Predicted! FourFourTwo’s 2019/20 Premier League table
Readers, beware: this is not necessarily the table that you’ll see in our sparkly Season Preview issue. While not much has changed, enough has since we went to print for us to make some more informed decisions about the season ahead.
But that still means little, of course – with so many huge questions to be answered, calling the 2019/20 Premier League table is no easy feat. But we’ve given it a crack anyway…
20. Sheffield United
They’ve rightly won a lot of admirers, but do they have enough quality? The Blades have broken their transfer record four times this summer, culminating in the £17.5m arrival of Swansea’s Oli McBurnie – one of four Championship arrivals.
Ravel Morrison is comfortably the most interesting of all, but nobody is quite sure what version of the midfielder we’ll get in 2019/20. Sheffield United have a fine manager to steer them in Chris Wilder, but even the experimental 51-year-old might find this a challenge too far.
New manager, new style, but familiar failings could spell a very long season. In fairness, Graham Potter looks like a fine choice of manager to replace Chris Hughton and has at least tried to breathe life into last season’s insipid side.
But how quickly can £18m Belgian Leandro Trossard adapt? Is centre-back Adam Webster good enough for the Premier League? And can Neal Maupay translate goals in the Championship to impact at a higher level? These are all big questions – and the jury’s out until the Seagulls can start answering them positively.
18. Crystal Palace
Palace must improve their woeful home form to steer clear of trouble, but this has not been a good summer for them. They kept hold of Wilfried Zaha in the end, but the talismanic local boy was furious with his club’s demands that ultimately meant he missed out on a move to Arsenal and Everton.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka was sold to Manchester United and not replaced. Incomings have been decidedly ‘meh’: Victor Camarasa is the pick of the bunch on loan, adding to the unspectacular arrivals of Jordan Ayew (permanently), James McCarthy and Gary Cahill. This could hurt.
The attacking riches at Daniel Farke’s disposal could be enough to sneak survival, but right now it’s difficult to judge the Canaries. Their squad certainly lacks Premier League experience, although that might not faze a well-organised team with some fine individual talents (namely Emiliano Buendia, Max Aarons and last season’s 29-goal Teemu Pukki).
Very much a wait-and-see job at this stage.
“What if Rafa goes?” fans asked – and now they’ll find out. Steve Bruce became the unpopular Chosen One to replace him by Mike Ashley, but business since then has been a little more promising.
Newcastle lost returning loanee Salomon Rondon and the Leicester-bound Ayoze Perez but have attempted to replace their combined 23 goals/nine assists from 2018/19 with club record striker Joelinton, Nice winger Allan Saint-Maximin and – yes! – hometown hero Andy Carroll. Throw in an acclimated Miguel Almiron, and maybe it’s not all bad?
15. Aston Villa
Replace Tammy Abraham’s goals from last season and survival is realistic, not least with Jack Grealish and John McGinn providing such quality in midfield. It remains to be seen whether Brazilian striker Wesley is that player – but with only Jonathan Kodija and Keinan Davis in reserve, he’ll need to be.
Eddie Howe will want progress, but another season of treading water awaits for the Cherries unless they can magically improve a defence that bettered only Fulham and Huddersfield’s last season.
Transfer business has followed a similar pattern: all five of their major arrivals (Harry Wilson on loan, plus Jack Stacey, Philip Billing, Lloyd Kelly and Arnaut Danjuma) are 23 or under and largely unknown quantities are this level. But it could be a lot of fun.
Expect improvements, shorn of last season’s European distractions. Finishing 15th was fairly welcome after a terrible start, and it seems more likely that the Clarets will improve rather than regress under Sean Dyche this term.
Re-signing Jay Rodriguez is arguably one of the deals of the summer, and a deadline-day loan for Chelsea’s Danny Drinkwater could be inspired if the central midfielder can rediscover anything like his Leicester form. A tall ask, maybe – but it shouldn’t define Burnley’s season.
It will be fascinating to see Ralph Hasenhuttl’s impact over a full Saints season. The south coast club looked far better under him than Mark Hughes last term, and they should improve on 2018/19’s dismal 16th-place finish.
Che Adams improves a blunt strike force, complementing Danny Ings (who joined permanently from Liverpool). Tying down Nathan Redmond to a new contract is also fine business, and they haven’t lost anyone they didn’t want to. In all, not much to dislike.
Much rests on how the Hornets start their season. The top half is a possibility, especially having kept key midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure and manager Javi Gracia (previously linked with Chelsea before Frank Lampard’s arrival).
They haven’t done all that much this window – late deals for Rennes’ Ismaila Sarr and freebie Danny Welbeck adding to their one for West Brom defender Craig Dawson – but then they needn’t have done.
NEXT: Into the top half we go...