It may be a new season, but sadly, it’s the same old story for Everton.
Due to a lack of funds, manager David Moyes has been unable to add any notable additions to his squad, and has spent the summer trying to retain his biggest stars.
Expect a repeat of last year – comfortably better than those below, but not good enough for Europe.
Predicted Position: 7th
Striker Bobby Zamora, returns from a broken leg after missing the majority of last season. Expect 30-year-old Zamora to push for international selection and spearhead the club towards another solid top 10 finish.
Predicted Position: 8th
After a controversial off-season – which included selling their two best players, delisting several popular squad members and then hiring the boss of their arch-rivals – it’s difficult to know what to expect from Aston Villa this season.
However, the club isn’t in as much turmoil as it seems. The appointment of manager Alex McLeish will bring efficiency and structure to Villa’s play, something that was lacking last year.
Predicted Position: 9th
West Bromich Albion
West Brom was among the bookies’ favorites for relegation last January. Fast forward seven months and now their position in the EPL is so strong that being relegated isn’t even a consideration.
Manager Roy Hodgson has put his Liverpool nightmare firmly behind him. Hodgson has the Baggies playing organised and efficient football, and has nurtured the talents of Chris Brunt and Peter Odemwingie to great effect.
Expect another solid season, especially if they can maintain last year’s home form.
Predicted Position: 10th
While Vaughan is not a household name, and did not receive the media attention of Charlie Adam and D.J. Campbell, this guy was the glue that held Blackpool together in the midfield. Signing him on a free transfer may just be the steal of the season.
Expect an inconsistent season from the Black Cats, with great wins marred by disappointing losses.
Predicted Position: 11th
It will be more of the same this season, and I expect Stoke to go quite deep in the UEFA Europa League.
The only danger with European success is that it gives players less time to recover for EPL league games, and for this, I see them just missing out on the top 10.
Predicted Position: 12th
Bolton came on leaps and bounds last year, holding a top 10 position for the majority of the season until they were ousted by a late-season slide.
Much of the decline in form was in part due to key USA midfielder Stuart Holden’s knee injury. Unfortunately for Bolton fans, he is still struggling and is unlikely to be back before October, meaning it could be a difficult start to the season.
The loss of Johan Elmander and Daniel Sturridge has also left Bolton light up forward. Manager Owen Coyle needs to bring in someone to help complement the evergreen Kevin Davies if he hopes to meet Bolton’s aspirations for this season.
Predicted Position: 13th
Wolves were probably the most unfortunate team in the entire division last season.
Their performances were brave and admirable, and yet, they still found themselves barely holding onto their EPL status.
This season, the Wolves should be able to assert themselves within the mid-table and avoid the relegation dogfight. They lost key man Kevin Doyle for large parts of last season through injury, but with him now seemingly fit and raring to go, their chances have never looked so good.
Predicted Position: 14th
Queens Park Rangers
It will be interesting to see how last season’s nPower Championship Player of the Season Adel Taarabt performs. The QPR captain is a huge talent, but his mentality has been questioned throughout his career.
Taarabt seemed to put it together last season, but has spent much of the summer talking to other clubs in search of a bigger wage packet. He could still be a big success, but his heart doesn’t seem to be in the club, and his track record doesn’t suggest that he will simply pull up his socks and let his ability do the talking.