Kevin Kilbane’s Premier League predictions: I just can’t see Christian Benteke working at Liverpool

The former player and BBC Sport pundit fears for Brendan Rodgers and Tim Sherwood this season, but thinks Chelsea's Diego Costa can come back even stronger

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Kevin’s Premier League champions

Diego Costa could be even better in his second season in the Premier League, and I think Chelsea will come back even stronger, so they are my champions. Man City have strengthened with Raheem Sterling and Fabian Delph, but at the moment they don’t have enough defensively. Man United are also just short.

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Kevin’s best buy

Petr Cech is the best signing of the summer. Arsenal’s back four has been left wanting at times, but Cech will be a voice of reassurance.

He has over a decade of experience behind a remarkable back four at Chelsea, and Arsène Wenger can use that. It won’t be the same old Arsenal, bombing forward at will and leaving gaps all over the pitch.


Summer’s dodgy deal

When Christian Benteke was at his best under Tim Sherwood, Villa went in very direct. They got their target man into the game early, but his new team, Liverpool, won’t do that.

It will be more about midfield intricacy; when Villa tried to play like that under Paul Lambert, Benteke never got in the game. He needs crosses into the box, hold up the play, but that is the polar opposite of previous Brendan Rodgers teams. When Liverpool were at their best, Suarez, Sturridge and Sterling brought real energy to the front line.

Kevin’s clubs for the drop

Bournemouth are so far off the other teams in terms of budget. I’d love the story of them staying up, but I just can’t see it. From the outside Watford look so unstable: they had four different managers last season, five if you include the change over the summer. They have talent in the side, especially English striker Troy Deeney, but I think they will struggle.

And Villa have lost their two most influential players in Benteke and Fabian Delph, not to mention a massive character in the dressing room in goalkeeper Shay Given. I worry for Tim Sherwood this season.


Premier League opening weekend

Saturday: Man Utd v Tottenham Hotspur, kick-off 12.45pm BT Sport 1

Chelsea v Swansea City, kick-off 5.30pm SS1

Sunday: Arsenal v West Ham, kick-off 1.30pm SS1

Stoke City v Liverpool, kick-off 4pm SS1

Monday: West Brom v Manchester City, kick-off 8pm SS1

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See highlights of all the weekend’s matches, including Bournemouth v Aston Villa, Everton v Watford, Leicester City v Sunderland and Norwich v Crystal Palace on Match of the Day and Match of the Day 2


Mark Chapman: ‘Bournemouth, Norwich City and Watford will all stay up