It has been far too long since I've done predictions for anything. This is mostly because I've only been writing sporadically, but deep down it is also because I cringe looking back at so many of the things I've gotten all-so-horribly wrong. Nevertheless, here is something for fans of Premier League teams up and down the table to hold against me once these particular predictions go pear-shaped come December.
PREMIER LEAGUE CHAMPIONS- LIVERPOOL FC
It is combination of factors that have led me to this conclusion. Manchester City is back-to-back champions, but I think they will be putting all their eggs in the Champions League basket this season having failed so brutally the past few campaigns and a potential ban from the competition looming. Tottenham is the next most realistic challenger, but Spurs are going to need a year for their new additions to gel after nearly a year and a half of roster stagnation. And unless Chelsea or Arsenal go on a streak similar to those put forth by Liverpool and City at the end of last season, they won't challenge.
So barring catastrophic injuries and/or reverting back to past behavior (ex. losing to lower table teams, drawing against top six at home), the mighty Reds will lift the Premier League trophy for the first time in the Premier League era.
GOLDEN BOOT- ROBERTO FIRMINO, LIVERPOOL
Firmino's goal totals have fluctuated since his arrival on Merseyside in 2015. His Premier League high is 15, which last year would have put him in ninth place in the Golden Boot race. His career best in any league is the 16 he had for Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga in 2013-14. Hear me out though!
His run for Brazil during the Copa America showed that he is fully capable of being the attacking spearhead. Now I'm not saying Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are going to fall back in their production, but I feel we're going to get an uptick from Liverpool's #9. Creative midfield options like Adam Lallana and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are returning to full fitness, lessening the burden on Firmino to be the facilitator for Salah and Mane. He is rarely hurt for lengthy periods of time and isn't usually rotated out unless the schedule gets really congested. Currently at +3300 on Bovada, I may actually plunk down a couple of shekels on him to literally put my money where my mouth is on this one.
EUROPEAN PLACES- UCL (MANCHESTER CITY 2nd, TOTTENHAM 3rd, ARSENAL 4th)
UEL (CHELSEA 5th, EVERTON 6th)
I feel there is only one thing I need to explain for my choices of teams that will qualify for Europe this season. Picking Manchester City 2nd and Spurs 3rd should almost be no brainer picks. Arsenal and Chelsea could easily flip flop between 4th and 5th and it wouldn't surprise me, but I think Arsenal's overwhelming attack will cover up their defensive woes enough to put them over the top. That leaves 6th and why you aren't seeing the crest of the other Manchester club sitting there.
Yes, they were able to keep Paul Pogba at Old Trafford. But will the Frenchman be a broody child this year having seen several of his desired moves come to nothing this summer? Adding Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka vastly improve a porous defense, but if either of those two spend any time on the sidelines the depth is seriously lacking. These are all pessimistic outlooks at a really good roster, but what would you expect from a Liverpool fan? That is also why I am just going to say Everton is going to finish sixth without giving them any further praise. #PETTY
RELEGATION- NORWICH CITY, SHEFFIELD UNITED, SOUTHAMPTON
For Norwich, I feel their inability to keep goals out of the back of their net will be their undoing. They will play attractive football and excite home and away, but if there was ever a team that was going to challenge Swindon Town's putrid record from 1993-94 of 100 goals conceded, it may just be the Canaries.
The Blades aren't as defensively deficient as Norwich, but Sheffield United is going to be as hurting for goals as Huddersfield was last season. Billy Sharp, United's leading scorer, won't come close to double digits. Let's hope Sheffield Wednesday comes up next season to keep a great football city represented in the top flight.
Southampton, your time has come. After being in Europe just three short years ago, the mass sell-offs at St. Mary's will finally come back to bite the Saints in the ass. They narrowly escaped last season. Ralph Hasenhuttl's men won't have the same luck this year.
BOLD PREDICTION- PEP GUARDIOLA LEAVES MANCHESTER CITY AT SEASON'S END.
How do you think the 2019-2020 Premier League season will shake out? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @TREVORutley. Until the next EPL article, let's forget I ever said any of these things.
All pictures from Wikipedia.