Sportsmail's Premier League predictions for title, top four and more

Will Lukaku beat Kane to the Golden Boot? Can anyone stop City? And are the new boys doomed? Sportsmail pick their title winners, top four, bottom three and stars to watch ahead of the new season

  • Several of Premier League’s top clubs have boosted squads with new signings
  • Can £100m man Jack Grealish help Manchester City defend their league title?
  • Chelsea will have Romelu Lukaku, who is set to challenge for the Golden Boot 
  • New boys Norwich, Watford and Brentford will seek to escape relegation

The 2021-2022 Premier League season kicks-off on Friday night with a whole host of teams having bolstered their squads over the summer.

At the top of the table, Manchester City grabbed the biggest headline with the record-breaking £100million signing of Jack Grealish. Though Manchester United boast a squad including new arrivals Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane, while Chelsea’s already glittering squad hope striker Romelu Lukaku will take them to Premier League glory when he officially signs.

Will he pip Harry Kane to the Golden Boot? Which sides will finish in the Champions League places? And at the bottom, will the new Championship arrivals Watford, Norwich and Brentford immediately go back down, or will other more established Premier League sides be under threat?

Sportsmail’s writers have hopped off the fence to pick the sides and players they think will win, lose, score and impress in what is sure to be another entertaining season of football. 

Manchester City will hope to defend the Premier League title they comfortably won last season

Romelu Lukaku is set to returns to Chelsea and is a strong contender for the Golden Boot

TOM COLLOMOSSE 

Title 

Manchester City. For many years we have criticised the French, German and Italian leagues for being uncompetitive, with the destiny of the title apparently assured before a ball has even been kicked. Is there really much difference in England now? City have won three of the last four titles and have now started stripping their closest rivals of their best players, as they hope to sign Harry Kane from Tottenham to add to their capture of Jack Grealish from Aston Villa.

Top four 

Chelsea, Leicester, Manchester United. The imminent arrival of Romelu Lukaku should make Chelsea a surefire top-four bet, while Leicester ought to keep improving under Brendan Rodgers and United’s addition of Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane makes them impossible to ignore in the Champions League shake-up.

Relegation 

Norwich, Watford, Crystal Palace. A close look at all three of these squads suggests there is much work to do before the transfer window closes to make them competitive.

Manchester City grabbed headlines with the record-breaking £100m signing of Jack Grealish

Golden Boot 

Lukaku. Strangely underrated in England, Lukaku has nevertheless improved during his time at Inter Milan and with plenty of creativity around him, he should return to the Premier League with a bang.

Player of the year 

Kevin De Bruyne. Who else? Comfortably the best attacking player in the country and even if he misses the opening period of the season through injury, expect him to do enough on his return to make the award a formality.

Young player of the year

Harvey Barnes. Injury robbed the Leicester wide man of a place in their FA Cup Final team and he will be doubly determined to show he is one of the best in his role this term, as well as to win back his England spot.

Harvey Barnes was excellent last season before injury, and will be determined this campaign

CHRIS WHEELER 

Title

Chelsea. If Manchester City sign Harry Kane, it may be a different story. But Thomas Tuchel’s impact on Chelsea was plain to see after his arrival in January, and the Champions League winners can beat City to the Premier League as well after a summer of preparation under their German coach. 

Top four

Chelsea, Man City, Man Utd, Liverpool. It’s hard to look beyond Chelsea and City for the top two positions. United will be stronger again and it would be foolish to write off Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. Any other club breaking into the top-four feels unlikely.

Relegation 

Brentford, Norwich, Southampton. All three of the promoted clubs could struggle but Watford may have the better chance of survival due to their greater experience of the Premier League. Southampton finished fifth bottom last season and will miss Danny Ings’ goals this time.

Thomas Tuchel’s impact on Chelsea has been huge and he could make them champions again

Golden Boot 

Romelu Lukaku. All bets are off if Kane moves to City, but it is shaping up to be a difficult season for the England captain if he stays at Tottenham. Meanwhile his closest rival last season, Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, could be missing for up to a month at the Africa Cup of Nations. On that basis, Lukaku could be the man to beat. Chelsea’s impending new signing still has his doubters in the Premier League and will be determined to prove a point. 

Player of the year

N’Golo Kante. Putting all the eggs in the Chelsea basket here, but if Tuchel’s side are to win the title it will need another big season from their little Frenchman. Kante is more than capable of rising to the challenge and reclaiming the award he won in 2017.

Young player of the year

Mason Greenwood. Man United’s rising star had a strong finish to a slightly quieter second season in the first-team at Old Trafford, and will be ready to go again after missing the Euros. Close friend Phil Foden is still young enough to retain his award, but expect 19-year-old Greenwood to put in a strong challenge.

Mason Greenwood (left) is Man United’s rising star and will be rested after missing the Euros

ADRIAN KAJUMBA   

Title

Manchester City. Won the league comfortably last season and, at time of writing, remain the team to beat having added £100m Jack Grealish to their squad. However, if Manchester United sign a defensive midfielder Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have all the tools to win the league and should be under pressure and expected to do that. Also, if Chelsea do sign Lukaku they will also be more than capable of being champions too.

Top four

Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool. Different order but same four as last season. While Liverpool haven’t strengthened that much yet this summer the return primarily of Virgil Van Dijk will make a difference. Leicester have made some good additions to improve depth of their squad but loss of Wesley Fofana a big one.

Relegation

Norwich, Burnley, Watford. Like a lot of additions Norwich have made and would not be surprised if they stay up but have to pick three teams and worry about them defensively, as was the case in their previous Premier League campaign. Feel there are a few teams that could start the season uncertain about how their campaigns may pan out including Wolves, Newcastle, Southampton, Brighton and Crystal Palace.

N’Golo Kante will be critical to any Premier League title challenge from Chelsea this season

Golden Boot

Romelu Lukaku. Chelsea create chances, Romelu Lukaku takes them. This should be the perfect partnership.

Player of the year

N’Golo Kante. Showed signs of rediscovering the form he showed before injury and positional tweaks disrupted his flow. If he can stay fit he will be central to any success Chelsea achieve this season.

Young player of the year

Jadon Sancho. Manchester United’s big signing has finally arrived after a long chase. Backing him to show why Solskjaer was so desperate to have him and only him as a marquee wide-man signing.

Jadon Sancho will have to prove exactly why Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was desperate to have him

ROB DRAPER   

Title

Chelsea. The obvious thing to say would be Man City, especially if they sign Kane. But I think the Tuchel effect is clear and potentially decisive. There are no real weaknesses and Lukaku will score the goals that went missing last season. Tuchel is fresh, motivated and settled. He’ll at least give Guardiola a close run and I think he could pip him.

Top four 

Chelsea, Man City, Liverpool, Man United. Boring and obvious. But Leicester notwithstanding, it generally pays to be boring and obvious when it comes to top four predictions I guess the real story here is that, improved though United are, I don’t think they’ll seriously challenge for the title come the spring. And I think Liverpool will struggle to regain the imperious form of 2019 and 2020.

Relegation 

Watford, Brentford, Crystal Palace. In reality I could be very wrong on Brentford. Such a well-run club could easily surprise us. But history says it often takes a relegation followed by a bounce back to get the measure of the Premier League when you’re new to it all. Watford should have mastered this trick by now. And recruitment tends to be good. But at present it’s hard to see the durability in the squad. 

Marc Guehi and Connot Gallagher look good business for Palace and Patrick Vieira is a serous individual. But there is so much change in the playing squad, with senior pros gone and the ultimate solid manager replaced by an inexperienced one, that it’s hard not to see trouble ahead.

It’s foolish to go against Harry Kane for top scorer, who will be even better if he goes to City

Golden Boot

Harry Kane. It’s just foolish to back against Kane. Even more so if he ends up at Manchester City.

Player of the Year

Jack Grealish. Put simply, it’s his time. So many knowledgeable football people believe in him, not least Pep Guardiola. He has been given the stage to seize greatness.

Young Player of the Year

Mason Greenwood. Hardly a surprise, but given more starts and more opportunities, his star will shine even brighter.

Norwich and Watford will have a huge challenge to ensure they don’t go straight back down

DOMINIC KING   

Title 

Chelsea. They have spent over the last 12 months with the intention of dominating again and winning the Champions League can propel them forward again.

Top four

Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United. As much Leicester are an emerging force, it’s difficult to see the status quo being broken.

Relegation

Watford, Norwich, Crystal Palace. I never like making this prediction and am always happy to be proven wrong on it but something concerns me about Palace.

Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah will likely be in the conversation again for the Golden Boot

Golden Boot

As it stands, Mohamed Salah. If Harry Kane ends up at Manchester City, the odds will be back in his favour.

Player of the year

N’Golo Kante. I’ve tipped Chelsea to win the league and Kante will be the driving force behind the charge. If he sparkles, his team will too.

Young player of the year

Phil Foden. He’s outstanding and if he replicates last season’s form, this award will be a formality.

Patrick Vieira is an exciting appointment for Crystal Palace but has a tough season ahead

JOE BERNSTEIN   

Title

Liverpool. Van Dijk is back, Thiago will be more influential second time around and imagine Trent Alexander-Arnold’s motivation after missing the Euros.

Top four

Liverpool, Man City, Arsenal, Man Utd. Arsenal are my surprise entry. They’ve waited for a Ben White for years and it’ll give a foundation for attacking talents to flourish.

Relegation

Watford, Newcastle, Crystal Palace. I fancy Daniel Farke at Norwich to have learned from his last Premier League campaign and that leaves Newcastle and Palace vulnerable, because Steve Bruce has no new blood so far and Palace have lost a host of tried and trusted.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is a lethal finisher and could have a Golden Boot-winning season

Golden Boot

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. He’s got one last hurrah in him and we know if he’s given service he’s a lethal finisher.

Player of the year

Virgil Van Dijk. Maybe the enforced break will have done him good in the long run. Hasn’t rushed his recovery which bodes well.

Young player of the year

Phil Foden. Didn’t light up the Euros as much as his hair. Injured at the moment but I think he’ll come roaring back for when it matters.

Phil Foden didn’t really light up the Euros, but will likely be a class act once again for Man City

JACK GAUGHAN  

Title

Manchester City. This is shaping up as one of the most hotly contested title races for some time, with Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United primed for a tilt. Manchester City finished 12 points clear last year, have strengthened – and could yet strengthen further – so have to be considered favourites.

Top four

Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man United. Liverpool will come again with Virgil van Dijk back in the fold, while both United and Chelsea have invested wisely in key areas. There seems to be a growing distance between the top four and the rest.

Relegation

Watford, Southampton, Norwich. Always tougher to call towards the bottom end of the division. Southampton’s season may hinge, rather unfairly, on the signing of Adam Armstrong from Blackburn. Brentford to finish above Norwich given their added goal threat. Burnley are again starting the season a bit short.

Virgil van Dijk’s return for Liverpool could have a huge effect on the Reds’ back four once again

Golden Boot

Romelu Lukaku. Statement signing for Chelsea, Lukaku has it all and with a point to prove. He’ll be afforded so many chances in such an exciting team. Just pips Harry Kane, although if his move to City comes through then perhaps the dial moves.

Player of the year

Virgil van Dijk. Much will depend on who lifts the title of course but the transformative effect Van Dijk is expected to have on Liverpool’s back four after such a long time away from the game will make people stand up and take notice.

Young player of the year

Phil Foden. The best young player in the league. So crucial to the way in which City play. Will start the league late through injury but that will not deter him.




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