Man City to triumph, Pepe to shine? England stars' Premier League predictions

After three long months, the Premier League returns this weekend.

Heading into the new campaign, Manchester City are firm favourites to win a third consecutive title while Liverpool are tipped to remain hot on their tail.

Behind the top two, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal all heading into the season with huge question marks hanging over their credentials.

At the other end, a host of teams will be looking anxiously over their shoulders in a battle against the drop.

So what is going to happen over the next nine months?

We asked former England internationals Joleon Lescott, Paul Konchesky and Shaun Wright-Phillips to predict the winners and losers for the 2019-20 season.

So, who takes the glory?

Will Man City will retain the title? The players, speaking from the final of the #BetRegret Cup - part of the UK’s largest safer gambling campaign - believe they will. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Lescott: Manchester City

I think Man City must be favourites, due to the way they’ve played over the last couple of years.

Anyone that finishes above Liverpool and Man City wins the league. I’m always going to say Man City.

At the moment there is no reason to suggest there are any weaknesses. We don’t know how players are going to perform, regarding fitness, due to some coming back later than others.

In terms of complacency, I think that’s the biggest thing that Pep has stamped out over the last couple of years. There’s no room for that, they approach every game like it’s a final.

Obviously the documentary a few years ago, it was evident there that every game is treated the same way, no stone left unturned and everyone is treated the same way.

Konchesky: Manchester City

It is going to be a tough one, Manchester United are having a good go, I think they’ll still do some business.

Obviously Man City have a great squad. It’s always going to be tight, Liverpool will be there or thereabouts, Chelsea under Frank (Lampard).

But my heart probably says City are going to retain it. They’ve got a squad that, if you split them in two, will probably be first and second. Any team would probably take all of their players.

Their squad is a squad that you dream for as an owner and as a manager.

I think it will go back to Man City.

Wright-Phillips: Manchester City

I have to say my team Man City. It’s going to be tough, there will be more contenders involved.

City might just pip it. They’ve got more depth than some of the other teams. When they take somebody off, they can bring somebody on that brings basically the same quality.

For me, City might creep it again.

Champions League qualification

Which four teams will qualify for the Champions League next season? (Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Getty Images)

Lescott: Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea

If I look at the others, Spurs have invested well this summer. The fact that they have moved to their new stadium, the manager is staying makes them more stable than the other teams fighting for a top four position. The massive thing for them is that Harry Kane stays fit.

Lastly, I’d say Chelsea. The fact that Lampard has come in and all the experienced players are going to have the respect for him that he deserves and the younger players are going to know Jody Morris and he’s going to know them better than anyone.

The fact that they can’t add to the squad has probably helped them in regards to their stability. The likes of Ross Barkley seem to have done exceptionally well this pre-season so I’m sure they’ll be a force.

The three players were talking at GambleAware's Bet Regret Cup on Sunday

Konchesky: Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham

Liverpool. Chelsea will be there or thereabouts under Frank.

I’ll probably also go with Tottenham.

Wright-Phillips: Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea
I’m going to have Man City and Liverpool in the same places. And then Arsenal and Chelsea.

Lamps will surprise a lot of people and the guys that are in there, people aren’t going to expect it, but I think they’re going to go on a run.

They’ve got too many good young talents [to fail]. I’ve always said all the players they’ve had out on loan, if they weren’t good enough they’d have sold them, so they know they have potential and if Frank can get it out of them then he’s got a good crop of players.

Who goes down?

Fulham were joined by Huddersfield and Cardiff last season in dropping out of the top flight. (Nigel French/PA via AP)

Lescott: Sheffield United, Brighton, Norwich

Aston Villa have spent well. Douglas Luiz, I know him, he is a good player. They have spent on a lot of new talent, it may take a lot of time for them to bed in but they have invested where they have needed to. They should be equipped to survive at least, I know they’ve got aspirations to finish higher than just 17th.

Sheffield Untied possibly, I know they’ve brought in some experience with Jagielka and Ravel Morrison but collectively they probably haven’t got enough experience throughout the group and they could find it difficult.

Possibly Brighton, too. They way they finished the season, when you finish poorly and stay up by default really...

Norwich haven’t bought enough experience, but have exciting talent and players. Pukki scored a lot fo goals last season, again it’s difficult in the PL. Not saying they will definitely go down this season but I think they could find it difficult.

Konchesky: Brighton, Burnley, Southampton

Burnley - the last couple of years they’ve been struggling down at the bottom, I don’t think they’ve added many players. They’ve lost Tom Heaton, added Peacock-Farrell.

Brighton might be there or thereabouts. I just think they’ve added to their squad but I don’t know if it’s in the right places, what they’ve added and what they was missing last year. A lot of goals they’ve missed but they’ve bought a winger for a lot of money.

I would probably say someone like Southampton, I think they struggled last year, lost a couple of players, looks like they’re going to lose a couple more.

Burnley, Brighton, Southampton; they’re my three.

Wright-Phillips: Not Aston Villa?

I don’t know, you know. Aston Villa stay up. That’s quite a tough one.

Bottom of the table is always tricky. I feel like a lot of surprise packages like Wolves did really well last year, can they maintain it in their second season? [Europa League football] can hinder a lot of things.

The bottom three will be down to teams that prioritise, clubs need to focus on the league, rather than cups… I can’t answer that one.

Which team will shock the league?

Can anyone else do a Leicester and stun the league? (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Lescott: Everton

Everton. Idrissa Gueye is a massive loss, I know the Everton fans miss him already, but Delph has come in, he’s a top player, top professional.

Potentially pushing the top teams. I don’t think they’ll be as adrift as they have been in previous years. They’ll be right in the pack of the top seven teams pushing for the Champions League.

I don’t think they’ll be screaming and shouting about getting into the Champions League but I’m sure the manager has set that out early in the season. The signings that they’ve made have shown that they mean business.

Also Wolves, I obviously follow them closely, I’m excited for them and hope they get through that last round to the Europa League.

They surprised everyone last year, even me when I thought they would possibly sign a bit more Premier League experience.

Konchesky: West Ham

West Ham, they’ll be up there. The manager has got what he wants, two good signings, Wilshere’s back fit, he’s like another new signing.

I still think there might be some business to be done at West Ham. I know a lot of people say their business is done but there’s a few days left and that’s when it gets manic.

I think West Ham will be in the top six this year. The manager has done well last year, finished 10th, they’ve got a big number nine now and attacking wise they’re going to be really, really good.

Wright-Phillips: Chelsea

Chelsea. I’m sticking with Chelsea for that one.

People are not expecting them to do anything. Some people are expecting them to fail, I don’t believe Chelsea will fail. Chelsea don’t fail.

They might not do well, but I can’t see them like.. they’ll definitely be… I said in the top four… but they’ll definitely be in the top six. But I still want them for my top four.

Which player will set the top flight alight?

Tottenham Hotspur's new signing Tanguy Ndombele is one of our pundits' favourites to set the league alight (Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images)

Lescott: Tanguy Ndombélé

Ndombélé. I’m a massive fan of his. I saw him a couple of times early last season, it made me take notice of him, aware of him and watched his performances.

I’m a big fan of him. It’s possibly easier for defensive-minded players to fit into teams because you just have to stick to plans.

When forwards go to new teams, Premier League, they have to score and they are judged on goals and assists.

Him not having to do that, I think he can only be a healthy addition to their team.

Konchesky: Nicolas Pepe

Nicolas Pepe. I think he’s going to do really well. They need defenders, unless they go this week and buy two or three they could leak a few goals.

Attacking wise, they’ve got some great players, a front four is going to be unreal this year. If they play with a front four and the rest behind the ball? They might be alright.

He might surprise a few, big price tag but i think he can handle it.

Wright-Phillips: Mason Mount

Mason Mount. I’ve seen a few of their games, he’ll stand out, he’s a very good player.

And if they’re fit, Callum (Hudson-Odoi) and Ruben Loftus-Cheek. And hopefully if they are back fit, they’ll be the two key players for Chelsea with (Christian) Pulisic. Them three behind… they’ll be key for Chelsea.

If they’re playing well, it’ll be hard for a lot of teams to stop that attack. Hazard leaving is big shoes to fill, but as to creating chances and scoring goals, they think they both have the potential and capabilities to do it. If they can do that on a consistent basis, one or the other, then I don’t see why Chelsea won’t do well.

They have a good enough backline, they have a good goalie. Batshuayi came good towards the end of last season and if he can maintain that, it seems like he’s found his feet at Chelsea, and he’s scoring goals and he’s working hard.

And he’s good in the box and if they keep giving him the ball in the box and he’s turning and getting goals, it doesn’t need to be sexy. Drogba was the best at it, he was a bully and played sexy at the same time.

The three players were speaking from the final of the #BetRegret Cup, part of the UK’s largest safer gambling campaign.

Teams from across the UK have been battling it out throughout the summer, which culminated at the national final at Powerleague Shoreditch on 4th August.

Bet Regret is that immediate sinking feeling you get when you place a bet you know you shouldn’t have, for example when you’re bored, drunk or chasing losses.

For more information, click here.

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