- Hull City – As well as Crystal Palace, Hull weren’t among the main favourites to secure promotion to the Premier League last season. However due to a solid defence and a good understanding of the 3-5-2 system they employed throughout the season, they managed to go up on the final day. They’re a good solid team, however they lack a goalscorer which was proven by the fact that midfielder Robert Koren was their top scorer last season, with 9 league goals. They’ve signed Yannick Sagbo and Danny Graham to provide the fire-power they require and the signings of Maynor Figueroa and Tom Huddlestone should put them in good stead for the new season.
- Key Player – Robbie Brady, the tricky Irish winger chipped in with 13 league assists last term and a similar tally this season will be needed to give Hull any chance of survival.
- Prediction – 19th, promotion may have come too soon for Hull and I feel their lack of fire-power will leave them facing relegation straight back down to the Championship.
Liverpool – Liverpool’s inability to convert good performances into positive results was a big problem for them last season and left them well short of the top 4. With that being said, they improved greatly in the second half of the season with January signings Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge providing the spark they had been lacking for large parts of the season. With this and the new signings that have been brought in over the summer, their squad now has more depth and striker Iago Aspas’s movement will sure to be a nuisance for defences this coming season.
- Key Player – Philippe Coutinho, the classy Brazilian has the ability to unlock Premier League defences at will and he’ll be ready to pick up from where he left off last season.
- Prediction – 6th, a top 4 finish may be a tall order this season, however if they can begin to win games by the odd goal regularly they’ll be there or thereabouts.
Manchester City – Last seasons runners-up will be looking to regain the title they won back in 2012 and have not wasted any time in recruiting new players, spending £90 million on Stevan Jovetic, Fernandinho and former Sevilla pair Alvaro Negredo and Jesus Navas. The signing of Jesus Navas should give City an extra dimension as they were too predictable at times last season, with a tendency to force the ball through the middle of the park too often. They arguably had the strongest squad in the league last season and they’ve made more improvements than any of their title contenders this year, they’re certainly my favourites at this moment.
- Key Player – Vincent Kompany, a born leader. His world-class defensive abilities and leadership qualities makes the City skipper their most important player next season as they’ll need to be tight at the back again if they want to win the league.
- Prediction – 1st, the arrival of Manuel Pellegrini should bring back some of the team chemistry that was lacking last season. This element mixed with the quality of the squad should see them end the season with the Premier League title once again.
Manchester United – The departure of Sir Alex Ferguson will be sure to leave a huge hole at United and the pressure is on the new boss David Moyes to pick up from where he left off. It will be difficult for him though, with Wilfried Zaha being their only major signings to date, their squad may not be at the level required to win the league, despite winning at a canter last year. Keeping hold of Wayne Rooney will be key, as will signing a top quality central midfielder to play alongside Michael Carrick at the heart of the United midfield.
- Key Player – Robin Van Persie, the Dutch hit-man will again be crucial for United this season and will be looking to improve further on his 26 league goals from last year.
- Prediction – 3rd, with Chelsea and City having spent money already, I feel Moyes’ men will be left behind and fall just short.
Newcastle United – The arrival of Joe Kinnear has brought a lot of negativity back to the club, and that may lead to another tough season for the Magpies. They still have some good players in Yohan Cabaye and Moussa Sissoko but with time left in the window yet, they’ll be looking to keep hold of their best players and improve on last seasons disappointments. Their lack of transfer activity comes a surprise to me as I felt they needed to strengthen heavily again to avoid a repeat of last year. However the signing of Loic Remy does present them with a genuine goal threat and a direct rival to Papiss Cisse, which they lacked last season.
- Key Player – Yohan Cabaye, the creative French midfielder will be looking to stay clear of injuries this year and spearhead Newcastle into a top half finish. If he’s at his best, they should have a relatively stress-free season.
- Prediction – 12th, off-field distractions will ensure another tricky season, however they still have some very good players in their ranks and if they don’t let the off-field antics get to them, they could find themselves in the top of the league.
Norwich City – They may have finished 11th last term, however it was far from comfortable for the Canaries and they only managed to secure their Premier League status in the closing weeks of the season. They have addressed the lack of goals from last season and bought in Ricky Van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper who were linked with bigger clubs over the summer, which is sure to make a difference and they may be looking ahead instead of over their shoulders. The signing of Leroy Fer from FC Twente is somewhat of a coup as he looked to be heading to Everton for double the price in January, if it had not been for a failed medical. Young England winger Nathan Redmond has also been signed to inject some well needed flair into the Norwich team to propel them up the league table.
Key Player – Sebastien Bassong, the team captain will be looking to emulate his good form from last season and help guide Norwich to another good league finish
Prediction – 9th, I see this Norwich side as a dark-horse for this season given the good business they’ve done so far in the window. They have addressed the lack of goals and brought in players to bolster the squad and make them a more solid outfit.