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Pilger: Premier League rankings and predictions

| Thursday, March 17, 2022

With nine matches remaining in the Premier League season, the final standings are slowly coming together. Today, I’ll take a look at where each team will finish, as well as how they will fare next season.

20. Norwich City – 19 points 

The painful cycle for Norwich City continues, as they are repeatedly relegated from the Premier League, then promoted the next season, then relegated again. As the team with the least goals scored this season, Norwich will have to make some drastic changes at the top of their lineup during the offseason.

19. Leeds United – 28 points 

Painfully bad defense and blowout losses will mean the end of Leeds’ stay in the top flight. Despite having three more wins and two more ties than Norwich, my prediction gives Leeds a goal differential only six greater than their counterpart. 6-2, 5-1, 6-0, and 5-0 losses all coming this season are certainly big factors.

18. Watford – 29 points (-52 Goal Differential) 

The third and final relegation spot will be decided by merely two goals, according to my predictions. Watford play four top 10 teams in their last five matches, and they will need to emerge with ties or wins in at least two of them if they want a chance at staying in the top flight.

17. Everton – 29 points (-50 Goal Differential) 

Everton has lost four consecutive games, losing 1-0, 5-0, 1-0, and 2-0. Frankly, the only thing keeping them out of relegation is the fact that the teams below them are playing worse. The road ahead only gets more difficult, and manager Frank Lampard will have to make magic happen in order to keep their 68-year tenure in the Premier League alive.

16. Burnley – 33 points 

Burnley currently sit 19th, with a measly three wins all season. So why do I have them finishing the season so strong? Two reasons: Firstly, manager Sean Dyche has done a tremendous job keeping this largely nameless team alive, and he will continue to do so. Secondly, their strength of schedule is the easiest in the league for the remaining games.

15. Brentford – 35 points 

The only way to describe Brentford this season is that they are the best of the worst. They may not pose a challenge to any big teams, but they have the firepower up top, as well as a sufficiently mediocre defense that puts points on the table. The acquisition of striker Ivan Toney in 2020 from Peterborough is one major reason why they have found success in the Premier League.

14. Newcastle – 37 points 

Newcastle fans, consider yourselves lucky. Had it not been for Yasir Al-Rumayyan, your team would likely be in dead last. The “oil money” that signed Trippier, Guimaraes, and Wood have brought new hope and fire to the squad.

13. Brighton Hove & Albion – 40 points 

There is a significant jump from the bottom seven teams and the next five in the table. While 13th is certainly not where one would like to finish the season, it is an improvement from 2020, and this team will only get better. The trio of Welbeck, Trossard, and Maupay at the top will be a force to be reckoned with next season.

12. Southampton – 41 points 

This team is extremely similar to Brighton, regarding its future and current standing in the Premier League. Just like Brighton, Southampton has made a minor improvement in their standing and has young, underrated players like James Ward-Prowse that will be difference makers for years to come.

11. Leicester City – 49 points 

This season was one to forget for Leicester City, as their hopes of qualifying for European football two years in a row faded early in the season. Interestingly, their issues this year come on both sides of the ball, as offensive efficiency waned and defensive power lacked.

10. Crystal Palace – 50 points 

Crystal Palace belongs exactly in 10th place, as they are the most mediocre team in the Premier League. They will put up a tough game against the top in the league, and scrape by the bottom of the table with 1-0 or 2-1 wins. The one-two punch of Gallagher and Zaha has been extremely effective this season.

9. Aston Villa – 52 points 

The midseason acquisition of Philippe Coutinho was a piece that completed the puzzle for Aston Villa. As one of the most complete teams in the premier league, this team can make a big jump up the table.

8. West Ham – 60 points 

West Ham is an exceptionally difficult team to predict, given that they rarely win or lose by more than one goal. The team puts on an exceptional performance against a top team and then loses to a terrible one. The team is carried by its midfield of Rice, Benrahma and Lanzini for the most part and can become a top-four team if they played with more consistency.

7. Manchester United – 62 points (+7 Goal Differential) 

Despite the hype, it is not surprising that the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo did not immediately make United contenders to win the league. This season has shown just how important defensive unity and managers are to Manchester United.

6. Wolverhampton – 62 points (+11 Goal Differential) 

After an extremely eventful offseason and team rebuild following their promotion in 2017, the Wolves have seen the best case scenario emerge this season. Manager Bruno Lage has done a tremendous job with the defense, and the signing of keeper Jose Sa from Olympiacos is one of the best this year.

5. Tottenham – 64 points 

The Spurs currently sit in eighth place, and I have them finishing fifth, headed to the Europa League. Why? Because I have faith in both Kane and Son, as well as new manager Conte to turn this season around and capitalize on their remaining weak schedule. They play only two top eight teams in their final nine matches.

4. Arsenal – 79 points 

Arsenal’s slow but steady climb back into the top four can only be accredited to head coach Mikel Arteta and the turnaround up top. Games like the one against Wolverhampton, in which they maintained a 1-0 lead for 40 minutes despite being a man down, are examples of the defensive resilience they possess.

3. Chelsea – 85 points 

I might as well write the same descriptions for these three teams at the top of the table, which are completely untouchable. Two of Chelsea’s three losses came against Manchester City, both of which were 1-0 losses.

2. Liverpool – 92 points 

Liverpool has the most explosive offense in the Premier League by far this year with Salah and Mane up top, and only increase that domination by having arguably the best defender in the world at center back. The fact that this team is not winning a Premier League title this year is incredible.

1. Manchester City – 95 points 

The only team that seems to be able to compete with this absolutely stacked roster is Tottenham, given that they have defeated City both times this year. Barring any late-year blunders, Manchester City is a lock for the title and may even break a goal differential of +70.

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