Thursday 22 August 2019

As the new season kicks off, we ask who'll be the winners and losers in the 2019/20 Premier League?

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola lifts the trophy as they celebrate winning the Premier League. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola lifts the trophy as they celebrate winning the Premier League. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

With the new Premier League season kicking off this weekend, we asked our sports team what their predictions are for the next nine months.

DANIEL McDONNELL

Who wins the league and why?

Manchester City. They've got the best squad and managed to get the job done last year despite the fact that their best player - Kevin De Bruyne - was absent for long patches of the season. That was Liverpool's golden opportunity.

Who goes down?

This might be Newcastle's year, and Norwich might find that survival is beyond them. New Brighton boss Graham Potter is well regarded but they could be the other team to go.

What's the Irish story to follow?

The expectation around Troy Parrott is a bit unfair given that he's only 17 but having a talented teenager from Dubliner around the fringes of a top six side is genuinely thrilling.

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Tottenham Hotspur's Troy Parrott in action with Manchester United's Marcos Rojo
 

What excites you most about the coming season?

Maybe excites is the wrong word but it will be interesting to see how Frank Lampard handles the heat if Chelsea start to struggle. He was part of an influential core of senior players as managers were chopped on a regular basis. Now he's got to grapple with that role himself; it will be interesting to see how far his status carries him.

Which manager will be first to go?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the favourite for this and it makes sense. It's the easy solution for those above him if their failings in the area of recruitment come back to haunt them.

Who will go furthest in Europe?

A Man City and Liverpool final perhaps? If the draw is kind, it's not beyond the realms of possibility. The gut feeling is that City might just go furthest if they meet earlier too.

Predict the PFA Player of Year winner?

If there's an outside shout here it's Sergio Aguero. He's never won the award before and if City are dominant then there might be a push for a lifetime achievement style selection - similar to when Ryan Giggs claimed it in 2009.

GER KEVILLE

Who wins the league and why?

Manchester City. Despite Liverpool's surge to the top of the Premier League table last season, there was always a feeling that Man City had yet to dig into their reserves. When they did, it was breathtaking.

Fourteen wins on the bounce was a run Liverpool simply couldn't match. 198 points over the past two seasons is enough evidence to suggest City will be unstoppable yet again. Throw in a couple of marquee signings in Joao Cancelo (£60million) and Rodri (£68million) and Pep Guardiola's insatiable appetite for perfection, then hitting that 100 mark again looks achievable. Liverpool's failure to spend in the summer will come back to haunt them.

Who goes down?

Brighton, Norwich and Sheffield United

What's the Irish story to follow?

Conor Hourihane. Odds on who will score the first free kick of the new season? Have a few quid on Hourihane, whose wand of a left foot we all witnessed just after a barrage of tennis balls in the Aviva Stadium against Georgia back in March. Mick McCarthy needs player who can dictate the play and be a link man between the midfield and the strikers, something Ireland teams have lacked for quite a while now.

Hourihane has bags of talent, has an eye for a killer ball and is capable of hitting the net himself. Regular Premier League football was what he needed to take that next step. Now he has it.

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Cometh the Hourihane: Conor Hourihane scores Ireland’s winner as Shane Duffy makes his presence felt in the defensive wall during last night’s 1-0 victory over Georgia. Photo: Sportsfile

What excites you most about the coming season?

Troy Parrott. One can only hope that Mick McCarthy was being coy when he recently suggested the exciting young Tottenham striker would be considered for a place in the Ireland squad if he started a few games in the Premier League.

Mauricio Pochettino has shown huge faith in Parrott, by far our most promising goal scorer since a certain Robbie Keane. The former Belvedere man did not look one bit out of place in pre season games against Juventus, Manchester United and Real Madrid. At the very least, he should be in the squad against Switzerland in September and should lead the line against Bulgaria in the Aviva friendly a few days later.

Pochettino has made it clear he is part of his plans this season. A 17-year-old striker from Dublin, a little over a year since playing in the Dublin District Schoolboy League, playing with the Champions League runners up and a team who may challenge for the title - what can be more exciting?

Which manager will be first to go?

Graham Potter.

Who will go furthest in Europe?

Manchester City.

Predict the PFA Player of Year winner?

Kevin De Bryune

DAVID KELLY

Who wins the league and why?

Manchester City because they are simply the best team; and, having further strengthened their ranks this summer, as well as being in a position to deploy a fully-fit Kevin De Bruyne, their squad will be even stronger whereas Livepool have neglected development.

Who goes down?

Sheffield United, Brighton and Burnley.

What's the Irish story to follow?

Troy Parrott. Spurs’ disinterest in pursuing striking options more than hints at a trust that the Dubliner will be given a taste of life at the highest level this season. Irish football needs a new star and he could fit the bill.

What excites you most about the coming season?

The childish innocence of youth will always yearn for a Spurs title win; to compensate for that inevitable disappointment (again), the engrossing battle between two managers, Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola's, whose constant commitment to self-improvement and the expression of their players, will amply suffice.

Which manager will be first to go?

Steve Bruce

Who will go furthest in Europe?

Man City.

Predict the PFA Player of Year winner?

David Silva.

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Long-serving Manchester City midfielder David Silva, left, has taken on the captaincy following Vincent Kompany’s departure (Jonathan Brady/PA)

VINCENT HOGAN

Who wins the league and why?

Manchester City. Difficult not to go for a City three-in-a-row given they’ve made two £60-million plus signings while Liverpool’s only business has been for a 17-year-old and a 16-year-old. Liverpool could do with a top class number ten, though Klopp seems to believe Oxlade-Chamberlain can become that player.

Who goes down?

Brighton to get what they deserve for the sacking of Chris Hughton; Newcastle for their relentlessly ongoing dysfunction. And Sheffield United to bounce straight back down because the gap between Championship and Premier League is a virtual grand canyon.

What's the Irish story to follow?

James McCarthy. It looks a shrewd bit of business by Roy Hodgson to get the Irish international to Crystal Palace for just over £8 million in a market that is clearly over-heating. Free of injury, McCarthy still has the tools to be a top Premier League midfielder.

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James McCarthy has left Everton to join Crystal Palace (Nigel French/ PA)

What excites you most about the coming season?

The possibility of Everton and Leicester City breaking up what has become a pretty static top six. Everton especially look to have invested with real ambition, but – more importantly - a discernible strategy this time.

Which manager will be first to go?

Wouldn't be surprised if it’s Steve Bruce at Newcastle. The club remains a basket case under its current ownership and they could well be parachuting in a new face before Christmas.

Who will go furthest in Europe?

Liverpool. They just do Europe better than all the others even if the Champions League has to be Pep Guardiola’s priority. Suspect Spurs could have another decent run too given their summer business.

Predict the PFA Player of Year winner?

Hard to look beyond City for a winner but, given glimpses of his real potential towards the tail-end of last season, still think Naby Keita can become a monster of a player for Liverpool. If he stays fit, he may even be the difference in a successful Anfield title push.

DAVID SNEYD

Who wins the league and why?

Manchester City. A consistent machine over the last two seasons they’re even stronger again this time. Liverpool more likely to be caught cold from the off.

Who goes down?

Newcastle, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa.

What's the Irish story to follow?

The Sheffield United crew, especially how new singing Callum Robinson adapts. Has the potential to be a game-changer for club and country.

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Republic of Ireland striker Callum Robinson has joined Sheffield United from Preston (Bradley Collyer/PA)

What excites you most about the coming season?

After a promising pre-season, the prospect of Troy Parrott becoming a regular in the Tottenham Hotspur squad should provide hope for Ireland fans.

Which manager will be first to go?

Roy Hodgson pips Steve Bruce purely because Mike Ashley probably won’t be around to care if things are going pear shaped.

Who will go furthest in Europe?

Liverpool, as it seems Man City have some sort of mental block when it gets to the business end of the Champions League.

Predict the PFA Player of Year winner?

If he can avoid another injury-ravaged campaign, Kevin De Bruyne will be the man to make the champions tick.

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