatan. If Zlatan Ibrahimović comes back to United, they will arguably have the best offense in the Premier League. Even at 35 years old, Zlatan can bang them in as he got an impressive 28 goals in 46 matches in all competitions last year.
  • How hasn’t Victor Lindelöf even been mentioned once. How dare you? The highly talented Swedish centre-back will create one of the best center-back pairings with Eric Bailly since Ferdinand-Vidic #Fact #Ballsy
  • Haters gonna hate, and Paul Pogba will have an amazing season. #Pogback

#3: Chelsea

Manager: Antonio Conte

Last year’s position: 1st

Transfers:

IN:
Alvaro Morata (£58.5m, Real Madrid)
Tiemoué Bakayoko (£36m, Monaco)
Antonio Rudiger (£31.5m, Roma)
Willy Caballero (Free, Man City)

OUT:
Nemanja Matic (£40m, Man Utd)
Nathan Aké (£20.5m, Bournemouth)
Juan Cuadrado (£18m, Juventus)
Asmir Begovic (£10.5m, Bournemouth)
Bertrand Traoré (£9m, Lyon)
Christian Atsu (£6.5m, Newcastle)
Nathaniel Chalobah (£5.5m, Watford)
Kurt Zouma (Loan, Stoke)
Izzy Brown (Loan, Brighton)
Tammy Abraham (Loan, Swansea)
Kasey Palmer (Loan, Huddersfield)
Dominic Solanke (Free, Liverpool)
John Terry (Free, Aston Villa)

Starting XI:

20626761_1544050532283030_8490097656418094601_o

Best plausible position: 1st

Worst plausible position: 6th

Players to watch: Batshuayi, Bakayoko, Morata

Best FPL Option: Michy Batshuayi (8.5)

Why they finish 3rd:

“It is much harder to defend a league title than to win one” is a famous saying and it certainly rings true as we haven’t had back to back champions since Man Utd got their 3rd title in a row in the 08/09 season.

Chelsea have won the league 3 times in that time-frame, but haven’t managed to complete back to back championships like they did with Mourinho in 04/05 and 05/06. Instead, what is now known as a “Jose Mourinho season” is regressing back to the abysmal 10th place Chelsea got in their last title defence in 15/16.

The removal of club legend John Terry and the controversial Diego Costa might make Chelsea more likable, but especially the loss of their top scorer Costa brings some uncertainty to Stamford Bridge. Álvaro Morata is a costly signing, but he might take some time to adapt and only started 14 league games for Real Madrid last season.

Michy Batshuayi might work as a striker in the meantime, showing promise towards the end of last season and in the pre-season, but he is far less proven than his Belgian strking partner Romelu Lukaku. Had Chelsea secured Lukaku’s services, I might’ve kept them at #1, but I’m not sure their current striker will pay off yet.

The loss of Nemanja Matic will also hurt, but his replacement Tiemoué Bakayoko is one to watch. No physicality will be lost at least and Bakayoko has the potential to be far better offensively next to back to back PL winner N’Golo Kanté in the heart of Chelsea’s team.

Eden Hazard will miss the first couple of games of the season and with a bad start Chelsea might struggle to keep up with the teams from Manchester. A lot of things went Chelsea’s way last year, as they didn’t have any European competition to worry about either and they might need to further strengthen their squad to defend their title. The rumored Danny Drinkwater is a solid player, but he doesn’t really feel like a title winning acquisition, even if he won the league just over a year ago in Leicester’s fairy tale season.

Kev’s Corner

  • If Mourinho could do back-to-back title defending seasons, why couldn’t Conte? He has done it, in fact, at Juventus as he was able to win the Serie A three times in a row. Of course, This is the Premier League, but I think he has enough talent there to make it work #TitleDefense
  • My older brother, Tim, has made a bet that Alvaro Morata will score 15+ goals in the Premier League. IF Morata pulls that off, they will be good to go! #TitleDefense
  • Rumors are that Chelsea might activate the buy-out clause on Sergi Roberto. If they acquire him, the title is theirs. #ExtremeTalent

#4: Liverpool

Manager: Jurgen Klopp

Last year’s position: 4th

Transfers:

IN:
Mohamed Salah (£35.5m, Roma)
Andrew Robertson (£8m, Hull)
Dominic Solanke (Free, Chelsea)

OUT:
Lucas Leiva (£5m, Lazio)
Kevin Stewart (£4m, Hull)
Andre Wisdom £2m, Derby)
Alex Manninger (Retired)

Starting XI:

Liverpool Final

Best plausible position: 1st

Worst plausible position: 6th

Players to watch: Salah, Mané, Solanke

Best FPL Option: Mohamed Salah (9.0)

Why they finish 4th: 

Going into his 3rd season at Anfield, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool should be close to reaching peak performance. Last season was a success, reaching their goal of a top 4 finish and qualification for Champions League football.

The red part of Merseyside won’t settle for that same goal again however, as they should now be expected to be in title contention.

Top signing Mohamed Salah will bring them closer to that. The Egyptian had a forgettable first spell in the Premier League, but has been one of the best players in the Serie A since he first left on loan in 2015. Amazingly, Mohamed Salah was sold from Chelsea just 1 year ago for a measly £13.5 million, that price spiked like most other prices, costing Liverpool £35 million to bring him back to the Premier League and he is more than worth it.

Salah will bring some much needed pace up front for a Liverpool team who only really got that from Sadio Mané last season. Assuming he gets better injury luck and knowing that he won’t be going to play in AFCON this season, Liverpool will surely get more than 27 matches from the Senegalese sensation. Liverpool had 17 wins, 7 draws and 3 losses in the matches Mané played, but only managed 5 wins, 3 draws and 3 losses without him.

Livepool are still hoping to keep Philippe Coutinho, who has been drawing a lot of interest from Spanish giants Barcelona, but have also been tapping up some quality players who they hope enter their training ground, Melwood. Virgil van Djik would be the leader they lack in their backline, while Naby Keita would give them a dynamic and dangerous midfield. It remains to be seen what Liverpool could do, but they have money to spend and a real shot of finally winning a Premier League title.

Kev’s Corner

  • If Coutinho leaves, Liverpool are severely #screwed.
  • Liverpool might not be as screwed though if Dominic Solanke can translate his pre-season form to the Premier League. What an absolute machine. #RisingStar #ClassicChelsea
  • Have to agree, they are just a few million away from winning the Premier League #MoneyTalks

#5: Arsenal

Manager: Arsene Wenger

Last year’s position: 5th

Transfers:

IN:
Alexandre Lacazette (£52.5m, Lyon)
Sead Kolašinac (Free, Schalke)

OUT:
Wojchiech Szczesny (£11m, Juventus)
Yaya Sanogo (Free, Toulouse)

Starting XI:

Arsenal Final

Best plausible position: 2nd

Worst plausible position: 6th

Players to watch: Kolašinac, Lacazette, Özil

Best FPL Option: Sead Kolašinac (6.0)

Why they finish 5th: 

Like clockwork, Arsenal have been finishing top 4 and gone out in the Round of 16 in the Champions League 7 seasons in a row. Once again, they crashed out against Bayern Munich, losing 10-2 on aggregate, but they didn’t manage to squeak out a 4th place finish like they have done so many times before.

This leaves them in a very interesting situation this season. Losing to mostly Bayern or Barcelona has taken it’s toll on Arsenal the last couple of years and has scuppered their title chances before the final rounds of play in April and May. They still have to play Europa League on Thursdays, but they can afford to put out weaker sides in that tournament and rather focus on the league this time around.

Unfortunately, no Champions League also means uncertainty around your star players. Mesut Özil and Alexis Sanchez’ contracts end after this season and even though Wenger has said that he’s not going to sell his best players, it’s far from ideal going into the season. With the prices flying around lately, you can only imagine how much Alexis Sanchez could command if he was on the market, but selling your best player by far last season probably isn’t a good idea if you want to get back into the top 4.

Getting Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolašinac for a combined £52.5 million however is a good way of qualifying for the Champions League. Lacazette has been one of the most lethal strikers in Europe and should fit in perfectly in front of Özil and Sanchez should they stay. He is a solid step up from last years frontman Olivier Giroud and finally gives them a proper Robin van Persie replacement.

Kolašinac showed his worth already in the Community Shield against Chelsea. His physical style of play should be perfect both for the Premier League and for Arsenal’s newfound 3-4-3 tactic as he can cover both the wing-back and centre-back positions in that formation. Arsenal won 7 out of their last 8 games after switching to 3-4-3 last year and look to build upon that strong finish and compete against the big boys once again.

Kev’s Corner

  • Been a huge admirer of Alexandre Lacazette for several years and so glad that he’s finally made the step up to the Premier League. This might be a bold prediction, but if the delivery is good…. I reckon Laca will finish the season as top scorer #BoldPrediction
  • To all you #WengerOut fans. This will be the season where he finally shuts you all up #Top4 #FA CupWinners #EuropaLeagueWinners
  • Granit Xhaka justifiably got a lot of criticism last year, but I think this will be a big year for the young Swiss international #BoomXhakaLaca

#6: Tottenham

Manager: Mauricio Pochettino

Last year’s position: 2nd

Transfers:

IN:
None

OUT:
Kyle Walker (£46m, Man City)
Nabil Bentaleb (£17m, Schalke)
Clinton N’Jie (£6.5m, Marseille)
Federico Fazio (£3m, Roma)

Starting XI:

Spurs Final

Best plausible position: 3rd

Worst plausible position: 6th

Players to watch: Son, Dembele, Winks

Best FPL Option: Heung-Min Son (8.0)

Why they finish 6th: 

I keep doubting Tottenham and they keep being one of the very best teams in the league and I keep doubting Harry Kane and he keeps bringing home top scorer titles. Somehow, yet again, I am doubting Tottenham.

But this time it is not because of the strength of their team — the most consistent team in the league — with seemingly no holes after Heung-Min Son blossomed into a top player last season. Pretty much all of their best players are young and haven’t even reached their prime yet, so why would they finally drop out of the top 3 all the way down to 6th?

Wembley Stadium. As a West Ham fan, I have seen first hand how difficult a move to a new stadium could be. Home matches don’t feel all that familiar for either fans or players and that huge boost you got from playing your final season at your true home the year before is gone, making everything a bit harder.

Playing at Wembley specifically as well, will make every away team feel like they are playing a cup final. Many players dream of playing at Wembley, so Tottenham will face the absolute best each and every time they have a home match. Spurs have already struggled at Wembley, going straight out of European competition when playing there last season.

Another reason is just the strength of the current top 6 in the Premier League. Who do you drop down below Tottenham? Every other top 6 team has been strengthened in the summer, while Tottenham have brought in… Nobody. Luckily they have a ready-made replacement for Kyle Walker in Kieran Trippier, but his injury scare in their final pre-season game shows the lack of depth as well. Spurs have gotten away with few injuries the past few years and a major injury or two could hamper Spurs more than the rest of the top 6.

Kev’s Corner

  • Tottenham are FOR SURE a Harry Kane injury from being screwed. They have 0 cover in attack. #WhatAreTheyDoing
  • Eriksen is arguably one of the top 10 players in the league. Not Dele Alli #UnpopularOpinion
  • The lack of spending is worrying. All teams need new blood.

#7: Everton

Manager: Ronald Koeman

Last year’s position: 7th

Transfers:

IN:
Jordan Pickford (£25.5m, Sunderland)
Michael Keane (£25.5m, Burnley)
Davy Klaassen (£24m, Ajax)
Henry Onyekuru (£7m, KAS Eupen)
Sandro Ramirez (£5.5m, Malaga)
Wayne Rooney (Free, Man Utd)
Cuco Martina (Free, Southampton)

OUT:
Romelu Lukaku (£77m, Man Utd)
Gerard Deulofeu (£11m, Barcelona)
Tom Cleverley (£8m, Watford)
Aiden McGeady (£250k, Sunderland)
Arouna Koné (Free, Sivasspor)
Henry Onyekuru (Loan, Anderlecht)
Brendan Galloway (Loan, Sunderland)

Starting XI:

Everton Final

Best plausible position: 7th

Worst plausible position: 7th

Players to watch: Sandro, Klaassen, Lookman

Best FPL Option: Sandro (7.5)

Why they finish 7th: 

There’s only one way to go for Everton; sideways.

Everton were busy in the transfer window early this summer, strengthening weaknesses like their goalkeeper, bringing in Jordan Pickford for a club record £25 million that can rise to £30 mill, getting another young English defensive player in Michael Keane from Burnley and getting exciting young players with offensive firepower in Davy Klaassen and Sandro Ramirez.

You’d think that would be enough to challenge the top 6, but then they sold Romelu Lukaku. By far the best and most important player for Everton last season, the departure of Lukaku will surely be a negative for Everton, even with all the new signings to replace his value; the rumored Gylfi Sigurdsson included.

Wayne Rooney returns home to take the starting striker position and downgrading from Lukaku to Rooney will at best mean that Everton are about as good as last season. A season where Everton comfortably ended at #7 and that’s where I see them staying this season. The gap down to the best of the rest won’t be as big, but even with added European competition I can’t see them finishing lower than 7th either.

Kev’s Corner

  • Unlike Arsenal, Everton will most likely take Europa League more seriously. Who needs coming in fourth when you could get a direct qualifying spot by winning the Europa League? #Champions #PullingAManUtd
  • Everton are two signings away from breaking into the top 6. If a striker + Gylfi Sigurdsson comes before the end of the transfer window, we could easily end up higher.
  • I am ready to admit though that if we don’t get the right signings in, we could easily fall places too. #MoshiriIsKey.
  • If it wasn’t clear already, I’m an Everton supporter.

#8: Leicester

Manager: Craig Shakespeare

Last year’s position: 12th

Transfers:

IN:
Kelechi Iheanacho (£25m, Man City)
Vincente Iborra (£13.5m, Sevilla)
Harry Maguire (£12m, Hull)
Eldin Jakupovic (£2m, Hull)

OUT:
Ron-Robert Zieler (£3.5m, Stuttgart)
Bartosz Kaputska (Loan, Freiburg)
Marcin Wasilewski (Free Agent)

Starting XI:

Leicester Final

Best plausible position: 8th

Worst plausible position: 13th

Players to watch: Iheanacho, Ndidi, Gray

Best FPL Option: Kelechi Iheanacho (7.0)

Why they finish 8th: 

Kelechi Iheanacho.

In the long term, he might be the best signing so far this summer. The 20 year old has already shown a knack for scoring important goals for Man City, but with the arrival of Gabriel Jesus, there just wasn’t enough room for the Nigerian international.

Lining up next to Jamie Vardy, Leicester have one of the best pair of strikers in the league, especially outside of the top 6.

Wilfried Ndidi did a much better at the impossible job of replacing N’Golo Kanté than Nampalys Mendy ever did, and he will be with Leicester from the start of the season this time. Next to him comes another new signing Vincente Iborra from Sevilla, which should help shore up a shaky defence.

The Morgan-Huth pairing that worked so well when Leicester won it all in 15/16, struggled mightily when left without Kanté, so Leicester and new permanent manager Craig Shakespeare added Harry Maguire from the relegated Hull, who barged his way into the spotlight last season.

Leicester look strengthened all across the board, as long as they keep hold of want-away winger and star player Riyad Mahrez. The player of the season when Leicester went all the way and won the Premier League. If Leicester manage to keep him yet again, without the welcome distraction of the Champions League, Craig Shakespeare’s Leicester should be able to finish comfortably in the top half of the table this season.

Kev’s Corner

  • I also love Kelechi Iheanacho and touted him as better than Marcus Rashford.
  • If they manage to keep Mahrez, a cup run is more than possible, something we didn’t see from their Premier League winning season.
  • Iborra is amazing. He’s my player to watch!

#9: Southampton

Manager: Mauricio Pellegrino

Last year’s position: 8th

Transfers:

IN:
Mario Lemina (£15.5m, Juventus)
Jan Bednarek (£5.5m, Lech Poznan)

OUT:
Jay Rodriguez (£12m, West Brom)
Harrison Reid (Loan, Norwich)
Cuco Martina (Free, Everton)
Martin Caceres (Free, Hellas Verona)

Starting XI:

Southampton

Best plausible position: 8th

Worst plausible position: 13th

Players to watch: Romeu, Boufal, Tadić

Best FPL Option: Cedric (5.0)

Why they finish 9th:

Claude Puel only got 1 season with Southampton. Finishing #8 wasn’t the problem, but his defensive style of play combined with souring relationships with some key players ended Puel’s career with the Saints. In comes Mauricio Pellegrino from Alaves, known for his… defensive capabilities.

The former Valencia centre-back will have his work cut out for him if he is required to finish higher than last years 8th place. I have them finishing 9th, as the uncertainty around their best player, Virgil van Dijk has to be damaging to the lead up to their season.

The Dutchman has been heavily linked with Liverpool and has been forced to train by himself. That’s hardly desirable, but losing van Djik right before the season might be even worse.

Jan Bednarek has been brought in, but the Polish 21 year old is more of a long-term prospect than a player who can step right into the role of VvD. Jack Stephens would be next in line, and even though he is a whole 2 years older than Bednarek, he isn’t at the level needed to compete higher up in the table than 9th.

However, it’s not the back 4 Pellegrino needs to sort out the most. Their 41 goals scored last season is as mentioned the main reason Claude Puel is gone and unlocking the potential in their front 4 is key. Sofiane Boufal never got close to reaching his potential after his record move from Lille and Dusan Tadic had his worst season in the Premier League so far.

Pellegrino also needs to figure out what to do with his strikers. Charlie Austin and Manolo Gabbiadini have both showed signs of being good PL strikers, but they need to consistently get chances to produce. If Pellegrino could sort out some of those problems, he has gone a long way in keeping his job at St. Mary’s.

Kev’s Corner

  • Gabbiadini is a good shout for Fantasy Premier League #Joker
  • Boufal will have a better season this year for sure. #WatchThisSpace #YouTubePlayer
  • How have they not sold Van Dijk already??? Just get rid of him.

#10: West Ham

Manager: Slaven Bilic

Last year’s position: 11th

Transfers:

IN:
Marko Arnautovic (£20m, Stoke)
Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez (£16m, Bayer Leverkusen)
Sead Hakšabanović (£3m, Halmstad)
Joe Hart (Loan, Man City)
Pablo Zabaleta (Free, Man City)

OUT:
Enner Valencia (£7m, Tigres)
Ashley Fletcher (£6.5m, Middlesbrough)
Håvard Nordtveit (£5m, Hoffenheim)
Darren Randolph (£5m, Middlesbrough)
Reece Oxford (Loan, Borussia Monchengladbach)
Gökhan Töre (Loan Ended, Besiktas)
Jonathan Calleri (Loan Ended, Deportivo Maldonado)
Alvaro Arbeloa (Retired)

Starting XI:

West Ham Final

Best plausible position: 8th

Worst plausible position: 13th

Players to watch: Chicharito, Ayew, Rice

Best FPL Option: Manuel Lanzini (7.0)

Why they finish 10th:

The 2016/17 season was a tough one for the Hammers. A new stadium, drama with star player Dimitri Payet and a bunch of failed signings made the whole year a major let down. I personally had West Ham moving into the top 6 last season, but I have learned that moving to a new stadium comes with some difficulties (See: This years Tottenham prediction).

In the transfer window last summer, West Ham opted for a lot of players who were not known quantities in the Premier League. The only one with previous success in the league was André Ayew and he got injured in his first game and never really got off on the right, or his much preferred left foot.

While known PL players Robert Snodgrass and José Fonte failed to impress after coming in during the January transfer window, West Ham have again tried to bring in players with ample experience from the Premier League. Former PL winners Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez have all joined alongside Stoke’s star player Marko Arnautovic.

Zabaleta and Chicharito finally covers up the holes West Ham have had at the right back and striker positions pretty much ever since David Gold & Sullivan took over as club owners. 32 different striker have been signed since the current owners bought the club back in January 2010. Chicharito has a very good shot at being the best striker they have signed, which wouldn’t really say much. Chicharito is a top striker though and for £16 million he is one of the best signings so far and will instantly strengthen the squad.

I’m not so sure that either Joe Hart or Pablo Zabaleta will improve the starting XI however. They are big names for sure, but they are both past their prime. Joe Hart was named in the worst XI in the Serie A last season and I’m not sure he is an upgrade over Adrian. As mentioned, at least Zabaleta is a proper right back, but he is getting old and will struggle to keep up with more and more quick wingers in the Premier League.

The central defence and centre midfielders don’t really fill me with confidence either, with the lack of a proper defensive midfielder and a strong defensive partner for Winston Reid, the club’s best centre back. André Ayew trying to prove himself as the first name off the bench however, is a player to watch and is a sign of the strength West Ham have in the front 4.

Kev’s Corner

  • Lukaku always scores against West Ham. Make sure to have him in your Fantasy Team! #Fact
  • Hernandez is easily one of the best bargain buys of the season. Tasty Fantasy pick!
  • I don’t hate Hart as much as most. Might be exactly what West Ham needs!

#11: Crystal Palace

Manager: Frank de Boer

Last years position: 14th

Transfers:

IN:
Jairo Riedewald (£8m, Ajax)
Timothy Fosu-Mensah (Loan, Man Utd)
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Loan, Chelsea)

OUT:
Steve Mandanda (£2.5m, Marseille)
Frazier Campbell (Free, Hull)
Mathieu Flamini (Free Agent)
Joe Ledley (Free Agent)
Jonathan Benteke (Free Agent)

Starting XI:

Crystal Palace

Best plausible position: 10th

Worst plausible position: 15th

Players to watch: Zaha, Riedewald, Milivojević

Best FPL Option: Ruben Loftus-Cheek (4.5)

Why they finish 11th: 

Tony Pulis, Alan Pardew, Sam Allardyce… a who’s who of old-school mediocre English managers that have been the men in charge of Crystal Palace since they got promoted after the 2012/13 season. With former successful Ajax manager Frank de Boer coming in, I think Crystal Palace can finally unlock some potential in their squad and start to compete for a spot in the top 10.

Wilfried Zaha already unlocked his potential last season and looked like the player Sir Alex Ferguson envisioned that he signed back in 2013. Christian Benteke also found his footing towards the end of the season and is a proven PL goalscorer at this point. Yohan Cabaye and Jason Puncheon have loads of PL experience, and while that should be enough firepower to be good offensively, it’s hard to predict how Crystal Palace will look this season.

Last season was a year of two halves. In the first half, under Pardew, Crystal Palace scored at will with 28 goals in 17 games, but with the more defensive minded Sam Allardyce in place they scored only 22 times in the remaining 21 games. Defensively it was a different story. Big Sam needed a couple of games to shore up his defence, but in his final 13 matches they conceded 17 times, in a schedule that included Chelsea (A), Arsenal (H), Liverpool (A), Tottenham (H), Man Utd (A) and a 5-0 loss to Man City (A). If you exclude that slip-up against City, they conceded only 12 goals in 12 difficult games to end the season.

Those final games included the loan signing of Mamadou Sakho who has not yet returned to the side. Instead, de Boer has opted for a former Ajax student, Jairo Riedewald. He is only 20 years old, but already has 63 league matches for Ajax and has earned 3 international caps for Netherlands. He should be able to step right into the team and has the potential to be one of the best defenders in the league.

Fellow Dutchman Timothy Fosu-Mensah has also joined on loan, and will take over at right back or right wing-back depending on how de Boer lines up. Ruben Loftus-Cheek joins on loan as well from Chelsea, so there is a lot of potential in this Palace lineup, which is way more exciting than they have been since they got promoted.

Kev’s Corner

  • Christian Bentekkers is their key player and could be a great fantasy pick for the first 5 gameweeks!
  • Huge admirer of de Boer and think he could do a fantastic job at Crystal Palace. Did someone say #CupRun?
  • Could be Zaha’s final season at Crystal Palace if he keeps up his form. I mean come on!

#12: Bournemouth

Manager: Eddie Howe

Last year’s position: 9th

Transfers:

IN:
Nathan Aké (£20m, Chelsea)
Asmir Begovic (£10m, Bournemouth)
Jermaine Defoe (Free, Sunderland)

OUT:
Jack Wilshere (Loan Ended, Arsenal)

Starting XI:

Bournemouth

Best plausible position: 8th

Worst plausible position: 12th

Players to watch: King, Aké, Stanislas

Best FPL Option: Junior Stanislas (6.0)

Why they finish 12th: 

On paper, it looks like Bournemouth should be higher than the 12th spot I’ve predicted them at.

They finished 9th last season, continuing their steady progression as a team, going from promotion from League One 5 years ago, through 10th in the Championship, winners of the Championship, 16th in the Premier League and before finishing in the top half last season.

In terms of transfers they have only been strengthened as well. Nathan Aké is back permanently, after a highly impressive loan spell last season, they have finally secured the steady PL quality goalkeeper they have been crying out for in Asmir Begovic and Jermain Defoe is back in the club he went on loan to all the way back in 2001.

It’s Jermain Defoe who worries me.  The 34 year old is trying his best to fight his way into the England squad for next years World Cup and started out brightly last season with 14 goals in the first 24 matches for Sunderland. He ended up with 15 goals in 37 matches, 5 of those being penalties.

I just think Defoe will get in the way of last seasons wonder, Joshua King. King on the other hand, managed a meager 2 goals in the first 17 games of the season, but from New Years Eve and onward, the Norwegian striker produced fireworks for Bournemouth. 14 goals in the final 19 games of the season.

Putting Defoe’s first half of the season and King’s second half of the season would give Bournemouth a combined top scorer, but I think the players will rather get in the way of each other rather than complement each other. Should Defoe still have it in him at his age though, and his lackluster second half was more chalked up to Sunderland being poor, they can push up to 8th place and continue their progression.

Kev’s Corner

  • Worried about Defoe? Well, I think the opposite, I reckon he’ll do a-ok!
  • Josh King needs to prove that he wasn’t a one-hit wonder. Loved what I saw from him but he could be a potential Papiss Cissé.
  • Eddie Howe for England manager. God, he’s an amazing coach!

#13: West Brom

Manager: Tony Pulis

Last year’s position: 10th

Transfers:

IN:
Jay Rodriguez (£11.5m, Southampton)
Yuning Zhang (6.5m, Vitesse)
Ahmed Hegazi (Loan, Al-Ahli)

OUT:
Craig Gardner (£1.5m, Birmingham)
Yuning Zhang (Loan, Werder Bremen)
Darren Fletcher (Free, Stoke)
Sébastien Pocognioli (Free, Standard Liege)

Starting XI:

West Brom

Best plausible position: 10th

Worst plausible position: 14th

Players to watch: Rodriguez, Rondón, Hegazi

Best FPL Option: Jay Rodriguez

Why they finish 13th: 

There’s not really much to say about West Bromwich Albion, because we know exactly what we are getting.

Tony Pulis has finished between 10th and 14th in all of his 9 seasons managing in the Premier League. There’s really no indication that this streak will stop this season, with West Brom retaining most of the squad that finished 10th last season. We know what we are getting.

The only real X-factor here is their most prominent signing, Jay Rodriguez. Back in the 13/14 season, a then 24 year old Rodriguez banged in 15 goals for Southampton and was destined for great things for his club team and finally got his first cap for England. Unfortunately, still only has that 1 match in an England shirt, as he got ruptured his ACL at the end of his most successful season so far and hasn’t ever been the same.

Last season was injury free at least, but Rodriguez couldn’t force his way into an inept Southampton attack and ended the season with 5 goals in 24 games. That’s a decent return considering his inconsistent playing time and with WBA, Rodriguez will get to start week in and week out, sometimes playing out wide and other times as the lone striker option West Brom lacked when Salomon Rondón struggled after Christmas.

Ahmed Hegazi is a 6’5 inch tall central defender, so of course he has joined Tony Pulis’ side. He might be able to force his way into the starting lineup, with the 37 year old Gareth McAuley starting to feel the effects of father time, despite his 6 goal output last season. Otherwise we expect more of the same from West Brom, we know what we are getting.

Kev’s Corner

  • Rondon deserves much better than West Brom. I hope he gets to leave soon.
  • They are a pretty boring team.
  • I hope they go down. #SayNoToTonyPulis

#14: Swansea

Manager: Paul Clement

Last year’s position: 15th

Transfers:

IN:
Roque Mesa (£11m, Las Palmas)
Tammy Abraham (Loan, Chelsea)
Erwin Mulder (Free, Heerenveen)

OUT:
Jack Cork (£8m, Burnley)
Bafetimbi Gomis (£2m, Galatasaray)
Modou Barrow (£1.5m, Reading)
Jordi Amat (Loan, Real Betis)
Borja Baston (Loan, Malaga)
Franck Tabanou (Free, Guingamp)
Marvin Emnes (Free Agent)
Gerhard Tremmel (Retired)

Starting XI:

Swansea Final

Best plausible position: 13th

Worst plausible position: 18th

Players to watch: Mesa, Carroll, Abraham

Best FPL Option: Tom Carroll

Why they finish 14th: 

Swansea is this year’s fancy pick for relegation for a lot of people and it’s not without reason.

Their best player and possibly the best player outside of the top 6 teams, Gylfi Sigurdsson, has been linked with a move to Everton throughout the summer transfer window and losing him would deal a major blow to Swansea’s chances of staying up.

While the transfer has been losing traction in the last few days, I still believe it will go through and that Swansea will fend off relegation without him.

Some of it is down to Swansea’s own transfers in. Roque Mesa might be an unknown to Premier League faithful, but the former Las Palmas defensive midfielder and his trademark look and playing style, will be a welcome addition to Swansea’s midfield.

The man who might benefit the most personally from a Gylfi Sigurdsson departure, is Tom Carroll. The miniature midfielder came from Tottenham in January, and like Gylfi, he has a killer left foot and will take over set-piece duties should the Icelandic star leave Wales. In Swansea’s final pre-season game, he got 3 assists which means that Swansea, Fernando Llorente & Co won’t lose much in terms of goals from dead ball situations.

Alfie Mawson is no stranger to goals from set pieces and really came into his own as the season went along in 16/17. He might be the next young English centre back to go for big money and is a sure bet to be linked to bigger clubs a year from now as Swansea continue to struggle with keeping their best players.

They likely won’t keep Tammy Abraham for more than this season, as the Chelsea loanee still has a shot at turning into Chelsea’s long term answer at the striker position. Abraham has been on fire in the pre-season, like he was when he scored 23 goals to keep Bristol City in the Championship last season. There’s a good chance Tammy Abraham becomes a household name, even though most won’t know his full name of Kevin Oghenetega Tamaraebi Bakumo-Abraham.

Kev’s Corner

  • Tammy Abraham will become a household name, question is whether Chelsea fans will ever get to experience him!
  • If Swansea keep Gylfi Sigurdsson, they will 100% stay-up. No discussion.
  • Martin Olsson should not be underestimated. Keep an eye out for him, fantasy players!

#15: Stoke

Manager: Mark Hughes

Last year’s position: 13th

Transfers:

IN:
Bruno Martins-Indi (£7m, FC Porto)
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (Free, Schalke)
Josh Tymon (Free, Hull)
Darren Fletcher (Free, West Brom)
Kurt Zouma (Loan, Chelsea)
Bojan Krkic (Loan Ended, Mainz)
Joselu (Loan Ended, Deportivo La Coruña)
Philipp Wollscheid (Loan Ended, Wolfsburg)

OUT:
Marko Arnautovic (£20m, West Ham)
Jonathan Walters (£2m, Burnley)
Glenn Whelan (£1.5m, Aston Villa)
Phil Bardsley (£750k, Burnley)
Shay Given (Free Agent)

Starting XI:

Stoke

Best plausible position: 12th

Worst plausible position: 18th

Players to watch: Sobhi, Shaqiri, Butland

Best FPL Option: Ramadan Sobhi (5.0)

Why they finish 15th: 

After 3 seasons in a row finishing 9th, Stoke regressed back to the 13th place they grew so familiar with during Tony Pulis’ reign and they need to be careful not to fall further down towards the relegation spots.

They had an atrocious start AND finish to the season. The 8 points in the final 10 games is on pace for relegation and the opening fixtures for Stoke doesn’t bode well for a team trying to stay away from relegation battle.

Selling one of your best players in Marko Arnautovic won’t help either. Arnautovic is a very up and down players, but when he was up for it last season, he helped Stoke get the points needed to stay clear of going down to the Championship.

On the bright side, Arnautovic’ natural replacement might be Ramadan Sobhi who was brought in a year ago for only £5 million. Being 20 years old, he didn’t play consistently, but when he did, he earned rave reviews. The tricky Egyptian might get his breakthrough and make a rather boring Stoke team something to watch.

The lack of a main striker is a problem. Saido Berahino has never recovered since his West Brom nightmare started, Peter Crouch is nothing more than a substitute at best at this point and Mame Biram Diouf has been tried out in several positions other than striker as Stoke are also trying out a formation with 3 at the back. Joselu has been their star striker in the pre-season, enough said.

Defensively though, they should be solid. Bruno Martins-Indi has finally been made permanent, which means that Kurt Zouma comes in to strengthen last years defence instead of just being a replacement. Getting Jack Butland back in goal, after he sat out most of last season with injuries is also a huge upgrade.

Kev’s Corner

  • Stoke did get Bojan back and brought in Choupo-Moting, so I’m not sure how much Sobhi will play, but since the fella just got a new 5 year contract, Stoke must like him a lot. I do as well!
  • Would be surprised if Shaqiri stayed past this season. Make it a season to remember, Xherdan!
  • I actually believe in Saido Berahino, so here’s hoping that the lad can turn his misfortune around!

#16: Newcastle

Manager: Rafa Benitez

Last year’s position: 1st (FL Championship)

Transfers:

IN:
Jacob Murphy (£10m, Norwich)
Florian Lejeune (£9m, Eibar)
Christian Atsu (£6.5m, Chelsea)
Javi Manquillo (£4.5m, Atletico Madrid)
Mikel Merino (Loan, Borussia Dortmund)
Siem de Jogn (Loan Ended, PSV)
Emmanuel Riviere (Loan Ended, Osasuna)

OUT:
Florian Thauvin (£9.5m, Marseille)
Daryl Murphy (£2m, Nottingham Forest)
Sammy Ameobi (Free, Bolton)
Vurnon Anita (Free, Leeds)
Haris Vukcic (Free, Twente)
Yoan Gouffran (Free, Göztepe)
Kevin Mbabu (?, Young Boys)
Matz Sels (Loan, Anderlecht)

Starting XI:

Newcastle

Best plausible position: 12th

Worst plausible position: 17th

Players to watch: Merino, Ayoze, de Jong

Best FPL Option: Matt Richie (6.0)

Why they finish 16th:

Like most pundits, I give Newcastle the best chance of staying up among the 3 promoted teams. They are the only promoted team with Premier League experience, which they have a load of.

Not only does the team have PL experience, but most of their squad as well, unlike Brighton and Huddersfield. Dwight Gayle had his breakthrough last year and while it might be chalked up to playing in a lesser league, he has never looked better.

With a capacity of around 52,000 at St. James’ Park, they also have a bigger squad to select from, as they kept their PL sized budget while they were down in the Championship. This means that PL names like Ciaran Clark, Jack Colback, Mohamed Diamé and Aleksandar Mitrović are the players coming off the bench.

Siem de Jong might finally show Premier League fans what he’s capable of. He was brought in 3 years ago, but spent most of Newcastle’s time in the Premier League on the sidelines with a string of nasty injuries. He went back to the Eredivise on loan to PSV to regain his match fitness while Newcastle spent a year in the Championship, and now he is back to finally reward The Magpies their investment back in 2014.

Kev’s Corner

  • Matt Ritchie is an absolute machine. Yet another player who I feel deserves a move up to a better side.
  • Dwight Gayle will get 10+ Premier League goals. Mark my words.
  • Despite me praising Dwight Gayle, I still feel that Newcastle have to buy a better striker to help him and Newcastle.

#17: Watford

Manager: Marco Silva

Last year’s position: 17th

Transfers:

IN:
Andre Gray (£18.5m, Burnley)
Richarlison (£11m, Fluminense)
Tom Cleverley (£8m, Everton)
Will Hughes (£8m, Derby)
Nathaniel Chalobah (£5.5m, Chelsea)
Kiko Femenia (Free, Alaves)
Daniel Bachmann (Free, Stoke)

OUT:
Steven Burghuis (£5.5m, Feyenoord)
Sven Kums (£5.5m, Anderlecht)
Uche Agbo (£2m, Standard Liege)
Mario Suarez (£?m, Guizhou Zhicheng)
Mathias Ranégie (Free Agent)
Juan Carlos Paredes (Free Agent)
Mbaye Niang (Loan Ended, AC Milan)
Camilo Zuniga (Loan Ended, Napoli)

Starting XI:

20617125_1544042665617150_1630694247517673696_o

Best plausible position: 10th

Worst plausible position: 19th

Players to watch: Doucouré, Pereyra, Success

Best FPL Option: Heurelho Gomes (4.5)

Why they finish 17th:

Watford were the current PL team closest to being relegated last season, finishing 17th with 40 points. Finishing 17th again this year would be the most consistent Watford have been in the past few years, as new(est) Manager Marco Silva, is their 8th manager in 5 years! Silva has a lot to prove, after he impressed, but still got relegated after taking over Hull in January.

I like Marco Silva, but that doesn’t seem to be the sentiment from some of the most prolific players at the club. Etienne Capoue who scored in seemingly every game to start last season, has already been in a reported rift with the new Watford manager, while main striker and possibly still captain Troy Deeney has been told he might lose the armband.

Silva needs to get everybody on the same page, otherwise he is sure to be relegated twice in as many seasons. Unlike last year with Hull, he has some decent players to work with. Roberto Pereyra surprisingly joined from Juventus last year and has now had a season to get settled in England. He is at his best as an attacking midfielder, but might also be moved out to the wing, and Marco Silva will hope that he is forced to.

The best signing so far for Watford has been Will Hughes from Derby, who has long been sought after by plenty of Premier League teams. Hughes, easily recognizable from his incredibly light hair colour, is a classic attacking midfielder, beating his opposition with through balls and mazing runs.

Further behind them in midfield is the pairing of Abdoulaye Doucouré and new signing Nathaniel Chalobah. Doucouré is a really interesting player. He forced his way into the team towards the end of the season and showed a lot of promise as a dynamic ball-winner with some technical skills to boot. Chalobah returns after a loan spell with the club all the way back in the 12/13 season. Chelsea wanted to sign him to a new deal initially, which is an indication of the potential in him.

There is a lot of potential in both Marco Silva and Watford, but in such an unstable club, I’m not sure if they can realize it.

Kev’s Corner

  • Not a fan of Marco Silva’s player management.
  • Happy that Will Hughes is finally getting his chance in the Premier League after dazzling the Championship. Player to watch for sure!
  • If Deeney ends up leaving the club, expect Watford to heavily flirt with relegation.

#18: Huddersfield

Manager: David Wagner

Last year’s position: 5th (FL Championship Playoff winners)

Transfers:

IN:
Steve Mounié (£11.5m, Montpellier)
Aaron Mooy (£8m, Man City)
Tom Ince (£8m, Derby)
Laurent Depoitre (£3.5m, FC Porto)
Scott Malone (£3.5m, Fulham)
Mathias Zanka-Jørgensen (£2.5m, FC Copenhagen)
Elias Kachunga (£1m, Ingolstadt)
Danny Williams (Free, Wigan)
Kasey Palmer (Loan, Chelsea)
Jonas Lössl (Loan, Mainz)

OUT:
Kyle Dempsey (500k, Fleetwood Town)
Joe Murphy (Free, Bury)

Starting XI:

Huddersfield

Best plausible position: 15th

Worst plausible position: 20th

Players to watch: Mooy, Mounié, Zanka

Best FPL Option: Steve Mounié (6.0)

Why they finish 18th: 

Remember Blackpool’s lone season in the Premier League? The unlikely Premier League team full of fun characters who charmed the whole league with some memorable moments before they got relegated in the final game of the season.

That’s the type of season I envision for first time Premier Leaguers, Huddersfield Town. The team with the very unusual home kits and a German-American manager who emphasizes cohesion and togetherness are ready to continue their storybook journey in the Premier League.

Aaron Mooy might be the Charlie Adam of the bunch. He doesn’t exactly look like a top footballer if you’d happen to walk by him on the street, but on the pitch, where his feet do the talking, he is the real deal. He is capable of whipping around “Hollywood balls” and his set pieces might even be worth £20 million in today’s crazy market.

Steve Mounié comes from a good debut season with Montpellier in Ligue 1, scoring 14 goals over the span of 35 games. Being only 22 years old he might become worth a whole lot more than the £11.5 million Huddersfield shrewdly bought him for. He is a monster in the air and will be a likely target for Aaron Mooy’s right foot.

There are other interesting offensive talents in this team as well, like new signings Laurent Depoitre, Elias Kachunga and the more well known Tom Ince, but Mathias “Zanka” Jørgensen is a character that deserves and will get some attention this season. Not only does he have a really nice first name even though he goes by his nickname of “Zanka” which he got from the movie “Cool Runnings”, but he’s a player who is not afraid to take on other players, even as a central defender.

There’s a reason Huddersfield haven’t been close to being in the Premier League before a surprising 5th place turned into a surprising play-off promotion has them playing with the likes of Man Utd and Liverpool. But there is also every reason that they can make this Premier League campaign a memorable one, even if it ends after one season.

Kev’s Corner

  • Aaron Mooy is a fun player, wouldn’t surprise me if a mid-table team snap him up next year.
  • I really hope Huddersfield manage to stay up, but unfortunately, I just don’t see them pulling it off.
  • Steve Mounié looks like a class player, hopefully one Huddersfield can keep for a long time!

#19: Brighton

Manager: Chris Hughton

Last year’s position: 2nd (FL Championship)

Transfers:

IN:
Jose Izquierdo (£16m, Club Brugge)
Davy Propper (£12m, PSV)
Mathew Ryan (£5.5m, Valencia)
Markus Suttner (£4m, Ingolstadt)
Pascal Groß (£2.5m, Ingolstadt)
Ales Mateju (2m, Viktoria Plzen)
Mathias Normann (£1m, Bodø/Glimt)
Soufyan Ahannach (?, Almere City)
Izzy Brown (Loan, Chelsea)

OUT:
Vegard Forren (Free, Molde)
Elvis Manu (Free, Genclerbirligi)
David Stockdale (Free, Birmingham)
Oliver Norwood (Loan, Fulham)
Casper Ankergren (Retired)

Starting XI:

Brighton

Best plausible position: 16th

Worst plausible position: 20th

Players to watch: Knockaert, Suttner, Groß

Best FPL Option: Markus Suttner (4.5)

Why they finish 19th: 

Anthony Knockaert has been knocking on the Premier League door for a while now, as he has been a good player in the Championship with Leicester before a bad relationship with then manager Nigel Pearson meant that he wanted to leave the eventual champions a season before they won the whole damn league.

He has always been a tidy player and was by far Brighton’s best last season. With 15 goals and 8 assists, Knockaert was the main man and probably has to be once again if Brighton want a chance to stay up.

Pascal Groß and Markus Suttner came as a package deal from relegated Bundesliga team Ingolstadt and even though they got relegated last year, they look like solid signings. Groß has a precise right foot and could be taking some important set pieces for Brighton. He also created a whole lot of chances for Ingolstadt, ranking as one of the premier creators in the whole German league.

Suttner also has a very good foot, his left, which he uses frequently as when marauding down the left hand side from his left back position. He is offensively minded and got an impressive amount of goals and assists from his left back position, with 4 and 5 respectively.

Hopefully they will have enough firepower to score the amount of goals required to stay up, as starting with Glenn Murray as their main striker doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence. He struggled to make a mark in the Premier League as a 30 year old in his prime, so I find it hard to believe that he will suddenly have what it takes now that he is turning 34.

Kev’s Corner

  • Anothny Knockaert will definitely light up the Premier League, however, not enough to keep Brighton up.
  • Jose Izquierdo is an amazing signing. I’m personally a huge fan, and I’m sure you would be too if you saw what he was capable of: here you go
  • Chris Houghton, leader of the sack race? Only time will tell.

#20: Burnley

Manager: Sean Dyche

Last years position: 16th

Transfers:

IN:
Jack Cork (£8m, Swansea)
Jonathan Walters (£2m, Stoke)
Phil Bardsley (£750k, Stoke)
Charlie Taylor (Free, Leeds)

OUT:
Michael Keane (£25.5m, Everton)
Andre Gray (£18.5m, Watford)
George Boyd (Free, Sheffield Wednesday)
Tendayi Darikwa (£?m, Nottingham Forest)
Michael Kightly (Free, Southend)
Joey Barton (Banned)
Paul Robinson (Retired)

Starting XI:

Burnley Final

Best plausible position: 17th

Worst plausible position: 20th

Players to watch: Heaton, Defour, Walters

Best FPL Option: Ben Mee (4.5)

Why they finish 20th: 

Someone has to be last and if it’s any consolation I was much more sure that Hull would be #20 last season, and they finished as #18. Maybe Burnley can do them one better?

Burnley managed to stay in the Premier League for the first time ever last season, getting 34 out of their 40 points at home at Turf Moor.

Former Man Utd academy players Tom Heaton and Michael Keane were standouts, making cases for team of the season. Keane might have impressed too much for Burnley’s liking, as he earned a move to Everton for a fee of £25 million. Even now, a whole month after they sold Keane, they haven’t used that cash on anyone other than Jack Cork and Jonathan Walters. Not exactly confidence building for worried Burnley fans.

Andre Gray, their starting striker next to Sam Vokes was also sold, for a whooping £18.5 million. Burnley have a lot of cash to burn, and they have to use it before the end of the window should they have a chance at staying up.

Tom Heaton is left as the top player for Burnley. He had the most saves in the whole league last year. He is hardly a talent anymore, surprisingly already 31 years old, but that means he should be going into the prime of his career, which should be perfect for Burnley as they get to keep at least one of their best players. I just don’t think they have kept enough.

Kev’s Corner

  • See you later, Burnley. Enjoy the Championship and come back stronger than ever.

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