At the start of October, we are far enough into the season for me to be able to (hopefully) make some final predictions without a high risk of embarrassment. Here’s where I think every team will finish this year, from last to first.
NOTE: When this article was written, every team had played seven games other than Burnley and Luton Town.
20. Sheffield United
Heckingbottom’s side have struggled to get on the ball in the early part of the season, averaging 38% possession across their first seven games. Losing their star striker to Marseille has left them lacking up top, although young Cameron Archer has shown a glimpse of promise. Their only point of the season came against a lacklustre Everton, by dint of a somewhat fortunate own goal from Jordan Pickford. And after that performance against Newcastle at home, it’s hard to place them higher than rock bottom.
Standout player: Cameron Archer
19. Luton Town
Unfortunately, I don’t see the fairytale story having a happy ending. Such rapid promotion through the pyramid has inevitably resulted in a squad that’s not quite ready for the Premier League. The Luton attack has been struggling against the sturdy top-flight defences, managing to score only 5 goals in 7. The recent win against Everton has lifted the Hatters out of the drop zone, but with a fixture run that turns nasty from early November, I see this as only a temporary improvement.
Standout player: Carlton Morris
This was a difficult one to call, but I feel it might finally be the year that the top flight’s longest-serving team becomes unstuck. The Toffees survived by only 2 points last year, and 4 the year before; you can’t dance that close to relegation without eventually getting bit. Dyche’s side have failed to capitalise on a fairly friendly early fixture run, so far gifting Sheffield United and Luton their only point and win respectively. If Dominic Calvert-Lewin can stay fit for a good run, they have a proven goal scorer up top, but that’s a big if.
Standout player: Abdoulaye Doucoure
Gary O’Neil was hard done by when he was sacked in June, after pulling off a miracle to keep the club up this year. Over the summer, the club brought in Andre Iraola as the new gaffer, and some decent young talent in Hamed Traore and Tyler Adams. The Cherries are yet to win this season and are currently in the drop zone, but it’s worth remembering that they’ve already faced City, Arsenal, Brighton, Spurs and Liverpool. Don’t expect any fireworks, but I think the South Coast team will do just enough to survive.
Standout player: Dominic Solanke
They may have only picked up one point so far, but in fairness, Kompany’s side have had a difficult fixture run to start the season – having already played City, United, Newcastle, Spurs and Villa. Considering the team’s dominant, centurion display in the Championship last season, I fully expect them to start picking up some points in the easier fixtures. The team spent over £90 million to deepen the squad in the window, and the 15 new arrivals will likely need a little time to bed in.
Standout player: Luca Koleosho
Neves, Moutinho, Collins, Jimenez, Gibbs-White, Nunes – Wolves lost so much talent over the summer window. The start of their season was chaotic, making the brave decision to switch manager just three days before the season started, allowing Gary O Neil almost no time to get to know his players, and bed in his philosophy. Last season, their main issue was a lack of ideas going forward, and they managed to score only 31 goals the entire season. That being said, they did put two past the best defence in the league on the weekend, handing City their first league defeat since May. However, that sort of result is unlikely to be replicated, and I see the Wanderers finishing at the lower end of mid table.
Standout player: Pedro Neto
When Steve Cooper took over as head coach in September 2021, Forest were bottom of the Championship, yet by the end of the year he had secured the club promotion, thwarting Huddersfield Town in the play-off final. They did enough to survive last year, but danced with relegation throughout the season. They lost a star in Brennan Johnson, but have replaced him with young talent in Elanga and Hudson-Odoi, and Nigerian striker Taiwo Awoniyi can often be relied upon for a goal.
Standout player: Taiwo Awoniyi
Finishing in the top half, the club had a terrific season last year. However, this was largely due to the influence of Aleksandar Mitrovic, who departed to the Saudi League this summer. His replacement in Raul Jimenez has failed to impress so far, unlike Joao Palhinha, whose been a stabilising influence in the midfield when fit. The highlight of Fulham’s season so far has undoubtedly been securing a point at the Emirates, despite going down to ten men.
Standout player: Joao Palhinha
Ivan Toney’s gambling suspension has deprived the West London team of their star man for the first half of the season, but Bryan Mbeumo and Yoane Wissa have done a decent job at filling the gap, netting six between them so far this campaign. The team has impressed in their first two seasons in the Premier League, finishing 9th last season, and getting a few good results against the big boys along the way. Other than Arsenal, they’re the only team to take points off an in-form Spurs this season, although Bees’ fans will be disappointed with the tame display against Everton. Presuming that Toney doesn’t make a move in the mid-season transfer window, Toney’s return in January should allow the team to take it up a level.
Standout player: Bryan Mbeumo
11. Crystal Palace
How Roy Hodgson is still bossing it in the Prem at 76 I don’t know, but judging from his touchline scrap with Max Lowe, he’s still got plenty of go in him. After a resolute defensive performance, Palace picked up three points at Old Trafford on the weekend, lifting them into the top half of the table. The defensive partnership of Guehi and Andersen has been solid so far, with the latter also providing a decent threat from set pieces. Despite losing their talisman in Wilfried Zaha, Eberechi Eze has been providing plenty of creativity up top, but for now is lacking in final product. Once Michael Olise returns from his hamstring injury I can see the Eagles really kicking on.
Standout player: Joachim Andersen
Some people may see this placement as high, which is a crazy point to have got to for a club that won the Champions League only two years ago. It may have been Chelsea’s worst start to a season since 1978, but people talking about relegation is nonsense (looking at you Rory Jennings). Yes, the club is being run poorly and yes the team is young and inexperienced but the impact of Chelsea’s injury list cannot be overstated. Nkunku, James, Chilwell, Fofana, Lavia, Chalobah, Gusto, Madueke, Badiashile, and Chukwuemeka are all out for the Blues, and as these players drip back into the squad, results should pick up. Three points against Fulham could kickstart a change in the Blue’s fortunes.
Standout player: Enzo Fernandez
9. West Ham
The European trophy last year was massive, but many fans had lingering doubts going into this season, considering that the cost of silverware was a poor league performance, registering 20 losses last year. However, the summer window saw the Hammers redistribute the Declan Rice profit well, bringing in talented newcomers such as Edson Alvarez, Mohammed Kudus, and of course James Ward-Prowse. The latter has especially been tearing it up this season, proving his talents beyond just taking free kicks. The club are currently 7th, and while I don’t think they will end this high, impressive outings against Brighton and Chelsea have shown great promise.
Standout player: James Ward-Prowse
The Brighton attack has been firing on all cylinders this season, netting a staggering 19 goals in 7 games, largely thanks to the triple threat of Evan Ferguson, Karou Mitoma and Solly March. Despite this, the team has been let down by its defence, being one of only five clubs yet to register a clean sheet so far, and shipping six to Villa on Saturday. It’s doubtful whether the squad has the depth to deal with European football, which is why I don’t see the seagulls finishing quite as high as last year.
Standout player: Karou Mitoma (honourable mention to Pervis Estupinan)
7. Manchester United
It’s been a disappointing start to the season for Ten Hag’s side, but over the course of a season, the quality of the squad will surely sign through. The Red Devils have been unlucky with injuries so far – especially at the back where they are missing Shaw, Wan-Bissaka and Martinez, who are all first choice. Star summer signing Rasmus Hojlund has himself only recently returned from injury, but has looked promising so far, and could well bag plenty of goals this season. Attackers like Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford have long ago proven their goal threat, and will surely continue to cause problems for defences as the season progresses.
Standout player: Bruno Fernandes
6. Aston Villa
He might not have impressed in his time at Arsenal, but Unai Emery’s transformation of Aston Villa has been truly sensational. Replacing Gerrard in October last year, he lifted the club from 14th in the previous campaign, to finishing 1 point off the Europa League places. Villa’s record signing of Moussa Diaby for 60 million euros in the summer was a statement of intent from the owners, and it has paid off beautifully, with the Frenchman dazzling so far. Ollie Watkins has continued to provide, coming away from the weekend’s dominant defeat of Brighton with a hattrick and two assists. Thankfully, he was in my FPL.
Standout player: Moussa Diaby
After that performance against Sheffield, this may be a bit of a kneejerk reaction, as Newcastle did lose consecutive games in the early run in, albeit against tough opposition. In Alexander Isak and Callum Wilson, the team has two world class number 9s, which will comes in handy when you’re playing midweek in the Champions League. Kieran Trippier is without a doubt the best full back in the league right now, and Anthony Gordon has been showing plenty of promise on the wing. Due only to the surprising quality of the team above, I see the Magpies just missing out on top four this season.
Standout player: Kieran Trippier
After years of speculation, Harry Kane finally made the decision to move on, and many predicted that the club were destined for mid table. In actual fact, Spurs have had their best start to a season for 57 years. Unlike the last few managers (looking at you Conte), Postecoglou has captured both the dressing room and the fanbase, and there is just an air of positivity around the club that has been lacking in recent years. Picking up James Maddison for £40 million is the steal of the summer, and players such as Destiny Udogie, Guglielmo Vicario and loyal servant Heung-min Son have also impressed. The team has shown real grit to win extremely late against both Sheffield United and Liverpool, and while the later result is of course controversial, the 96th minute winner shows a true desire to find a way.
Standout player: James Maddison
Football fans have short memories, and after a disappointing 2022/23 campaign, Liverpool had largely dropped out of the conversation around title challengers for the coming year. However, it’s worth remembering just how dominant the Reds have been in recent years, averaging an impressive 89.25 points between 2018 and 2022. While it may be difficult to replicate the Salah-Firmino-Mane linkup of seasons gone by, some smart recent signings have revitalised both midfield and attack. Old reliables like Salah and Alisson continue to perform at the highest level, and keep an eye on Darwin Nunez – with regular game time, he could really come into his own this year.
Standout player: Dominik Szoboszlai
While it may be a minor trophy, the Gunners came into the season with confidence after beating City in the Community Shield, and they are yet to be beaten so far this campaign. They’re proving that last year was no fluke, and the marquee signing of Declan Rice has vastly improved their midfield. It speaks to Arteta’s ruthless ambition that he brought in David Raya, after such a brilliant display from Ramsdale last year. Despite all this, I don’t see Arsenal displacing City at the top. The dropped points at home against ten man Fulham was reminiscent of the West Ham and Southampton draws that were the beginning of the end of last years title charge, and a disappointing second half performance in the North London derby cost them two points. The team has looked solid in general, but if you want to challenge for the title, these are the games in which you need to pick up the points. Also, a growing injury list in attack is a concern, as I don’t feel Eddie Nketiah is ready to be a consistent starter up top. A lot will hinge on the result against City later this week.
Standout player: Declan Rice
1. Man City
Yes it’s boring, but Pep’s side are simply inevitable, having picked up five out of the last six titles. Erling Haaland has picked up right where he left off, it looks like it might be a breakthrough season for Julian Alvarez, and Rodri has cemented himself as one of the world’s best defensive midfielders. The loss against Wolves came was a shock, but these freak results happen in even the best of seasons – when City went centurion in 2019 they drew 0-0 at home to Huddersfield town. With the exception of this past weekend, the Citizens have been absolutely dominant, and when Stones and de Bruyne are back from injury, the team will surely only get better.
Standout player: Erling Haaland