Manchester United: Not too long ago I wrote an article which described how United weren’t too far away from having a team to win the title. I thought, at the time, that they were short of two, maybe three, top players.

I have since revised my opinion. Whilst playing quite well recently they have relied on injuries to force through some of the promising youngsters. This is a sad indictment on the transfer windows where adequate players were not purchased. If van Gaal sees out the final year of his contract then they will again struggle to reach the top four.

If, however, they take the logical option and appoint Mourinho, then I would make them slight favourites to win it.

Manchester City: Should be a lot closer to winning the title than where they are now. Having said that, with the bonus of the Capital One Cup win, they could very easily go on an unbeaten run that still achieves their goal!

The only reason they may not win the title next season is because Pep Guardiola is brand new to the Premier League. Even this drawback will not be relevant if United don’t employ Mourinho. He is the one who can stop Guardiola because of his years of Premier League experience.

Based on this I would make City second favourites behind a Mourinho led United or favourites well in front of a van Gaal led United.

Chelsea: Similar to Manchester City they will have a new manager in place. If, as seems widely anticipated, the new man is Antonio Conte then he also arrives with no previous Premier League experience. This alone means that he may struggle in his first season as he comes to terms with the lack of breaks, the weather and the ferocity of the league.

Add to this the fact that he will be stepping down from the Italian national team which means that he will have to readjust to the day to day running of a club side. All of this makes it unlikely that he can deliver the title in his first season.

Chelsea fans will be hoping that I am wrong but I would make them third, or even fourth favourites for the crown.

Arsenal: The only thing that appeared to have changed with Arsenal this last season is that they appear to have reversed the way they do things. A lot was expected when they started the campaign so well because, as everybody knew only too well, they always finish the season in fine form! This feeling was magnified by the fact that Wenger had finally spent some real money when buying Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.

Unfortunately, Arsenal’s season began to slide with the defeat to Manchester United’s under-12’s and the fans will be hoping that they can get a result from their next game with Tottenham Hotspur. They will not win the title this year and, with Wenger still in charge, they will not win it next year either.

Unless changes are made at the Emirates I will be surprised if Arsenal are even in the top four next season!

Tottenham Hotspur: Mauriccio Pochettino has been quietly getting on with the job at White Hart Lane. He has managed to clear out all of the waste purchased with the Gareth Bale money and has made a couple of very shrewd signings. There is every possibility that Spurs will win the title this year!

That said then there is obviously no reason why they shouldn’t be challenging again next season. It will, however, be a lot more difficult. The previous clubs, with the exception of Arsenal, will have some of the best managers in the world and, although Pochettino is becoming one, he is not quite there yet. His Premier League experience may prove invaluable.

I would put Spurs down for third or fourth with the same caveat regarding United and van Gaal/Mourinho.

Liverpool: This one is the dark horse. Jurgen Klopp has had Liverpool playing brilliantly, badly, amateurishly and wonderfully well all in the space of a few months. He has had excellent wins and embarrassing losses, all of which have been achieved with a team which, at present, isn’t really his.

Assuming that he is given some money to spend in the Summer, I would expect a challenge for the top four, at least, next season. Again, he will start with the slight advantage of already having had some time managing in the Premier League and this should stand him in good stead.

So, Liverpool to make the top four along with Spurs, United and City. I am pretty sure that Arsenal will miss out and I’m not yet convinced that Antonio Conte is the right man for the job at Chelsea. If he is, then take Liverpool out of the top four and put Chelsea in there.

Sorry to all the Leicester City fans! I hope you win the league this season but I do have to be honest and I think that the success enjoyed by the club will be a one-season wonder.

After the ups and downs of this season, the next will, unfortunately in some ways, be a return to normality.

  1. Oladoke, Paul Olufemi says:

    I am not surprised by your post. Despite all that happened this season, the stubborn stance of Arsene Wenger to not buy any outfield player helped on by injuries, Arsenal FC is going ahead to make the top four and will continue to be there as long as Arsene is the manager. The naysayers have maintained this position for years and their predictions have never come through even so, your prediction of doom will not come to pass. You will be surprised. FEMI OLADOKE, Nigeria


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