Premier League 2018/19 Table Prediction and Team Guide

In this table prediction we’ll answer the following questions: Why will Man City repeat as champions? Can Liverpool really challenge them for the title? Who is the best Fantasy Premier League option for all 20 teams and do Cardiff have a single Premier League quality player? Here’s the 2017/2018 Premier League Team Guide and Prediction featuring thoughts on each team from @kevnissanka

  1. Man City
  2. Liverpool
  3. Tottenham
  4. Chelsea
  5. Man Utd
  6. Arsenal
  7. Everton
  8. Leicester
  9. West Ham
  10. Wolverhampton
  11. Crystal Palace
  12. Brighton
  13. Newcastle
  14. Bournemouth
  15. Burnley
  16. Southampton
  17. Fulham
  18. Huddersfield
  19. Watford
  20. Cardiff

1. Manchester City

Manager: Pep Guardiola

Last year’s position: 1st


Riyad Mahrez (£61m, Leicester)
Philippe Sandler (£2.2m, PEC Zwolle)
Daniel Arzani (£?, Melbourne City)
Claudio Gomez (Free, PSG)

Angus Gunn (£10.1m, Southampton)
Joe Hart (£3.5m, Burnley)
Olarenwaju Kayode (£2.7m, Shakhtar Donetsk)
Pablo Maffeo (Free, Stuttgart)
Yaya Toure (Released)

Starting XI (Shirt # is expected games started):

Best plausible position: 1st

Worst plausible position: 2nd

Players to watch: Bernardo Silva, Foden, Mendy

Best FPL Option: Aguero (11.0)

Why they finish 1st:

100 points last season wasn’t enough to convince you?

It’s the “easy” pick, but winning the Premier League back to back is anything but. Not since Manchester United won the league in the 2008/09 season have we had a defending champion win it again. Back then, a lot of the credit went to Sir Alex Ferguson and now, I think a lot of credit will go to Pep Guardiola, the best manager since Ferguson retired.

He has a stronger squad than Ferguson had 10 years ago as well, strengthening it with Riyad Mahrez for a cool £61 mill, making Bernardo Silva their 4th choice winger. Borderline disgusting depth. Mahrez is proven in the Premier League and will prove to be more than a big fish in a small pond, even with Pep’s rotation policy.

As for Bernardo Silva, he has a chance to be way more impactful this time around, at least if Guardiola himself is to be believed. He spoke glowingly about Bernardo Silva’s performance in the Community Shield and I think the #10 role is something he can excel at. Now normally, that role is reserved for Kevin de Bruyne, but with David Silva not expected to play as much this season, de Bruyne might drop down in a more central deep-lying playmaker role. Guardiola wanted Jorginho for a reason, and might expect even tighter opposing defences as the reigning champions. A quick and tidy player like Bernardo Silva might be more suited to the #10 role in to break through an opposition wall.

Another possible long-term replacement for David Silva is Phil Foden, who is in a battle with Ryan Sessegnon for being the brightest young English talent at the moment. Foden didn’t play much last season, just enough to become the youngest PL winner ever, so make sure to take note of Phil Foden’s name. He is David Silva esque and should be eased into the team just as Silva is being eased out.

January signing Aymeric Laporte and the return of the mostly injured Benjamin Mendy from last season will shore up their defence, which was the only real weak point for Man City at times in their 17/18 campaign. Man City are just too strong all across the board to predict them anything other than #1.

Kev’s Corner

  • Watch out for Sergio Aguero. This guy will stop at nothing to win the Premier League again.
  • They still need to replace Otamendi #Fraud.
  • Bernardo Silva is that guy. SO how are they going to keep everyone happy? Will we see someone leave next summer?
  •  Last year I said “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 I can safely say the same thing again.

2. Liverpool

Manager: Jürgen Klopp

Last year’s position: 4th


Alisson (£56.2m, Roma)
Naby Keita (£54m, RB Leipzig)
Fabinho (£40.5m, Monaco)
Xherdan Shaqiri (£13.2m, Stoke City)

Danny Ward (£12.6m, Leicester)
Emre Can (Free, Juventus)
Jon Flanagan (Free, Rangers)
Ben Woodburn (Loan, Sheffield Utd)
Harry Wilson (Loan, Derby)
Ádám Bogdán (Loan, Hibernian)

Starting XI (Shirt # is expected games started):

Best plausible position: 1st

Worst plausible position: 4th

Players to watch: Keita, Alexander-Arnold, Mané

Best FPL Option: Robertson (£6.0)

Why they finish 2nd:

Believe me, I did consider them for 1st place and probably would put them there any other season, but Man City are just too good.

Expect it to be a lot closer than in 2017/18 however. Liverpool started last season with major holes at goalkeeper, left back, centre back and central midfield, but they’ve filled all those spots with top class players. Alisson became the most expensive goalkeeper ever this summer and for good reason. A fantastic shot stopper and one of the best ball-playing goalkeepers. He starts for Brazil over Man City’s fantastic goalkeeper Ederson for a reason.

Left back (and right back) were filled out to end last season, with Andrew Robertson emerging as one of the league’s most exciting full-backs. Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold will get even more leeway to get around and into the opposition’s box this year, with the signings of midfielders Fabinho and Naby Keita.

Especially Naby Keita will be a joy to watch this season and should you believe his most ardent supporters he is a younger version of Iniesta with the ball, and Kanté without. He’s not quite that good, but sign me up for the poor man’s version of that please. With Fabinho, Liverpool get a defensive midfielder who can clean up any mistakes made by his teammates, can slot into the defence if needed and also get involved offensively as his 7 goals last season proves. He can easily replace the void left with Emre Can leaving.

Virgil van Dijk is obviously the man who filled the hole Liverpool had in central defence – sorry Dejan Lovren – and the Dutchman who arrived in January made his presence known right away. He truly is one of the world’s best defenders and will probably be even better this year after playing the pre-season he sat out a year ago.

You can’t forget about the remains of the former fab four either, with Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané. Salah is a bonafide superstar – in my eyes the best player in the league – Firmino is one of the most complete strikers in the world, while Mané will be even more prominent this season after a stop-start beginning of the last one. If anyone can beat Man City this season, it’s Liverpool.

Kev’s Corner

  • Almost a perfect transfer window, but they really need a new centre-back to match VVD’s class.
  • Studge might get a chance. Holy hell.
  • Keita and Fabinho is a dream pair. Liverpool really pulled it out of the bag!
  • A quote from last year, “Have to agree, they are just a few million away from winning the Premier League #MoneyTalks”. This might be the year where they do win it.

3. Tottenham

Manager: Mauricio Pochettino

Last year’s position: 3rd




Starting XI (Shirt # is expected games started):

Best plausible position: 1st

Worst plausible position: 5th

Players to watch: Moura, Eriksen, Trippier

Best FPL Option: Eriksen (£9.5)

Why they finish 3rd:

I’m done underrating Tottenham and Mauricio Pochettino every season. I predicted them to finish 6th last season and 7th(!) the year before and they end up being the only real blemish in my top 6 predictions. No more. Tottenham have consistently been top 3 the last three seasons and it’s about time they get some respect.

Ironically, the perception of Spurs is probably the most uneasy it has been since Pochettino took over. At the time of this writing, they still haven’t signed a single player and despite having a rock solid starting XI, they could really need some new firepower. Fans are getting impatient and the constant narrative of not winning any trophies has to start wearing them down.

What they do have however, is four season wonder Harry Kane, who once again is a favorite to become the league’s top scorer. The (somewhat lucky) World Cup top scorer is a lock for 20+ goals, flirting with and even matching the elusive 30 goal mark last time around.

Christian Eriksen doesn’t need an introduction and is Tottenham’s best player, but his midfield partner Dele Alli has a lot more to prove after a disappointing 17/18 campaign. Inconsistency might be normal for a 22 year old, but after his standout 16/17 season, the follow-up was a disappointment. I wouldn’t be surprised if Alli matches or even surpasses his 15/16 season, which would go a long way towards a 3rd place finish.

It’s hard to see any new youngsters making a huge impact, although we keep waiting for Harry Winks to make the next step, but he’s the same age as Alli. With no new signings, they might have to look to their January signings for a breath of fresh air and that breath might be Lucas Moura’s.

Before he went to PSG, Moura was one of the hottest new names in football, being heavily linked with Manchester United. After moving to Paris, he didn’t exactly set the footballing world on fire, but there is still massive potential within him waiting to be unleashed. He didn’t get much of a chance after arriving in January, but after a strong pre-season and several Spurs players coming back late from the World Cup, he will get a chance right away.

With a big signing or two, they could even challenge for the title, but for now, they’ll have to settle for being the best of the rest. Trophy or not, I hope Pochettino can continue to build on what he has done so far, on a new and refurbished White Hart Lane.

Kev’s Corner

  • Harry Kane will break his August curse.
  • Eriksen will have a mega season this year, better than most attacking midfielders earning his transfer to Barcelona (which should have already happened, #PogWho).
  • Yet another old qoute from last year’s article: “The lack of spending is worrying. All teams need new blood.”. So why the hell didn’t they spend?

4. Chelsea

Manager: Maurizio Sarri (NEW!)

Last year’s position: 5th


Kepa Arrizabalaga (£71.6m, Atletic Bilbao)
Jorginho (£51.3m, Napoli)
Mateo Kovacic (Loan, Real Madrid)
Robert Green (Free, Huddersfield)

Thibaut Courtois (£31.5m, Real Madrid)
Mario Pasalic (Loan, Atalanta)
Kenedy (Loan, Newcastle)
Matt Miazga (Loan, Nantes)

Starting XI (Shirt # is expected games started):

Best plausible position: 3rd

Worst plausible position: 6th

Players to watch: Jorginho, Rudiger, Hudson-Odoi

Best FPL Option: Hazard (£10.5)

Why they finish 4th:

Disappointing season, champions, terrible season, champions, poor season… champions?

Not quite, but in typical Chelsea fashion, we’ll probably get much more fun and entertaining football at Stamford Bridge than we did just a year prior. They have hired Maurizio Sarri after all, the man who on his first press-conference as Chelsea manager said he needs to have fun to be successful.

Finishing top 4 would actually be a success. The Premier League is growing stronger every year now after a couple of not so impressive seasons, culminating in Leicester becoming champions. Despite the tremendous 15/16 season, Chelsea have been in decline with very few young promising stars arriving ever since Eden Hazard.

They might have another one in Sarri’s favorite, Jorginho. The Italian “regista” is a deep-lying playmaker who’ll be involved in almost everything Chelsea do. He is crucial to the “vertical tiki-taka” system Sarri will try to implement and everything goes through him. Watching Jorginho find players like Hazard and Willian in space with pin-point passes will be a joy to watch and might ignite Hazard especially to have his best season yet.

With the additions of Jorginho, Kovacic and Kepa this Chelsea team is already pretty suited to Sarri. He has a goalkeeper and central defenders in Kepa, David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger who are good at passing. A solid and versatile right-back with Cesar Azpilicueta. A defensive terrier and ball winner in N’Golo Kanté to mask any deficiencies Jorginho has in that area. In Eden Hazard he also has a superior version of the Dries Mertens he started with in Napoli.

The lack of depth in Chelsea’s squad isn’t that big of an issue for Sarri either. They are not in the Champions League which means Sarri can continue starting mostly the same XI every week like he did in Napoli. With Alvaro Morata lacking in confidence, the need for a top striker is apparent, but the Spaniard looked great in the first 10 games of last season. Sarri might be the one to unlock that potential, like he did for many players back in Naples.

Kev’s Corner

  • Jorginho is the Premier League signing of the season. Perfect for Sarri, obviously! #Vital
  • Kova Kova Kovacic… With him, Chelsea have an awesome midfield. #BestInPrem
  • My older brother Tim and I have a bet of who’s going to score more goals, Morata or Tosun. I hope Chelsea get a new striker in January. #InItToWinIt
  • I can’t believe Mathias didn’t say a single word about Gianfranco Zola becoming assistant manager. It’s his favorite player of all time. #FPOAT

5. Manchester United

Manager: José Mourinho

Last year’s position: 2nd


Fred (£53.1m, Shakhtar)
Diogo Dalot (£19.8m, Porto)
Lee Grant (£1.5m, Stoke)
Andreas Pereira (Loan Return, Valencia)

Daley Blind (£14.4m, Ajax)
Sam Johnstone (£6.6m, West Brom)
Axel Tuanzebe (Loan, Aston Villa)
Michael Carrick (Retired)

Starting XI (Shirt # is expected games started):

Best plausible position: 2nd

Worst plausible position: 6th

Players to watch: Dalot, Fred, Pogba

Best FPL Option: Bailly (£5.5)

Why they finish 5th:

We have arrived… it’s the infamous third season under José Mourinho.

Judging from all the negativity, drama and poor play in pre-season, we’re in for yet another tumultuous third (and final?) season for “The Special One”. Anthony Martial got criticized for not returning quick enough after the birth of his child. Antonio Valencia was somehow criticized for getting injured, because apparently he wasn’t in good enough shape when he returned from vacation. The lack of activity lately on the transfer market has also left Mourinho less than happy.

The transfers Man Utd managed to complete are reasons for Man Utd fans to remain optimistic. If not for this season then at least for the future. Fred can step in from day one in midfield and push Pogba further forward. If played correctly and the rumoured tension between Pogba and Mourinho is overblown, he might finally make himself worth the £89 million they paid for him.

Back to Fred the Red, he is everything you’d want in a classic central midfielder. He can win the ball like a defensive mid, but he also knows what he’s doing when he’s got it and can beat his man by either passing or dribbling past him. At just 25 years old, he is about to enter his prime and could be an important player for Man Utd for many years to come.

Somewhat of an unusual full-back in today’s day and age, the 6 foot tall, 19 year old Diogo Dalot arrives in Manchester with boatloads of potential. He is good with both feet and can play on either the left or his preferred right. He is athletic, can cross and rarely makes mistakes defensively. It’s a shame he wasn’t able to feature during pre-season, but hopefully he can get some starts as the season goes along.

Even with promising signings for the future, the feeling around the club is much more negative than it should be coming off a 2nd place season and a Europa League title before that. With an uplifting start to the season and with Paul Pogba playing with the same excitement he had during the World Cup, Man Utd can go far. However, with the noticeable unrest around the club and Mourinho in constant battle with everyone and everything, a collapse could be imminent.

Kev’s Corner

  • Lukaku might have had an average season to start his United career, but this is the one where he makes everyone into believers.
  • After a fine World Cup display, I believe Victor Lindelöf could play himself into a starting position.
  • Fred will be the reason why everyone buys Pogba in FPL. Mark my words.
  • Mourinho is going to get fired.

6. Arsenal

Manager: Unai Emery (NEW!)

Last year’s position: 6th


Lucas Torreira (£27m, Sampdoria)
Bernd Leno (£22.5m, Bayer Leverkusen)
Sokratis Papastathopoulos (£14.4m, Dortmund)
Matteo Guendouzi (£7.2m, Lorient)
Stephan Lichtsteiner (Free, Juventus)

David Ospina (£?, Besiktas)
Chuba Akpom (£900k, PAOK)
Jack Wilshere (Free, West Ham)
Santi Cazorla (Free, Villareal)
Calum Chambers (Loan, Fulham)
Takuma Asano (Loan, Hannover)
Per Mertesacker (Retired)

Starting XI (Shirt # is expected games started):

Best plausible position: 4th

Worst plausible position: 6th

Players to watch: Torreira, Aubameyang, Özil

Best FPL Option: Aubameyang (£11.0)

Why they finish 6th:

Wenger is out and Arsenal gets another 6th place to show for it.

Unai Emery has a huge task ahead of him, with Arsenal finishing 7 points behind Chelsea at 5th and 12 points clear of the now seemingly desirable 4th place. It’s been a slow and steady decline the last few years under Arsene Wenger and Arsenal fans need to give Emery time to rebuild this squad to continue to challenge for top 4 and possibly for a long-awaited title win.

Emery has already begun his rebuild, but it started as more of a retooling. 34 year old Stephan Lichsteiner and 30 year old Sokratis Papastathopoulos were the first to join, bringing toughness and experience to Arsenal’s backline. The rest of Arsenal’s signings were at the right side of 30 however. Arsenal picked up World Cup breakout, defensive midfielder Lucas Torreira, 26 year old Bundesliga shot stopper Bernd Leno and the talented Matteo Guendouzi who has been very impressive in pre-season.

Torreira will go straight into Arsenal’s midfield and be a major part of their team from the get go. Emery plays with 2 defensive midfielders and Torreira will be a great partner for Granit Xhaka. Torreira is much more mobile and frankly, better at covering areas and recovering possession, while Xhaka can make things happen with his valuable left foot. N’Golo Kanté has proven that a defensive midfielder can do wonders for your defenders as well, and in Torreira, Arsenal finally get their own N’Golo Kanté.

Shoring up the defence with Torreira along with Sokratis, Leno and Lichsteiner, means that the offensive arsenal Emery already has in place, can flourish. Aubameyang is the main name to take note of. The Gabonese speedster and goal machine started banging in goals straight away after his January transfer. He is a bonafide top 5 player in the Premier League and will only get better playing more alongside the Arsenal players who mostly rested in the league towards the end of last season.

Özil will look to have a resurgent season following his national team exit and Emery tends to get the best out of offensive midfielders, like he did with Rakitic and Banega. Mkhitaryan had a fantastic connection with Aubameyang in Dortmund, while Lacazette upped his game when paired with his Gabonese striking partner. Offensively Arsenal can flourish, but they still need time to sort themselves out defensively.

Kev’s Corner

  • Massive fan of Lacazette and Aubameyang’s relationship on and off the court. Those two will light it up this season.
  • Unai Emery is an expert Europa League winner, I reckon he could win it this year.
  • Lucas Torreira is amazing. Could become the best CDM behind Kanté. He is that good.

7. Everton

Manager: Marco Silva (NEW!)

Last year’s position: 8th


Richarlison (£35.2m, Watford)
Yerry Mina (£27m, Barcelona)
Lucas Digne (£18.1m, Barcelona)
Andre Gomes (Loan, Barcelona)
Kurt Zouma (Loan, Chelsea)
Bernard (Free, Shakhtar Donetsk)

Davy Klaassen (£12.1m, Werder Bremen)
Ramiro Funes Mori (£8.1m, Villarreal)
Wayne Rooney (Free, D.C. United)
Joel Robles (Free, Real Betis)
Henry Onyekuru (Loan, Galatasaray)
Kevin Mirallas (Loan, Fiorentina)
Ashley Williams (Loan, Stoke)

Starting XI (Shirt # is expected games started):

Best plausible position: 7th

Worst plausible position: 12th

Players to watch: Richarlison, Tosun, Davies

Best FPL Option: Tosun (£7.0)

Why they finish 7th:

I predicted that Everton would finish 7th last season and I’m doing it again this year.

Even with a disastrous start, constant injury issues and hiring Sam Allardyce, Everton managed to climb up the table at the end and finish with a respectable 8th place. Looking at their starting XI this season, it’s filled with players who didn’t feature much last season. Sheamus Coleman and Leighton Baines struggled with injuries the whole year, leading to an uncomfortable amount of starts for Cuco Martina. Michael Keane struggled without a proper partner next to him, with the disastrous Ashley Williams the worst.

On top of that, Everton have added a host of new players both this summer and back in January. Starters Theo Walcott and Cenk Tosun arrived in January and especially the latter will be dangerous after a good pre-season.

This summer they added Marco Silva’s favorite Richarlison, who set the Premier League on fire, before a long season both back in Brazil and England proved too much. Bernard is similarly exciting, and Everton beat out a host of other clubs for the Bosman signing. Lucas Digne is a solid left-back who can gradually phase out legend Leighton Baines, while Mina and Zouma finally give them a solid options at the back.

Gylfi Sigurdsson is a top class player on his day and after early struggles he started to look like his Swansea self towards the end of the season. Tom Davies might finally break out and look out for fellow young central midfielder Kieran Dowell as well. Everton are good at bringing through their youth and they have some exciting youngsters. I hope to see Ademola Lookman some more this season as well.

Everton should have the stability and firepower to do well this season and if anyone were to challenge the top 6, it would be them.

Kev’s Corner

  • We didn’t sell Ademola Lookman, thank god. Keep an eye out for him.
  • We signed 3 La Liga winners. We are that sick.
  • If everything aligns, we will come top 6.
  • I’m obviously an Evertonian.

8. Leicester

Manager: Claude Puel

Last year’s position: 9th


James Maddison (£22.5m, Norwich)
Ricardo Pereira (£19.8m, Porto)
Caglar Söyüncü (£19m, Freiburg)
Filip Benkovic (£13m, Dinamo Zagreb)
Rachid Ghezzal (£12.6m, Lyon)
Danny Ward (£12.6m, Liverpool)
Jonny Evans (£3.6m, West Brom)

Riyad Mahrez (£61m, Man City)
Ahmed Musa (£14.8m, Al-Nassr)
Ben Hamer (Free, Huddersfield)
Aleksandar Dragovic (Loan Return, Bayer Leverkusen)
Islam Slimani (Loan, Fenerbahce)
Leonardo Ulloa (£?, C.F Pachuca)
Robert Huth (Released)

Starting XI (Shirt # is expected games started):

Best plausible position: 7th

Worst plausible position: 15th

Players to watch: Maddison, Gray, Pereira

Best FPL Option: Maddison (£6.5)

Why they finish 8th:

Leicester finally had to let Mahrez go, but with £61 million coming in and Leicester’s ability to find gems in the transfer market, they don’t necessarily need to get much worse. They even replace much of what they lost in Mahrez with a single transfer.

No, I’m not talking about left footed Algerian right winger Rachid Ghezzal, whose a tricky player with a lot of talent, but will be a poor man’s Mahrez at best. Who I’m talking about is James Maddison, who I am backing to become the next in a line of clever Leicester signings, following Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez, N’Golo Kanté and Harry Maguire. Maddison will be worth way more than the £22.5 million he cost them now. Super skillful, deadly set pieces, goals and assists are just some of the things to expect from one of Championship’s finest players last season.

Leicester have made even more shrewd signings all across the board, with the £3 million bargain Johnny Evans to pair up with Maguire in defence, Ricardo Pereira as a clear upgrade over Danny Simpson and the aforementioned Ghezzal. The only signing I’m not quite sure about is Danny Ward who was 3rd choice behind Loris Karius and Simon Mignolet for Liverpool, but he is just insurance for the excellent Kasper Schmeichel.

Demarai Gray is another player who can step up and fill in for Mahrez, while Jamie Vardy’s party is still going strong. I’m not sure Claude Puel is the right manager for that team, but that is the only major worry, because that starting lineup looks good across the board.

Kev’s Corner

  • Kelechi Iheanacho didn’t have a good start to his Leicester career, but I think we will see the real Iheanacho this season.
  • When you lose Mahrez, you lose your soul. Sorry Leicester, it will take some time replace him.
  • On the same side of the coin, Maddison, Ghezzal & Gray could be amazing.

9. West Ham

Manager: Manuel Pellegrini (NEW!)

Last year’s position: 12th


Felipe Anderson (£34.2m, Lazio)
Issa Diop (£22.5m, Toulouse)
Andrij Yarmolenko (£18m, Dortmund)
Lukasz Fabianski (£7.2m, Swansea)
Lucas Perez (£4m, Arsenal)
Fabian Balbuena (£3.6m, Corinthians)
Carlos Sanchez (£?, Fiorentina)
Ryan Fredericks (Free, Fulham)
Jack Wilshere (Free, Arsenal)

Cheikhou Kouyaté (£9.6m, Crystal Palace)
Reece Burke (£1.5m, Hull)
Domingos Quina (£1m, Watford)
João Mario (Loan Return, Inter)
Sead Hakšabanović (Loan, Malaga)
Jordan Hugill (Loan, Middlesbrough)
James Collins (Released)
Patrice Evra (Released)

Starting XI (Shirt # is expected games started):

Best plausible position: 7th

Worst plausible position: 14th

Players to watch: Chicharito, Fredericks, Rice

Best FPL Option: Arnautovic (£7.0)

Why they finish 9th:

Full discretion: I am a West Ham fan and even though it feels like I am reluctant to put them too high, I always predict them better than where they actually end up. I have a feeling that will happen again, but screw it; West Ham spent a lot of money and fans are excited again for the first time since West Ham left Upton Park.

At least 5 of the 7 transfers in are thought to be going straight into the starting lineup, which might offer problems in terms of cohesion and chemistry early on and many are drawing parallels to Everton’s spending spree a year ago. West Ham didn’t sell their star striker like Everton did with Lukaku and they haven’t only bought offensive midfielders either.

Well… they bought a couple. Firstly and most prominently, Felipe Anderson for a whopping £34 million. Clearly a priority for new manager Manuel Pellegrini, as Lazio kept raising the price and West Ham kept matching it. It makes sense for Pellegrini anyway, as Anderson fits like a glove in Pellegrini’s system with “wingers” who practically serve as offensive midfielders.

Yarmolenko lines up on the other side, where he can cut in and shoot with his strong left foot. If not successful, Ando and Yarmo will at the very least be entertaining, something that is always appreciated by West Ham fans. Wilshere is the final new player who can play in this role, but he’ll likely feature more in the middle with either Noble, Rice or both.

Don’t forget about Chicharito either, who looks happy to play for Pellegrini after an uncertain summer with rumours of the little pea wanting to leave. The fact that he is staying tells me that he will feature more regularly and hopefully more centrally than last season.

In defence, the most important part to strengthen from last season, West Ham have added the promising and athletic Ryan Fredericks at right back, a couple of interesting central defenders in Issa Diop and Fabián Balbuena, who will likely fight for a spot next to Angelo Ogbonna and finally old reliable Lukasz Fabianski in goal, a clear upgrade over the mess left after Joe Hart last season. West Ham will have to give Pellegrini’s new team time, but they are still expected to finish top 10. I’d personally be happy with 9th.

Kev’s Corner

  • Lukaku always scores against West Ham. Could this be the year where he doesn’t?
  • Holy hell, I am a huge fan of Felipe Anderson and Yarmolenko. They are going to light up this league.
  • If healthy, expect Jack Wilshere to have a big year!
  • Javier Hernandez will get a lot more playtime under Pellegrini. Keep an eye out for him in FPL.

10. Wolverhampton

Manager: Nuno Espirito Santo

Last year’s position: 1st (Championship)


Adama Traore (£18.1m, Middlesbrough)
Diogo Jota (£12.6m, Atlético Madrid)
Willy Boly (£10.8m, Porto)
Benik Afobe (£10.2m, AFC Bournemouth)
João Moutinho (£5m, Monaco)
Leo Bonatini (£3.6m, Al-Hilal)
Ruben Vinagre (£?, Monaco)
John Kitolano (£?, Odds BK)
Raúl Jiménez (Loan, Benfica)
Jonny Castro (Loan, Atlético Madrid)
Leander Dendoncker (Loan, Anderlecht)
Rui Patrício (Free, Sporting Lisbon)

Barry Douglas (£3m, Leeds)
Ben Marshall (£1.5m, Norwich)
Duckens Nazon (£?, STVV)
Prince Oniangué (£?, Caen)
Benik Afobe (Loan, Stoke)
Jon Flatt (Free, Scunthorpe)

Starting XI (Shirt # is expected games started):

Best plausible position: 7th

Worst plausible position: 14th

Players to watch: Jota, Neves, Moutinho

Best FPL Option: Jota (£6.5)

Why they finish 10th:

Promoted teams rarely end up in the top 10, but Wolverhampton is no regular promoted side. They were clearly the best team in the Championship and feature players who are good enough to play for top 6 teams.

Ruben Neves is the first player you have take note of and I’m sure you have already. Everyone must have seen his wondergoal against Derby, the best goal in the whole English league system last year. Besides scoring wondergoals he controls the midfield wonderfully and sprays around beautiful passes with his precise right foot, which is also a set-piece weapon.

Diogo Jota is a technical and quick winger and striker, who is only 21 years old. He was Wolverhampton’s top scorer last season with 16 goals from his wing position. On top of that he is a team player, who for sure will link up with Neves, his new midfield partner and Euros winner João Moutinho and the talented recently signed Adama Traore.

He might even play striker, one of the few weak points in this Wolverhampton side. Rui Patricio, the goalkeeper of the tournament in the 2016 Euros and Porto’s Willy Boly shores up the defence. The only question marks is the aforementioned striker position, the loss of last years influential wing-back Barry Douglas and the final centre back next to Boly and the reliable Conor Coady.

Nunu Espirito Santo and Jorge Mendes’ Portuguese invasion in Wolverhampton is a bonafide success so far and it’s only going to continue. Building around Portuguese players seems to be the way forward, as they continue to dominate youth competitions like the U-19 squad that won the U-19 European Championships in Finland recently. You better get used to Wolverhampton being in the Premier League.

Kev’s Corner

  • Neves, Dendoncker and Moutinho. Holy hell what a central midfield.
  • Diogo Jota to get double digits goal in the Premier League #Prediction.
  • Adama Traore will be so good under Nunu’s guidance. #YoungBlood
  • Stay far away from Raul Jiminez in the #FPL.

11. Crystal Palace

Manager: Roy Hodgson

Last year’s position: 11th


Cheikhou Kouyaté (£9.6m, West Ham)
Max Meyer (Free, Schalke)
Vicente Guaita (Free, Getafe)
Jordan Ayew (Loan, Swansea)

Yohan Cabaye (Free, Al Nasr)
Damien Delaney (Free, Cork)
Bakary Sako (Released)
Diego Cavalieri (Released)
Lee Chung-yong (Released)

Starting XI (Shirt # is expected games started):

Best plausible position: 7th

Worst plausible position: 13th

Players to watch: Wan-Bissaka, Meyer, Zaha

Best FPL Option: Zaha (£7.0)

Why they finish 11th:

Yet another 11th place finish for Crystal Palace, who can go even further up the table if they keep Wilfried Zaha the whole season.

Roy Hodgson might have gotten a bad rep for his work with Liverpool and England, but whenever he has been with mid-table clubs he has been successful. He’s easily the best manager out of the old recycled British crop that keeps getting PL jobs. 5th time’s the charm for Palace, who have suffered through Tony Pulis, Neil Warnock, Alan Pardew and Sam Allardyce before ending up with Hogdson. With a full season of Hodgson with a strengthened team, they’ll stay clear of the relegation trouble they were in last year.

To help them with that, Crystal Palace were able to acquire Max Meyer who was highly sought after as a free agent. Finally Palace have a creative player in the middle of the park, after getting it mostly from their wings in recent years. It’s going to open up a lot offensively for Palace and will be a big benefit for strikers Zaha and Christian Benteke.

There is a lot of quality in this team and a solid and consistent back-line can help a whole lot. Patrick van Aanholt is a favorite for anyone who plays Fantasy Premier League, while James Tomkins and Mamadou Sakho were rock solid together as a centre back tandem. The youngster Wan-Bissaka impressed late and earned the right-back spot for this season and will have a break out year.

Hopefully Roy Hodgson doesn’t make the same mistake Pardew did and put a more talented goalkeeper on the bench in favor of Wayne Hennessey. Vicente Guaita from Getafe should get the nod, after a tight battle for the spot in pre-season. I’m excited to see what Crystal Palace can do this year.

Kev’s Corner

  • Zaha will be leaving Crystal Palace. Will be crazy if they keep him in January.
  • If the #MeyerOfLondon keeps his ego in check, he will have a big year.
  • Sakho is that guy, he will also leave Crystal Palace. Just saying.

12. Brighton

Manager: Chris Hughton

Last year’s position: 15th


Alireza Jahanbakhsh (£17.1m, AZ Alkmaar)
Yves Bissouma (£15.2m, Lille)
Bernardo (£9m, RB Leipzig)
Martin Montoya (£6.3m, Valencia)
Florin Andone (£5.4m, Deportivo)
David Button (£4m, Fulham)
Percy Tau (£2.8m, Mamelodi Sundowns)
Anders Dreyer (£1.6m, Esbjerg)
Dan Burn (£?, Wigan)
Billy Arce (£?, Independiente)
Leo Skiri Østigård (£?, Molde)
Peter Gwargis (£?, Jönköpings Södra)
Leon Balogun (Free, Mainz)
Jason Steele (Free, Sunderland)

Sam Baldock (£3.5m, Reading)
Connor Goldson (£3m, Rangers)
Jamie Murphy (£1m, Rangers)
Jiri Skalak (£900k, Millwall)
Tim Krul (Free, Norwich)
Niki Mäenpää (Free, Bristol City)
Uwe Huenemeier (Free, Paderborn)
Ales Mateju (Loan, Brescia)
Billy Arce (Loan, Extremadura)
Steve Sidwell (Released)
Liam Rosenior (Released)

Starting XI (Shirt # is expected games started):

Best plausible position: 11th

Worst plausible position: 18th

Players to watch: Jahanbakhsh, Izquierdo, Bernardo

Best FPL Option: Izquierdo (£6.0)

Why they finish 12th:

Many will predict Brighton to go down, or at least be in the relegation dog fight the whole season, but after a great transfer window, I’m more optimistic for Chris Hughton’s team.

Pascal Groß was a revelation in 17/18, producing much better than his look-a-like Håvard Nordtveit ever did. He will be the center of attention once again and we all know what he’s good for, but he will be flanked by some very exciting prospects in my eyes.

Jose Izquierdo had his debut season for Brighton last year and produced a respectable 5 goals and 5 assists. The Colombian international will expand on that performance this year now that he’s fully acclimated to the rigors of a Premier League season. Whenever he cuts in and has a chance to shoot, it’s a dangerous position for the opposing team.

On the other flank, you have Alireza Jahanbakhsh, who not only has a name that is fun to pronounce, but a game that is fun to watch. The top scorer and third best assister in the Dutch Eredivisie last season, this Iranian superstar has the quality to make everyone else humble. He has an array of passes and is unselfish enough to find a better placed teammate, but he can also easily dribble past you and shoot himself, Mkhitaryan-esque.

Dunk and Duffy were a rock solid pair and a major reason Brighton stayed up in their maiden Premier League season. Free signing and Nigerian international Leon Balogun will challenge them for a starting spot and cover in case of injuries. The biggest additions for Brighton defensively however is RB Leipzig talent Bernardo and deadline day signing Martín Montoya. A much better pair than the Suttner/Bong and Bruno/Schelotto mixture from a year ago.

12th is on the high end of what Brighton can achieve and they still might get the dreaded 2nd season syndrome and go down, but the way they have strengthened their team with young and hungry players makes me optimistic. If they can acquire a mainstay prolific striker in front of their promising trio, then Brighton can establish themselves as a solid Premier League team.

Kev’s Corner

  • Jose Izquierdo will definitely light up the Premier League and hopefully gets consistent playtime #FPLOption.
  • Huge fan of Bernardo. Could be a major player for Brighton.
  • If Jahanbakhsh can convert his Eredivisie form into the Premier League, Brighton could have some memorable moments in the Premier League.

13. Newcastle United

Manager: Rafa Benitez

Last year’s position: 10th


Yoshinori Muto (£9.6m, Mainz)
Mikel Merino (£6.3m, Dortmund)
Federico Fernandez (£6m, Swansea)
Martin Dúbravka (£3.6m, Sparta Prague)
Fabian Schär (£3.6m, Deportivo La Coruña)
Ki Sung-yueng (Free, Swansea)
Kenedy (Loan, Chelsea)
Salomon Rondon (Loan, West Brom)

Aleksandar Mitrovic (£18.1m, Fulham)
Mikel Merino (£10.8m, Real Sociedad)
Chancel Mbemba (£7.2m, Porto)
Matz Sels (£3.6m, Strasbourg)
Ivan Toney (£?, Peterborough)
Dwight Gayle (Loan, West Brom)
Massadio Haïdara (Free, Lens)
Stuart Findlay (Free, Kilmarnock)
Jesus Gamez (Released)

Starting XI (Shirt # is expected games started):

Best plausible position: 7th

Worst plausible position: 14th

Players to watch: Rondon, Perez, Dubravka

Best FPL Option: Perez (£6.5)

Why they finish 12th:

Rafa Benitez did a great job with Newcastle last season and with a very good run of results towards the end, they comfortably avoided relegation and ended up on a very respectable 10th place. They will manage to stay away from relegation yet again this season, but without strengthening much in the transfer window, they won’t push on for bigger and better things.

The transfer they did get right, was veteran striker Salomon Rondon. The Venezuelan target man has been somewhat restrained from producing at his best lately, being awfully alone up top for West Bromwich Albion. With the added support with the likes of Ayoze Pérez, Kenedy and Christian Atsu around him, he’ll be more effective, both as a goalscorer and when holding the ball up.

He should especially open up space for Ayoze Pérez, who looked excellent towards the end of last season, and was a major factor in Newcastle’s push for 10th. Pérez has struggled a bit with inconsistency, but he seems destined to break out properly and become Newcastle’s best player.

Another reason for Newcastle’s late season surge was goalkeeper Martin Dúbravka, who was an instant upgrade over Rob Elliot and Karl Darlow. Retaining his services on a permanent deal for only £3.6 million is another reason for Newcastle fans to be optimistic about the season. He’s also getting better players defending his box, with the signings of Schär and Fernández. More depth for Newcastle’s previously shallow defence.

Getting Kenedy back on loan is also good for them, but they still lack a bit of oomph and it’s hard to see them score an awful lot of goals. Rondon is locked between 7 and 10 goals and Pérez has always been in that range himself. I do back him to get a double digit tally this season however. Other than that, they don’t have much to offer. With Benitez as manager and a more robust defence, it’s still more than enough for a mid-table finish, with a weaker section of teams behind them.

Kev’s Corner

  • Salomon Rondon will get 10+ Premier League goals. Mark my words.
  • Jonjo Shelvey’s final season with Newcastle. He is too good for them.
  • The Newcastle signings were pretty underwhelming. Loanees were great though.

14. Bournemouth

Manager: Eddie Howe

Last year’s position: 12th




Jefferson Lerma (£25m, Levante)
Diego Rico (£10.8m, Leganes)
David Brooks (£10.1m, Sheff Utd)

Benik Afobe (£10.2m, Wolverhampton)
Lewis Grabban (£6.1m, Nottingham Forest)
Max Gradel (£1.8m, Toulouse)
Adam Federici (£?, Stoke)
Emerson Hyndman (Loan, Hibernian)
Brad Smith (Loan, Seattle Sounders)
Harry Arter (Loan, Cardiff City)
Rhoys Wiggins (Retired)

Starting XI (Shirt # is expected games started):

Best plausible position: 7th

Worst plausible position: 16th

Players to watch: King, L. Cook, Fraser

Best FPL Option: King (£6.5)

Why they finish 14th:

It has happened all too quickly, but Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth are entering their 4th consecutive season in the Premier League. With an attractive playing style with a focus on developing young players, the Cherries will eventually take another step up the table, but I think they are still a year away.

They took a conservative approach to the transfer window, but ended up securing three players who look likely to strengthen their best XI. Many would be surprised to see Diego Rico usurping FPL favorite Charlie Daniels, but the chance to roam forward freely and the occasional wondergoal has inflated Daniels’ perceived value. Bournemouth needed an upgrade at left-back.

Their otherwise leaky defence stays in tact, unless Jack Simpson can break through and take one of the centre back spots, but the £25 million addition of defensive midfield ace Jefferson Lerma will help Bournemouth from conceding goals. Everyone needs their own N’Golo Kanté and now finally Bournemouth have someone who can play that role.

They also managed to retain Lewis Cook, who drew interest from bigger teams. The 21 year old got his England debut this year and will likely get many more international caps in the years to come. He’s also expected to be a more definite starter for Bournemouth, making their central midfield stronger than it previously has been.

Josh King will be hoping to keep his role as a striker, after telling Eddie Howe that he much preferred being a #9 rather than the #10 role he covered as for a lot of last season. The added stability in midfield might make Howe more open to playing two strikers. King, Callum Wilson and the veteran Jermaine Defoe have plenty of goals in them. King broke out in 16/17 as a striker for Bournemouth and might get close to his 16 goal tally if he gets the chance again this season.

The upside is high, but Howe needs more time to finally contend for positions that will take the former non-league team all the way to Europe. No threat of relegation for them in my eyes however.

Kev’s Corner

  • Jordan Ibe really needs to step up, or else he might get sold.
  • Something I said last season: “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.” I feel it still applies.
  • If Eddie Howe somehow gets fired, he still will have a lot of clubs coming after him. He is sick.

15. Burnley

Manager: Sean Dyche

Last year’s position: 7th



Ben Gibson (£15.2m, Middlesbrough)
Matej Vydra (£11m, Derby)
Joe Hart (£3.5m, Man City)


Scott Arfield (Free, Rangers)
Tom Anderson (Free, Doncaster)
Dean Marney (Free, Fleetwood)
Chris Long (Free, Fleetwood)

Starting XI (Shirt # is expected games started):

Best plausible position: 10th

Worst plausible position: 17th

Players to watch: Taylor, Wood, Defour

Best FPL Option: Lowton (£4.5)

Why they finish 15th:

Full disclosure: I predicted Burnley to be bottom of the league last season, but instead of finishing 20th, they finished 7th. The biggest blemish from last year’s prediction.

So here’s why they finish 15th…

Many assume that they will be busy with Europa League this season, seeing as they face Olympiacos in the final qualifying round, there is no guarantee that they will be. I still back them to get there, as I think playing in Europe means a lot to a smaller team like that, but even if they do, I don’t think they will get close to repeating what they did in 17/18.

The #1 reason for that is their #1 situation. I became a huge fan of Nick Pope last season, when the former Burnley backup got the starting gig after Tom Heaton dislocated his shoulder. Ironically, a dislocated shoulder is also how Pope lost his spot, as he is likely out until January at best. Joe Hart and a Heaton coming off a year of inactivity is nowhere as good, even though there is a perception that Sean Dyche could put anyone in his defence and they will produce. I think that theory is selling the talents of guys like Pope and James Tarkowski short.

They will still be a good defensive team, but the sheer amount of scrappy 1-0 wins they had won’t be replicated. Chris Wood and Matej Vydra is an all-star Championship striking partnership, but I’m not sure about their qualities at the biggest stage. They will still be a feature on set-pieces, with accurate crossers of the ball in Robbie Brady and Johann Berg Gudmundsson.

Burnley started last season positively, surprising Chelsea at Stamford Bridge with a 3-2 and getting points away to both Tottenham and Liverpool. They used that positive start and achieved something greater than anyone could have imagined before the season.

The downside for teams like Burnley who look to secure a 1-0 win is that if they get some negative results early, it can be disastrous, just look at West Bromwich last season. Sean Dyche is a much better manager than the Pulis/Pardew tandem WBA had, so don’t expect Burnley to get relegated either.

Kev’s Corner

  • Sam Vokes to fire them to the Euorpa League? Big season awaits.
  • Defour is still class, so they need to make sure everything goes through him!
  • Burnley aren’t very fun to watch, but expect some crazy matches nonetheless.

16. Southampton

Manager: Mark Hughes

Last year’s position: 17th


Jannik Vestergaard (£22.5m, Borussia Monchengladbach)
Mohamed Elyounoussi (£16.2m, Basel)
Angus Gunn (£10.1m, Man City)
Stuart Armstrong (£7.1m, Celtic)
Danny Ings (Loan, Liverpool)

Dusan Tadic (£10.2m, Ajax)
Sofiane Boufal (Loan, Celta)
Guido Carrillo (Loan, Leganes)
Florin Gardos (Free, Craiova)
Jeremy Pied (Released)
Stuart Taylor (Released)

Starting XI (Shirt # is expected games started):

Best plausible position: 10th

Worst plausible position: 19th

Players to watch: Vestergaard, Elyounoussi, Højbjerg

Best FPL Option: Cedric (£4.5)

Why they finish 16th:

We’re in relegation territory here and Southampton were dangerously close to going down back in May. Mark Hughes managed to keep them up and send the team that sacked him months earlier – Stoke – down. Will either he or Southampton be in for a similar fate this season? He’s at the very least one of the favorites in the sack race.

I did like their transfer window however, with a proper centre back which was missing last season, with Jannik Vestergaard coming in from Borussia Monchengladbach. The great Dane has a similar presence to his predecessor Virgil van Dijk and might help make Southampton the defensive stalwarts they were before last season.

“Moi” Elyounoussi is an unknown quantity for Premier League fans, but as a Norwegian, I have followed his career for a long time. He is pacey, decisive, works hard and has a good right foot. He is also a decent goalscorer, a big need for Southampton who looked lost without the injury prone Charlie Austin. Danny Ings hasn’t played many games in Liverpool, many due to injury, but if he and Austin can rotate based on injury, they’re all set!

Losing Dusan Tadic hurts, but like Southampton he has been quite inconsistent the past couple of years. Stuart Armstrong might not have the same amount of Match of the Day highlights as Tadic, but he’ll be a steady contributor. It’s hard to figure out who will play in midfield, with a lot of players who like Tadic can look either amazing or out of sorts. Mario Lemina, James Ward-Prowse, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg.. will either one step up and prove to be as consistent as Romeu?

In the end I am just not encouraged by the manager or the star potential in this squad. Liverpool have slowly but surely drained the talent out of this team, and they don’t have the consistent top 10 squad they used to have. They are such a historic Premier League club and hopefully they manage to stay up again or even exceed my lowly expectations.

Kev’s Corner

  • Would love for them to stay up, but why the hell didn’t they just give Dusan Tadic a mega contract?
  • Lemina to have a big year, which might suck for Southampton fans #Liverpool.
  • Vestergaard is a VVD replacement. Southampton fans should be very happy with that purchase.

17. Fulham

Manager: Slavisa Jokanovic

Last year’s position: 3rd (Championship, Play-Off Winner)


Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa (£30m, Marseille)
Jean Michael Seri (£27m, Nice)
Aleksandar Mitrovic (£18.1m, Newcastle)
Alfie Mawson (£15.1m, Swansea)
Joe Bryan (£6m, Bristol City)
Fabricio “Fabri” Agosto (£5.4m, Besiktas)
Maxime Le Marchand (£3.6m, Nice)
André Schürrle (Loan, Borussia Dortmund)
Calum Chambers (Loan, Arsenal)
Sergio Rico (Loan, Sevilla)
Timothy Fosu-Mensah (Loan, Manchester United)
Luciano Vietto (Loan, Atletico Madrid)

David Button (£4m, Brighton)
Ryan Fredericks (Free, West Ham)

Starting XI (Shirt # is expected games started):

Best plausible position: 12th

Worst plausible position: 20th

Players to watch: Sessegnon, Seri, Cairney

Best FPL Option: Cairney (£5.0)

Why they finish 17th:

The first promoted teams to have spent over £100 million in the transfer window, and boy did they need it. Fulham hardly had a squad a month ago, but brought in a lot of exciting names and players.

The spending spree and big names like Seri, Mawson and Sessegnon might be clouding everyone’s judgment, as I see several people putting Fulham as high as 10th. They probably forgot that Fulham were 10th in the Championship at the start of 2018. I think they should be happy with just staying up, something they have been after several great escapes through their PL run from 01-02 until 13/14.

Seri is their best signing, as the Chelsea and Barcelona-linked player has qualities that far exceed a Premier League relegation battle. Their most important signing however, might be Mitrovic, who was the main reason they climbed all the way up from 10th to the Premier League after joining on loan in January.

Ryan Sessegnon will certainly be one to watch and he will for certain not play as a left-back like he did for parts of the pre-season and in the Championship, now that they secured defensive depth on Deadline Day. I’m not so sure about Andre Schürrle on the other wing however, who is both injury prone and inconsistent. They lack depth on the wings.

There are also a lot of new players to accommodate and fit into the team and even if Slavisa Jokanovic is a good manager, it will be hard to keep up the morale that boosted them from January to May. Players like McDonald, Johansen and the departed Ryan Fredericks (a huge loss for them) were major parts of their promotion, but won’t be played nearly as much this year.

They have a young and promising squad and I think they will manage another great escape and hopefully continue to build on that the following season. A good and established Fulham is a boost for the Premier League, with an iconic stadium and their aforementioned Premier League run that made many of us fond of the club.

Kev’s Corner

  • I love Jean Michael Seri. He is an absolute beast and will move to a top 4 team.
  • Huge fan of Ryan Sessegnon. He will take this league by storm #Legend
  • André Schürrle’s redemption story in the Premier League? Here’s hoping.

18. Huddersfield

Manager: David Wagner

Last year’s position: 16th


Terence Kongolo (£18m, Monaco)
Adama Diakhaby (£9m, Monaco)
Ramadan Sobhi (£5.8m, Stoke)
Florent Hadergjonaj (£4.5m, Ingolstadt)
Juninho Bacuna (£2.2m, Groningen)
Jonas Lössl (£2.2m, Mainz)
Isaac Mbenza (Loan, Montpellier)
Ben Hamer (Free, Leicester)
Erik Durm (Free, Borussia Dortmund)

Tom Ince (£10m, Stoke)
Jordan Williams (£?, Barnsley)
Tareiq Holmes-Dennis (£?, Bristol Rovers)
Sean Scannell (£?, Bradford)
Robert Green (Free, Chelsea)
Dean Whitehead (Retired)
Scott Malone (£?, Derby)
Michael Hefele (£300k, Nottingham Forest)

Starting XI (Shirt # is expected games started):

Best plausible position: 16th

Worst plausible position: 20th

Players to watch: Sobhi, Pritchard, Diakhaby

Best FPL Option: Pritchard (£5.0)

Why they finish 18th:

No one expected Huddersfield to stay up last season and most don’t give them a chance this season either. I do give them a chance, as much as I believe in David Wagner and his ability to develop players, but I also have to begrudgingly predict them to get relegated.

2nd season syndrome is a real thing as far as I can tell and despite how positive Huddersfield’s fan base is, it won’t be the same feeling around John Smith’s Stadium like their first go in the Premier League. Unlike Brighton, they haven’t really strengthened their starting XI much and have rather opted for young and interesting players.

They keep Aaron Mooy at least, an essential part to everything Huddersfield try to do and while they didn’t add much to their lineup in this window, they did get a player who went under the radar in January, Alex Pritchard. The former Tottenham youth prospect started to come into his own in a Huddersfield shirt just as the season ended and I think he will surprise some people in 18/19.

Isaac Mbenza and Adama Diakhaby could surprise even me, as they certainly look good in YouTube highlights, but the young tricky wingers are not expected to be heavily involved from the get go. Ramadan Sobhi might be however, even if he hardly got playing time for Stoke last season when they went down. The other offensive options don’t fill me with much confidence, although Steve Mounié still has age on his side.

Terence Kongolo is their most expensive signing, but he played half a season with Huddersfield already and they still barely stayed up. I like Kongolo, but he couldn’t do much about Huddersfield’s poor run in the 2nd half of the season. Remember when Huddersfield were top of the league after 2 rounds? Good times. I don’t expect this season to be as fun for the Huddersfield faithful.

Kev’s Corner

  • I said this last year but this time it will be true: “I really hope Huddersfield manage to stay up, but unfortunately, I just don’t see them pulling it off.”
  • Aaron Mooy deserves to be in the Premier League next season even if Huddersfield aren’t.
  • Also like David Wagner, hope he gets to continue being a Premier League manager, even if it isn’t with Huddersfield next season.

19. Watford

Manager: Javi Gracia

Last year’s position: 14th


Gerard Deulofeu (£11.7m, Barcelona)
Adam Masina (£4.5m, Bologna)
Ben Foster (£4m, West Bromwich)
Ken Sema (£2m, Östersund)
Marc Navarro (£1.8m, Espanyol)
Ben Wilmot (£1.5m, Stevenage)
Domingos Quina (£1m, West Ham)

Richarlison (£35.2m, Everton)
Nordin Amrabat (£7.6m, Al-Nassr)
Mauro Zarate (£2m, Boca Juniors)
Costel Pantilimon (£?, Nottingham Forest)
Alex Jakubiak (Loan, Bristol Rovers)

Starting XI (Shirt # is expected games started):

Best plausible position: 14th

Worst plausible position: 20th

Players to watch: Sema, Hughes, Doucouré

Best FPL Option: Hughes (£5.0)

Why they finish 19th:

I think it’s finally time for Watford to go down. As always, there are a lot of question marks about the team and at some point those questions won’t have a surprisingly good answer.

Watford might have the best player out of any of the relegation candidates however, in Abdoulaye Doucouré. If I’m a big club I’d be looking at him in January or at the very least if/when Watford get relegated. Gone is the early season wonder Richarlison, and his influence in the first few games was the difference between relegation or not last season. 5 wins, 5 draws and 15 losses to end the season is not encouraging. Not for Watford, not for Javi Gracia’s reputation as a manager.

I wasn’t encouraged by their transfer window either. They sold for much more than they bought for and didn’t buy any hugely influential players, possibly apart from Gerard Deulofeu who was already there on loan for half of last season. If Watford want to improve, it would have to be from within their squad.

Will Hughes is their best bet. The blonde wonderboy is finally set to become a household name, after good performances last season were marred by injury issues. If he can stay fit this year and win a place in Javi Gracia’s starting XI, he could be the reason Watford stay up.

Kev’s Corner

  • Hopefull Ken Sema will have a huge year. Big fan of what he did in Sweden and he even scored against Arsenal in a crazy away win in the Europa League.
  • Will Hughes could have a big year if he stays fit.
  • Play Deeney or else the fans will cry.

20. Cardiff

Manager: Neil Warnock

Last year’s position: 2nd (Championship)


Josh Murphy (£10.2m, Norwich)
Bobby Reid (£10.2m, Bristol City)
Greg Cunningham (£3.6m, Preston)
Alex Smithies (£3.6m, QPR)
Victor Camarasa (Loan, Real Betis)
Harry Arter (Loan, Bournemouth)

Matty Kennedy (Free, St. Johnstone)
Ben Wilson (Free, Bradford)
Greg Halford (Released)

Starting XI (Shirt # is expected games started):

Best plausible position: 17th

Worst plausible position: 20th

Players to watch: Reid, Murphy, Ralls

Best FPL Option: Ralls (£5.0)

Why they finish 20th:

There’s always the team that sticks out as clear relegation favorites and this time it’s Cardiff City FC.

Few expected them to earn promotion from the Championship, but they did it directly under the guidance of experienced Premier League manager Neil Warnock. Warnock is no stranger to a relegation battle, but he almost always comes out on the losing end, whether he gets relegated or gets sacked before he gets a chance to.

Cardiff still looks like a Championship team, unlike fellow promoted sides Wolverhampton and Fulham. The big signings Bobby Reid and Josh Murphy are not proven in the Premier League and especially Reid will have to prove that he can do it if Cardiff want to stay up. They lacked a good striker even in the Championship, with their top scorer in the league being Callum Paterson with a measly 10 goals. That’s good for a midfielder, but tells you what you need to know about last season’s strikers.

Junior Hoilett gets another go at Premier League success, something he looked to have with Blackburn, but that completely went in the toilet with QPR. He’s now one of Cardiff’s most important men and that should tell you something about their quality or lack thereof.

Sean Morrison is their best player and his goals from the centre back position were vital for Cardiff’s promotion to the Premier League. He’ll need to chip in with a couple of goals again to give Cardiff even the slightest chance of staying up.

Kev’s Corner

  • Not a fan of Cardiff City or their chances of staying up.
  • Neil Warnock, leader of the sack race? Only time will tell.
  • I am a fan of Bobby Reid, so hopefully he can make an impression before they go down.