So, after what seems like an eternity, the football season is upon us.
In just four days, the first Premier League ball will be kicked, signalling that nine months of frenetic footballing action is underway.
The question is: what’s going to happen this season?
As has become customary on Commentary Box Sports, I’m going to stick my neck out and make my predictions for the upcoming season. Let’s hope I’m not made to look foolish in May 2018…
Chelsea will struggle
Beginning with my most controversial and most dramatic prediction, I think there’s a good chance that Chelsea will have a much more difficult season than last year.
When Conte’s side won the league at the end of last season, a lot of pundits were backing that victory to be the beginning of a dynasty – but I don’t share that conviction.
The stars aligned for Chelsea last season, but there are a number of factors that make another Chelsea league win unlikely.
For a start, Diego Costa appears to be on his way, and he has been the key goalscorer for the West London club for the last three years. Alvara Morata has been parachuted in to replace him, but I have genuine concerns over Morata’s ability to adapt to Premier League football.
Secondly, Gary Cahill is another year older and at some point, his powers will begin to wane. Having David Luiz and Azpilicueta alongside him bailed him out last season, but whether it will again remains to be seen.
Thirdly, there are still rumours that Hazard is on his way out of the club, and with Neymar heading to PSG, there’s every chance that Barca will swoop for the Belgian. If he goes, Chelsea are a different side, as they found to their cost when he went missing for most of the season before last.
Chelsea could be in for tough season after Arsenal defeat, warns former Blues star and coach
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) August 7, 2017
At least one of Swansea, Burnley or Watford will go down
Huddersfield and Brighton will be odds on to go down, but it’s not just the recently promoted clubs who are likely to be in a relegation dogfight. All three of these clubs have got lucky in the past couple of years, and at least one of them are facing the drop.
Premier League Opening Weekend.
Chelsea = Dragon
Burnley = Cart pic.twitter.com/ypiZzGDDnX
— Stephen Robinson (@phStephenHD) August 7, 2017
Jose Mourinho will win the league or leave his post
As we’ve highlighted in recent weeks, this is an absolutely vital season for Jose Mourinho. Win the league with United and do well in the Champions League and his star is restored. Should it appear like he is failing in that quest, you can expect Jose to leave Old Trafford – either voluntarily or with a push off the plank.
Jose Mourinho: “The club will always be a giant.” 🔴 pic.twitter.com/kpLVPGzXC5
— The ManUtd Blog (@the_manutd_blog) August 7, 2017
Everton won’t improve on last year
The Toffees have spent a lot of money in a bid to compete with the top four, but in truth, they’ve bought the kind of players that the top clubs don’t want. Spurs were in this position for many years – unable to attract the top players but in need of reinforcements, and now it’s Everton’s turn. I can’t see them improving much on last year’s seventh-place finish.
Contento por mi primer gol. Seguimos!! pic.twitter.com/Bi79E2UQIU
— Sandro Ramirez (@sandroramirez9) August 6, 2017
The title winner will be…
Grudgingly, I’m going to go for Manchester City, for no other reason than the fact that Guardiola HAS to win the league. His first season was a dismal disappointment by his standards, and he has spent a ludicrous amount of money already in a bid to improve City’s fortunes. Sadly for football, I think that this time it’ll work – City will win the title.
Ancelotti: “Manchester City will be a team to beat this season. After his first year, Pep Guardiola’s work will start to bring results” pic.twitter.com/28oQdeSKK7
— City Chief ️ (@City_Chief) August 7, 2017
The rest of the top four will be…
Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United.
The teams relegated will be…
Burnley, Brighton and Huddersfield
The player of the season will be…
The signing of the season will be…
Wayne Rooney to Everton. I’m backing Wayne to enjoy a renaissance at Goodison, and while I don’t see Everton improving on their league position, I think Wayne will have a season to remember.
— Kick Paper (@kickpapernews) July 29, 2017