Premier League predictions: The final table and our players to watch

Sam Wallace on how the table will finish (probably), plus Telegraph football writers on which players will shine and which managers will not

Before the opening weekend in the Premier League, Sam Wallace casts a critical eye over each club's transfer dealings, and how squads have improved – or weakened – over the summer break, before predicting where each will finish in the table. 

Scroll down for the rest of our writers' predictions. 

1. Manchester City

Winners of four out of the last five titles and a well-grooved squad that is fine tuned year after year according to the Guardiola way. City are so confident now in recruitment they are prepared to sell first-team players to top-six rivals. The Erling Haaland effect is not the only factor – others like Jack Grealish have had time to settle.

2. Tottenham Hotspur

The full force of prime second season Antonio Conte driving them on, plus a strong transfer window. The form at the end of the season hinted at what was possible. A much deeper squad now and a different mentality under their manager. The attacking options, with Richarlison’s arrival, are promising and complement a strong January window.

3. Liverpool

Another bold transfer market with the sale of Sadio Mané and the prompt reinvestment in Darwin Núñez. They ran City very close last season after initially falling away and, like their closest rivals, Liverpool have continuity of style. The obvious place they have not strengthened is in midfield and this season will require younger players to step up in that area.

Fabio Carvalho (left) and Darwin Núñez joined Liverpool over the summer Credit: GETTY IMAGES

4. Chelsea

A new era under the Boehly-Clearlake private equity ownership and no guarantees as to how it might play out. The new owners have secured the finance to make some big signings so far with Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly, with more set to come, but there is still a squad left unbalanced. Thomas Tuchel has much talent at his disposal but the effect of the chaos of the last six months means that a year's planning has been lost.

5. Arsenal

The signings of Gabriel Jesus, Fabio Vieira and Oleksandr Zinchenko make the squad as strong as it has been during Mikel Arteta's time in charge. Champions League qualification is within their grasp but can Arsenal just get themselves over the line having failed to do so last season? It is not that this is a weak side, more that the competition for the top-four place to which Arsenal aspire remains so high.

6. Manchester United

A new manager with a disaffected superstar. The early signs of the Erik ten Hag regime is that, at the very least, he has a clear idea of what he wants. The question now is how long it takes for his players to make the step up to challenge the best sides in the league. Even if Frenkie de Jong arrives now he will have missed a great deal of pre-season. As for the Cristiano Ronaldo situation – it can hardly help – but the famous No 7’s options to leave look limited.

Manager Erik ten Hag has a number of issues to resolve – including the Cristiano Ronaldo impasse Credit: REUTERS

7. Newcastle United

Beyond the established 'Big Six' the rest of the league feels unpredictable. Newcastle have not spent as much as might have been expected in the first Saudi summer at the club but PSR restrictions are strong and they invested heavily in January. They need another striker. That said, the team took shape under Eddie Howe in the latter half of last season and that kind of confidence could carry them a long way.

8. West Ham United

A remarkable season under David Moyes last time and much to build on. They have long needed more options in attack where Michail Antonio has been obliged to carry the burden for most of the season so Gianluca Scamacca’s arrival was needed. A big plus is retaining Declan Rice - now in the penultimate year of his current deal and one of the league’s best players.

9. Crystal Palace

Another wildcard but a club that looked good last season and have made themselves stronger every year. Still much to do this time around with the departure of Conor Gallagher and just Cheick Doucouré and Sam Johnstone among their first team ready signings so far. Even so, Patrick Vieira is one year more experienced in the Premier League and the core of the first team looks strong. 

10. Aston Villa

Disappointing finish to last season with Steven Gerrard evidently displeased at times with his players. The window began strongly with the permanent signing of Philippe Coutinho as well as Diego Carlos and Boubacar Kamara. A top-10 finish would be an improvement on last season. This is their manager’s first pre-season with his squad and some big decisions lie ahead for him: not least who from Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa will make way for Carlos.

Philippe Coutinho joined Aston Villa on a permanent deal following a loan spell last season Credit: GETTY IMAGES

11. Brighton & Hove Albion

Another window in which Graham Potter is on the brink of losing a key defender – Marc Cucurella – as he did in January with Dan Burn. Yves Bissouma has gone. The club are also facing the future without director of football Dan Ashworth. Nevertheless, Potter has proved himself one of the most able managers in the league and his style is well-established. Will have to add to the squad to keep the momentum up.

12. Leicester City

A difficult window for a club that have consistently challenged for Europe and yet made no signings to date. The long-trailed deal for Youri Tielemans has not yet gone through to Arsenal – and may not – and without that Leicester seem stuck in limbo. They rallied in the final four games of last season after a worrying slump. In a league where standing still is an invitation to fail, Leicester seem to be stuck in 2021/22.

13. Brentford

They established themselves nicely last season as the only survivors from among the promoted teams. Their trading model will mean there is always a certain degree of risk as new players come in but they have some degree of experience in this regard. Decisive investment in Aaron Hickey and Keane Lewis-Potter who both fit the club’s profile well. Thomas Frank has one year’s experience in the division and proved himself adaptable last time.

14. Southampton

A whole new start for the club under the ownership of Sport Republic and a new recruitment model to refresh a squad that needs change. So far this summer the emphasis has been on signing young players who will rise in value, but Ralph Hasenhüttl will have to rely on his core of more experienced players to get them through the early stages. Have been in the relegation battle before and survived.  

15. Nottingham Forest

Wholesale change for the club that defied the odds to soar up the Championship table and into the play-offs last season. Ten signings to date to replace the six loanees who have left and the other two departures. Jesse Lingard offers Premier league experience and the enthusiasm of the City Ground at a return to the top flight should be valuable. The main man is Steve Cooper, who has proved to be the shrewdest of coaches.

Steve Cooper has been heralded for the way in which he earned promotion, but can he deliver the goods in the Premier League? Credit: PA

16. Wolverhampton Wanderers

A dreadful end to last season which saw them win one of their last nine games although their league position only fell from eighth to a 10th place. At the end of January, however, they were four points off fourth place. They have signed the centre-back Nathan Collins but otherwise the major changes are yet to come. Another worry is goals: Wolves scored the fewest last season of any of the 17 non-relegated sides.

17. Everton

A relegation battle last season and the early signs suggest that another is looming – or at least Frank Lampard said enough after an embarrassing pre-season defeat to Minnesota United. The loss of Richarlison is a blow and so far the only major signings are James Tarkowski and Dwight McNeil. The club will have to give their manager some options in the market but it could be a long season.

18. Fulham

Too good for the Championship and too weak for the Premier League. Thus far the Championship winners have not made major changes to the team that was promoted and they have lost arguably their most talented performer, Fabio Carvalho. This has been a strange period for the club with two promotions and two relegations in the last four years. No one could doubt Shahid Khan’s commitment but it looks like another long season.

Leeds United may regret selling match-winner Raphinha during the transfer window Credit: GETTY IMAGES

19. Leeds United

The sales of Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips are a major blow to a squad that is short of match-winners and game-changers. Leeds’ model means that they will always have to trade their best players but selling two of them in one summer puts a lot of pressure on the replacements. Jesse Marsch did enough to change the approach and galvanise the team to survive last season and much will be asked of the manager this time around.

20. Bournemouth

Precious little activity in the transfer market thus far for the second promoted team from last season’s Championship. Scott Parker will need some new recruits for what was an excellent Championship side and now needs to invest again for the top division. Many of those who played such a key role last season were also part of the team that was relegated. Gary Cahill and Nat Phillips, both defensive mainstays, have left the club.


Telegraph Football writers' season predictions

Jason Burt

Winners: Manchester City
Champions League places: Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea
Relegated: Bournemouth, Wolves, Leeds
Player to watch: Erling Haaland

What you are most looking forward to: At the top – whether Tottenham can break up the Manchester City and Liverpool dominance and at the bottom (or mid-table) how Nottingham Forest will fare in their first season back and having brought in so many players.

Jamie Carragher

Winners: Liverpool
Champions League places: Manchester City, Tottenham, Chelsea
Relegated: Bournemouth, Forest, Brentford
Player to watch: Gabriel Jesus

What you are most looking forward to: Watching Antonio Conte and Spurs trying to get among the title contenders... and the fall-out if it doesn't happen.

Oliver Brown

Winners: Manchester City
Champions League places: Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United
Relegated: Bournemouth, Nottingham Forest, Fulham
Player to watch: Raheem Sterling

What you are most looking forward to: Seeing whether Arsenal's top-four ambitions are rekindled by the arrival of Gabriel Jesus. The signing of Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko from Manchester City is a striking statement of intent, on which Mikel Arteta's future depends.

Can Gabriel Jesus fire Arsenal back into the Champions League? Credit: AFP

Chris Bascombe

Winners: Liverpool
Champions League places: Manchester City, Tottenham, Arsenal
Relegated: Brentford, Fulham, Bournemouth
Player to watch: Luis Diaz

What you are most looking forward to: An embittered courtroom battle between Elon Musk and Twitter leading to the death of the social media monstrosity, thus ending the daily vile abuse directed at footballers (and everyone else). We can but hope…

James Ducker

Winners: Manchester City
Champions League places: Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham
Relegated: Leeds, Fulham, Bournemouth
Player to watch: Luis Diaz

What you are most looking forward to: Jack Grealish's second season with Manchester City and Erling Haaland's first, how Erik ten Hag gets on at Manchester United, Raheem Sterling at Chelsea and how clubs adjust around a first ever winter World Cup

Will Luis Diaz pick up where he left off last season? Credit: GETTY IMAGES

Mike McGrath

Winners: Manchester City 
Champions League places: Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea 
Relegated: Fulham, Bournemouth, Southampton 
Player to watch: Ivan Perisic

What you are most looking forward to: How Erik Ten Hag attempts to revive Manchester United, whether they will have good patches and how they cope with slumps in form and results

Jeremy Wilson

Winners: Manchester City
Champions League places: Liverpool, Tottenham, Manchester United
Relegated: Bournemouth, Leeds United, Fulham
Player to watch: Erling Haaland

What you are most looking forward to: The evolving dynamic between Antonio Conte and Daniel Levy. Spurs have got themselves one of the best managers in the world. They have the infrastructure in place. Transfer funds have been secured and expectations are high.

Thom Gibbs

Winners: Manchester City 
Champions League places: Tottenham, Liverpool, Chelsea 
Relegated: Leeds, Nottingham Forest, Bournemouth  
Player to watch: Michael Olise

What you are most looking forward to: A surprise Spurs title challenge, propelled by Conte's intensity and excellent attacking options. They would need a serious dip from City and Liverpool to win it. One is possible, both unlikely.