Sportsnet’s Premier League 2017-18 season predictions

Taking a look at the most expensive off-season transfers in the Premier League.

Sportsnet’s special panel of soccer commentators, writers and pundits offer their picks and predictions for the 2017-18 Premier League season.

JAMES SHARMAN, SPORTSNET

Top four: 1) Manchester City, 2) Manchester United, 3) Tottenham, 4) Chelsea
Relegated: Brighton Hove & Albion, Burnley, Huddersfield Town
Top scorer: Harry Kane, Tottenham
Player to watch: Paul Pogba, Manchester United

Story to watch: If last season was a little predictable and devoid of drama, this upcoming campaign promises to be the complete opposite. There are seven extremely good teams fighting for four extremely lucrative positions. While I think it will be a battle of Manchester for the top spot, the fight for the remaining two Champions League berths will be an all out war. Having said that, I am fascinated to see what fate has in store for Tottenham, and their new philosophy of keeping the status quo, not spending and developing from within. Such an ideology in the face of grotesque spending elsewhere surely makes Spurs the neutral’s pick for the title. But will this young, dynamic team raise the bar once again, and usurp the big spenders ahead of them? I still have a hunch that Spurs will at some point jump into the transfer market, as their depth is certainly a concern, but whether they do or not, and whether Wembley can become home for a year, adds intrigue to a club that could make history… or take a step back. 



JEFF BLAIR, SPORTSNET 590 THE FAN

Top four: 1) Chelsea, 2) Manchester United, 3) Tottenham, 4) Manchester City
Relegated: Huddersfield Town, Watford, Burnley
Top scorer: Harry Kane, Tottenham
Player to watch: Paul Pogba, Manchester United

Story to watch: It has to be Arsenal, doesn’t it? While a lot of attention will be focused on Jose Mourinho’s second season at Manchester United now that he’s put more of his imprint on the team – I think they’re poised to be the most improved of the big clubs – it is Arsene Wenger, Alexis Sanchez and Alexandre Lacazette that could prove to be the most combustible threesome in the Premier League. Lacazette is a terrific scorer; but since when has that been an issue with Arsenal? It would be a shame if he ends up being a hood ornament on a car that looks great but has no guts in the engine. Actually, no … it would be a most Arsenal thing, wouldn’t it?



GREG BRADY, SPORTSNET 590 THE FAN

Top four: 1) Manchester City, 2) Manchester United, 3) Chelsea, 4) Tottenham
Relegated: Huddersfield Town, Newcastle United, Burnley
Top scorer: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City
Player to watch: Gabriel Jesus, Manchester City

Story to watch: What a season of transition for the big clubs, and it will take some getting used to watching Wayne Rooney in an Everton kit for the first time since spring 2004 (Portsmouth, Charlton, and Birmingham City were all in the Premier League that season). But it was a rather necessary parting, and for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure, few can dispute that Manchester United aren’t true title contenders again, and their re-entry into the Champions League will be quite fascinating to watch.

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Soccer Central
Soccer Central: 2017-18 Premier League season preview
Originally aired August 09 2017

JOHN MOLINARO, SPORTSNET.CA

Top four: 1) Chelsea, 2) Manchester City, 3) Arsenal, 4) Manchester United
Relegated: Huddersfield Town, Brighton Hove & Albion, Watford
Top scorer: Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal
Player to watch: Alvaro Morata, Chelsea

Story to watch: For me, the most fascinating aspect about a new Premier League season is watching how top stars from other leagues adapt to the English game. We’ve seen a number of foreign players take the Premier League by storm in their debut campaigns: Gianfranco Zola, Thierry Henry, and Jurgen Klinsmann immediately spring to mind. This season, I’m especially looking forward to keeping close tabs on Frenchman Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal) and Spaniard Alvaro Morata (Chelsea). Also, Mohamad Salah is back in England, this time with Liverpool, after a brief tenure at Chelsea where he was never given a chance to prove what he can do.



DAN RICCIO, SPORTSNET 590 THE FAN

Top four: 1) Manchester City, 2) Manchester United, 3) Chelsea, 4) Tottenham
Relegated: Huddersfield Town, Swansea City, Burnley
Top scorer: Harry Kane, Tottenham
Player to watch: Paul Pogba, Manchester United

Story to watch: The last two Premier League titles have been won by teams who weren’t competing in Europe at the same time, but that won’t happen again unless another 5000-1 long shot such as Leicester City defies the odds. The Premier League’s top dogs are likely to go punch for punch all season long, and I get the feeling that this year’s title will be headed to Manchester. For City, Pep Guardiola is a year wiser about the nuances of the Premier League and his squad has improved quite a bit thanks to the club’s deep pockets. However, one player can tip the scales to the Red side of Manchester, and that is Paul Pogba. The Frenchman has the ability to carry Manchester United to a title in the Premier League. I’m excited to see who comes out on top. 

Watch five games from the opening weekend of the Premier League live on Sporstnet, including Watford vs. Liverpool and Manchester United vs. West Ham United. Coverage begins Saturday at 7:00 a.m. ET.

DONNOVAN BENNETT, SPORTSNET.CA

Top four: 1) Manchester United, 2) Tottenham, 3) Chelsea, 4) Arsenal
Relegated: Swansea City, Burnley, Watford
Top scorer: Alvaro Morata, Chelsea
Player to watch: Dele Alli, Tottenham

Story to watch: Dele Alli is one of the few players in the Premier league that can grab a game by the scruff of the neck. There have been other English midfielders with promise that haven’t yet fulfilled their world class potential (see Ross Barkley, Jack Wilshire). Manager Mauricio Pochettino has unleashed Alli, and given him license to get forward, so expect more goals and assists as he spends more time in the final third. With Eric Dier staying in North London and giving him cover, Alli could continue to progress and become one of the world’s best players. If he does, Tottenham could be in the thick of the title race but it will also mean bigger clubs will come calling. Like Gareth Bale before him, Alli’s progression looks to be so rapid it could take him abroad. A year from now, Alli could be England captain, a Premiership medal winner, or a former Premier league player. How his career unfolds will be fascinating. 



THOMAS DOBBY, SPORTSNET

Top four: 1) Chelsea, 2) Tottenham, 3) Manchester City, 4) Manchester United
Relegated: Huddersfield Town, Brighton Hove & Albion, Swansea City
Top scorer: Harry Kane, Tottenham
Player to watch: Mohamed Salah, Liverpool

Story to watch: As usual, massive spending has dominated the off-season headlines, but the most stable club in England these days, Tottenham, did very little business (except getting a great return for Kyle Walker). The contrast between them and Manchester City and even a team such as Everton is fascinating. Can Spurs continue to hang with the heavyweights without throwing around insane money in the transfer window? The neutrals hope so. If they can stay healthy, Spurs have a real shot at the title again.



PETER GALINDO, SPORTSNET.CA

Top four: 1) Manchester City, 2) Chelsea, 3) Manchester United, 4) Tottenham
Relegated: Brighton Hove & Albion, Burnley, Crystal Palace
Top scorer: Romelu Lukaku, Manchester United
Player to watch: Gabriel Jesus, Manchester City

Story to watch: After spending more than £200 million to replenish an aging and unbalanced squad, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola won’t have many excuses in 2017-18. It may take time for some of his new arrivals to settle in, but fans and media will expect domestic success and an improvement on City’s progress in Europe. Additions such as Bernardo Silva, plus a fully fit Gabriel Jesus, could lead to Man City boasting one of the most clinical and dangerous attacks in Europe. The offensive productivity alone could lead to the Premier League trophy returning to the blue half of Manchester.