With the 2023/24 Premier League season set to enter its so-called ‘winter break’, this seems like a good time to assess where we are up to.
We won’t be using a super-computer because, let’s be honest here, anyone who claims they use one for this type of feature is talking nonsense.
Without further ado, we’ve scoured the Premier League table to determine which team will win the title, who will finish in the top four and who will qualify for Europe.
We also look at the handful of teams who will be satisfied with a mid-table spot before finishing by predicting which teams are destined for the Championship.
Beware the Manchester City juggernaut
Although Manchester City have not been at their imperious best during the early part of the season, they are a banker bet to win the title for the fourth consecutive season.
Pep Guardiola’s side are five points behind table-topping Liverpool with a game in hand – a position which will have the Spaniard rubbing his hands with glee.
Their upcoming schedule is favourable, as they are not scheduled to face another side in the top eight until they play Manchester United in early March.
Erling Braut Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne and Jeremy Doku are on course to return from injury this month, which will be a massive boost to their title hopes.
Man City won 16 and drew three of their final 21 games last season to power past Arsenal and claim top spot for the third year in a row.
There was an inevitability about the way they swatted the Gunners aside, and it would be no surprise to see their title rivals suffer a similar fate this time around.
Liverpool nailed on to secure Champions League return
Liverpool have done well to force their way back into contention after a disappointing season, but winning the title will ultimately prove to be beyond them.
Mohamed Salah has been the undisputed star of the show for the Reds, and his absence during the Africa Cup of Nations could be a big blow to their hopes of success.
However, Jurgen Klopp’s side should comfortably qualify for the Champions League, which would be a positive outcome having missed out this season.
Aston Villa, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur will battle for the remaining two spots in the top four and there could be a shock on the cards here.
The Gunners were expected to mount a serious title challenge but have picked up just four points from their last five games to lose ground in the race.
With question marks hanging over several key areas in the team, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta faces a difficult task to get things heading in the right direction again.
Man United should salvage something from their season
With the top five spaces looking boxed off, several teams will have the chance to battle for the ‘who finishes sixth’ prize this season.
West Ham United are currently in pole position, with Brighton & Hove Albion and Manchester United just three points behind them after 20 games.
The feeling that Man United simply cannot be as bad in the second half of the season persists, although it would be a brave move to wager any money on them achieving the ‘feat’.
While Newcastle United, Chelsea and Wolverhampton Wanderers are also in the mix, securing a top-half finish may be as good as it gets for them.
The latter two teams are most likely to get the job done, particularly with the Magpies currently in freefall under manager Eddie Howe.
We recently predicted that Newcastle will sack Howe before the end of 2024 and remain confident that will happen at some point this year.
Everton fancied to steer clear of trouble
The harsh decision to deduct ten points from Everton for breaking financial rules dropped them into the relegation zone, but they quickly set about climbing away from trouble.
The Toffees ended the year with a disappointing 3-0 defeat at Wolves – a result which left them just one point above Luton Town in 18th place.
However, they possess enough fighting qualities to ease clear of trouble and navigate their way into the calmer waters of mid-table.
Bournemouth and Fulham should stay afloat, while Nottingham Forest’s upsurge since sacking Steve Cooper as manager gives them a good chance of surviving.
Crystal Palace’s habit of nabbing positive results will keep them up, but five successive defeats have left Brentford looking nervously over their shoulders.
Their hopes of survival will be boosted if Ivan Toney hits the ground running on his return to action, although there is no guarantee he will stay with the club.
Struggling trio set for a swift return to the Championship
Sheffield United have won twice this season, and the decision to reappoint Chris Wilder as manager guarantees they’ll be heading back to the Championship.
They will be joined by Burnley, who have been woeful on their return to the top flight despite spending around £100 million on new players last summer.
Talk of manager Vincent Kompany potentially replacing Pep Guardiola when he eventually leaves Man City looks increasingly ridiculous with each passing week.
Kompany has been well-backed by Burnley yet has somehow contrived to make the team worse than the one which won promotion to the Premier League last season.
Luton Town will likely be the third team to be relegated, although they have given themselves a fighting chance of getting out of trouble.
Their hopes of survival would be boosted if Brentford keep sliding, but the Bees’ top-flight know-how may ultimately be the difference.
Predicted Premier League table 2023/24
|West Ham United
|Brighton & Hove Albion
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