ANOTHER nine-month slog starts tonight as the Premier League returns for another season.

It is around this sort of time when fans and pundits alike put together their predictions for the upcoming campaign, so here are mine.

Champions - Manchester City

It is tough to look past City as title winners once again. The wealth of talent that Pep Guardiola has available to him will likely see the reigning champions retain their title for another year.

Runners-up - Liverpool

They will pushed hard by Liverpool again, without a doubt, but the Reds managed to go through the 2018/19 season with just one defeat and they still ended up second to the champions. It will be hard to see them replicate that sort of feat again, but they should make second spot their own.

Third - Tottenham

A whopping 27 points separated Liverpool and third-placed Chelsea last season, with Tottenham one point further back as the top two went off to compete in a league of their own. However, I cannot see the same happening this season, and although Liverpool will still comfortably finish second, I think the gap will be around the ten-point mark this season.

Spurs have boosted their midfield with the signing of Tanguy Ndombele and have retained the services of Christian Eriksen (at least for the time being – he could still leave for a European club this month), and if Harry Kane can stay fit this season, he and Heung-Min Son should provide the goals they need to reclaim third spot.

Fourth - Arsenal

After years of predictable jokes about Arsenal finishing fourth every year, the Gunners have not finished in the top four since they finished second to Leicester City in 2016 (doesn't it feel longer than that?!).

But I think this year could be the year they finally make their return, although I can see that particular battle with Chelsea going right down to the wire, with maybe only a point or two between them.

Nicolas Pepe has joined for a club-record £72 million, so he should be a valuable addition to an already impressive attack alongside Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

David Luiz will hopefully add something to Arsenal's central defensive problem, and if fellow new boy Kieran Tierney can have same impact as fellow Scottish left-back Andy Robertson has had at Liverpool, they could be on to a winner.

Fifth - Chelsea

There are a couple of reasons as to why I think Chelsea will be the ones to fall short this year. The first is the biggest - no Eden Hazard. The Belgian ace has been the club's driving force for a few seasons now, but his departure to Real Madrid has left a huge creative hole in the Stamford Bridge attack with no obvious successor.

Second is the lack of experience of new boss Frank Lampard. While I like that he went to Derby County and did some good things with them, he has only had a year of management experience and no experience of the top flight. Being a club legend doesn't quite cut it by itself.

Sixth - Manchester United

If there wasn't such a big gap between the top six and the chasing pack, then I would probably put United lower than sixth, but after a fairly poor season last year they still managed to finish nine points clear of an excellent Wolves side in seventh.

United will pick up fewer than the 66 points they managed last season, but I also think Wolves may come unstuck should they also have a debut Europa League campaign to deal with. They are currently one round from the group stage, and if they qualify for that then I can see it taking a toll on their league campaign, which may open the door for the likes of Leicester City to steal seventh spot this year.

Relegated - Sheffield United, Norwich, Brighton

It is always tough predicting the bottom three in the Premier League as you can usually make a case for about half of the league being involved in a relegation battle.

I have gone for Sheffield United as I am not sure their squad has what it takes to stay in the division, and their summer signings don't seem likely to change that. Only 36-year-old Everton centre-back Phil Jagielka, who played seven games last season, and AFC Bournemouth striker Lys Mousset, who has scored three league goals in as many seasons, arrive with Premier League experience.

Norwich are one of the classic yo-yo clubs and I expect them to bounce straight back down too. They should put up a good fight but I think they will fall short, although I could easily see them instantly going back up once again.

Brighton are my pick for the third relegation spot. They were quick to dismiss Chris Hughton almost as soon as the season came to an end and I think it might come back to haunt them.

The only of the Seagulls' five summer signings to have any English top-flight experience is Aaron Mooy, and that was of relegation with Huddersfield Town last term. New gaffer Graham Potter also lacks Premier League nous, and that could prove crucial come May.