Making preseason predictions in the Premier League is admittedly a bit absurd. Not only are you most likely to be wrong anyway, but you have to make these predictions knowing that every team was still going to buy and sell players before the end of the transfer window.
But despite all that, everyone makes predictions on the Premier League season before it started. Even we made our picks. Now, after four matches and every new player has had a chance to play, we posed the following question to each of our writers. “After four matches and the transfer window has ended, would you make any changes to your top four and relegation preseason picks knowing what you know now?”
Phillip (Managing Editor) – Preseason 1st Tottenham, 2nd Arsenal, 3rd Liverpool, 4th West Ham; 18th Watford, 19th Burnley, 20th Hull City
Well, it’s clear that I overestimated West Ham. I felt that after moving into their new stadium and if they had signed Alexandre Lacazette that they could sneak into a top four spot but that doesn’t seem likely now. Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool have the potential to be somewhere within the top four but Chelsea and the two Manchester teams were very underestimated. At this point, if I were to redo my top four, I would have 1st Chelsea (no Europe will help), 2nd Manchester City, 3rd Tottenham and 4th Liverpool. Manchester United and Arsenal will barely fall out. United has been squeaking results against sub-par teams that unless they get better, that luck has got to run out at some point and they’ll be giving up points. And Arsenal is just flat and while there’s a chance they could get in, it’s not likely.
As far as my relegated picks. I have to imagine Hull City’s run is going to end just simply because they don’t have enough players to survive relegation. I would replace Watford with Sunderland but keep Burnley and Hull City.
Harrison (Associate Editor) – Preseason 1st Manchester City, 2nd Tottenham, 3rd Chelsea, 4th Manchester United; 18th Sunderland, 19th Burnley, 20th Hull City
After only four match-days any assumptions about the end of the season standings will be a fools errand. That said, certain things are already becoming clear. The two Manchester Teams seem to be the two best sides in the League. I picked City to win the League and stand by that now. United will most certainly be in the top four, but I think at some point their work-in-progress defense will have a bad game or two. However, Mourinho will find a way to shelter them. Chelsea already look a different team than last year and if Diego Costa can continue his strategy of miraculously not getting sent off and then scoring a late winner, they’ll be fine. My last top-four pick was Tottenham, and although they’ve struggled they’re still likely better and with a deeper squad than those around them. Arsenal could catch them, because they added a few good pieces, but I’m not going to call time of Spurs’ top-four hopes yet. I still think Sunderland. Burnley and Hull will go down despite recent results. Though you could substitute Crystal Palace in for any of them at this point. They seem to be in a tail spin with Alan Pardew.
Jeff (Associate Editor) – Preseason 1st Manchester City, 2nd Manchester United, 3rd Liverpool, 4th Tottenham; 18th Sunderland, 19th Burnley, 20th Hull City
Honestly, nothing has really changed in my estimation other than I rate Chelsea a bit higher. City have shown that they can go the distance, as they’ve at least played some teams that can put up a fight, but I have not been impressed with United. I disagree that they are in a different league and if anything, they have been unconvincing compared to their competition for the top. They’ve played Hull, Bournemouth, and Southampton. Against Bournemouth, they relied on a two defensive errors for two of their goals, were 50/50 against Southampton and could have been behind had Southampton been more clinical (they just aren’t), and required a 95+ minute goal from Rashford to break the deadlock.
I still have City winning it, Chelsea taking 2nd now, and Liverpool and United finishing out the top 4. Tottenham are always slow to start, so we’ll see if anything changes after a few weeks.
Randy (Staff Writer) – Preseason 1st Manchester United, 2nd Chelsea, 3rd Tottenham, 4th Manchester City; 18th Bournemouth, 19th Burnley, 20th Hull City
We’re four matches in, so it’s too early to start backtracking. I’m stunned by Hull City’s hot start, but I suspect that is more of a mirage than a trend. I am a little concerned that I’ve underestimated City a bit. One day, I’ll learn to stop doubting Pep Guardiola.
Pauly (Staff Writer) – Preseason 1st Manchester United, 2nd Tottenham, 3rd Manchester City, 4th Leicester City; 18th Crystal Palace, 19th Sunderland, 20th Burnley
It’s important not to get to carried away by the first four games of the season. After all, it’s easy to play well in August when the weather is beautiful, it’s another to keep that going when the weather gets bad. Having said that, it’s already clear Manchester United and City are in a different league from everyone else. After them is Chelsea and then there’s everyone else. The race for fourth is still wide open but Tottenham seem too reliant on Moussa Dembele and like they haven’t recovered from last year yet. Arsenal have their problems but mentally they know how to do just enough to grab fourth place.