Chris Sutton’s Premier League predictions: Manchester City to retain title, Chelsea to miss out on top four AGAIN, and all three newly promoted sides to go down


The Premier League is back – and we at Mail Sport couldn’t be more excited.

At 8pm on Friday night, two title winners will open the new campaign as last season’s Championship winners, Burnley, host Treble heroes Manchester City. 

Over the summer we’ve seen Saudi Arabian clubs pluck some of the game’s finest talent from our top clubs. Gone is Riyad Mahrez. Goodbye Jordan Henderson. So long, N’Golo Kante, and thanks for the memories. 

We’ve also seen some of the world’s hottest talent land on English shores: Josko Gvardiol to Manchester City, Jurrien Timber to Arsenal, Christopher Nkunku to Chelsea… only to suffer a long-term injury. Ouch. 

There are still so many questions to answer. Will Brighton be able to follow up their feats of last year now they’re in Europe? Can Mauricio Pochettino inspire Chelsea back into title contention? And how will minnows Luton fare in their maiden Premier League voyage? 

We asked Chris Sutton to try and provide the answers, so enjoy his definitive predictions for the upcoming season, packed with key details and big opinions on all 20 clubs.  

ARSENAL

WHO’S IN CHARGE? 

Mikel Arteta – after spending 248 days on top of the Premier League last season, Arteta has upgraded his squad over the summer, with Kai Havertz and Co, in the hope of leading the way again. 

KEY PLAYER

Martin Odegaard – Bukayo Saka is a wizard on the right and Gabriel Martinelli is direct on the left, but Odegaard, wearing the captain’s armband, stitches everything together in between.

Martin Odegaard, wearing the captain’s armband, stitches everything together for Arsenal

Martin Odegaard, wearing the captain’s armband, stitches everything together for Arsenal

SUTTON’S VERDICT 

Arsenal fans may want to blast me out of their cannon for this, but I am still not convinced your club is ready to be Premier League champions. 

Everybody is excited by the £105million signing of Declan Rice, and I get that he will enhance their midfield, but is it enough to overtake Manchester City? I cannot see that happening.

Finishing in the top four remains Arsenal’s top priority, in my mind. They sprinted into a strong start — winning nine of their first 10 league fixtures — but they lost the marathon to a poor finish. Let’s see where Arsenal are in the table when they host City on October 7.

MAJOR INS

D Rice (West Ham, £105m); K Havertz (Chelsea, £65m); J Timber (Ajax, £40m)

MAJOR OUTS

G Xhaka (Bayer Leverkusen, £21.4m); M Turner (Nottm Forest, £10m); P Mari (Monza, £6m); A Trusty (Sheff Utd, £5m); A Maitland-Niles (released)

LAST SEASON: 2nd 

SUTTON PREDICTS: 2nd 

ASTON VILLA

WHO’S IN CHARGE?

Unai Emery – If anyone can guide Villa through the trickiness of competing in Europe as well as domestically, it is Emery — the four-time winner of the Europa League with Sevilla and Villarreal. 

KEY PLAYER

Emiliano Martinez – It is a good sign that Martinez stayed instead of leaving for a Champions League club. The World Cup-winning goalkeeper must think he can win trophies at Villa. 

World Cup-winning goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez must think he can win trophies at Villa

World Cup-winning goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez must think he can win trophies at Villa

SUTTON’S VERDICT

Thursdays are suddenly very interesting for Villa. They are set for the Europa Conference League, so long as they win their two-legged play-off at the end of August, and will be dreaming of doing what West Ham did last season. 

But like the Hammers, I wonder how the Villans will cope with juggling the Premier League and Europe. Finishing in the top seven again will be tough but Villa have bought well. I am looking forward to seeing Moussa Diaby, their £50m lightning winger, while Villarreal’s Pau Torres and Leicester’s Youri Tielemans are smart signings.

MAJOR INS

M Diaby (Bayer Leverkusen, £50m); P Torres (Villarreal, £33m); Y Tielemans (Leicester, free); R Richards (West Brom, free)

MAJOR OUTS

M Nakamba (Luton, undisclosed); M Sanson (Nice, loan); A Young (Everton, free); Wesley (Stoke, free); J Steer (released)

LAST SEASON: 7th 

SUTTON PREDICTS: 8th

BOURNEMOUTH

WHO’S IN CHARGE?

Andoni Iraola – I thought Gary O’Neil’s sacking was harsh but Bournemouth have brought in an attacking replacement whose style of play was influenced from time under his old boss, Marcelo Bielsa. 

KEY PLAYER

Dominic Solanke – Solanke has shown promise in the past but then fallen away. He was a big part of Bournemouth retaining their Premier League status and should remain their star man.

Dominic Solanke was a big part of Bournemouth retaining their Premier League status and should remain their star man

Dominic Solanke was a big part of Bournemouth retaining their Premier League status and should remain their star man

SUTTON’S VERDICT:

I like it when a new manager arrives in the Premier League with a reputation and Andoni Iraola is known for rock ’n’ roll football. With Rayo Vallecano, he got them promoted to La Liga and then secured back-to-back top-12 finishes despite having one of the division’s smallest budgets.

Bournemouth will be brave under Iraola and it will either work beautifully or fail miserably. They have quietly gone about some good business this summer, such as Alex Scott and Justin Kluivert.

MAJOR INS

A Scott (Bristol City, £25m); H Traore (Sassuolo, £20m); M Kerkez (AZ Alkmaar, £15.5m); R Faivre (Lyon, £12.8m); J Kluivert (Roma, £10.2m); I Radu (Inter Milan, loan)

MAJOR OUTS

B Pearson (Stoke, undisclosed); C Saydee (Portsmouth, undisclosed) S Dembele (Birmingham, undisclosed); R Faivre (Lorient, loan); M Travers (Stoke, loan); W Dennis (Kilmarnock, loan); J Lerma (C Palace, free); J Zemura (Udinese, free); J Stanislas (released); J Stacey (Norwich, free)

LAST SEASON: 15th 

SUTTON PREDICTS: 13th 

BRENTFORD

WHO’S IN CHARGE?

Thomas Frank – An exceptional coach who realises the Brentford Community Stadium is a fortress but, given the circumstances, bettering last season’s ninth-placed finish will be challenging. 

KEY PLAYER

Bryan Mbeumo – The pressure is on Mbeumo, who scored nine league goals last season, so that Brentford are in a healthy position by the time Toney comes back after Christmas. 

The pressure is on Bryan Mbeumo to score enough so that Brentford are in a healthy position by the time Ivan Toney comes back after Christmas

The pressure is on Bryan Mbeumo to score enough so that Brentford are in a healthy position by the time Ivan Toney comes back after Christmas

SUTTON’S VERDICT 

How will Brentford cope without Ivan Toney? Only Erling Haaland and Harry Kane scored more than Toney’s 20 Premier League goals last season, but he is banned until January. The good news is Toney missed the last three games of 2022-23 because of that ban and they won them all — 2-0 against West Ham, 3-1 at Tottenham, 1-0 against Manchester City. 

Yoane Wissa, Bryan Mbeumo and Kevin Schade must step up in Toney’s absence. This is Brentford’s third season in the Premier League. They have gone from strength to strength since promotion but this will be their toughest test yet.

MAJOR INS

N Collins (Wolves, £23m); K Schade (Freiburg, £22m); M Flekken (Freiburg, £11m); Kim Ji-soo (Seongnam, £500k)

MAJOR OUTS

M Bistrup (RB Salzburg, £5m); H Dervisoglu (Galatasaray, £450k); P Jansson (Malmo, free); J Valencia (Zaglebie Sosnowiec, free); M Cox (Bristol Rovers, loan); F Stevens (Oxford Utd, loan); R Trevitt (Exeter, loan); T Fosu (released); S Ghoddos (released)

LAST SEASON: 9th

SUTTON PREDICTS: 10th

Brighton 

WHO’S IN CHARGE?

Roberto de Zerbi – Brighton lost Graham Potter at the start of last season and yet only got better. That was down to De Zerbi, who has been a great addition to the Premier League.

KEY PLAYER:

Kaoru Mitoma – They did it again! Brighton discovered yet another diamond in Mitoma, their £2.5m winger who wrote his university thesis back home on the art of dribbling. 

Brighton discovered yet another diamond in Kaoru Mitoma, their £2.5m winger who wrote his university thesis back home on the art of dribbling

Brighton discovered yet another diamond in Kaoru Mitoma, their £2.5m winger who wrote his university thesis back home on the art of dribbling

SUTTON’S VERDICT: 

No offence to Manchester City, but Brighton were my favourite team to watch last season. Playing in Europe without Alexis Mac Allister and Levi Colwill will be difficult and it will be interesting to see if opponents have figured out how to get the better of them. 

Everton refused to press high and Sean Dyche’s side won 5-1 when they visited the Amex Stadium in May. But Arsenal played into their hands by pressing high in the next game and Mikel Arteta’s team lost 3-0. De Zerbi will hope teams try to take them on.

MAJOR INS

J Pedro (Watford, £30m); B Verbruggen (Anderlecht, £16.3m); Igor (Fiorentina, £14.5m); J Milner (Liverpool, free); M Dahoud (Borussia Dortmund, free)

MAJOR OUTS

A Mac Allister (Liverpool, £35m); R Sanchez (Chelsea, £25m); M Karbownik (Hertha Berlin, £2.3m); R Khadra (Reims, £1.6m); A Connolly (Hull, £1.2m); T Richards (QPR, undisclosed); J Sarmiento (West Brom, loan); D Undav (Stuttgart, loan); A Sima (Rangers, loan); K Scherpen (Sturm Graz, loan); E Turns (L Orient, loan); C Rushworth (Swansea, loan); H Roberts (Bristol City, free)

LAST SEASON: 6th

SUTTON PREDICTS: 9th

IT’S ALL KICKING OFF! 

It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football, launching with a preview show today and every week this season.

It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube , Apple Music and Spotify

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BURNLEY 

WHO’S IN CHARGE: 

Vincent Kompany – Kompany tore up the Championship. The Premier League is so much more difficult for coaches to crack but I am looking forward to seeing what he can conjure up. 

KEY PLAYER: 

Josh Cullen – Kompany brought Cullen with him from Anderlecht to Burnley and he played a major role in their midfield last season. He has got another big part to play in the Premier League. 

Josh Cullen played a major role in midfield as Burnley won the Championship and has got another big part to play in the Premier League

Josh Cullen played a major role in midfield as Burnley won the Championship and has got another big part to play in the Premier League

SUTTON’S VERDICT: 

Burnley were brilliant in the Championship with their expansive brand of football. Vincent Kompany showed his managerial skillset with Craig Bellamy by his side.

The question is, can they play that way in the Premier League? When they faced Manchester City in the FA Cup quarter-finals last season, they lost 6-0, remember. But something tells me Kompany will insist his team stick to their attacking ways. Burnley’s start is so crucial, although they do face City first!

MAJOR INS

J Trafford (Man City, £19m); Z Amdouni (Basle, £16m); S Berge (Sheff Utd, £12m); J Beyer (Borussia M’gladbach, £13m); D O’Shea (West Brom, £7m); M Obafemi (Swansea, £3.5m); L Vigouroux (L Orient, free); J Bruun Larsen (Hoffenheim, free) N Redmond (Besiktas, free)

MAJOR OUTS

B Thomas (Coventry, £2m); W Weghorst (Hoffenheim, loan); B Peacock-Farrell (Aarhus, loan); A Barnes (Norwich, free); M Lowton (released)

LAST SEASON: 1st in the Championship

SUTTON PREDICTS: 18th 

Chelsea 

WHO’S IN CHARGE?

Mauricio Pochettino – Pochettino galvanised the group at Tottenham but even this motivational manager may struggle to piece together a broken Chelsea. At least he will try to deliver attractive football. 

KEY PLAYER

Enzo Fernandez – Chelsea need Fernandez to show his value. There will be huge pressure on him to be the £106.8m midfielder he is, having shown signs of his passing range after joining from Benfica in January.

Chelsea need Fernandez to show his value. There will be huge pressure on him to be the £106.8m midfielder he is

Chelsea need Fernandez to show his value. There will be huge pressure on him to be the £106.8m midfielder he is

SUTTON’S VERDICT

It did not work out well for the last forward that Chelsea signed called Chris! Now the club have spent £53m on Christopher Nkunku… and he needs knee surgery.

For all their expenditure, Chelsea finished 12th last season. When Chelsea finished 10th in 2015-16, Antonio Conte made them champions in 2016-17. I like Mauricio Pochettino but cannot see him doing that. With N’Golo Kante, Mason Mount and more gone, they are scrapping for fourth.

MAJOR INS

C Nkunku (RB Leipzig, £53m); A Disasi (Monaco, £38m); N Jackson (Villarreal, £32m), R Sanchez (Brighton, £25m); L Ugochukwu (Rennes, £23.8m)

MAJOR OUTS

K Havertz (Arsenal, £65m); M Mount (Man Utd, £55m); M Kovacic (Man City, £30m); K Koulibaly (Al Hilal, £20m); C Pulisic (AC Milan, £18.8m); R Loftus-Cheek (AC Milan, £18.5m); E Mendy (Al Ahli, £16m); E Ampadu (Leeds, £7m); N Kante (Al Ittihad, free); C Azpilicueta (Atletico Madrid, free); P-E Aubameyang (Marseille, free); B Rahman (PAOK, loan)

LAST SEASON: 12th

SUTTON PREDICTS: 5th

CRYSTAL PALACE

WHO’S IN CHARGE?

Roy Hodgson – Happy birthday to my old boss! Hodgson turned 76 on the eve of this season and the Premier League’s oldest manager simply cannot escape the itch to be in the dugout. 

KEY PLAYER

Michael Olise – Chelsea have been linked with the 21-year-old over the summer — with rumours of a £35m release clause — but he is surely worth far more than that to Palace.

Chelsea are linked with Michael Olise but he is worth more than his £35m release clause

Chelsea are linked with Michael Olise but he is worth more than his £35m release clause

SUTTON’S VERDICT

Palace have lost Wilfried Zaha to Galatasaray, so for the first time in almost a decade they have to make do without their go-to guy. But Hodgson has stayed after extending his contract by another season. 

We know how Palace will play under Hodgson. They will be resilient and reliant on Michael Olise and Eberechi Eze stepping up to show their individual brilliance. Olise, 21, and Eze, 25, were outstanding last term but I do think Palace will feel the loss of Zaha. I am predicting they will survive but they may spend some of this season too close to the relegation zone for comfort. 

MAJOR INS

M Franca (Flamengo £17.2m); J Lerma (Bournemouth, free)

MAJOR OUTS

J Butland (Rangers, free); J McArthur (released); L Milivojevic (Al Ahli UAE, free); W Zaha (Galatasaray, free); L Plange (Carlisle, loan); J McArthur (retired)

LAST SEASON: 11th

SUTTON PREDICTS: 16th

EVERTON

WHO’S IN CHARGE?

Sean Dyche – Dyche took over from Frank Lampard in January last season and though they cut it close, his organisational skills helped Everton survive. Now for his first full season in the hot seat. 

KEY PLAYER

Dominic Calvert-Lewin – Calvert-Lewin is the key. In the last two Premier League seasons, he’s made 17 appearances apiece. If he can play 30-plus games this term, Everton should stay up.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin is the key. In the last two Premier League seasons, he’s made 17 appearances apiece. If he can play 30-plus games this term, Everton should stay up

Dominic Calvert-Lewin is the key. In the last two Premier League seasons, he’s made 17 appearances apiece. If he can play 30-plus games this term, Everton should stay up

SUTTON’S VERDICT:

If Dominic Calvert-Lewin can stay fit — and that is a big if, because of his tendency to break down — then Everton should survive comfortably. Dyche will have spent the summer trying to get them organised after finishing 17th.

One of his signings is Ashley Young. While a 38-year-old full back may seem a surprising addition, Dyche wanted the reliability of someone proven in the Premier League. Everton fans may have to continue to grin and bear it for now because I cannot see this club being a quick fix. The good news is that I’ve got you finishing 14th in my predictions!

MAJOR INS

A Young (Aston Villa, free); A Danjuma (Villarreal, loan)

MAJOR OUTS

E Simms (Coventry, £8m); I Samuels-Smith (Chelsea, £4m); N Nkounkou (Saint-Etienne, £1.7m); A Townsend (released); T Davies (released); Y Mina (Fiorentina, free); A Begovic (QPR, free)

LAST SEASON: 17th

SUTTON PREDICTS: 14th

FULHAM

WHO’S IN CHARGE?

Marco Silva – He turned down two lucrative approaches from Saudi Arabia to leave, which was admirable. Fulham must be thrilled Silva agreed to stay because he is so good at organising this team.

KEY PLAYER 

Andreas Pereira – In other circumstances, I might have said Mitrovic. But I’m plumping for Pereira as Fulham’s main man after a seemingly swift recovery from ankle surgery at the end of last season.

I’m saying Pereira as Fulham’s main man after a seemingly swift recovery from ankle surgery

I’m saying Pereira as Fulham’s main man after a seemingly swift recovery from ankle surgery

SUTTON’S VERICT

I’d ask Fulham supporters, ‘How was your summer?’ but I suspect I know the answer. What a saga it’s been with Saudi Arabia throwing their bags of riyals at your biggest commodities — your masterful manager, your star striker and your wily winger. Marco Silva, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Willian were being lured by the Saudi riches when Fulham’s focus needed to be on the new season. 

Who knows what will happen between now and when the transfer window closes on September 1. It’s been a big headache which the club did not need. At least the Joao Palhinha saga didn’t last long… albeit he injured his shoulder in pre-season.

MAJOR INS

C Bassey (Ajax, £18.2m); R Jimenez (Wolves, £5m)

MAJOR OUTS

S Duffy (Nowich, free); P Gazzaniga (Girona, free); N Kebano (Al Jazira, free); J Bryan (Milwall, free); S Sessegnon (released); I Cavaleiro (Lille)

LAST SEASON: 10th

SUTTON PREDICTS: 11th 

LIVERPOOL

WHO’S IN CHARGE?

Jurgen Klopp – Klopp is not used to poor seasons like the one Liverpool endured last year. Sometimes his passion overspilled into abusing officials. Less of that, please, Jurgen, and more winning.

KEY PLAYER

Virgil van Dijk – Van Dijk wasn’t at his best last season — Liverpool conceded 47 goals, their most since 2015-16 — but Klopp needs his star defender and new captain if they want to win silverware.

Van Dijk wasn’t at his best last season — Liverpool conceded 47 goals, their most since 2015-16 — but Klopp needs his star defender and new captain if they want to win silverware

Van Dijk wasn’t at his best last season — Liverpool conceded 47 goals, their most since 2015-16 — but Klopp needs his star defender and new captain if they want to win silverware 

SUTTON’S VERDICT

I suspect we will see Liverpool bounce back this season. I’m not saying they will challenge Manchester City for the title, but I cannot see them underperforming to the extent they did last year. 

We’ve been highlighting Liverpool’s midfield as an issue for a while and they’ve finally addressed that with Dominik Szoboszlai for £60m and Alexis Mac Allister for £35m. Trent Alexander-Arnold has been used in midfield in pre-season, too, which is intriguing. Liverpool have the tools to improve this term.

MAJOR INS

D Szoboszlai (RB Leipzig, £60m); A Mac Allister (Brighton, £35m)

MAJOR OUTS

Fabinho (Al Ittihad, £40m); J Henderson (Al Ettifaq, £12m); S Van den Berg (Mainz, loan); F Carvalho (RB Leipzig, loan); J Milner (Brighton, free); N Keita (Werder Bremen, free); R Firmino (Al Ahli, free); C Ramsay (Preston, loan); R Williams (Aberdeen, loan); A Oxlade-Chamberlain (released)

LAST SEASON: 5th

SUTTON PREDICTS: 4th 

LUTON 

WHO’S IN CHARGE?

Rob Edwards – Luton’s is a miraculous story, though Edwards knows it will take another miracle for them to survive. He will make sure they give it a good go against English football’s big boys. 

KEY PLAYER 

Carlton Morris – Luton’s top scorer last season. His was a long journey to the Premier League — via spells in League Two, League One, the Championship and Scottish Premiership — but now he’s here. 

Carlton Morris was Luton's top scorer last year and his journey to the top flight has been long

Carlton Morris was Luton’s top scorer last year and his journey to the top flight has been long

SUTTON’S VERDICT

I remember playing at Kenilworth Road in my youth. They had that dreaded plastic pitch and you would leave with third-degree burns if you dared slide on it. But I love going back to Luton and cannot wait to see them in the Premier League. 

I’ve spoken to a few fans and they are realistic enough. They are ready to enjoy the ride, whatever happens. Luton will try to be disruptive, bloody a few noses, nab some wins, accept a few beatings, and hope that they aren’t 20th by the end of the season.

MAJOR INS

R Giles (Wolves, £5m); T Chong (Birmingham, £4m); M Andersen (Barnsley, £3m); M Nakamba (Aston Villa, £2.5m); T Kaminski (Blackburn, £2.5m); J Brown (Stoke, undisclosed); C Ogbene (Rotherham, free); R Barkley (Chelsea, free); I Kabore (Man City, loan)

MAJOR OUTS

C Mendes (Bolton, undisclosed); S Bradley (Derby, free); H Isted (Charlton, free); J Walton (Dundee Utd, loan); F Onyedinma (Rotherham, loan); E Thorpe (Shrewsbury, loan); J Taylor (Colchester, loan); H Lansbury (released)

LAST SEASON: 3rd in the Championship, promoted via play-offs 

SUTTON PREDICTS: 20th 

MANCHESTER CITY

WHO’S IN CHARGE?

Pep Guardiola – What tactical innovation will he spring on us next? Guardiola is the game’s greatest thinker, as evidenced by John Stones’ transformation from a defender into a midfielder last season. 

KEY PLAYER 

Erling Haaland – Who else? Anything less than 30 goals this season will be viewed as a disappointment. Defenders may as well be given a blindfold and cigarette when lining up against him. 

Defenders may as well be given a blindfold and cigarette when lining up against Erling Haaland

Defenders may as well be given a blindfold and cigarette when lining up against Erling Haaland

SUTTON’S VERDICT

My Premier League predictions say a sixth title in seven seasons is on the way for Manchester City because this is a runaway train that does not look like being derailed anytime soon. 

City have hardly stormed the summer’s transfer window. They didn’t need to. They’re so talented, you would not be surprised if a potential Invincibles season is being discussed by Christmas. With Erling Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne and Co, this is City’s title to lose before a ball has even been kicked and we all know it.

MAJOR INS

J Gvardiol (RB Leipzig, £77m); M Kovacic (Chelsea, £25m)

MAJOR OUTS

R Mahrez (Al Ahli, £30m); J Trafford (Burnley, £19m); S Charles (Southampton, £15m); Y Herrera (Girona, £4.3m); I Kabore (Luton, loan); J Wilson-Esbrand (Reims, loan); J McNamara (Southampton, undisclosed); I Gundogan (Barcelona, free); B Mendy (Lorient, free)

LAST SEASON: 1st

SUTTON PREDICTS: 1st 

MANCHESTER UNITED

WHO’S IN CHARGE?

Erik ten Hag – Ten Hag is trying to piece together a team that reflects his philosophy and that has included bringing in a goalkeeper who is much better than David de Gea at using his feet.

KEY PLAYER 

Bruno Fernandes – Fernandes won the captain’s armband but I’m still not sure he has the right temperament for that role. Time will tell if it matures him. Fewer tantrums, more leadership, please, Bruno. 

Bruno Fernandes won the captain’s armband but I’m still not sure he has the right temperament for that role. Time will tell if it matures him

Bruno Fernandes won the captain’s armband but I’m still not sure he has the right temperament for that role. Time will tell if it matures him

SUTTON’S VERDICT: 

I cannot understand why Manchester United did not go all out for Harry Kane. If they wanted to challenge for the Premier League, they needed that ruthless finisher, that guarantor of goals, that focal point. United were the lowest scorers of last season’s top six. Bayern Munich and PSG’s sniffing around in the summer told us that Tottenham’s striker was available, albeit at a steep price. 

That was an opportunity missed by United, who instead snapped up Mason Mount for £55m and Andre Onana for £47.2m before trying for a striker whose name is not Kane — and has a back injury!

MAJOR INS

R Hojlund (Atalanta, £72m); M Mount (Chelsea, £60m); A Onana (Inter Milan, £43m); J Evans (Leicester, free)

MAJOR OUTS

A Elanga (Nottingham Forest, £15m); A Telles (Al Nassr, £4m); Z Iqbal (Utrecht, £800k); D De Gea (released); P Jones (released); A Tuanzebe (released)

LAST SEASON: 3rd

SUTTON PREDICTS: 3rd

NEWCASTLE UNITED 

WHO’S IN CHARGE?

Eddie Howe – Nice guy Eddie has worked wonders. Newcastle’s style of play was not only effective, it was entertaining, but Howe will realise expectations are rising after last year’s achievements.

KEY PLAYER

Bruno Guimaraes – Guimaraes was a game-changer as a signing. He rocked up looking like a Champions League player and now he is one with Newcastle. Tie him down to a new deal now!

Bruno Guimaraes was a game-changer as a signing. He rocked up looking like a Champions League player and now he is one with Newcastle

Bruno Guimaraes was a game-changer as a signing. He rocked up looking like a Champions League player and now he is one with Newcastle

SUTTON’S VERDICT

As well as Newcastle, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund own Al Hilal, the club that bid £259m for Kylian Mbappe. When Newcastle were taken over, we thought they would use their wealth to target superstars. But their work in the transfer market has been steady. Sandro Tonali from AC Milan is a smart signing at £52m, as is Leicester’s Harvey Barnes for £39m. 

Newcastle finished fourth last season. I certainly didn’t expect so much so soon. Now they’ve got Champions League nights returning to St James’ Park and it is great to see a huge club back on Europe’s grandest stage.

MAJOR INS

S Tonali (AC Milan, £52m); H Barnes (Leicester, £39m); T Livramento (Southampton, £30m); Y Minteh (Odense, £6.9m)

MAJOR OUTS

A Saint-Maximin (Al Ahli, £23.4m); C Wood (Nottm Forest, £15m), K Darlow (Leeds, £300k); J Lewis (Watford, loan); Y Minteh (Feyenoord, loan); H Ashby (Swansea, loan); G Kuol (Volendam, loan); K Watts (Wigan, loan); M Longstaff (released); C Clark (released)

LAST SEASON: 4th

SUTTON PREDICTS: 6th 

NOTTINGHAM FOREST

WHO’S IN CHARGE?

Steve Cooper – Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis has a reputation for being a hothead but it is to his credit that he did not pull the plug on Cooper when others might have.

KEY PLAYER 

Morgan Gibbs-White – Eyebrows were raised when Forest paid £42.5m for him but he showed his worth towards the end of last season with his excellent displays. More of those are needed.

Eyebrows were raised when Forest paid £42.5m for him but he showed his worth

Eyebrows were raised when Forest paid £42.5m for him but he showed his worth

SUTTON’S VERDICT

The City Ground was a fortress for Forest last season. Away, they were the division’s worst team. But at home, they gave themselves a fighting chance of staying up. Forest held their nerve in the relegation run-in, securing two home wins and two away draws to finish 16th.

It will not be easy to survive a second time but if they show the same spirit as last season, I don’t see why they can’t do it again. At least Steve Cooper hasn’t got an army of new signings to try to gel this time around.

MAJOR INS

C Wood (Newcastle, £15m); A Elanga (Man Utd, £15m); M Turner (Arsenal, £10m): M Norkett (Man Utd, free); O Aina (Torino, free)

MAJOR OUTS

S Surridge (Nashville, £5m); Cafu (Rotherham, free); J Smith (Stockport, free); J Colback (QPR, free); B Ojeda (Real Salt Lake, free); R Laryea (Vancouver, loan); J Bowler (Cardiff, loan); J Lingard (released); L Taylor (released); A Kanuric (released); A Ayew (released)

LAST SEASON: 16th

SUTTON PREDICTS: 15th

 SHEFFIELD UNITED

 WHO’S IN CHARGE?

Paul Heckingbottom – Since going from the Under 23s to the first team, Heckingbottom has been fantastic, largely trusting a 3-5-2 system which he hopes will make them defensively sound.

KEY PLAYER

Oli McBurnie – I would have named Iliman Ndiaye but last season’s top scorer is now a Marseille player after the newly promoted club reluctantly accepted £20m for him in the summer. Over to you, then, McBurnie! 

Oli McBurnie must deliver after Sheffield United sold their top scorer, Iliman Ndiaye

Oli McBurnie must deliver after Sheffield United sold their top scorer, Iliman Ndiaye

SUTTON’S VERDICT

Sheffield United bullied their way out of the Championship with an aggressive style of play and Heckingbottom deserves great credit for getting them up comfortably in the end. They will be a physical match for any Premier League team and will try to make themselves difficult to beat, particularly at Bramall Lane. 

Manchester City loanee James McAtee is no longer at the club, which is a loss. You don’t earn a nickname like the ‘Salford Silva’ for nothing. United stayed up the last time they were promoted. But can they do it again? I’m not so sure.

MAJOR INS

A Trusty (Arsenal, £5m); B Traore (Hacken, £4m); A Slimane (Brondby, £2.3m); V Souza (Lommel, undisclosed); Y Larouci (Troyes, loan)

MAJOR OUTS

I Ndiaye (Marseille, £20m); E Stevens (Stoke, free); J Eastwood (Grimsby, free); K Gordon (released); B Sharp (released); J O’Connell (released)

LAST SEASON: 2nd in the Championship

SUTTON PREDICTS: 19th 

TOTTENHAM

WHO’S IN CHARGE?

Ange Postecoglou – The Harry Kane saga was a sorry one for Postecoglou to inherit. But whoever starts up front for Tottenham, an abundance of chances will be created for him, thanks to the style of play.

KEY PLAYER

Son Heung-Min – With King Kane set to leave London, royal succession tells us the Son is next in line to the throne. He will need to help make up for the goals they are losing. 

With King Kane set to leave London, royal succession tells us the Son is next in line to the throne. He will need to help make up for the goals lost if Kane leaves

With King Kane set to leave London, royal succession tells us the Son is next in line to the throne. He will need to help make up for the goals lost if Kane leaves

SUTTON’S VERDICT

With or without Harry Kane, Ange Postecoglou’s philosophy is to pepper teams. That was never going to change, whatever happened. The Kane situation will dominate narratives but in truth, Postecoglou would like his best players to be his centre backs. That’s because they need to be capable of clearing up any danger when opponents take back the ball and counter. 

I’m not sure if any of the Tottenham defenders Big Ange inherited meet his standards. In Scotland, when teams countered Celtic, they didn’t have the quality to hurt them. In England it will be different, so this will be interesting to watch.

MAJOR INS

J Maddison (Leicester, £45m); M Van de Ven (Wolfsburg, £34m); G Vicario (Empoli, £17m); A Veliz (Rosario, £13m); A Phillips (Blackburn, £2m); M Solomon (Fulham, free)

MAJOR OUTS

H Winks (Leicester, £10m); L Moura (Sao Paulo, free)

LAST SEASON: 8th

SUTTON PREDICTS: 7th

WEST HAM UNITED 

WHO’S IN CHARGE?

David Moyes – All the ‘Moyes Out’ advocates should take a look at the fantastic three years he’s given them since returning. The board’s patience was rewarded with that European triumph in Prague.

KEY PLAYER

Lucas Paqueta – Paqueta knows what the Premier League is about now. He is a superb playmaker, hence Man City’s interest, and I expect even better performances from him this season.

Lucas Paqueta knows what the Premier League is about now. He is a superb playmaker

Lucas Paqueta knows what the Premier League is about now. He is a superb playmaker

SUTTON’S VERDICT

They were the last Premier League club to make a signing, despite being linked with every midfielder who’s ever pulled on a pair of boots after selling Declan Rice for £105m. How West Ham cope without their club captain will be interesting to watch. 

David Moyes overachieved when he came back to the club with sixth and seventh-placed finishes. Last season was a struggle in the Premier League but they won the Europa Conference League, their first trophy since 1980. Moyes will desperately want his team to avoid another scrap for survival. The pressure on him last year was intense.

MAJOR INS

E Alvarez (Ajax, £34m); S Moore (Cliftonville, undisclosed)

MAJOR OUTS

D Rice (Arsenal, £105m); G Scamacca (Atalanta, £22m); N Vlasic (Torino, £11m); A Masuaku (Besiktas, £1.7m); M Lanzini (River Plate, free)

LAST SEASON: 14th

SUTTON PREDICTS: 12th 

WOLVES 

WHO’S IN CHARGE? 

Gary O’Neil – Julen Lopetegui was not a happy chappy in pre-season and now he has jumped a sinking ship. Wolves survived last season, but O’Neil faces one hell of a fight.

KEY PLAYER

Jose Sa – If Wolves endure another goal-shy season, then Sa’s ability to stop the shots flying his way will be key to them staying up. It feels like it is going to be a long old season. 

If Wolves endure another goal-shy season, then Sa’s ability to stop the shots flying his way will be key to them staying up

If Wolves endure another goal-shy season, then Sa’s ability to stop the shots flying his way will be key to them staying up

SUTTON’S VERDICT

The Premier League’s lowest scorers last season have lost Ruben Neves to Al Hilal. That’s the heartbeat of the team now plying his trade in Saudi Arabia. As if it could not get any worse, they then lost their manager with only three days to go until the start of the new season. Lopetegui voiced his dissatisfaction about their summer business, or lack thereof, and then departed. 

This is clearly a club in crisis and you have to worry about Wolves. They’ll have no Neves, no Lopetegui, no Raul Jimenez, no Joao Moutinho and so on. No hope? We’ll soon see.

MAJOR INS

M Cunha (A Madrid, £44m); B Traore (Metz, £9.5m); T King (Northampton Town, free); M Doherty (A Madrid, free)

MAJOR OUTS

R Neves (Al Hilal, £47m); N Collins (Brentford, £23m); C Coady (Leicester, £7.5m); R Jimenez (Fulham, £5m); R Giles (Luton, £5m); H Kawabe (Standard Liege, £1m); M Sarkic (Millwall, £1m); D Sanderson (Birmingham, undisclosed); D Costa (released); J Moutinho (released); L Matheson (released); A Traore (released); K-J Hoever (Stoke, loan)

LAST SEASON: 13th

SUTTON PREDICTS: 17th 



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