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    Premier League Predictions

    Written by Antony Martin

    2015/16 Premier League - Impossible to Predict

    It has been a season so topsy turvy it makes the stratosphere roller-coaster in Las Vegas seem benign. Leicester at the top on Boxing day, Chelsea 15th, Watford 7th, and Man United 6th. No one could have predicted this at the halfway point. People do say the cream rises to the top however, so maybe the second half of the season will see the usual protagonists separate themselves from the pretenders. It was fantastic for the league to see a club like Leicester City sitting pretty at the top for a month or so. Unlike the other top European leagues we have 20 teams who can all beat each other on any given day. I do think however that one key factor will see Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham pull away from the chasing pack from January onwards, and that is strength in depth. Leicester have been extremely fortunate injury wise in the first half of the season. Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez have combined for 28 goals and 10 assists in 18 games. Those are incredible numbers. Numbers which make you wonder where they would be without them. Somewhere around mid-table i would guess. I would love to see Leicester stay in the top 4 but i think they will have a tremendous fight on their hands, especially if they lose either of their two stars to injury. What with Chelsea’s struggles, Liverpool’s inconsistency and Manchester United seemingly un-able to score goals, there is a great opportunity for someone to seize the financial goldmine that is 4th spot. Whether United keep Louis Van Gaal or dispense of him you would have to think at some point in the season, when all their injured players are back, they will put together a run that elevates them into the top 4. Liverpool just do not seem to have the focus required against the so-called smaller teams, and it is that mentality that will cost them in the long run. It’s all well and good beating Man City and Chelsea away from home, but it means nothing when you lose away at Watford, West Ham and draw at home to teams of West Brom and Southampton’s ilk. I think Liverpool will finish 6th, pushed closely by the likes of Stoke, Crystal Palace, West Ham and Everton. The battle for 5th and 4th will be nearly as intriguing as the one for the title. It will be between Leicester City and Manchester United in my opinion, and I fancy United to just pip the Foxes to the promised land of Champions League football. I think Leicester will start to fade away in the new year, with the pendulum beginning to shift in United’s favour around March/April time. The showdown between the two at Old Trafford at the end of April will be pivotal in the outcome and I fancy United to seize the initiative with home advantage and accelerate away from Leicester.

    This leaves the top three. Tottenham have been fantastic all season, with their only real problem being not having the cutting edge to win enough games, and dropping too many points with home draws. Harry Kane has proved he is not a one season wonder with 12 premier league goals. Mauricio Pochettino has developed a young squad, probably the fittest in the league, capable of matching any side on their day. They work tirelessly, with ferocious pressing high up the pitch forcing the opponent to lose the ball, wreaking havoc amongst defences and midfields alike. I have two major concerns for the this team in the title run in. Firstly, I am unsure if a team can keep up this level of intensity over a 38 game period. Pochettino teams in the past have fallen away in the latter stages of seasons. Look at Southampton in the 2013/14 season as an example. It maybe something that the manager could address, with a different style deployed in certain games  possibly benefitting the team in the latter stages. The second worry I have for Tottenham is the lack of winners they have in their side. No one really stands out in that first eleven as a perenial winner. Compare that to Man City with a Champions League winner in Yaya Toure and numerous Premier League title winners scattered throughout their squad. Then look at Arsenal, who have Champions League and 4 time Premier League winner Petr Cech, and two world cup winners in Mesut Ozil and Per Mertesacker. I think this Spurs squad will have to go at least another year or two, gaining experience along the way before they can mount a true title challenge. A fine season, however, will see them finish in 3rd.

    This leaves Manchester City and Arsenal battling it out for the title. I believe it will be an extremely tight race that will only be decided on the penultimate day of the season. Much like the Man United and Leicester battle for 4th and 5th, I think the title race will tilt in the Manchester clubs favour with City hosting Arsenal at the start of May. It will be neck and neck up until that point in my opinion, with both clubs separating themselves from Tottenham by a good 6-10 points. Ultimately I think Man City’s big game players will come through and win the game against Arsenal at the Etihad, which will take them clear at the top of the table. Although Arsenal have been better against the top four sides this year, victories over Man United and Man City at the Emirates testament to that, there will always be nagging doubts when they play against the big sides away from home. They just can’t seem to curb their attacking nature, with full-backs bombing forward, midfielders roaming freely and a lack of back-tracking from wingers and forward players. They have been caught out too many times in the past and history always has a way of repeating itself. With this in mind I am going for Man City to win the Premier League by 2-3 points. I have listed my final predictions below. I will do a follow up article in May and wouldn’t it be typical  of this roller-coaster of a season if Wes Morgan is holding aloft the Premier League crown.

    1. Man City
    2. Arsenal
    3. Tottenham
    4. Man United
    5. Leicester City
    6. Liverpool
    7. Stoke City
    8. Crystal Palace
    9. Everton
    10. West Ham
    11. Chelsea
    12. Southampton
    13. Watford
    14. West Brom
    15. Newcastle United
    16. Swansea City
    17. Bournemouth
    18. Norwich City
    19. Sunderland
    20. Aston Villa 
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    Item Reviewed: Premier League Predictions Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Antony Martin
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