This coming weekend sees the start of the brand-new football season and of course, that means that the Premier League will once again get back underway. With the transfer window still open and despite a much shorter end of season period, it is going to be interesting to see how the top teams in the land cope starting the season in such unusual circumstances.

Last season’s Champions Liverpool will start the defence of their title at home to newly promoted Leeds United, while the big game of the weekend sees Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham taking on Everton. It is worth remembering however that for Manchester City, Manchester United, Aston Villa and Burnley fans, the wait will continue with all four teams starting their campaign next week, due to United and City being given extra time to prepare for the season after playing in the recent Champions and Europa League tournaments a few weeks back.

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So with that in mind, let’s take a look at the season ahead, starting with the teams we expect to be in the battles at the top of the table, for the Champions League/Europa League and relegation battles, before we then take a quick look at the games that will get the season underway this weekend.

Premier League Preview

Battle for the Title

It seems inconceivable given their dominance of the last two seasons that Liverpool and Manchester City won’t be involved in the battle for the title this year. The current Champions Liverpool have kept largely the same squad in place for the third season in a row and they will be keen to add another title to the one they won last year.

City though have made a couple of big signings and despite losing Leroy Sane, I feel City are a stronger team this season and will certainly be much closer to Liverpool than they were this past season when they finished 18 points adrift of the Reds.

I also expect two other teams to be much more in contention this season, I think Manchester United showed at the end of last season that they were looking much more consistent and dangerous and I also think on the back of a heavy-spend in the transfer window, Chelsea with the likes of Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Ben Chilwell, should also be a much greater force next season.

For me though, the title is still a two horse race, although this season I think Manchester City (4/5) will be the team claiming the title, with Liverpool having to settle for second.

Champions League/Europa League Qualification

I have already said that I expect the top four to be Man City, Liverpool, Man Utd and then Chelsea so that would mean those four teams qualify for the Champions League. The race for the Europa League is more interesting though, I expect Arsenal to push on under Mikel Arteta and I would not be surprised to see them push Chelsea hard for fourth in the table. I expect Tottenham to claim another spot but the next spot could be more interesting.

Assuming that no smaller team wins a cup competition, I think a great outside punt for a Europa League place could be Everton, who have made a few astute signings this off season and who under Carlo Ancelotti, should be challenging at the top end of the table next season.

  • Champions League – Man City, Liverpool, Man Utd, Chelsea
  • Europa League – Arsenal, Tottenham, Everton

Relegation Battle

Who goes down from the Premier League is always a competitive market and the newly promoted teams always tend to be amongst the favourites for the drop. I do fear for West Brom as I think of the newly promoted sides, they are the one most likely to struggle. I also feel that Aston Villa were very fortunate to stay in the top flight last season and I think that they will struggle once again this season and could well go down.

My big pick here though is West Ham, a team that should be nowhere near the drop zone but with some worrying signs of dissent in the ranks between players and board over some transfer moves of late, a team that has struggled the past few years and a manager whose best time at Everton was many moons ago, I think this could be a very worrying season for the Hammers.

  • Relegated – West Brom (Evens), Aston Villa (7/4), West Ham (9/2)

Top Goalscorer

The top goalscorer gong has been won by the likes of Mo Salah, Harry Kane, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Jamie Vardy in recent seasons and it is hard to see that quartet not being involved this time around too.

I think you can add to that list Timo Werner of Chelsea and Raheem Sterling of Manchester City, while I think Sadio Mane of Liverpool will also be loking at scoring more goals. I would also expect the likes of Raul Jiminez, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Danny Ings and Sergio Aguero to be close to the top too.

My pick though is England man Harry Kane of Tottenham who is 11/2 to claim the award this season.

Matchday 1 Fixtures and Tips

With Manchester United and Manchester City involved in the Europa and Champions League until recently, both teams have been given extra time to prepare for the season. As such, both their matches this week (against Aston Villa and Burnley) have been postponed until a later date. All teams however will play next weekend on Matchday 2.

  • Fulham v Arsenal – Away Win (11/20)
  • Crystal Palace v Southampton – Away Win (29/20)
  • West Ham v Newcastle United – Draw (12/5)
  • Liverpool v Leeds United – Home Win (1/4)
  • West Brom v Leicester City – Away Win (19/20)
  • Tottenham v Everton – Home Win (4/5)
  • Brighton v Chelsea – Away Win (13/20)
  • Sheffield United v Wolverhampton Wanderers – Draw (11/5)

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*All odds shown were correct at time of writing with bet365 Sport on Monday 7th September at 12.35pm

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