opinions, PRedictions, and more
The Premier League season kicks off tomorrow as reigning champions Man City travel to Turf Moor to take on the winners of the Championship from last season, Burnley.
Burnley are led by Man City legend, Vincent Kompany, and had an excellent campaign in the Championship, but it is no match for the mighty Manchester City.
Man City are coming off of a treble in which they won the Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League and are favorites to do it all again.
This game has me wondering about how the unpredictable Premier League will look at the end of the season, so without further adieu, here are my predictions for the 2023/2024 Premier League season.
Founder, The Sports Court
1) Manchester City
I would be dumb to bet against the club that has won three titles in a row. Manchester City in themselves have won five of the past six seasons. They are an unstoppable force and an anomaly in the world of football currently. The depth the team possesses is mental. While Erling Haaland leads the way and is coming off of his record-breaking season, Julian Alvarez only continues to get better and he’s always happy to put one away. The signing of Mateo Kovacic only adds to a world-class midfield consisting of one of the best passers of the ball in the world, Kevin de Bruyne, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Rodri, and Bernardo.
Defensively, the addition of Josko Gviardol is a brilliant piece of business by Pep and the boys. John Stones will also prove to be a top player in the world as he can play both as a center-back and as shown in the Champions League, an amazing number six. Manchester City’s depth helps them as the Premier League season is so long and grueling for many clubs. The question now is, will they repeat yet again? They have nobody but themselves to blame if they don’t.
2) Newcastle United
Sandro Tonali is a wonderful signing for the Toons. His 70 million pound arrival comes with great excitement as the Italian boasts an elegance not many can match. Add that to the smart signings of Harvey Barnes from Leicester and Tino Livramento from Southampton and Newcastle have a great squad on their hands. Miguel Almiron is prone to having moments of brilliance and if he is able to sustain that for a full season he will be a key player in both their Premier League season and Champions League run. The Paraguayan international scored 11 goals and notched 2 assists last season.
Two other difference makers will be the performances of Callum Wilson and Alexander Isak. Having combined for 28 goals and 34 total G+A last season, the Englishman and Sweed need to catch fire yet again. The talent is clearly there for both, especially the young star of Isak. If Newcastle can cultivate chemistry between the young newcomers and players of last season they have true potential at making a challenge to knock Manchester City off of their throne.
Arsenal were so close to winning the Premier League. After all, they had a convincing lead by Christmas time, however, they did not get a fairytale ending to a fairytale story. What they did get was a great experience. Declan Rice and Kai Havertz will make an instant impact and the Arsenal side, for the most part, remains unchanged. Coming off of a Community Shield win in which the Gunners looked dominant, they are going to have another great year. If Gabriel Jesus comes back fully healthy and ready to go there is no reason as to why this side can’t make another run, but their depth remains in question yet again.
As a Liverpool supporter, it hurts to not put them winning, but I will settle for the top four. Liverpool were banged up big time last year and the new signings of Alexis Mac Allister from Brighton & Hove Albion alongside Dominik Szoboszlai from RB Leipzig are wonderful. Both are great pieces of business from the Reds. Cody Gakpo is only getting better, Salah remains consistent, and Luis Diaz can tear a defense to shreds on the left side of the pitch. Injuries galore last year for Liverpool, but if they stay healthy they’ll have a great squad to make for a fantastic season and perhaps a title charge.
Update: As I finished writing the article, Moises Caicedo was announced to be set to join Liverpool in a shocking, last-minute deal. Fabrizio Romano was first with the report (who else). This does change my outlook on Liverpool. They instantly get more depth in the midfield and this makes them a team that has serious potential for a title charge.
5) Manchester United
I’m a big fan of this Manchester United side, and they’ve only gotten better. Eric Ten Hag is a fantastic manager and he’s done bits in the transfer window. They are brilliant on the break and Alejandro Garnacho is due for a breakout season. Rashford had a great year last season with 17 goals and 5 assists. Bruno put up 8 and 8. The question now is who will score goals other than Marcus Rashford. Ramsus Hojlund has been signed from Atalanta and his physical stature will do him well in the Premier League, but his mere 18 senior level goals aren’t convincing for an immediate impact. Still only 20, he has loads of potential, but this Manchester United team still needs another year or two.
6) Aston Villa
This Aston Villa side is magic. Emery ball has been working wonders for them and they had a fantastic end to last season. They are back in European football and are putting out an even better squad than the one of last season. Ollie Watkins bagged 15 goals last year and he’s only getting better. Jacob Ramsey has done bits in the midfield and has become a fan favorite because of so. They are very strong defensively and the addition of Pau Torres will only help them in that regard. Tielemans arrival from Leicester and Moussa Diabys from Leverkusen will be vital for the squad as well. Tielemans will need to step up big time now that Buendia is out for eight months. This team is ready to compete, have a top manager, and will be sure to make some significant noise this Premier League season.
From the outside looking in, this Chelsea team looks fantastic. Nicolas Jackson has proved to be worth every penny spent on him this preseason, Mudryk has seemingly improved, and they are due for a new era with Pochettino at the helm. Enzo is a fantastic passer of the ball from the middle of the park and they have a lot of young talent that will be peaking in about 2-3 years time. For right now, they still need to learn how to play together and I am going to slot them at 7.
8) Brighton & Hove Albion
How can you possibly hate Brighton & Hove Albion? A well-run club that has come from nowhere to European football with a steady improvement year after year. Coming off of a sixth-place finish, they are built to compete for European football yet again. The Milner signing brings experience and the youthfulness of Evan Ferguson up top will be vital. If he keeps up his progression he’s set for the stars. Losing Max Allister hurts, but Grob, March, Dunk, Estupinan, Enciso, Mitoma, and Welbeck are all exciting players. They have goal-scorers and highlight-reel-makers all over the pitch. A fun team to watch, Brighton will find success yet again this season.
Back to back eighth place finishes are not what Tottenham fans expected of themselves over the past few years. They went from battling for titles to being on the outside looking in. The (soon-to-be) loss of Harry Kane hurts them a lot, and they need to get by this season without him. Ange Postecoglou was great at Celtic and he will definitely get a lot out of the new man on campus, James Maddison. Son is still a top player, but Kane accounted for nearly half of the team's goals in the Premier League last season. Unless Richarlison steps up and puts on his scoring boots, it might be a long season for Spurs supporters
This may come as shocking, and I understand why. Burnley are newly promoted fresh out of the Championship, no way they finish tenth? Perhaps I’m a little too optimistic for Burnley this year but this side is fun to watch and have spent well. Sander Berge is a good signing from Sheffield United. Berge has Europa League experience with Genk. Anass Zaroury, a winger who scored seven goals for Burnley last season, wore the number ten for Morocco at the 2022 World Cup. They are currently in pursuit of Nathan Tella, who came out of nowhere to score 17 goals while on loan from Southampton last season. Burnley plays clean, tidy football and are filled with players who do their role very nicely. Jay Rodriguez is up there in age but he can put goals away in addition to Josh Brownhill. Kompany will have his boys buzzing for this Premier League season.
11) West Ham
West Ham made a great signing by picking up James Ward-Prowse in the transfer market. He can hit a dead ball like nobody else (except Messi, of course). Regardless, West Ham have improved but the loss of Declan Rice and (probable) Paqueta will hurt them. They have an experienced squad with tons of players that are easy to support such as Michail Antonio and Jarrod Bowen, but they still need to do some work in the transfer window. Picking up Folarin Balogun would be huge for West Ham as they approach the start of their Premier League campaign.
The one reason I think Brentford can finish much higher than 12th place is the fact that Thomas Frank is a wonderful manager. What he has done at Brentford hasn’t gone unnoticed for good reason. He’s turned them from a shaky Championship side to a strong Premier League side in a few years. Losing both Ivan Toney due to a suspension and David Raya will hurt the Bees during their 23/24 campaign. Toney had the ability to score against any club and that is instantly taken away from them. Kevin Schade is turning out to be a good young starlet for them and Mathias Jensen played very well last season, picking up five goals and tallying six assists.
While they have a lot of big losses, they are still a strong, well-managed side. They should do just fine this season and they always seem to put out a strong defense. I expect them to do just about average this year, but they are due for a big season within the next three years.
13) Crystal Palace
Fulham are led by the mighty Roy Hodgson and unfortunately for Eagles fans, they just lost one of the best players in club history, Wilfried Zaha. The centerback partnership of Andersen and Guehi is one of the better ones in the league and they could very well finish higher than thirteenth, however, they lack a true goal-scorer, and that will hold them back from their true potential.
Fulham’s season largely depends upon whether Aleksandar Mitrovic decides to move to Saudi Arabia or stay in Cravens Cottage. Manager, Marco Silva, turned down 40 million from the SPF to stay in Saudi, but whether or not Mitrovic follows his boss’ lead is still in question. Harrison Reed, Palhina, and Robinson will all be key pieces in their respective positions. All in all, however, Mitrovic’s 14 goals last season accounted for about 25% of Fulham’s goals last season in their 10th-place finish. It looks as if the Serbian doesn’t want to play anymore and if that’s the case, Fulham are in for a tough year.
15) Nottingham Forest
Forest have a difficult start to the season as they go up against Arsenal, Manchester United, and Chelsea in three of the first four. Forest needs to stay consistent through the season. Morgan Gibbs-White will play a big factor in their success this season. The young midfielder had a breakout year last season and is on path to continue his fine form this season. Brennan Johnson, who at 22 has already scored over 20 goals for the club, seems to be on the way out to Tottenham as Harry Kane’s replacement signing. Forest will get by, but they will still cut it close at the end of the day.
16) AFC Bournemouth
The Cherries defense was absolutely abysmal last season. They let up 71 goals and had a -34 goal differential. Despite that, however, they have an exciting manager in the Spaniard, Andoni Iraola, and a gritty attitude. Iraola likes to play exciting football and it could very well backfire. Justin Kluviert has promise in what will be a make-or-break season for him. They’ve had a decent window and should stay up this year.
Everton and Luton Town are by all means interchangeable, but Everton just has more Premier League experience. Jordan Pickford will be huge in making sure Everton stays up as well as Dwight McNeill, who bagged 7 goals for Everton last year. Sean Dyche knows how to keep clubs up, and after surviving on the final day, Everton will have to pull off another miracle after doing the bare minimum to strengthen their squad.
18) Luton Town
I did not want to put Luton Town in the relegation area, however, I have to. The recent signing of Ross Barkley is a good pickup, but they’ve largely signed EFL players who have no experience in the Premier League. Luton haven’t had a convincing preseason run and life in the Premier League will be hard for the new boys on the block. I respect what they’ve done to get to the Premier League. My hope is they just survive the relegation scrap, but realistically speaking, it’s going to be a very tough operation for Luton Town.
19) Wolverhampton Wanderers
Wolverhampton were dry of goals last season and they’ve done nothing in the transfer window to help themselves out. Finances are currently poor (apparently) at the club and they seemed doomed for failure this season. Neves leaving for Saudi Arabia was a tough blow as the club's golden child departed before their very eyes. It’s a shame that Wolves have had a rough, bumpy fall from the Nuno days, but that’s the game sometimes. Wolves fans are in for a tough one this year.
20) Sheffield United
Ilmian Ndiaye propelled the Blades to promotion last season in the Championship. Set for his first season in the Premier League, he departed to Olympique Marseille. Ndiaye went from the Rising Ballers amateur team to becoming the 10 at Sheffield United in just five years. His exit leaves the club without a true star. Several important loan players are back at their parent clubs and they just sold Sander Berge to Burnley. They have some talented players but they are mostly inexperienced at this level. This season will be a steep battle for Sheffield United.
If you liked this article, please feel free to follow us on Instagram @the.sportscourt . Thank you so much everyone! - Chris Dailey.
Founder, The Sports Court
I was sitting here and thinking to myself, wow sports are really amazing.
I was at a basketball game and players who come from all different parts of the country, walks of life, and have played all around the world all shared the court.
Without sports, none of this would've ever happened.
From the opportunities that are made through sports to the people you meet along the way, sports are by all means a great uniter.
Through the TSC Futsal League, I've raised over $13,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Firstly, to play a small part in the amazing cause at St. Jude is an honor.
Secondly, so many kids, all with different personalities and lives all come together for one day of futsal at the roller rink.
It's truly a sight to see and goes to show how amazing sports are.
With The Sports Court, I've been able to meet people from every continent (still waiting on Antartica) and been able to pursue my dreams.
I can't say many other fields would have this happening other than sports.
Founder, The Sports Court
Authors Note: This article was done for opsmpro.com . OPSM is a sports agency company based out of Ontario, Canada, and represent players from all around the world. With @opsmsoccer on Instagram, I've collaborated with them to highlight the top talents in North America!
The MLS Next Cup Showcase will take place from June 17 to 25 and the best academy players in North America in the U15, U16, U17 and U19 age groups will be on display. Each age group contains countless high-caliber players and thousands of eyes will be on them. One of the most highly competitive ages, the U17 division, bolsters a list of players with potential to play at the highest level. This list is a detailed report of the best U17 players in the nation that will (most likely) be playing at the showcase. A number of these players may miss the tournament for selection with their respective senior teams or MLS Next Pro sides.
#1: Stuart Hawkins - Defender, Seattle Sounders
Hawkins is simply a different caliber type of player. A USYNT U17 player, Hawkins signed his first professional contract with the Tacoma Defiance in June of 2022. The 16-year-old from Fox Island, Washington who was signed through the Sounders Discovery Program has since been awarded the MVP of the 2022 U17 Generation Adidas Cup in which the Sounders won over Tigres UNAL. Hawkins was crucial to the USYNT’s success at the U17 Concacaf Championship earlier this year, starting in five matches as they fell to Mexico in the final, earning a silver medal. The potential is clearly there, he is 6’1” and possesses technical prowess and defensive sturdiness. He has a future not just in the MLS, but within the USMNT system as he grows older and gains more experience playing professionally. Already with 9 professional appearances, Hawkins is one of the players on this list that may skip participation in the event to continue gaining minutes at the professional level.
#2: Davi Alexandre- Defender, New York Red Bulls
There is a reason why Davi Alexandre has already signed a professional contract with New York Red Bulls and is regarded as one of the United States’ most supreme youth prospects: because he is a tank. Alexandre is a leader and possesses a strong soccer IQ, helping him cut out passes comfortably and assert his physical dominance over players his own age. Alexandre is not afraid to get physical and he has great aerial ability. Alexandre is currently signed with New York Red Bulls II already making 3 appearances this season. He was included into the Red Bulls’ matchday roster in MLS earlier this season and has been a staple in the backline for the USYNT U16s. Alexandre is another player on this list that may very likely miss out on the tournament as he looks for professional minutes, however, if he does play in the U17 division it will be a huge get for the Red Bulls and he will be sure to put on a strong showing.
#3: Jonathan Shore - Midfielder, NYCFC
Johnathan (Jonny) Shore is an incredible talent that has come up from the NYCFC Academy since the age of 10. Technically he’s sublime and he pairs that with a high soccer IQ and relentless work rate. He has already signed a MLS Homegrown contract with NYCFC and has featured in two matches for NYCFC II this season. The 16-year-old recently received his first callup to the USYNT, representing the U16s in three matches against Japan, Netherlands, and Nigeria. It will be interesting to see how NYCFC continues his development at the youth level and transitions him into the professional game. His dynamic play in midfield and on the wing would give the NYCFC Academy a huge advantage over competitors at this tournament.
#4: Zackory Campagnolo - Goalkeeper, Orlando City SC
Zackory Campagnolo is a goalkeeper for Orlando City SC and is perhaps one of the best goalkeeper prospects in MLS Next. Another player that featured for the USYNT U16s recently, Campagnolo made appearances against both Nigeria and Japan in recent weeks. Campagnolo stands at 6’4” tall, can play effectively with both feet and has had training stints in Europe with both Sporting Libson and Shalke 04. Described as a ‘modern-style goalkeeper’, Campagnolo possesses strong shot-blocking ability, superb leadership skills, and is an aggressive goalkeeper. His contributions to the community extend further than what he does on the pitch, as Campagnolo participates in a program for kids with Autism-Spectrum-Disorder. A top-caliber player and person, Campagnolo is regarded as one of the best goalkeepers at the showcase and one to keep an eye out for.
#5: Santiago Morales - Midfielder, Inter Miami CF
Santiago “Santi” Morales is in the form of his life for the USYNT u16s right now, scoring in two of their games against Japan and Nigeria this past month. A crafty midfielder for Inter Miami, Morales is one of the most highly regarded academy players currently in the program. His father, Javier, is currently the interim Head Coach for Inter Miami CF after the sacking of Phillip Neville. Javier played 478 professional games in his career, mainly in Argentina and MLS, scoring 71 goals. Santiago has inherited his fathers' goal-scoring ability and his stock is only rising with the blazing hot form he is currently in. After winning the MVP of the MLS Next Cup last year as his U15 side won the entire tournament, Morales will be looking for a repeat this year. All he does is score, both inside and outside of the box, and he is another phenomenal talent to keep an eye out for at the MLS Next Cup Showcase.
#6: Kyrome Lumsden - Midfielder, LAFC
Kyrome is a creative, athletic midfielder for LAFC. Lumsden has an incredibly high ceiling and has the ability to create goals for teammates. In April of 2022, Lumsden scored and provided 2 assists while captaining the USYNT U15s to a comeback 3-2 win over Belgium. Earlier this year, Kyrome produced strong performances with LAFC’s U17s at the GA Cup and will be keen to continue those performances heading into the MLS Next Cup. Lumsden has a great first touch and is widely regarded as one of the top talents coming out of the LAFC Academy.
#7: Aaron Heard - LW, St. Louis City SC
Aaron Heard is a longtime USYNT prospect, having originally played for Bethesda Academy and the Philadelphia Union Academy before moving to St. Louis City SC. A well-traveled player, these experiences in several high-level clubs have made Aaron Heard learn many different ways to play and it shows. Playing at left wing and in midfield, Heard loves to take defenders on with pace while also having tendencies to cut in and thread the needle with inch-perfect through balls. Heard also has a lovely first touch and while has professional experience with St. Louis City II and it’s uncertain whether he stays to play with the professional side in MLS Next Pro or travels to the MLS Next Cup Showcase, it is indeed certain that if he comes to the Showcase he will be one of the most electric, fun-to-watch talents there.
#8: Ruben Ramos Jr. - Forward, LA Galaxy
Ruben Ramos Jr. is yet another player with USYNT U16, as well as Mexico’s Youth National Teams, who is already earning minutes in MLS Next Pro, having just scored his first professional goal last month. Ramos could be one of the most exciting strikers at the MLS Next Cup Showcase and his brilliant positioning and eye for the net will be on full display. A true goalscorer, Ramos Jr. combines his soccer IQ with speed that makes for a deadly forward that defenders are scared to go against. Ramos Jr. is a top talent and has established himself as one of the best young forwards in North America.
#9: Drew Baiera - Defender, NYCFC
Perhaps too low on the list, Drew Baiera has been outstanding at right back for the USYNT U16s in matches against Japan, Netherlands and Nigeria. Baiera. Along with Jonathan Shore, Baiera is another player on this list from the NYCFC Academy that played a large role with the USYNT U16s this past month. An athletic, technical fullback, he has shown his leadership over the past few years captaining several NYCFC youth sides. A top player on the USYNT U16s recent tour, Baiera will be a player that is looking to push his name in this tournament amongst some of the very best in MLS Next.
#10: Gavin Turner - Forward, DC United
Gavin Turner has been in the DC United academy for several years now and has experience with Loundon United in the USL Championship last year, making 8 appearances with DC United’s affiliate club. A playmaker with a very high soccer IQ, the midfielder has represented the USYNT at the U16 level. An ankle injury had sidelined him for the majority of 2023, but he’s recently returned to training and this event could be pivotal for Turner to jump back on the scene as one of the top talents in MLS Next.
With only ten players on our list, there are numerous other players that will shine at the tournament and put themselves on track to playing at the professional level.
A writer who loves to learn and share.
All Editorials written by Chris Dailey