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Premier League Season Preview 20/21

The football season begins this weekend as the Premier League returns for the 20/21 season. Preparation has been all over the place with Covid and a delayed end to last season along with an untimely international break in the middle. The transfer window is still open and so business is still being conducted. Either way let’s look at the teams in their current state and what we can expect from them as of now. 

Arsenal – Last Season (8th – 56 points)

Transfers In 

Willian (Chelsea/Winger)Pablo Mari (Flamengo/Defender), Cedric Soares (Southampton/Defender), Gabriel (Lille/Defender), Dani Ceballos (Real Madrid/Midfielder) Loan, Alex Runarsson (Dijon/Goalkeeper), Thomas Partey (Atletico/Midfielder) 

Transfers Out

Mavropanos (Stuttgart/Loan), Mkhitaryan (AS Roma), Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa), Matteo Guendouzi (Hertha Berlin/Loan), Lucas Torreira (Atletico/Loan)

Last season was a rollercoaster of a season for the Gunners as it saw Emery sacked after a poor run of from and Ljunberg only last as interim manager for a few weeks. Arteta then finally joined the club after he left his role under Pep at City and since then he has shown signs that he is building a team at the Emirates. Free flowing tiki taka football isn’t really Arteta’s style but he is more inclined to playing like Conte and Mourinho as Arsenal tend to sit back and defend while countering with pace. An FA Cup and a Community Shield to his name already Arteta has enjoyed a fine start. Willian joins the team on a free from Chelsea while Gabriel is a high potential defender from Lille. Arsenal have struggled to push out the dead wood though but there are still a few weeks left in the window. Arsenal finished 8th last season but this season I think they will finish 6th in the table thereby securing a Europa League place but also pushing teams above them. 

Aston Villa – Last Season (17th – 35 points)

Transfers In 

Matty Cash (Nottingham Forest/Defender), Ollie Watkins (Brentford/Forward), Emiliano Martinez (Arsenal/Goalkeeper), Bertrand Traore (Lyon/Winger), Ross Barkley (Chelsea/Midfielder) Loan

Transfers Out

Mbwanna Samatta (Fenerbahce)

Villa just about avoided the relegation zone last season as they managed to keep themselves in the Premier League. Villa were defensively poor and offensively lacked the goals to win games but Grealish more than most managed to drag his team to survival. So the new season starts with Grealish still around while Matty Cash and Watkins are both sound additions from the Championship. I don’t think Dean Smith can do as badly as he did last season but the pressure will be on him. A mid table finish would be the best case scenario but I expect them to finish around 17th once again, just about avoiding relegation. 

Brighton and Hove Albion – Last Season (15th – 41 points)

Transfers In

Jensen Weir (Wigan/Midfielder), Adam Lallana (Liverpool/Midfielder), Joel Veltman (Ajax/Defender), Lars Dendoncker (Brugge/Defender), Andi Zeqiri (Lausanne/Forward)

Transfers Out

Leon Balogun (Wigan), Anthony Knockaert (Fulham), Beram Kayal (Released), Percy Tau (Anderlecht/Loan), Martin Montoya (Real Betis), Aaron Mooy (Shanghai SIPG), Glenn Murray (Watford/Loan), Shane Duffy (Celtic/Loan), David Button (West Brom), Dale Stephens (Burnley)

Graham Potter played some exciting attacking football with Brighton last season as but also danced with the threat of relegation. Lallana and Veltman are two quality additions which bring plenty of experience while Ben White’s return from Leeds adds another encouraging defender next to Lewis Dunk. I don’t think Brighton will be struggling with relegation but I don’t think they will push any higher than 15th.

Burnley – Last Season (10th – 54 points)

Transfers In

Will Norris (Wolves/Goalkeeper), Dale Stephens (Brighton/Defender)

Transfers Out

Joe Hart (Tottenham), Jeff Hendrick (Newcastle), Adam Legzdins (Released), Aaron Lennon (Released), Ben Gibson (Norwich/Loan)

Burnley still haven’t brought anyone of worth into the club but they have let go of Jeff Hendrick who was a crucial player in their team. Burnley finished a respectable 10th last season but with teams around them having improved this summer I can’t see them replicating their form even with a strong defence. I think Burnley will finish in the bottom 5 places but won’t be in threat of relegation. 

Chelsea

Catch the season preview post

Crystal Palace – Last Season (14th – 43 points)

Transfers In

Nathan Ferguson (West Brom/Defender), Eberechi Eze (QPR/Winger), Michy Batshuayi (Chelsea/Striker) Loan

Transfers Out 

Alexander Sorloth (Leipzig)

Palace finished 14th last season and have Roy Hodgson has done well to get some good signings into the club for this season. Ferguson is a good defender while Eze is very exciting young player who can create and score goals. Michy also joins from Chelsea on loan and he is always lethal if given the right chances in the box. I don’t see Palace breaking into the top 10 but I don’t think they will drop further than 14th, especially if Zaha stays. Top of the bottom half finish. 

Everton – Last Season (12th – 49 points)

Transfers In

Niels Nkounkou (Marseille/Defender), Allan (Napoli/Midfielder), James Rodriguez (Real Madrid/Midfielder), Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford/Midfielder), Ben Godfrey (Norwich/Defender), Robin Olsen (AS Roma/Goalkeeper)

Transfers Out

Oumar Niasse (Released), Cuco Martina (Released), Morgan Schneiderlin (Nice), Leighton Baines (Released), Maarten Stekelenburg (Ajax), Keiran Dowell (Norwich), Moise Kean (PSG) Loan, Theo Walcott (Southampton) Loan

Everton didn’t have the best of seasons last year but a poor start was followed by a quite good 2nd half of the season. Ancelotti replaced Silva as the manager and he went about trying to tweak the team and make some differences. This summer the new owners have backed him with Allan, James, and Doucoure all top signings that add grit and creativity to that midfield. Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison, Digne, Kean, Sigurdsson etc all provide depth and plenty of attacking prowess going forward. Pickford is still a bummer in goal but I guess Ancelotti felt he could manage for now. Everton have always been the team most likely to break into the top 10 but never being able to, and I feel that this season is finally the moment. I have Everton finishing 7th but I wouldn’t be surprised if they sneak into 6th at the cost of Arsenal. 

Fulham – Last Season (Play Off Champions)

Transfers In

Antonee Robinson (Wigan/Defender), Mario Lemina (Southampton/Midfielder), Harrison Reed (Southampton/Midfielder), Alphonse Areola (PSG/Goalkeeper) Loan, Kenny Tete (Lyon/Defender), Ola Aina (Torino/Defender) Loan, Ademola Lookman (Leipzig/Winger) Loan, Joachim Andersen (Lyon/Defender) Loan, Tosin Adarabioyo (Man City/Defener), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea/Midfielder) Loan

Transfers Out

Alfie Mawson (Bristol City) Loan, Marcus Bettinelli (Middlesbrough) Loan

Fulham are back in the Premier League after having a dismal run last time around with Scott Parker managing the side this time out. Fulham are the type of team that one would like to see stay up but always seem to drop back down regardless of ones expectations. The transfer window has been a fairly decent one with Robinson, Lemina, and Tete providing grit while Areola is a top class goalkeeper with plenty of experience in the biggest teams in Europe. I would like to say that Fulham could stay up and they for sure will be in a relegation battle but overall I think they will drop back down. 

Leeds United – Last Season (Championship Champions)

Transfers In

Helder Costa (Wolves/Winger), Illan Meslier (Lorient/Goalkeeper), Jack Harrison (Man City/Winger) Loan, Joe Gelhardt (Wigan/Forward), Cody Drameh (Fulham/Defender), Sam Greenwood (Arsenal/Forward), Rodrigo (Valencia/Forward), Robin Koch (Freiburg/Defender), Diego Llorente (Sociedad/Defender), Raphinha (Rennes/Winger)

Transfers Out

Everyone is excited to see Leeds back in the Premier League after more than a decade out because they are one of England’s historic clubs. After many years struggling in the 2nd to 3rd tier’s of English football, Bielsa finally managed to drag them back to top playing an attractive pressing style of football. The club is solidly run and they have invested well in the window bringing in Costa, Kock and Rodrigo from Valencia. Leeds also have some quality players like Phillips, Hernandez, and Bamford at the club as well. I have Leeds finishing 11th, just outside the top 10 mainly due to the fact that Bielsa is fixated on his philosophy and you need to be flexible in the Premier League. Leeds will do well but will fall short of the top 10. 

Leicester City – Last Season (5th – 62 points)

Transfers In

Timothy Castagne (Atalanta/Defender), Cengiz Under (Roma/Winger) Loan, Wesley Fofana (Saint-Etienne/Defender) 

Transfers Out

Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Adrien Silva (Sampdoria), Rachid Ghezzal (Besiktas) Loan

Leicester finished 5th last season and improved massively under Brendan Rodgers but given they were 3rd for most of the first 6 months there were clearly problems that needed to be fixed. I don’t think those problems have been addressed but while Chilwell left they did bring in Castagne from Atalanta. Brendan Rodgers will have some of his key players back for the start of the season but I don’t expect them to finish 5th again given the fact everyone around them has improved. They will finish in the top 10 probably around 8th. 

Liverpool – Last Season (Champions – 99 points)

Transfers In

Konstantinos Tsimikas (Olympiakos/Defender), Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich/Midfielder), Diogo Jota (Wolverhampton/Winger)

Transfers Out

Pedro Chirivella (Nantes), Nathaniel Clyne (Released), Dejan Lovren (Zenit), Adam Lallana (Brighton), Ovie Ejaria (Reading), Ki-Jana Hoever (Wolverhampton), Loris Karius (Union Berlin) Loan, Rhian Brewster (Sheffield United) 

Champions Liverpool ran riot last season as they won the league after billions of years but for whatever public or private reason they have failed to strengthen and invest into the squad in this window. Tsimikas is a back up option to Robertson and so not a massive improvement of sorts. Klopp will be hoping some of his academy players step up while Minamino will have eyes on him to make an impact. Title winning teams need to tweak themselves in order to maintain success but so far Liverpool have failed to do that. Werner was on the radar but moved to Chelsea while Thiago still has a question mark next to him. Liverpool will challenge for the title and they probably won’t finish lower than 2nd unless Lampard can really get Chelsea to click this season. I have the reds to finish 2nd. 

Manchester City – Last Season (2nd – 81 points)

Transfers In

Pablo Moreno (Juventus/Forward), Ferran Torres (Valencia/Winger), Nathan Ake (Bournemouth/Defender), Scott Carson (Derby/Goalkeeper) Loan, Ruben Dias (Benfica/Defender) 

Transfers Out

Leroy Sane (Bayern Munich), Jack Harrison (Leeds/Loan), David Silva (Real Sociedad), Claudio Bravo (Released), Angelino (Leipzig/Loan), Nicolas Otamendi (Benfica), Tosin Adarabioyo (Fulham)

City rather poorly lost the title last season and then were dumped out of the Champions League in poor fashion as well. The summer saw them quick of the mark as they bought Torres and Ake but they have since gone quiet. Messi was the talk of the town for a week or two but that drama ended with the Argentine staying in Barcelona. Koulibaly still seems like he could join City but for now Torres and Ake will have to make do. City will be hurting after losing last season and I have them winning the title this season, especially if they sign Koulibaly. 

Manchester United – Last Season (3rd – 66 points)

Transfers In

Odion Ighalo (Shanghai Shenhua/Forward) Loan, Donny van de Beek (Ajax/Midfielder), Alex Telles (Porto/Defender), Edinson Cavani (Free Agent/Forward), Facundo Pellistri (Atletico Penarol/Winger) 

Transfers Out

Alexis Sanchez (Inter Milan), Tahith Chong (Werder Bremen/Loan), Angel Gomes (Released), Joel Pereira (Huddersfield) Loan, James Garner (Watford) Loan, Andreas Pereira (Lazio) Loan, Diogo Dalot (AC Milan) Loan, Chris Smalling (AS Roma) 

United and Ole sneaked into 3rd largely due to Bruno Fernandes who descended down to red half of Manchester to save the Norwegian’s jobs and the club’s top four hopes. The owners though have failed to back the manager compared to teams around them with Van de Beek being the only signing albeit a good one. United arguably need a CDM, a centre back, a left back, and a right winger if they want to challenge even further but they are close to none at the moment. As of now I have them finishing 5th and possibly lower but if they can get in some of the rumoured targets like Sancho, and Reguilon then they could push for 4th. 

Newcastle United – Last Season (13th – 44 points)

Transfers In

Mark Gillespie (Motherwell/Goalkeeper), Niall Brookwell (Liverpool/Midfielder), Jeff Hendrick (Burnley/Midfielder), Callum Wilson (Bournemouth/Forward), Ryan Fraser (Bournemouth/Winger), Jamal Lewis (Norwich/Defender), 

Transfers Out

Jack Colback (Nottingham Forest), Florian Lejeune (Alaves/Defender) Loan, Yoshinori Muto (Eibar) Loan

Newcastle’s summer was dominated about rumours of a Saudi takeover but that has not seemed materialise yet. Newcastle have brought in some good players though with Wilson Hendrick, Fraser, and Lewis all additions that improve their team and squad. Bruce did well to guide the Magpies to 13th last season and I have them finishing there about this season. The best case scenario is that they finish 10th but I don’t think they will drop below 13th. 

Sheffield United – Last Season (9th – 54 points)

Transfers In

Wes Foderingham (Rangers/Goalkeeper), Aaron Ramsdale (Bournemouth/Goalkeeper), Jayden Bogle (Derby/Defender), Max Lowe (Derby/Defender), Ethan Ampadu (Chelsea/Defender) Loan, Oliver Burke (West Brom/Forward), Rhian Brewster (Liverpool/Forward) 

Transfers Out

Mark Duffy (Released), Callum Robinson (West Brom)

Sheffield United were the shock promoted team of last season as they took some massive scalps and all but reached Europe before fading away post lockdown. Wilder still proved he has the ability to manage in the Premier League and Sheffield United have only improved with two good left backs, Ampadu, and Burke joining the team. I do think Sheffield United will be in and around 10th this season as well but I don’t think they will finish in top 10 mainly due to teams ahead of them having improved as well. 

Southampton – Last Season (11th – 52 points)

Transfers In

Kyle Walker-Peters (Tottenham/Defender), Mohammed Salisu (Real Valladolid/Defender), Ibrahima Diallo (Brest/Midfielder), Theo Walcott (Everton/Winger) Loan

Transfers Out

Mohamed Elyounoussi (Celtic/Loan), Maya Yoshida (Released), Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Tottenham), Cedric Soares (Arsenal), Mario Lemina (Fulham/Loan), Harrison Reed (Fulham/Loan), Alfie Jones (Hull), Guido Carrillo (Elche), Wesley Hoedt (Lazio) Loan, Soufiane Boufal (Angers)

Hassenhutl and Southampton suffered a 9-0 loss to Leicester last season but the German stuck around and he not only turned the team into winners but guided them to an 11th placed finish. Hassenhutl has an eye catching style of football and he brings that German enthusiasm to his team. I think the Saints will continue to improve although they might want to get some offensive reinforcements before the window closes. I have them finishing 10th this season but not higher than that.

Tottenham – Last Season (6th – 59 points)

Transfers In 

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Southampton/Midfielder), Joe Hart (Burnley/Goalkeeper), Matt Doherty (Wolves/Defender), Sergio Reguilon (Real Madrid/Defender), Gareth Bale (Real Madrid/Winger) Loan, Carlos Vinicius (Benfica/Forward) Loan

Transfers Out

Jan Vertonghen (Released), Michel Vorm (Released), Troy Parrott (Milwall/Loan), Kyle Walker-Peters (Southampton), Oliver Skipp (Norwich/Loan), Juan Foyth (Villarreal) Loan, Ryan Sessegnon (Hoffenheim) Loan

Tottenham never really built on their Champions League final finish last season and Pochettino was sacked after a poor start. In came Mourinho a sharp 180 on the Argentine and he guided Spurs to a 6th placed finish. Spurs have done well to get some good players in with Hojbjerg and Doherty both slotting into their starting XI. Mourinho also has all his players back fit and so he can start a fresh. I have Mourinho and Spurs fighting and finishing 4th this season and I also feel they will win a cup along the way as well. 

West Brom – Last Season (2nd Championship)

Transfers In

Matheus Pereira (Sporting Lisbon/Winger), Cedric Kipre (Wigan/Defender), Grady Diangana (West Ham/Midfielder), David Button (Brighton/Goalkeeper), Callum Robinson (Sheffield United/ Forward), Branislav Ivanovic (Zenit/Defender), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea/Midfielder) Loan, Filip Krovinovic (Benfica/Midfielder) Loan

Transfers Out 

Chris Brunt (Released), Jonathan Leko (Birmingham City), Oliver Burke (Sheffield United)

Slaven Bilic is back in the Premier League and this time with West Brom. The team finished 2nd in the Championship last season and they have had a fairly decent window this summer as well. Pereira is a top talent while Diangana and Robinson also fall into the category. The problem is that I think many of West Brom’s players are Championship players and they haven’t added any Premier League experience to their ranks. I have West Brom fighting for relegation and if they survive that would be a big win for them. 

West Ham – Last Season (16th – 39 points)

Transfers In

Tomas Soucek (Slavia Prague/Midfielder), Ossama Ashley (Wimbledon/Midfielder), Vladimir Coufal (Slavia Prague/Defender) 

Transfers Out 

Carlos Sanchez (Released), Pablo Zabaleta (Released), Roberto (Real Valladolid), Grady Diangana (West Brom), Jack Wilshere (Released), Josh Cullen (Anderlecht) 

West Ham and Moyes suffered another poor season in 19/20 and things have not got better in the summer. Soucek is a quality addition but letting go of Diangana has ruffled some feathers in the club while Rice could also leave before the window is over. West Ham have more many seasons now flirted with the relegation zone and I think this season might finally be the push they need to get relegated. 

Wolverhampton Wanderers – Last Season (7th – 59 points)

Transfers In

Matija Sarkic (Aston Villa/Goalkeeper), Fabio Silva (Porto/Forward), Fernando Marcal (Lyon/Defender), Vitinha (Porto/Midfielder) Loan, Ki-Jana Hoever (Liverpool/Defender), Nelson Semedo (Barcelona/Defender), Rayan Ait-Nouri (Angers/Defender) Loan

Transfers Out

Helder Costa (Leeds), Morgan Gibbs-White (Swansea/Loan), Matt Doherty (Tottenham), Matija Sarkic (Shrewsbury/Loan), Diogo Jota (Liverpool), Leo Bonatini (Grasshopper) Loan, Ruben Vinagre (Olympiacos) Loan

Wolves have continued to push and excel in the league since the returned under Nuno and they will look to do so this season as well. Their signings have been more of prospects rather than guaranteed starters though and so their are question marks over the recruitment. I think Wolves will finish in the top 10 as usual and could push for 7th but will most likely finish between 8th and 10th. 

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