Premier League Predictions III: The Top Four

Today I predict the top four of the Premier League. If you missed the first two parts of my EPL predictions, please go back and read them.

Arsenal. Liverpool. Chelsea. Manchester City. Those four teams will make up the top four, starting in the fourth spot with. . .

Liverpool. The Reds bolstered their attacking lineup with the €42 million capture of Mohamed Salah from Roma. The problem is, as Arsenal fans like me painfully learned with Mesut Ozil, attacking players tend to get pushed around for about half a season before they become accustomed to the Premier League’s version of the world’s game. Playing Philippe Coutinho in the center of midfield won’t help their playmaking either.

What is left to be said about last year for Arsenal? Their record 19 year streak of finishing top four was broken and the Gunners will compete in the Europa League this year. Fans changed their tune when Arsene Wenger signed some striker (!) named Alexandre Lacazette. This Lacazette guy is actually very good. Mesut Ozil is going to break every assist record imaginable this—oh wait, he did that two years ago.

Mesut Ozil is going to break all of his assist records this year if Alexis Sanchez stays. Arsenal could finish even higher if not for second-placed Chelsea. When John Terry is your worst departure, you’ve had a pretty solid transfer window. When Alvaro Morata and Tiemoué Bakayoko come in to South London?  Unheard of. Look at what happened to the last five champions of the Premier League. They got off to abysmal starts the year after. Add the fact that Eden Hazard will miss the first month of the season. Chelsea should be on fire late a lá Arsenal 2015, but it won’t be enough to top. . .

Champions Manchester City. Has Josep “Pep” Guardiola finally assembled the team he has wanted at the Etihad? New signings Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker will start on either side of the defense. Danilo won’t even start. Bernardo Silva and Ederson Moraes have been signed to start at right mid and goalkeeper respectively. Considering that Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva are the other attacking midfielders, this side will score goals. Lots of them. In defense, Nicolas Otamendi and Vincent Kompany form a formidable center-back partnership. If they’re healthy.

 

Did you agree with my predictions? Perhaps you thought something different. Let me know in the comments!

Alexandre Lacazette: Who is Arsenal’s record signing?

Arsenal fans lit up earlier this week when notoriously penny-pinching Arsenal announced the signing of Alexandre Lacazette. The former Lyon striker had been pursued by Arsene Wenger for over two years, and with Alexis Sanchez possibly departing the club, Arsenal not only bought the French striker, they smashed their record transfer fee.

The record was formerly held by their £42.5 million capture of some guy named Mesut Ozil. Lacazette was signed for a reported £46 million, but sources found that it could rise to £52 million if he meets specific incentives. That basically means that if he scores lots of goals, Lyon get lots more money.

Some who don’t follow the French Ligue 1 will say Arsenal overpaid for Lacazette. I call bogus. Lacazette doesn’t often find himself in front of goal, only taking 2.7 shots per game last season, but he buried those chances in the back of the net 37 times in 45 appearances for Lyon.

The French striker brings to Arsenal what they have been lacking. Goals, goals, and more goals. If Arsene Wenger sticks with a 3-4-2-1, the Gunners have a front three of Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, and Lacazette. Thomas Lemar wouldn’t even start if they sign him from Monaco.

 

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