Premier League: Predicting the final positions of the league's top six clubs this season
Following one of the closest Premier League races in recent history, the English top-flight is set to return for a new season this Friday as Liverpool will kick off the fixtures by hosting Norwich City.
Members of England's Big Six are scrambling for signings as the summer transfer window nears its end in the hopes of putting genuine challenges for the top four spots and ultimately, the league title.
In this article, we attempt to predict how six of the country's top sides will fare in the upcoming campaign. Will Manchester City make it a three-peat under Pep Guardiola? Will Liverpool end their decades-long drought to win the league? Who will qualify for Champions League football? Let's dive right in...
Chelsea will head into the new season with a new manager following the departure of Maurizio Sarri. Prior to his exit, the Italian manager ensured Champions League football for the Blues with a third-place finish in the Premier League and a Europa League title.
The Blues brigade aren't too disappointed with the departure as they never truly bonded with the former Napoli manager and the appointment of club legend, Frank Lampard, has done much to ease any panic.
Unfortunately, Lampard will be walking into a Chelsea that is facing a two-window transfer ban from FIFA, with the only signing being Christian Pulisic, who signed a deal from Borussia Dortmund back in January. The American winger will likely require more time to not only adapt to the tactics employed by Lampard but also the physical intensity of the Premier League.
This means the English manager will be highly dependent on the club's youth players, with the likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi, Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount expected to play a bigger role in the squad this season.
The time that it will take for the squad to adapt to Lampard's ways, together with the departure of Chelsea's best player, Eden Hazard, who left for Real Madrid this summer, will further dampen their chances of finishing in the top four this season.