While many would say the big question at the top of the table is about which team will hoist the trophy come May, we have another concern: How far back from the top two squads will the rest of the Big 6 finish? Last season saw a 25-point gap between Liverpool and Chelsea in third — will that shrink, or only get wider?
2018-19: 2nd place, 97 points
The skinny: In almost any other year, Liverpool would’ve walked away with its first Premier League title, finishing with the fourth-most points ever in a season. Instead, it fell a point shy of City. The consolation prize wasn’t too shabby: Winning Champions League for the first time since 2005. After blowing far too many leads the season prior, the Reds defence allowed the fewest goals in the league and centreback Virgil van Dijk was named EPL player of the year. The attack didn’t lack, with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane both scoring 22 goals.
Biggest news: It was a quiet off-season for the European champs, with no one of consequence coming or going.
Big question: After falling heartbreakingly short, is this the season the Red finally get over the hump?
Key arrivals: Adrian
Key departures: Alberto Moreno, Daniel Sturridge, Simon Mignolet
Key player: Virgil van Dijk
Prediction: First place and a celebration on Merseyside like you’ve never seen before.
2018-19: 1st place, 98 points
The skinny: It wasn’t so easy this time around. The Sky Blues repeated as Premier League champions, but their fight with Liverpool went right down to the wire in a race for the ages. City’s 98 points were the second-most ever and its success didn’t stop there, winning both Cups for the domestic treble, but failing short in a controversial Champions League semifinal. This is the deepest squad in England and will certainly contend for the title once again.
Biggest news: Signed midfielder Rodri from Atletico Madrid for a club-record $102.5 million
Big question: Can it finally get over the hump and reach the Champions League final while going for an EPL three-peat?
Key arrivals: Rodri, Angelino, Joao Cancelo
Key departures: Vincent Kompany, Fabian Delph
Key player: Raheem Sterling
Prediction: Second place after some small mental gaffes after two straight years on top
2018-19: 4th place, 71 points
The skinny: Despite failing to bring in a single player during last summer’s transfer window, Spurs did a great job managing their depth when dealing with several injuries and absences through the season. Missing top forward Harry Kane for the final three months of the season hurt, but not as much as the heartbreak from falling to Liverpool in the Champions League final.
Biggest news: Tanguy Ndombele, who moved from Lyon for $90 million, picked up an assist on his first touch as a Spur the pre-season.
Big question: Will manager Mauricio Pochettino finally be poached by a bigger club?
Key arrivals: Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso, Ryan Sessegnon
Key departures: Kieran Trippier, Vincent Janssen
Key player: Harry Kane
Prediction: Third place and Kane wins the Golden Boot.
2018-19: 6th place, 66 points
The skinny: It was a season from hell for the Red Devils. The third-year curse of Jose Mourinho struck once again, with the Special One leading the team into turmoil — including a well-publicized feud with star Paul Pogba. Mourinho was fired after winning just seven of 17 league games. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer provided an excellent bump, going unbeaten in 12 straight, but then finished the season with just two wins in the final nine contests.
Biggest news: Remade the backline with the signings of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire
Big question: Are we going to get another full season of Paul Pogba transfer talk?
Key arrivals: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire
Key departures: Romelu Lukaku, Ander Herrera
Key player: David De Gea
Prediction: Fourth place and a real feeling of resurgence from the once-giants.
2018-19: 5th place, 70 points
The skinny: Injuries once again derailed the Gunners’ season, Unai Emery’s first in charge, and the first without Arsene Wenger in 22 years. While the attack was certainly up to snuff, scoring the third-most goals in the league, the back line was once again the weak spot, allowing 51 goals for the second season in a row.
Biggest news: Brought in Nicolas Pepe, who was one of two players in Europe last season with 20-plus goals and 10-plus assists. The other was Lionel Messi.
Big question: Can, for once in seemingly forever, the Gunners stay remotely healthy for a entire season?
Key arrivals: Nicolas Pepe, Dani Ceballos, Kieran Tierney, David Luiz
Key departures: Aaron Ramsey, Laurent Koscielny, Alex Iwobi
Key player: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Prediction: Fifth place and shot at the Europa League title.
2018-19: 3rd place, 72 points
The skinny: Maurizio Sarri’s first and only season in charge of the Blues was about as turbulent as they come, with weekly reports of a locker-room in revolt. The best example of this was when keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga refused to be substituted off during the Carabao Cup final, which Chelsea lost to Man City. To make matters worse, the Blues were handed a one year transfer ban by FIFA, preventing them from bringing in players.
Biggest news: The best player Chelsea has had in years, Eden Hazard, left for Real Madrid.
Big question: How will Blues legend Lampard manage with high expectations and low resources?
Key arrivals: Mateo Kovacic
Key departures: Eden Hazard, David Luiz
Key player: Christian Pulisic
Prediction: Sixth place and a lot of money spent next summer when the ban ends.
2018-19: 9th place, 52 points
The skinny: The 2018-19 season was an emotional one for the Foxes, with owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha dying in a helicopter crash outside the stadium following a game in October. They also fired manager Claude Puel after two years in charge, appointing Brendan Rodgers, which lead to an excellent run down the stretch in which Leicester lost just three of its final 10 games.
Biggest news: Brought back Youri Tielemans on permanent deal
Big question: We’re not expecting another title run, but can the Foxes steal a Europa League spot?
Key arrivals: Youri Tielemans, Ayoze Perez
Key departures: Harry Maguire, Danny Simpson
Key player: Jamie Vardy
Prediction: Seventh place and Rodgers gets some votes for manager of the year.
2018-19: 8th place, 54 points
The skinny: Liverpool’s “other” team, Everton has lived just outside the European places for more than a decade now. The Toffees have their fair share of talent and manager Marco Silva has proven to be a great hire, but there’s something missing. Despite finishing with a plus-8 goal differential (seventh-best), Everton won only one more game than it lost last season.
Biggest news: Bought young, raw striker Moise Kean from Juventus
Big question: Is there any hope for the Toffees to steal some shine from their Merseyside rivals?
Key arrivals: Moise Kean, Fabian Delph, Jean-Philippe Gbamin, Alex Iwobi
Key departures: Idrissa Gueye
Key player: Gylfi Sigurdsson
Prediction: Eighth place and a big addition in the January transfer window.
WEST HAM UNITED
2018-19: 10th place, 52 points
The skinny: The Hammers are just the definition of a mid-table club. They have enough talent to beat the teams below them, but will never really threaten those above. Since returning to the top flight in 2012, West Ham hasn’t finished higher than seventh or lower than 13th.
Biggest news: Replaced Marko Arnautovic with Sebastien Haller in never-ending quest to find a striker
Big question: Will Haller be the answer up front? West Ham has bought 37 strikers since 2010 and they’ve combined for 199 goals in 720 games.
Key arrivals: Sebastien Haller, Pablo Fornals
Key departures: Marko Arnautovic, Andy Carroll, Samir Nasri, Sam Byram
Key player: Declan Rice
Prediction: Ninth place and a fairly nondescript season from the East Londoners.
2018-19: 7th place, 57 points
The skinny: Very few promoted teams make it into the top half of the table while finishing seventh should be considered an incredible accomplishment for Wolves. Thanks to a keen eye on some undervalued Portuguese players, Nuno Santo’s side was able to utilize a solid counter-attacking style to march its way up the table and also reach the FA Cup semifinals.
Biggest news: Made Raul Jimenez’s transfer permanent after the Mexican led the team in scoring
Big question: How will such a thin squad deal with the rigours of playing in Europa League?
Key arrivals: Raul Jimenez, Leander Dendoncker, Patrick Cutrone
Key departures: None
Key player: Raul Jimenez
Prediction: 10th place and some injuries hold them back from building on last year.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019