With the 2020-2021 Premier League campaign beginning this week, it is time we make some predictions for how we see the season going. Liverpool FC returned to the top of the division after winning their first league title in 30 years, but will they be able to repeat as champions?
TWSN analysts Christian De Block, Joe Cammarota, Michael Vasconcelos and Jacob Aframian made some predictions for this upcoming campaign.
Christian De Block:
After hearing the recent news that Lionel Messi will not be joining Manchester City, this is Liverpool’s title to lose. The club has retained all of their key players and if the board is able to bring in Thiago from Bayern Munich, I see the title staying in Merseyside.
Top Four: Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United
I believe the same four teams will finish in the top four, but just in a slightly different order from the 2019/2020 season. Chelsea had a fantastic summer window and that will propel them to a third place finish right behind City. United were not able to get Jadon Sancho in the summer, but I still believe they will hold off the likes of Arsenal and Spurs for fourth.
Relegated: Burnley, Fulham, West Brom
Although Burnley has done really well to stay in the top division for this long, I just can’t see Sean Dyche’s style of football working for another campaign. For Fulham and West Brom, the lack of major signings and the competition of the Premier League will ultimately send them back down to the Championship.
Golden Boot: Mohamed Salah
In his first two seasons at Liverpool, the Egyptian forward won the Golden Boot with 32 and 22 goals respectfully. After losing out on this award last season, I expect Salah to have a fantastic season and lead the league with 25+ goals.
Player of the Year: Virgil van Dijk
Van Dijk has been nothing short of sensational since he joined the club in 2018, becoming one of the best center backs in the world. Kevin De Bruyne deserved to win this award last season, but I believe Liverpool will have the best defense in the division led by the Dutch defender, ultimately helping him win this award.
After Manchester City’s shocking loss in the Champions League I believe that they will face a slow start to begin the season. The failure of signing star Lionel Messi will also hurt City as well from a moral standpoint. Liverpool is keeping mostly the same team that ran away with the league last season and I believe they will again.
Top Four: Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United
These four teams have the best roster layout and depth in the league. All these teams have decent coaching as well and that should help them in their pursuit of a top four spot. In addition, these teams have the funds for the January to improve their squads for the final push.
Relegated: Aston Villa, West Brom, Fulham
I just do not believe these teams have enough talent to stay up. I think Villa was able to stay up this past season because of how dreadful teams like Watford, Norwich and AFC Bournemouth were last season. I also do not think West Brom and Fulham have Premier League quality all around the pitch.
Golden Boot: Harry Kane
I think Harry Kane stays healthy and he succeeds under Mourinho’s team. Kane looked really good in Project restart and I believe he will continue that form. Kane will bag 27 goals this season en route to winning his third golden boot.
Player of the Year: Kevin De Bruyne
De Bruyne is in the prime of his career and is in my opinion the best player in the world right now. Given this, I believe De Bruyne will turn up again this season in a system that fits him perfectly.
As Lionel Messi is held hostage in his final season at the Camp Nou instead of donning powder blue at the Etihad, England’s defending champions are still unmatched in terms of depth everywhere in their starting eleven for now. Furthermore, as younger players such as Harvey Elliott, Takumi Minamino, and potentially even Rhian Brewster could potentially see more meaningful minutes in both league and early season cup fixtures, they could stand to roll even deeper later in the campaign.
Top Four: Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea
Nothing out of the ordinary here, just a couple of heavyweights duking it out for Champions League places. If any of the top four were to challenge the incumbent champion, my best guess would be Manchester United. The dynamism and creativity of Bruno Fernandes has made a promising attacking front prolific, and Mason Greenwood’s dexterity with both feet could make him a Golden Boot candidate (provided he gets adequate time on the pitch).
Relegated: West Brom, Fulham, Aston Villa
Matheus Pereira has been nothing short of fantastic for the Baggies in his short time in the West Midlands, but his genius does nothing when he’s needling through balls and crosses to the likes of Charlie Austin and Kenneth Zohore up front in the Premier League. Slaven Bilić is not necessarily a bad name to lead the charge, but the personnel in the starting XI simply do not have the quality for West Brom to survive.
As Fulham return to the top flight, they have added very little to bolster their squad, although I highly rate the acquisition of American left-back Antonee Robinson after a strong campaign at Wigan Athletic in which he was able to showcase his fleet feet and strong attacking disposition (as an overlapping fullback on the counter) en route to being courted by AC Milan last January.
Aston Villa, although I truly do love their recent signing of former Brentford striker Ollie Watkins, are still managed by Dean Smith, whose consistent lack of urgency and questionable tactics will be the downfall of a squad that is not as bad on paper as they are in game.
Golden Boot: Sergio Aguero
This guy again? It would be far from out of the question. Each year as he inches closer and closer to breaking Alan Shearer’s all-time Premier League scoring record, the Argentinean has shown few signs of slowing down. With Kevin De Bruyne managing to pinpoint passes in his direction, as well as being the perhaps the biggest benefactor of the highly-touted Phil Foden’s advanced vision as he begins to earn more first-team minutes, the supporting cast is there.
Player of the Year: Kevin De Bruyne
As the Belgian midfield maestro continues to make soccer on the world’s biggest stage look nothing short of effortless, it would be fair to expect another tremendous season. Although it would’ve been nice to have Lionel Messi on the receiving end of some of his assists this upcoming season, he will be able to more than make do with the squad he has around him. Between those and what one could imagine to end up as a fair number stunning strikes, a Premier League Player of the Year campaign may be just another day at the office for the creative midfielder of a generation.
Yes, Liverpool will win the Premier League for the second season in a row, despite the fact that I think they will not be as dominant as they were they were the previous season. But because they still have their lethal front three with Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Mohamed Salah who are nearly impossible to stop. Along with their midfield including Jordan Henderson, and possibly new signee Thiago Alcantara coming in as well, they could be tough to contain in the middle of the park. And finally their backline with Virgil van Dijk, Andrew Robertson, and Trent Alexander-Arnold, who were nothing short of brilliant last year. And lastly in goal is Alisson Becker, who is arguably the best goalkeeper in the league, who has been one of the biggest keys to Liverpool’s success over the past few years.
Top Four: Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City
Unlike last year, this Premier League season will be one that goes down to the wire from start to finish. Despite the league winner remaining the same, I feel that this season we see some new movement in the top 4. After Liverpool I see Chelsea jumping to 2nd place as they will be a very exciting team to watch with Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech, Ben Chilwell, and Thiago Silva all coming into a very talented team.
I see Manchester United in third place as they will continue to build on the momentum they had with their front three of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, and Mason Greenwood, along with adding Donny van de Beek to an already talented midfield with Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes.
In fourth place I see Manchester City taking a step back, with the losses of Leroy Sane and David Silva who were big cogs in the City side, and with a defense that is still a bit shaky. City will still be a very potent side, but they will take a step back this season.
Relegated: West Brom, Brighton, Aston Villa
Although West Brom has worked very hard to get back to the Premier League for the first time in three years, the Cinderella run will probably end there, as they will have a very hard time staying above the relegation zone.
Despite the fact that Brighton have done a good job staying top flight the last few years, this year they will not have the same success. Despite having quality players like Lewis Dunk, Adam Lallana, and Alireza Jahanbakhsh, it will not be enough for them to stay in the top flight.
And finally Aston Villa who miraculously managed to avoid relegation after a very poor season last season, despite the great play from Jack Grealish last season. It will be tough for Grealish to carry Villa all on his shoulders, which will result in them being demoted.
Golden Boot: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
I was very tempted to take Sergio Aguero because I feel like in many ways he has been underappreciated because people take for granted just how great of a player he has been ever since he arrived at Manchester City. With that being said, at least once a season Aguero picks up an injury that causes him to always miss a chunk of the season. That’s why I am going to pick Pierre-Emrick Aubameyang, who has been a goal scoring machine ever since he got to Arsenal, and I expect him to pick up right where he left off, as Arsenal will look to take a big jump this year with Mikel Arteta in his first full season in charge. To do that Arsenal will need Aubameyang to be in a rich vein of goal scoring form.
Player of the Year: Kevin De Bruyne
This is not too hard of a decision, even though I have Manchester City finishing in fourth, Kevin De Bruyne is still the best midfield player in the whole world, as he will be instrumental for Man City this season with his mix of goal scoring ability, with world class passing, leading to many assists, along with the way he is able to control the game in the middle of the park. These will all be on display once again as De Bruyne gives the world another masterclass season.