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Worst signing? Top-four predictions? Our writers on the 2016-17 Premier League season

Plus, which Irish player should we watch out for in the coming campaign?

Chelsea Open Training Session - Stamford Bridge Chelsea's N'Golo Kante during an open training session at Stamford Bridge. Source: Steve Paston

Rónán Duffy

What do you hope to see this season?

A season that’s not dominated by nonsense between Mourinho and Pep. It got old in Spain very quickly and I don’t want it to take over in England.

What do you expect to see?

The bigger clubs reasserting a dominance they lost last season.

Name the best and worst signing of the summer

N’Golo Kante to Chelsea is easily the best singing of the summer. Apart from that, in Andros Townsend Palace have gotten Newcastle’s best player from the second half of last season. They got him at a good price too and he starts to look even more effective if they manage to land Benteke.

As for worst, I don’t think Andre Ayew for +£20 million is what West Ham needed to meet fans’ expectations after last season and in their new big home.

Who will occupy the top-four spots come the end of the season and in what order?

1 Man United
2.Man City
3.Chelsea
4.Tottenham

Who will get relegated?

Hull, Burnley, Swansea.

Which Irish player(s) should we watch out for?

Harry Arter getting injured before he could go to France was a big disappointment, so I’ll be watching and hoping he pushes on at both club and country this term.

Jackie Cahill

Liverpool FC v FC Barcelona Liverpool's Sadio Mane during the pre-season match between Liverpool FC and FC Barcelona. Source: Paul Harding

What do you hope to see this season?

Liverpool having a genuine crack at winning the title, without the distraction of European football. Failing that, a top-four finish. A Mourinho meltdown would be a bonus.

What do you expect to see?

The Manchester clubs fighting it out for the title, with a renewed challenge from Chelsea. I think it’s fairly obvious that a surprise title winner a la Leicester won’t come from the pack this season.

Name the best and worst signing of the summer

Best: Sadio Mané – Liverpool
Worst: Brad Guzan (Villa to Middlesbrough)

I don’t think I’ve seen a worse Premier League goalkeeper than Brad Guzan in recent seasons although Simon Mignolet could lay claim to that dubious title. I’m backing Sadio Mané to hit the ground running with Liverpool but Manchester United’s capture of Paul Pogba is a serious statement of intent and he’s an excellent player.

Who will occupy the top-four spots come the end of the season and in what order?

1. Man City
2. Man United
3. Chelsea
4. Liverpool

Who will get relegated?

Hull, Burnley, Swansea.

Which Irish player(s) should we watch out for?

The Everton pair – Seamus Coleman and James McCarthy. By their high standards, they didn’t have the greatest of tournaments for the Republic of Ireland at Euro 2016 and it will be interesting to watch Everton’s progress under new boss Ronald Koeman.

Paul Fennessy

What do you hope to see this season?

John Stones file photo John Stones joined Man City from Everton recently. Source: Mike Egerton

Less sideways and backward passes. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes they’re necessary, but football has become far too predictable and robotic in many instances. Paul Pogba, as talented as he can be, was a perfect example in the Euro 2016 final. Every pass he played was either a hopeless long ball or an easy sideways pass. It’s disappointing to see top players shirk responsibility by going for the cautious option all too often.

What do you expect to see?

Bad behaviour from managers — it seems to get worse every season. Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and Antonio Conte can be temperamental at the best of times. Less so Arsene Wenger, but even he is unreasonable on occasion. At least Mauricio Pochettino is reassuringly boring, while Claudio Ranieri is also one of football’s rare nice guys.

Name the best and worst signing of the summer

Best: N’Golo Kante — the main reason I’m convinced Chelsea will be back in the Champions League come the end of the season. Plus, £32 million for a player of his quality is excellent value by the British transfer window’s crazy standards.

Worst: John Stones is undoubtedly talented, but £47.5million is a lot to pay for a player who was poor last season and is by no means guaranteed to fulfill his potential.

Who will occupy the top-four spots come the end of the season and in what order?

1. Man City: They have seriously bolstered their squad this summer, and so will surely be better able to cope with the loss of key players this time around.

2. Man United: The pressure will seriously be on Mourinho and United, but more often than not in football, money talks. Consequently, the addition of stars such as Pogba and Ibrahimovic will surely be enough to bring them back into the title mix.

3. Chelsea: In two of the past three seasons (Leicester and Tottenham last year and Liverpool in 2013-14), a team who didn’t have the burden of the Champions League football to deal with has made a serious charge for the title. This year, Chelsea could well be that team.

4. Arsenal: Arsene Wenger has a knack of knowing how to qualify for the Champions League, and while their squad still doesn’t look strong enough to mount a sustained title challenge, the veteran manager’s experience coupled with an array of talented players should be enough to at least secure their customary top-four finish.

Who will get relegated?

18. Bournemouth: Finishing five points above the relegation zone last season felt like an overachievement. Moreover, the fact that two of their three main summer signings were Jordon Ibe and Brad Smith doesn’t exactly fill you with confidence either.

19. Burnley: A club who have been surprisingly quiet in the transfer market, Burnley look a limited enough side who will struggle with the step up in quality that the Premier League entails.

20. Hull: Already look a club in turmoil, their lack of new signings and the absence of a permanent manager are ominous signs for the season to come.

Which Irish player(s) should we watch out for?

If Harry Arter can stay injury-free, he could be a key player in the coming months for both Bournemouth and Ireland.

Describe the new Premier League season in one sentence.

Excess.

Killian Woods

China Soccer Manchester City Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola pictured during a training session. Source: Mark Schiefelbein

What do you hope to see this season?

As great as it was to see Leicester City win the league last year and see Spurs challenge for the league, the title race was yet again a two-horse race. It would be nice to see a very competitive title race where three (or if I’m being greedy, four) teams are still in with a chance of winning the league with two games to go.

What do you expect to see?

I think my wish might actually come true. I can see Manchester City under Pep Guardiola challenging in his first year, Jose Mourinho seems to have a squad capable of possibly winning the league and I truly believe Arsenal are in with a chance as Arsene Wenger is driven to win something substantial in what could be his final season. It’s likely at least one of Spurs, Chelsea or Liverpool will muster together a good season so maybe we could have a four-team title race.

Name the best and worst signing of the summer

I think Ahmed Musa is a great acquisition by Leicester, while Crystal Palace nabbing Andros Townsend from Newcastle will be a good fit for them. As for the worst signing, I’ll go for a wild pick and say Paul Pogba. I think his every move is going to be picked apart and since his price tag is so astronomically high, how people will gauge of his success will be significantly inflated. How many goals do you have to score or assist to warrant a €105 million price tag?

Who will occupy the top-four spots come the end of the season and in what order?
1. Manchester City 2. Manchester United 3. Arsenal 4. Spurs

Who will get relegated?
West Brom, Hull City, Swansea City.

Which Irish player(s) should we watch out for?
I know he’s not exactly a new talent fresh out of the academy, but I’ll be watching out for David Meyler and how he gets on at Hull this year. I think he’s good enough for a mid-table Premier League team and since it looks like Hull are about to get caught up in a scrap, he will thrive in that environment. Also, I’m aware he’s not in the Premier League, but I think Jack Byrne on loan at Blackburn is one to watch out for this season and will be the man to fill the “Why isn’t X in the Ireland squad?” headlines.

Describe the new Premier League season in one sentence.
Competitive.

Shane Costello

Ashley Williams File Photo Ashley Williams joined Everton from Swansea in the summer. Source: Simon Galloway

What do you hope to see this season?

The tactical battles between the “super managers” in the league, particularly the newcomers. Conte was not afraid to alter his style of play for different opponents at Euro 2016, while Guardiola will have to adapt his preferred way of playing to succeed in England.

What do you expect to see?

A clear divide emerging between the top 10 clubs and the rest of the teams.

Name the best and worst signing of the summer

Best: Steve Mandanda to Crystal Palace from Marseille on a free transfer could be the best value, with the Frenchman named in the Ligue 1 Team of the Year in the last two seasons, and four times overall.

Worst: James Tomkins also to Palace, from West Ham for £10 million. There are better defenders available for the same money, such as Ashley Williams who joined Everton, albeit he is five years older, but he can organise and command a whole team, and is such a positive influence on the whole dressing room.

Who will occupy the top-four spots come the end of the season and in what order?

1. Manchester City
2. Manchester United
3. Chelsea
4. Arsenal

Who will get relegated?

The three promoted clubs – Hull City, Middlesbrough, Burnley

Which Irish player(s) should we watch out for?

Robert McCourt of West Brom — it’s getting increasingly difficult for young Irish players to make the breakthrough with Premier League clubs, but much is expected from the former St Kevin’s Boys defender.

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