The battle to be best of the rest – or seventh in other layman’s terms – has perhaps never been as interesting. There appears to be flaws over three of the top six, perhaps flaws that might even open a spot in the top six.
However, there’s plenty of value in the market to be best of the rest and Leicester might be best. When Brendan Rogers arrived Leicester won four of their first five matches and the ex Liverpool man has now had a full pre-season under his belt at the King Power Stadium. The change in the dugout from Frenchman Claude Puel seemed to work wonders and Rogers has plenty to work with despite the departure of Harry Maguire.
Ayoze Perez was a great signing from Newcastle to supplement Jamie Vardy and making Youri Tielemans a permanent member of the squad is as big as boost as any arrival for them. Another pair of big campaigns from Jamie Vardy – the top scorer from a non Big Six club last season – and James Maddison should see them pitching hard for seventh.
Wolves were utterly brilliant last season, with Nuno’s 3-5-2 formation and a tight but high quality squad wreaking havoc amongst the Premier League’s big names.
They have took a point against Manchester City in the League and also beat Chelsea at Molineux; On the road they took points from Arsenal and Chelsea whilst beating Tottenham; Indeed, they drew with United when Jose was still in charge at Old Trafford and they took advantage of Liverpool’s changed side to start their FA Cup run.
In the shape of Raul Jimenez, Diogo Jota, Joao Moutinho, and Rueben Neves they have a fantastically talented core, but the big worry is how even a squad of this quality handles playing in the Europa League for the first time. Nine Wolves players started at least 30 times last season and they named the same starting XI for the first 11 games last season – more pressure on that squad could just knock them back a place to two.
Everton have had a very eventful summer window but is one that leaves them in a good place despite the loss of Idrissa Gueye from the midfield. Marco Silva was improved the toffees towards the end of last season – the last side to score at Goodison was Manchester City, and they beat Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United at Godinson in the second half of the season – and he’s added plenty of numbers as well as attacking depth.
Much will be said about the late arrival of Alex Iwobi from Arsenal as well as the earlier business of making Andre Gomes a permanent move but perhaps the smartest and most exciting addition to their ranks with the addition of Moise Kean from Juventus. Kean struggled to break through at the Bianconieri, starting 17 matches but starting only six, yet he scored six Serie A goals in 13 appearances last season and has played three times for Italy already. If he’s given his head by Marco Silva then there’s more than enough creativity and support in the shape of Richarlison and Bernard to give him the chances he needs to thrive and if not him than Dominic Calvert-Lewin has more than six goals a season if he gets a full campaign.
They are the biggest threat whilst there’s a lot of respect for West Ham, who have signed well upfront to replace Marko Arnoutovic but who still need to plug their rearguard, Southampton who can kick on under Ralph Hasenhuttl, and Watford, who were 11th last season and should be looking no lower during this campaign.
Advice – Without The Big Six
2 pts Leicester (10/3 general)