The new Premier League season kicks-off this weekend and the Soccer Saturday boys have been sharing their predictions for the 2012-13 campaign with skysports.com. Charlie Nicholas is up next...
Last Updated: August 15, 2012 5:07pm
Who will win the Premier League?
"It is always hard to predict who will win the Premier League at this point because we are still waiting to see if the top clubs enter the transfer market and how much business they do. If Man United get Robin van Persie I think they will win it, if not, I will lean towards Manchester City.
"Roberto Mancini has not bought anyone yet this summer but the club's fans need to realise that they won't spend big every year as, like a lot of sides, they have to get their finances in order. Mancini's squad looks very strong - outgoings are more of a necessity than incomings - and they have plenty of quality in the building to retain their Premier League title."
Who will make the top four?
"I think Arsenal will. I know at this moment in time everybody is waiting to see what will happen with Van Persie, but for the first time in a few seasons we have good experience in the side. Mikel Arteta proved to be a very good acquisition and I think the signings of Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla are excellent.
"Arsene Wenger is signing players we need and everything has got more of a team feel about it. The Gunners are still a little bit suspect at the back and I would like to see another powerful centre-back brought in, while we have the wait-and-see situation with Jack Wilshere, but we are improving.
"Chelsea and Tottenham will battle for fourth and I think they are quite evenly matched. I think Chelsea's signings will come off but they may take time to adjust to the English style, while they will definitely miss Didier Drogba.
"Spurs, meanwhile, will be at a big disadvantage if they lose Luka Modric as they don't have a replacement who is anywhere near his class, while Ledley King's retirement will hit them hard, too. With that in mind, I would have Chelsea as favourites for fourth."
Who will finish in the bottom three?
"We say Wigan every year - and I'm going to have to say them again. I spend a lot of time in Mallorca and I think they have signed a very good player from that club in Ivan Ramis, a tough, no-nonsense centre-back. Last season's change to a back three also helped them massively, but they are not signing goals, could lose Victor Moses and should be down there again.
"I think Steve Clarke could find it tough to bed in at West Brom as sometimes fans can be ruthless when they don't get a big-name manager so the Baggies could be around the bottom. I also think Reading might struggle. I hope I am seriously wrong because I'd love my old mate Brian McDermott and his team to march on but they are quite an attacking side. That will make them entertaining but could also make them vulnerable."
Who will be the surprise package?
"Southampton have lots of exciting, attacking players and good balance throughout the side; I see them being a bit similar to the way Swansea were last season. Plus, I think Mark Hughes will continue his improvement at QPR. His ideas were sinking in at the end of last season and I'm expecting a pretty good campaign from them this year. They are signing experience, like Ji-Sung Park, and will be damned hard to beat."
Who will finish as top scorer?
"We will be looking at a lot of the same names - Van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Sergio Aguero - while if Luis Suarez can keep control I think he will score a lot of goals in Brendan Rodgers' attack-minded Liverpool side. However, Arsenal create so many chances and I think Podolski will be up there, especially if Van Persie departs; he has got a powerful left foot and will nick a lot of tap-ins."
Who is your player to watch?
"There are so many exciting players that I will be looking forward to seeing. Even as an Arsenal fan I have to admit that Gareth Bale is a joy to watch, while I've seen Paul Scholes in pre-season and I hope the guy never retires because he has still got so much talent.
"However, I have always had this belief that Abou Diaby could be a major player for Arsenal. He has all the ability in the world but unfortunately he seems to play two games and then has 10 weeks off. If they can find a cure to Diaby's injuries in the same way they found a cure to Van Persie's, he could be a big star."
Look out for more Soccer Saturday pundit predictions tomorrow