fanatix runs down our predicted Premier League 2013/14 table…
Jose Mourinho wins titles. Fact. Apart from in Spain where he came up against arguably the best club side in history in Barcelona, he has been dominant in every league he’s managed. Expect to see near perfect home form, and gritty away victories.
2) Manchester City
Manuel Pellegrini has spent big bucks this summer – but there’s an argument to say Stevan Jovetic and Alvaro Negredo are actually weaker than the now departed Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli. Expect Pellegrini to have a good first year in charge – but just to come up short.
3) Manchester United
They would be Premier League favourites if Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge, but new boss David Moyes has never won anything – and United have endured a frustrating pre-season. Very poor friendly performances and the failure to improve the squad means we expect United to finish outside the top two.
The Gunners always finish in the top four – and we expect them to do so again. The three teams ahead of them have better squads though, and it looks unlikely that Arsenal will secure the world-class striker they desire.
Brendan Rodgers arguably has Liverpool playing the best football in the league – but all too often they concede goals when dominating matches. Haven’t made any truly outstanding signings, but will improve from last season. Is Suarez stays and has another brilliant season -the Reds could break the top four.
6) Tottenham Hotspurs
This is purely because we think Gareth Bale will no longer be at White Harte Lane. Regardless of the money they get for the Welshman, his ability to win matches on his own will be irreplaceable. On top of this, teams will hike prices for Spurs targets, meaning they will struggle to find any value for money replacements.
7) Swansea City
So impressive under Michael Laudrup last term, the smooth passing Welsh side have invested heavily, snapping up record signing Wilfried Bony for £12m. With the Ivorian feeding off the service of Michu and Pablo, Swansea will continue to improve.
8) West Ham
Sam Allardyce has a recipe for Premier League success. It’s not pretty, but at Upton Park, the Hammers will pick up a a lot of points this term – especially with a fit Andy Carroll up top.
Roberto Martinez will install a new brand of football to Everton, and players like Marouane Fellaini, Steven Pienaar and Kevin Mirallas should enjoy it. Snapped up wonderkid Gerard Deulofeu on loan, but will struggle to reach the lofty heights of 5th place David Moyes used to manage.
Have bought very well this summer, acquiring Victor Wanyama and Dejan Lovren for sizeable fees. Pocchettino has done brilliantly this taking over from Nigel Atkins, and we reckon his Saints side will scrape into the top 10.
Surely Newcastle can’t struggle as much as they did last season? On paper, they’re more than good enough to make top 10, but a lack of squad depth, and the ‘Joe Kinnear’ effect (or lack of it) will see Newcastle struggle to amount any kind of serious challenge on a Europa League spot.
12) Aston Villa
The Villans have won of the best strikers in the league in Christian Benteke, who has signed a new long term deal at the club. The young players are one season older now, and we think Paul Lambert will have a far more solid year in charge than last.
Have a new lease of life under Paulo Di Canio, and have already brought in nine new players for the new season, including Italian international Emanuel Giaccherini. Should finish solidly in mid-table.
14) Norwich City
Have better striking options than most teams in the league now with Gary Hooper and Ricky Van Wolfswinkel up top. This, along with some strong home form will see the Canaries easily avoid relegation.
Good at home – pretty awful away from it. With players like Dimitar Berbatov and Bryan Ruiz in the final third, Fulham will win enough matches to see them safe – but we don’t think they’ll do much else.
16) West Brom
Massively overachieved last term under Steve Clarke, and tailed off as expected in the second half of the season. We don’t think they’ll be able to do it again – and have spent no money at all this summer (although have acquired Anelka and Lugano on free transfers.)
17) Cardiff City
The only promoted side we reckon will avoid relegation – Cardiff will only do it by the skin of their teeth. Will need record £8.5m signing Andreas Cornelius to score goals from the very off though.
18) Stoke City
Here’s our surprise relegation choice – Mark Hughes’ Stoke City. The side have stayed in the Premier League for five years playing a distinct brand of football, which fans eventually grew tired of. They don’t have the players to do anything else though, and we expect Hughes to struggle like he did at QPR and Fulham.
19) Crystal Palace
Ian Holloway was relegated when in charge of Blackpool, and unfortunately we don’t expect anything else this term. Have lost their best player Wilfried Zaha to Manchester United, and have not reinvested the money in proven Premier League quality.
20) Hull City
After finishing 2nd in the Championship last term, we expect Steve Bruce’s side to really struggle in The Premier league. Have few players of any real class, and their grit and determination will see them pick up some points at home – but nowhere near enough to see them avoiding relegation.