The Betway ambassador and Irish football legend previews the 2023/24 Premier League season, including his picks for the top four and three ones to watch.
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The start of any new season is always exciting. You’re always excited to see the new signings that have come in, and this year is no different.
There are plenty of new and old names that are going to make it another really interesting season.
Manchester City will be pushed even harder
Every year the Premier League is always a challenge, isn’t it? It gets harder every year and it will do this year too.
Arsenal have realised where they came short last season and addressed that in the transfer market. If you look at the signings they have made, I think they will offer the strongest resistance to Manchester City.
Declan Rice has come in and will give them more stability. He’s an absolute class act and would make any team considerably better. When you look at the core of their team, they have retained Premier League winners Oleksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus, along with their other better players, there are plenty of reasons for Arsenal fans to be excited. They made a statement in the Community Shield as well.
Having said that, it’s hard to look past Manchester City. They have lost some big players like Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan, but they have others ready to step in. There’s Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Julian Alvarez. Their depth is frightening.
Robbie Keane heaps praise on to Pep Guardiola and says we should enjoy him whilst he’s still Man City manager! 📺
Read his full thoughts on the upcoming Premier League season here 👇
— betway (@betway) August 11, 2023
You can’t write off Liverpool either. I think with their front five or six, they have players who can score goals. You look at Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz, who was injured a lot last season, and Darwin Nunez, who looks strong in pre-season, and it’s a fearsome front line.
I wouldn’t worry too much about the experience that they have lost, either. Yes, Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Fabinho are important players but they’ve got a ready-made captain in Virgil van Dijk.
Bringing Alexis Mac Allister in was a very good signing as well. I think he could be a key player for them.
Poch needs time
Mauricio Pochettino and Jesus Perez are really good friends of mine, so I want them to do well at Chelsea. They’re really good people and we speak quite a lot.
For Poch to do what he did at Tottenham, build the team in a certain way and get them playing how he wants, that’s going to take time. The Chelsea fans will really enjoy watching it, but there needs to be an understanding that it’s a big change. There needs to be a bit of patience.
The players will love working for him and Jesus – like I say, they’re really good people. But they’re serious about what they want.
There’s absolutely no point in getting a manager like Pochettino and hitting the panic button.
Tottenham under Postecoglou
For me, qualifying for the Champions League and winning a cup represents success at Tottenham. That would be huge for them.
I’m excited to see them under Ange Postecoglou this season as well. He’s a manager that will get the fans going with his style of football. It’s high-speed, playing out from the back and aggressive, which is how Tottenham fans want to see football played.
With James Maddison coming in, I think that’s a great signing. I think they need a few more to kick on, but fans will certainly enjoy watching them.
Burnley are in good Kompany
I’m interested to see how Burnley do this season. Judging by the signings that they have made and the way Vincent Kompany likes to play, they will be an interesting package.
I think if you asked Vincent himself, the most important thing for him is now and not in a couple of years. I would say that he would absolutely hate people linking him with being Pep Guardiola’s successor at Manchester City.
Knowing Vincent the little bit that I do, I guarantee that he wouldn’t for one second think about that. First and foremost, you concentrate on where you are and doing well for that team. If you don’t do well there, you can forget about going to other places.
Of course, Manchester City will have a succession plan for their manager, just like they do when planning for the future of the young players who come through for them. They’re a global company and will always be planning for the future.
But let’s just enjoy Guardiola at the moment. He’s been so good for the Premier League. I think he’s made the league stronger and he’s made managers better. For all Premier League fans, we want people like Pep to stay in the league.
Top four predictions
It’s very hard to predict now who’s going to be in the top four because of how competitive it will be at the top of the table this season. Manchester City will be the favourites, and then there will be Arsenal and Liverpool in there.
I’ll say Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool and, as an outside bet, Tottenham. They need to bring some more players in, but as I said I think Maddison is a big signing for them.
Newcastle will be there or thereabouts too, it’s a toss-up between them and Tottenham and maybe my heart is helping me.
I can’t look past Haaland again for the Golden Boot. I just think with the amount of chances that Manchester City create, you can never write him off.
He’s a player that won’t get too many touches of the ball, but you don’t really need him to when you’ve got the players around him that keep feeding him.
It’s going to be a big season for…
I really like Alvarez. If you take him into a different team, I think he’d score you a lot of goals. He’s very clever in and around the box.
He’s just unfortunate that Haaland’s in front of him. You never want to see any player getting injured, but if it was a case of Haaland being injured, I think he would be one to surprise a lot of people.
When he’s playing down the middle, Jota is one that I think plays kind of similar to me when I was a professional, in terms of when he arrives into the box. I think he’s very good at that, very clever with his movement and runs.
If you keep him fit, he could get up there to challenge for the Golden Boot.
I’m hoping Ferguson has another good year after his breakthrough season. I know Brighton have signed Joao Pedro as well, but hopefully the two of them can play together.
I hate putting pressure on young lads and it happens quite a lot. Evan is still only young, so the expectation from me is just to go and enjoy himself. Play as much football as you can and when you get the opportunity, try and score as many goals as you can.
I know he’s got a great attitude and he’ll continue to work hard. Hopefully he keeps improving.