Premier League predictions: Who will finish where in 2022-23?
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Here we go again. Time to gaze into the crystal ball and predict the final outcome of the 2022-23 Premier League season. This annual act of folly was a qualified success last season, with the top three predicted in the correct order along with the relegation of Burnley and Watford. However, guarded optimism for Manchester United and pessimism for Brentford were wide of the mark. This season, forecasting those who will go down is a particularly hazardous occupation - as is this whole enterprise - but here goes. 1. Manchester City Last season - Champions Manchester City have been Premier League champions four of the past five seasons and I expect another straight fight with Liverpool to end with them on top again. The signing of Erling Haaland solves the one main flaw in a magnificent side, namely a tendency not to convert so many of the chances they create. He is proven high class and was one of the most coveted strikers in world football. England midfielder Kalvin Phillips is also an ideal replacement for Fernandinho, while Jack Grealish will be better for one full season under Pep Guardiola. Guardiola has said farewell to key components of their successes in Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko but City do not look any weaker than last season. 2. Liverpool Last season - 2nd A truly outstanding season last time out ended with them missing out on the title on the final day, losing the Champions League final to Real Madrid but winning the FA Cup and League Cup, both on penalties against Chelsea. Expect them to fight on all fronts again this term and challenge City all the way, securing at least one trophy. Sadio Mane is a very obvious loss but striker Darwin Nunez comes from Benfica with a huge reputation and has already shown what he will offer. Watch out for Fabio Carvalho making an impact - a serious talent at Fulham last season. Premier League: Who can challenge Man City & Liverpool in the title race? 3. Tottenham Last season - 4th I share the big expectations for Spurs this season because they are now in the hands of one of the world's great coaches in Antonio Conte who will give - and demand - a winning mentality this club has lacked. Conte has also convinced chairman Daniel Levy that deals are best done early so there has been some serious squad strengthening. Richarlison, at £60m from Everton, gives an already stellar attack another dimension and added depth while Yves Bissouma was outstanding for Brighton in midfield last season. Croatia international Ivan Perisic will bring experience, quality and versatility. Out on a limb here. Top four and a trophy for Spurs as long as they keep Mr Conte happy. 4. Chelsea Last season - 3rd It's never dull at Chelsea but a different type of turbulence played out this summer with a new owner in Todd Boehly and the hindrance of Barcelona seemingly intent on stealing big transfer targets away in the shape of Raphinha and Jules Kounde. Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has also expressed various levels of discontent but this is a club that seems to thrive on instability and aggravation once the season starts. Raheem Sterling's arrival from Manchester City shows the pulling power of Chelsea while Kalidou Koulibaly has long been touted as one of the game's finest defenders. He will be expected to fill part of the gap left by the departure of the influential Antonio Rudiger to Real Madrid. Expect more big names in, with Brighton's Marc Cucurella a target, and never back against Chelsea being in the shake-up and winning silverware. 5. Arsenal Last season - 5th Arsenal, and manager Mikel Arteta, were left frustrated at missing out on Champions League football at the final hurdle last season but there is a lot to like about their summer transfer business and there is likely to be more to come. I can see them challenging for the top four again with the signings of Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus - the rare instance of a deal being good for all parties and his team-mate Oleksandr Zinchenko adding not only quality but experience of what it takes to win under pressure. Fabio Vieira, a £34m signing from Porto, augments midfield strength. It's a big season for Arteta but he has the complete faith of the Arsenal board and they have looked a million dollars in preseason. He needs a top-four finish and to be challenging for trophies and I fancy Arsenal might just do that. I do not see them as title contenders, though. 6. Manchester United Last season - 6th A total horror show last season with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sacked and Ralf Rangnick having no impact whatsoever before the eventual appointment of Ajax coach Erik ten Hag. The whole club needs a reboot and anyone expecting miracles from Ten Hag needs to get real as he embarks on sorting out a fractured dressing room and serious lack of quality. Cristiano Ronaldo's desire to leave is casting a cloud over pre-season while Ten Hag is going with what he knows in signing defender Lisandro Martinez along with a seemingly endless Frenkie de Jong pursuit. Christian Eriksen will provide guile and quality in midfield after proving his return to health and form at Brentford. How will he dovetail with Bruno Fernandes? Ten Hag needs more potency in attack, and will also hope the likes of Harry Maguire and Marcus Rashford revive their form of old and that Jadon Sancho can show why he was valued at £73m. Top-four challenge and a cup are the best bet. Title contenders? No chance. 7. West Ham Last season - 7th West Ham had an excellent season under David Moyes last time out but might still regard failure to win the Europa League, or at least reach the final, as one of the great missed opportunities. The rejuvenated Moyes will want at least the same this time out with new faces in his squad and the outstanding Declan Rice still at the heart of all that West Ham do, along with Jarrod Bowen. Lots will hinge on how their new £30.5m signing from Sassuolo, striker Gianluca Scamacca, settles in the Premier League but he comes with glowing references and, rest assured, every incoming player will have been studied assiduously by Moyes to suit his needs. Can see another good season for the Hammers and a potential cup challenge. 8. Aston Villa Last season - 14th I'm expecting a big improvement from Villa this season with manager Steven Gerrard having had a pre-season to get his ideas across and new faces provided by an ambitious ownership. Villa helped Gerrard by getting their business done early and it looks good, with Philippe Coutinho signed permanently and the highly rated pair of defender Diego Carlos from Sevilla and free transfer from Marseille Boubacar Kamara adding real quality. They need to rid themselves of the inconsistency that so frustrated Gerrard last season but he will expect big things from Villa - and from himself. 9. Newcastle Last season - 11th Huge expectations on Tyneside after an excellent second half to the season under new manager Eddie Howe and the arrival of the club's controversial Saudi Arabian ownership. For all the fantasy talk of Hollywood signings, Newcastle's transfer business has been solid and sensible rather than spectacular, using common sense as opposed to spending for the sake of it, although if they succeed in prising James Maddison away from Leicester City this will be regarded as a serious statement. England keeper Nick Pope is an excellent addition while Sven Botman from Lille is regarded as a defender of great promise. The first phase laid the foundations to improve mentality and quality, with Kieran Trippier and Dan Burn bringing experience and Bruno Guimaraes that real 'X factor' class. Chris Wood struggled but Callum Wilson is always a threat, along with the unpredictable Alain Saint-Maximin - although Howe will need to bring in more firepower. I see a season of good consolidation, which should satisfy the Toon Army as this will be steady rebuilding rather than a cashcrazy quick fix. 10. Leicester Last season - 8th Strange one this as I rate Brendan Rodgers highly and there is so much talent in his squad but just a sense that momentum has been lost. It has been a dormant transfer summer so far, with more talk of outgoings around the likes of James Maddison, Youri Tielemans and Kasper Schmeichel than of incomings. If they went, it would knock a large hole in the Leicester dressing room and leave serious gaps to fill. Rodgers has reached a pivotal point in his reign after winning the FA Cup and twice missing out on Champions League football on the final day of the season. 11. Brighton Last season - 9th Graham Potter has done an outstanding job at Brighton and towards the end of last season got the big results their attractive football deserved, such as thrashing Manchester United at the Amex and winning away at Arsenal and Spurs in successive games. The days of living near the bottom of the Premier League look to be over under this highly rated manager. There's no reason to expect anything other than another very decent season, although Chelsea may yet sign talented Spanish left-back Marc Cucurella. This would be a blow to Brighton, in addition to the loss of Yves Bissouma to Spurs, but Potter is talented enough to find a way to recover. Brighton's flaw last season was not finishing off the many chances they created. The man they hope will solve this is Turkish striker Deniz Undav, who signed in January but then spent a loan spell at former parent club Royale Union Saint-Gilloise. He scored 27 goals in 41 appearances and was Belgian Professional Footballer Of The Year. Potter has also invested for the future with the signings of young strikers Julio Enciso from Libertad Asuncion in Paraguay and Ivorian Simon Adingra from Danish side FC Nordsjaelland. 12. Wolves Last season - 10th Wolves faded last season after looking so good for so long, manager Bruno Lage adopting a move progressive attacking style after succeeding Nuno Espirito Santo. Now firmly established in the Premier League, they will be looking to Hwang Hee-chan to build on his loan spell last season after completing a permanent move from RB Leipzig while Nathan Collins, a £20.5m signing from Burnley, will add to the defensive resources marshalled by captain Conor Coady. If Wolves can keep hold of the coveted Ruben Neves then no reason at all why they cannot have another decent season and perhaps have another crack at the top 10. The potential loss of striker Raul Jimenez for a lengthy period after he picked up an injury in pre-season may also have a serious impact on how they perform. 13. Crystal Palace Last season - 12th Patrick Vieira made a big impression as Selhurst Park in his first season as manager but will have to do without Conor Gallagher this term after his outstanding spell on loan from Chelsea. He will, though, have Cheick Doucoure, the Mali midfielder who Vieira was delighted to sign from Lens in a £21m deal. Sam Johnstone is a solid goalkeeping signing. It will be intriguing to see whether Vieira can get an improvement out of Palace but I certainly do not expect to see them struggling. 14. Everton Last season - 16th This is where the potential strugglers really start and any of the following could end up fighting a relegation battle. Everton had a horrible season last time out with the failure of the illstarred appointment of Rafael Benitez, followed by Frank Lampard, who achieved the aim of keeping the Toffees up. 15. Brentford Last season - 13th Brentford finished the season in a comfortable position, aided largely by the signing of Christian Eriksen, who halted a freefall and performed so impressively after suffering a cardiac arrest while playing for Denmark at Euro 2020 that he has been snapped up by Manchester United. Eriksen leaves a large void but manager Thomas Frank showed himself to be a shrewd operator and I fancy the Bees to stay up again, although they will need to make another good start. They must retain Ivan Toney up front while Ben Mee from Burnley will add defensive experience and Keane Lewis-Potter, signed from Hull City for £20m, had a host of Premier League admirers. The forward will be one to watch. Jesse Marsch and Tyler Adams Tyler Adams (right) is one of three new Leeds signings who have played under manager Jesse Marsch (left) at a previous club 16. Leeds Last season - 17th Leeds scraped to survival on the final day of last season and have subsequently lost two of their most influential players in Raphinha and homegrown hero Kalvin Phillips. This makes life tough for Jesse Marsch as he tries to rebuild on what he inherited from the iconic figure of Marcelo Bielsa. I think Leeds, rather like Everton, will survive based on the fanatical and unswerving support they receive at home. Elland Road must be their fortress - otherwise they could be in trouble. Marsch has gone with what he knows bringing in winger Brenden Aaronson from Red Bull Salzburg and RB Leipzig midfielder Tyler Adams, two Americans who have worked under him before. The same applies to defender Rasmus Kristensen, also signed from Salzburg.