To start the new season THT is taking a look into the standards and expectations of each team in the form of a power rankings system. The following is based on the research I, as a self-proclaimed FPL expert and Writer, have done and is therefore partly opinion based. I’m sure many will disagree with where I’ve pinned your respective clubs and look forward to plenty of feedback and discussion on this. Just remember, not a ball has been kicked, nor a manager been sacked. So without further delay let’s take a look from the high flyers to the cesspoolers. All aboard.
Each team will receive a rating out of 10 awarded for Manager Rating, Transfer Business (In and Out), Preseason and Squad Fitness. This will act partly as a guide for ranking, however is not definitive!
1 - Man Utd
Without doubt the number one contenders for the premier league crown prior to the big kick off. The change in management to Jose (as a Chelsea fan no bias is given here) has already regenerated the once ‘great’ United name. The acquisitions of Zlatan, Pogba, Mkhitaryan and Bailly are quite unbelievable considering the lack of Champions league football. A steady preseason rounded off with a Community Shield victory will leave an addictive taste of silver and something they will surely want more of.
Manager: 10/10, Transfers: 10/10, Preseason: 8/10, Squad Fitness 9/10
FPL Essential: David De Gea
FPL Wildcard: Antonio Valencia
2 - Man City
Just off the pace of their derby rivals at this point. Pep Guardiola will bring a passing style of play that will suit the playmakers of the team and in return drastically increase ball possession. A youthful look to this transfer window indicates plans for the future but little improvement at this stage. Aguero is widely tipped to once again top the scoring charts, with KDB and Silva forming a deadly assisting partnership. No shocks expected this year, a push for the title all the way seems likely, and a feud with Jose is back on the cards.
Manager: 10/10, Transfers: 8/10, Preseason: 7/10, Squad Fitness: 8/10
FPL Essential: Sergio Aguero
FPL Wildcard: Leroy Sane
3 - Leicester City
The people’s champions of last year have retained much of the core that won them the crown. The departure of Kante is a major blow and is likely going to impact their defensive structure and leave a gaping hole to fill. This is essentially the reasoning for the drop to number three. Claudio Ranieri has made some under the radar signings, both of whom have impressed in preseason. Musa will add even more pace to a counter attacking side that proved to be so effective.
Manager: 9/10, Transfers: 7/10, Preseason: 8/10, Squad Fitness: 8/10
FPL Essential: Riyad Mahrez
FPL Wildcard: Ahmed Musa
4 - Tottenham Hotspur
Holding claim to the best Centre back partnership and the best traditional Centre forward in the league is more than enough reason to expect a top four spot. Many of the English players disappointed at the European Championships but the Premier League is a different stage, and one this Spurs side has proven capable to contend for. Some clever business in the transfer market from Pochettino, picking up Vincent Janssen and Victor Wanyama to bolster the squad and allow for rotation. Champions League football will stretch the squad thin but finally this might be a Spurs outfit to take on domestic trophies and Europe.
Manager: 8/10, Transfers: 7/10, Preseason: 7/10, Squad Fitness: 7/10
FPL Essential: Harry Kane
FPL Wildcard: Erik Lamela
5 - Chelsea
With possibly the best individual signing of the summer, Conte has made an instant impact at the Bridge. Kante will sit in front of a Chelsea backline, which is at its weakest in memory, to ease pressure on forward players to track back and defend. This simple transfer could spark the creative genius of the 2014/15 title winning campaign. The role of Centre back should be the main concern here, with only Terry and Cahill as first team options. The eventual return of Zouma can’t come soon enough. Eden Hazard showed glimpses of his POTY ability in preseason and has linked up well with strikers Costa and Batshuayi. Expect a rejuvenated side with a point to prove, a top 4 place could easily be on the cards without the congested fixture list Europe brings.
Manager: 9/10, Transfers: 9/10, Preseason: 8/10, Squad Fitness: 8/10
FPL Essential: Eden Hazard
FPL Wildcard: Oscar
6 - Liverpool
In recent years, Liverpool have made a habit of spending big with mixed success. This transfer window has been a resounding success, with Wijnaldum and Mane key pieces in the Klopp puzzle. A high tempo, high press style is suited to the entire squad and could make for some entertaining results. As seen vs Barcelona in preseason (albeit Barca B + Messi and Suarez) the combination of Coutinho, Firmino, Mane and Wijnaldum can be devastating. There remain questions regarding defensive ability at this stage, and Mignolet needs to show significant improvement between the sticks. Unlikely to push for the title, however a top 4 place is attainable if KloppMania runs wild.
Manager: 9/10, Transfers: 9/10, Preseason: 8/10, Squad Fitness: 7/10
FPL Essential: Robert Firmino
FPL Wildcard: Dejan Lovren
7 - Arsenal
To be a Gunner year by year must lead to despair. A team that has come so close, so many times in recent years, and still unwilling to keep up with today’s market. This simple fact alone rules them out of contention for the title. A heavy presence in international tournaments leaves them light to start the campaign. Their biggest issue however is the lack of Centre backs, with Chambers and Holding likely to start the season, they may be off pace from the lead pack from the get go. Expect Wenger to pull a miraculous recovery midseason with Sanchez and Ozil the driving force. If the defensive frailties can be addressed they may scrape top 4.
Manager: 9/10, Transfers: 6/10, Preseason: 8/10, Squad Fitness: 4/10
FPL Essential: Alexis Sanchez
FPL Wildcard: Alex Iwobi
8 - West Ham
A new stadium, a passionate Manager and a squad bursting with talent. Number 8 on my list seems too low. So why are they here, well despite all the positives, there is a mountain of talented and experienced sides ahead of them. I fully expect to see a steady rise up this list if last season’s form continues. Dimitri Payet has some more talent to play with now, in the forms of Feghouli and Ayew, to put the leagues very best to the test. Bilic will be dreaming of Champions League football and it’s almost in reach.
Manager: 8/10, Transfers: 8/10, Preseason: 7/10, Squad Fitness: 8/10
FPL Essential: Dimitri Payet
FPL Wildcard: Sofiane Feghouli
9 - Southampton
The losses of Koeman, Wanyama and Mane will see a drastic change in style to the Southampton of old. Tadic is set to play a central attacking role in a midfield diamond behind Shane Long and new boy Nathan Redmond. This promises for some dynamic attacking play, Tadic proving himself to be an assist king, while Long bagged 10 goals and 4 assists with limited playing time. It’s unlikely we’ll be looking at a side contending for Europe this year, on the fringes is where they’ll stay.
Manager: 6/10, Transfers: 6/10, Preseason: 9/10, Squad Fitness: 9/10
FPL Essential: Virgil Van Dijk
FPL Wildcard: Nathan Redmond
10 - Everton
Ronald Koeman joins an underachieving Everton side with bags of potential. The sale of John Stones may seem like a negative move (as several people have passionately pointed out to me on twitter) but personally I see Ashley Williams as the better player. The likes of Baines, Barkley and Lukaku will have to improve on consistency to have any hope of climbing this table. With plenty of transfer business still to come it’s hard to evaluate the toffees conclusively. From what we know, mid table is where they’re at.
Manager: 8/10, Transfers: 7/10, Preseason: 8/10, Squad Fitness: 8/10
FPL Essential: Romelu Lukaku
FPL Wildcard: Gerard Deulofeu
11 - Swansea
Considering the drastic change in key players at the club they hold a respectable ranking here. Sigurdsson remains at the club and will be a beacon of hope for the welsh outfit, with assists and set pieces falling heavily on his shoulders with so many new signings needing to settle in they may struggle in the early stages. A mid table finish would be a success.
Gylfi features quite highly in our Forecast for FPL GW1. Check out all articles for the opening weekend right here.
Manager: 6/10, Transfers: 6/10, Preseason: 8/10, Squad Fitness: 8/10
FPL Essential: Gylfi Sigurdsson
FPL Wildcard: Wayne Routeledge
12 - Stoke
Stoke have been a resilient force in the Premier League for a long time now and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change. With the flair and skill of the forward players, they pose a challenge for all comers. Keeping these players injury free and properly rested has proved an issue. Average at the back and overly rotated in attack leaves them drifting in mid table.
Our guests @FPLAid have backed Shaqiri for a place in his Scout Picks FPL GW1. The Potters travel to Boro hoping to upset the odds of a good first day back in the Premier League.
Manager: 6/10, Transfers: 6/10, Preseason: 3/10, Squad Fitness: 8/10
FPL Essential: Jack Butland
FPL Wildcard: Mame Biram Diouf
13 - Crystal Palace
Awaiting news on Yannick Bolasie’s potential departure and the possible arrival of Christian Benteke, Palace are in an unpredictable situation. Scott Dann is joined by James Tomkins to upgrade at the back and Steve Mandanda brought in to contend for the Number 1 jersey. If Bolasie is to leave it will be expected of Wilfried Zaha to step up and take creative control. A player that has never lived up to his original hype may be in for a break out season. Safety will be priority for Pardew for now.
Manager: 7/10, Transfers: 7/10, Preseason: 9/10, Squad Fitness: 6/10
FPL Essential: Scott Dann
FPL Wildcard: Wilfried Zaha
14 - West Bromwich Albion
After another transfer window of the Berahino saga, he and the players around him won’t feel confident in each other. A team tactic of ‘size matters’ looks to continue, with very little entertainment value. Matt Phillips will pump some much needed pace into the side. The Pulis effect should be enough to provide safety but the club will be languishing in the lower half once again.
Manager: 7/10, Transfers: 5/10, Preseason: 6/10, Squad Fitness: 9/10
FPL Essential: Ben Foster
FPL Wildcard: Matt Phillips
15 - Sunderland
Nobody can disregard the work David Moyes did with Everton and a fresh challenge with a growing organization is just what he needs. Big Sam left a side worthy of the Premier League and with potential to grow. Jermain Defoe is a game changer and experienced at all levels of the top flight. A 15-20 goal season is possible given the right service. This might be the year the black cats escape a relegation battle. The big question is, Does Moyes know what he’s doing?
Manager: 7/10, Transfers: 3/10, Preseason: 9/10, Squad Fitness: 7/10
FPL Essential: Patrick Van Aanholt
FPL Wildcard: Wahbi Khazri
16 - Burnley
Sean Dyche has dragged Burnley back for round 2 in the Premier League, after a dominant Championship campaign. Continuing that form through an unbeaten preseason largely thanks to deadly goal poacher Andre Gray. A small squad and inexperience at this level could land them in danger. A narrow escape from relegation is their best bet.
Manager: 6/10, Transfers: 4/10, Preseason: 9/10, Squad Fitness: 8/10
FPL Essential: Andre Gray
FPL Wildcard: Tom Heaton
17 - Bournemouth
Breaking their transfer record for former Liverpool sub Jordan Ibe is a bold move, but a big risk should they be relegated. With a healthy Callum Wilson and Max Gradel in accompaniment they have plenty of goal threat. Had they kept Matt Ritchie, they may have ranked higher, but I feel they will rely too heavily on few players of talent to remain in this division.
Manager: 6/10, Transfers: 6/10, Preseason: 4/10, Squad Fitness: 8/10
FPL Essential: Max Gradel
FPL Wildcard: Benik Afobe
18 - Middlesbrough
In with a real shout of climbing up to mid table in no time with the individuals they have acquired. Having a big name manager at a small club has had its benefits. Champions League winning goalkeeper Victor Valdes may be on his way out of the game, but can still carry a number 1 jersey for now. Alvaro Negredo disappointed while at Man City, but again is a major upgrade to a team just out of the Championship. 18th spot is very harsh but this team needs time to gel no matter who they are.
Manager: 7/10, Transfers: 9/10, Preseason: 8/10, Squad Fitness: 9/10
FPL Essential: Alvaro Negredo
FPL Wildcard: Gaston Ramirez
19 - Watford
After complete reliance on the dynamic duo of Deeney and Ighalo carried them through before, but I can’t see it happening again. Some average signings up to now will do little to improve in an ever improving division. Defensively weak and average in the middle. A January exit for either of the big men up top would be no surprise. A poor showing in preseason further damages their credibility.
Manager: 5/10, Transfers: 7/10, Preseason: 4/10, Squad Fitness: 9/10
FPL Essential: Troy Deeney
FPL Wildcard: Juan Camilo Zuniga
20 - Hull
Sorry to all the Tigers fans out there but the shambles of a club, prior to a returning season in the top flight, is embarrassing. While injuries haven’t helped, the preparation for the coming campaign is nonexistent. Steve Bruce leaving the club out of nowhere and a transfer policy that involves investing in nothing and selling what you have left, it’s hard to consider Hull anything above mid championship level at this stage. That might just be where they end up this time next year.
Manager: 0/10, Transfers: 0/10, Preseason: 5/10, Squad Fitness: 6/10
FPL Essential: Abel Hernandez
FPL Wildcard: Ahmed Elmohamady
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