Incredibly, it's that time of year again. English football is back again, and we have our annual Balls.ie team outlandish Premier League predictions for the coming season.
So much intrigue surrounds the title battle, the fight for the top four, the prospective relegation battle, and on the Boys in Green taking part in this season.
Read on for some contrasting takes on Frank Lampard, some optimism for the Irish involved in the league, and one particularly spectacular opening day shout in the (slightly tongue-in-cheek) Balls.ie Premier League predictions for 2022/23.
The Balls.ie team's outlandish Premier League predictions for 2022/23
Gary Connaughton: Two Irish players to make PFA TOTY
Not since Seamus Coleman in 2014 has an Irishman made the PFA Team of the Year, but that's all set to change in the upcoming season.
Nathan Collins will be an obvious inclusion after leading Wolves to fourth place and a spot in the Champions League for next season, scoring no less than eight league goals along the way, all of which came via marauding runs from the back.
Gavin Bazunu will beat out competition from Alisson Becker and Mark Travers for the goalkeeping spot after a stellar debut campaign at Southampton. He will keep 25 clean sheets this season, but unfortunately it will not be enough to stop the club from being relegated as they scored a total of 11 goals in the entire league campaign.
Donny Mahoney: Frank Lampard will be manager of the year
The bloom has come off the rose for Frankie De Tory after getting sacked at Chelsea and steering Everton to the brink of relegation last season. And even though Everton have sold their only decent goalscorer, this is the season that Lampard will prove all of the English pundits RIGHT and prove to the haters that he is a mix of Bill Shankly and Alan Sugar.
Lampard will steer Everton to a thoroughly respectable 14th place, that will scandalously be celebrated with the esteemed Premier League Manager of the Year award.
Robert Garrigan: Nathan Collins to make a sensational Wolves debut
I predict that Nathan Collins is going to score a perfect hat trick on his Wolves debut - a header from a corner, a left-footed volley from a loose ball off a free kick, and then a lovely right-footed low drive from 25 yards into the bottom corner of Leeds' goal following a mazy run from the halfway line.
He'll then celebrate with a Klinsmann into the away fans' corner followed by a lifting of his shirt to reveal a headshot tribute t-shirt - "To my icon Gary Breen, whom none of this would be possible without."
Eoin Harrington: Aleksandar Mitrovic to kick on and lead Fulham to Europe
Fulham and Aleksandar Mitrovic have both appeared cursed whenever they have returned to the Premier League in recent seasons.
Promotions in 2018 and 2020 were instantly followed by relegations, and their star man Mitrovic struggled on both occasions. Only 3 goals from 27 games in 2020-21 is a shocking return.
Last year, however, Mitrovic broke countless records to score 43 goals in 44 Championship games for Fulham, leading them to the second division title and a third bounce back in five years. His sensational form last year leads me to believe he can lead them to rocket up the table.
— Fulham Football Club (@FulhamFC) April 21, 2022
With Chelsea going through turmoil and struggling to acquire their desired targets, Erik Ten Hag looking penned in by the uselessness of Manchester United's transfer department, and last year's surprise performers in Crystal Palace and West Ham likely to struggle more, the door is wide open. Mitrovic will believe he can put his Premier League demons behind him and fire Fulham to the Champions League, going one better than their 2010 run to the Europa League final.
The reported arrival of Irishman Shane Duffy only increases Fulham's chances of taking the league by storm.
Of course, they will far more likely finish last with three league wins, to be replaced by Norwich for 2023-24. But the Cottagers can dream.
Brian Reynolds: Irish takeover to centre on Nathan Collins and David O'Leary
Frank Lampard will resign by October and start a podcast which will be number one by Christmas.
Nathan Collins to win goal of the month twice, neither with a headed goal.
David O'Leary to stage a comeback and take the Arsenal caretaker job as Mikel Arteta goes back to Man City as Pep's assistant.
Rory Cassidy: Wayne Rooney will manage one of his former Premier League clubs by the end of the season
He may have packed his bags and headed to Washinton, but it won't be long before Rooney is back in North England.
Frank Lampard managed to keep Everton up by the skin of his teeth last season and given his failure to add any standout names to the squad (they literally haven't spent a penny) he won't last too much longer at Goodison Park.
Farhad Moshiri will then see his opportunity to reunite Rooney with the Toffees faithful and all will be rosy in the garden for a couple of months until Everton's descent down the table begins, the fans start calling for the head of their manager once again, and Rooney is sent packing.
Luke Delaney: Chelsea to finish behind Aston Villa
I reckon we're going to see the Premier League change hands this time around with Liverpool taking home the title. Despite the signing of Haaland, potentially losing Bernard Silva and not replacing Zinchenko at left-back could prove costly.
The rest of the top four will be made up by Spurs in third and Arsenal in fourth, followed by Man United in fifth. It'll be a difficult season for Thomas Tuchel and I think we could see Chelsea fall out of the top six and be replaced by Aston Villa.
It was a great first Premier League campaign for Brentford last time out but it could be a case of second season syndrome. Brentford will be fighting against the likes of Leeds and Southampton to avoid the drop with Fulham and Bournemouth also going down.
Tom Keegan Grant: A whopping nine managerial sackings - even without Watford in the league!
Over the years we've seen many a manager get the axe for a disgruntled dressing room, fallout with the board, or simply just not getting the results. However, this season we will see a staggering nine Premier League managers be sent packing for a variety of reasons:
- Thomas Tuchel (Chelsea): Todd Boehly will be looking for a return on his investments, with little room for error. A bad run of results will see Tuchel out the door.
- Antonio Conte (Spurs): A shock Champions League exit will see Conte demand January signings, and the ensuing fallout with Daniel Levy will see his time at Spurs come to an abrupt end.
- Graham Potter (Brighton): The popular Seagulls boss will be left with no choice but to step down following a run of heavy defeats, off the back of Yves Bissouma and Marc Cucurella's departures.
- Frank Lampard (Everton): Frank will be out of his depth and, within a few months, he'll be shipped out of Merseyside.
- Scott Parker (Bournemouth): Bournemouth's current squad just doesn't have the depth needed for the Premier League.
- Marco Silva (Fulham): Fulham are going to be loitering at the lower end of the table and will hit the panic button, resulting in Silva's third PL job coming to a close.
- Jesse Marsch (Leeds): They just about escaped relegation last year and with a huge summer outlay - plus the loss of Raphinha - Marsch is under an immense amount of pressure.
- Brendan Rodgers (Leicester): Yet to make a summer signing and with big names linked with moves - a sustained run of poor results will see Rodgers gone in December.
- Ralph Hassenhuttl (Southampton): Southampton's annual 9-0 loss is this year going to rear its head on multiple occasions. 9-0 losses to Man United, Arsenal, and a staggering 12-1 loss to Liverpool will leave Hassenhuttl absolutely no choice but to walk!
Now you have our team's rather eclectic bunch of prophesies, what are your most outrageous Premier League predictions for the 2022/23 season?
Let the games commence...