Chelsea to win the Premier League? Predictions 2015/16: the top half

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With the big kick-off just a few days away the debate over who will finish where has well and truly begun.

Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United will want to challenge Chelsea for the title, while Tottenham and Liverpool will be content with a top four place.

Meanwhile the likes of Swansea City and Crystal Palace will hope to replicate their top half finishes of last season.


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Here's my prediction for how the top half of the table will look come next May:


To think many tipped the Saints for relegation at the start of last season. A number of key players departed but they bounced back and how. It was a simply sensational achievement to finish seventh.

Credit should go to Ronald Koeman who clearly re-invested money brilliantly. Nathaniel Clyne and Morgan Schneiderlin have departed but new signings Cedric Soares and Jordy Clasie are adequate replacements.

Once again their squad is looking strong. The Europa League will be the biggest issue; it’s become somewhat of a curse.

Playing Thursday and at the weekend is never ideal and sadly it will probably cost the Saints. Replicating last season's league finish will be very difficult with their extra commitments and Koeman may secretly be happy with an early exit. That’s not to say it will be a bad season, a top half finish is likely.


It’s hard to believe that the Swans were in the Championship just four years ago. An eighth place finish was an unprecedented achievement and confirmed Garry Monk’s status as one of the best young managers in the country. Now the challenge will be to repeat the incredible feat they achieved last season.

You certainly wouldn't bet against them doing it. There have been no major departures and Monk has brought in Andre Ayew, who scored ten times in Ligue 1 last season.

With the likes of Jonjo Shelvey and Gylfi Sigurdsson accompanying Ayew the Swansea midfield looks strong. There may be an over-reliance on Bafetimbi Gomis up front but they should enjoy another successful season.


Alan Pardew has done a marvellous job at Crystal Palace; last season’s tenth place finish was a remarkable achievement.

All concerned with the London club will have high expectations ahead of the new season and they look likely to live up to them. So far the club has managed to hold on to its star players and the team looks stronger than it did last season.

In Yohan Cabaye they have signed a player of proven Premier League quality who should easily slot into what is becoming one of the best midfields in the country. Meanwhile they look strong up top with Patrick Bamford, Connor Wickham and Glen Murray competing for places. There should be no fears of relegation and a top half finish should be the aim once again.


The 2014/15 campaign was a disappointing one for Everton. The pressure was piled on Roberto Martinez but the owners have stood by their man in the hope he can bring the good times back to Goodison Park.

This season they don’t have Europa League commitments, which should result in a far more characteristic campaign.

Though a top four place appears out of reach, the current squad is more the capable of breaking back into the top seven, where it belongs.

The capture of Gerard Deulofeu is an exciting one and he will provide an extra cutting edge in attack. If they can get Romelu Lukaku firing then it could be an exciting season for the Merseyside club.


Once again Tottenham Hotspur tried and failed to breach the Premier League top four, finishing six points behind one of the poorest Manchester United sides of the modern era.

So, will this be their year? The club has finally moved on deadwood such as Paulinho and Etienne Capoue which is a step in the right direction. Their signings so far have all been defensive ones, most notably the arrival of Toby Alderweireld.

The north London club will again look to Harry Kane for inspiration. The Englishman will want to build on his breakthrough season.

Though this campaign will be more difficult, Kane seems to have the character to be more than a one season wonder. Unfortunately for Spurs fans, despite some stand-out plays the overall quality of the squad simply isn't good enough to finish in the top four. Expect the wait to go on.


After coming so close to the title the year before Liverpool found themselves in sixth place at the end of last season.

A 6-1 mauling by Stoke City confounded their misery. Captain Steven Gerrard has moved on and it will now be up to Jordan Henderson to fill the void. Rodgers has moved quickly in the market once again and on paper his signings are excellent.

Nathaniel Clyne replaces notorious under-performer Glen Johnson at right-back and Roberto Firmino will likely form a mouth-watering midfield trio with Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho.

Up front the club will hope they've finally found their Luis Suarez replacement in the shape of Christian Benteke. With Daniel Sturridge’s injury problems Liverpool’s season is virtually resting on the Belgian’s shoulders.

If he can produce his best form and score in excess of 20 goals then Liverpool will have a great chance of a top four place, but it’s a big if. United sneak into fourth in my predictions purely because I'm backing Wayne Rooney to outscore Benteke.


Louis van Gaal was tasked with bringing Champions League football back to Old Trafford in his first season at United and the Dutchman just about succeeded. Now the aim will be to go for a 14th Premier League title.

Ed Woodward has conducted the teams transfer business swiftly this summer, bringing in five new faces already.

Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin will no doubt strengthen the centre of midfield and Memphis Depay is a very exciting talent. Worryingly, despite their spending United still look weak in key areas.

Radamel Falcao and Robin van Persie have both gone, leaving United with a lack of forward options. The defence though is the truly mind-boggling flaw.

They quite clearly need a new centre half but Van Gaal seems determined to deploy Daley Blind there. His fellow Dutchman will surely be exposed in the position. If they don’t bring in an experienced centre-half then United should be more concerned with their top four status than a title challenge.


Once again Man City failed to defend their Premier League title in 2014/15. Second place simply isn’t good enough for a team that’s invested so much and they’ll be desperate to get their hands on the trophy for a third time.

Manuel Pellegrini remains in charge, but the pressure will be on the Chilean this season to deliver another title to the Etihad.

City will be pleased with their squad ahead of the big kick-off. The club has spent a lot to recruit Raheem Sterling and they’ll pray that he can deliver on his price tag. Playing with the likes of David Silva and Sergio Aguero, there is no reason why he shouldn't do so.

City have undoubtedly the best striker in the country, although questions will persist over Aguero’s fitness. The biggest concern will be in defence, most notably the shaky partnership between Eliaquim Mangala and Vincent Kompany. They have all the attacking talent they need but their rear guard could cost them once again.


It’s been a quiet summer for Arsenal, with the club bringing in just one new player. Thankfully for the Gunners that one signing is an excellent one. Petr Cech could save Arsene Wenger’s side 10 to 15 points over the course of the season, the Czech international is the top-class 'keeper they've clearly been lacking for some time.

Arsenal fans will be worried that Wenger hasn't invested in a new striker, with scepticism over Olivier Giroud’s capabilities continuing. Certainly their forward options look weak in comparison to their rivals.

Although an array of midfield talent should be enough to see them comfortably finish in the top four, the lack of a world-class striker could be what stops them winning the title.

Champions: CHELSEA

It’s been a fairly quiet transfer window for Jose Mourinho, who seems quite content with the squad he has at his disposal. Why wouldn't he be?

The Blues were by far the best team in the country last season and look well equipped to defend their title. Their rivals may have strengthened but the Chelsea squad boasts a wealth of talent, but more importantly strength in depth.

The Blues' lack of major transfer activity reflects Mourinho’s confidence in the squad which therefore makes it difficult to look past them again this season.

Eden Hazard is quickly developing into one of the world’s best, Diego Costa is capable of 20 goals a season even with injuries and Nemanja Matic provides the balance in midfield.

That’s before you even mention the defence. They have the strongest squad and in many people’s eyes the best manager in the league, which is why I’m backing them to retain their trophy.


1) Chelsea
2) Arsenal
3) Manchester City
4) Manchester United
5) Liverpool
6) Tottenham
7) Everton
8) Crystal Palace
9) Swansea
10) Southampton

Football fans, do you agree with this top half? Let us know who you think will finish where in the comments box below.

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