Action Replay’s Predictions For Every Premier League Team

Welcome fellow footy fans. This season looks to be an interesting and engaging one. New season brings new challenges and new questions for the football fanatic. Can Chelsea retain? Can United return to the top table once more? Will the (formerly) most boring team in the world finally fulfill their destiny and become Stokelona? Fear not friends for I am here to guide you through every team in this years Premier League. I will be pointing at each team’s strengths and weaknesses to help you get pumped up for nine months on nonstop action of dizzying highs and troubling lows. Football is back, Hallelujah Hallelujah!

Predicted Finish:
Top Signing:
Petr Cech
One To Watch:
Theo Walcott

Great, a nice easy one to start off with. “The Professor” Arsene Wenger has once again kept his transfer strategy to a minimum. It currently stands at one in and ten out. However for the first season in too long, this may be a good thing for Arsenal. They haven’t lost any players of real quality and the team looks far more settled than usual. The only signing they’ve made is the superb capture of goalkeeper Petr Cech from Chelsea, potentially a massive acquisition for the Gunners. A keeper that strong will encourage what can be a shaky defense and consolidate them. We all know of Arsenal’s brilliance on the ball with goals coming from everywhere. But for me, one of the best thing’s they’ve done all summer was getting Theo Walcott back. Poor Theo has had an awful time with injuries but I think this is the year he proves himself. Really push for the title this year but just won’t have enough.

Aston Villa
Predicted Finish:
Top Signing:
Jordan Ayew
One To Watch:
Rudy Gestede

This year is set to be Tim “Timmy Tactics” Sherwood’s first full year in charge as a Premier League manager. The real question is whether he’ll get a whole year out of this Aston Villa side. A lot of players have left this setup not least Christian Benteke who has decided he can do no more to keep Villa from sliding into nothingness. They have bought some as of yet unproven players with Jordan Ayew the pick of the bunch. The 23-year-old Ghanaian comes from good stock as his brother has also joined the league this year with Swansea. Look out for former Blackburn hitman Rudi Gestede to bang in a few goals in what will be not a terrible season, but hopefully one that will stop the rot at Villa.

Predicted Finish:
Top Signing:
Christian Atsu
One To Watch:
Harry Arter

The Championship winners usually come up with something to prove. While it was only a one point win for Bournemouth last year, there’s few would argue they weren’t the best side last year. They come up with Norwich and Watford as the most inexperienced side of the three. However, a quick look through the squad and you start to see familiar names such as Dan Gosling and Junior Stanislas which will provide the team with some league experience. While Christian Atsu only arrives on loan from Chelsea, it could prove to be one of the best signings of the summer. A real goal threat who could prove to be the spark they need to stay up. Irishman Harry Arter bagged himself 9 goals last year and looks to be an up and coming star. Watch him O’Neill please. Can’t see them staying up unfortunately but will certainly provide some entertaining games.

Predicted Finish:
Top Signing:
Radamel Falcao
One To Watch:
Kurt Zouma

The reigning champs have had a very quiet summer which will no doubt be part of Jose Mourinho’s plans. They were by far and away the best the Premier League had to offer and really have no areas that need strengthening. The signing of Radamel Falcao seems as if Mourinho is looking to mock his peers by showing he can make him a great player again. If Falcao’s in the mood, then defenses beware as he’ll get the best service in the league from Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas. Kurt Zouma isn’t a new name but is certainly one for the future. His size and power combine to make him a player no forward would want to face. The real test for Chelsea this year is mentally can they repeat their dominance of last year. A poor preseason perhaps showing that teams are catching on to Chelsea’s style but bar any major injuries to key players like John Terry or Diego Costa, the title will return to Stamford Bridge.

Crystal Palace
Predicted Finish:
Top Signing:
Yohan Cabaye
One To Watch:
Yannick Bolasie

Some brilliant transfer dealings by Alan Pardew should be rewarded this season. Don’t be fooled by Yohan Cabaye’s apparent failure at Paris St. Germain, he’s a quality player who’s big move probably came a year too early. To think of the flair that he’ll bring to the midfield alongside Yannick Bolasie, Jason Puncheon and newcomer Bakary Sako will surely bring smiles to all the Palace fans. Crystal Palace are probably the most improved team of the last few years and I don’t feel they need to worry about relegation any more. They are set to become a solid mid-table side who can cause quiet a few upsets. Don’t be surprised to see them going on a great cup run this year either given the strength of their squad.

Predicted Finish:
Top Signing:
Gerard Deulofeu
One To Watch:
Romelu Lukaku

Everton’s poor performance last season was a shock to many as a team that plays some brilliant forward play and a manager like Roberto Martinez should have been the perfect fit. It’s hard to see them floundering the same way next year. Martinez’s system will have been set now and they should be looking forward to a new season and a fresh start. Toffee fans will know all about Gerard Deulofeu from his previous stint at the club. Getting him on a permanent deal is a great move as he should slot into the team without any problems. My One To Watch was going to be John Stones but with Chelsea looming, it only seems like a matter of time that England’s most promising young defender jumps ship. Therefore I am personally looking forward to Romelu Lukaku’s return to form. He had an uncharacteristically bad year last year but he now has a chip on his shoulder and will bang in the goals. Everton to just sneak into Europe.

Predicted Finish:
Top Signing:
Christian Fuchs
One To Watch:
Jamie Vardy

The surprise sacking of Nigel Pearson wasn’t actually all that surprising given the circumstances. Yes he led them on a brilliant run to finish the season but his controversial nature and bullish behaviour had just become to much for the club to handle. With someone with the quality and experience of Claudio Ranieri available, I think the club were right to give Pearson the boot. Whether the players think it’s a good idea or not could play a crucial part in their season. Ranieri may need time to get the team to gel and the lack of quality signings might worry some fans. Christian Fuchs might not be the ideal replacement for Esteban Cambiasso but he’ll play a key role. Look for Vardy to build on his England cap and become a force up top. Won’t go down but that’s as good as it gets for the Foxes.

Predicted Finish:
Top Signing:
Roberto Firmino
One To Watch:
Jordan Ibe

This is the big one for Brendan Rogers. Start well and become a hero. Floundering by Christmas and he’ll be out on his ass. He desperately needs this year to be a good year and with Raheem Sterling and Steven Gerrard gone, it hasn’t started brilliantly. While my 5th place prediction might disappoint some Liverpool fans, it’s still a place up from last year and therefore is progress. There won’t be any time to wonder if Benteke or James Milner are good players and they’ll need to hit the ground running. Roberto Firmino should link nicely with Coutinho and hopefully bring a creative spark missing with Sterling’s departure. Those in the know around the club suggest that Jordan Ibe could play a more starring role in this year’s lineup which I’ll be looking forward to seeing. No Champions League yet for the Reds but patience is a virtue that is well rewarded.

Man City
Predicted Finish:
Top Signing:
Raheem Sterling
One To Watch:
Fabian Delph

Man City have really disappointed me in the off season. They haven’t strengthened in key areas and have let some of their resourceful players go. A new marquee defender should have been the first thing on the shopping list and yet they buy another winger. Raheem Sterling on his day is unplayable, but he’s not a player that City need, a player that’s going to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and bring the team forward. At times David Silva, Vincent Kompany and others looked tired last year and Sergio Aguero is far too injury prone to rely on. The team needs a spark and they haven’t got it as far as I can see. Fabian Delph will look to silence the boo boys and he might just be the defensive midfielder that they’ve been looking for. City are still a team with quality but only 4th from me.

Man Utd
Predicted Finish: 3rd
Top Signing:
Memphis Depay
One To Watch:
Morgan Schneidelin

Similar to Rogers, this is a put up or shut up season for Louis Van Gaal. He’s spent his money now and can’t blame David Moyes any more. This is his team now and they need to start getting results. The deadwood are gone and it’s time to see what Van Gaal’s Man United can do. Memphis Depay has everyone’s tongues wagging and if his preseason is anything to go by, he might just blow the league away. Like City, no strengthening in central defense will have to frighten some fans and with the possibility of Daley Blind going back there, it’s more important than ever to keep David de Gea. Morgan Schneiderlin is a fine player and this is a good move for him. Expect him to push Michael Carrick and Bastian Schweinsteiger for their places in midfield. An improved season in which I think they’ll challenge for a while before defensive frailties drag them back.

Predicted Finish: 14th
Top Signing:
Georginio Wjinaldum
One To Watch:
Remy Cabella

At times last year, Newcastle were dreadful to watch and even worse to read about. The team could have it’s own soap opera with the amount of drama it creates at this stage. But Ashley’s still in charge and he’s brought in Steve McClaren to run the ship for him. While on paper this might seem like a good move, it smells of desperation on both sides. McClaren looked to be going somewhere with Derby before they petered out. Expect the same thing with Newcastle. Might start well but simply don’t have the squad to go anywhere but mid-table. Georginio Wjinaldum not only comes with a hard to spell name but a reputation as well. He should do well even if Moussa Sissoko goes. Remy Cabella showed signs of class last year and should put on a show for the St James’/Sports Direct faithful. Can’t be as awful as last year. Go on a bit of a run and they could do pretty well.

Predicted Finish: 17th
Top Signing:
Robbie Brady
One To Watch:
Wes Houlahan

Norwich are back and this time they look to be better than ever. Some nice signings in the window of experienced players should help them along nicely. Manager Alex Neil is well liked by the fans and has the know-how to win games. However, goals still look to be a problem for this side. It was the reason they went down in 2014 and I think they need to make sure that history doesn’t repeat itself. On paper players like Gary Hooper and Cameron Jerome should get them through. Whether this happens or not is in their own hands. Robbie Brady’s move means that he escapes the toxic to football Hull City and should bring a little magic to the Canaries. Wes Houlahan has a lot of admirers over this side of the pond and needs to prove his worth in what could be his last stand in terms of national team involvement. Goals win games and Norwich will just win enough to stay around until next season.

Predicted Finish: 9th
Top Signing:
Cedric Soares
One To Watch:
Dusan Tadic

Southampton were last season’s surprise package and went on an amazing run at the start of the season. They deflated and fell away as the campaign went on but certainly have a lot to be proud of. Once again, they have been raided with Nathaniel Clyne and Morgan Schneiderlin leaving for new pastures but there’s nothing to say that they won’t start well again this year. Ronald Koeman has picked two fine replacements in Cedric Soares and Jordie Clasie who should slot in just fine. Dusan Tadic is a player with real quality and needs to show it again this year if he’s to be the main creative force. I’m also looking forward to seeing Jay Rodriguez back after injury. A quality player who could force himself into the England setup. Same again for the Saints and they’ll be happy enough.

Predicted Finish: 8th
Top Signing:
Ibrahim Afellay
One To Watch:
Jack Butland

Once the laughing stock of the Premier League, Stoke are now holding their own against some of the best sides in the league. Gone is the old “hoof it and hope” style with Stoke now looking like a team who can rattle in a few goals. Last year’s demolishing of Liverpool 6-1 proved that. Mark Hughes has also been shopping smartly with his agent in Barcelona working overtime. One of the perks of this is Ibrahim Afellay which is a dream signing. Watch him link up with Bojan and you’ll think you’re eating paella on a sunny beach. Asmir Begovic’s move to sit on Chelsea’s bench means that we’ll finally get to see the highly rated Jack Butland between the sticks for the Potters. 8th is only a step up from last year but it should encourage them to dream big.

Predicted Finish: 20th
Top Signing:
Younes Kaboul
One To Watch:
Emanuele Giaccherini

Sunderland escaped by the skin of their teeth last season and it’s a worrying trend for fans. The fact that most of their signings this season have been defenders is not surprising. Like bitter rivals Newcastle, they were playing boring football and were rightly punished for it. Even with the unpredictable nature of the Premier League, there’s not many fixtures that you’d fancy Sunderland to win. Younes Kaboul was a decent defender for Spurs and should lead the defense. Emanuele Giaccerini once played for Champions League finalists Juventus and must be cursing his decision making. Sebastian Larsson and himself will be playing to impress other clubs. The Law of Averages will work against Sunderland this season and they’ll go down.

Predicted Finish: 11th
Top Signing:
Andre Ayew
One To Watch:
Jonjo Shelvey

Gary Monk has proven himself to be a bit of a tactician when it comes to the big sides. Swansea have been quietly improving year on year and I expect them to do the same in 2015/16. A hardworking, honest team who can be deadly on the counter attack. Andre Ayew, like his brother, makes his debut in the Premier League and looks to be a decent forward who’ll get Swansea the goals they need. Ashley Williams is one of the most underrated defenders in the league in my opinion and it’s either undying loyalty to the club or sheer ignorance from the big teams that explains why he’s still there. Let’s be positive and say it’s the former. Jonjo Shelvey has a rocket of a right boot on him and an eye for a pass. If he keeps the head he could bag himself and his teammates a lot of goals. Only 11th but they might take a scalp or two.

Tottenham Hotpurs
Predicted Finish: 6th
Top Signing: Toby Alderweireld
One To Watch: Keiran Trippier

Spurs are a hard team to predict. If they want to, they could nearly beat anyone. If they don’t feel like it, they won’t. Mauricio Pochettino has started as he means to go on by getting rid of the players that aren’t suited to the system. He reportedly has them training hard with limited game time in preseason. Whether this tactic will work or not, only time will tell. Two good signings in defense in Toby Alderweireld and Keiran Trippier are good to see. The former being a solid defender who can start attacks while the latter was far too good to stick around at Burnley and can provide a killer cross. The only problem being is that Spurs will need last seasons standouts, Harry Kane and Hugo Loris, to have barnstormers again. I’m banking on them doing it and they’ll make the Europa.

Predicted Finish: 19th
Top Signing:
Matej Vydra
One To Watch:
Troy Deeney

Watford have an unenviable position of being “that club”. By this I mean, they are probably too good for the Championship but just not good enough for the Premier League. So begins a cycle of promotions and relegations that can leave a club going nowhere. New manager Enrique Sanchez Flores will have a job on his hands to prove this is not the case. Just pipped to the Championship title, they’ve made a few signings to help boost the quality of the team. The eye catching one is the capture of Matej Vydra permanently. He’s proven himself to the Watford fans and should link up well. Troy Deeney will be the main goal threat in the vain of a Charlie Austin or Danny Ings before him. The problem being is that both those teams (QPR and Burnley) went down last year. A similar fate awaits the Hornets.

West Brom
Predicted Finish: 16th
Top Signing:
Rickie Lambert
One To Watch:
Saido Berahino

Tony Pulis is a great manager. That’s why it disappoints me that he’s still at West Brom. For the past few years I’ve envisioned him as a Spurs manager or even a West Ham man. However, he seems happy enough to keep the Baggies up. A team that isn’t bad but lacks a quality that is needed to succeed beyond not being relegated status. Their squad is small in size but no doubt Pulis will get the best out of the players available. Rickie Lambert’s dream (and everyone else’s nightmare) at Liverpool is over and he’ll be looking to prove to everyone that he’s still a good Premier League striker. Not letting Berahino go is almost as good as a signing for West Brom but there’s still time for him to be distracted by offers. An okay finish for an okay team.

West Ham
Predicted Finish: 12th
Top Signing:
Dimitri Payet
One To Watch: Diafra Sakho

I don’t know about you but for me, West Ham are the most frustrating team on the planet. They seem determined to let sentiment and their heart rule the club. The Premier League doesn’t allow for such nonsense and it’s causing the Hammers to shoot themselves in the foot. The sacking of Sam Allardyce says it all really. Here they have a top manager, who’s guaranteed to get them results but they throw him out. A new man in Slaven Bilic comes in with a fairly decent record but simply because he’s “one of the lads from back in the day”. Former players as managers can but don’t always work. For every Kenny Dagleish part one there’s a Kenny Dagliesh part two or even worse, an Alan Shearer. Dimitri Payet might not be a household name but I bought him in FIFA once and he was decent. Diafra Sakho and Enner Valencia might need to have super seasons if West Ham are to get the results they need. Instead of being a team that’ll challenge for Europe like they should be, they’ll be forgotten about in mid-table.

End of Year Table

1- Chelsea
2- Arsenal
3- Man Utd
4- Man City
5- Liverpool
6- Tottenham Hotspur
7- Everton
8- Stoke
9- Southampton
10- Crystal Palace
11- Swansea
12- West Ham
13- Aston Villa
14- Newcastle
15- Leicester
16- West Brom
17- Norwich
18- Bournemouth
19- Watford
20- Sunderland

And there you have it. All 20 teams present and accounted for. It’s shaping up to be a fine season with many twists and turns to come. If you have any comments, praise or criticisms you’re more than welcome to let your thoughts be heard in the comment box below. If you want to hear more, tune in to Action Replay every Monday and Thursday at 6pm on DCUfm for previews, reviews and all the latest news from the Premier League. Keep following this blog throughout the year for more views and opinions from Ireland’s best student’s sports section.