We are now well less than a month away from the new Premier League season, which starts on August 14 when newcomers Brentford take on one of the most established top-flight sides there is in Arsenal. After the unpredictability of the last campaign, many will be wondering how the next ten months of football will shape up, so here are some predictions and key talking points ahead of the upcoming Premier League season, and how bettors might lean, as you can now wager on virtual soccer, too.
Key Points Ahead of the New Premier League Season
Champions and Top Four
After both of the last two seasons’ scraps for Champions League qualification in the English top division have gone down to the last day of the campaign, the teams who will end up in the top four this time around is a hot topic. Conversely, both of these occasions have seen runaway champions in Liverpool and Manchester City respectively, with nobody else able to provide enough competition. The new season is likely to be much closer in this department, with four teams all looking to have a decent chance of winning it.
Title holders Manchester City seem the team to beat once again. While they are yet to make any major signings this summer, big moves for Jack Grealish and Harry Kane have both been heavily rumoured, and seem genuinely possible with both potentially searching for a move to a side at which they have a greater chance of winning a trophy.
Similarly, Liverpool will also expect to be right up at the top of the table come the business end of this season. While their injury troubles last time out caused the likes of star player Virgil van Dijk to miss many months, the Reds will hope that fate is kinder to them during the 2021/22 campaign, and if their luck isn’t too bad they stand a solid chance of winning the league.
Manchester United surprised many last campaign when they finished in a fairly comfortable second place. Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer silenced many of his critics by taking a squad that lacked a single recognised right-winger to runners up in a highly competitive Premier League. With the signing of Jadon Sancho having been confirmed on Friday, and other big moves rumoured, the Red Devils certainly have an outside chance of mounting a title charge, and will, for the first time in years, be looking for more than just top four.
After winning the Champions League in May, Chelsea will fancy themselves to take the confidence gained there into their domestic competitions, namely the Premier League. Thomas Tuchel is an accomplished coach, and under his guidance, the Blues definitely have the capability to win the title. As with many, consistency will be the key.
Leicester City have agonisingly lost an established position in the top four in both of the last two seasons, so they will hope that it will be third time lucky next campaign. In an ever-improving league, though, the FA Cup champions may struggle to keep up with clubs of such commercial power
North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal are both desperately trying to leave their recent woes behind them after some uncharacteristically poor seasons. Each seems to be putting an emphasis on youth, with Tottenham set to swap ageing attacker Eric Lamela plus £21.6 million for 20-year-old Sevilla wonerkid Bryan Gil, while Arsenal on Friday confirmed the contract extension of exciting youngster Emile Smith-Rowe.
They will hope that they can challenge for a place in the top four, but if Everton can’t do it under now Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti, they will struggle to do it under anyone else. The Toffees can expect a finish in the top half of the table, potentially competing for one of the less prestigious European competitions available, but Champions League qualification should be a step too far for them.
Leeds United, who ended up in a very respectable ninth place last season following their promotion to the top flight, are likely to be in and around the middle of the table. While it is possible that they could have a catastrophic drop in form like what happened to Sheffield United recently, Marcelo Bielsa’s squad seems technically more gifted and suited to the Premier League.
In their first-ever Premier League season, Brentford may see a Leeds-esque season next year, with Kristoffer Ajer a fantastic addition to an already talented side.
Meanwhile, under new manager Patrick Viera, Crystal Palace could outdo their performances over the last few years, having finished the last six campaigns in the bottom half of the Premier League.
Newcastle United, Southampton, Brighton and Hove Albion, and Wolverhampton Wanderers are also likely to be near the middle of the table next season, as are West Ham United, who will struggle to keep up with the fixture congestion of being in the Europa League group stage.
Fight for Survival
The battle for Premier League safety usually goes right down to the wire, with that of 2019/20 being a perfect example of this, but last season it was a little flat, with 17th place Burnley finishing 11 points clear of the drop zone. Sean Dyche’s men always seem to survive in the end, and may well carry that form into the new campaign, although it could be close.
This leaves three teams: Aston Villa, Norwich City, and Watford.
Villa’s placement next season will be hugely dependent on whether they are able to keep star man Jack Grealish. If they can retain the Englishman, they have a much better chance of staying up–and even creeping further up the table, but if they lose him they may well struggle to stay up, as was seen a year ago at the conclusion of the 2019/20 season.
Norwich are in a similar position now as they were a couple of years ago, but have the benefit of experience. They will have licked their wounds and will be determined to stay up this campaign, but just don’t appear to have enough to stay up.
Similarly, Watford also bounced straight back up from the Championship last season, but, like Norwich, their squad appears to lack the quality required for the top flight.