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The42's writers make our 2017/18 Premier League predictions

Whatever you do, don’t screengrab this for when we’re wrong at the end of the season.

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte says he faces his toughest season as a manager.
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte says he faces his toughest season as a manager.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

THE PREMIER LEAGUE returns this evening, which means it’s time for those of us in The42 Towers to gaze into a crystal ball and try to predict how the table will look come May before a linesman has been shouted at in anger.

This year, we’re also nailing our colours to the mast and letting you know our favourite club. This doesn’t mean we hate your favourite club, it just means that’s the jersey our parents bought us when we were too young to know better.

Just like you.

Anyway, without further ado, let’s see just how wrong we’ll be come May.

Gavan Casey

Which summer signing is going to have the biggest impact on the season and why?

Ederson will almost single-handedly determine the title race; I say ‘almost’ because he occasionally uses two hands. His commitment to charging off his line like a wildman might well culminate in the end of Paul Merson’s punditry career, which in itself could be considered impactful, but the Brazilian ‘keeper is the key man not just for City, but for all challengers this season.

Ederson. Source: Brandon Parry/PA Images

If he goes well – which I suspect he will, because he’s a sublime shot-stopper – City will win the league at a canter, probably by early April. If he botches it the title will end up elsewhere, and a gaunt Pep will already have been ran out of Perfidious Albion by the ‘phyiscaliteh’ brigade, who will give chase exuding a sort of demented glee.

Which manager would you most like to go for a pint with and why?

Eddie Howe strikes me as a man whose friends no longer text him when they’re heading out, so I’d try coax him out for a few swigs and hear about his ‘football club’. He’d be on the water, of course, but at least I’d have a lift home.

What will be the top 4 come the end of the season?

Manchester City
Tottenham
Chelsea
Manchester United

Who will get relegated?

Burnley
Swansea
Huddersfield

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

Kevin Long.

He marked me off the pitch in a Junior B Gaelic football match a few summers ago and I’m surprised it’s taken Sean Dyche so long to see what I saw in him that day.

Pace, power, aerial prowess, an innate ability to read the game, and still Long kept me scoreless. He hasn’t looked back since. In fairness, I don’t think he was forced to that day either.

Who is your childhood Premier League club?

United.

Jackie Cahill

Which summer signing is going to have the biggest impact on the season and why?

I’d expect Romelu Lukaku to have a big season for United. From a (biased) Liverpool perspective, Mo Salah could turn out to be a cracking signing, and Dom Solanke is one to watch too, for relatively little money in the current market.

Which manager would you most like to go for a pint with and why?

Jurgen Klopp. Source: Brian Lawless

Jurgen Klopp – because he’s the Liverpool manager. I’d like to know the full story behind Liverpool’s transfer window.

What will be the top 4 come the end of the season?

Manchester City
Manchester United
Liverpool
Chelsea

Who will get relegated?

Huddersfield
Brighton and Hove Albion
Watford

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

There’s a big Irish contingent at Burnley, and Jonathan Walters looks like a shrewd signing from Stoke City for the Clarets.

Who is your childhood Premier League club?

Liverpool.

Eoin O’Callaghan

Which summer signing is going to have the biggest impact on the season and why?

There have been some standouts, certainly. Obviously, the eye always goes to the most high-profile.

If Manchester City are to challenge properly for the title, they need their defensive reinforcements like Kyle Walker & Benjamin Mendy to hit the ground running. With United, the onus is on Romelu Lukaku to score lots.

Romelu Lukaku. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

But in terms of biggest impact, maybe look at Everton’s push towards Europe and their acquisition of Sandro Ramirez from Malaga for an absolute steal (£5m).

Or, the teams set to battle against the drop and how they’ve done in the market. Can Huddersfield’s Steve Mounie score enough to keep them up? Can Kelechi Iheanacho keep Leicester up?

Which manager would you most like to go for a pint with and why?

Having an unhealthy obsession with the glorious Croatian team he was a part of, Slaven Bilic could regale me with plenty of stories about Boban, Prosinecki and Jarni. And I’m sure the music conversation wouldn’t be too bad either.

What will be the top 4 come the end of the season?

Manchester City
Arsenal
Chelsea
Manchester United

Who will get relegated?

I worry about both Burnley and Watford while it’s tough to see Huddersfield surviving. With Hughton’s experience of the top-flight, Brighton may just stay up and I think Rafa will get the job done with Newcastle.

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

Ciaran Clark’s confidence suffered majorly during his final days at Aston Villa but he’s been revitalised since joining Newcastle and was a standout for them in the Championship last term as they were pretty ruthless at the back. Benitez has strengthened his defence with some summer acquisitions but Clark is expected to remain first-choice.

And it will be good to see him back.

Who is your childhood Premier League club?

Manchester United.

Fintan O’Toole

Which summer signing is going to have the biggest impact on the season and why?

Manchester City have shelled out plenty money this summer but if they’re going to land the title, they’ll need £35m goalkeeper Ederson to solve an area that was a major problem last season.

Which manager would you most like to go for a pint with and why?

Mourinho. ‘Jose, explain why exactly you don’t like Pep, Rafa, Arsene, Antonio etc?’

What will be the top 4 come the end of the season?

Manchester City
Tottenham
Manchester United
Chelsea.

Who will get relegated?

Huddersfield
Watford
Swansea

Swansea's Kyle Bartley. Source: PA Archive/PA Images

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

Seamus Coleman to get back fit and hitting full speed, Kevin Long to cement a place in defence with Burnley and Shane Long to get back playing and scoring regularly.

Who is your childhood Premier League club?

Everton. Nailed on for 7th this season.

Paul Fennessy

Which summer signing is going to have the biggest impact on the season and why?

New Chelsea purchase Tiemoue Bakayoko was really impressive whenever I watched him for Monaco in the Champions League last season, so I’m expecting big things from him.

Mo Salah. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Honourable mentions too for Romelu Lukaku and Mo Salah – the former will add much-needed pace to United’s forward line and is as close as you’ll get to a guaranteed goalscorer, while latter is much better than his Chelsea stint suggested and should be well capable of recapturing the form that earned him the £34.3 million move from Roma in the first place.

I still remember vividly Salah being the best player on the pitch when Fiorentina dumped Tottenham out of the Europa League in the 2014-15 campaign, so it’s not as if he hasn’t thrived against Premier League opposition before.

Which manager would you most like to go for a pint with and why?

There’s no answer other than Jurgen Klopp, is there?

What impresses me most is his flexibility – you could meet him in a bad mood and still have a really interesting, serious conversation about tactics etc, or if his easy-going fun-loving demeanour is anything to go by, he’d be well up for having a laugh and strikes me as the type of person who would be an accomplished practical joker.

What will be the top 4 come the end of the season?

Manchester City
Chelsea
Manchester United
Tottenham

Who will get relegated?

Swansea
Brighton
Huddersfield

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

Two defenders spring to mind. It’s particularly important for Ireland’s sake that Shane Duffy proves himself at Premier League level.

At 25, Duffy should no longer be thought of a player with potential or one for the future, so he needs a big season. If he can manage to start regularly and help keep Brighton in the top flight, then that should go some way towards putting to bed any lingering doubts about the Derry native’s ability at the highest level.

A less well-known name who could still make an impact is Declan Rice.

Declan Rice. Source: EMPICS Sport

Hammers boss Slaven Bilic clearly has a high opinion of Ireland’s U17 Player of the Year, who can also play as a defensive midfielder, and the London-born 18-year-old may be poised to add to the sole Premier League appearance he picked up off the bench last year, after some eye-catching displays in pre-season.

Who is your childhood Premier League club?

I’m a long-suffering Tottenham supporter.

Sinead Farrell

Which summer signing is going to have the biggest impact on the season and why?

Lukaku could make a huge difference to Man United. He was the second-highest goal scorer last year and I think his game could evolve at Old Trafford.

Which manager would you most like to go for a pint with and why?

It has to be Jurgen Klopp. He just seems like a really genuine guy , who I suspect would have some good stories to tell over a pint.

What will be the top 4 come the end of the season?

Tottenham
Chelsea
Man United
Man City

Who will get relegated?

Huddersfield will struggle to stay up and I reckon Burnley and Watford could be at risk of succumbing to the drop as well.

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

The Irish pack at Burnley are always worth watching out for and Ciaran Clark will be one to keep an eye on with Newcastle.

Who is your childhood Premier League club?

Man United.

Ben Blake

Which summer signing is going to have the biggest impact on the season and why?

Javier Hernandez has an excellent goalscoring rate in the Premier League and Mexico’s all-time top scorer could prove a shrewd signing for West Ham if they can play to his strengths and get him the necessary service.

Reuters 20170728 Chicharito. Source: Reuters/PA Images

Nemanja Matic looks a super acquisition for Manchester United and Chelsea may yet regret letting him join another English club with top four aspirations, while Bernardo Silva is a world-class addition to an already frightening-looking Manchester City attack.

Which manager would you most like to go for a pint with and why?

Tony Pulis. A proper football man.

What will be the top 4 come the end of the season?

Chelsea
Manchester City
Tottenham
Manchester United

Who will get relegated?

Stoke
Brighton
Huddersfield

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

Huddersfield Town winger Sean Scannell has been around the lower leagues a long time but the 26-year-old will hopefully get his first taste of Premier League football with the newly-promoted Terriers this season.

18-year-old defender Dara O’Shea has been appearing for West Brom during pre-season and the Dubliner could be handed his chance to line out in a competitive game at some stage this term.

Who is your childhood Premier League club?

Manchester United.

Miguel Delaney – Independent Chief Football Writer

Source: The42.ie/YouTube

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