In Part Three of this five-part series, I’ll delve into positions 12th – 9th in the Premier League. These teams will be the ones that are well clear of any kind of danger from the bottom but also agonizingly close to Europa Conference League qualification that West Ham and potentially Aston Villa will take advantage of to gain access to richer wealth.
Remember, you can also read Premier League Predictions 2023/24 – Part One where I list which teams I think will finish this season in the places of 20th to 17th in the top flight of English football and Premier League Predictions 2023/24 – Part Two where I state who I think will finish in the positions between 16th and 13th.
Burnley will be the only team that survives from the promoted teams from the Championship in my opinion and I also think they’ll be very successful and finish top 12. Anything above 18th would be a success for Vincent Kompany’s side this season but I think many people can see that they possess the quality and attacking threat that could see them end up in a mid-table position.
Burnley absolutely blitzed the Championship last season, with over 100 points and 10 points clear of second-placed Sheffield United. They had already won the division title with a record-breaking 7 matches to go. The Clarets scored 87 goals in 46 games and conceded 35 goals during that period. They also lost just 3 matches all season. It’s no surprise that Kompany has since signed a new 5-year contract that will keep him at Turf Moor until 2028. The former Manchester City captain guided Burnley to the Quarter-Finals of the FA Cup (losing to Manchester City) and also the fourth round of the EFL Cup (losing to Manchester United).
Nathan Tella was the main man for Burnley last season. He scored 17 goals and got 5 assists in a very successful season for the Southampton graduate. Manuel Benson and Jay Rodriguez also chipped in with goals, both hitting double-digits. They’ll need those goals in the Premier League and the creativity of midfielder Josh Brownhill along with the progressive passing of Connor Roberts and Josh Cullen. If these guys can step up to the top tier of English football, then we should see Burnley have no trouble at all sticking around and perhaps making the top 12.
Burnley to Finish Higher Than Brentford @ 11/8 with Bet365 bonus code
Fulham finished 10th last season and I think it’ll be a similar type of season for them in 2023/24. They’ve got rid of some ‘dead wood’ and renewed Willian’s contract. However, I’ve heard that he may now be off to a Saudi Arabian outfit, like many others at the back end of their careers. My prediction of 11th stems around Willian staying, though. I thought he had a good season with the club last year and chipped in with 5 goals.
The Cottagers signed Raul Jimenez from Wolves for £6.4m. An absolute bargain if he can keep fit. Jimenez is a proven goalscorer. The Mexican frontman and Aleksandar Mitrovic are a good combo, in attack, with Willian. Marco Silva’s men are currently also holding on to João Palhinha as it stands. If they do keep him, then top 11 should most definitely be within their grasp and perhaps even further improvement to a top 8/9 berth.
Fulham have also splashed the cash on Calvin Bassey. Spending £22.5m on the defender from Ajax. Bassey can play left-back or as a centre-back and was actually a Leicester City graduate.
In summary, it’s key for Fulham to keep hold of Palhinha and for players like Mitrovic and Jimenez to stay fit. Mitrovic scored 14 goals last season and had 93 shots. That’s over 30 more than second-placed Andreas Pereira in the squad. The only real concern here is whether a move to Saudi Arabia materialises for the Serb striker. Football is a funny old game and even though he has requested to leave the club, stranger things have happened down the years. Could be worth a top scorer each-way punt after last season’s heroics. Palhinha was an absolute beast last season and, as a West Ham fan, I just wish that we could sign him. That’s me being selfish. Palhinha made 147 tackles last season and won 72 aerial battles. He also made 46 interceptions. I really see no weakness in the Portuguese player.
Fulham to Finish Higher Than Wolves @ 5/6 with Bet365
We’re now into the top 10 and I’m going to start with Brighton. The club finished 6th last season in what was a very weak Premier League, in my opinion. I also think that they’ll really miss the players that they’ve lost. Particularly, Alexis Mac Allister who was their top goalscorer last season with 10 goals. They also lost Leandro Trossard in January and I just wonder if they’ll have the same attacking threat.
The Seagulls have spent the £40m they got for Mac Allister on Joao Pedro from Watford (£34m) and they spent £20m on Bart Verbruggen from Anderlecht. They’ve also signed James Milner on a free transfer from Liverpool. An astute move for an experienced player. The free transfer of Mahmoud Dahoud also looks to be good business for Roberto De Zerbi.
Brighton will also be competing in the Europa League this season though along with West Ham and Liverpool. Although it’s a big positive when a team has that extra competition in their fixtures, it will still take its toll on the smaller squads and I think Brighton’s league position will be hindered. It’s not of great importance if Brighton makes a success of the Europa League but a full season without Trossard and Mac Allister and with new players coming into the squad, I believe a drop to 10th is on the cards.
9th: West Ham
My very own beloved West Ham will finish 9th in my opinion. That is without any kind of Claret and Blue specs on too. It will be an improvement on last season’s terrible 14th finish but, in effect, the Hammers will need to have a good Europa League, because I can’t see ‘us’ making the top 7 and qualifying for Europe for a third season in a row. I’ve already said above, with Brighton, that the teams in Europe will need a bit extra from their squad depth. West Ham fall drastically short with squad depth.
I think we’ll see the best of the likes of Lucas Paqueta this season and I also think Jarrod Bowen will have a strong season. We’ve yet to find a real replacement for Declan Rice though and West Ham never seem to have any urgency in signing players. Multiple times now, West Ham have gone after players only for another team to swoop in and offer more. It’s happening once again with the potential signing of Carlos Borges with Manchester City set to sell him to Ajax.
The truth of it is, unless we find a true replacement for Rice (Palhinha is the answer) then I think the season is destined for an 8th-12th finish at the very best along with a Quarter-Final type finish to the Europa League. West Ham have sold Arthur Masuaku and released Manuel Lanzini. They’ve not signed anybody yet and I thought releasing Lanzini was a mistake with Europa League this season. I would rather Lanzini over Nikola Vlasic, for example.
There are still rumours of multiple players leaving, mainly Gianluca Scamacca. Yet another striker signed by West Ham that David Moyes seems to not be able to fit into his team. It’s all a bit farcical. We’ve also heard rumours of Michail Antonio leaving while Danny Ings looks way off the pace in pre-season. It’s an important time for West Ham. If they don’t get it right this season then they could find themselves with no European football next season and into the bottom half.
West Ham to Finish Top Half @ 11/10 with Bet365
All odds are accurate at the time of writing.