The English Premier League is back. Here’s how the world’s biggest soccer league might shape up this year.

  • The 2020/2021 English Premier League season begins on September 12.
  • Ahead of kick off, Insider has put together its prediction for how to final table will look come the end of the campaign.
  • Find out who is our champion, as well as who we think will get relegated below. 
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Aside from Liverpool running out as the clear winner, last season was the most unpredictable in English Premier League history.

Split in half by the coronavirus pandemic, the lack of fans, extra safety protocols, and adjusted fixtures wreaked havoc on most teams in one way or another — whether it was performance levels, fitness levels, or even both. 

Though fans largely won't be present this time around, things are to set to return to some sort of normality.

Ahead of kick off on Saturday September 12, Insider has put together its prediction for how to final table will look come the end of the campaign, including who we think will be crowned champion and who will face the drop. 

Keep reading to find out who we're backing to conquer English football this season.

20th: Aston Villa

Position last season: 17th

Villa spent $179 million last summer in a bid to keep itself in the Premier League. It worked, but only just.

The tactic this summer has been completely the opposite: spend almost nothing. The club's only signing is $19 million right back Matty Cash who arrived from Nottingham Forest.

While Cash impressed in the Championship last season, he lacks the top flight know how Villa desperately need to stay up. Only five players in Dean Smith's 28-man squad have over 50 Premier League appearances to their names. 

19th: Fulham

Position last season: 4th in the Championship, promoted through the playoffs

Fulham scraped into the Premier League through the playoffs, beating Brentford in the final – a game which many expected it to lose.

Scott Parker's side is effective enough going forward, however remains vulnerable at the back, having thus far failed to sign a new central defensive partner for the excellent Michael Hector.

The team's biggest problem however is that much of its spine remains the same from when it was relegated from the Premier League just two seasons ago, also under Parker. 

18th. West Ham

Position last season: 16th

Had this prediction been made a week ago, West Ham would have probably been placed 17th, swapping places with newly promoted West Bromwich Albion.

However, the Hammers' decision to sell its most talented young player in the form of winger Grady Diangana (sorry, Declan Rice) to West Brom was a poor one, and one that could prove extremely costly.

Diangana excelled on-loan with the Baggies last season in the Championship, while West Ham's wide men Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko failed to impress.

The former West Ham midfielder Trevor Sinclair tweeted his displeasure at the news saying: "All Hammers fans want is what most footy fans want: exciting players coming through the youth set up and making it into a competitive first team which is why they're disappointed that Grady Diangana is being sold to rivals!! They feel let down."

17th. West Brom

Position last season: 2nd in the Championship

West Ham's loss is certainly West Brom's gain in the case of Grady Diangana, who was electric during the Baggies' promotion winning season.

The club has also secured the permanent signing of Brazilian Matheus Pereira from Sporting Lisbon, another loanee who starred last term. 

Most importantly, Manager Slaven Bilic has an excellent top flight record, having guided (you guessed it) West Ham to 7th and 11th placed finishes in his only two full seasons as a Premier League manager in 2015/16 and 2016/17. 

16th. Crystal Palace

Position last season: 14th

Under the experienced management of Roy Hodgson, Palace should have what it takes to beat the drop again, but it won't be without a fight. 

The prospect of Wilfried Zaha and new signing Ebere Eze — both who are supremely skillful, technically gifted attackers — will be mouthwatering to fans, however Palace is still without a top level striker to complete the jigsaw.

Only relegated Norwich City (26) managed fewer goals in the Premier League than Palace (31) last season, a problem that desperately needs addressing. 

15th. Leeds United

Position last season: 1st in the Championship.

Bigs things are expected from Leeds this term following its return to the top flight after a 16-year hiatus.

Marcelo Bielsa's side are hard-working, tactically astute, and defensively sound, however (a bit like Crystal Palace) a lack of attacking prowess could ultimately prevent the side from finishing higher up the table.

Leeds paid Valencia a club record $35 million for the services of Spanish striker Rodrigo, however given he managed just four goals in La Liga last season, and has already flopped in the Premier League once before with Bolton — albeit when he was only 19 — goals are far from guaranteed.

14th. Brighton

Position last season: 15th

Brighton remains a work in progress under Graham Potter, but the English coach managed to build the foundation of a solid Premier League team during his first season in charge at the American Express Stadium.

In Neal Maupay, Aaron Connolly, and Leonardo Trossard, the Seagulls have a young and talented front three; while at the back, Lewis Dunk and Tariq Lamptey were two of the division's stand out defenders last year.

The departure of midfielder Aaron Mooy to China will be a blow, however Potter will be hoping Adam Lallana, who joins from Liverpool, can fill the creative void. 

13th. Newcastle United

Position last season: 13th

Being able to work on a budget is a must for any Newcastle manager, a quality which Steve Bruce has demonstrated brilliantly during the transfer window. 

The Magpies landed both winger Ryan Fraser and midfielder Jeff Hendrick, the latter of whom has linked with AC Milan, on free transfers from Bournemouth and Burnley, while also secured the $26 million signing of England striker Callum Wilson.

Wilson, also from relegated Bournemouth, should link up nicely with Fraser and the brilliant Allan Saint-Maximin to help provide Bruce's side with the cutting edge it lacked last term.

12th. Sheffield United

Position last season: 9th

"Second season syndrome" often sees teams experience a downturn in their second season in the Premier League following promotion. 

Ipswich Town caught it in 2002, Reading caught it in 2008, and so did Birmingham City in 2011. All three were relegated in their second terms after impressing in their first.

Sheffield United will certainly suffer, mostly thanks to the departure of goalkeeper Dean Henderson — who has been replaced with Aaron Ramsdale from Bournemouth — but it shouldn't expect to get it quite as badly as those prior. 

11th. Burnley

Position last season: 10th 

Over the past four seasons, Sean Dyche has built Burnley into a formidable mid-table team.

Big, strong, and extremely disciplined — travelling to Turf Moor is a hard day at the office for any side in the league, especially the teams at the top, who aren't accustomed to such a physical challenge.

Last season, the Clarets beat Manchester United and Leicester, and took points away from Arsenal, Tottenham, Wolves, and Liverpool. It's this resilience against the big boys that separates Burnley from the rest of the bottom half. 

10th. Everton

Position last season: 12th 

Three seasons ago, if Everton had secured the signings of Real Madrid star James Rodriguez and Napoli's Allan, it would be fair to say the club would have been in for a real shout of a top six finish.

Now however, while they might sound like big signings, the reality is that both players are past their best.

Rodriguez, 29, made just 5 starts for Madrid last season, while Allan also fell out of favor at Napoli, starting just 16. 

Yet another summer has also passed in which Everton has failed to replace the goals of Romelu Lukaku, who was instrumental in its qualification for Europe in 2016/17.

The club has, however, managed to keep hold of Brazilian star Richarlison, who is set to perform well once again.

9th. Southampton

Position last season: 11th

Southampton are the team to watch this season. 

Head coach Ralph Hasenhuttl appears to have finally put his stamp on the team following a difficult first year in charge.

He's getting the best out of Danny Ings and Nathan Redmond; has rebuilt his midfield around play maker Stuart Armstrong; and is giving young players such as Michael Obafemi and Kevin Danso a chance to shine.

The Austrian has also made some solid additions this summer in the form of defenders Mohamed Salisu and Kyle Walker-Peters, the latter of whom excelled on-loan last term. 

The Saints lost just once in its last nine Premier League games in 2019/20, momentum it will hope to carry forward this year. 

8th. Leicester City

Position last season: 5th 

Many of Leicester's top performers last term such as Kasper Schmeichel (33), Jonny Evans (32), and, of course, Jamie Vardy (33) are now approaching their twilight years.

All can still do the business, but the question this year is: How long can they keep it up with Leicester set for a grueling campaign following its qualification for the Europa League? 

With a lack of quality replacements in these key positions, the answer is probably "not long enough." 

7th. Tottenham

Position last season: 6th

The success of Tottenham's 2020/21 campaign will come down to one man and one man only – Harry Kane.

While Jose Mourinho is steering the ship, the English striker proved last term that without him, Spurs are a mid-table team. The Englishman missed 18 games in all competitions through injury, during which time Mourinho's side won just five times. In the 34 games Kane featured in, it won 16.

If Kane stays fit, Tottenham can expect to finish in the top seven. If he doesn't, that target might be unrealistic. 

6th. Wolves

Position last season: 7th 

Wolves not qualifying for Europe again this season could be a blessing in disguise. 

Last term Nuno Espirito Santo's side played 59 games in all competitions in a campaign that lasted a total of 383 days. Around Christmas, when its fixture list was extremely full, its form in the Premier League dipped, just as it did towards the end of the season.

With only the league and domestic competitions now to focus on, the Wanderers could be on for their best ever top flight finish.

Managing to hold on to its star players such as Raul Jimenez, Ruben Neves, and Adama Traore is a huge bonus, while the addition of Portuguese wonderkid Fabio Silva adds even more attacking flair to the side.

5th. Arsenal

Position last season: 8th

Arsenal may not play the beautiful, free flowing football it once did while Arsene Wenger was at the helm.

But under Mikel Arteta, the Gunners are relentless without the ball, devastating in the final third, and more defensively solid than they have been in years.

Since the Spaniard took charge of the club on Boxing Day 2019, it has lost just six games in all competitions, while it also won the FA Cup.

The transfer window has too proved fruitful for Arsenal, having signed the highly rated Brazilian defender Gabriel from LOSC Lille, as well as winger Willian from Chelsea. 

4th. Liverpool

Position last season: 1st

Ever since clinching the Premier League title in late June, Liverpool has been extremely lackluster.

Jurgen Klopp's side lost twice and drew once in its last seven Premier League games, one of the former of which was a 4-0 hammering at the hands of Manchester City. In the Community Shield in August, it was then beaten on penalties by Arsenal, despite Klopp fielding a full strength side.

Greek left back Kostas" Tsimikas is the club's only signing of note, and he is only really expected to provide cover for starter Andy Robertson. Zero transfers doesn't bode well given almost all the teams who around Liverpool have bolstered their ranks significantly. 

3rd. Manchester United

Position last season: 3rd 

Manchester United's attack are young, hungry, and deadly. The club's midfield is creative, skillful, and possesses good strength in depth.

It's defense, however, leaves much to be admired.

Though Aaron Wan-Bissaka is excellent at right back, and Harry Maguire leads the line well from central defence, United lack quality elsewhere across the back four.

How Maguire's season will turn out is also up in the air amid his ongoing legal battle after being charged with assault during a vacation in Greece.

Defensive reinforcements are a must if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side is to push on for the title in the coming years. 

2nd. Chelsea

Position last season: 4th 

Disclaimer: This post's author is a Chelsea fan.

Despite Frank Lampard's first season as Chelsea boss widely being considered a success, the Blues were still a long way off winning the title. 

A hugely positive transfer window which saw it acquire deadly striker Timo Werner, playmakers Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz, world-class veteran defender Thiago Silva, and youngsters Ben Chilwell and Malang Sarr, will move it closer.

Regardless, Lampard's new men will still need time to gel.

Time isn't always guaranteed for Chelsea managers, with owner Roman Abramovich being notoriously impatient for silverware, however if the Russian can wait just one more year, he will almost certainly see some come his way.

1st. Manchester City

Position last season: 2nd

Though Lionel Messi won't be joining after weeks of rumors, Manchester City will still have too much for the rest of the league this season. 

Pep Guardiola's was rampant following the resumption of last season in June, winning six of its nine games by four goals or more. Though it slipped up against Chelsea and Southampton, Guardiola will be hoping the addition of Nathan Ake at centre half can help erase such blunders.

Add into the mix the addition of highly rated young winger Ferran Torres, who joined from Valencia, as well as the return to fitness of Sergio Aguero, and it promises to be a great season for the Citizens. 

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