2013-14 Premier League projected rankings and points earned. Based on current squads, subject to change if players come and go.
Expect games between the top 3 to be very cagey, but also very decisive for who wins the title this season.
- Chelsea 88 points: I'm not just saying this because Mourinho's come back, although his previous accomplishments in the Premier League and his more attack-minded players certainly help. They have continued to stockpile No. 10's and attacking midfielders, and they'll keep Romelu Lukaku who can offer them a more consistent striking option despite his youth. The Ba/Torres tradeoff (clinical goalscoring vs. fluidity) can be avoided in big games. They have minor weaknesses, such as a lack of a defensive midfielder, but that might hurt them more in the Champions League.
- Manchester City 82 points: Navas adds attacking width which City sorely lacked last season, and Jovetic + Negredo gives them 4 strong strikers. While the amount of money they've spent is once again really high, they have done enough to go above United, but Manuel Pellegrini is in his first year with the team and the Premier League for that matter so he may have his own learning curve dealing with consistent compact defending and a lack of pressing.
- Manchester United 78 points: David Moyes has inherited an already good team, considering how easily they won the title. The problem though, is that the teams around them have improved more and United have not. Despite the rumors,I'm pretty sure Wayne Rooney will stay and have a good year as he tends to, during the year before a major international tournament. Squad depth will help them only so much and a difficult start to the season may make it difficult to establish early momentum.
- Tottenham 73 points: They've spent a lot of money this summer in an attempt to keep Bale satisfied and it looks like Champions League or bust. Luckily for them Arsenal haven't improved enough. Very good starting XI, but they lack the squad depth to mount a title challenge. AVB will likely move to his favored 4-3-3 with Paulinho and Dembele providing energetic runs from midfield.
- Arsenal 69 points: Arsene Wenger usually gets the best out of his squad, but they usually take a while to hit top form. They recorded just 1 win against teams who finished in the top 5 and that was against Spurs. This time they may not be so lucky. Getting a clinical striker could make the difference.
- Liverpool 60 points: Brendan Rodgers may have added some more strikers, perhaps as insurance for Suarez, but his tactics are a bit bizarre for what he's trying to accomplish. He likes passing and playing out of the back, but he doesn't buy mobile defenders, nor does he play a pressing game. Big reason why they struggled against teams in the top 5, only 1 win out of 10 games.
- Swansea 55 points: Laudrup found a good balance between ball retention and penetrative passing. Very impressive finish last season and they've added smartly to the squad. Europa League games could test squad depth if they qualify.
- Everton 52 points: They've also got a new manager in Roberto Martinez, who will favor keeping the ball on the ground. What may hurt them is the lack of personnel to play Martinez's way. Still, enough talent to finish comfortably in the middle of the table.
- Southampton 50 points: Mauricio Pochettino is a Bielsa-esque type manager, who will get his team to press energetically and take lots of shots. They managed to add Victor Wanyama, who was Celtic's standout player in the Champions League. While it's tempting to say new-manager syndrome will wear off, I think Pochettino will continue to impress.
- Fulham 45 points: Adding Martin Stekelenburg was a good move. He's an experienced keeper and a good replacement for the aging Mark Schwarzer. They tend to stop caring once they hit the 40 point mark. Not very impressive tactically but enough experienced players to keep them out of relegation scraps.