The English Premier League is regarded as the most competitive and most talented football league in the world, boasting the biggest and best names in the sport.
Manchester City cruised to a comfortable league victory after a rocky start, finishing 12 points ahead of second-place Manchester United. Liverpool (third) and Chelsea (fourth) rounded out the top four teams in the league and received automatic qualification for next year’s Champions League! That’s the competition composed of the best teams from different leagues around Europe— Chelsea won this year and will defend their title in the upcoming campaign.
But, we’re here for a detailed look into Premier League table predictions for the upcoming 2021/2022 season, so let’s get that rolling!
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Premier League Table Predictions 21/22
The biggest surprise in last year’s Premier League table was West Ham United in sixth place, who had been predicted to be in a relegation battle all year long.
Fulham, Sheffield United, and West Bromwich Albion finished in the bottom three of the 20 teams in total and have been demoted to the English Championship League, replaced by Brentford, Norwich City, and Watford.
With the season set to kick-off on August 14 and the pre-season training fully underway for most teams, it is time to take a glance at what next year’s table could look like.
Brentford’s 2021-22 season will be the club’s first in the Premier League following a victory in the EFL Playoff that secured them a spot as the third team to move up to England’s top division.
With Said Benhrama completing a move to West Ham, Brentford’s attack will run almost exclusively through Ivan Toney, a 25-year-old striker. Brentford’s frontman recorded 31 goals, 11 of which were at the penalty spot, and 10 assists in 45 games last season.
Unlike Brentford, Watford was in the Premier League as recently as 2020, when they finished 19th.
Ismalia Sarr is a shining star on the newly promoted team, though it will take a herculean effort from him and the supporting cast to avoid the drop this time around. They finished the season on a fairly hot streak, though it is not often that two newly-promoted teams find a way to make their way into the middle of the table.
#18: Brighton & Hove Albion
Brighton has proven to be an industrious squad that can play top teams tough with their physically imposing defenders and low block, but they have little-to-no offensive presence.
The main challenge for Brighton will be dealing with teams that have mostly improved this summer, while they have not brought in any game-changers.
The Magpies have been drifting towards football irrelevance for some time after being a perennial top-six candidate; instability in the front office and a revolving door of managers have caused Newcastle to plummet recently, and avoiding relegation would be a success for them.
Last year’s 12th-place finishers are led by Callum Wilson, a clinical finisher that is dependent upon service from his teammates or picking up positions that allow him to recover loose balls in the 18-yard box rather than creating for himself.
Burnley finished in a disappointing 17th-place last season, though they should enjoy a little wiggle room between them and relegation in the coming season.
Burnley was in 15th with two months to go before a horrendous streak of poor performances led them to within an arm’s reach of the drop; they should stabilize behind Sean Dyche and be a more formidable outfit from start to finish.
Southampton got off to a flying start last season, assuming the Premier League lead outside of the opening month for the first time in the club’s history, although they ended up falling all the way to 15th.
The Saints were once known for their great production of young talent, but have now become almost totally reliant on striker Danny Ings to nick points off of top sides.
#14: Crystal Palace
Palace appointed Premier League legend Patrick Viera as their manager over the summer, bringing hope to a club that has been mediocre for a long time. Viera does not have a great managerial record, previously working with Nice in France and New York City in America, but he is one of the greatest midfielders to ever play the game.
The Eagles are led by Wilfried Zaha and a reemerging Christian Benteke, both of whom scored double-digit goals in the Prem last season.
#13: Norwich City
There is usually one team that comes up from the Championship and finishes mid-table or above; last year Leeds finished ninth place in their return to the top flight, and Norwich should pull off a similar feat.
Last year’s Championship winners have a tradition of oscillating between the first and second leagues, but with Teemu Pukki leading the line and the new signings of Milot Rashica and Billy Gilmour (on loan) joining the club, they are destined to beat at least a few of the returning clubs.
#12: West Ham
The Irons had a tremendous season last year, defying the odds and qualifying for the Europa League, but it is unlikely that they replicate their previous success.
Jesse Lingard, who took the club over the top after his arrival, has returned to Manchester United, and there are no new faces that can make a substantial impact. West Ham is a counter-attacking side reliant upon consistent work from its midfield, and with rumors circulating of a transfer for the 22-year-old captain, Declan Rice, they could be in for a serious setback.
Everton made a shock move this summer by hiring Rafael Benitez as their manager; Benitez has worked with many clubs, most notably Liverpool, Everton’s archrival. He is a former Champions League winner and brings tremendous experience with him, but his connection to the crosstown nemesis has made this appointment unpopular with fans.
The Toffees were thought to be Champions League contenders last season with a rebuffed squad but floundered. Benitez is known to be demanding of the board, and if he feels that he cannot work with this crop of players, there could be trouble on the menu.
#10: Aston Villa
This position is contingent upon Jack Grealish remaining at the club and not departing as rumors would suggest; Villa has become a very solid side in the last 12 months, and although Ross Barkley’s loan has run out, they will be joined by Emiliano Buendia (15 goals last season) and veteran Ashley Young.
Even without Grealish, the Lions are going to safely remain in the Premier League behind a balanced and entertaining squad, the likes of which have not been seen in Villa Park for quite some time.
Tottenham might have a big name and a “Big Six” reputation, but their reign— if you can call it that— is nearing its end.
Golden boy Harry Kane, who led the league in goals and assists last season, is likely to be playing in a new shirt or sitting out next season, having voiced frustrations with the club’s inability to compete for and win trophies. Without him, the team looks like nothing more than a mid-table group. The new manager, Nuno Espirito Santo, has brought success to Premier League teams before but is inheriting a poor situation.
Wolves might be the league’s best-kept secret heading into next season, given they just finished in an unassuming 13th-place and lost Spurs’ new manager. That being said, they were without their best player, Raul Jimenez, for the final third of the season, and finished in seventh in 2019-20.
Wolverhampton has a talented midfield with Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho, a dynamic wide player in Adama Traore, and an acclaimed goalkeeper in Rui Patricio between the sticks. They should be expected to play well with the return of the goal-scoring Jimenez, and transform the Molineux back into one of the toughest venues to play in on the road.
#7: Leeds United
One of the legends of the Premier League enjoyed a successful return to the top level in 2020-21, taking Liverpool the distance in a 4-3 thriller on opening day and finishing in ninth on for the year.
Leeds plays a high-octane style that involves relentless pressure and crisp movements of the ball; many thought that this style, pioneered by manager Marcelo Bielsa, would take its toll on the players and render them ineffective by the end of the season, but they proved their critics wrong. A summer acquisition of Barcelona’s Junior Firpo will help solidify the defense, and the Peacocks will be off to the races again.
Arsenal thought they would be ushering in a new era of success by sacking former manager Arsene Wenger, but have only been rewarded with an FA Cup victory over an injured Chelsea side and an eighth-place finish in the Prem last season. Thankfully, they appear destined for a better season this time around.
The Gunners got rid of their main problems, David Luiz and Matteo Guendouzi, and will get a healthy Thomas Partey back into the action. Adding Nuno Tavares at left-back will help increase their depth and lessen the strain on Kieran Tierney, and Arsenal should return to a European league qualifying spot.
Liverpool finished third in last year’s table following a late-season charge that brought them from outside the top six into a Champions League spot, a competition they won in 2019. Anfield’s best were the defending Premier League champions, but a litany of injuries to key players held them back for most of the year.
The Reds added Ibrahima Konate but lost Georginio Wijnaldum in midfield, increasing the responsibilities of Curtis Jones; Sadio Mane finished the season in a poor run of form while Mohamed Salah has been thought to be looking for an exit from the club, and the overall threat and invincible nature of Liverpool seem to be nothing more than distant memories.
Virgil Van Dijk will stabilize the defense, and the team is still incredibly talented, but they are getting older and are not as good as they were a year or two ago.
#4: Leicester City
Leicester is a small club that only joined the Premier League from the Championship less than a decade ago, but they have solidified themselves as one of the best and most consistent teams in England.
Jamie Vardy is getting older, but with the prolific goal-scoring ability that Kelechi Ihenaocho showed down the stretch of the last campaign, the Foxes should be just fine in the goal department. Their defense is also loaded with young talent, namely James Justin and Wesley Fofana, and they have a competent manager in Brendan Rodgers. Leicester has bottled their top-four chances for two consecutive seasons, and this will be the one they make it in.
#3: Manchester United
Man U was runner-up for the trophy in 2020-21, but they are set to drop back a spot in their return to action. The signing of Jadon Sancho will make their attack more exciting and help their depth to compete in multiple competitions, but it may not have a tremendous impact on a group that was already extremely productive going forward.
The Red Devils are still in the running for Eduardo Camavinga and Raphael Varane, both of which could swing the pendulum in their favor for a top-two spot; Varane would be especially important to partner Harry Maguire, who led England’s back-line to a championship appearance against Italy and a national record for most minutes without conceding a goal in an international competition.
Chelsea completely transformed after hiring Thomas Tuchel to manage the side in late January, becoming a stout, resolute defensive unit that created more chances than any other team in Europe. They finished fourth in the league and defeated the champions, Manchester City, three times over the final six weeks, one of which was in the Champions League Final.
Despite their success as a club, Chelsea’s leading goal-scorer was Jorginho, who notched all seven of his goals from the penalty spot. His team-leading mark of seven was pitiful for a team with such high ambitions, and as a result, they have been extremely active searching for a natural striker over the summer.
Although nothing has been confirmed, it looks like there is a decent chance that Chelsea will secure the services of Erling Haaland or Romelu Lukaku, either one of which would guarantee them a top-four finish, and likely launch them into title contention.
#1: Manchester City
Manchester City has been one of the best teams in the world over the past decade and is forming a dynasty in an area previously dominated by their inner-city rivals. City is the defending champions, having won with 86 points, and are set to do the same again.
In what was a surprising twist, manager Pep Guardiola opted to play without a striker for many contests— he appears to be searching for a remedy and has flirted with the idea of adding Harry Kane from Spurs, though the rumored fee is above what his club is willing to pay. Jack Grealish, as a result, could end up as City’s priority, which would give them another dynamic playmaker on the wing.
Grant Mitchell is a sportswriter and multimedia contributor for the Sports 2.0 Network dealing with basketball, football, soccer, and other major sports: you can connect with him on Twitter @milemitchell to stay up to date with the latest sports news and to engage personally with him.