Premier League 2023/24 season predictions: Can anyone stop Haaland and Man City?

Guardiola's treble winners once again the team to beat

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The 2023/24 Premier League season has arrived as champions Manchester City kick off their title defence against promoted Burnley on Friday night.

Ahead of the campaign, The National's sports desk have provided their predictions.

Jon Turner - Deputy Sports Editor

Champions: Manchester City. Operating on another level to every other team in England, or indeed Europe. City may have lost key senior players in captain Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez but, given the way they ended last season, there is little to suggest their rivals can sufficiently close the gap, even if Arsenal have recruited impressively. Not to mention they signed arguably the best central defender in the world.

Top four: Manchester City, Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea

Relegated: Everton, Luton Town, Sheffield United

Overachievers: Burnley. There's usually at least one promoted team that holds off relegation. Vincent Kompany's Championship winners will do the job this season.

Underachievers: Liverpool. Despite recruiting Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai, Liverpool are still light in midfield after the exits of captain Jordan Henderson and Fabinho. The Reds won't be as inconsistent as last season but face a fight for the top four, and there is still a sense of over-reliance on Mohamed Salah. Missing out on Champions League football again would represent an underachievement.

Top scorer: Erling Haaland (Manchester City). The Premier League's peerless striker to have another prolific season.

Player of the season: Erling Haaland. Goals win games and trophies … and more individual honours for the Norwegian.

Player to watch: Christopher Nkunku (Chelsea). If Chelsea are to get back into the top four after last season's catastrophe, the mercurial French forward will be a vital once he regains fitness.

Paul Radley - Sports reporter

Champions: Manchester City to become the first club in the history of English football to win the top division four times in a row. Figuring out how to replace Gundogan and Mahrez will only provide the sort of challenge that motivates Pep Guardiola. And the arrival of Josko Gvardiol is like an entirely redundant cheat code.

Top four: Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea

Relegated: Bournemouth, Luton Town, Sheffield United

Overachievers: Burnley. Brentford and Brighton succeeding will not be a surprise, even if both have to figure out how to cover some key absentees. Burnley will not be easy beats under Kompany’s coaching.

Underachievers: Newcastle United. Improving on their transformative campaign last time out will be tough given the extra expectations as well as fixtures. Capable of challenging on all fronts, but which to prioritise?

Top scorer: Erling Haaland (Manchester City). Impossible to look beyond him.

Player of the season: Declan Rice (Arsenal). Might not have enough to force a changing of the guard at the top of the table, but being part of a title challenge could earn the England midfielder an individual gong.

Player to watch: Guglielmo Vicario (Tottenham Hotspur). Spurs were leaky enough last season, and that was while playing dire, cagey Conte-ball. Even if Ange Postecoglou does manage to mould them into an attacking force, their new goalkeeper will still see plenty of work. Intriguing to see how he goes filling the gloves of long-serving club captain Hugo Lloris.

Gareth Cox - Assistant Sports Editor

Champions: Manchester City. Cannot see beyond Guardiola's treble winners again despite the likely improvement of rivals Liverpool and Chelsea this season. Losing Gundogan was a blow but Mateo Kovacic is a decent replacement, Gvardiol is top-notch defender, while young guns such as Cole Palmer and Rico Lewis will play bigger roles this campaign.

Top four: Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea

Relegated: Luton Town, Sheffield United, Bournemouth

Overachievers: Aston Villa. Have made huge strides under Unai Emery while summer signings Youri Tielemans and Moussa Diaby are savvy additions to the squad. Interesting to see what kind of impact their Thursday night Europa Conference League campaign has on Premier League progress, though.

Underachievers: Tottenham Hotspur. The shadow of Harry Kane's exit at the end of the season will loom over new manager Ange Postecoglou if their record goalscorer's move to Bayern Munich does not happen this summer. No European football for the first time since 2009/10 means focus is solely on domestic football but another season without a trophy beckons and fan frustration with chairman Daniel Levy will only increase.

Top scorer: Erling Haaland (Manchester City). Same again for the Norwegian goal monster. Reaching the 50-goal mark for a second-season running will be tough but it would certainly not be a shock if Haaland does it again.

Player of the season: Phil Foden (Manchester City). This feels like the season that one of English football's most exciting players hits new highs and establishes himself as one of the best in the world for club and country.

Player to watch: Alexander Isak (Newcastle). Pacey, skilful, scores goals, tees-up chances for others, the Swedish attacker has all the attributes to build on last season's impressive introduction to English football and make a major impact in both the Premier League and Champions League this time round.

Stuart James - Sports Sub-Editor

Champions: Arsenal. You'd be mad not to back Man City, which is why I've gone for the Gunners. They were ruthlessly hunted down last season but it often takes a side to go close before they can get the job done. They will have learnt a lot from that and have recruited well in Declan Rice and Jurrien Timber. Kovacic is a decent signing for City, but the loss of Gundogan, so spectacular at the sharp end of the campaign, is a blow. Plus, winning four Premier League titles on the spin has never been done. That's because it ain't easy.

Top four: Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle

Relegated: Luton Town, Sheffield United, Everton

Overachievers: Burnley. The Clarets won the Championship with 101 points last season, 10 points clear of second-placed Sheffield United. They are shrewdly led by the impressive Vincent Kompany and have recruited a promising young striker in Zeki Amdouni.

Underachievers: Liverpool. They will struggle to match previous highs. Alexis Mac Allister is a good buy who will bring much-needed energy to the team but all is not well on the recruitment front at Anfield. It's said their glory days of unearthing hidden gems like Sadio Mane and Salah came before Jurgen Klopp was in control of transfer policy.

Top scorer: Erling Haaland.

Player of the season: Declan Rice (Arsenal). As I have picked Arsenal as champions, I'd better go with the man who will add the stamina and composure to the Gunners' midfield to turn them from runners-up into Premier League kings.

Player to watch: Rasmus Hojlund (Manchester United). However it turns out, it will be interesting to see how the young Dane handles the pressure of being the main striker at Manchester United. No pressure there, then.

John McAuley - Sports Reporter

Champions: Manchester City. Not the most leftfield of choices, but Guardiola’s all-conquering team are right in their groove – Community Shield notwithstanding – and they have even more history to target to ensure maximum motivation: the first club in history to win the English top-flight four successive years. Oh, and they’ve only added two absolute standouts to an already standout squad: Josko Gvardiol and Mateo Kovacic.

Top four: Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United

Relegated: Bournemouth, Sheffield United, Luton Town

Overachievers: Aston Villa. A club very much on the up since Unai Emery took charge, while they’ve augmented their squad with astute signings in Pau Torres, Youri Tielemans and Moussa Diaby. Europa Conference League commitments could distract, but given it’s Emery and continental club football, Villa should just be handed that trophy now.

Underachievers: Brentford. Tough one considering they overachieved so brilliantly last season. However, having established themselves towards the top end of the table, the lengthy suspension of Ivan Toney, coupled with the loss of David Raya, could derail chances of a similar campaign this time round.

Top scorer: Erling Haaland (Manchester City). A bit like Villa and the Europa Conference League, just tell Haaland to hang on to that trophy. Quite possibly for a good few years.

Player of the season: Phil Foden (Manchester City). With Ilkay Gundogen and Riyad Mahrez gone, time for the still-young Englishman to really come into his own. Most probably, if he outshines Kevin de Bruyne, he’s a cert for POTY.

Player to watch: Destiny Udogie (Tottenham Hotspur). Actually signed last year but loaned straight back to Udinese, the left-back is elegant, attacked-minded and has an eye for goal. Ange Postecoglu’s super-offensive set-up should suit perfectly.

Andy Lewis - Assistant Sports Editor

Champions: Manchester City. They looked better than ever down the stretch last season, with Pep Guardiola giving credit to his “proper defenders”. He now has another one in new recruit Josko Gvardiol, while going forwards, they are still blessed with unrivalled firepower.

Top four: Manchester City, Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea

Relegated: Luton Town, Sheffield United, Wolves.

Overachievers: Aston Villa. The appointment of the astute Emery and some serious investment have started to pay dividends for Villa. They’ll fancy their chances of winning the Europa Conference League and at least maintaining last season’s seventh place finish, which would represent an impressive campaign.

Underachievers: Liverpool. They were weak at the back last season, with key centre-half Virgil van Dijk and defensive shield Fabinho both off the pace. Fabinho has since left the club, along with James Milner and Jordan Henderson, leaving a big hole at the base of their midfield. With plenty of attacking talent, they’ll be fun but flawed.

Top scorer: Erling Haaland (Manchester City). Impossible to look past City’s record-breaking goal machine.

Player of the season: Erling Haaland (Manchester City). It's a painfully dull shout, but if he scores another 40-50 goals it’s hard to imagine they can give it to anyone else.

Player to watch: Pau Torres (Aston Villa). The Spanish international central defender is a major upgrade at the back for Villa and will impress with his unfussy defending and ball-playing style.

Updated: August 11, 2023, 4:19 AM