The start of another Premier League season is upon us. The fans are anticipating an eventful and captivating season, and this will be unlike any other. The league celebrates its 31st season due to a winter hiatus for the World Cup in Qatar. How will the clubs adapt to this change and where will each side finish in the table?
Whilst the Gunners might well consider last season a disappointment the reality is that finishing fifth within one game of Champions League football was a successful season based on their personnel. This season the club will look to qualify for the Champions League as they continue their growth and development under Mikel Arteta. Arteta has strengthened his squad with the acquisitions of Gabriel Jesus, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Fabio Viera. The team have begun playing the pressing game Arteta envisaged when he first took over and are now competitive in fixtures against other “Big Six” sides. The side will be near the top four positions of the league battling it out with Manchester United and Chelsea for fourth but they will just fall short.
Expectations at this club will have increased significantly due to the continued investment from the owners. As a result, there will be serious pressure on Steven Gerrard to deliver a top-half finish. Last season started poorly for Villa (under Dean Smith) and he was replaced mid-way by Gerrard who guided them to a fourteenth place finish. The signings over the summer will help build solidity within Gerrard’s side, a trait that was important at Rangers, who won the Scottish Premier Football League, and one that will help Villa finish in the top ten. The signings of Diego Carlos from Sevilla and Boubacar Kamara from Marseille will help strengthen their frail defence as the club strives towards their ambitions this season. The fans will look at the promising performances in the preseason as an indicator of great things to come under Gerrard. Unfortunately, if this does not occur then Gerrard’s tenure could be very much in doubt, as Villa’s owners have shown a ruthless streak to achieve success.
Their first season as a Premier League club has to be considered a major success. This season the target has to be to consolidate their position as a Premier League club. Despite the investment in a number of promising signings including Keane Lewis-Potter, Aaron Hickey and Ben Mee this season it will be difficult to avoid relegation as they have lost the talismanic Eriksen that saved the side last season from the drop. The fans will continue to support and provide a special atmosphere during fixtures despite the fear of suffering from the dreaded second-season syndrome that many recently promoted sides face. Brentford can take a lot of confidence knowing that they have quality within their side to help in their relegation battle this year but this quality and desire may not be enough to save them this year.
Brighton and Hove Albion
The progress that the club has made since the appointment of Graham Potter has been nothing short of outstanding. The lack of goals last season was the main factor in the team only finishing ninth. This is an issue that the management is all too aware of and the search for a striker is ongoing to solve this problem. The loss of Yves Bissouma and the potential loss of Marc Cucurella could prove to be damaging to the Seagulls hopes of evolving further under Potter however, these losses will not prove detrimental to the exciting nature of the team and the fans can expect a mid-table finish this season; unless there is a dip into the market for the necessary players to replace their losses.
The Cherries were finally promoted back to the Premier League after a two-year absence. The squad looked impressive and dynamic under the stewardship of Scott Parker last season. The club had the fewest goals conceded in the Championship while maintaining a high goal return finishing second in these rankings. The club has maintained a similar squad to last season with Parker looking to the players having a familiarity within a system to survive the relegation battle this season. A perennial problem for newly promoted teams is the gulf in class between the Premier League and the Championship; Bournemouth’s fans will have to endure a tough season as they watch their side fight for survival.
The current world club champions will look to improve on a disappointing season in the league last season. Chelsea was expected to be in a title race at the start of the season last year yet almost gave up Champions League qualification by the finish. Chelsea have lost players in a number of key positions including Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Romelu Lukaku. However, the signings of Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly are improvements on their losses. The ability to use Sterling in a fluid attack and the improved qualities of Koulibaly compared to Rudiger will help bring about an improvement to the Chelsea side. Chelsea will be battling the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United to secure their Champions League status for another season.
FA cup semi-finalists last year the club had a great season under Patrick Viera last year. Palace were one of the favourites to be relegated last season after an overhaul of players and staff in the summer of 2021. The club invested in a younger profile of player and played a more forward-thinking style of play compared to that of Roy Hodgson, which led to a twelfth-place finish. The continuance of this transfer policy has brought about the signings of Chris Richards from Bayern Munich and Cheick Doucoure from RC Lens to help strengthen the club’s defensive structure. The dynamism of Wilfred Zaha, Michael Olise and Eberechi Eze will look to build upon their impressive season last year and with a stronger defensive platform, we can expect to see a stronger Palace side.
A club in turmoil last season and one that survived by the skin of its teeth. Everton and its fans would have expected a top half finish last year, so the relegation battle was an incredible disappointment. To ensure that this doesn’t happen again the Toffees have signed James Tarkowski, Dwight McNeil and Ruben Vinagre. These signings are important to help the incredibly fragile defence from last season and to bring about some attacking creativity for Everton. Frank Lampard will have learnt from this experience last season however, will this experience help the squad push on this year? Or will it be more of the same this year in a relegation dogfight, despite their fresh signings?
The Championship champions are returning to the Premier League after one season in the second division. Fulham were an impressive attacking presence scoring 106 goals under the stewardship of Marco Silva, who managed to get the best out of Aleksandar Mitrović and will look towards the Serbian to provide the platform to bring about Premier League security. The signings of Kevin Mbabu and Joao Palhinha will look to strengthen the Cottagers defence to support Mitrovic in the clubs ambitions this year; the defence has been a common weakness of Silva sides during his Premier League career. The club will be determined to do better than their last two stints in the Premier league and will believe they have the ability against their relegation rivals to ensure their safety.
Leeds survived relegation on the last day of the season last year while still suffering from second season syndrome. Leeds had a lot of injuries last year which had a major impact upon their ability to perform. The poor results led to the sacking of Marcelo Bielsa and the appointment of Jesse Marsch, helping steady the club through adapting to a new style of football leaving them less exposed and open in defence. A continuation of Marsch’s tactics and the introduction of their new signings could lead to a better performance for Leeds this season, despite losing two of their most valuable players in Kalvin Philips and Raphinha. The fans may not be as excited to watch this style of football but they will be pleased if their club remains in the Premier League, where they believe Leeds belong.
The Foxes had a poor season last year when compared to the previous three seasons under Brendan Rodgers; finishing eighth and outside of European qualification. Leicester would want to build towards qualifying for Europe again next season, however, the club have yet to sign any players to help them in this ambition alongside concerns key players are looking to depart the club. The season could be a tough one for Leicester city fans to endure as a failure to evolve the squad may result in a regression of the team’s performance and results. Reliance will be on stalwarts of the squad, although the team won’t be in trouble of relegation, they may have to deal with mid-table obscurity.
The club fell short of making history to become the first English side to win the quadruple of the major trophies. The club had to be happy with the EFL cup and the FA cup after a long season. This season the club invested in changing the attack that had worked for multiple seasons with the acquisition of Darwin Nunez to replace the African Player of the Year, Sadio Mane. This change will be an interesting one to witness as the season progresses, with the club looking to challenge for the Champions League and Premier League titles again this year. The lack of investment in midfield may be a concern for fans as this area lacks creativity without Thiago but most fans will be confident of qualification for the Champions League as a bare minimum this season.
The current Premier League champions will be expected to win the league for the fifth time in the last six seasons. The signing of Erling Haaland has fans throughout the Premier League clubs expecting this Man City juggernaut to continue their success within the league. The club will be determined to win the Champions League this season as this is perceived as the holy grail for all involved within the club; the reclamation of the EFL cup will be an important trophy for many fans to win this season. The only concern and worry within the club may be the reduction of the squad through the departure of a number of key squad players including Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus with a potential injury causing their season to derail.
The club have taken this preseason to restart and attempt to rebuild the club again after the appointment of Erik Ten Hag. The club have made acquisitions (Lisandro Martinez, Christen Eriksen and Tyrell Malacia) that will help the imposition of the managers new style and embed it within the current squad. Preseason has given fans a sense of optimism with the club impressing at their fixtures with strong performances and results. Man United will look at qualification to the Champions League this season with the hope that it could catapult the club towards a league title within the next three years. The Cristiano Ronaldo saga has not been helpful to the club this summer with fans coming to the realisation that the club may be better without the striker as the style of Ten Hag could bring the desired success.
Following a terrible start to the season with relegation looking inevitable they ended the season incredibly strongly following the takeover of the club by the Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. Under the helm of Eddie Howe, the team played an attractive style of football and with further strong signings to build on the ones in January many fans expect a strong performance this season. Key to this season will be Sven Botman, Kieran Trippier and Bruno Guimaraes. The three players will be pivotal to the structure and creativity of the team. Further investment is expected in the transfer window to help the club finish in the top half of the table and build upon their eleventh-placed finish last season.
The two-time European Champions have returned to the Premier League for the first time since 1999. Forest have been incredibly busy within the transfer market and have signed a few players to improve their first eleven. The signings of Neco Williams, Jesse Lingard and Taiwo Awoniyi will be vital to the survival of the club within the Premier League. Steve Cooper took over Forest in the relegation zone of the Championship and managed to get promoted through the play-offs. Forest will look to their strong defence as the platform to their fight for survival. The importance of getting the numerous new signings to understand the tactics of Cooper will be vital to maintain their status in the Premier League.
The Saints finished fifteenth last season with the threat of relegation looming over them until the end of last season. The club have signed a number of promising players to help in the development of the club, however, this may result in a tough season of fighting for safety once again. Gavin Bazunu, Joe Aribo and Sekou Mara are amongst the promising signings that Ralph Hasenhuttl will look to keep the club in the league. The heavy pressing style of Hasentuttl requires young, energetic players to carry it out successfully. The fans will hope that the raw talent and adaptation to the tactics will be better than their relegation rivals, however, the lack of experience may be an issue throughout the season in grinding out results.
The appointment of Antonio Conte was vital last season in bringing about the qualification for the Champions League this season. The Italian imposed his style of play upon the team and this brought the club success; Spurs became hard to beat and they achieved good results against Man City and Liverpool. The club have backed Conte in the transfer market this summer and have brought in a number of acquisitions to evolve the team further to fight for silverware. Spurs will look to the signing of Yves Bissouma, Ivan Perisic and Clement Lenglet as a statement of intent towards their rivals that the club will be competing on all fronts and supporting Conte in his revolution.
The Hammers ended the season on disappointment with the loss in the semi-final of the Europa League to eventual winners Frankfurt. The club had a good season in the Premier League with qualification for the Europa Conference League this season. The club have laid out a statement of intent to develop the team with the signings of Gianluca Scamacca and Nayef Aguerd. David Moyes has made West Ham hard to beat and with the signing of Scamacca, to improve the team’s attack, the club could improve upon their seventh-place finish. The fans will be hoping for European success this year and will be encouraged by the direction that the club is heading currently.
Wolves had threatened for European qualification midway through the season, however, it tailed off towards the end with a tenth-place finish. Wolves will look to their strong and robust starting eleven again this season to repeat the same feat as last year. The development of a football team requires continuous investment and the Wolves side have failed to do that this summer transfer window so far, barring the signing of Nathan Collins from Burnley, and this may witness them slip further down the table. The fans will look forward to seeing the exciting brand of football Bruno Lage has brought to the club once again but may have to settle for a few more disappointing results this year.
The Premier League season promises to be as exciting as ever. Fans will be counting down to the 5th of August to witness the kick-off to this new season. The world will be watching to see who will be crowned champions this season, will it be Man City or will it be lifted by Liverpool, Spurs or can Man United shock all under the management of Ten Hag. We’re all looking forward to watching it all unfold.