It doesn’t feel like five minutes since the last Premier League season finished. Let me lie down for a minute please! But football rests for no one and Easyodds asked me to predict this year’s Premier League table. So, let’s get stuck in.
Let’s go with Chelsea to upset the status quo and win the 2020/21 Premier League.
They’ve made some great signings - shoring up the defence with Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell and adding fire power up front with Timo Werner. Throw in an exciting young talent in Kai Havertz and the highly rated Hakim Ziyech and the Blues might be ready to take the huge step up to challenge Liverpool and Man City.
It’s a 10/1 long-shot - remember they finished 33 points behind Liverpool last season - but you can see what’s happening at the Bridge and they’ve had the best transfer window of all the top clubs - although if Man Utd nail Jadon Sancho to go with Donny van de Beek then Ole really will be at the wheel . . . in pole!
No-one is writing off Liverpool and City. They have the best squads and the best managers in Klopp and Pep and could easily dominate again, even though winning back-to-back titles is never easy and Liverpool hardly swept Arsenal aside in the Community Shield - getting beat on penalties. And I still think the Champions League is City’s priority.
So while Arsenal are improving under Arteta and Jose is now settled in at Spurs, Chelsea could be the most progressive - and, if anything, the pressure will now be on Frank.
Lamps had a pretty good first season. They finished fourth so made the Champions League which gave the Chelsea board the inspiration to buy big - and they have, especially with the transfer ban lifted. And that looks crucial.
Last season they had to blood the youngsters - and it paid off.
Mason Mount and Billy Gilmour came to the fore, but the competition for places will be immense now - and that’s got to be a good thing. The transfer ban gave Frank a Get Out of Jail Free card - but not now and he’ll be expected to deliver.
Of course, winning the league is one thing - but where exactly will your team finish?
I’ve predicted this season’s finishing positions below and expect some pelters - especially from fans of Aston Villa, Fulham and West Brom!
Look, Villa only escaped by the skin of their teeth last season and it’s become a struggle season in, season out for the Villans - and what happens if Jack Grealish thrives for England and gets snapped up?
And as for Fulham and West Brom, survival is the name of the game for all the promoted sides and I just feel Leeds are best equipped of those who came up.
I read this week that Leeds are now people’s second team!
Not sure the lads at Chelsea will agree, or those at Liverpool, but there’s no doubt Bielsa has caught the public’s imagination and they’ve done some good business with the likes of club-record signing Rodrigo up front and Koch in defence - and well done to Kalvin Phillips for his England call-up. Well deserved.
I can’t wait for Bielsa to go head to head with the top boys and my mates at Elland Road are excited for the season ahead - and rightly so. They’ll go well, I’m sure of it. They’re a fantastic and big club and deserve to be in the best league in the world. So bring it on, I say.
Another team I like - and this might surprise you - is Newcastle. In fact, I reckon the Geordies are a bet on the handicap after a pretty good transfer window.
Callum Wilson looks a right bargain from Bournemouth and linking up again with Ryan Fraser looks a great move - as was signing Norwich’s Jamal Lewis.
We know off the pitch is never plain-sailing for Newcastle fans, but Stevie Bruce has done some good work there, presumably with Mike Ashley’s backing. They could have a good season - and there’s certainly more goals on the cards at St James’ Park.
I fancy Newcastle will kick off their season in the best possible style - they’re away at West Ham which looks a winnable game.
I’m not sure it’s been a good transfer window for the Hammers so far - losing young Diangana hasn't been popular with the fans, or the players it seems. They also lost out to Bournemouth in a friendly at the weekend - at home.
I’m sure they’ll get things together - Davey Moyes knows his onions - but they’re an easy target at the moment.
Arsenal can make things tough for newcomers Fulham at Craven Cottage in the lunchtime game which begins the season and, as much as I’d love to see Leeds get something at Anfield, talk about a baptism of fire. Away to the champions first match? F*** me!
Keep in touch with the lads here at Easyodds for all the latest news and prices - and I’ll have more predictions next week - plus eyes down for the start of golf’s US Open. I’ll be giving you the lowdown on the leading chances at Winged Foot, New York. What a course!
Before then a huge thank-you to everyone who sent messages and supported me in the build-up to my second appearance on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories: The Next Chapter.
It was both heartbreaking and a release, but the response to that and my book Lost Without You is what this is all about. It’s about Tans, of course, but it’s also intended to help others in a similar situation. It’s what I’m about these days.
Keep safe all - and enjoy what should be a fantastic weekend of football. The Premier League is back - and all of us here at Easyodds will be having it large!
All the best,
Fulham v Arsenal: ARSENAL WIN
Crystal Palace v Southampton: DRAW
West Ham United v Newcastle: NEWCASTLE WIN
Liverpool v Leeds: LIVERPOOL WIN
West Bromwich Albion v Leicester: LEICESTER WIN
Tottenham Hotspur v Everton: DRAW
Brighton v Chelsea: CHELSEA WIN
Sheffield United v Wolverhampton Wanderers: DRAW