The dust has just settled on the 2016-17 in the Premier League, but we can’t help but look ahead. Sure, it’s way too early, but we asked Nick Miller to make his predictions for next season nonetheless.
Champions: Tottenham Hotspur
The romantic choice, but Spurs have arguably been the best team in the division throughout the past two seasons, so the progression under Mauricio Pochettino will continue. Probably.
Other Champions League places: Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United
Chelsea will face the added complication of the Champions League, Manchester City will still have defensive problems and Jose Mourinho usually figures things out by his second season at a club.
Relegation: Burnley, Watford and Huddersfield / Reading
Burnley’s inability to pick up away points will bite them, Watford were desperate for the latter half of the season just ended and whoever wins the playoff final won’t have enough to survive.
Player of the year: Dele Alli
He’s been young player of the year twice and so, considering Spurs are obviously going to win the league, their best player will step up and take the main award.
Young player of the year: Gabriel Jesus
He didn’t just look at home in his first Premier League game, but from his first minute on the pitch. Just imagine what another season will do for him.
Top scorer: Harry Kane
For the third straight season. Why not?
Comeback player of the year: Erik Lamela
If Tottenham manage to get him back and his injury problems are sorted, he could be a key man for Pochettino.
Manager of the year: Chris Hughton
Title winner Pochettino will have a strong chance but, after leading Brighton to a solid mid-table position, the nicest man in football will get the nod.
First manager to be sacked: Slaven Bilic
There were rumblings about his position last season and, while the West Ham hierarchy don’t sack easily, a bad start to the campaign might leave them with little choice.
Most successful promoted club: Newcastle United
Assuming Mike Ashley doesn’t do something daft, Newcastle will have money to spend and, in Rafa Benitez, a manager who three quarters of the Premier League’s other clubs would probably welcome in charge. A top-10 finish is not out of the question.
Big-money flop? A current Ajax player
Someone will hugely overspend on one of the Dutch club’s much-vaunted youngsters, only to loan him to Anderlecht within six months.
FA Cup winners: Liverpool
They haven’t got quite enough to challenge for the title, but a decent run in at least one cup competition should be doable.
EFL Cup winners: Bournemouth
Just a hunch; it could be one of those years, especially given five of the biggest teams will be focused on the Champions League.
English team to do best in the Champions League: Chelsea
Having won the title in two countries and done a good job with Italy, the Champions League is the last thing for Antonio Conte to conquer.
Manchester United player who won’t be blamed for something by Mourinho: Ander Herrera
If only because Mourinho knows he’ll get a two-footed reducer in training if he does criticise.
Club where Sam Allardyce pop up after a panicked manager sacking in November: Stoke City
It’s weird that he hasn’t managed there already, to be honest.
Most common form of transport for “Wenger Out” banners: Ferry
The protestors have covered land and air, so sea is next.
Managers most likely to have a fight: Jurgen Klopp and Antonio Conte
These two are so animated on the touchline that it’s amazing they haven’t brawled already. And a fascinating fight it will be; would you pick the German with the long reach, or the Italian with the scrappy tenacity?
Nick Miller is a writer for ESPN FC, covering Premier League and European football. Follow him on Twitter @NickMiller79.