We’ve got six anxious writers and 16 burning questions ahead of the start of this Premier League season.
Let’s get after it.
The PL season is upon us. What’s the first storyline that pops into your head?
Nick Mendola: As an American, I can’t help my mind jumping to Pulisic but really it’s all about whether Man City can become the fifth club to win three-straight top flight English titles. And if it does, City will have done it in the most difficult era to do so.
Andy Edwards: What kind of backwards world are we living in that just about everyone enters the PL season with “Spurs are clearly the third-best team and should finish third with no problem” in their mind?
Kyle Bonn: Liverpool vs Man City for the title. Starts there and finishes there.
Dan Karell: Can Man City do a three-peat and win the league yet again?
Joel Soria: A Champions League winner, Aston Villa, are back in the PL and have made some ambitious signings.
How many clubs have legitimate shot of winning the Premier League?
JPW: Three. Liverpool, Man City and Tottenham.
NM: Spurs, Liverpool, and Man City.
AE: Spurs might very well be the third-best team, but it’s a distant third.
KB: Two. Spurs is still changing its makeup enough that the club won’t last the full season.
DK: In reality – two. Manchester City and Liverpool. However, if Arsenal’s defense somehow comes together and the attack is as good as expected, perhaps they could be a dark horse. Also, if Harry Kane can stay healthy for the whole season, they can certainly challenge. But as of today, it’s Man City and Liverpool which are head and shoulders above everyone.
JS: Only three: Man City, Liverpool and Tottenham.
Which of the Top Six is at biggest risk for dropping out of the Top Six?
JPW: Arsenal, because of their failure to strengthen their defense.
NM: Manchester United. Granted they lost the most man games to injury last season, but the reliance on Marcus Rashford at center forward is a question, as is the midfield and the ability of Paul Pogba to produce on a week-in, week-out basis.
AE: It seems like no one is considering just how big of an impact losing Eden Hazard will be for Chelsea. They haven’t been functional, let alone good, without him at his best for years now.
KB: Arsenal. The Gunners have a do or die season financially, and didn’t do squat to improve the defense. Really worried about them.
DK: Manchester United. Harry Maguire is an important signing to shore up the defense, but they still needed upgrades and changes in other positions. Plus Paul Pogba is still there and if true that he’s unhappy, that won’t help the locker room come together.
JS: Chelsea – there will be a lot on Lampard’s plate.
Wolves, Everton, West Ham, Watford, and Leicester City will like their odds of clipping a “down” Top Six challenger. Who finishes highest, and how high?
JPW: Wolves will finish in the top six, and Leicester will finish seventh.
NM: It’s between Wolves and Everton. Since our crew is heavy on Wolves praise, I’ll choose the latter. Richarlison‘s third season in the PL met by a relentless midfield and plenty of attacking assets.
AE: This is the year West Ham get all their ducks in a row from the start of the season and mount a truly impressive season. Of course, many have said this before and rued the day.
KB: Wolves at 6 again, the other 3 right behind. Wolves have the least flaws of the 4, but they’re all strong.
DK: As of today, I think Wolves habr the best chance, with a handful of Portugal national team players and lots of fun, young talent. However, if Everton can sign Wilfried Zaha and a couple of other late signings, they can certainly move into the top six.
JS: Wolves will finish fifth or higher, while Everton can crack within the Top 7.
How many goals and assists will Christian Pulisic collect for Chelsea in PL play?
JPW: 11 goals, 15 assists
NM: 7 goals and 12 assists
AE: 9 and 8.
KB: 12 goals 9 assists. Really high on CP this year.
DK: I think Pulisic can score 10 and create 10 assists. He looks very sharp early on and he’ll get plenty of playing time early in the season, if not all the way through. His speed is something that can’t be taught and he’s a stud in front of goal.
JS: Pulisic will wrap up his first season at Chelsea with 7 goals and 9 assists.
Predict your 2019-20 Premier League Best XI:
JPW: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Van Dijk, Robertson; Kante, Bernardo Silva, De Bruyne; Salah, Kane, Sterling
AE: Alisson; Van Dijk, Laporte, Alexander-Arnold; Keita, Kante, Torreira, De Bruyne; Sterling, Aubameyang, Son
KB: Alisson; Walker, Van Dijk, Laporte, Robertson; De Bruyne, Kante, B. Silva; Mane, Aubameyang, Sterling
DK: Alisson; Wan-Bissaka, Laporte, Van Dijk, Robertson; B. Silva, Ndombele, De Bruyne; Aguero, Kane, Aubameyang
JS: De Gea; Digne, Van Dijk, Stones, Alexander-Arnold; Jorginho, Kante, De Bruyne; Salah, Kane, Sterling
Who will win the Golden Boot?
JPW: Harry Kane
NM: Harry Kane
KB: Harry Kane if he can stay healthy all year. If not, Sadio Mane.
DK: I think with all the attention paid to his teammates Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang can be the sole Golden Boot winner this coming season.
JS: Harry Kane
How many managers will be fired this season, and who will be the first to go?
JPW: 5. There seems to be fewer managers being sacked these days. Steve Bruce is already on the hot seat, so he will go first.
NM: Six, and Daniel Farke.
AE: Seven, and Steve Bruce.
KB: We’ll go with 6, and the first will be Chris Wilder. Steve Bruce right behind.
DK: As many as 7. Unfortunately, I think the first to go will be either Chris Wilder of Sheffield United, or Ole Gunnar Solskjaer of Manchester United.
JS: 4. If West Ham finds itself struggling mid-table again, I don’t see how Manuel Pellegrini makes it past Christmas.
Who gets relegated?
JPW: Norwich City, Sheffield United, Brighton
NM: Burnley, Sheffield United, Brighton
AE: Burnley, Bournemouth and Newcastle United
KB: Sheffield United, Newcastle United, Norwich City
DK: Sheffield United, Brighton and Hove Albion, Crystal Palace
JS: Sheffield United, Brighton, Norwich.
Who will go furthest in the UEFA Champions League?
JPW: Manchester City
NM: Manchester City
AE: Man City, winners
KB: Man City. This is their year, they can’t keep disappointing forever.
DK: Liverpool. With all the experience they have, why can’t they go to the final for a third-straight season?
How many trophies will Manchester City win?
JPW: Three. Including the Champions League.
AE: Two – Premier League and Champions League. Going out of the FA Cup and League Cup early will get them over the line.
DK: At least 2. I expect them to win the League Cup again as well as the Premier League. Could they add the FA Cup and UEFA Champions League as well?
How many trophies will Liverpool win?
JPW: One, but they‘ll have to settle for the FA Cup or League Cup.
NM: One of the ones that isn’t the league.
AE: One, FA Cup
DK: One. Liverpool will defend its Champions League title.
JS: Two, including the Premier League
Please rate Man City’s chances to “threepeat,” 1 being no chance and 10 being a virtual certainty.
AE: 5.4. Slight favorites over Liverpool, but only slight.
DK: 7. Man City upgraded its squad this summer and should be just as incredible as in the past under Pep Guardiola. It’s up to Liverpool and the rest of the Premier League to keep up with them.
Who wins the league?
JPW: Man City.
NM: Manch3ster City
AE: Man City, by two or three points.
KB: Man City.
DK: I think Manchester City holds on for an incredible third-straight Premier League title.
Make one crazy prediction for the 2019-20 season.
JPW: Wolves will be in the top 4 mix heading into the final week of the season.
NM: Nicolas Pepe and Alexandre Lacazette both have more combined goals and assists than Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but Newcastle’s Joelinton has the highest total in the league (Shoulder shrug emoji).
AE: Mike Ashley will still own Newcastle at the end of the season. Wait, did you say crazy?
KB: Newcastle’s top scorer will be a defender
DK: By outscoring everyone, 4-3, in every game, Arsenal finishes in second place in the Premier League.
JS: Aston Villa qualifies for Europa League, one way or another.
Bonus: Who gets promoted from the Championship?
JPW: Leeds United, Derby County, Cardiff City
NM: Fulham, Stoke City, Leeds United
AE: Middlesbrough, Bristol City, West Brom
KB: Leeds United, Stoke City, Swansea City
DK: Derby County. Leeds United. Reading.
JS: Leeds United, Sheffield Wednesday, Derby County.