The 2020/2021 Premier League season kicks-off this weekend just seven weeks after the previous campaign ended.
The new season is starting late than usual due to last season’s late finish as a result of the three months enforced coronavirus break. But despite the unprecedented situation, it was still a campaign full of thrills and drama.
It was Liverpool’s year finally as they won their first Premier League title and their first top-flight title in 30 years. The Reds dethroned former champions Manchester City, who finished in second place.
Manchester United and Chelsea rounded up the top four with both teams confirming their places on the last day of the campaign.
Tottenham and Arsenal both missed out while the trio of Watford, Norwich and Bournemouth suffered the disappointment of relegation.
Nonetheless, with the new season starting this Saturday, teams are focused on fresh objectives. But before the first ball is kicked, here’s Freshsports prediction for the new campaign.
Winners: Liverpool won the title by a whopping 99 points last season, 18 points ahead of City, and I am backing them to defend their title once again this season.
They’ve not been busy in the transfer market, bringing in just Kostas Tsimikas from Olympiacos for 11 million pounds.
However, they’ve kept the core squad of last season with only Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana the major departures.
Jose Mourinho once said, the best business a club could do in the transfer window is to keep their important players, and that’s what Liverpool has managed to do.
It won’t be a walk in the park like last season, but Liverpool are well equipped to defend their title successfully.
Rest Of The Top Four: This is where it gets trickier. About seven teams are in the running to make the top four, including Everton and Wolves.
City are definitely favourites to finish second and would also give Liverpool a proper challenge. The Citizens lost David Silva, but have brought in a replacement in Ferran Torres. Nathan Ake also arrived from Bournemouth, and he could help solve City’s defensive struggles which were exposed last season.
Chelsea are the biggest spenders in the transfer market so far, and I’ve tipped them to finish third. The Blues managed to finished fourth last season despite having a transfer ban.
Lampard has, however, signed the likes of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech, Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva as he tries to close the gap on Liverpool and City.
While the signings look good on paper, they will need time to settle in the team, which means this season may come too soon for them. However, I expect them to improve on last season fourth-place finish.
With Liverpool City and Chelsea making up the first three positions, it leaves other teams fighting for the last top-four spot.
Manchester United finished in the top four last season, but the Red Devils are likely to miss out this season. Tottenham Hotspur are my pick for the final top-four place.
Spurs finished sixth previous campaign, but their form in the last few games shows they are ready to push forward this season.
It is Jose Mourinho’s first full season as the club’s manager, and I expect him to work his magic. Spurs have not spent heavily like their rivals, but they have brought in Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Matt Doherty and Joe Hart-players with Premier League experience.
Manchester United and Arsenal round up my top six. United could still end up in the top four, but that depends on the Sancho deal. Arsenal have made some exciting signings, but they are still a long way from challenging the top sides.
Dark Horses: Everton, Wolves and Leicester are the sides that could change the status quo. Leicester City just missed out on the top four last season following a final day defeat to United.
Brendan Rodgers men could once again cause the topsides problems this season. Everton finished outside the top ten places last season, but Carlo Ancelotti has made three important signings ahead of his first full year with the Toffees.
James Rodriguez, Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure have been signed to help Everton challenge the big six. Wolves meanwhile have been the surprise package of the last two seasons, and with the signings that have come in, they could finish high up on the table.
Relegation: Fulham gained promotion by beating Brentford in the playoffs, but they could face an immediate return to the Championship. Brighton have managed to stay in the Premier League for consecutive seasons, but their luck could run out finally this campaign.
Meanwhile, Villa only secured their top-flight status on the final day of last season, but I don’t expect them to be that lucky this year.
Team To Watch Out For: Leeds United won the Championship last season and are back on the big stage for the first time since 2004.
Former Athletic Bilbao manager, Marcelo Bielsa is in charge, and it would be interesting to see how the man famously known as El-Loco performs with this Leeds team in the top-flight.