With the start of new Premier League season fast approaching and anticipation building to fever pitch, Callum Dumbell takes a look at each of the 20 sides and examines their transfer dealings and expectations for the season.
Last season was one of mixed emotions for Arsenal, winning their third FA cup in 4 years but missing out on Champions League football for the first time in 20 years. A large number of the Arsenal faithful have grown increasingly frustrated with Arsene Wenger and his inability to maintain a credible title challenge or Champions League run. Although Wenger must shoulder a portion of the blame, the Arsenal hierarchy are also culpable for dragging their feet too often in the transfer window and allowing their rivals to leave them behind.
Arsenal fans will no doubt have been delighted when it was announced that The Gunners had signed Alexandre Lacazette for a club record fee. A proven marksman in his native France, he is the new star shouldering the heavy expectation of the Arsenal fans and with it looking increasingly likely that Alexis Sanchez will be moving on this summer, Lacazette will have to be at the top of his game to keep his new fans happy. Balancing the Europa League and the Premier League is never an easy task and although Arsenal will likely favour the Premier League, you only have to look at Manchester United last season to see that the Europa League is certainly a real window into the Champions League, if taken seriously.
Predicted finish: 5th
Bournemouth are a team on the up. Ever since their promotion to the Premier League they have defied all the odds and continued to surprise everyone, including themselves. 9th place last season was an incredible achievement, only missing out on 8th place on goal difference and Eddie Howe has worked wonders with The Cherries. But they haven’t stood still this summer, snapping up Jermain Defoe on a free transfer and smashing their transfer record when they paid £20m to champions Chelsea for Nathan Ake. These deals will only strengthen a confident Bournemouth and I predict another season of delight for their loyal following.
Predicted finish: 11th
Brighton’s meteoric rise from the brink of extinction and relegation from the Football league, to the top flight has been very similar to Bournemouth’s. However the Premier League isn’t kind towards fairytales and The Seagulls will have to keep the honeymoon period short and get straight to work. It’s going to be a tough slog for the south coast side and their home form will be the key factor for them if they are to avoid the drop.
Chris Hughton’s record in the Premier League is questionable and Brighton have not yet made any significant movements in the transfer window with Australian Goalkeeper Matt Ryan, Austrian Defender Markus Suttner and Izzy Brown (Loan) the only additions so far. They would be wise to utilise this period to strengthen their ranks and try to bring in premier league quality and experience; otherwise the step up from Championship to Premier League may prove a step too far.
Predicted finish: 19th
Burnley were a resilient side at home last season chalking up 10 home wins against the likes of Liverpool and Everton. Their away form however was dreadful with just one win on the road all campaign, which didn’t come until the end of April away at Crystal Palace. They will have been disappointed to lose one of their star performers in Michael Keane, however the £30M fee they received from Everton will have helped to ease the pain.
They haven’t dragged their feet in reinvesting the money either, signing Jack Cork from Swansea and adding Premier League experience in Stoke City’s Jon Walters and Phil Bardsley. The talented young Charlie Taylor, who impressed at Leeds last season has also joined up and Burnley will be looking to build on last season’s 16th place finish. There are certainly worse sides than The Clarets in this league and I fancy Burnley to extend their stay in the top flight.
Predicted finish: 14th
No team has retained the Premier League title since Manchester United in 2008/09 and I don’t expect that to change this season. Chelsea were spectacular last season as Antonio Conte shook up the whole league with his brilliant tactics. No one could handle the free flowing attack of Chelsea and they were deservedly crowned champions.
However, Chelsea were free to focus all their attention on their push for the title with no European football to distract them last term. This allowed their players to stay fresh and focus all their effort on the league. With a Champions League campaign to juggle with domestic matters I think Chelsea will struggle to maintain the fast paced style for a whole season without suffering a decline in form.
They have however made some decent signings. Antonio Rudiger and Tiemoue Bakayoko add defensive steel and the £56M deal for Italian forward Alvaro Morata is an exciting move for all involved with Chelsea. If Morata adjusts to the Premier League he will be a fantastic addition and certainly a player who can challenge for the golden boot. He already has substantial Champions League experience and he could be the key to whatever success Chelsea achieve this season.
Predicted finish: 3rd
Written by @CalDumbell follow him on twitter.
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