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Gerrard, Vieira and the Premier League clubs who could break into the top 6

Away from the Premier League‘s six biggest clubs, another ambitious selection of teams will be eyeing up a European finish this season.

The 2022/23 campaign gets started on Friday, as Crystal Palace welcome Arsenal to Selhurst Park.

The Eagles are one of six teams that could have an outside chance of finishing in the European places, along with West Ham, Newcastle, Leicester and Aston Villa.

Here’s how fans of those clubs believe this season could pan out…

 

West Ham – Moyes’ men the best of the rest?

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 7, 2021: West Ham United's manager David Moyes celebrates his side's third goal during the FA Premier League match between West Ham United FC and Liverpool FC at the London Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Last season: 7th, 56 points | Top Scorer: Jarrod Bowen (18)

West Ham were excellent again last season, reaching the Europa League semi-finals and taking points off both Liverpool and Man City.

They again look primed to be the best team outside of the ‘big six’, with the addition of big-money striker Gianluca Scamacca potentially taking them up another gear.

TIA Predicted Finish: 7th


The View From West Ham

James Jones (@ByJamesJones)

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 7, 2021: West Ham United's Declan Rice during the FA Premier League match between West Ham United FC and Liverpool FC at the London Stadium. West Ham United won 3-2. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Last season was… beyond all expectations. We finished seventh – one place lower than the previous season – but we never expected to go as far as the semi-final in the Europa League.

That night in Lyon will never, ever be forgotten. Two years ago we were relegation fodder and now we were one or two January signings away from winning European silverware.

David Moyes is a god.

This season will be… I hope it will be much the same, although we would be silly to expect another long run in Europe, even if it is ‘only’ the Conference League.

If Moyes can bring in four or five more players before the end of the window I think we’ll be challengers for the top six again and will put on another strong cup run somewhere.

Our key player is… still Declan Rice, but Jarrod Bowen is running him close at the moment.

It’s unclear whether any of the new signings might join them, but those two have been outstanding over the last 12 to 18 months, especially Bowen.

We’ll finish… top eight. But I would love for us to get into the top six again.

Liverpool will finish… 2nd. It’s going to be another interesting battle with Man City and I don’t think anyone will get close to either of you in the title race.

 

Newcastle – Newly-rich Magpies expected to improve

NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, ENGLAND - Tuesday, February 8, 2022: Newcastle United's Kieran Trippier during the FA Premier League match between Newcastle United FC and Everton FC at St. James’ Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Last season: 11th, 49 points | Top Scorer: Callum Wilson (eight)

After years of misery, Newcastle fans finally had something to shout about after last winter’s big-money takeover – not that the moral aspect of it sits well!

Expectations are now increasing all the time and nothing other than a top-eight finish should be deemed a success in 2022/23, even if they haven’t spent hugely this summer.

TIA Predicted Finish: 8th


The View From Newcastle

Dave Black (@cm9798)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, December 16, 2021: Newcastle United's Jonjo Shelvey celebrates after scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Last season was… what we have been waiting for for about 14 years!

Purely in football terms, the club and the fans are united once again, the new owners seem to ‘get’ it and we achieved step one, which was to stay in the division.

This season will be… hopefully very exciting.

Our form since Eddie Howe and the January signings arrived has been exceptional and it’s impossible not to be enthusiastic about the season ahead.

Our key player is… Bruno Guimaraes. He’s just good at everything and too good for a lower mid-table side, so it’s important we match his ambition.

Keeping Callum Wilson fit would also be tremendously helpful.

How long until Newcastle are genuine top-four challengers? I think it will be at least five seasons, but even that would require some luck.

The gap we have to close is a chasm really, so unless something happens that really hurts any of the big six, we’re going to have to steadily work at closing the gap over the coming years.

We’ll finish… 9th. Don’t let anybody tell you that would be a disappointment – steady progress and a cup run would be light years ahead of where we’ve been.

Liverpool will finish… champions.

Don’t ask me why. It will be a season like no other, so let’s say a month off for Mo Salah will prove the difference.

 

Leicester – Has Rodgers run out of steam?

Brendan Rodgers, Leicester ((Mike Egerton/PA))

Last season: 8th, 52 points, | Top Scorer: James Maddison (18)

In true Brendan Rodgers fashion, Leicester dipped in his third season in charge, appearing to run out of steam as the months passed.

This summer has been completely void of transfer activity, and with key figures such as Kasper Schmeichel and James Maddison being linked with moves away, it could be a long campaign.

Will Rodgers still be there this time next year?

TIA Predicted Finish: 10th


The View From Leicester

Jamie Thorpe (@thorpie54)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 22, 2021: Leicester City's James Maddison celebrates after scoring his side's second penalty of the shoot-out during the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 5-4 on penalties after a 3-3 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Last season was… disappointing on the face of it. Prior to the season, Leicester would’ve expected more from both their European and domestic campaigns.

However, there were mitigating circumstances.

This season will be… …an improvement! The transfer window has been a complete non-entity for Leicester at the time of writing. I believe they are paying the price for being a ‘smaller’ club with ambition.

We have a big squad, on decent money, and are now in a position where it is necessary to sell before we buy.

But, having said this, I think our current squad is good enough to at least challenge the top six. There is an excellent blend of youth and experience, guile and steel, and if they stay injury free then who knows.

Our key player is… James Maddison. His form for the second half of last season was incredible and his omission from the England squad was laughable.

Is Rodgers still the right man for the job? I think so, yes.

He has delivered us unprecedented success and I think he actually managed us through last season quite well, all things considered.

We’ll finish… 7th

Liverpool will finish… 2nd

 

Aston Villa – Gerrard & Coutinho look to match the hype

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 11, 2021: Aston Villa's manager Steven Gerrard during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Aston Villa FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Last season: 14th, 45 points, | Top Scorer: Ollie Watkins (11)

There was clear Liverpool interest when it came to Aston Villa last season, with Steven Gerrard and Philippe Coutinho plying their trade there.

While both have done well overall, the jury is still out and they need to go up a level this season, with the former continuing his audition as Jurgen Klopp‘s future replacement and the latter rebuilding his career.

A top-half finish has to be the aim, or deserved criticism will come Gerrard’s way.

TIA Predicted Finish: 9th


The View From Aston Villa

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, January 22, 2022: Aston Villa's Philippe Coutinho Correia during the FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Aston Villa FC at Goodison Park. Aston Villa won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Crippy Cooke (@CrippyCooke)

Last season was… poor, considering we were chasing a top-half finish but ended up 14th.

This season will be… difficult. We’ve strengthened well in the transfer market but could struggle for a strong top-10 finish with the big six, West Ham, Leicester and Newcastle expected to be our rivals.

Our key player is… Philippe Coutinho. He suffered a dip in form after a bright start at Villa but is still our most important player.

He is our chief playmaker and offers a goal threat, so it’s imperative he can pick up where he left off.

Is Gerrard the right man for the job still? Absolutely.

I think fans need to curb their expectations on where we’ll finish this season, as Leicester, Newcastle and West Ham will fight us for those spots outside of the big six, but I do believe we have the right manager in charge.

Gerrard’s clout in the transfer market has been impressive and I’m convinced we’ll do better than last season as we have a better squad.

We’ll finish… hopefully, about 10th.

Liverpool will finish… 2nd again.

I think Haaland will have a better season than Nunez, however, not to mention City having more attacking players to bail them out, so that could make the difference in the title race.

 

Crystal Palace – Will Vieira’s stock continue to rise?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 18, 2021: Crystal Palace's manager Patrick Vieira during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Last season: 12th, 48 points, | Top Scorer: Wilfried Zaha (15)

Crystal Palace ditched Roy Hodgson’s dour brand of football for Patrick Vieira’s more forward-thinking approach in 2021/22, and it paid dividends.

Their 12th-place finish was a good effort and Patrick Vieira got the most out of youngsters such Conor Gallagher, Ebereche Eze and Michael Olise.

The key now, like Gerrard, is for Vieira to improve further and show that he hasn’t just been handed a job because of his past reputation.

TIA Predicted Finish: 11th


The View From Crystal Palace

Robbie Scotcher (@RobbieScotcher)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 18, 2021: Liverpool's Ibrahima Konaté (R) and Crystal Palace's Christian Benteke during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Last season was… the start of something beautiful.

This season will be… a bag of Revels.

Our key player is… Patrick Vieira – if I put anyone else they will definitely move on!

How big a loss will Conor Gallagher be? He was a huge part of what we did last season and a player of his quality will always be a loss – I’d love him to do well elsewhere, but we move on.

We’ll finish… ahead of Brighton.

Liverpool will finish… ahead of us (2nd).

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