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  • Writer's pictureJoe Murray

EARLY PREDICTIONS: Premier League 2023/24

In the unpredictable world of English football, surprises and unexpected outcomes are always around the corner. The 2022/23 Premier League season provided its fair share of shocks, particularly in the form of surprising relegations. Leicester City, Leeds United, and Southampton all experienced an uncharacteristic drop from the top flight, creating a rare moment where none of the three promoted teams suffered relegation. As we eagerly anticipate the upcoming 2023/24 season, it's time to delve into the intriguing world of predictions once again. This article aims to explore and forecast the potential relegation candidates, the teams vying for European spots, and the front-runners for the coveted Premier League title. Let the speculation begin as we analyse the prospects and fortunes of the clubs involved.

Among the teams under scrutiny are Leeds United, Sheffield United, and Everton, who are seen as the main candidates for the dreaded drop to the Championship.

Luton's promotion was secured through a hard-fought playoff final victory against Coventry City, demonstrating their resilience and determination. Yet, the step up in quality between the Championship and the Premier League is substantial, and many pundits and fans alike question whether Luton's current squad possesses the necessary attributes to compete at the highest level. One of the primary concerns for Luton is the lack of Premier League experience within their ranks. The top flight demands a different level of skill, pace, and tactical awareness, and without players who have previously thrived in such an environment, Luton may find themselves at a disadvantage. Thus, acquiring individuals who have proven themselves in the Premier League or have extensive top-flight experience becomes crucial to bridge this gap and providing leadership on and off the field. Acting swiftly is crucial for Luton as they aim to make significant improvements before the season begins. The Premier League landscape is highly competitive and with other clubs strengthening their squads, Luton cannot afford to be left behind.

Establishing early connections, conducting thorough scouting, and securing key targets swiftly can make a significant difference in their quest for survival. While the challenges ahead are immense, Luton's promotion to the Premier League is an extraordinary achievement that deserves celebration. With the transfer window opening, the club now stands at a crossroads, where the decisions made in the coming weeks will shape their destiny. By acting swiftly, smartly, and with a clear focus on improving the quality and depth of their squad, Luton can enhance their chances of survival and embark on a memorable inaugural Premier League campaign.

Sheffield United returns to the Premier League following their two-season stint back from a few years ago. Although they finished in a very respectable 9th in the 2019/20 season, they followed the next season by finishing rock bottom and losing 29 games. While survival in the Premier League is daunting, Sheffield United can enhance their chances by focusing on a big transfer window, bringing in Premier League-proven players, and perhaps even snapping up a smart loan deal from a team like the previous title challengers, Manchester City or Arsenal.

Relegation battles are as much about mental strength as they are about physical abilities. Utilizing the home ground to their advantage can be crucial for Sheffield United. The passionate fan base at Bramall Lane can create a vibrant atmosphere that energizes the players and puts pressure on visiting teams. Maximizing their home form and turning Bramall Lane into a fortress can provide a valuable edge in their quest for survival. The Blades will need to foster a resilient mindset within the squad, emphasizing the importance of belief, determination, and unity. Instilling a never-give-up attitude can galvanize the players to fight until the final whistle in every game.

Everton has been on the brink of relegation for the past two seasons, and it's beginning to look more and more of a possibility as the seasons progress. Although one of the only teams to have never been relegated from the Premier League since its' inception in 1992, Everton has been on a downward spiral since their owner, Farhad Moshiri, put the club in financial turmoil. Dubbed by former Crystal Palace owner and current talkSPORT pundit Simon Jordan as "the biggest clown billionaire in football that he has ever clapped eyes upon", life under Moshiri has been far from good. Whether it be awful signings or being sued by Carlo Ancelotti due his clear mismanagement of the club, the Toffees seem to be questioning *when* they'll be relegated and not *if* they will.

If Everton are to stay up next season, they'll need to appoint experienced footballing operators rather than have Moshiri make transfers that would send the club to the Championship. They will need to get rid of the obvious deadwood in the club and replace them with Premier League proven players; players that will give their everything for the club. Whether that means bringing in loan players looking to make an impact or keeping a big name like Pickford, Everton will have a big job to do if they are to stay up. While the Premier League is a highly competitive and unpredictable environment, Everton possesses the necessary resources, infrastructure, and heritage to remain in the top flight. By implementing a well-rounded strategy that encompasses squad evaluation, tactical adaptations, mental resilience, effective game management, and a strong home advantage, Everton can enhance their chances of maintaining their Premier League status and continue building towards future success.

Predicting the candidates for European spots in the Premier League is no easy task, particularly considering the unpredictability that has characterized recent seasons. However, several teams stand out as potential contenders for various European competitions, ranging from the prestigious Champions League to the Europa and Conference Leagues.

Traditionally, clubs with rich histories and substantial resources tend to be favourites for the Champions League spots. Among them are Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, and Newcastle United. Despite Chelsea's disappointing season in 2022/23, where they failed to meet expectations, their formidable squad, bolstered by shrewd transfer activity, puts them in contention for a top-four finish. Manchester United, with their vast resources and strong squad, will also be aiming for Champions League qualification, seeking to restore their status as one of Europe's elite clubs. Tottenham Hotspur, under the leadership of a new manager in Ange Postecoglu, will be eager to return to the Champions League after missing out on European football last season. Newcastle United's ambitious project, backed by new ownership, could potentially propel them into contention for European football for two consecutive seasons, too.

While the focus on Champions League qualification is often intense, the Europa League and the newly introduced UEFA Conference League also present coveted opportunities for European football. Teams like Brighton & Hove Albion, Aston Villa, and West Ham United could find themselves vying for these continental competitions. Brighton & Hove Albion, known for their attractive style of play, have been consistently improving under the guidance of their astute manager. With a solid foundation and a talented squad, they have the potential to challenge for a Europa League spot. Aston Villa, after a promising season, has shown their ambition with a string of impressive signings. Under the tutelage of their experienced manager, they could mount a strong campaign for European qualification. West Ham United, despite the possibility of losing key player Declan Rice, have demonstrated their ability to compete at a high level. Their spirited performances in recent seasons have seen them flirt with European qualification, and they could once again be in the mix.

While established powerhouses and ambitious clubs are expected to contend for the top prizes, the ever-changing landscape of the Premier League ensures that surprises are always on the horizon. Fans can look forward to witnessing fierce competition as teams vie for the chance to compete against the best in Europe, adding an extra layer of drama to the exhilarating Premier League campaign.

The candidates for Premier League champions can only really fall under three teams, and that is Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal. The treble winners of 2023 are the obvious first choice of many, and whilst the league title looked unlikely towards the end of the season as Arsenal had an incredible campaign, the Cityzens were still able to clinch it. Liverpool, despite a poor season, still possess the quality to challenge for a league title - if the players can step up when Klopp needs them to, Liverpool can certainly push it to the wire. Arsenal were incredibly close to their first league title since the Arsene Wenger era, but poor form towards the end of the season ultimately cost them. With the potential additions of Declan Rice and Moises Caicedo to Arteta's side, there's no reason why they wouldn't be able to challenge again.

After a historic treble-winning season in 2023, Manchester City enters the upcoming campaign as the team to beat in the Premier League. The Cityzens' remarkable success in securing the league title, along with triumphs in domestic cup competitions and on the European stage, solidifies their status as the front-runners for the championship. One of Manchester City's greatest assets lies in their star-studded squad. From the imperious leadership of Kevin De Bruyne to the clinical finishing of Gabriel Jesus and the defensive solidity provided by Ruben Dias, City boasts an abundance of world-class talent in every department. The depth of their squad ensures that they have quality replacements in case of injuries or fatigue, which is crucial in a long and demanding season.

Under the tactical guidance of Pep Guardiola, Manchester City has transformed into a formidable force. Guardiola's innovative approach to the game, coupled with his meticulous attention to detail, has made City a tactically flexible and adaptable team. The fluidity of their attacking play, the organization in defence, and the ability to control matches through possession are all hallmarks of Guardiola's philosophy. His ability to extract the best out of his players and make astute decisions during matches gives City a significant advantage in the pursuit of another league title. Manchester City's winning mentality sets them apart from their rivals. Having experienced success in recent seasons, they have developed a belief and resilience that allows them to thrive in high-pressure situations. The squad's hunger for silverware, coupled with their collective determination, is a driving force behind their consistency and ability to produce remarkable performances consistently.

However, Manchester City will not have an easy path to the title, as they face stiff competition from the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal. These teams possess their own strengths and ambitions, and the race for the championship promises to be fiercely contested. Liverpool, with their history of success under Jurgen Klopp, and Arsenal, rejuvenated under Mikel Arteta, will be eager to challenge City's dominance.

Under the guidance of Mikel Arteta, Arsenal experienced a resurgence that brought them tantalizingly close to reclaiming the league title, reminiscent of their glory days under the legendary Arsene Wenger. The Gunners' campaign showcased significant progress, with notable improvements in both defensive solidity and attacking flair. Throughout the season, Arsenal displayed a newfound emphasis on defensive organization and discipline. Arteta instilled a strong defensive structure, allowing the team to become more resolute and difficult to break down. The partnership of Gabriel Magalhães and William Saliba at the heart of the defence provided stability and composure, while the full-backs, Zinchenko and Ben White, offered attacking threat and defensive stability in equal measure.

While Arsenal's title hopes were dashed due to a dip in form towards the end of the season, there is optimism that the team can reignite their ambitions with the right additions to the squad. The potential signings of Declan Rice and Moises Caicedo would bring added quality and depth to Arsenal's midfield, addressing areas that may require reinforcement. Rice's defensive prowess and ability to dictate play from deep, coupled with Caicedo's energy and dynamism in midfield, could provide the Gunners with the necessary balance and creativity to mount a strong title challenge. Arteta's tactical acumen and his ability to extract the best out of his players cannot be understated. The Spaniard's attention to detail, clear game plans, and effective player management have transformed Arsenal into a cohesive unit capable of competing at the highest level. With a hungry and talented group of players, Arteta has instilled a winning mentality and a desire to restore Arsenal to their former glory.

Liverpool, a club known for its illustrious history and recent successes, encountered a challenging season by their own high standards. Despite the difficulties faced, the Reds remain a force to be reckoned with, possessing a wealth of talent and an indomitable spirit instilled by their charismatic manager, Jurgen Klopp. Jurgen Klopp's impact on Liverpool cannot be overstated. His passionate, proactive approach to the game has galvanized the team, instilling a never-say-die attitude that has become synonymous with the club's recent success. Klopp's man-management skills, tactical astuteness, and ability to create a cohesive unit have propelled Liverpool to the pinnacle of European and domestic football in recent years.

The experience gained from previous successes serves as a valuable asset for Liverpool. Having won the Premier League title in the 2019-2020 season and the UEFA Champions League prior to that, the core of the team understands the demands and pressures of a title race. This experience, combined with their never-say-die attitude, could propel Liverpool to push the race for the title to its very limits. While Manchester City and Arsenal may be viewed as the favourites, Liverpool's proven pedigree, talent, and Klopp's managerial brilliance make them genuine contenders. Their ability to bounce back from adversity and produce breath-taking displays of attacking football is well-documented. If Liverpool can regain their defensive solidity and find consistency throughout the season, they have the potential to go toe-to-toe with any team in the league. In summary, I believe that Manchester City will win the league, with Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United to follow in second, third and fourth. The Europa League spots will be occupied by Brighton and Aston Villa, whilst the Conference League spot will be narrowly occupied by West Ham. The teams going down to the Championship at the foot of the table will be Everton, Sheffield United and Luton Town... What are your predictions for the 2023/24 Premier League season? Let us know!

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