The 2020/21 Premier League season will be upon us before we know it.
It's approaching a week since the latest season concluded with the COVID-19 pandemic meaning that the gap between campaigns has shrunk to barely 40 days.
And while that might not excite the players themselves, who have been drained by a hectic post-lockdown schedule, it's a thrilling proposition for fans who are still baying for footballing action.
2020/21 Premier League
Meanwhile, the trio of West Bromwich Albion, Fulham and most notably Leeds United will be hoping to consolidate their top-flight status after securing promotion from the Championship.
There's still so many changes that could be made between now and the season commencing, most notably summer signings, but we couldn't resist dusting off our crystal ball ahead of time.
Predicting the final table
It is, after all, customary to make predictions ahead of the Premier League season, either to prove oneself as the latest Nostradamus or enjoy laughing when they look stupid one year later.
And what better way to open ourselves up to being mocked than to predict the Premier League table already? But come on, you can't resist reading as much as we couldn't resist writing.
So, without further ado, check out who we think will be crowned Premier League champions, qualify for the top four and suffer relegation during the 2020/21 season... 10 months ahead of time.
20. West Bromwich Albion
Sorry, Baggies fans, there always one club you've got to predict to finish bottom and concluding your promoting-winning season with just three wins in 11 games hasn't filled me with confidence.
Slaven Bilic has a mixed record in the Premier League, particularly latterly at West Ham, while having just two players who surpassed double figures in front of goal is a massive red flag.
Their defence doesn't shape up well when compared to Leeds or Brentford, either, so Albion's return to the Premier League could be a rocky one and perhaps befitting of their yo-yoing history.
19. Aston Villa
Look, Villa dodged survival by the skin of their teeth this season and the threats of losing Jack Grealish, as well as their recent history of poor transfer choices, hardly give me cause for optimism this time around.
Conceding 67 goals in 38 games meant that only Norwich City had a poorer defensive record in 2019/20 and I can't see them getting away that again, even though a latter-day flourish offers some hope for Dean Smith's men.
18. Crystal Palace
We need to talk about just how dire Palace were towards the back end of last season, closing out the season with seven defeats and a draw from their final eight games, scoring just three times.
Marry that to the fact the Eagles surely won't be able to hold on to star man Wilfried Zaha for another summer and their woeful goal-scoring record - we're looking at you, Christian Benteke - to see why we're tipping them for the drop.
I thought for a long, long time that I would be placing Fulham in the relegation zone and I'll happily admit that 48 goals conceded and a goal difference half that of West Brom does ring alarm bells.
But a combination of Aleksandar Mitrović's proven track record in the Premier League, Scott Parker's clear managerial tenacity and most crucially of all, the lessons learned from 2018/19 makes me think Fulham are better equipped than WBA to dodge the drop.
16. Brighton & Hove Albion
Brighton survive, that's just what they do. Graham Potter was one of the most underrated managers of last season and his uncanny ability to make the Seagulls so difficult to beat has been pivotal in them keeping afloat.
The south-coast side only lost one game fewer than Burnley, who finished 10th, so there's only reason to think they'll consolidate this sort of position and particularly after the impressive coup of Adam Lallana.
15. Newcastle United
What can I say? Newcastle are forever destined to finish in this broad region of the table as long as their transfer activity continues to be either nonexistent or wildly haphazard, Joelinton cough cough.
So, this is by no means an inditement of Steve Bruce's time at the club, only that a bout of second-season-syndrome and potentially losing Allan Saint-Maximin could see them slide a sprinkling of steps down the table.
14. Leeds United
It's easy to tip Leeds as the promoted club that's going to enjoy the most success next season because of the pedigree, so maybe we're surrendering to the hype too, but we have two words for that: Marcelo Bielsa.
Aside from Leeds' status as Championship winners, there's good reason to believe their strong squad will be better drilled than most for having 'El Loco' at the wheel and I expect them to secure plenty of upsets against the 'top six'.
13. West Ham United
Predicting West Ham to finish this highly has been a guaranteed recipe for disaster recently, so come on, David Moyes, please please reward me for having some faith in you lot.
Call it blind optimism, call it sheer stupidity, but the simple fact is that Sébastien Haller and Felipe Anderson are top-class players and should be leading the Hammers close to the top ten.
Perhaps most excitingly of all, though, was the form shown by Tomáš Souček and Michail Antonio during the final weeks - and hopefully, for my sake at least, that won't turn out to be a fluke.
Burnley are essentially at the whim of however many points the teams around the top-half/bottom-half border collect, because Sean Dyche's is alarmingly reliable at steering them to the 50-point mark.
And forecasting them to tumble two places is more an indication that the clubs in this region are building and improving as opposed to thinking the walls are crumbling at Turf Moor because, well, they simply aren't.
11. Sheffield United
Let's just say there's not a good roadmap laid out by other clubs who shined upon earning promotion with Reading and Ipswich actually suffering relegation in 2008 and 2002 respectively after doing exactly that.
But the biggest reason behind me thinking that the Blades won't follow that trajectory is the brilliant work we've seen from Chris Wilder, so the drop off I'm expecting from them is pretty minimal.
Look, Ralph Hasenhüttl is a top, top manager and he's proven that with a reaction to the 9-0 Leicester defeat that, frankly, seemed to continue right up until the final game of the season.
Combine that with the fact Danny Ings will be leading the line as a Golden Boot-contending striker and I expect them to finish in the top half without any of the early-season struggles they suffered in 2019/20.
Is there a tougher team in the division to place than Everton? To be honest, I'm actually having second thoughts about backing Carlo Ancelotti this much, especially considering they won just three games after the restart.
That being said, Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin are a menacing front two when they're on song and benching Jordan Pickford would go a long way towards shorting up their defence.
They have a serial Champions League-winning manager, albeit one who has struggled in his last two jobs, so I've got to follow the history books and back them for the top half at least.
8. Wolverhampton Wanderers
You could be forgiven for thinking that Wolves would tail off this season because of Europa League duties, but boy have those doubters, myself included, been shown to pay no attention to that.
And as a result, I've been given no reason to predict anything short of another successful Premier League season for Nuno Espírito Santo's men, especially if they can hold on to Raul Jimenez.
There's just seven teams that I think have a slight edge on them...
7. Leicester City
The Foxes ended the season with the form of a mid-table team and while I expect them to get back on track by September, the top six have only improved and I don't expect them to launch a Champions League assault again.
Jamie Vardy isn't getting any younger, James Maddison went off the boil in 2020, Ben Chilwell looks set to leave and the fixture logjam of the Europa League means, in my eyes, the only way is down for Brendan Rodgers' men.
6. Tottenham Hotspur
This is where the table really starts to become gridlocked and as much as predicting Tottenham to stand completely still seems harsh, Spurs just don't seem to be improving at the rate that their rivals are.
I think it's more likely that Jose Mourinho will make enough tweaks to win perhaps the Carabao Cup or FA Cup, which is something of a speciality for him, as opposed to rocketing up the league table.
Then again, I do expect Harry Kane to return to 30-goal-a-season form and fingers crossed Dele Alli can really start showing his quality again.
It might be vogue to call Mikel Arteta the greatest thing since sliced bread right now, but there's still a lot of problems in this Arsenal side and re-signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is absolutely pivotal to their success.
After a truly dire 2019/20 league campaign, however, I still think it's pretty positive to predict the Gunners to return to fifth place and start feasibly challenging for the Champions League again.
I don't anticipate Europa League football hindering them too much.
A lot of people are thinking that Chelsea could challenge for the title in 2020/21 and there's no denying that Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and inevitably Kai Havertz are stunning signings.
But bolstering their attack is hardly Chelsea's problem when they're leaking goals left, right and centre, so excuse me for being unconvinced until they bolster a back five that shipped the same amount of goals as Brighton last season.
I'm fully predicting this to be one of the most competitive Premier League seasons in history, so please don't think I'm forecasting Jurgen Klopp's men to have an absolute meltdown and barely scrape into the European places.
Rather, I expect them to be challenging to retain their league crown, only to unravel from micro declines in form from individual players in light of what seems an inevitable lack of investment this summer.
The fact of the matter is you've got to improve while you're ahead and I simply cannot see a world where the Reds exceed 90 points for the third time in a row without dipping into their wallets.
2. Manchester United
The most controversial pick in the entire table... I know, I know.
Let me pitch it to you, however, that Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford outscored Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane in a season that started so poorly for United.
So, just imagine what the club's goal-scoring trio could look like with an entire season of Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes supplying them with ammunition, never mind if Jadon Sancho joins.
The big caveat to this prediction, though, is United investing in a centre-back and if they do indeed give Harry Maguire a world-class partner, then I'll be even more confident about this than before.
That, and swapping David de Gea out for Dean Henderson.
1. Manchester City
I don't think I'm alone in this prediction.
Guardiola is one of the best managers in world football and he also happens to have a huge pile of cash that he's already used to sign Ferran Torres and Nathan Ake while their season is still transpiring.
And it's that key improvement in the centre of defence, which could be built upon further, that should start to harvest the sort of consistency that we saw from the Citizens in 2017/18 and 2018/19.
The heart of my prediction is that the spine of the greatest Premier League team in history still remains and being able to spends tens of millions repairing that with Guardiola at the wheel can only spell silverware.
GIVEMESPORT's Kobe Tong says
I'm sorry, Liverpool fans, I really am. Go easy on me.
Look, I think this current Liverpool team is one of the greatest in Premier League history and don't think I'm taking putting them in third place lightly.
I'm just concerned that a second consecutive season without improving their squad in the transfer market could bite them in the backside, at least in terms of competing against City.
I'm far less confident that United will indeed usurp them, nor do I think it would happen by more than a couple of points, but it's hard to ignore the trajectory the Red Devils are on right now.
It's hard for me to think that United won't be knocking on Liverpool's door when they went unbeaten since January and had the second best record against the top six in the entire division.
But look, regardless of what I think, we can all agree that predicting the Premier League table is near enough impossible.
And that's exactly why we tune in every week and it's exactly why predicting it is so irresistibly haphazard. Go on, Jurgen, prove me wrong.
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