Chelsea v Sunderland - Premier League

Predicting How the Final 2015/16 Premier League Table Will Look

The 2015/16 Premier League season has the potential to be the best yet​ and is certainly one of the most eagerly awaited campaigns of the modern era.


It won't be long before the drama starts to unfold for real at both ends of the table, but in the meantime here's a predictive look at how the final table might look come next May ...

20. Norwich City

Middlesbrough v Norwich City - Sky Bet Championship Playoff Final

Norwich manager Alex Neil certainly did a brilliant job to get the Canaries promoted last season as it wasn't on the cards until he got the job in January. The 34-year-old Scot is the youngest manager in the top flight and what he lacks in experience he makes up for with a surprising level of tactical intelligence.


However, Norwich have really failed to strengthen over the summer where other teams have and that is likely to prove costly.


Verdict: 20th

Key Player: Bradley Johnson

19. AFC Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet Championship

Not a single person wants to see Bournemouth make an immediate return to the Championship. They set the second tier alight last season with marvellous attacking play and have a really likeable manager in Eddie Howe.


Unfortunately, even with a number of summer signings, the task just seems too great for them. The Cherries could surprise a few teams, but in the end relegation seems like an unavoidable certainty.


Verdict: 19th

Key Player: Matt Ritchie

18. Aston Villa

Nottingham Forest v Aston Villa - Pre Season Friendly

​There's no getting away from the fact that 2015/16 will be a long, hard season for Tim Sherwood and Aston Villa. The club has been busy over the summer, but a lot of inexperienced talent and relative unknowns have arrived when they really needed a number of proven battlers.


Villa fans will pray that things fall nicely into place as happened at Southampton 12 months ago, although they could easily find themselves relegated for the first time in nearly 30 years.


Verdict: 18th

Key Player: Micah Richards

17. Leicester City

Sunderland v Leicester City - Premier League

Had Leicester not been through a summer of upheaval, there was every chance they could have really pushed on and finished comfortably in mid-table. Nigel Pearson seemed to have discovered the formula, but now Claudio Ranieri will have to start from scratch.


It seemed an odd appointment and chances are the veteran Italian might not even make it through the season. However, the Foxes should still have just enough quality to stay up regardless.


Verdict: 17th

Key Player: Kasper Schmeichel

16. Watford

St Albans v Watford - Pre Season Friendly

In 2015/16, Watford will be desperate to achieve something they never have done in the Premier League era and survive for more than a single season. Having failed twice before (1999/00 and 2006/07), this could finally be their time to shine.


The Hornets have a new manager in Quique Sanchez Flores and have bought well in the transfer market, adding plenty of experience to an already hungry squad.


Verdict: 16th

Key Player: Troy Deeney

15. Sunderland

Darlington v Sunderland - Pre Season Friendly

Sunderland looked destined for the drop until Dick Advocaat steadied the ship at the Stadium of Light last season. The veteran Dutchman guided the club away from danger, but things will still be tough on Wearside over the coming months.


Most of the Black Cats' problems remain and their transfer business hasn't exactly been mind blowing - the most recent acquisition, Yann M'Vila, is rather a loose cannon. Nevertheless, relegation should still be avoidable.


Verdict: 15th

Key Player: Jermain Defoe

14. West Bromwich Albion

Bristol Rovers v West Bromwich Albion - Pre Season Friendly

​Tony Pulis teams don't get relegated - it's a fact. That alone should tell you that West Brom will be safe this season. The club has bought sparingly, but James Chester and Rickie Lambert appear to be good additions, while Saido Berahino remains.


Pulis' Baggies will be well organised and difficult to play against, but they perhaps just lack the overall quality to make a return to the top half of the table just yet.


Verdict: 14th

Key Player: Chris Brunt

13. West Ham United

West Ham United v SV Werder Bremen - Betway Cup

West Ham are shooting for the stars in 2015/16 and are setting themselves up for a big fall. The owners have been making plenty of noise and big money has been spent, but Carl Jenkinson aside, all of the new arrivals are gambles.


Slaven Bilic is is also untested in English management and their step into the Europa League is already proving difficult to manage - the one upside is that the Hammers might not last much longer in the competition.

Verdict: 13th

Key Player: Winston Reid

12. Newcastle United

Newcastle United v West Ham United - Premier League

Newcastle avoided relegation by the skin of their teeth in May, but things should be much different this season. The board moved early to appoint Steve McClaren and while they haven't gone crazy in the transfer market​, they have made some good and considered signings.


Even last season, the Magpies already had the makings of a good squad and fans should now see a drastic improvement, although cracking the top half still seems like a step too far just yet.


Verdict: 12th

Key Player: Moussa Sissoko

11. Crystal Palace

2015 Cape Town Cup: SuperSport United v Crystal Palace

Nobody expected Crystal Palace to beat relegation in either of the last two seasons, but they managed to finish 11th in 2013/14 and then 10th in 2014/15. Alan Pardew has assembled a really good squad at Selhurst Park, so another mid-table finish won't be a surprise this time around.


Scott Dann and Yannick Bolasie are set to remain, while Yohan Cabaye has added great quality to midfield, with Patrick Bamford providing youthful energy up front.


Verdict: 11th

Key Player: Yohan Cabaye

10. Stoke City

Barclays Asia Trophy

Stoke have managed 9th place finishes in each of the last two seasons under Mark Hughes and will be desperate to go one better after a busy summer in the Staffordshire Potteries. Goalkeeper Asmir Begovic has left, but Jack Butland is ready to step into the void, while Bojan Krkic and Peter Odemwingie will be available after long-term injuries.


Unfortunately, Ryan Shawcross will be out until at least mid-October which is a huge loss for the opening eight to ten games.


Verdict: 10th

Key Player: Charlie Adam

9. Southampton

Southampton v Vitesse - UEFA Europa League: Third Qualifying Round 1st Leg

​Having lost Nathaniel Cyne and Morgan Schneiderlin this summer, the big question surrounding Southampton is can they beat the odds for a second year in a row?


The answer this time is probably not quite. Their excellent 7th place finish last season means European football is now on the agenda as well. It will serve as a distraction, but the Saints should still have just enough to hold their place in the top half.


Verdict: 9th

Key Player: Jose Fonte

8. Swansea City

Swansea City v Stoke City - Premier League

Garry Monk's Swansea had a monumental season in 2014/15, managing their highest ever Premier League finish, as well as amassing a club record points total. The core of that team is still very much intact, while Andre Ayew looks to be a very shrewd summer signing.


French defender Franck Tabanou is another good buy, while Eder should be an improvement on departed fellow Portuguese international Nelson Oliveira up front.


Verdict: 8th

Key Player: Ki Sung-yueng

7. Everton

Hearts v Everton FC - Pre Season Friendly

Having come close to qualifying for the Champions League in Roberto Martinez's first season in charge, Everton suffered a real decline in the Spanaird's second. This time around there are no European distractions, which should be enough to push the Toffees back into the top half.


Romelu Lukaku looks as though he could be coming back to top form again and the input from the powerhouse Belgian will be key.


Verdict: 7th

Key Player: Romelu Lukaku

6. Tottenham Hotspur

Malaysia XI v Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham still managed to finish in 5th place last season despite a campaign plagued by inconsistent displays. They were often saved by moments of individual brilliance from the likes of Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane and have failed to strengthen in an attacking sense .


That being said, it's another year under Mauricio Pochettino and the defence should in theory be much less porous than it was in 2014/15, which will go a long way to keeping them competitive.


Verdict: 6th

Key Player: Harry Kane

5. Liverpool

Brisbane Roar v Liverpool FC

Liverpool have certainly been one of the busier clubs in the transfer market this summer, but it still won't be enough to propel them back into the top four. James Milner and Nathaniel Clyne are good additions, but not players to build a team around, while Roberto Firmino is something of a gamble.


For the first time in more than 15 years, the Reds won't have the influence of Steven Gerrard either, which seems to have been forgotten about.


Verdict: 5th

Key Player: Jordan Henderson

4. Manchester City

Manchester City vs  AS Roma

Manchester City are the weak link in the top four at the moment. The arrivals of Raheem Sterling and Fabian Delph have done little to fix the problems they endured in 2014/15 and they will still be relying too heavily on the likes of Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure.


Sergio Aguero has the potential to pull them out of holes all by himself, but whether he can finally stay fit for a whole season remains doubtful.


Verdict: 4th

Key Player: Vincent Kompany

3. Arsenal

Chelsea v Arsenal - FA Community Shield

A lot of people, perhaps somewhat naively, think this could finally be Arsenal's year. They have one of the best attacking units in all of Europe and have finally found a world class goalkeeper. However, many of their problems remain the same.


Francis Coquelin was a good find, but the centre of midfield still looks delicate, while Cech's presence alone won't suddenly make  an average at best back-four impenetrable.


Verdict: 3rd

Key Player: Petr Cech

2. Chelsea

Chelsea v Crystal Palace - Premier League

Chelsea were better than everyone for the first half of last season, but there was a definite feeling they limped over the line in March, April and May. Crucially, the Blues haven't strengthened this summer, adding only a back-up goalkeeper and flop striker to their first-team squad and have allowed the challengers to catch up.


Their existing quality should be enough to keep them in the mix, but retaining the title will certainly be a big struggle.


Verdict: 2nd

Key Player: Eden Hazard

1. Manchester United

International Champions Cup 2015 - Manchester United v San Jose Earthquakes

Louis van Gaal and Manchester United are not settling for anything other than a return to to the top this season. In Memphis Depay, Matteo Darmian, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin they have made four very good signings and arguably now have the deepest and best overall squad.


The defence isn't the problem everyone thinks it to be, while Wayne Rooney has proven in the past he is capable of scoring 30+ goals when playing as an out and out centre-forward.

Verdict: 1st

Key Player: Wayne Rooney

​Disagree? Of course you do ... join the debate and leave a comment with your suggested changes.

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