Premier League predictions 2022-23: BBC Sport pundits pick their top four

4 August 2022 0 By Total Football News

By Chris BevanBBC Sport

You can follow the new season on Match of the Day, Final Score, Football Focus, Radio 5 live and Match of the Day 2BBC

Defending champions Manchester City are going for a hat-trick of titles this season - but can anyone stop them from winning three in a row?

That is the next goal for City boss Pep Guardiola, who has already achieved the feat in Spain (Barcelona, 2008-11) and Germany (Bayern Munich, 2013-16) and has won a total of four league titles in six seasons at City.

Liverpool were City's closest rivals last time out, finishing only one point back, but will others challenge this time?

It is the start of a new era at Manchester United under Erik ten Hag but, after finishing sixth last season, can they even return to the top four, let alone sustain a serious title bid for the first time since they were last champions in 2013?

Will Chelsea be contenders again after a turbulent time off the pitch in 2021-22? Can Tottenham build on their fourth-placed finish? Could Arsenal get back into the Champions League places for the first time since 2016? Or will anyone else be in the mix?

We asked 22 BBC TV and radio pundits to pick their top four, with explanations for their selections.

These predictions were made on the basis of how each squad shaped up on Thursday, 4 August, with more than three weeks to go until the transfer window shuts at the end of August.

Rob GreenMan CityMan UtdLiverpoolTottenham
Micah RichardsMan CityLiverpoolTottenhamArsenal
Rachel Brown-FinnisMan CityLiverpoolTottenhamArsenal
Martin KeownMan CityLiverpoolTottenhamArsenal
Sue SmithMan CityLiverpoolTottenhamArsenal
Jonathan WoodgateMan CityLiverpoolTottenhamChelsea
Leon OsmanMan CityLiverpoolTottenhamChelsea
Pat NevinMan CityLiverpoolTottenhamChelsea
Ashley WilliamsMan CityLiverpoolTottenhamChelsea
Michael BrownMan CityLiverpoolTottenhamChelsea
Izzy ChristiansenMan CityLiverpoolChelseaTottenham
Danny MurphyMan CityLiverpoolChelseaTottenham
Lindsay JohnsonMan CityLiverpoolChelseaTottenham
Dion DublinLiverpoolMan CityChelseaMan Utd
Glenn MurrayLiverpoolMan CityTottenhamArsenal
Jermaine BeckfordLiverpoolMan CityTottenhamArsenal
Matt UpsonLiverpoolMan CityTottenhamArsenal
Stephen WarnockLiverpoolMan CityTottenhamArsenal
Jermaine JenasLiverpoolMan CityTottenhamChelsea
Chris SuttonLiverpoolMan CityTottenhamChelsea
Clinton MorrisonLiverpoolMan CityTottenhamChelsea
Nedum OnuohaLiverpoolMan CityTottenhamMan Utd

Six teams feature in the forecasted top fours, but only Manchester City and Liverpool feature in all 22.

In terms of who will win it, Manchester City are favourites with 13 votes. while Liverpool get the other nine.

1. Man City2. Liverpool3. Tottenham4. Chelsea5. Arsenal6. Man Utd
79 pts74pts38 pts16 pts8 pts5 pts

(using system of 4 pts for a 1st place, 3 pts for 2nd, 2 pts for 3rd and 1 pt for 4th)

The winter World Cup - 'this will be a season like no other'

2022 World Cup chief Hassan Al Thawadi tells Dan Roan hosts 'ready to welcome the world'

The Premier League will pause after the weekend of 12 & 13 November, after 16 rounds of fixtures, with the World Cup starting in Qatar on 21 November. The World Cup final takes place on 18 December and the domestic season restarts on 26 December.

Martin Keown: This will be a season like no other we have ever experienced. It is literally in two halves.

Jermaine Jenas: A good start is potentially more important than ever this season because we don't know yet how the World Cup will affect the players who go, or the ones who don't.

Stephen Warnock: It's even harder than ever to call the title race this year. Imagine you are top and flying at the start of November - that would usually be the start of your title charge - but this time you could see your players get injured or lose form in Qatar and by the time you restart the season you have lost all your momentum.

Nedum Onuoha: You want your players to stay sharp, but not be too tired. Selfishly, I'd imagine most club managers would prefer for their players to come back after the group stage so they can have two or three weeks to prepare for the rest of the season.

Glenn Murray: Could it hinder City twice? They sometimes start slowly in August, so it could happen again in December this time too. I don't see it though. Everyone knows this break is happening and they will be ready for it, especially the top teams.

Ashley Williams: Who deals with it the best will be a big factor in the title race, but the top two go into so much detail about everything and they normally get it right.

Man City - 'Now they've got Haaland, it's a no-brainer'

This is the seventh season running where Manchester City have featured in everyone's predicted top four. It's also the fifth successive year where no-one thinks they will finish below second.

Micah Richards: It's going to be very tight with Liverpool yet again, but I just feel that Erling Haaland and also Julian Alvarez could be the difference for City.

Nedum Onuoha: Both players are going to be extremely good, but I think this year maybe comes too soon for them. The difference between City and Liverpool will still be marginal though.

Jermaine Jenas: With Fernandinho leaving, they have lost their leader in the dressing room and, overall, there are a few more uncertainties with City than Liverpool. City have got a lot resting on players who haven't done it for them yet and historically we know it can take a while to fit into their team. Haaland and Alvarez have got to come in and turn it on straight away and, with Raheem Sterling leaving, Jack Grealish has to got to produce far more this season.

Michael Brown: City have already made some great signings and they are going to get a left-back in too. With their strength in depth, they should be a touch stronger than Liverpool.

‘He’s a generational talent’ – Why signing Haaland is huge for Manchester City

Glenn Murray: I'm excited to see Haaland, of course. But I don't know how it is going to work with the way City play and pin teams in - especially against lesser sides at the Etihad. I have been in those games and sometimes you have got 10 opposition players around their own area. There is no space at all and he won't have faced that problem much before. City don't put the ball into the box, so what is he going to do?

Glenn Murray and Fara Williams are the guests on Football Focus on BBC One and the BBC Sport website at 12:00 BST on Saturday.

Ashley Williams: City are going to take a bit of time to figure out how to fit him in, but it will come. Whoever they put down the middle last year got a load of chances, so the same will happen for Haaland, although he will have to be patient because the ball won't come to him as quickly as he is used to.

Izzy Christiansen: Having Haaland will give them a more direct way of playing, meaning they'll be able to kill games off quicker.

Jonathan Woodgate: City won it last year without a striker and now they have got Haaland, who is world class. It's a no-brainer - they have improved, so they will win it again.

Liverpool - 'Fired up by memories of missing out'

Last season, no-one thought Liverpool would be champions and only three out of 20 pundits thought they would make the top two. This time, only one pundit thinks they will finish lower than second and they are in everyone's top three.

Jonathan Woodgate: Liverpool are going to miss Sadio Mane badly because he brought so much to the team with his closing down as well as his goals. Without him, I don't see the title race being as close as it was last season - I think City win the league by a much wider margin.

Martin Keown: Liverpool are the best pressers in world football, and Mane was best at it, so for them to be better without him is hard for me to take on board. For City to be better with a proper centre-forward, I can accept. They did not meet Haaland's needs in the Community Shield, but they are intelligent players and they will adapt.

Jermaine Jenas: I was thinking about Mane going and how he is a massive loss - they have lost one of the best players in the Premier League. But it freshens their team up and they don't have anything to worry about squad-wise. I can see Liverpool's younger players like Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones contributing a lot more this season, and they have got the best defence in the league.

'This is the best decision I've made in my career'

Leon Osman: Losing Mane could be big, but his replacement could be bigger - we just don't know yet. Whatever happens with Darwin Nunez, a front three of Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah will be difficult to stop, but I still see them falling short of City.

Matt Upson: Like City, Liverpool have got a new striker with Nunez, but they have probably got a bit more clarity with their system. They are used to playing the ball forward quickly, which suits a centre-forward like him and they are more direct in that way with crosses, balls over the top and down the flanks.

Danny Murphy: I expect Haaland to settle a little bit quicker than Nunez, only because he has got that little bit more experience, but that is probably a little bit unfair on Nunez because straight away he is looking like a real threat and full of energy. They are going to go toe to toe with City again.

Danny Murphy joins Troy Deeney and Mark Chapman for MOTD2 this Sunday at 22:30 BST on BBC One and the BBC Sport website for highlights of Leicester v Brentford, Manchester United v Brighton and West Ham v Manchester City.

Stephen Warnock: You only had to watch the quality and intensity on show in the Community Shield to see how good City and Liverpool are - and why no-one will get close to them again this season. It is between those two again and the big thing for me is how much City will miss Sterling and the influence and impact he has. He always pops up with key goals and assists and they wouldn't have won that last game of the season - or the title - without him.

Jermaine Jenas: As good as Liverpool's season was last time, they suffered quite a lot of pain as well towards the end and that kind of stuff fires you up for the new season. We saw it happen after they just missed out to City in 2018-19 and they came out absolutely flying. This time, I think those memories of missing out on the title and losing the Champions League final will be clear in the mind of these players as well. That bit of hunger might be the thing that gets them over the line.

Tottenham - 'They are going to be hard to beat'

No-one thought Tottenham would make the top four last season. This time, 21 out of 22 pundits think they will make it and the other - Dion Dublin - felt it was a toss-up between them and United to finish fourth.

Glenn Murray: We've already seen Tottenham's progress since Antonio Conte took charge in November and you know he will get them working hard again. Their firepower is almost unmatchable and his style of play is very structured - they won't let many goals in.

Pat Nevin: If anyone's capable of breaking out of the pack it is Spurs because of how well they have recruited.

Brazil forward RicharlisonRicharlison is Tottenham's biggest summer signing so far, joining from Everton for a fee of around £60m. They have also brought in Croatian winger Ivan Perisic on a free transfer from Inter Milan, Brighton midfielder Yves Bissouma and Middlesbrough defender Djed Spence to go with January captures Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur

Michael Brown: The squad Spurs have got now is just ridiculously good. The only question I have is about their three centre-backs and whether they will be strong enough defensively over the course of the season.

Leon Osman: They could be the dark horses this year if they sort out their defensive issues. The addition of Richarlison into what was already a formidable attack makes them a more balanced side. Someone other than Son Heung-min to run in behind makes them rival any attacking team in the league. Add in the leadership of Conte and they could make a fist of it - if they can figure out a way of not being so 'Spursy'.

Sue Smith: They have bought a lot of strong and aggressive players so they will have a lot of steel this season. They are going to be hard to beat.

Jermaine Jenas: Conte's signings have elevated this team to another level. It is all on them whether they can find the performances and the rhythm they found last year, but I am predicting a reasonably comfortable third-placed finish for Spurs. The only reason I am not putting them in the title race is because, unlike City and Liverpool, I am not sure they can go and win 14 or so games in a row. They might stay unbeaten for that long, but I don't see them going on a run where they win them all.

Antonio RudigerGermany defender Antonio Rudiger left Chelsea this summer to join Real Madrid on a free transfer

Chelsea - 'There is a bit of uncertainty around them'

Last season, seven out of 20 pundits thought Chelsea would be champions and 80% thought they would make the top two. This time, no-one thinks they will make the top two.

Matt Upson: Chelsea are almost in the middle of a rebuild with a change of ownership and quite a lot of movement in their squad. There is a bit of uncertainty around them.

Martin Keown: Last season's top four will take some shifting, but potentially Chelsea look the most likely to fall out of it because of the players they have lost. Antonio Rudiger is a massive loss at the back.

Stephen Warnock: Chelsea need a striker and that is the reason they are not in my top four.

Pat Nevin: To have a good season, Chelsea need three things to happen: Kai Havertz has to keep on playing well and their full-backs have to stay fit - Reece James and Ben Chilwell were out for long periods last season and they were badly missed because that is where lots of their creativity came from. The third thing is they absolutely need to sign another major centre-back to go with Kalidou Koulibaly. That's what they are trying to do, but if they don't get one, they won't be competitive.

Izzy Christiansen: With Thomas Tuchel in charge, I can't see Chelsea not finding their rhythm. Sterling is a smart signing and gives them something different.

Danny Murphy: They have got some new faces and they will take a while to settle but I am a big fan of Tuchel and think he's a very intelligent manager. I still think their squad is full of quality players and I don't think they will have the same bad spell they had last season, so I think they will do better this time. They are making some good signings and I expect them to make more.

Jermaine Jenas: It's hard to go against Chelsea finishing in the top four. There are still question marks over them, but if they bring in Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona as well as Marc Cucurella, then things will start to look very different. Whoever arrives, they will get what they need in the transfer market and Tuchel will get them playing the way he wants.

Snapshot of the way the top of the Premier League finished last season: 1st Man City, 2nd Liverpool, 3rd Chelsea, 4th Tottenham, 5th Arsenal & 6th Man Utd

Man Utd - 'It's going to be difficult for Ten Hag'

Last season, 100% of the pundits thought they would finish in the top four and 11 out of 20 thought they would finish third or higher. This time, only three people think United will make the Champions League places and only one thinks they will finish higher than fourth.

Dion Dublin: It was a very close call between them and Tottenham for fourth but having spoken to the new United manager, things will be very different there. They will come good soon.

Dion Dublin joins Glenn Murray and Jason Mohammad on Final Score on Saturday, from 14:30 BST on the red button and the BBC Sport website, and from 16:00 on BBC One.

Nedum Onuoha: United basically fell apart in the second half of last season, but it feels like they are heading in the right direction now Ten Hag is in charge.

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