Michael Owen has predicted where the big-six will finish in the Premier League next season – and is backing Manchester City to win a third successive title. Pep Guardiola’s City edged out Liverpool by two points to win the Premier League again last season and will go for a hat-trick of titles when the new campaign begins on August 9.
Chelsea finished third last term under former manager Maurizio Sarri, with Tottenham claiming the final Champions League position in fourth. Arsenal narrowly missed out on a top-four spot to finish fifth, while Manchester United dropped to sixth during a dismal campaign. Former England striker Owen expects the Premier League to play out in a similar fashion this season and has predicted the final table for BetVictor.
1. Manchester City ‘City will miss the presence around the dressing room of skipper Vincent Kompany this season, but they remain the team to beat although they picked up a meagre 98 points last season compared to their century in the previous campaign! ‘Kevin de Bruyne missed long periods through injury last season and his return to full fitness allied to the acquisition of club record signing, Spanish holding midfielder, Rodri makes the City midfield better than ever. ‘It is a big season for John Stones who has the opportunity to cement his place at the heart of the defence alongside Aymeric Laporte. ‘That said I wouldn’t rule out Guardiola making a move between now and the end of the window for another central defender.’
2. Liverpool ‘Champions League winners Liverpool look set to again be the main challengers to City as they continue their search for a, hitherto, elusive PL title. ‘The Reds played their part in a magnificent title race last season and they are sure to have their supporters as they bid to go one better, but I just favour City in what looks a virtual match between these two great sides.’
3. Spurs ‘Another side who have broken their transfer window this season with 22-year-old midfielder Tanguy Ndombele arriving in north London for £54m from Lyon. ‘Victor Wanyama and Eric Dier struggled for form and fitness last season and the young Frenchman will bring pace and power to Mauricio Pochettino’s engine room. ‘At the time of writing it does look as if both Toby Alderweireld and Christian Eriksen will stay at the club this season although both players are out of contract next summer.’
4. Chelsea ‘Despite their current transfer embargo Chelsea can finish the campaign in the final Champions League spot under new boss Frank Lampard. ‘The Blues do have new £64m signing American international Christian Pulisic in their squad but begin life without Eden Hazard. ‘Lampard looks likely to give his young guns Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount the opportunity to show they are ready for the fight ahead and it will be interesting to see the Blues starting XI for their opening game at Old Trafford.’
5. Manchester United ‘United will be desperate to add at least a couple of new big-name signings to their squad between now and the end of the transfer window with Harry Maguire looking more and more likely to join Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United revolution by Thursday week. ‘Romelu Lukaku is surplus to requirements at Old Trafford, but the club will want to sign another striker if – as seems increasingly likely – the Belgian international gets his move to Italy. ‘A season of consolidation at Old Trafford.’
6. Arsenal ‘Arsenal don’t appear to have addressed their central defensive problems although they completed a club-record signing of £72m for Lille winger Nicholas Pepe and also look likely to bring in left back Kieran Tierney from Celtic. ‘The Gunners will remain a match for anyone at the Emirates, and I’m looking forward to seeing Spanish Under 21 international Dani Ceballos, but they are likely to continue to struggle on the road.’
18. Bournemouth ‘This is Bournemouth’s fifth successive season in the PL, but I feel they may struggle this term and I feel it will be a long hard winter for the Cherries who finished 14th last term. ‘Eddie Howe bought midfielder Phillip Billing from Huddersfield for £15m earlier in the week and has added a couple of young full backs to his squad, but it might not be enough for the club to maintain their elite status this season.
9. Sheffield United ‘This will be Sheffield United’s fourth PL season and I feel they will give it a real go in the top-flight this term. Chris Wilder has made several new signings this summer with the return of keeper Dean Henderson on loan from Manchester United the pick. ‘Bramall Lane is sure to be rocking on Matchdays, but I just feel they will struggle to score enough goals to survive in the Premier League.’
20. Norwich City ‘Daniel Farke has largely placed his faith in the Canaries’ side who won last season’s Championship, but there is a huge gulf in class between the two leagues and I feel Norwich’s Premier League stay will be fleeting. ‘The Canaries will get the new season up and running at Anfield on Friday week in what promises to be a baptism of fire for the German although his side did put five past Luton Town in an impressive preseason win at Kenilworth Road recently.