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Friday 27 January 2023 Dublin: 4°C
# looking ahead
TheScore.ie's writers make their predictions for the 2014-2015 Premier League season
We give our verdict on what looks set to be an exciting and unpredictable campaign.

Paul Fennessy

Erik Lamela, Ryan Mason, Aaron Lennon, Ben Davies Darren Calabrese Some of Tottenham's much-maligned signings from last year have caught the eye in pre-season Darren Calabrese

What do you hope to see this season? Similar to last season — an open title race, with three or four genuine contenders. It’s probably too much to expect to see more video technology introduced to better aid the increasingly over-worked officials, but I can always dream, can’t I?

Also, Irish players getting plenty of first-team football, ahead of what is a very important year for Martin O’Neill and co, would be nice.

What do you expect to see? Jose Mourinho giving a masterclass in moaning with most of the other managers following suit, plenty of diving and all-round cynical play, Gary Neville giving honest, intelligent and insightful assessments of everyone other than English players, Louis van Gaal proving a worthy belated successor to Alex Ferguson, Liverpool struggling to an extent without Suarez, Man City continuing where they left off last season…

Top tip… Stoke’s Bojan Krkic has looked very good in pre-season and presumably hasn’t lost all of the talent that enabled him to break Lionel Messi’s record as Barca’s youngest-ever player. Mark Hughes has signed some dodgy players in his time (remember Man City paid £19 million for Jo while he was in charge there?), but he could be onto a winner in this instance.

Also, Erika Lamela to get a proper run in the Spurs first-team and go some way towards showing why Tottenham paid £25.8m for him in the first place.

What will be the top 4 come the end of the season? Man City, Chelsea, Man United and Liverpool in that order. Unlike everyone else, Man City have countless players who know what it takes to win the Premier League. Chelsea have an excellent squad, but the new players will take time to adapt to unfamiliar surroundings.

Man United and Liverpool are harder to call, as they’re each expected to make at least one more big signing before the window closes, but the former appear vastly improved under Van Gaal (albeit judging by the notoriously unreliable indicator of pre-season), with Ander Herrera looking like an excellent signing, so I expect them to pip Liverpool to third, with the Reds’ new signings offsetting the loss of Suarez to a certain extent.

Finally, Arsenal have impressed at times in pre-season and Alexis Sanchez is a good player, but I suspect the same frailties that hampered their title bid last season haven’t really been addressed, so this might be the year when they finally miss out on a Champions League place, particularly with competition for a top-four spot arguably stronger than ever.

Who will be the first manager to get sacked? Seven of the bottom 10 clubs changed manager at least once last season, so I suspect it will be one of the so-called smaller clubs that act first.

Alan Irvine was hardly a popular appointment as West Brom manager and hasn’t exactly been strongly backed by the board, who have given him a 12-month rolling contract, so I suspect that could very quickly end in tears.

Who will get relegated? Leicester, Burnley and West Brom. Each of the three have average-enough-looking squads — none of their pre-season signings have impressed me greatly. I also expect QPR, Hull and Villa to struggle, but they each have enough big players to just about get them over the line.

Which Irish player(s) should we watch out for? Jack Grealish. Even in what was largely considered to be a fairly dire pre-season for Villa, he caught the eye. For an 18-year-old to be able to take on such responsibility in difficult circumstances (even if it was ONLY pre-season) suggests he may well have the character to match the hype he’s been provoking for quite some time now.

Describe the new Premier League season in one sentence. Stephen Ireland’s granny.

Steven O’Rourke

Soccer - The FA Community Shield - Arsenal v Manchester City - Arsenal Training Session - The Emirates Stadium Andrew Matthews The Arsenal players warm up during a training session at the Emirates. Andrew Matthews

What do you hope to see this season? Like every year, I’d love to see someone outside the big four coming through. Last year Liverpool nearly did it, this year those plucky minnows from the red side of Manchester might just have what it takes to challenge for top spot. I’d also like to see something completely ridiculous happen that will make the Premier League introduce video replays. If I can see a controversial incident on a vine 15 seconds after it happens, surely it won’t delay games that much.

What do you expect to see? Manchester United making it back into the top four, Arsenal dropping out and Chelsea — with the best squad in the division — strolling to the league title with four games to spare.

Top tip… Some smartarse on Twitter to link to this midway through the season when Arsenal are top and Louis van Gaal has been sacked by United.

What will be the top 4 come the end of the season? Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool

Who will be the first manager to get sacked? Last year I triumphantly predicted Brendan Rodgers would be shown the door but it has to be Paul Lambert with Keano taking over at Villa Park.

Who will get relegated? Aston Villa, Leicester City, Southampton

Which Irish player(s) should we watch out for? Jack Grealish, just about the best thing about Aston Villa. Hopefully he wins a senior Ireland cap this season too.

Describe the new Premier League season in one sentence. Not started yet.

Hugh O’Connell

Soccer - Pre-Season Friendly - Preston North End v Liverpool - Deepdale PA Wire / Press Association Images Rickie Lambert joined Liverpool for £4 million plus add-ons this summer. PA Wire / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

What do you hope to see this season? Plain and simple: Liverpool to get over the disappointment of last season and win the league

What do you expect to see? Liverpool in a battle for fourth place and Manchester United to return to being Manchester United under Van Gaal although not quite good enough to win the league.

Top tip… Not so much a top tip but Rickie Lambert is going to flop miserably at Liverpool.

What will be the top 4 come the end of the season? In no particular order… Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United.

Who will be the first manager to get sacked? Alan Pardew has to be a goner doesn’t he?

Who will get relegated? Southampton, West Brom and Burnley.

Which Irish player(s) should we watch out for? Shane Long could really hit top form this season.

Describe the new Premier League season in one sentence. Not as good as last season.

Fintan O’Toole

Owen Humphreys Owen Humphreys

(Everton signed Romelu Lukaku on a permanent deal recently)

What do you hope to see this season? An open title race that goes to the last day, Romelu Lukaku to justify that £28m price tag and another good season for a few Irish players.

What do you expect to see? Chelsea and Man City to battle for the title with Arsenal trailing just behind and a big scrap for fourth place. Off the pitch there’ll be some player involved in a Twitter storm, Sky’s hype machine will sound jaded after a few weeks and Neville and Carragher will give another few tactical masterclasses on Monday nights.

Top tip… Louis van Gaal will win over United fans quicker than David Moyes while Steven Gerrard will keep his footing and not make any big statements in team huddles.

What will be the top 4 come the end of the season? Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal, *Everton

*Rose-tinted glasses were on for that prediction.

Who will be the first manager to get sacked? Paul Lambert’s got to be on thin ice and if he goes, expect Mr Roy Maurice Keane to move into the reckoning to replace him.

Who will get relegated? QPR, Burnley and West Ham.

Which Irish player(s) should we watch out for? Seamie and Jamesie to continue lighting it up at Goodison Park.

Describe the new Premier League season in one sentence. A duller place without Luis Suarez.

Will Slattery

Soccer - Pre Season Friendly - Chelsea v Real Sociedad - Stamford Bridge Andrew Matthews Chelsea are many people's favourites to win the league. Andrew Matthews

What do you hope to see this season? Last season was one of the most exciting ever with four teams in serious contention for most of the year. A repeat of that would do nicely.

What do you expect to see? City and Chelsea fight for the title and United, Arsenal and Liverpool going for the last two Champions League spots.

Top tip… Wayne Rooney over 15.5 goals at 5/6. He could have a poor season and still make that total.

What will be the top 4 come the end of the season? Chelsea, City, Arsenal, Liverpool

Who will be the first manager to get sacked? Ronald Koeman

Who will get relegated? Burnley, Leicester, West Brom

Which Irish player(s) should we watch out for? Shane Long and Rickie Lambert have the same amount of PL goals despite Long playing almost twice the number of games. Time for Long to deliver on the flashes he has shown.

Describe the new Premier League season in one sentence. Fighting like beavers.

Sean Farrell

Soccer - Pre-Season Friendly - Brentford v Crystal Palace - Griffin Park Robin Parker Tony Pulis has already stepped down as Crystal Palace manager. Robin Parker

What do you hope to see this season? Goals and plenty of them. I think the World Cup can set a tone for the years to follow and the one we’ve just had will encourage teams that playing five at the back doesn’t have to mean parking the bus. Attacking will win more than just hearts.

What do you expect to see? Litres upon litres of wasted ‘vanishing spray’ as referees get heavy-handed with football’s real problem; encroaching walls.

Top tip… Sunderland are my big tip for the… middle.

What will be the top 4 come the end of the season? Man City, Chelsea, Man United, Arsenal.

Who will be the first manager to get sacked? Eh, does Tony Pulis count? No? Steve Bruce then.

Who will get relegated? Leicester, Burnley, Swansea.

Which Irish player(s) should we watch out for? Who has time to watch players when Keano’s stalking the touchline at Villa Park.

Describe the new Premier League season in one sentence. It’s money!

Ruaidhri Croke

What do you hope to see this season?

United use the 3-5-2 formation that’s been in place during pre-season. Also looking forward to seeing Chelsea who should be able to play a more exciting style of football compared to last year now that they have a goalscoring striker for Hazard and Oscar to provide. It’ll also be very interesting to see how Southampton get on after losing so many players.

What do you expect to see? The title battle very quickly becoming a two-horse race between Chelsea and Man City. I reckon it’ll go right down to the wire with Chelsea eventually winning out thanks to a tighter defence than City’s. Arsenal and Man United will make up the other two places in the top four but will finish well behind the top two. Spurs will have the same lack of goals problem as last season and Everton will take fifth spot.

Top tip… Top goalscorer will be between Rooney and Costa, who will both have excellent seasons.

What will be the top 4 come the end of the season? Chelsea, Man City, Man United, Arsenal

Who will be the first manager to get sacked? Paul Lambert.

Who will get relegated? Burnley, Leicester and West Brom.

Which Irish player(s) should we watch out for? Seamus Coleman will impress again for Everton. Shane Long could also do very well at Southampton as the focal point of the team after such a big-money move.

Describe the new Premier League season in one word/sentence. With players such as Costa and Sanchez coming into the league as well as Rooney playing with lots of confidence, expect a lot of goals.

How do you see the season going? Let us know in the comments section below.

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