Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 October 2020

Liverpool or Manchester City for the title? Who will finish top goalscorer? 2020/21 Premier League season predictions

The National's writers and editors offer up their forecasts for the new season, including champions, top four, relegated clubs, and players to watch

Just three weeks after the Champions League final in Lisbon, the 2020/21 Premier League season gets underway this Saturday.

The three-month break between March and June caused by the coronavirus pandemic has severely disrupted Europe's professional football schedule, but the good news for fans is that the break between campaigns has been barely noticeable.

So as focus turns towards the new Premier League season, The National's editors and writers offer up their predictions.

Steve Luckings, Deputy Sports Editor

Champions: Liverpool. Hard to look beyond Liverpool as Manchester City still haven’t addressed the centre-back problems that blighted their last campaign.

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

Relegated: Aston Villa, West Brom, Fulham

Player of the season: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City). If he can stay fit for a majority of the campaign then De Bruyne but otherwise Bruno Fernandes could run him close

Top scorer: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)

Player to watch: Donny van de Beek (Manchester United)

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Jon Turner, Assistant Sports Editor

Champions: Manchester City. There were signs Liverpool were starting to run out of steam toward the end of last season having set a relentless and record-setting pace. City have more than enough quality to close the gap and reclaim the title. Should be a closer contest this time around, though.

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

Relegated: West Brom, Fulham, Aston Villa

Player of the season: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool). Can a right-back be the best player in the Premier League? Alexander-Arnold is making a strong case and will continue to do so this season.

Top scorer: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

Player to watch: Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea)

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2020/21 completed transfers

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John McAuley, Reporter

Champions: Manchester City. Stung by Liverpool’s cruise to the title, the former champions will rebound in an incredibly close-run race. Only issue may be prioritising the Champions League.

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

Relegated: West Brom, Fulham, Aston Villa

Player of the season: Kevin De Bruyne. Still the most eye-catching player in the league who makes City tick. Scores spectacular goals and lays on assists to match. In terms of creation, no one rivals him.

Top scorer: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Player to watch: Mason Greenwood (Manchester United)

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Liverpool season ratings

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Paul Radley, Reporter

Champions: Manchester City

… Or Liverpool. Might even be a tie, with identical records, and they will have to toss a coin to decide. After taking 196 points from the past two seasons, Liverpool could run out of puff given the truncated schedule and the pressure of defending their crown. So City to edge it. Possibly.

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

Relegated: West Ham United, Fulham, West Bromwich Albion

Player of the season: Kevin de Bruyne. The assist king’s eye for a pass is beyond compare in the division at present, and perhaps in the history of the Premier League, too. If City are to bounce back from falling short last season and claim a third title in four campaigns, expect him to be at the centre of it.

Top scorer: Harry Kane (Tottenham)

Player to watch: Donny van de Beek. “Maradonny” van de Beek might not even be the brightest star in Manchester United’s gilded midfield, alongside Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes. But judged on what he showed for Ajax, particularly in their run to the brink of the Champions League final in 2019, United have invested in a gem.

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Manchester City season ratings

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Ian Hawkey, European football correspondent

Champions: Manchester City

Yes, Liverpool's giant lead over last season's runners-up will take some eroding, but City have the coaching staff and players to correct their frailties and a depth of squad to manage what will be an unusually exhausting schedule for all the elite clubs.

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

Relegated: Fulham, Brighton, West Brom

Player of the season: Kevin de Bruyne. Who needs Lionel Messi? Can there ever be as loved a creative genius as David Silva in City's light blue? Well, there's a Belgian who's been offer compelling answers to those questions for a while.

Top scorer: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)

Player to watch: Eberechi Eze (Crystal Palace)

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Manchester United season ratings

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Richard Jolly, Premier League correspondent

Champions: Manchester City. Partly because they should improve, partly because it would be astonishing for Liverpool to keep up the pace they have set in the last two seasons.

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

Relegated: Fulham, Crystal Palace, West Bromwich Albion.

Player of the season: Kevin de Bruyne. Astonishingly good in the last two seasons when he has been fit throughout.

Top scorer: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Player to watch: Kai Havertz (Chelsea)

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Chelsea season ratings

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Andy Mitten, European football correspondent

Champions: Manchester City. Vengeful after last season. More consistent too.

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

Relegated: West Brom, Fulham, Brighton

Player of the season: Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United). Continues his progress since arriving in England.

Top scorer: Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)

Player to watch: Mason Greenwood

Gareth Cox, Assistant Sports Editor

Champions: Liverpool. The drought has been ended and now the floodgates are open after winning the league for the first time in 30 years. Jurgen Klopp's team has no weaknesses with top quality players in every position and a powerful spine that will once again take some stopping.

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

Relegated: West Brom, Fulham, West Ham United

Player of the season: Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United). Helped transform United in half a season, now has full campaign to really make his mark.

Top scorer: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

Player to watch: Timo Werner (Chelsea)

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Arsenal season ratings

Updated: September 9, 2020 03:57 PM

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