We all know who the Premier League’s top two will be. We probably also know who’ll be the other four in the top six.
Or do we? There will be a clutch of teams buzzing around the established elite, just waiting to pick off the weakest should they drop from the pack.
But who’s best equipped to do so?
“Leicester have got as good a chance as anyone,” said Tom Williams on this week’s edition of the Totally Football Show. “Brendan Rodgers came in last season and had a pretty immediate effect. They’ve brought in Ayoze Perez, tied down Youri Tielemans on a permanent deal which is a fantastic bit of business. He was the player who more than any other who really changed the way Leicester played, alongside James Maddison.
“They’ll miss Harry Maguire clearly – he’s such a unique player, there are so few centre-backs who play in that way, with those buccaneering runs forwards.
“The idea is that we’ll see the sense in him joining when he did last season, which allowed him those extra few months to get his ideas across. You saw it long before the end of last season that they had taken those ideas on board – the players spoke about how much they enjoyed playing for him.
“The only potential issue for Leicester is how they fit these quite attacking players together.”
What of Everton and West Ham?
“I’d group Everton and West Ham together,” said Daniel Storey, “in that they have this pretty astonishing collection of forwards and attacking midfielders. West Ham have got Fornals, Felipe Anderson, Yarmolenko, Sebastian Haller, Michail Antonio, Manuel Lanzini, and Everton are pretty much the same.
“The problem is behind that it’s a little bit weak. It feels like the push has just been to score more goals than the opposition, rather than keep a clean sheet.
Lynsey Hooper’s nomination was the side that were arguably the most impressive last season, and who came seventh.
“I think if you look at the preferred starting eleven for Wolves, from the goalkeeper through to the striker, I think it’s a better team than Everton or Leicester, but I’ll caveat that by saying you’ve got the added element of Europa League football to deal with as well.
“So it’s how they adapt to both. The squad has started to take shape in that there are going to be go-tos for the League Cup, and then there will be a preferred team for the league.
“If you listen to those at the top of the club, the main priority is to break into the top six. But if you look at last season, from the fans’ perspective reaching the FA Cup semi-final was more important, reaching Europe for the first time in 40 years they don’t want to be a flash in the pan in that competition. So Nuno will have quite a lot of people to please this season.”
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