For argument’s sake, let’s assume the top six are decided: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham in whichever order.
Given the gulf between the top six and the rest of the competition, there will be 14 teams fighting it out for the accolade ‘best of the rest’.
Last season, Burnley’s fantastic campaign resulted in them finishing in that seventh place spot with nine points separating them to Arsenal in sixth. The previous season, Everton took the seventh spot, eight points behind Manchester United.
As we advance into the 2018/19 campaign, the question is: who will finish best of the rest in the Premier League?
Here are the five contenders to take that spot:
Everton are potentially the favourites to finish ahead of the chasing pack.
The Toffees are unbeaten in their first two games, recording a hard-fought draw on the opening day to Wolves when they were reduced to ten men. This was followed by a 2-1 victory over Southampton at the weekend.
Everton boss, Marco Silva has galvanised the squad and has raised a sense of optimism around the blue half of Merseyside. His attention to detail and his attacking philosophy have already been greatly adored by the Everton faithful.
Compared to the football under Sam Allardyce, which was almost universally despised by the Evertonians, it will produce a much more intimidating atmosphere at Goodison and one which the players should thrive on.
Everton showed the required ambition this season to make a bold claim and challenge for a top six spot but it could be a stretch too far with seventh being a realistic target.
A summer spending spree of almost £90 million shows a huge side of their aspirations under their majority shareholder, Farhad Moshiri.
2 Crystal Palace
Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley
Only bringing in four signings this summer, Crystal Palace's main focus was fending off interest for their popular talisman, Wilfried Zaha. The Ivorian remained at Selhurst Park and as a result of his loyalties to the club, signed a new deal this month running until 2023.
Considered by many as the potential dark horses this season, Palace will undeniably be aiming for a strong season and one which will better last season's finish of 11th.
With the likes of Aaron Wan-Bissaka bursting onto the scene — despite his sending off against Liverpool — there is a sense of promise and anticipation surrounding the South London club. Combining the mix of their young stars with experienced heads in the camp, Roy Hodgson has built a solid outfit at Selhurst Park in the last year.
After an abysmal start to the campaign under Frank de Boer — who lasted a mere 77 days — Hodgson was brought in the steady the ship and deservedly earned many plaudits after steering the side to an 11th place finish.
Progression will be Palace's ultimate aim this season and a realistic target for the Eagles will be to aim for a top half finish. Whether they can push even further and finish seventh remains to be seen.
3 Leicester City
Action Images via Reuters/Craig Brough
The Foxes picked up just one point in their remaining six games of last season with nothing to play for. Had they done better, it could have seen them top the so-called 'second table' in the Premier League, resulting in more revenue and being seen as a bigger attraction to foreign stars.
Over the summer, Leicester enjoyed a very successful transfer window. The arrivals of the likes of Ricardo Pereira, Caglar Soyuncu and James Maddison have excited the former champions.
Maddison signed for a sizeable fee from Norwich City but, with Riyad Mahrez leaving the King Power Stadium, a big void has been left to fill. Sizeable expectations will be on Maddison's shoulders although, if his first two appearances are anything to go by, it already looks like money well spent.
Leicester's business has been accompanied with keeping hold of Harry Maguire was a big statement for the Foxes. Linked with a big money move to Manchester United, Puel remained adamant that the World Cup star was not leaving.
The Foxes are still dreaming about their shock title triumph in 2015/16. Since then, Leicester have maintained their steady Premier League status, comfortably.
Although the Foxes finished ninth last campaign, their season was punctuated by patches of disappointment. If Claude Puel can instil a level of consistency, we could well see Leicester challenge for seventh place this season.
4 West Ham
Before a ball was kicked this season, West Ham were predicted by many to be a strong outfit. The high-calibre signings which they made in the summer transfer window will have filled the Hammers fans with plenty of faith.
However, they haven't endured the best start to the new campaign. A 4-0 thumping to Liverpool on the opening day, before a 2-1 at home to Bournemouth does not make for good reading. However, it is still early days.
The appointment of Manuel Pellegrini showed how high West Ham were aiming this season. The former Real Madrid and Manchester City manager is a big pull for the club and he knows how to attract top players. It is no secret that Pellegrini has a tough job on his hands, although it is one in which the Chilean will thrive.
Over the summer, Felipe Anderson arrived from Lazio for a club-record fee of around £40 million. With such a hefty price tag looming over his head, the club will be hoping the Brazilian can repay the faith shown in him by Pellegrini.
The intriguing capture of Andriy Yarmolenko from German outfit, Borussia Dortmund is another signing to excite the Hammers and one which should provide a potent attacking threat. Anderson and Yarmolenko playing with width combined with Marko Arnautovic through the centre, is a dangerous front three — no matter what side.
A seventh-place finish for the Hammers is not an impossible ask but, with the side facing a big transition and overhaul, this season may have come too soon.
Action Images via Reuters/Craig Brough
Wisely using their Portuguese links under their new ownership structure, Wolves were promoted on their first time of asking under Nuno Espirito Santo.
Last season, the football which was played was arguably the most exciting to watch in the Championship. They recorded the most goals scored and combining with the joint best defence.
Transforming that into the Premier League will prove to be a tough task. Yet this Wolves side will play without fear and are going to provide a wealth of commotion.
Retaining the services of Ruben Neves and ensuring last season's loanee Diogo Jota returned were both big statements by the West Midlands club. In addition, the signing of Rui Patricio on a free transfer, coupled with a number of other experienced signings will push Wolves to be aiming for a top half finish.
Many pundits are touting Wolves to have a big season and, under tactically-savvy manager Nuno, it isn't hard to see why.
Whether Wolves can reach the heights of seventh in their return to the Premier League will certainly be a tough ask. However, with such talent thriving throughout their squad, they could cause a few shocks this season.
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