Premier League 2018/19: Predicting how the table will look at the end of August
The Premier League begins on a Friday night for the first time in history as Manchester United take on Leicester City at Old Trafford. An unpredictable transfer window in combination with the World Cup during the summer makes the first few weeks of this season extremely intriguing.
Many of the elite sides will start the season without key players as they work their way back up to full fitness after an extended break following the summer tournament. This provides an excellent opportunity for the smaller teams to spring a shock or two during the opening weeks of the campaign.
Starting well is so important in a league that has become incredibly competitive. Having just a three or four point lead over your rivals at the end of August could provide a massive psychological boost in the title chase or scrap against relegation.
The first month of the season will see every team play three times. By this stage, we may have a much better idea of how the season will pan out. There are sure to be many surprises at both ends of the league come August 31st.
Using the Premier League table calculator over at worldfootball.net, we have predicted how the standings may look at the end of the month.
See the table below.
Let's start with the bottom half of the table and immediately there are two clubs which catch the eye - Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal.
Both North London teams have an extremely difficult opening run to begin the season. Tottenham faces Newcastle away, Fulham at home, and Manchester United away during August. Meanwhile, Arsenal plays Man City at home, Chelsea away, and West Ham at home before the end of the month.
Spurs were the only Premier League side not to sign a single player this summer. That could spell disaster for the first few games as players remain tired after a long World Cup. The North London club had the most players featuring in the semi-finals of the tournament with nine reaching the latter stages of the competition.
Difficult games away to Newcastle and Manchester United are not ideal for tired legs or squad players in a team that lacks depth. Their only home game in August, against Fulham, is going to be very hard as the Cottagers look like a strong proposition for any team this year. Therefore, Spurs are predicted to get only two points in their opening three games.
Arsenal, on the other hand, could not have asked for a more difficult beginning to their life without Arsene Wenger. Starting with games against Manchester City and Chelsea presents an extremely harsh welcome to the Premier League for Unai Emery and it would be no surprise to see the Gunners without any points after these two fixtures.
Their third match, against West Ham at home in a London derby, is another hard battle which they may struggle to win. West Ham has an excellent manager this season in Manuel Pellegrini and could feasibly take a point away from the Emirates. If Arsenal finishes August with two draws and a defeat, it may not be a complete disaster considering their fixture list.
Of the other teams in the bottom half, Wolves could seriously struggle with a very hard opening run against Everton at home, Leicester away, and Manchester City at home. In fact, our predicted table shows that not a single team in the bottom half is expected to pick up a win before the end of August.
Looking at the predicted top half of the table at the end of August and we can see that both Manchester clubs boast a 100% record after three games.
Manchester City plays Arsenal away, Huddersfield at home, and Wolves away to begin the campaign. The only real potential banana skin in that set of fixtures is the opening match at the Emirates. However, City looks too strong for the Gunners at the moment and should come away from North London with maximum points.
United has endured a strange preseason with average performances and transfer farce. However, their opening fixtures against Leicester City at home, Brighton away, and Spurs at home seem very winnable. The obvious standout game is against Spurs on August 28th, but the Red Devils have won their last five home matches against the Lilly Whites and that run is expected to continue.
Moving further down the table and we see the first surprise name - Fulham. The Cottagers boast some excellent players in the shape of Ryan Sessegnon, Jean Michael Seri, Andre Schurrle, Aleksander Mitrovic, and others. Their style of play is easy on the eye and potentially devastating to opposing teams who underestimate them.
Fulham begins the campaign with games against Crystal Palace at home, Spurs away, and Burnley at home. It would come as no surprise to see the newly promoted side ending August undefeated and in the European qualification spots.
Table in Full
Above is the full predicted Premier League standings at the end of August. If it turns out this way, the season could be shaping up for a three-way battle at the top between the two Manchester clubs and Liverpool.
Do you agree with this prediction? Why not create your own predicted Premier League table and let us know in the comments how you think the standings will look at the end of August!