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2021/22 Premier League Season: Five Key Questions

Will relegation matter for Brentford? Are Villa the real deal? Will Everton give Benitez time? More questions for the Premier League season
Premier League season

The Premier League season is a few hours away from kicking off. Having outlined questions for the new season, here is Part Two of questions ahead of the new campaign.

2021/22 Premier League Season: More Questions

Will Southampton and Hasenhuttl Reach the End of the Road?

Two years ago, Ralph Hasenhuttl felt like hot property in the Premier League. His style transformed Southampton from a flailing side to a stable one, and it felt a matter of time before a bigger club came calling. Yet, as we enter this new Premier League season, his stock looks to be at its lowest.

Again, there were positive signs under the Austrian manager last season, with the club having gone top of the table at some point, and came into the new year around the Champions League spots. But such was Southampton’s second-half collapse last season that they ultimately became much closer to relegation than to any European spot. This upcoming season will see the Saints without talisman Danny Ings, who left for Aston Villa. Jannik Vestergaard also looks to be heading for the door, and despite making some young additions, the Saints look light in significant departments. For the past three seasons, Hasenhuttl has looked to be just a few additions away from taking Southampton up a notch. The incomings have never quite happened, and things might just come to a head this term.

Are Aston Villa the Real Deal This Premier League Season?

Since 2018, Aston Villa have always faced a prospect (however tiny) of losing Jack Grealish. The potential departure of their talisman has always been something that filled the fans with dread. Yet, as it has finally happened now, with Grealish having left for Manchester City before this Premier League season, and a few voices of fan discontent aside, Villa looked well equipped to deal with that loss.

It’s a tad ironic that for a team with a huge reliance of Grealish on creativity, the year he leaves is the one in which they look stacked in that department. Villa’s signings since getting promoted in 2019 have caught the eye, last season they made smart acquisitions in Emiliano Martinez, Ollie Watkins, and Matty Cash. And this year, they’ve done similar, in the likes of Emi Buendia, Danny Ings, and Leon Bailey. The important thing is Villa have made these signings, without really being expected to hit a top-six spot immediately. They’re ambitious, without necessarily shouldering any burden of expectation, and with a few teams in the European spots looking uncertain, the Midlands club could pounce.

Will Everton Fans Be Patient With Benitez?

No sooner had Rafa Benitez started being linked with Everton, than the Toffees fans brought forth receipts about the Spaniard’s comments about the club when he was manager of bitter rivals Liverpool. That was pretty much an indicator of how the Everton fans have taken to their new manager ahead of the new Premier League season.

Benitez is the latest name in the Goodison Park dugout to try and take the club closer to the European spots. Over the years, Everton have gone for the manager with a point to prove (Ronald Koeman). They’ve also gone for the young and exciting appointment (Marco Silva), and the proven winner (Carlo Ancelotti), all of which have offered false dawns but no true results. Benitez is somewhere along the lines of the first and the third sections, and will be keen at a club in which there are considerably greater resources compared to his previous Premier League season, but how much time will he get? A flailing start means fans who are already unconvinced will get louder in criticism, but patience is required.

Is This the Final Premier League Season for Dyche at Burnley?

The thought that the previous campaign would have been the last Premier League season for Sean Dyche at Burnley wasn’t absurd. In fact, it followed similar rumours from the 2019/20 season, which also looked like the last for Dyche at Turf Moor. The ‘Ginger Mourinho’ has made those rumours look misplaced in both seasons. But the speculation is by no means ending. Is Dyche coming to the end of his road with Burnley?

It’s not even too much of a stretch to suggest whether Burnley themselves might be coming to the end of the Premier League road. The Clarets haven’t quite bolstered their squad in any of the past two years. Young defender Nathan Collins and goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey are the only additions so far this summer. And this is something that’s increasingly making their manager uneasy. Those two rumours may have been proven wrong, but they’re not without merit. There are hints of smoke at Turf Moor, and soon there may be fire.

Will it Matter if Brentford Go Down?

Brentford will be the latest name to join the revamped Premier League, and the first since Huddersfield in 2017. Thomas Frank’s side will kick off the new season at their new Community Stadium, at home to big name Arsenal, in their first top-flight season in over 70 years. The Bees have been knocking on the door of promotion for a while, having fallen in the play-off final in 2020, but will relegation matter?

Brentford are an incredibly patient team, trusting in their method and data-driven analysis. So much so that for all their ambitions, they made the play-offs just twice between 2015 and 2020. Not to mention their incredible patience with Thomas Frank after he joined. Relegation might come after their first season back, many have them to go down, but that wouldn’t deter this club one bit. They have no interest in fast-tracking their growth, and any short-term drop hardly matters much in the long run.

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