Chelsea are the overwhelming favourites to retain their Premier League crown according to a poll of personalities done by Press Association Sport, but Saints star Paul Wellens doesn’t agree.
Asking a number of sport stars, broadcasters and our own journalists what they made of the upcoming Premier League season, Chelsea were tipped to lift a fifth Premier League title by six of the nine personalities asked ..
The Blues were the prediction of PA’s chief football writer Paul Hirst and colleague Simon Peach, as well as Yorkshire’s title-winning captain Andrew Gale. Broadcaster Jacqui Oatley and world darts champions Adrian ‘Jackpot’ Lewis and Stephen ‘The Bullet’ Bunting also agreed.
The only variations on that theme came from St Helens’ Grand Final-winning captain Paul Wellens who went for Manchester City, England all-rounder Chris Woakes who tipped Arsenal and TV presenter Alex Brooker who went for his beloved Gunners, on the proviso they make one more signing.
Four people also tipped Chelsea for the FA Cup, with Oatley predicting a League and Cup double, while Hirst and Gale tipped Manchester United to lift it - the Red Devils’ only selections on our panel.
There was no hint of bias as Peach called Southampton for the League Cup or with Woakes selecting Villa for the same competition. Likewise Lewis with Stoke.
Woakes believes Christian Benteke will score the most goals - gritting his teeth after his defection to Liverpool - with Sergio Aguero the most common pick, getting the nod from five of our panel.
Player of the year splits the field a little more, with Oatley, Lewis and Woakes thinking Eden Hazard will retain his mantel, with Brooker and Peach choosing Alexis Sanchez. Gale has ignored Pep Guardiola’s words and gone for Bastian Schweinsteiger.
When it comes to the thorny issue of relegation, Norwich featured on eight of our nine lists, with only Brooker sparing Delia Smith and her boys. Bournemouth appeared on the list four times, with Watford five.