What will the Premier League table look like at year’s end?

Fernandinho lifts the Premier League Trophy after Man City won the title. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Fernandinho lifts the Premier League Trophy after Man City won the title. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images) /
City wins EPL title with false nine
Manchester City captain Fernandinho lifts the Premier League Trophy after the Citizens won the title last season. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images) /

With the first match week of the new Premier League season in the books, it is worth discussing where everyone might fall on the league table by campaign’s end. The champs, Manchester City, took an unexpected loss to Tottenham to begin the new season, while second place Manchester United looked like absolute world-beaters between Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba.

Chelsea and Liverpool both won as well, while Arsenal got embarrassed by newly promoted London side Brentford. Everton appeared on shaky ground in the first half against Southampton, before a surge of goals, one each by Richarlison, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, turned the entire match on its head.

So many happenings to open up the year is brilliant, if not unexpected. This is why fans love their sport and their various clubs so much. With so much to play out, what might be the talking points when it’s all nearing the end?

Don’t be fooled: City will be contending all year

City got off to a rough start against Nuno and Tottenham, even without Harry Kane. Espirito Santo could be the coach Spurs didn’t know they needed after the Jose Mourinho era came to a screeching halt last season. If the Portuguese manager can get the most out of the talent available in north London, Spurs will be a candidate for biggest rebound this season, as the talent is certainly there.

City on the other hand, will be fine, as their own talent is undeniable, alongside the reputation of their boss. Their biggest threats are likely Chelsea, Liverpool and, of course, Derby partners United. With all three of those teams victorious after Week 1, City have points to make up early on. While they are capable, they cannot afford to fall too far behind those aforementioned teams.

Chelsea continues to drip with incredible talent; their reacquisition of Big Romelu Lukaku from Inter is a case of the rich getting richer, yet the rest of the team is absolutely loaded. Mason Mount, Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic, Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante are all top talents, with most being quite young; elder statesmen like Jorginho and Kante, in their early 30s, are still super strong players, and have grown to be able to play with one another where once it was an issue under former boss Maurizio Sarri.

They will be a difficult team to stop with the knowledge of Thomas Tuchel, but it is not as though they are miles ahead of the other top teams. Liverpool, returning previously injured players from their Champions League and Premier League championship seasons, will be a difficult team to top, too. Jurgen Klopp and the boys are on a mission, and it will take a lot of focus to stop them each week.

United too are on a mission. They wish to get a trophy, for themselves and for the club, as well as for the boss. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has proven himself, like Nuno Espirito Santo hopes to after him, to be the proper replacement for the Special One; he has yet to win a trophy as boss, yet not for lack of chances.

His team always seems to be close before flaming out; the Europa League is another, classic example. Other times, they’ve lost in the semifinals, drawing ridicule and ire too. Even last year, as previously occurred under Jose Mourinho, the club finished second behind City and were mocked for it. United are out to prove folks wrong, and while they’ll have their down weeks like everyone else, the talent is simply undeniable.

I see it coming down to those four teams for the Premier League title, and have previously chosen Chelsea to win it. With that said, I would not be surprised when the season comes to a close to discuss any of those other teams as victorious outfits. Could it be United’s year finally? Might Chelsea win the league after winning the UCL, like Liverpool just two years ago? Could the Red outfit on Merseyside make another proper run at it, or might, shockingly, another club find itself in the midst, and prove all of the prognosticators wrong?

Which EPL club might prove everyone wrong?

It would bring me great pleasure to say either Arsenal or Everton right here, yet that might be disingenuous. Arsenal has a lot of work to do after being worked over by Brentford, and Everton have to prove that, under new boss Rafa Benitez, they can sustain across an entire campaign what they showed at times last season.

Everton was running near the top of the league all season last year, yet last season was strange and this season more normal comparatively; it remains to be seen if the Toffees can play with the passion they showed against Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side on Saturday, they will be competing for a top five, six or seven finish themselves.

There are, of course, a number of teams that could be pushing and pressing the top teams, and Leicester City must be spoken of as one of them. They are a side that is always competing, always proving people wrong, and Brendon Rodgers continues to show he is a world class manager given the right situation and trust.

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The aforementioned Tottenham, with or without Harry Kane, is a threat as well. They underachieved massively last season, and were likely going to bounce back regardless of the manager; that they have a good boss with a point to prove himself will only add fuel to that collective fire.

Aston Villa will be a fun team to watch, and are perhaps the team that went for it hardest in the summer transfer window. While they recently sold Jack Grealish to holders Manchester City, they purchased Emi Buendia from Norwich City, Leon Bailey from Bayer Leverkusen, and Danny Ings from Southampton for a bit more than they got for Captain Jack. But they also signed Ashley Young on a free, and acquired Axel Tuanzebe from Manchester United on a loan.

The Lions will be a really fun team to watch and will shock teams when they are all in sync and in the proper form and condition; draws happen, and are not the worst way to start a new season. West Ham too, under David Moyes, will be a problem this season, even without the services of Jesse Lingard. Michail Antonio has proven to be a really dynamic force for the club, and Declan Rice continues to prove himself a really top, well rounded and versatile midfielder.

The Final Premier League Table

I have tipped Chelsea elsewhere, and so I will stick to that here. While they will be in a dogfight all season long, they have great talent, even without Hakim Ziyech for a spell, and coaching from the German Thomas Tuchel.

United will be in the hunt and might even snatch it from the Pensioners, yet if City are somehow able to purchase Harry Kane, then all bets are off and City must once again, be the prohibitive favorites.

With Chelsea first, City second, United third and Liverpool fourth, it’s easy to tab Leicester City as the fifth team, as I have also done elsewhere. Yet here, I will say that Aston Villa, not the Foxes, might prove themselves up for the chance to compete in Europe as well as the Premier League at a high level.

I have also said elsewhere, that Arsenal have the chance to be, by my estimation, anywhere from fifth to seventh, yet they must get their act together fast for that to be anything more than a daydream.

Everton will be in sixth this season, a marked improvement under Rafa compared to Carlo, and one that will be worth a European position. Tottenham will be in 7th, but will also likely win the inaugural Europa Conference League, the third tier European tournament this year.

From there, its a free-for-all, and while I’ve previously said that I thought that the likes of Norwich, Brentford and Watford will be relegated, I am reconsidering. Teams like Newcastle and Palace better watch out, for Leeds won’t be in the Premier League cellar all year.

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It will be a fun year in the Premier League, and one, I’m sure, worth remembering as they are each year.