2021/22 Premier League season
The Premier League will be back on our screens very soon.
Euro 2020 now seems like a distant memory, with the focus all on pre-season and the transfer window.
Along with the start of a new season, of course, come a whole host of predictions. Who will win the league? Who is going down? Who will earn that coveted Europa Conference League spot?
Now, 101 have outlined their predicted Premier League table for the forthcoming season.
Make sure to save this article and tell us how wrong it is in May!
2020/21 will be Brentford's first season in the Premier League, but do not expect them to be here next year, as well.
The Bees will no doubt offer some eye-catching football this season, and will certainly create some big moments.
But they are a fairly inexperienced group of players who are not the most solid defensively, and have virtually no Premier League experience.
Their recruitment this summer has also not been overly exciting as of yet, so a bottom-three finish does seem likely this time around.
Whereas Brentford may struggle at the back this campaign, Watford look set for issues at the other end.
The Hornets scored 63 goals in the Championship in 2020/21 - a fairly low total for a side who finished in an automatic promotion spot.
And their top-scorer, Ismaila Sarr, managed just 13 goals. Their highest scoring centre-forward - 19-year-old Joao Pedro - meanwhile, only netted nine.
Joshua King has since been brought in, but it still looks as though Watford will not be an overly prolific side in 2021/22.
Norwich's previous stint in the top-flight ended in disaster. They scored just 26 goals, and conceded 75, finishing dead bottom of the Premier League.
It is clear that Daniel Farke has since learned a lot from this, with the Canaries now a much more defensively sound unit. Norwich would concede 36 as they won promotion in 2020/21, after letting in 57 goals back in 2018/19.
However, whilst they may now be better defensively, the Canaries still may not have enough to stave off relegation, especially since they have lost creative talisman, Emi Buendia.
17) Crystal Palace
Under Roy Hodgson, Crystal Palace were always a shoo-in for a midtable finish.
However, the veteran boss has now departed at a time when Palace are in serious need of a squad overhaul.
The Eagles have a number of ageing players, whilst several others, including Andros Townsend, have now left following the expiration of their contracts.
Patrick Vieira is the man tasked with ushering in a new area at Selhurst Park, and things have gotten off to a decent start with the additions of promising young talents like Michael Olise and Marc Guehi. However, Vieira does not have the experience of Hodgson, and there is a good chance that Palace will be much closer to the drop this year, especially with key man Eberechi Eze potentially sidelined until December.
Southampton probably have too much quality in their side to go down. But the Saints can be somewhat inconsistent under Ralph Hasenhuttl.
Their backline, despite boasting solid defenders, can be quite shaky, and Southampton may struggle even more if they sell Danny Ings.
However, even without Ings, the Saints should have enough to finish higher than our current bottom three choices.
Brighton play some eye-catching football under Graham Potter, and should once again avoid relegation next season with him at the helm.
However, it is hard to see them pushing into the top half of the Premier League table, unless they sign a better striker.
The Seagulls have also lost Ben White to Arsenal, which will of course weaken their solid backline to some extent.
Next season will probably prove much of the same for Sean Dyche and his Burnley side.
The Clarets will have a bad run, before embarking on an unbeaten streak at some point in the season, but ultimately, they are unlikely to ever climb much higher than 10th, based on the club's current options.
Newcastle finished 12th in the Premier League last season, and a similar outcome should be expected in 2021/22.
Steve Bruce will never get the Magpies playing eye-catching football, and Mike Ashley's ownership means there is little chance of a European push anytime soon.
But the North East outfit are pretty much nailed on for a midtable finish as long as Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin can stay fit.
Wolves are one of the tougher sides to predict a finish for this year, due to the fact that they are now under new management.
The club do have talisman Raul Jimenez back, and have signed promising winger Francisco Trincao on loan from Barcelona.
Bruno Lage, in turn, should have his side playing attack-minded football, but the former Benfica boss' teams can historically also be vulnerable defensively.
11) West Ham
West Ham finished 6th last season, so an 11th placed finish this time around may seem like an odd prediction.
But the Hammers will have to contend with Europa League football in 2021/22.
This can often lead to smaller squads suffering in the Premier League, due to the amount of football they need to play.
And David Moyes' side is currently lacking in depth, especially up top where Michail Antonio is their only real viable centre-forward option.
Rafa Benitez is now at the helm at Everton. The Spaniard boasts a solid record in the Premier League with both Liverpool and Newcastle.
However, he does not look like the man who will propel Everton into a battle for the top-six.
Instead, Benitez will likely oversee a solid if unspectacular 2021/22 at Goodison Park, with the Toffees set to prove a tough team to break down, whilst offering little going forward.
Leeds United were one of the most entertaining sides to watch for neutrals last season.
Marcelo Bielsa's brand of football ensured that The Whites managed to cause issues for every Premier League side, when firing on all cylinders.
However, it is hard to see Leeds progressing much further than their 9th place finish from last year, due to the club's fairly weak backline and lack of transfers made this summer.
8) Aston Villa
After a bright start, Aston Villa fell off somewhat at the back end of 2020/21.
However, Villa have since signed Emi Buendia and, if Jack Grealish stays put, Dean Smith's side should have a shot at challenging for a European place next season.
Of course, Grealish leaving would dampen such hopes somewhat. But Villa would secure a sizable sum for their star man, which they would likely then reinvest back into their ever-improving squad. They have also signed Leon Bailey from Bayer Leverkusen, who could prove a decent replacement for Grealish's creativity.
Tottenham fans will be hoping that Nuno Espirito Santo is the man to get them back fighting for a top-four spot.
And whilst the Portuguese may well improve Spurs, the teams above them in the Premier League have spent the last few seasons investing heavily in their respective squads, and hiring top managers.
So, given the lack of recruitment at Tottenham over the last few years, it is hard to see them finishing any higher than 6th or 7th this season, especially if Harry Kane departs.
Despite last season having been considered something of a failure for Mikel Arteta's Arsenal, they should fare much better this time around.
The Gunners started last season pretty poorly, but, had the campaign begun at Christmas, they actually would have finished in 3rd place.
Arsenal have also been carrying out some smart business in the market, with a creative midfielder now perhaps their only real essential ahead of 2021/22.
And, as they finished 8th last term, the north Londoners have no European football to contend with, unlike Tottenham and West Ham.
Do they have enough to challenge for a top-four place? Probably not. But Arsenal should now be back in contention for a top-six finish.
Leicester City have finished 5th in the last two seasons, and a similar outcome should be expected this year, too.
The Foxes are a solid side and have once again been making some smart decisions in the transfer market, with Patson Daka and Boubakary Soumare their latest promising young additions.
However, it is still hard to see Brendan Rodgers and co. finishing higher than Manchester City, a rejuvenated Liverpool, Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea or a Manchester United side spending big in the market this summer.
4) Manchester United
As mentioned above, Man United have had a promising summer window so far.
Jadon Sancho's arrival will address the Reds' lack of a proper right-winger, whilst Raphael Varane helps to sort another of the club's main problem areas, centre-back.
Even with these two additions, though, will Ole Gunnar Solskjaer be able to guide his side to a better finish than Chelsea - who have improved greatly under Tuchel, Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool or Manchester City?
Chelsea were one of the most improved sides over the second half of last season.
Thomas Tuchel made the Blues an incredibly hard outfit to break down, and was able to guide them to just a 2nd ever Champions League title, seeing off some top sides along the way.
However, Chelsea really struggled for goals last time out, and unless they sign a big name striker like Erling Haaland, it is hard to see them actually winning the league.
Liverpool's Premier League title defence was marred by injury issues in 2020/21.
However, now that Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are returning to full fitness, backed by the addition of Ibrahima Konate, the Reds should once again be title challengers this season.
It is hard to see the Merseysiders being able to dethrone Manchester City, though - partly because they have lost Georginio Wijnaldum, and partly because Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane's form over the last year or so has been far from stellar.
1) Manchester City
Liverpool finishing 2nd, of course, would mean Manchester City taking top spot.
Pep Guardiola's side are currently the best in the Premier League by some way, with the likes of Phil Foden, Ruben Dias and Ferran Torres only expected to improve even further over the coming years.
Kevin De Bruyne is the best creative midfielder in the world, John Stones is back to his best, the Citizens have managed to keep hold of Fernandinho for another year, and the club's squad depth is insane.
Raheem Sterling, who endured a patchy 2020/21, also looks much improved after rediscovering his best form at Euro 2020.
Additionally, if Man City end up signing Harry Kane or Jack Grealish this summer, as they reportedly wish to do, it is tough to envision any team coming close to them next year.