• Matthew Whiley

Premier League Table Prediction 2022/23

I’m going to start this latest post with a quick confession. This is not the first time I’ve attempted something like this.

Last year, I had a shot at predicting the final Premier League table. A truly terrible error of judgement, it turned out, as you want to know how many teams I put in the right place? Zero.

Yep, not a single one. I got close on several, of course, but somehow I managed to get every single position wrong. Call it a glass half-full attitude, but in my mind, that’s probably only slightly less impressive than getting them all right.

Should I do it again? On that evidence? Ha, no, of course I shouldn’t.

Am I going to do it again? You bet I am. Let’s go.

1) Manchester City: If I’m being logical, they have to be. City have sold a few more players than they might have been expected to, with the likes of Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko heading to Arsenal, alongside Raheem Sterling’s departure to Chelsea, to make their depth seem curiously light compared with previous seasons. That said, though, you cannot look beyond the arrival of one Erling Haaland, who – provided he can stay fit – is an almost sure-fire bet to find the back of the net with alarming regularity. It should be a third title in a row for Pep.

2) Liverpool: I'm not going to deny the fact I’d much rather be putting Liverpool atop the pile, but I can see Jürgen Klopp’s perennial runners-up being consigned to the same fate again this season. Darwin Núñez looks to be a superb recruit to replace the departing Sadio Mané, and so too does Fábio Carvalho in midfield, but in all honesty, it’s tough to see the City nut being cracked any time soon. What is certainly true, though is that this Reds side remain a fearsome prospect, and while some silverware is a more-than-likely prospect this term, I can’t see it being a 20th league title.

3) Tottenham: Now then, this is an interesting prospect. With Antonio Conte at the helm, Spurs have pulled off some excellent business in the market, exemplified by the arrivals of Ivan Perišić from Inter Milan and Yves Bissouma from Brighton. In one of those sliding-doors moments that football likes to produce too, Haaland choosing Manchester was great news for Spurs as it meant City cooled their interest in Harry Kane, who should continue to produce the goods alongside the simply superb Son Heung-min. I’m confident in saying top four for Tottenham.

4) Arsenal: It’s not just the Lilywhite half of North London which has recruited well; they’ve done rather impressively at the Emirates too. The aforementioned snaffling of Jesus from City is a real statement of intent, as the sort of player Mikel Arteta can build his attack around, and Fábio Vieira was an arrival who surprised a few when it was announced. It has certainly felt like Arsenal have been building something for a little while now, and while that project won’t quite reach its zenith this season, it could be about to take a giant step forward.

5) Chelsea: I have an apology to make to a friend for this one – if he’s reading this, he knows who he is – but this is one bit of possible controversy which I will defend. That’s ironic too, as the whole reason I’ve put Chelsea fifth is that I don’t think they’ll be too good at defending this season. Losing Antonio Rüdiger is damaging, and I’m unconvinced by Kalidou Koulibaly as a replacement, who has, in my book, been signed a couple of seasons too late. The Blues are in a heavy state of flux right now with a new owner, and I think in a cut-throat top-four race, that could cost them.

6) Manchester United: Here we go again. New manager, new era at Old Trafford – how many times have we said that since Sir Alex Ferguson retired? Erik ten Hag is the eighth man to occupy the United hot seat since Ferguson called it a day in 2013, and he’s hardly inheriting a club with a clear sense of direction. Although I’m encouraged by their transfer business, especially the uplifting signing of Christian Eriksen, ten Hag has a lot to do to change United’s culture and get them back challenging for the top four. It won’t happen in one season.

7) Newcastle: Something else that won’t happen in one season is Newcastle’s ascent to the top of the Premier League tree. It feels inevitable with the backing of Saudi billions they now have, and although they’ve started to build their squad, they’re not there yet. However, the improvements they have made, with Sven Botman and Nick Pope in to shore up what was the sixth-leakiest defence in the league last season, show they’ve got a plan, and I do think they could well climb out of the bottom-half mire and challenge for a European spot.

8) West Ham: You might be getting the sense that there are several teams whose transfer business I quite like ahead of the new season, and the Hammers are another example. Flynn Downes looks a high-quality prospect based on what I saw of him at Swansea, and the signing of Gianluca Scamacca from Sassuolo will add good depth to their attacking ranks too. It’s a bit of a pity, then, that in the battle for 7th, they’re coming up against minted Newcastle, who I can see just pushing them out.

9) Leicester: There’s a lot I like about Leicester. The Jamie Vardy connection with Halifax Town is the strongest driver in my fondness of the Foxes, but personal affinities with them aside, they’ve tailed off in recent years and I can see that continuing. They haven’t signed anyone yet this summer, and they’re not in a position to be able to stand still if they’re serious about battling for a European spot. It’s in defence where reinforcements are most glaringly needed, and if those aren’t forthcoming, even a Conference League spot looks to me to be out of reach.

10) Crystal Palace: From a side that seems to be subsiding to one that should be able to continue a seriously impressive rebuild. Patrick Vieira guided Palace to 12th in his first season in charge last time out, and he looks well set to keep the Eagles soaring. Cheick Doucouré and Chris Richards have joined from Lens and Bayern Munich, respectively, to provide welcome reinforcement on the defensive side of things, and the ceiling of the current crop – led by Michael Olise and Marc Guéhi, among others, is high enough that Palace are capable of rising further still.

11) Wolves: Another goalscorer is needed at Molineux to boost an attack that found the net the fewest times of anyone outside the relegation zone last season. That need is now far more pressing with Raul Jimenez being out of the opening weeks of the season, but, thus far, striker came there none. The flip side is that they do still possess the same strong defence that conceded the fewest of anyone outside the top four last term, but it’s the fact Wolves look like they’ve stood still. If no further additions are made, I’m nervous about their chances of a top-half finish.

12) Brighton: The major issue for Brighton right now is the Yves Bissouma-shaped hole in their midfield after the 25-year-old joined Tottenham, and it’s been an unsettled pre-season for another of their valuable assets, left-back Marc Cucurella, for whom Manchester City are making no secret of their desire. The Seagulls should still be comfortable in mid-table, but even if they hold on to Cucurella, Graham Potter's side are still lacking the ready-made striker they need to improve their goalscoring output, and I can’t see them making much definitive progress this term.

13) Aston Villa: This season will be make or break for Steven Gerrard’s prospects as a top-flight manager. He undoubtedly improved Villa’s prospects after inheriting a struggling side last term, and utilised his extensive influence to secure some impressive signings in January, none more so than Philippe Coutinho. However, those signings did not come cheap, and he needs to prove he can deliver. Diego Carlos fills a need in defence, and Villa should be able to improve on last season’s 14th-place finish. Whether that will be enough for Gerrard, though, remains to be seen.

14) Everton: After last season’s flirting with the drop zone got far too hairy at times for Everton, they will be determined to never again repeat that battle. The squad is still lacking in quality and the club is hardly in what could be termed an overly healthy position, but the incoming transfers should give reason to be hopeful. James Tarkowski will help shore up the defence, while Dwight McNeil has raw talent that is there to be unearthed, a challenge that Frank Lampard will relish. The nightmares of last season should drive Everton closer to mid-table this time around.

15) Leeds: Similarly, the Whites had to fight until the final day to retain their Premier League status, and will be especially driven not to have to do so again. The soccer gags surrounding American head coach Jesse Marsch hit their expiry date when Leeds survived, demonstrating the 48-year-old’s pedigree. He does have a real challenge to contend with after losing his two best players in Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha, but one thing he can count upon will be several players returning from injury. Leeds might be a bit closer to the drop zone again than they’d really like, but I can’t see them ever being in real danger for any prolonged period.

16) Nottingham Forest: If you’d have told me that when I went to the City Ground last August to see a desperately poor Forest lose to Blackburn, that the hosts would be promoted, I'd have been too stunned to reply. Steve Cooper led an extraordinary ascent last season, but now his challenge is to keep Forest up. Acquiring Jesse Lingard shows they mean business, and there’s an enormous sense of positivity on the south bank of the River Trent right now, which, combined with their other solid-looking business and Cooper’s pedigree, means I think they might just surprise a few.

17) Southampton: Bear with me. Yes, I fully accept that this may appear a little low for the Saints, who have been competent and competitive members of the Premier League for a decade now, but they’ve been slipping closer and closer to the mire recently. Successive 15th-placed finishes for the last two seasons show that, and they’ve been relying on Ralph Hasenhüttl and James Ward-Prowse overperforming their respective roles. I think they’ll survive, but it will be much too close for comfort.

18) Brentford: It’s a similar issue of wondering where the goals will come from in Brentford’s second season in the Premier League. Signing Christian Eriksen in January was as important for the team as it was a feel-good story for the rest of us, with his creativity seeing Brentford lose just three of their last 11 as they spun a serious-looking decline on its head to ultimately finish a safe 13th. The Dane, however, has departed for Manchester United, which will seriously undermine the Bees’ ability to create scoring chances. They may be wearing the same home kit as last season, but I think their fortunes in it will be drastically different, and not for the better.

19) Bournemouth: I’d love to say that all three promoted sides will compete and put an end to the boing-boing of so many that we’ve seen in recent years, but unfortunately I think we’re in for more of the up-and-straight-back-down we’ve come to know. Bournemouth seem severely undercooked in attack, with their only out-and-out strikers being Dominic Solanke and Kieffer Moore. That duo hardly look likely to score with any regularity in the Premier League, so I can see it being a very tough second shot at the top flight for the Cherries.

20) Fulham: Rounding out the 20, we have the very epitome, perhaps alongside Norwich City, of the boing-boing team. This will be Fulham’s fifth season spent alternating between the top two divisions of English football, but unfortunately, I’m struggling to see how they successfully avoid making next year their sixth. Theirs is the opposite problem to Bournemouth, whereby their chances to score goals shouldn’t be in too short supply, especially with the intriguing signing of Andreas Pereira from Manchester United, but keeping them out will be harder. They could be in for a few routs from the heavyweights, and that will make staying up extremely tough.

There we have it! As ever, I'm always open to all of your comments, suggestions, queries, and feedback, about this and about my other posts, so please do get in touch using the form at the bottom of the homepage or through my social channels. You can like my Facebook here, and you can also follow me on Twitter here. Connecting with me through social media brings the benefit of being among the first to know when I post something new!

Signing off,