News24 –  Brian Reade’s Premier League club-by-club predictions

News24 – Brian Reade’s Premier League club-by-club predictions

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 Despite being little more than nine weeks since Premier League sides last faced each other in a final it all starts again tomorrow  So if you were enjoying a stress-free summer watching other-shaped balls, it’s time to put your valium repeat prescription in and ready your shredded nerves  Are you dreading VAR, seeing it as a worse killer of spontaneous passion than a blast of halitosis or does the thought of its domineering control-play get you aroused?  Are you convinced your team will roar into the 2020s or are you trembling at the thought of a long winter of discontent? Well, allow me to raise the hopes of all Premier League fans by giving you grounds for optimism Then drag 90% of you down by predicting, okay guessing, where you’ll finish. ARSENAL  They surely can’t defend any worse and Mesut Ozil can’t be as average, as last season Unai Emery’s a year wiser in the job. Pepe and Dani Ceballos will provide the bullets for Pierre-Emerick Aubamayang and Alexandre Lacazette 5th and Europa League winners. ASTON VILLA  The board are spending money like they’re running a European Cup winning side so season tickets are selling like it’s 1982 Jack Grealish is back on his rightful stage and Dean Smith, one of their own, gets the club and where it should be 14th BOURNEMOUTH  Callum Wilson signed a four-year deal and the most feted young English manager in recent years is still there As are Ryan Fraser, Nathan Ake and the injured David Brooks. If Harry Wilson repeats his Derby heroics they’ll be in free-kick heaven 13th BRIGHTON  Far fewer signings than last summer but looking at how most of them fared that’s no bad thing Their lucky omen, Glenn Murray’s still there. New boss Graham Potter did decent jobs at Ostersund and Swansea so now’s his chance to show he’s the real deal 18th BURNLEY  Unlike last season there’s no Europa League mirage to drain away early season hope and energy Local hero Jay Rodriguez returns with a goal every three games hit-rate. If Dwight McNeil kicks on they’ve got a proper talent on their hands In Dyche they trust. 15th CHELSEA  Frank Lampard will get total backing as he learns on the job, and the ban means he can’t start by making any transfer cock-ups Youth will get a chance instead of being abandoned on loan and Ross Barkley might finally turn into the player he’s promised to be 6th CRYSTAL PALACE  Wilfried Zaha is still there (as I write), Gary Cahill has joined and Mamadou Sakho is fit again Roy Hodgson will ensure organisation, VAR may ensure Luka Milivojevic sets a penalty record and Christian Benteke must surely remember what a goal is 17th EVERTON  Fabian Delph for £8 million was great business as was tying down Andre Gomes Richarlison scored the goal that won the Copa America and If he forms a partnership with Moise Kean they could finally get the goals they’ve been searching for 7th LEICESTER  Brendan Rodgers is moving them forward. Youri Tielemans and Ayoze Perez are shrewd buys Harry Maguire’s gone but no-one came in for James Maddison and player of the year Ricardo Pereira Plenty to spend in January if things aren’t working. 8th LIVERPOOL  No-one of note bought but none left Joe Gomez, Rhian Brewster and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain feel like new players while Naby Keita could finally become the attacking midfielder they pine for Now Klopp’s broke his trophy duck things can only get better. 1st then FSG trademark the number 19 MAN CITY  Still the best squad in England if not Europe. Guardiola looks as hungry as ever, Kevin De Bruyne looks on fire, Rodri could be much-needed successor to Fernandinho and Phil Foden could become a local lad megastar 2Nd, Champions League and League Cup. MAN UNITED  Solskjaer’s vision has been backed, promoting youngsters and driving them on to fitness and a high press Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka are big upgrades defensively. David De Gea has signed and Alexis Sanchez must eventually turn up 4th NEWCASTLE  Sam Allardyce didn’t take the job, Sean Longstaff is going nowhere and Joelinton and Almiron could strike up a partnership that means Rondon and Perez won’t be missed God willing, someone with vision will take the club out of Satan’s clutches this season 16th NORWICH  They’ll win many admirers for the way they play, especially if goal machine Teemu Pukki is as pukka as he was last season Luis Suarez can no longer torture them and Delia Smith is drinking at football’s top table once again so let’s be ‘avin you 19th SHEFFIELD UNITED  Phil Jagielka, like the Blades he loves, are back. And the Owls aren’t Chris Wilder and Billy Sharp could be a fresh breath of plain-talkin’, plain-shootin’ Yorkshire air And even if they go straight back down they’ll get £130 million. 20th SOUTHAMPTON  A great pre-season with new boys Che Adams and Moussa Djenepo shining Ralph Hassenhutl brings genuine Kloppian feelgood factor to the place. Especially when compared to Mark Hughes And Ward-Prowse’s dead balls are the best in the league. 11th SPURS  The English players are rested, the cash is being splashed at club record levels, for all his whining Pochettino is still there, as is Alderweireld and Eriksen (thus far), Wembley’s a trembly memory and they have a chance to turn the New Lane into the Nou Camp 3rd and FA Cup. WATFORD  Javi Gracia is so happy at keeping his squad together he’s saying: “I don’t want to finish 10th I want to finish first ” Now there’s optimism. Craig Dawson could be a solid addition at £5.5million and Troy Deeney will still be throwing his weight around 12th WEST HAM  Marco Arnautovic’s bad smell has finally left the building replaced by signing Sebastian Haller who got 20 goals and 12 Bundesliga assists last season Alongside Felipe Anderson and Manuel Lanzini it will be entertainment a-go-go. At least one decent cup-run in the offing 10th WOLVES  They’re back in Europe, they’ve kept all of their best players and brought in some interesting additions under the radar Great manager in an atmospheric ground motivating a fine team with individual stars As they showed last season, they fear no-one. 9th

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