The Sack Race 2019/20 Premier League Predictionsby Jack Kitson / 07 August 2019, 13:06Tweet
Can Pep Guardiola become a hat-trick hero or will Jurgen Klopp bring the spoils back to the red-half of Merseyside?
Will Steve Bruce endure a stinker at Newcastle or could the Premier League’s oldest ever manager be the first to fall?
All these questions and more have been answered by our contributors here at The Sack Race, who have delivered their managerial predictions ahead of the new season; from the title winner, and the first gaffer to the Job Centre, to the surprise package.
Here. We. Go.
Jack Kitson: Pep Guardiola
A predictable pick perhaps, but you simply can’t look past the best boss in the business. 198 points in two seasons is simply exceptional and now Pep Guardiola has the opportunity to match Sir Alex Fergurson’s feat in winning three consecutive Premier League titles. The addition of Rodri to an already exceptional squad will only enhance Man City’s title credentials, but while I expect Jurgen Klopp to push the defending champions all the way once again, the eventual outcome will be the same.
Gab Sutton: Pep Guardiola
Since Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola took charge of their respective clubs, the former has reached back-to-back Champions League finals – winning it of course last year – while the latter has led City to back-to-back titles with a combined 198 points. Klopp’s high-octane, gegenpressing methods look best-suited to getting the most out of one-off games in European competitions, but Guardiola’s emphasis on control seems best suited to conserving energy and managing games over a whole campaign.
Steve Chambers: Pep Guardiola
A monumental effort last season from Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool ran Pep Guardiola's Manchester City close, as the Reds' quest for Premier League glory ended in heartbreaking fashion. Well, while Liverpool will chase City hard this season, it's tough to see them maintain that consistency, and City should comfortably cruise to a third Premier League title on the bounce - and Guardiola's men can win the league by seven to ten points.
Sean Raymond: Pep Guardiola
Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool threw everything at City last season but it wasn't enough and with Pep spending big again in the summer to further strengthen his already bulging squad, anything other than a title win would be an abject failure for the former Barcelona gaffer.
The title will be heading back to the Etihad once again and it is unlikely to be close this time.
Chloe Beresford: Pep Guardiola
I think it will be close once again this season but if I had to choose between Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola, I think the Catalan will just edge it over 38 matches. I'm looking forward to another close race though!
Simon Lillicrap: Pep Guardiola
Boring I know but Manchester City do seem untouchable again this term. The signing of Rodri looks like a beauty and Joao Cancelo will provide further depth to a stacked squad. Jurgen Klopp will go well again with Liverpool but City should have breathing space at the top.
Charlie Zazzera: Jurgen Klopp
I'm going to go Klopp on block and back Jurgen to bring Liverpool their first Premier League title this time round. Gomez and Oxlade-Chamberlain are back for Liverpool and I think they will improve as a team once again, to get more points than City who looked a bit flat in the second half in the Community Shield.
Russell Palmer: Pep Guardiola
Not very original but it's difficult to see past Man City winning a third consecutive title. So much was made of Liverpool's record high points title for a second place finish it kind of took the gloss away from what was another amazing haul for City. I'd expect Liverpool to regress slightly this year, clearly they're some way better than the chasing pack but EVERYTHING went their way last year and they've not added much to the squad this time round. City have proved they can come back and get close to 100 points again and that'll be enough to make it a hat-trick in 2020.
Harris Simpson: Pep Guardiola
Last season was arguably the closest ever title fight. Liverpool’s consistency was breath-taking, playing the best football they have ever managed in the Premier League era, however, this was still not enough, Klopp still fell short of Liverpool's most coveted prize.
Guardiola has City purring, and although I expect them to ease to their third successive title, the rest of the pack will certainly be closer. I expect Tottenham and United to be challenging Liverpool for second, with City’s superior strength in depth seeing them comfortably over the line, although with far less points than the previous campaign.
First Managerial Casualty
Jack Kitson: Roy Hodgson
When the market first opened I backed Roy Hodgson at 16/1, and now the veteran gaffer is just a 6/1 shot to be the first gaffer to go, behind frontrunner Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. There’s no doubting the work Roy Hodgson has done at his boyhood club, yet the Premier League’s oldest ever manager could find himself in a spot of bother within the first few months of the campaign, during which his side face each of last year’s top-10 in their opening 13 games. That combined with their rotten home form and the uncertainty surrounding Wilfried Zaha could in turn lead to grumblings around the club…
Gab Sutton: Steve Bruce
Bruce (8/1) has made a mistake going to Newcastle. It was likely the appeal of managing his boyhood club that swung it for him but, sometimes, the dream isn’t what makes us happy in reality. On Tyneside, he has an owner that doesn’t care about the club, and angry or disillusioned fans; whereas at Sheffield Wednesday he was supported by the board and supporters alike.
Steve Chambers: Chris Wilder
Chris Wilder (16/1) was instrumental in masterminding Sheffield United's promotion to the Premier League last season, but the Blades face a gargantuan task to stay in the top flight this season, and if they make a poor start then Wilder could face the axe around Christmas time. With football being a results business these days, it's not long before the board twist rather than stick when a manager comes under pressure, and despite his heroics last season Wilder could be the first to face the exit door, should the Blades fail to hit the ground running.
Sean Raymond: Steve Bruce
This could go badly very quickly for Bruce as he looks to steady the rockiest ship in the Premier League. Rafa Benitez enjoyed some minor success thanks to a well organised defence and if Bruce is not able to continue that solidity, the former Sunderland coach could find himself on a seat so hot that he will require a soothing posterior cream. Ouch.
Chloe Beresford: Steve Bruce
I'm not at all convinced by the appointment of Frank Lampard at Chelsea, but I think he will be given a few months at least. I think, given the volatile situation, it could potentially be Steve Bruce but of course any of the newly promoted managers are in danger too.
Simon Lillicrap: Marco Silva
A really tough one this time around. This will leave me to have egg on my face come May but I have never seen such a settled group of managers in charge of their respective clubs. You can’t see any of the promoted teams parting ways with their gaffers and Roy Hodgson is too boring of a choice so I’m plumping for Marco Silva (14/1) at Everton, who could be given the boot early on after spending big this summer.
Charlie Zazzera: Roy Hodgson
I fancy Roy to get the chop first, after a bad summer for transfers and pre-season the moral will be down and will make for another slow start. They've got Everton, Man Utd and Spurs in their first 6 games and are not shy of sacking their managers after having just 11 permanent gaffers since 2010.
Russell Palmer: Roy Hodgson
Most of the head of the betting are made up of either new managers or managers of the three promoted teams, so second favourite Roy Hodgson makes sense at Palace.They could lose Zaha before the season starts, and the former England manager could come under some pressure pretty smartish if results don’t go his way. At longer odds, Javi Gracia set the bar pretty high for himself last season and the Watford hierarchy aren't shy when it comes to waving the axe if the Hornets don't get off to similar good start that they had 12 months ago.
Harris Simpson: Graham Potter
So far, Graham Potter’s managing career has certainly taken the road less travelled. While others tend to tread close to home, Potter started his managerial career over in Sweden, where over the course of eight years he took Östersund from the fourth-tier, to a team taking on Arsenal in the Europa League. After some good work with Swansea last season, Potter will now finally be able to showcase his abilities in the Premier League, however, he is unlikely to be given the patience his undoubted potential surely deserves. The Premier League can be an unforgiving mistress, and should he struggle in the early months, Brighton will likely look for the more tried and tested options.
Jack Kitson: Brendan Rodgers
Over the past two seasons I’ve had somewhat of a stinker in this particular category, having plucked out Frank de Boer and Slavisa Jokanovic. Predictably, both managers were instead the first to be sacked! However, I’m hoping it’s third time lucky this time around in the form of Brendan Rodgers. There’s a real sense of optimism at Leicester City, which has not been dampened by the departure of £80m man Harry Maguire. Rodgers has persuaded Youri Tielemans to make his loan move permanent, Ayoze Perez is a high quality purchase, and James Justin could prove to be a real coup. Top-four may be a stretch, but if the Rodgers Revolution proves fruitful then top-six could be on the cards.
Gab Sutton: Ralph Hasenhuttl
New signing Che Adams was ridiculed for saying, in his first interview after arriving from Birmingham, that he wants to win the league with Southampton. Although that is not a realistic target, there is also something admirable about his desire to push the boundaries and strive to be something greater. Hasenhuttl appears to be creating that sort of mentality in the Saints squad as the improvement in pressing and transitional play under the “Klopp of the Alps” last season led to an instant improvement.
Steve Chambers: Brendan Rodgers
Leicester City may struggle to emulate their Premier League-winning campaign again this season, but Brendan Rodgers has recruited smartly during the summer, and the Foxes could challenge for a top-six finish in the Premier League in the 2019/20 season. Rodgers is sure to improve the side as the season progresses, and if they can kick off their campaign with a win over Wolves on Saturday then they could sparkle into a potential Champions League-chasing side and bag a top-four finish.
Sean Raymond: Ralph Hasenhuttl
The Austrian made a positive impact at Southampton last season and with a full pre-season under his belt he can oversee an excellent campaign for the south coast side. A number of new signings have arrived to much fanfare this summer with Che Adams in the goals up front and that could mean a top half finish for Saints is not out of the question. Expect Hasenhuttl to be touted for a big job or two before Santa pops down the chimney.
Chloe Beresford: Mauricio Pochettino
I think it could be Tottenham this year. They seem to be making some excellent signings after the freeze last season, and to have kept Mauricio Pochettino is a huge achievement considering what he achieved last season. They could really kick on in the league with the Argentine still in charge.
Simon Lillicrap: Daniel Farke
So many to choose from. The fresh faced England managers should be exciting to watch with Lampard, Smith and Wilder all looking to impress but I will plump for Daniel Farke’s Norwich who should catch the eye with their displays. They will face a battle to avoid relegation given how little they have spent but if the suave German keeps them up he deserves a whole host of plaudits.
Charlie Zazzera: Chris Wilder
Everytime Chrissy Wilder has gone up a league he's risen to the challenge and adapted well, I think his recruitment has been good this summer bringing in good, young, hungry players who will die for him. Added with a bit of experience in Jagielka and their passionate fans, I predict they will stay up.
Russell Palmer: Daniel Farke
I don't think it would take much for Norwich manager Daniel Farke to be the biggest surprise package if he could keep the the Canaries up this season. Norwich are odds on to go back down to the Championship at the first time of asking but you can feasibly take the top eight out of the Premier League and it becomes a bun fight between the remaining 12. The German steered Norwich to Championship glory with an excellent young side he's been able to keep together and much like Huddersfield two seasons ago I think he'll get Norwich enough points in the first half of the season to assure their Premier League survival next May.
Harris Simpson: Ralph Hasenhuttl
Last season, after 15 games, Southampton had been nothing short of woeful, managing only one victory, and only hitting 13 goals. Hasenhuttl’s arrival was nothing short of transformative, with the Saints going on to win 30 more points, and even though they stuttered toward the end of the campaign, that can largely be attributed to the new physical demands taking their toll.
After having a full pre-season to efficiently implement his style, I see Hasenhuttl making Southampton a very tricky customer next season. They are unlikely to challenge the likes of Leicester and Wolves, but it would be of no surprise to me if they easily make the top 10.