Even though most of the players are only starting their summer rest (thanks UEFA Nations League!), it’s never too early to start making wild and fantastical predictions about the upcoming Premier League season! The battle for the top four came down to the final matchday during the 2021/22 season, and there’s very little to suggest that the upcoming campaign will be extremely different. With a few months left for clubs to conduct business and add players, there’s plenty that could change…but that’s half the fun! We will now stake our entire non-existent reputation on these predictions! On we go!

4th Place

With Tottenham taking full advantage of Arsenal slip-ups this last season, these two teams still feel the most likely to be battling for fourth when May rolls around again. While the grouping of West Ham, Leicester, and Wolverhampton will once again be hoping to sneak into the Champions League, it would definitely take a failure from the mainstays of the top six for any of these clubs to sneak through (we also won’t mention Newcastle this season…although they will definitely be an issue when the money starts getting spent…and spent…and spent…and spent).

The most notable omission to this discussion is obviously Manchester United – even though United feels unlikely to stop building towards returning to their former glory any time soon, this upcoming season (adding in those Europa League matches on Thursday nights) feels like a rebuilding year…unless they suddenly fix the massive issues across the pitch over the next two months.

As we said earlier, the battle of the London clubs is what will determine the fourth place in the upcoming season. Arteta’s Gunners and a continued improvement would have been an easy prediction one month before last season ended. However, after gifting Tottenham Champions League entry, there hasn’t been enough activity this summer to make us think that Arsenal can finally take that last step…in fact, Arsenal has to find a way to recoup about ten goals and ten assists that Aubameyang and Lacazette (Auba left for Barca in January and Lacazette went back to France in May)…a step too far for the red side of London.

This leaves Tottenham sneaking into fourth place and spoiling the top four race for the second year in a row. Tottenham will still have Atonio Conte at the helm, which might be the most convincing piece that Spurs will find their way to the promised land again. If they can find a way to avoid having almost as many losses as the three teams above them had combined (which totally happened last season) then they might even find a way to challenge the top three. Cleaning up the defense and managing to hold leads is not as easy to fix as simply recognizing the problem, but a few impressive forays into the transfer market and the return of an always potent attack bodes well for Tottenham.

3rd Place

While United fans might argue for it, Arsenal fans might dream for it, and Tottenham might stumble into it, the third-place spot still feels likely to land with the blues of Chelsea. It also seems more likely that Chelsea will actually improve on their points total from last season. Timo Werner feels unlikely to continue his dip in form that saw him only provide four goals during the entirety of the last campaign, and, if the increasingly likely departure of Lukaku goes through, Chelsea will also be looking to add strength to their attack.

In midfield, Mason Mount continues to improve with every passing season and Kai Havertz will only improve as he continues adjusting to EPL life. Considering these two players represented Chelsea’s top two scorers, then defenses should certainly be wary of the blues whenever Chelsea is on the opposite side on matchday.

The biggest question mark for Chelsea comes in defense and the backline. The two starting center-backs for last year’s Chelsea are either leaving (Antonio Rudiger – Real Madrid) or continuing to head towards the wrong side of 30 (Thiago Silva – turning 38 in September). It feels likely that Chelsea could splash some cash for a replacement for Rudiger before the season starts, but Silva keeps continuing to win the battle against father time…perhaps he can continue being an exemplary defender deep into his 30s.

2nd Place

While many will be hoping for a change or for something new at the top of the Premier League table, summer transfers combined with last year’s form has us thinking that the top two will remain unchanged. The only thing that might change is the amount of space between the top two of Liverpool and Manchester City. Although Liverpool was able to push City to their limit and has added some new firepower, Pep Guardiola and his sky blue charges will take every nervous moment from the last few match days and avoid letting anyone get close enough to stop them from taking the top spot.

This leaves Liverpool finding themselves as the bridesmaid once again but showcasing a squad that is built for this type of success for many years to come. The arrival of Darwin Nunez, a more prominent role for Luis Diaz to cover for the departing Sadio Mane, and considering Jurgen Klopp definitely has a better grasp of his best midfield…Liverpool will be hoping to take the recent sting of loss and try and add more silverware during the next campaign.

While a season with a League Cup and FA Cup would be a major success for most, the motivation from a last-second EPL disappointment and another Champions League Final loss to Real Madrid could see Liverpool turn their gaze to tournament success and decide to try (keyword: try) and wait out this current Manchester City behemoth. Liverpool’s biggest issues are relatively unchanged: aging players (Van Dijk, Matip, Henderson, Salah, Firmino, and James Milner are all on the wrong side of 30), frequent injuries, and more and more teams forcing Liverpool to be extremely creative instead of letting the attackers attack at pace. It’s not what Liverpool will want, but it’s still an era of Liverpool that makes the hard times of 2009-2015 feel like ancient history…it would be a shock for anyone to pip City at the top, but almost as big a shock if Liverpool finishes the season without some type of trophy.

1st Place – Champion

It had to be City…right? Easily the deepest squad in the Premier League and the addition of one of the world’s most dangerous strikers means Pep’s club will be the early, easy, and runaway favorite for the upcoming Premier League season. Perhaps the only possible slip-ups for Manchester City and their hunt for another title could be their focus on a Champions League title, a few of their players breaking the 30 mark in their ages, and the always-present worry of injury. Outside of that, this feels like a super sure bet.

The biggest transfer of the summer has to be the arrival of Haaland and the answer to the only question that seemed to plague Guardiola last season. The ex-Dortmund striker has proven that he is as prolific in front of goal in the Bundesliga as he is during international competition, which means his transition to the style of play and pace within the British game should be either minuscule or non-existent. Considering City was a goal away from scoring 100 goals last season, it seems like another easy bet to think this squad could easily cause more keeper headaches than they did only a few months ago.

Instead of too much worry about losing the league, City does make us wonder whether Phil Foden will continue his impressive growth into a world-class player (he might already be world-class to most), what role Grealish plays as this group moves forward, and which players are deemed surplus to requirements as Pep prepares this squad for his eventual departure. This is still City’s world and everyone else is just trying to find a seat at the table.