The new Premier League season is nearly here and sure to be another fantastic campaign full of thrills and spills!
Our football tipster Joe Citrone has put together his 2023/24 preview, complete with 1-20 predictions and recommended ante-post bets.
1. Manchester City
Hot take alert! I have Manchester City as my 2023/24 Premier League champions! I bet you haven’t seen this predicted anywhere else, have you?
I am sorry to be boring, I do try and be as different as I can be with these previews, but I simply cannot look beyond Pep Guardiola’s side collecting their sixth title in seven seasons.
As much as they have lost some important players, particularly Ilkay Gundogan to Barcelona who was so crucial for them last season, I still see City as having the strongest squad in the division.
The addition of Josko Gvardiol looks like another superb addition to an already stacked defence and attacking players like Phil Foden, Jack Grealish and of course, the imperious Erling Haaland will just continue to get better and better.
I do not see anyone stopping the City juggernaut this season.
After a surprise title push last season, Arsenal will be looking to solidify their place back at the top-table of English football this year.
And they have certainly pushed the boat out in the transfer market; bringing in Kai Havertz, Jurrien Timber and, of course, Declan Rice for a total sum of close to £200m.
That, undoubtedly, makes the Gunners stronger and I think it is enough to keep them where they are with players like Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli also only going to get better.
However, I still feel they, and the rest of the Premier League for that matter, have a lot of catching up to do on City and won’t be able to topple them this season.
Exciting times are ahead for the Gunners, though.
After a disappointing 2022/23 campaign, which saw the Reds slip out of the top-four and in for a whole season of Thursday night football, I am expecting Jurgen Klopp’s men to come back firing this season.
It has been one of the busiest summers since Klopp arrived as Reds boss in 2015 with long-serving players heading out of the club and a few fresh faces coming in.
The most high-profile departure is captain Jordan Henderson who has joined up with ex-teammate Steven Gerrard at Al-Ettifaq in Saudi Arabia, but midfielders Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai have come in as replacements with rumours also persisting over the potential signing of Romeo Lavia from Southampton.
I think, although this new-look Liverpool side might take a little bit of time to gel, this squad refresh is exactly what they needed and I am excited to see how they shape up. I am confident of them getting back into the top-four and being a real force again.
4. Manchester United
Erik Ten Hag did well in guiding Manchester United back into the Champions League last season, and have made some positive moves this summer, but I have them dropping one place to fourth this season.
Although I like the additions of Mason Mount, Rasmus Hojlund and, in particular, Andre Onana as I have felt for a while that United needed to upgrade in the goalkeeping department, I think it will be fierce at the top this season.
Therefore, I have United behind Arsenal and Liverpool as it stands, although do have them qualifying for the Champions League again.
It was an awful, terrible, horrendous season for Chelsea last time out…and even that feels like a bit of an understatement.
Despite huge summer spending, Chelsea finished in a very disappointing 12th-position…a staggering 31 points off the top-four and with a bloated, imbalanced squad to clear up.
The man tasked with doing that is former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino and it has been a very busy summer for him and his team. Striker Nicolas Jackson, who joins from Villarreal, is probably the most eye-catching signing that has been made.
Things will take time to gel with another big player turnover, but the squad does look a lot more balanced than it did and I back Poch to get this Blues side firing again.
I haven’t got them back in the Champions League, but I’ve got them back up to fifth.
6. Aston Villa
After Unai Emery guided Aston Villa into Europe last season, I am expecting another big season from the Villains and have them in my top-six.
Following that remarkable achievement last season, it feels like Emery is finally starting to be recognised as the top manager that he is, and I think he’s just going to continue improving Aston Villa.
It feels like they have really made a statement of intent with their transfer business as well; particularly the signing of tricky winger Moussa Diaby from Bayer Leverkusen. Youri Tielemans, who has come in on a free transfer from Leicester City, is also a smart piece of business.
Ollie Watkins really caught fire under the guidance of Emery last season and I back him to enjoy another good season at the top of the pitch for Villa.
I am feeling really good about Villa chances this season and have them finishing in sixth-place and qualifying for the Europa League.
Aston Villa to finish in the top-six – currently at
7. Tottenham Hotspur
Ange Postecoglou is the new man in charge at Spurs and has a job on his hands turning around a side that ended last season in a bit of a mess.
There was so much hope and expectation at the beginning of last season with serial winner Antonio Conte at the helm, but things quickly started to unravel and Spurs ended up finishing in a disappointing eighth-place after qualifying for the Champions League the year before.
With the appointment of Postecoglou, who played a really attacking and dynamic style at Celtic, it’s clear Spurs are trying to change back to a playing style more akin to the philosophies of former boss Mauricio Pochettino – which I think is a positive step – but this will take time.
A lot, of course, depends on whether Harry Kane is still at the club come the end of the transfer window…but I have Spurs in seventh for now with steady improvements made under their new coach.
8. Newcastle United
Newcastle United finished in the Champions League places last season, but I have them sliding down to eighth-position this term.
I am not saying that Newcastle have weakened this summer or that they will be a lot worse this season, it’s more a reflection of how strong I think the league will be – and how hard it may be for the Magpies to juggle both the league and the Champions League.
Sandro Tonali and Harvey Barnes have both come in, and I think they will both be good signings, but I’m not sure Newcastle have been able to add the depth to cope on two fronts and I think the other top sides will be much stronger this term.
I don’t think Newcastle fans will be particularly happy with my prediction…but I have them in eighth this season.
9. Brighton & Hove Albion
Brighton had a magnificent season last time out, finishing in sixth-position, and will be hoping to build on that this year.
However, I do see them encountering some of the same issues as Newcastle and am unconvinced that they have added the required depth to cope with both Premier League and Europa League football.
The additions of Joao Pedro, Bart Verbruggen, Igor and Mahmoud Dahoud are good ones, but the loss of Alexis Mac Allister to Liverpool will be a blow and the rumours linking Moises Caicedo with a move to Chelsea simply won’t go away.
I don’t see Brighton struggling badly this season, I still have them comfortably in the top half under a coach I rate very highly in Roberto De Zerbi, but I do see a bit of a drop-off.
Despite talismanic striker Ivan Toney receiving a betting suspension until January, I am still expecting the Bees to have a strong and solid campaign under Thomas Frank.
Like Brighton, I see Brentford as a club with a strong identity and a clear model that have always coped well with losing key players before and, for that reason, I expect Brentford to able to deal with the temporary Toney absence.
Frank has proven himself to be an excellent manager at this level and, with players like Mikkel Damsgaard and Mathias Jensen only going to get better in the midfield of the park, I back Brentford to keep punching above their weight in the top-half of the Premier League table.
I’ve got the Bees in 10th-place.
11. Nottingham Forest
After a tricky first campaign back in the top-flight, I am backing Nottingham Forest to have a much-improved season and rise to 11th in the table.
The last summer transfer window was mad, with no fewer than 30 new players coming through the door, but Steve Cooper now has a much more settled squad heading into this new campaign.
I also believe the likes of Morgan Gibbs-White and Brennan Johnson, who are attacking players with so much talent and potential, will continue to progress and I am expecting big seasons from both of them.
Goalkeeper Dean Henderson is yet to complete a permanent switch back to the club after a successful loan spell last term but if they can finally get that one over the line, that would be a huge boost.
12. Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace have a really interesting and exciting squad and I’d like to have them a little bit higher in this prediction, but there are just a couple of things holding me back.
The first one is the permanent return of Roy Hodgson as manager. He did a fine job arresting the Eagles’ worrying dip in form last season, and he brings with him a wealth of experience, but I’d liked to have seen Crystal Palace make an appointment that is slightly more creative and ambitious.
The second one is Michael Olise who has been subject to a lot of transfer speculation this summer with Chelsea and Manchester City both thought to be interested in the tricky winger. It would be a huge blow to lose both him and Wilfried Zaha in the same window.
They have also only made one signing so far; the arrival of Jefferson Lerma on a free transfer from fellow Premier League side Bournemouth.
I still have them having a comfortable season, but do feel as if they aren’t far away from a really competitive top-flight side.
Burnley romped home to the Championship title last season, making an immediate return to the Premier League following their relegation from the top-flight in 2022.
And, with former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany at the helm, I can see the Clarets holding their own in the Premier League this season.
Of course, it is a huge step in quality, but I feel that has been addressed in the transfer market with eight new signings arriving at Turf Moor. I am most excited about goalkeeper James Trafford who has joined on a permanent deal from Manchester City and will be looking to build on his successful summer with the England U21s.
I have Burnley in 13th.
14. AFC Bournemouth
Bournemouth caught a lot of people by surprise by deciding to sack Gary O’Neill as manager after the rookie coach guided the Cherries to Premier League safety last season.
Definitely a bit harsh, but Bournemouth have made a very interesting appointment in Andoni Iraola who has earned a good reputation in Spain.
If they can get the deal for Bristol City’s Alex Scott over the line, which I think would be a terrific signing, then their squad actually looks pretty interesting; especially in the wide areas.
I have Bournemouth in a solid 14th-position.
With Sean Dyche at the helm, I can see Everton making baby steps away from the bottom-three this season, but there is still a hell of a lot more work to be done before they can be considered a serious, competitive force in the Premier League again.
In fact, I’d probably have Everton right down there again – like I did in my 22/23 predictions – if it wasn’t for Dyche who, although is unlikely to serve up entertaining football at Goodison Park this year, is more likely to grind out results than Frank Lampard.
Their summer business hasn’t exactly been inspiring with Ashley Young joining on a free and Arnaut Danjuma finally signing on loan after turning down a move in January but, like I said, if anyone is going to be able to squeeze every drop of talent out of this squad…it’s Dychey!
Fulham enjoyed a really positive first season back in the Premier League last term, finishing 10th, but I can see a bout of Second Season Syndrome kicking in for Marco Silva’s men.
The disruption caused by the speculation linking Silva with a move to Saudi Arabia, which rumbled on for much of the summer, won’t have helped their preparations neither would a departure for star striker Aleksandr Mitrovic which still is on the cards.
Also, when looking at their squad, there just seems to be a real lack of depth in key areas. Although Calvin Bassey from Ajax could be an interesting signing, I haven’t been blown away by their transfer business – or who they have been linked with – and they need to do a lot more.
I have Fulham staying up, but not by much.
17. Wolverhampton Wanderers
Unfortunately, after a difficult summer which reportedly has manager Julen Lopetegui
frustrated and disillusioned, I can only see a season of struggle on the horizon for Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Although Matheus Cunha has arrived on a permanent deal from Atletico Madrid and Matt Doherty has returned on a free transfer, it is clear that Lopetegui wanted more and the speculation regarding the boss’ future – which dates back towards the end of last season – is only causing distractions and disruptions.
I don’t see the Spanish coach staying in the West Midlands for very long, but I fear the damage could have been done this summer through below-par preparation and that Wolves could be embroiled in a relegation battle this season.
18. West Ham United
Well, this one might be a little controversial…
I have West Ham United in my bottom-three this season and one of the teams going down into the Championship.
It might seem like a bold call to tip the team that just a few months ago lifted the Europa Conference League trophy for the drop, but I have been far from impressed by what I’ve seen from the Hammers so far this summer.
Main man Declan Rice has departed the club and, at the time of writing, no new signings have come in with Carlos Borges opting for a move to Ajax and a deal for James Ward-Prowse said to have hit a stumbling block.
Also, when you factor in that the Hammers – despite their success in Europe – only finished six points clear of the bottom-three last term, this looks like it could be a tough campaign for David Moyes’ men. And in terms of the starsports.bet odds, I think 10/1 looks like a big price for the Hammers to be relegated.
West Ham to be relegated – currently at
19. Luton Town
Luton Town will be looking to enjoy every moment of their first-ever season in the Premier League, a decade after they won the Conference title, but it will be a tough ask for Rob Edwards’ side to stay out of the bottom-three.
I like what the Hatters have been doing in the transfer market, particularly the additions of Ryan Giles and Tahiti Chong who both enjoyed excellent seasons in the Championship last term. I am also excited to see the likes of Carlton Morris and Elijah Adebayo make the step up.
To be honest, I wanted to have them surviving, but this is a tough, competitive league and I just couldn’t squeeze them in ahead of other clubs who I think will be stronger over the course of the campaign.
20. Sheffield United
Despite looking good in promotion from the Championship last season, I am struggling to make a strong case for Sheffield United to survive in the Premier League this year and think the Blades could be in for a rough time.
Although Paul Heckingbottom has attempted to strengthen his squad, bringing in defender Auston Trustry from Arsenal and Anis Slimane from Brondby, I don’t think he’s been able to get it up to Premier League standard.
The Blades were also dealt the ultimate hammer-blow of losing star striker Iliman Ndiaye, who was so crucial to their promotion last season, to Ligue 1 side Marseille.
I have them finishing bottom of the league.
Sheffield United to finish bottom – currently at
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