The wait is almost over as we approach the final countdown to the 27th edition of the English Premier League. Excitement levels turn into elation for many fans from all 20 teams as they revel at the prospect of watching their new star signings take to the field on the opening day of the 2018-19 season. 

No club has retained the Premier League title since 2009. However, in the last ten years, some might argue that no team has begun a campaign looking as strong as current champions Manchester City.

City were in a class of their own last season as they claimed the title with a record 100 points, scoring 106 goals and winning 32 matches in the process.

Who will prevail in 2018-19? 

Will Manchester City fly again? Will newbies, Fulham, Wolves and Cardiff secure their Premier League status in the top flight or will they follow the yo-yo trend that we often see with promoted teams from the Championship? Brighton, Huddersfield and Newcastle all managed to buck that trend last season so I'm sure Fulham, Wolves and Cardiff will be hoping for a similar story. 

Manchester City are still the strongest team in the Premier League, with arguably the best manager in the world in Pep Guardiola, so for those reasons alone I'm predicting City will be triumphant again. However, I don't think it will be smooth sailing and the gap at the top will be considerably smaller than in 2017-18. 

I'm tipping Liverpool to finish second. 

Jurgen Klopp has built an exciting and controlling team that proved their ability by beating Manchester City on route to last season’s Champions League final. Although Liverpool came undone in the Champions League final, Klopp has recently strengthened his squad by signing three quality players in Naby Keita, Xherdan Shaqiri and Fabinho.  

My tip for third is Arsenal.

For Arsenal, it is a step into the relative unknown following the departure of Arsene Wenger after an extraordinary 22 years at the helm. Things didn't go too well in the latter part of the Frenchman’s reign and it remains to be seen if Unai Emery (pictured) is the right person to re-ignite the gunners. Emery has managed well under pressure at Sevilla and Paris St Germain, but launching a whole new era will be no easy task. I’m backing Emery to have a successful first season. 

And in fourth spot, I'm going with Chelsea. 

Maurizio Sarri is the twelth manager to call Stamford Bridge home since Roman Abramovich purchased the club in 2003. The Italian has earned widespread praise for the football he has overseen at Napoli and he inherits a very strong squad that has won two of the past three titles.

What about the other big teams? 

Tottenham may take time to adjust to their new world class stadium and we may see Manchester United have one of their worst seasons in recent years.

Despite Paul Pogba being one of the superstars for France in the World Cup in Russia, I think he will be fatigued and will not play as well for Manchester United as he did for France, particularly in the early part of the season. Jose Mourinho's pre-season moodiness also doesn't bode well for United fans impatient for another trophy.

In summary, my top four: 

                  1. Manchester City

                  2. Liverpool

                  3. Arsenal

                  4. Chelsea 

And my bottom three for relegation are: 

                  18. Crystal Palace 

                  19. Watford

                  20. Cardiff City

What about the promoted teams? 

I'm tipping Fulham and Wolves will finish mid table as both have made some astute signings during the summer. Cardiff City will be the promoted team that struggles the most - sorry to anyone Welsh reading this! 

Of the rest, Everton and West Ham will show improvement under new managers Marco Silva and Mauricio Pellegrini respectively.

Categories: Opinion | Premier League

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