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Premier League 2020/21: FPL Pre-Season Fantasy Forecast


Ahead of each Gameweek in the Premier League, The Hype Train''s team, Robert Austin, Sam Austin and Phil Jones, duel for FPL and league supremacy in predicting Premier League scores, as well as going head to head in picking a Scout Picks squad for each round of games. With the 2020/21 Premier League season less than a week away, we provide our Pre-Season Forecast predictions, speculating how we think the season will be played out. Welcome to the Forecast. All aboard.

Premier League 2020/21: Gameweek 1

The upcoming league campaign, with Leeds, West Brom and Fulham joining the league in the place of Norwich, Bournemouth and Watford, is set to start on Saturday 12th September 2020.

Champions Liverpool entertain Championship winners, Leeds, whilst Fulham and West Brom both start their seasons' with home fixtures against Arsenal and Leicester respectively.

Due to Man City and Man United competing in the latter stages of european competition to end the 2019/20 season, the Premier League have a 30-day no compete clause once the season, which means that both Manchester clubs have had their fixtures against Burnley and Aston Villa postponed to a later date.

Premier League 2020/21: Pre-Season Forecast

Enjoy our annual pre-season Forecast article, with each of our team forecasting how we think the Premier League will shape up. If you agree or want to challenge us on our point of view, get in touch with us on our main Twitter account, @RealHypeTrain.

Pre-Season Forecast (Sam Austin): 2019/20 Season

Premier League Winners:

Liverpool

Reason:

Being a Liverpool supporter myself, I can now officially declare my belief that the Reds can win the Premier League without everyone saying “It’s our year (insert crying emoji faces)” and not being labelled as delusional. Last year, I only said it once Chelsea beat Man City when it was mathematically possible for Liverpool to win it. Now though, times have changed, and Liverpool aren’t the joke anymore.

PL Top 6:

1 – Liverpool

2 – Manchester City

3 – Manchester United

4 – Chelsea

5 – Arsenal

6 – Spurs

Reasoning behind Top 6:

After heavy investment in all top six clubs, and Liverpool, I can see the traditional top six be reformed in the 2020-21 season. I don’t think Leicester will have the defence to get back into the top six. Arteta will improve Arsenal, Mourinho will complete with Spurs, and after Chelsea spending hundreds of millions and their fans are calling themselves the new ‘Net Spend FC’ you’d expect them to get into the top four. City are City, they will invest, and compete at the top end.

If I am wrong about anything, it is going to be Manchester United. I think they are a competitive outfit, but if Arteta or Mourinho surprise anyone, they will just swap out for Manchester United in third.

The Relegated Trio:

18 – West Ham

19 – Fulham

20 – West Brom

I can see Newcastle having a similar year like last year by picking up surprising results. I think Villa will escape by the skin of their teeth again, and I can see one established team go down. West Ham were showing signs last year of being unable to compete, and I think it will be a tough time this year for the Hammers as they aren’t moving forward.

Top FPL Player at the end of the Season:

Mohamad Salah (LIV)

Top FPL Player by Position:

GK – Alisson (LIV)

DEF – Trent Alexander-Arnold (LIV)

MID – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ARS)

FOR – Harry Kane (TOT)

Best Budget Option (that comes good):

Rodrigo Moreno (Leeds (FWD, £6.0mil, currently 1.3% ownership on the 01/09/2020)

I have been following Rodrigo for an exceptionally long time, and always thought he was an exciting player even when he was at Benfica in 2014. His move to Valencia solidified that belief, and he has been an integral part of the Spanish national team since his move. He fits the Premier League mould, and I can see him being a fixture in the differentials I pick this year until everyone picks up on him.

Biggest FPL Disappointment:

Jamie Vardy (LEI)

Top PL Goal Scorer:

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ARS)

Most PL Assists:

Kevin De Bruyne (MCI)

Most Clean Sheets (Team):

Liverpool

First Manager Sacked/Left:

David Moyes (West Ham) – I also predict that he will be gone by November.

Surprise Package (Player):

Aaron Ramsdale (Sheffield United, £5.0mil, GK, 7.4% ownership on the 01/09/2020)

Cedric Soares (Arsenal, £5.0mil, DEF, 0.5% ownership on the 01/09/2020)

Pablo Hernandez (Leeds, MID, £6.0mil, currently 3.1% ownership on the 01/09/2020)

Rodrigo Moreno (Leeds (FWD, £6.0mil, currently 1.3% ownership on the 01/09/2020)

Surprise Package (Team):

Leeds United. I can see Marco Biesla doing a great job in the Premier League, and they are outfitting to be a Premier League team. I think they will emulate Wolves by immediately establishing themselves as a Premier League club despite all the hate the club receives because of who they are. I get it, I am a Liverpool supporter, so my brain tells me that of all teams to surprise people this year it will be the return of Leeds.

Pre-Season Forecast (Phil Jones): 2019/20 Season

Premier League Winners:

Chelsea

PL Top 6:

1 – Chelsea

2 – Man City

3 – Liverpool

4 – Tottenham

5 – Man United

6 – Arsenal

Reasoning behind Top 6:

Chelsea have invested in all the right ways to build a squad for the next decade of successes. If the team can gel quickly, and Thiago Silva can provide the leadership needed, then it’s anyone’s guess what can be achieved by the blues.

City come back stronger and will be pushing Super Frank’s boys all the way to the podium. 2020 was an unexpected dip in form for City, however their true form rose from the Covid ashes during project restart with a ridiculous goal tally for that period.

Liverpool are in danger of slipping up this year, with minimal squad investment yet again. Although they have an excellent business model that should be a guiding light for true FFP, they run the risk of injury and general match fatigue costing them trophies in their peak.

The race for the coveted 4th spot will go down to the wire once more with Jose getting Harry Kane back to his best to put Spurs back in the Champions League.

The Relegated Trio:

18 – Fulham

19 – West Brom

20 – Aston Villa

Top FPL Player at the end of the Season:

Kevn De Bruyne (MCI)

Top FPL Player by Position:

GK – Ederson (MCI)

DEF – TAA (LIV)

MID – KDB (MCI)

FOR – Werner (CHE)

Best Budget Option (that comes good):

Edward Nketiah: The young striker will get regular football under Mikel Arteta, often starting ahead of Lacazette. I can see a Tammy Abraham type season for him in 2021.

Biggest FPL Disappointment:

Wolves and Sheffield United: I’m expecting a massive decline in defensive performance from both sides this season.

Top PL Goal Scorer:

Aubameyang (ARS) - 28 goals

Most PL Assists:

Ziyech (CHE) - 15 assists

Most Clean Sheets (Team):

Man City

First Manager Sacked/Left:

Dean Smith (AVL)

Surprise Package (Player):

Grady Diangana (WBA)

Surprise Package (Team):

Leeds

Pre-Season Forecast (Robert Austin): 2019/20 Season

Premier League Winners:

Liverpool are the kings of consistency in the Premier League and will be the favourites to retain their title under Jurgen Klopp’s leadership. Liverpool haven’t added any stellar names to their squad, but have retained what they had and have cut the crust of their squad in areas – with the likes of Lovren and Lallana leaving. If The Reds can adjust to playing in empty stadiums and limited crowds when spectators are allowed, they’ll runaway with the title. They only slipped up towards the end of last season due to the size of the gap and the reality that they had nothing to play for.

Man City will be the only competition, but they’ve looked defensively vulnerable for a year now and as long as Pep keeps rotating his deck, which everyone knows will happen, they’ll drop enough points for Liverpool to take advantage of. That said, my perception might change depending on City’s summer transfer window as I expect them to add a couple of defensively minded players to plug their gaps.

PL Top 6:

1 – Liverpool

2 – Man City

3 – Chelsea

4 – Arsenal

5 – Man United

6 – Spurs

Reasoning behind Top 6:

Liverpool and Man City are still worlds ahead of the rest of the pack and I can see both in a two-horse title race yet again. Liverpool are still the team to beat, though they’ve got little depth in comparison to the big spenders behind them.

Man City escaped a ban from the Champions League (wrongfully so) and know that they can flaunt FFP knowing full well that nobody will do anything, so the only changing factor in the title race might be just how much Pep Guardiola’s bosses go for it.

Chelsea have spent a fortune on attracting some of Europe’s finest players to the club, whilst Mikel Arteta is building a solid unit at Arsenal. I can see the Blues consolidating their Champions League birth whilst the Arteta revolution at Arsenal will lead them back to the promised land of the Champions League. I’m not underestimating Man United one bit, but think they’re a little bit raw in comparison and have a lot of youngers players who might wilt throughout periods of the season.

Spurs will round out the ‘Top 6’ as I can’t see Wolves or Everton being able to sustain a push for European football. So it’s not that Spurs won’t have a challenge, but there is just a massive gap between the best and all the rest and during the pandemic this wealth of resource will play a big factor when deciding the final standings.

The Relegated Trio:

18 – Aston Villa

19 – Fulham

20 – West Brom

It’s pretty nailed on that West Brom and Fulham are destined for an immediate drop down to the Championship, though the final space is up for grabs in my opinion.

Leeds, Aston Villa, Newcastle, Brighton and even Crystal Palace (if Zaha leaves) will be contenders. Sheffield United surely can’t top their first season back in the Premier League, so any drop off might put them in the dog race if they start slowly.

Being a Newcastle fan, this might come across as a bit of a statement of intent about the direction the club are heading in, but I am trying my absolute best here to be reasonable about the expectations of other clubs as well as my own, and I’m sorry to even suggest that we’re the one team who could completely implode.

Aston Villa and Leeds will only get stronger as the transfer window winds down, whilst Graham Potter has a plan that will see Brighton across the line. Newcastle though, we can’t attract players. There is no money and the club is in the midst of the failed Takeover. Fans have grown impatient. There is no transparency from the Premier League about the position they took with the drawn-out takeover from the PIF in Saudi Arabia. It’s just a really bad time for all involved at the club and I can see this all spilling over to the team’s performance as the season enters its grind period during Christmas.

As things stand right this second, with Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser expected to join the club, I can see this being just enough to survive relegation ahead of Aston Villa, though it will be close.

Top FPL Player at the end of the Season:

Kevin De Bruyne (MCI) – Not a lot has changed between last season. Salah and Mane will drop in and out, rotation will limit Arsenal, Chelsea and City players, all adding up to a full season of KDB on set-pieces leading to a similar FPL return from last season (251 points).

Top FPL Player by Position:

GK – Alisson (LIV)

DEF – Trent Alexander-Arnold (LIV)

MID – Kevin De Bruyne (MCI)

FOR – Harry Kane (TOT)

Best Budget Option (that comes good):

Michail Antonio (WHU) – There are barely any half-decent budget options this season due to the gradual FPL inflation that is destroying the game’s integrity, though I can see Antonio, reclassified as a Forward for the season being better value than any of the promoted sides. West Ham are an established side that aren’t a million miles off being a good side and Antonio did a good job leading the line. This pick depends on if The Hammers stick with the Englishman as an out and out forward.

Biggest FPL Disappointment:

Sheffield United: I can see second season syndrome hitting the Blades hard this season. There’s no way they’ll be able to reach the standards of last season due to the money some of the established ‘Top 6’ are spending, as well as Everton and Wolves consolidating their teams with some top signings.

From an individual player standpoint, Jamie Vardy (LEI) is unlikely to get near the 210 points from last season, whilst Dean Henderson (MUN) might not get minutes. Jack Grealish (AVL) is another one who might not beat his 149 points from last season.

Top PL Goal Scorer:

Harry Kane (TOT) – I’ll be a dummy for even suggesting it, but if Kane can stay fit for an entire season then he’s in the running for the Golden Boot. Problem is, Kane always has a spell of being injured that hampers his chances. Aubameyang (ARS) will be up there again, as will Salah (LIV), though I’m routing for Kane to find his groove again before England challenge at Euro 2021.

Most PL Assists:

Kevin De Bruyne (MCI) – This isn’t a surprise, so I won’t say anything we don’t already know. KDB is the only real contender, with Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold chasing the City playmaker. The Belgian registered 20 assists last season and 23 in FPL. Nobody will come close unless someone has a complete freak of a debut season, though I can’t see the likes of Ziyech (CHE) or Fernandes (MUN) in a first full season getting close.

Most Clean Sheets (Team):

Alisson and Liverpool should get around 13-15 clean sheets this season, whilst Ederson and Man City will be along the same lines. I’m going for Liverpool to nick the Golden Glove this season.

First Manager Sacked/Left:

David Moyes (WHU) – It’s so clear and obvious that a bad start for the Hammers will result in them changing their Manager. There are a lot of settled Manager’s at clubs, so I can see the only casualties coming at West Brom (Bilic), West Ham (Moyes), Bruce (Newcastle) and right out at left-field, Burnley (Dyche).

Surprise Package (Player):

Che Adams (SOU) – Adams came into his own towards the end of last season (4 goals, 4 assists) and should have a bigger role this season to help share the goal load with Danny Ings.

Surprise Package (Team):

Sam will laugh at me for even suggesting Everton as a surprise package, but alongside Wolves if there is one team who could crack the upper echelon of the league, it might be the Toffees. Everton have been quietly going about their business this summer and have had some time to build under Ancelotti. From an FPL perspective, they might be the team with some progress who could challenge the top teams and have some good options in the Fantasy game.

Want to know more about The Hype Train?

The Hype Train is an entertainment website founded in 2015, specialising in Fantasy sports reporting, starting with Fantasy Premier League (FPL), before expanding to MLS Fantasy coverage in 2018.

We pride ourselves in providing beautiful graphics, statistics, in-depth analytical reporting and free weekly insight for hopeful players attempting to climb rankings tables. We are also occasional media reviewers, with a keen interest to review games, live sport, and professional wrestling.

In 2019, Hype Train Football Club was formed, becoming the first Fantasy Football website to take to the field. HTFC is a socially active team across social and web channels, providing regular match highlights, match reports, comprehensive player statistics and unique player profiles. We won both Goal of the Season Awards in the Berkshire and County FA regions, with Callum Parr-Jones winning the Berks & Bucks FA award, whilst Martin King won the PlaySport UK award.

The Hype Train were nominated and shortlisted for the 'Best Football Blog' in 2016 by the Football Bloggers Association at their annual Football Blogging Awards (The FBA's), and were again shortlisted as a finalist in 2019 in the 'Best Fantasy Football Blog' category.

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