Premier League clubs have made their final major signings for the 2020/21 season.
Truth be told, given the global situation, the January transfer window was pretty uneventful in England’s top-flight with no repeats of Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United or Fernando Torres to Chelsea.
Rather, the last four weeks were more about tweaks and spring-cleaning than the sort of panic-buying that results in £50 million transfer fees and £500,000-per-week wages.
2020/21 Premier League
Well, for the most part, that is, with a few teams lower down the Premier League standings knowing that their business in January could make the difference between returning to the Championship or keeping their head above water.
As a result, we’re effectively moving into the endgame of the Premier League season with no more opportunities to shake up first-team squads in a way that could switch the whole narrative of 2020/21.
Besides, even in one of the most convoluted campaigns in recent memory, it doesn’t take a footballing expert to identify the leading candidates for the title, top four and bottom three.
Predicting the final table
And that’s enough encouragement for yours truly to revisit the GIVEMESPORT prediction for the final Premier League table, which we last revised when the summer transfer window concluded.
So, now that the winter window has followed suit, we’ve stared deep into our misty, turbid and downright unreliable crystal ball in a hopeless attempt to correctly predict the order of all 20 clubs.
Either that or we’re playing mind games with you safe in the knowledge that we’ve selected the order with 1,000,000% accuracy. It’s unlikely, not going to lie, but we’ll let you decide by checking out our final forecast here:
20. West Bromwich Albion (-1)
Yes, the Baggies have made some shrewd January signings, most notably Robert Snodgrass, but not bolstering the Premier League’s leakiest defence makes us think Sam Allardyce’s relegation immunity is coming to an end.
19. Sheffield United (+1)
Does anybody think the Blades are going to survive? I can certainly see them enjoying a mini late-season renaissance, but with just two wins and cut 13 points adrift, it won’t be enough to secure a historic escape.
18. Fulham (-)
It’s a crying shame that Fulham haven’t been able to convert some fantastic displays into the results they deserved and as much as we think they’ll flirt with survival into the final weeks of the season, they’re set for a quick return to the second tier.
17. Brighton & Hove Albion (-)
Moisés Caicedo looks like a great signing, sure, but it speaks volumes that Brighton’s last three league home wins came in 2019, 2020 and 2021 respectively, so expect them to only dodge the drop by a couple of points.
16. Crystal Palace (-3)
We’re edging into the region of the Premier League table that’s hardest to predict. I guess we just can’t see a Palace side lacking January investment or league wins since December to make any serious inroads before the summer.
15. Newcastle United (-)
Steve Bruce might be a wanted man in Newcastle right now, but he has an uncanny knack of pulling off key results when he needs them and that, combined with Callum Wilson’s goal, will be sufficient for comfortably dodging relegation.
14. Burnley (+2)
Water is wet, grass is green, Sean Dyche is forever underrated. The Clarets might have been inactive in January, but if this season has taught us anything, it’s that Burnley are unerringly reliable when their key players are fit.
13. Leeds United (-1)
You can expect Marcelo Bielsa’s men to huff and puff as the season enters its final months, but their unpredictable alloy of comfortable wins and embarrassing thrashings will see them level out in mid-to-top-table.
12. Wolverhampton Wanderers (+2)
The sheer disappointment of Wolves’ season feels like it’s flown under the radar, but we think there’s too much quality in Nuno Espirito Santo’s squad, bolstered by Willian José’s arrival, for them not to climb at least a few places.
11. Southampton (-)
With just one Premier League victory since early December, Southampton have flattered to deceive more often than you’d imagine, but the combination of Ralph Hasenhüttl and Danny Ings will still bag plenty of wins this side of May.
10. Aston Villa (-1)
Tenth place almost seems harsh considering Villa’s remarkable upturn since survival but given the convoluted nature of the table, it’s hardly an insult and Jack Grealish surely deserves the PFA’s top men’s prize at this rate.
9. Everton (-1)
We’re not convinced by the signing of Josh King, we won’t lie to you, but regardless of their Deadline Day buy, we think it’s inevitable that Carlo Ancelotti’s men will plateau as the season reaches its twilight weeks.
8. West Ham United (-3)
All the credit in the world to David Moyes because he’s doing a fantastic job at West Ham and trust us when we say that the Hammers, despite losing Sebastian Haller, should still take our prediction of eighth as a massive compliment.
7. Arsenal (+3)
It’s been a cracking January for Arsenal and I expect their squad, newly enlivened by Martin Odegaard’s arrival and a fire sale of deadwood, to continue their mid-season revival and crawl towards the European places.
6. Tottenham Hotspur (-)
Title contenders one minute, bottle jobs the next, Spurs have been as inconsistent as they come in 2020/21 and January has done little to change our view that Jose Mourinho will ultimately plummet miles below the top four.
5. Leicester City (-1)
I want to be proven wrong, I do, but with Leicester only ever ten seconds away from an injury crisis and unexpected defeat, I can easily envisage another late-season slump as the Champions League continues to escape their grasp.
4. Chelsea (+3)
When this Chelsea team wants to defend, they can defend better than most, so I see a world where Thomas Tuchel’s new-manager bounce and intricately-plotted tactics skyrocket Chelsea back into the top four.
3. Liverpool (-)
Credit to Liverpool for plugging their gap in defence with Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak, but their bizarre cocktail of world-class results and gutting draws means we think they’ll even out in third, albeit just a whisker behind second.
2. Manchester United (-)
Yes, the air has been let out of United‘s balloon recently, but we still see them as the sturdiest ship out of the Premier League’s ‘top six’, give or take our tip for champions, with Bruno Fernandes leading the way.
1. Manchester City (-)
Pep Guardiola’s men are on fire right now. With a defensive duo of Ruben Dias and John Stones hoovering up clean sheets like they’re going out of fashion, their free-scoring midfield should be enough to bag a third title in four years.
I’m not going to lie, it felt like half of Merseyside wanted to give me a piece of their mind when I predicted Liverpool to finish third in the Premier League before the season even started.
But now that we’re halfway through the campaign, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling smug about the fact my prediction for the Reds and the Manchester clubs hasn’t changed one bit.
Then again, I don’t want to give myself too much of a pat on the back when I thought that Sheffield United would be competing for the top half again, only to be collecting dust at the very bottom.
However, there’s still a long way to go before the 2020/21 season is concluded with some teams having played just 19 games due to postponements, so we’re not getting ahead of ourselves just yet.
Besides, if any Premier League season has taught us that anything can happen, it’s this one.