Following an earlier look at the bottom half of the table earlier in the week, in this spot, we will do an in-depth analysis of the Premier League teams in the top half of the table.
This is where things get supremely competitive in the world’s most lucrative domestic league. The top-4 squads all get places to the coveted Champions League, while the squad in fifth-place gets a Europa League spot.
This year, more than ever I think there will be a lot more parity near the top within England’s top flight. Teams such as Leicester City, Everton, West Ham United, and Wolves have all done a fair bit in recent months to challenge the old and established guard. All of those groups are on the rise, while the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, and Manchester United might be forced to take a step back if the pundits are correct.
After focusing on teams 20-11 earlier, we will now analyze teams 10-1 as per my predicted final table when everything gets settled in May of 2020 at the end of the season. Spoiler alert, my predicted top-10 features the same ten clubs that finished in the top-10 last campaign. There is just a clear divide in the league, but the gap has clearly narrowed among all of these clubs. Continue reading on below as we start with an intriguing 10th spot team, East London’s West Ham United.
10 – West Ham United (+50000)
- Last Season: 10th
The Hammers are a fascinating club. If you are looking for a team to jump on the bandwagon for, and don’t want the traditional top teams – West Ham are an exciting team that remains loaded in midfield and attack. They have loads of depth at skill positions, and after bringing in Sebastian Haller in the July transfer window, the Hammers have reinvented their group and should be able to challenge any backline in the Premier League.
Manuel Pellegrini is an experienced and valuable coach and has done well with the club during his time there. He is familiar with the league and there is great confidence within the side that they can break through the traditional top-6 and ruffle some feathers.
While 10th spot might seem low for the Hammers and not mark an improvement from 2018-19, the squads around them have also improved significantly. West Ham might have a top-4 attack but there remain great question marks surrounding their defensive structure, backline, and team play without the ball. This team will be one to watch.
9 – Wolves (+15000)
- Last Season: 7th
It has been quite the run for Wolves over the past few seasons. After only recently winning promotion to the top flight of English soccer, the Wolves have now firmly established themselves as a top-half side within the Premier League rankings. Coach Nuno has been amazing at getting solid results from a squad that doesn’t have all that much depth. Expect that depth to get significantly tested this year as the Wolves have qualified with European football. If you’ll recall, we saw Burnley struggle to balance double duty throughout the week and it hurt them in the Premier League. I don’t think the Wolves will be any different in 2019-20 and it will be interesting to see this group manage their players and juggle playing twice a week (likely Thursdays and Sundays).
In the off-season, the Wolves didn’t add much depth to their talented group aside from some minor backup pieces. The core of the team remains fully intact and they’ll be led by their star talisman up front in Raul Jimenez. The Mexican had a great first year in England in 2018 and his game is perfectly suited for the fast-paced and physical Premier League.
Beyond Jimenez, the Wolves boast a creative midfield, that can both distribute and win balls back with ease. Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves form one of the best midfield tandems that many fans don’t pay attention to. Wolves did only manage 47 goals last season, but they were a tad unlucky. With added familiarity, look for them to increase that total significantly in 2019-20.
On talent alone, the Wolves could easily be a sixth-place side. That said, this is a club that will definitely value a deep run in the Europa League. Without a deep squad, expect fatigue to set in and some minor struggles to ensue. A 9th-place finish seems right.
8 – Everton (+15000)
- Last Season: 8th
Last year the advanced stats indicated that the Toffees were actually the unluckiest club in all of England. Their expected goals far exceeded their actual output, and with the talent the club has recently brought in, that trend should be reversed in 2019-20.
If England gave out an off-season transfers trophy, there is a real case to be made that Everton would have easily won it. The signing of 19-year-old Italian Moise Kean from Juventus should add an elite-level talent to the Everton attack. He was undoubtedly one of the hottest prospects in all of football, and for the Toffees to land him was a real coup. He will be joined by talented midfielder Jean-Philippe Gbamin, and getting Andre Gomes on a permanent deal from Barcelona was a great bit of business. On paper, this team is loaded and coach Marco Silva will be under immense pressure to coax the best out of this lineup.
For all of their strength on the ball and on the attack, questions have now arisen about the Everton defense. This is undoubtedly a clear weakness for the group, especially with the departure of the popular Kurt Zouma. There isn’t much depth without him, and it could prevent the Toffees from truly pushing the established clubs of the top-6.
7 – Leicester City (+30000)
- Last Season: 9th
New manager Brendan Rodgers has come in and reinvigorated the Foxes. They did some solid business within the July transfer window, and despite losing their horse at the centre of defense in Harry Maguire to Man United – the fees they received were pretty remarkable. It will be interesting to see how Leicester City best utilizes those funds going forward.
Since Rodgers took over toward the end of last season, Leicester looked like an entirely different club. He has given new life into the group, and with new additions such as Ayoze Perez and Youri Tielemans from Monaco, Leicester has further established a dangerous attack and overall solid squad.
They’ll be led by their star forward in the pacy Jamie Vardy up top. He remains a prolific goal-scorer for the Foxes and he’ll need to pot at least 20 goals if Leicester wants to take a legitimate run at the top-6.
Expect a big year from this group. They have a deep and loaded group, with an experienced coach. Harry Maguire has been sold, and though that is a tough departure this squad is still littered with talent throughout. Jonny Evans and Wes Morgan are more than capable of filling the void, but they are both in their mid-30’s now. It will be interesting to see if Leicester turns around and uses the Maguire funds on a replacement defender. If they do, look out.
6 – Chelsea (+2500)
- Last Season: 3rd
Frank Lampard has returned to the club, but this time to coach the Blues. Maurizio Sarri is out after a season in turmoil, and though Lampard is the more popular choice amongst the fans, it remains to be seen if he can manage at the top flight.
There is also a lot of uncertainty surrounding the quality and depth of the team Chelsea will field in 2019-20. They have lost their star talent in Eden Hazard, who essentially ran their attack for years. Without him, this could be a group that lacks the necessary punch going forward. They are also mired in a current transfer ban, meaning they couldn’t supplement their roster during the July window.
They will need to rely on some youth, but with this inexperience comes a lot of unpredictability. Christian Pulisic is just 20-years old but comes into the club with big expectations. The American attacker should succeed given his immense talent, but there isn’t too much around him to help him out.
Chelsea should be able to hang around in all clashes as they boast a solid and experienced back-line, but without consistent goals, this team could struggle in that regard. Kepa will be solid in goal, and a sturdy midfield led by N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, and Kovacic should help the Blues to control most games. But their downfall will be in the final third. Olivier Giroud is no longer a legitimate scoring threat, and Tammy Abraham’s Championship success isn’t going to translate against Premier League back-lines. Out of all the top-6 clubs, Chelsea looks the most vulnerable for a drop beyond this tier.
5 – Arsenal (+4000)
- Last Season: 5th
The Gunners will surely be disappointed with yet another fifth-place finish – again missing out on Champions League football, but their off-season was very shocking.
Arsenal can score, seemingly at will. They are littered with talented attackers throughout and should be able to really fill the back of the net at times this campaign. With Pepe brought in from Lille, and Dani Ceballos from Real Madrid – the Gunners will not be short on the attack. Pairing that duo with Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will produce a lethal offensive front for Unai Emery to work with. It is also worth noting that Aubameyang again represents great value to lead the EPL in goals this season and win the Golden Boot. Last year, we recommended him and we’ll go back to the well again in 2019-20. Aubameyang is an exceptionally fast striker with a deft touch. He’ll have this attack clicking, that is for certain.
Now, for the negative flip-side. Every single football fan in the world knew that Arsenal needs defenders, not attacking players. They didn’t get any from the July transfer window, and as a result, now seem even more hopeless at the back. This was magnified earlier this week when Laurent Koscielny left the club, and the jury is still very much out on those left behind such as Saed Kolasinac and Hector Bellerin. Bet the over in many Arsenal games this season!
4 – Tottenham Hotspur (+1600)
- Last Season: 4th
Tottenham finally did some business during the Premier League window, but their moves, of course, came with a fair bit of criticism. They brought in a supremely talented midfielder in Tanguy Ndombele from Lyon but essentially negated that with their sale of right-back Kieran Trippier. Without a valid replacement for him, there are some concerns about the Spurs’ backline.
The strength of this team will again undoubtedly be up front. This is a common theme among teams in the top-10, which could produce some exciting games with lots of goals. With the Spurs, Harry Kane and Dele Alli will again lead the line, while head coach Mauricio Pocchettino remains an excellent coach who has a knack of securing favorable results for his club.
This remains an elite side and one that should be a safe bet for Champions League football. They are still quite young, but there seems to be more uncertainty this year with Tottenham compared to previous years. Their defense has holes, while rumors have circulated surrounding Christian Eriksen’s future at the club. The Spurs will close the gap on the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City this year, but they still aren’t viable title contenders.
3 – Manchester United (+2500)
- Last Season: 6th
Kudos to the Red Devils of Man United for realizing their deficiencies, and then going out and addressing them. While some will say that they drastically overpaid for their purchase of defender Harry Maguire from Leicester City, it was a dire position of need and should instantly solidify the United backline. Along with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Victor Lindelof, the Manchester United defense has now quickly become a strength for the club, and playing in front of David de Gea should only help as well.
On the attack, the group should emphasize youth, speed, and skill going forward. Expect more regular showings from the likes of Angel Gomes and Mason Greenwood this season. Even if it’s just off the bench, that duo should be able to diversify the Man United attack.
Paul Pogba remains at the club for now, and when he’s on, he remains one of the best players in the world. This year he will have more support from the likes of new boy Daniel James up front, as well as star striker Marcus Rashford. Speed should reign supreme in Manchester this campaign, and it should be exciting to watch. While many seem down on United’s prospects this year, this is a complete team without holes. They’ll improve and continue to close the gap on their Manchester cross-town rivals as well.
2 – Liverpool (+215)
- Last Season: 2nd
You have to feel for Liverpool. Last season they put together an elite campaign and Manchester City was just flawless. This year, it seems impossible for the Reds to somehow match what they did last year. And though they aren’t any worse on paper, you have to think a brief slip-up is inevitable.
This is especially true when you consider the fact that Liverpool really didn’t spend all that much in the off-season to further enhance their squad depth to better compete with Manchester City. Their starting lineup remains unchanged from last year, and though that familiarity might help, following a busy summer for some of their star talent and with yet another loaded fixture list on the horizon, Liverpool could endure some fatigue in 2019-20. Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane remain a formidable duo, but they do need the occasional break from head coach Jurgen Klopp.
While it seems crazy to try and nitpick and isolate weaknesses for this loaded club, their lack of depth is surely a concern going into this season. Their main focus this season is surely on ending their drought and winning a Premier League title, but the gruelling grind that comes with this should prove difficult. Expect them to be worthy challengers, but this is likely going to be a one-team race in the final third of the season.
1 – Manchester City (-150)
- Last Season: 1st
Again, Manchester City will be the champions. Though this is the expected pick, barring catastrophe it is the right one. Their skill, quality, and depth throughout the squad is unmatched and Pep Guardiola remains as hungry as ever for continued success at the club.
Unlike their main challengers in Liverpool, City actually went out and upgraded on their trophy-winning roster. They made a big splash in bringing in talented Spanish midfielder Rodri from Atletico Madrid. He’s a ferocious ball-winner and is creative enough to enhance City’s already elite attack. Pep Guardiola has already been impressed with the new signing and he should be effective right from the get-go. Rodri will be crucial in stifling the blistering pace of the Liverpool attack when these teams do go head-to-head.
Manchester City did say goodbye to some veterans in longtime leader Vincent Kompany and Fabian Delph. Without that defensive certainty, the Citizens will need to figure out a consistent back-four, but they have the depth and talent to produce a suffocating defensive quartet.
This is a group with no true weaknesses or holes. Man City can beat teams in a plethora of ways and for at least another year in the Premier League season, their talent will again reign supreme. Look for the title to return to the blue side of Manchester, and I don’t think it will be particularly close when all is said and done in May of 2020.
And there you have it – a detailed breakdown of the top-10 predicted clubs in this season’s English Premier League. It should be a fascinating season filled with drama, intrigue, and high-quality attacks if off-season moves are any indication. Stay tuned to The Sports Geek throughout the year for weekly betting picks and predictions. Enjoy the season!