Who will be in the top four this season? This is a question everyone jumps to answer, only to be proved wrong, sometimes spectacularly. last season, with defending champions Chelsea having an awesome preseason, and Jose Mourinho firing on all cylinders, everyone expected them to begin with a bang. However, they ended up flirting with relegation and ended up firing Jose Mourinho. on the other hand, Leicester City were not even looked at; then they raced to the top of the league table,and even with Arsenal hot on their heels, they held on to win the title against all odds. Teams like Manchester United (who finished sixth last season) and Liverpool (who finished seventh) were expected to make the top four a crowded place, but they both faltered, and allowed Tottenham and West Ham climb above them. Not both teams are going to play in Europe; Liverpool missed out, and Manchester United only got to play in the Europa League because they won the FA Cup.Arsenal went two places above their perennial fourth position, and that was one of the biggest surprises of last season.
This season, however, there is much more to expect from the top clubs; new managers, new players, new tactics, new everything. I expect a tight race this season, with six or eight clubs vying for the top spot. In fact, here are some of the clubs I expect to be in the running for the top:
1. Manchester City: Of course the Citizens will be at the top, or close to it; have you ever seen Guardiola come second?
2. Manchester United: Forget last season’s shit show at Chelsea; Mourinho has a lot of experience being in the top three of any league. I don’t see him coming below second, though his old club might be a problem.
3. Chelsea: Antonio Conte is another man who does not come second; see his three consecutive Serie A titles with Juventus. Well, this is going to be interesting.
4. Arsenal: Nobody fights with the Gunners for their spot; fourth place is their birthright. In recent years, though, they have reached third place and second place. Also, they hardly stay on the top spot for long; January has seen them at the top of the league twice in three years, and they imploded spectacularly in both seasons. Maybe they will do better this time?
5. Liverpool: Jurgen Klopp has shown the EPL a little of what he is capable of; this season is going to be electrified by the former Dortmund manager. Remember how Dortmund wrestled with Bayern Munich for the entire season in 2013? Liverpool might do just that this season.
6. Leicester City: The champions had a decent preseason, but with key player N’Golo Kante gone, it might be difficult for them to reach those heights they got to last season. Yet, no one gave them much thought last season, too.
7. West Ham: Last season, West Ham were unbeaten against all the teams in the top four except Manchester City. If they repeat that feat, who knows, they might just sneak into the top four again this year.
8. Tottenham: Well, these guys should never be underestimated, and they showed exactly why last season, when they finished above Manchester City and Manchester United. The same thing might happen this season if the stars are properly aligned this season, though it does look unlikely. But one can dream, right?
Some other teams might surprise us, too. Southampton, Crystal Palace (yes, they too have some surprises up their sleeve), Watford, anybody can be in the top four. This is a new season, and we expect to have a lot of surprises.