Piers Morgan reveals his biggest Prem predictions – and it’s bad news for his beloved Arsenal
PIERS MORGAN’S beloved Arsenal take on Crystal Palace in the Premier League opener on Friday night.
Here, Piers takes us through his predictions — including why his Gunners may make him cringe, what is going to happen to Cristiano Ronaldo at Old Trafford and his possible hits or misses for 2022-23…
The reigning champions have the best squad, best player (Kevin De Bruyne), best striker (Erling Haaland), and best manager.
I haven’t eaten in their players’ canteen but I bet that they have the best kale smoothies, too.
With Pep Guardiola, nothing is left to chance.
To understand just how strong his team will be, consider how he’s shipped out international stars of the quality of Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko to make space for exciting new signings like Haaland, Julian Alvarez and Kalvin Phillips.
This strategy is from the Sir Alex Ferguson playbook of constantly, ruthlessly reinvigorating winning teams, and it will work for City this season.
OTHER CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PLACES
2. Liverpool, 3. Tottenham, 4. Arsenal
Jurgen Klopp’s team will fall short of City because Darwin Nunez is no Sadio Mane, an underrated steely-eyed assassin whose departure was a huge blow to Liverpool’s title hopes.
As for my other picks, I’m convinced North London’s rivals will prevail over rouble-deprived Chelsea and a Manchester United side so awful that Cristiano Ronaldo will take a pay cut to leave them.
It kills me to put Spurs above Arsenal.
But I fear they have a stronger, smartly reinforced squad, the best strike force duo in Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, and in their magnificently volatile manager Antonio Conte, a natural-born winner who, unlike Mikel Arteta, will view coming third as a humiliating failure.
However, I’m more optimistic about Arsenal’s chances than for years.
Jesus looks like the divine intervention we’ve been craving upfront since the Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang debacle, and a midfield bursting with youthful talent like Zinchenko, Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe is exciting.
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Bournemouth, Southampton, Fulham
None of them have done enough in the transfer window to survive — or deserve to survive.
MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT
Judging by the trailers, every second of Amazon’s upcoming All or Nothing series on Arsenal will be a cringe-making horror story.
Arteta comes across as an even weirder, bossier Pep-lite rookie headmaster than I feared him to be, and knowing how badly the season ends, I’d honestly rather watch someone hammer rusty nails into my flesh than relive it all again.
But I hope we finally get to see what really happened with Aubameyang that could possibly justify Arteta giving him away to Barcelona (and keeping goal-allergic Alexandre Lacazette who didn’t score in open play in the league from mid-December).
Spoiler alert: it won’t justify it.
The biggest bunch of overpaid, under-performing wastrels in Premier League history will have another terrible season.
So much expensive talent but so little dedication, commitment or pride in wearing those world-famous shirts.
New manager Erik ten Hag talks a good game but his transfer business so far has been seriously underwhelming and he will quickly discover his showboating Twitter-obsessed prima donnas just don’t have the right mentality to compete.
I doubt they will even make the top six.
Erling “The Terminator” Haaland
The Norwegian will take a few weeks to settle in.
But once he does, he will do to Premier League defenders what King Kong did to Manhattan’s skyline.
If I was constructing a centre-forward specifically to dominate English football, it would be this 6ft 5in Norwegian monster.
There’s no weakness in Haaland’s game, and he plays with such power, ferocity, and chilling, smirking self-confidence.
Like all truly great strikers, he knows how good he is, and he’s right up there with the very best.
FIRST MANAGER SACKED
Ralph Hasenhuttl – Southampton
I’m amazed he’s still there, given how pathetically the Saints ended last season and the fact he’s already hinting he’ll retire when his contract expires in 2024, which is always a sign a manager knows the game’s up.
I suspect that retirement decision will be taken a lot earlier for him and he’ll be gone by Christmas.
FIRST MANAGER TO QUIT
The German will walk once Chelsea’s season hits the buffers around late February and his frustration explodes at not having Vladimir Putin’s pal Roman Abramovich to buy him out of trouble.
Ronaldo will extricate himself from his living nightmare at a rotting excuse for a giant global club that now bears no resemblance to the iconic place where he first cut his GOAT teeth.
He may be 37 but he’s still fitter than most players and scored 18 Premier League goals last season, second behind joint Golden Boot winners Mo Salah and Son.
Yet pathetic media snipers have blamed HIM for United’s woes which is utter nonsense. Without him, they’d have been fighting relegation.
Ronaldo’s looked at the dreadfully unambitious way United’s run these days — and the woefully entitled attitude of many of the younger players — and wants to run away from this trainwreck faster than United’s fastest fan, Usain Bolt.
I don’t blame him.
MOST LIKELY TO MAKE AN A*SE OF HIMSELF
…Probably for blowing a firework out of his backside on live TV after City finally win the Champions League.
Phil Foden will be involved, too, as always.
The Arsenal legend will get Crystal Palace into Europe.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Kevin de Bruyne
De Bruyne, the league’s best all-round footballer.
I can give him no higher praise than to say he’s nearly as good as Dennis Bergkamp — sharing the Dutchman’s technical brilliance, Einstein-level football brain, and ice-cold temperament.
YOUNG PLAYER OF THE YEAR
This is the season that he makes the move up from class to world class.
MOST ANNOYING PLAYER
…Even though he’ll now be playing in Italy.
VILLAIN OF THE YEAR
It’s already infuriating me and the season hasn’t started yet.
Has there ever been a worse example of “progress” than this joyless, time-wrecking, nipple-spotting, pedantic pain in the derriere?
I hate VAR with a rare passion, and I hate those who like it even more.
The snarling, demonic, twinkle-eyed mediocre-player-munching barbarian.
He’s just… ”quality”.
Runner-up: Micah Richards for smart analysis, the world’s most infectious laugh and his fearless Keano wind-ups.