Premier League Preview | Southampton, Spurs, Watford, West Ham, Wolves

We have previewed each Premier League team ahead of the 2019/20 season.

In the fourth and final entry, Ben Smith focuses on Southampton, Spurs, Watford, West Ham and Wolves.

Southampton

Big season ahead for Southampton and for Ralph Hassenhuttl.

He steadied the ship when he came in last year and managed to beat the drop – this year it’s all about kicking on and making sure there is no dogfight come April/May.

He won 8 out of 24 games after taking charge last year – exactly one in three. He also drew seven of those 24 games.

If he was to mirror those results next season then Southampton would be clear of any worries. The club however will want to do more than mirror last season’s results and if they begin strongly they should have a great chance of enjoying a comfortable run-in.

Their first three away games all come against direct rivals – Burnley, Brighton and Sheffield Utd. They need to be taking points from these games to show they are better than a relegation scrap again.

Che Adams has had a fine pre-season and should enjoy a decent campaign up top. They will also be hoping that Pierre-Emile Hodgberg and Nathan Redmond can build on solid campaigns last year.

I have liked what I have seen from Hassenhuttl so far, I think he has a good philosophy and with a full pre-season under their belts Southampton can have a decent year.

PREDICTION:  14th  

Tottenham

A barnstorming finish to the transfer window for Spurs.

They began the summer with the announcement of record singing Tanguy Ndombele from Lyon.

They also added the 18 year old Jack Clarke from Leeds, although he has returned to the Championship side on loan for next season. This was expected to be the beginning of an extremely busy  window for the Londoners but they failed to make any more signings until deadline day.

With the transfer window about to slam shut they finally completed deals for Ryan Sessegnon and Giovani Lo Celso, with an audacious swoop for Paulo Dybala breaking down at the eleventh hour.

There has also been much movement at the exit door, with Kieran Trippier and Vincent Janssen being moved on, as well as Michel Vorm and Fernando Llorente reaching the end of their contracts.

There are still many questions over the futures of Danny Rose, Toby Alderweireld and Christian Eriksen, and these questions are likely to drag on until the European window closes at the end of August.

If Eriksen does leave the club there will be a large creative void and Spurs will be hoping that Giovani Lo Celso can step up to the plate in his first season.

There will also be big pressure on young full back Kyle Walker-Peters who begins the season as the only recognised right back at the club. The aim for Spurs this season is to try and close the gap that emerged last season with the top two teams.

While they have added three new faces into the squad I am not convinced that they have done enough to close the gap with City and Liverpool.

The defence is certainly a worry with both full back areas looking quite weak and there will also be problems if Toby Alderweireld leaves the club as he has been an immense defender for the last four seasons.

There is still much to be excited about for Spurs fans and their first full season in their new stadium should lead to a more consistent home record – they went the entire year unbeaten the last time they played a full season at White Hart Lane.

They also have bright young talents in the likes of Tanguy Ndombele and Irishman Troy Parrot and it will be very interesting to monitor their progress this year.

I think Spurs will be steady again and should have enough in the tank to qualify for the top four.

I think their squad is stronger than United or Chelsea’s but Arsenal will pose a serious threat this year for the first time in a few years.

I think they will be in a tussle again for the third and fourth spots, they are not good enough to compete with Liverpool or Manchester City.

PREDICTION:  3rd

Watford 

Watford have had quite a decent transfer window – particularly in the fact that they have managed to fend off interest in their most prized assets like Deeney and Doucoure, the latter of whom was heavily monitored by Everton.

Last season was excellent with their FA Cup run a particular highlight. They face the same issues as the likes of Leicester, Everton and West Ham in that the top six are so strong that it is very difficult to break their monopoly.

Interestingly, they play West Ham, Everton and Wolves in their first seven matches. How they fare in these duels will have a big impact on how their season goes.

It isn’t that long ago that Watford were a yo-yo team and were always favourites for relegation.

In the last few years they have developed into a really well run club and are now a firmly established Premier League side.

The fact that the bookmakers have them at 16/1 to go down is testament to the progress that they have made.

Watford are looking up the table instead of worrying about being involved in a dogfight.

I see Watford sustaining their position without launching a real assault on the European places.

I think they will be in and around the Top 10 and it really just depends on their ability to remain consistent throughout the season.

They may have another tilt at a domestic cup which could alter their priorities in late season but I’m tipping them to break the top ten.

PREDICTION:  10th

West Ham

Another summer of impressive signings as West Ham desperately seek to haul themselves into the top six mix.

Pablo Fornals has the ability to become a superstar and Sebastian Haller formed an excellent partnership with Luka Jovic at Frankfurt last season, the latter of whom has since joined Real Madrid.

Manuel Pellegrini has now had a full season with the Hammers and has had time to shape the team and the philosophy he wants. Declan Rice enjoyed an exceptional breakthrough campaign last season and he will be looked at as one of the real leaders in the new West Ham.

As well as signing some more exciting players, West Ham have shipped out the real bad egg in Marko Arnautovic.

This guy forced his way out of Stoke when West Ham offered more money, he then did the same to West Ham once he was tempted by the Far East. He is absolutely no loss to the team and they will be a lot better without him.

I expect West Ham to improve on last season’s disappointing campaign. They should play an attractive brand of football and the Olympic Stadium will definitely be a tricky away trip even for the best sides in the division.

At the minute I see them just slightly behind both Leicester and Everton in terms of squad ability and for that reason I think they will finish ninth.

They should definitely show more effort in the domestic cups this year.

Last year’s exit to AFC Wimbledon in the third round was unacceptable.

PREDICTION:  9th

Wolves

How do you improve on last season?

As a newly promoted club Wolves had a season beyond their wildest dreams.

To finish in the top seven and qualify for the Europa League is incredible and these are definitely exciting times at Molyneaux.

In the close season they have added Raul Jimenez on a permanent deal and also secured the signing of the highly rated Italian Patrick Cutrone from AC Milan.

To shore up the midfield they have completed the long term signing of Leander Dendoncker and you can expect Morgan Gibbs-White to become an established name in the starting eleven this season.

Wolves don’t have enough to break the top six and I think their European commitments may detract from their Premier League campaign, it is always difficult to play Thursday/Sunday on a consistent basis.

They are no longer a surprise package and teams will be more aware of their strengths this year too.

Plenty to look forward to for Wolves but in terms of the Premier League I think their position will stagnate slightly.

PREDICTION:  11th

Predicted 2019/20 Premier League Table:

1 MAN CITY

2 LIVERPOOL

3 TOTTENHAM

4 ARSENAL

5 CHELSEA

6 MAN UNITED

7 LEIECESTER

8 EVERTON

9 WEST HAM

10 WATFORD

11 WOLVES

12 BOURNEMOUTH

13 ASTON VILLA

14 SOUTHAMPTON

15 NEWCASTLE

16 BRIGHTON

17 BURNLEY

18 CRYSTAL PALACE

19 SHEFFIELD UNITED

20 NORWICH

Ben Smith