2020-2021 Premier League Rankings, Predictions and Preview

The Premier League will start up again on September 12th. During this unprecedented time, many teams and fans alike are left with loads of uncertainty heading into the season. Many teams have limited funds for transfers, and even if those transfers go through, they have very limited time in the offseason and preseason to gel and practice together.

Liverpool will be returning as champions after their dominant performance pre-COVID where they for all intents and purposes put away the title. Then newly-promoted Fulham, West Brom, and Leeds will be fighting to earn the right to stay up another year in the EPL. Every team will be handling the pandemic differently and many argue that the team who handles it best could be the one to surprise in the table at the end of the year.

Here are my predictions and previews for each team in the EPL:

#1 Liverpool

liverpoolLiverpool destroyed the competition last season, and with Klopp returning for another year after his masterful season one can only predict them to win again. In every aspect of the game not only did they look the most talented but also the most tactically prepared. Nobody until late January looked like they could even draw with the 1st place squad.

There is no reason to expect anything different going into this year. Yes, other teams got better but nobody has figured out Klopp yet and that is what is going to have to happen to catch up with how far Liverpool has pulled away from the competition. Barring injury I expect a clear 1st place finish again from Liverpool.

Most Important Player: Virgil Van Dijk
Most Important Incoming Transfer: Konstantinos Tsimikas
Most Important Outgoing Transfer: Adam Lallana

#2 Chelsea

chelseaChelsea has made some incredible moves this transfer window, despite the limited income due to COVID and the shortened time to get things done. This speaks to the wealth of the Chelsea owners that they can use this hard time to get players maybe a little bit cheaper than they normally would, while also splashing as much cash as they wish.

Frank Lampard’s side has had trouble replacing Eden Hazard. However, they have brought in Timo Werner to play the wing as well as both Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz to bring playmaking to the attacking side of the pitch. If they can figure out their defense and goalkeeper troubles then this team has the talent and should be finishing in the top 3

Most Important Player: Kai Havertz
Most Important Incoming Transfer: Kai Havertz
Most Important Outgoing Transfer: Willian

#3 Man City

manchester cityWhile it would seem odd to have Man City anywhere but number 2 on this list, I am personally extremely worried about the future with Pep Guardiola at the helm. He is a ridiculously talented manager but has struggled severely in the Champions League. Doubts have started to come into play and I can easily see that affecting the team’s performance in the EPL.

Kevin De Bruyne has been one of the best footballers in the world and he will continue to be a key to success for Man City in the league. He will need support however to compete with Liverpool or the newly built Chelsea side. Especially losing both Sane and Silva in the transfer window. There are rumors that Messi could be coming in, and if that were to happen Man City immediately move to #1.

Most Important Player: Kevin De Bruyne
Most Important Incoming Transfer: Nathan Ake
Most Important Outgoing Transfer: Leroy Sane

#4 Tottenham

tottenham spursTottenham finished in 4th place if you only look at the table after Jose Mourinho arrival to the grounds. That is rather astonishing considering the injuries, lack of depth, and poor play Tottenham had during his time there. Everyone sees Mourinho as a top manager in the world and now with an offseason and a transfer window to build his team I predict a Champions League finish for them.

The attack of Bergwijn, Kane, and Son has to be one of the most lethal and explosive ones in the EPL. They were able to add to the midfield depth with holding midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, a key position in the Mourinho tactical style. It will be a very interesting season seeing the fight for 4th place that will hinge on how healthy Tottenham can stay.

Most Important Player: Harry Kane
Most Important Incoming Transfer: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg
Most Important Outgoing Transfer: Kyle Walker-Peters

#5 Manchester United

manchester unitedManchester United looked great last year after acquiring Bruno Fernandes. He created a solid link between the midfield and attack that was crucial to their 3rd place finish. Paul Pogba had his best season as a Man U player, especially after the pause from Coronavirus.

However, as every team around them has gotten better Man U has yet to make any moves to bring players in. There is still time left with the pushback of the transfer deadline to Oct 5th, but they need to add a defensive player to that backline if they want to compete in the top 4 while having a Champions League run.

Most Important Player: Bruno Fernades
Most Important Incoming Transfer: N/A
Most Important Outgoing Transfer: Alexis Sanches

#6 Leicester City

leicestercityLeicester slipped a little towards the end of the campaign, but those were in very extreme circumstances with the pandemic. I fully believe that we will see a return of the pre-COVID team that was ridiculously consistent in the EPL. The defense and the midfield are all there to compete in the EPL and should have no problem beating lower-tier sides.

Jamie Vardy and the attack is one question mark I have. I do not know if Vardy can play at the same level that he did in the 2019-2020 season. If Leicester brings in just one solid attacking player as depth I would feel a lot more secure in my placing of them at #6.

Most Important Player: Jamie Vardy
Most Important Incoming Transfer: N/A
Most Important Outgoing Transfer: Dejan Lovren

 

 

#7 Arsenal

arsenalA complete disaster of a 2019-2020 campaign, Arsenal look to find their form again. They were able to secure a FA Cup trophy, but mighty struggled week-in and week-out in the league. I really do not know if Arteta can coach this team to a top 6 finish next year with just how awful they looked in the EPL.

The defense headed by David Luiz is not the answer for season-long success. Arsenal is going to have to find better CBs in the transfer market to catch up with the top 6 teams. Finding those fundings after the waste of cash spent on Pepe will be difficult, but that is the price you have to pay in such a competitive league.

Most Important Player: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Most Important Incoming Transfer: Willian
Most Important Outgoing Transfer: Henrikh Mkhitaryan

#8 Wolves

wolvesComing off of such a great season a year ago, Wolves’ talent has been the target of many teams in the transfer window. However, it was not just the talent that made this team a top-half table club. The coaching and tactics every matchday were on par with the best managers in the EPL. They simply were out-coaching many of the other squads in the EPL. For this reason, I feel confident keeping Wolves in the top half again this season.

Most Important Player: Ruben Neves
Most Important Incoming Transfer: Matija Sarkic
Most Important Outgoing Transfer: Matt Doherty

#9 Everton

evertonWhile Everton has been extremely inconsistent these past few years, they have the funds and talent to be competitive in the EPL. While I do not see them fighting for the top 6, Carlo Ancelotti’s side should have a top-half finish. Moise Kean’s development is crucial to having a better season than last, as he matures into a prolific striker. If he can take that next step, or Everton sell him and sign someone who is consistent up top, then there is no reason that they should slip out of the top half.

Most Important Player: Gylfi Sigurdsson
Most Important Incoming Transfer: Niels Nkounkou
Most Important Outgoing Transfer: Morgan Schneiderlin

#10 Sheffield United

sheffieldunitedSheffield is another case of a team that was outmatched talent-wise but coaching and tactics saw them prevail throughout their campaign. I see no reason that this cannot happen again. Sheffield knows who they are and play great counter-attacking football. They should finish around mid-table and be a thorn in the side of many top 6 teams.

Most Important Player: Sander Berge
Most Important Incoming Transfer: Aaron Ramsdale
Most Important Outgoing Transfer: N/A

#11 West Ham United

While West Ham featured an abhorrent performance in the league last year, this is one of the teams that I see the start of a turn-around happening for. David Moyes can lead this team in a better direction and they are one of the more talented lower-half sides in the EPL. Declan Rice is an amazing player to build around in the midfield. I would not be shocked if West Ham far surpasses this #11 spot.

Most Important Player: Declan Rice
Most Important Incoming Transfer: Tomas Soucek
Most Important Outgoing Transfer: Roberto

#12 Southampton

A pretty disappointing campaign last year, Southampton have not done much work to get better in the transfer window. They secured Kyle Walker-Peters to a permanent deal. However, I just do not know where Southampton pull out the goals and defensive stops to do any better than they did last year. One positive is that they finished the campaign stronger than they started.

Most Important Player: James Ward-Prowse
Most Important Incoming Transfer: Kyle Walker-Peters
Most Important Outgoing Transfer: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg

#13 Crystal Palace

An attack including Wilfried Zaha, Christian Benteke, and Jordan Ayew fell flat on its face in the previous year’s campaign. Their attack will hopefully be much better going into this year and that is the way Crystal Palace should be able to easily avoid any relegation talks. However, we have seen this team underperform massively and therefore we can expect it again. Eberechi Eze should add to the scoring and hopefully lead Palace past a 13th place finish.

Most Important Player: Wilfried Zaha
Most Important Incoming Transfer: Eberechi Eze
Most Important Outgoing Transfer: Kian Flanagan

#14 Burnley

I do not have high hopes for Burnley going into the season. I expect the team to be better talent-wise with the moves they have made. However, I just do not know if their system will hold up for another year. They may have trouble securing points against defensive-minded teams and I can see top-half squads smashing them. It will come down to James Tarkowski and the defense to have another good year.

Most Important Player: James Tarkowsk
Most Important Incoming Transfer: Will Norris
Most Important Outgoing Transfer: Jeff Hendrick

#15 Newcastle United

With the huge takeover led by Saudi Arabia falling through, Newcastle is left in a very awkward position. Their owner does not care about them, their manager, Steve Bruce, struggled last year and we just do not know what to expect from this team. The Football played will be a boring defensive style and they will simply try and take as many points as they can during the season.

Most Important Player: Allan Saint-Maximin
Most Important Incoming Transfer: Jeff Hendrick
Most Important Outgoing Transfer: Jack Colback

#16 Brighton & Hove Albion

Brighton fought bravely last year and succeeded in staying up another year in the Premier League. I think that they have just enough veteran talent to stay up and avoid relegation comfortably this year. However, it will hinge on getting those wins with teams below them in the table.

Most Important Player: Lewis Dunk
Most Important Incoming Transfer: Adam Lallana
Most Important Outgoing Transfer: Archie Davies

#17 Leeds United

After a dominating performance in the Championship, I believe that Leeds has what it takes to stay up for a season in the EPL and furthermore stay there for years to come. They have made smart business moves to prepare their team for the EPL and shown that they are a tier above the talent level of the other promoted squads. The huge signing of Rodrigo Moreno Machado will hopefully help them to achieve their goals.

Most Important Player: Rodrigo Moreno Machado
Most Important Incoming Transfer: Rodrigo Moreno Machado
Most Important Outgoing Transfer: N/A

#18 Aston Villa

ashtonvillaA terrible season last year, the only bright spot for this Villa squad is Jack Grealish, and it will be hard for them to hold onto him. While Villa is linked to adding a few players, they are linked to even more departures. I see Villa very easily going down this year with no one to score goals.

Most Important Player: Jack Grealish
Most Important Incoming Transfer: N/a
Most Important Outgoing Transfer: N/a

#19 Fulham

While they did well to win the playoffs I just do not see a way that Fulham stays up in the intensely competitive Premier League. They are not creative enough to outscore opponents and their defense is simply not good enough to hold EPL sides to 1-2 goals a game consistently. Unless Mitrovic has one of the best seasons ever, I fully expect Fulham to be relegated.

Most Important Player: Aleksandar Mitrovic
Most Important Incoming Transfer: Antonee Robinson
Most Important Outgoing Transfer: Cody Drameh

#20 West Brom

West Brom really has no shot at staying up. It would take a miracle, lots of defending, and one goal wins against lower-tier squads for them to scrape together a 17th place finish. I simply do not think that they have the talent level for an EPL side this year.

Most Important Player: Matheus Pereira
Most Important Incoming Transfer: Matheus Pereira
Most Important Outgoing Transfer: Jonathan Leko

  
Matthew Amato is a UC Berkeley Economics and Philosophy graduate. Matthew follows and writes about the NFL, Fantasy sports, MLB, European soccer, Professional Lacrosse, and e-sports. He has managed his own tournament baseball team and coached high school lacrosse. In his free time, Matthew used to compete competitively in Call of Duty and Counter-Strike.

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