As the 2020/21 Premier League football season gets set to kick off this coming Saturday, we fans realise this season will be like no other. The Covid-19 pandemic looms large over each one of us, meaning there will be no fans at stadiums, at least not in the opening weeks of the season. However, the show must go on for all of us.
Teams have been out spending money on players throughout the short break between the end of the 2019/20 season (following Project Restart) and the beginning of this season. We had 3 teams get relegated to the Sky Bet Championship: Norwich City, Watford and Bournemouth. However, the three teams who’ve taken their place (Fulham, West Bromwich Albion and Leeds United, the latter returning to the top flight after 16 years away) look to be one of the most exciting trios to be promoted in a number of years. Some teams look set to have very good seasons, while others could be set for a year of struggles. It could even end in tears for some teams who could find themselves at the wrong end of the table come the end of the season in May 2021.
Let’s take a look at the teams who will be competing in the Premier League this season.
Last Season: 17th
Transfers In: Matty Cash (Nottingham Forest) £16m, Ollie Watkins (Brentford) £28m rising to £33m
Transfers Out: Ross McCormack (Released), James Chester (Stoke City) Free, Callum O’Hare (Released)
Last season was a struggle for Aston Villa, who managed to survive on the final day, finishing just a single point above Bournemouth. There were promising signs at points during the season, with the likes of Jack Grealish and John McGinn providing quality which proved crucial to the Villains’ survival. However, injuries at the turn of the year had a major impact on Villa performances in the second half of the season, with season-ending injuries to goalkeeper Tom Heaton and club record signing Wesley, as well as a long-term injury to John McGinn.
A huge lack of goals, as well as major defensive issues, plagued Villa throughout the second half of the season, but they managed to go unbeaten in their last 4 games, having not won in their previous 10 before that, to secure Premier League status for a second season.
Holding on to Jack Grealish is crucial to survival this season for Villa. However, the lack of goals in the side needs fixing, which Villa look set to do with the incoming signing of Brentford striker Ollie Watkins. On the defensive side of things, the signing of Matty Cash adds quality at right-back but it would benefit them to bring in another centre-back if they can, to help support Mings in the heart of the defence. It will be another tough season for Villa, but if they can keep things tight at the back they might just stay up once more.
Last Season: 8th
Transfers In: Gabriel Magalhaes (Lille) £27m, William Saliba (Saint Etienne) £27m, Willian (Chelsea) Free, Pablo Mari (Flamengo) Undisclosed, Cedric Soares (Southampton) Undisclosed, Dani Ceballos (Real Madrid) Loan
Transfers Out: Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Roma) Undisclosed, Sam Greenwood (Leeds) £1m, Mavropanos (Stuttgart) Loan
Much like a team can have a game of two halves, it was very much a season of two halves for Arsenal. Morale was low among the fans heading into the new season, following the 4-1 drubbing suffered at the hands of Chelsea in the 2018/19 Europa League Final, but there was still some optimism following the signings of David Luiz and Nicolas Pepé. However, it became more of the same for the Gunners as the season began, consistently dropping points against teams they’d be expected to beat.
It wasn’t long before Unai Emery found himself out of luck and out of chances, as he was sacked on the 29th November. Freddie Ljungberg, a member of the great “Invincibles” team, found himself in temporary charge of the first team, with the chance to prove he could take the job on a full-time basis. Things didn’t pan out as Ljungberg would’ve hoped though, as he won just one of his five games at the helm.
Almost a month after Emery’s sacking, former Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta, who had spent the last three years as Pep Guardiola’s assistant at Manchester City, was announced as Arsenal’s new head coach. After a period of adaptation, fortunes changed for Arsenal as their form steadily improved, and Arteta received plaudits for his side’s great possession-based football. They would finish the season in 8th, missing out on European football, but victory in the FA Cup Final over rivals Chelsea ensured a place in the Europa League for the coming season.
It’s been a promising start to Arteta’s reign but there are still improvements to be made. The arrivals of central defenders Gabriel Magalhaes from Lille and William Saliba from Saint Etienne will hugely strengthen their defence, an area in which Arsenal have been poor for the last number of seasons. Willian will add a level of quality on the right wing that they lacked at times last season, but there are still question marks over the centre of midfield. The club will be desperate to get Mesut Özil off the books, with his wages taking up a huge chunk of their budget. If they do manage to find a buyer for him, it would free up some cash that they could then put towards the purchase of a top quality midfielder. If they do that, expect Arsenal to make a big push for those coveted Champions League spots this year
Last Season: 15th
Transfers In: Joel Veltman (Ajax) £900k, Jenson Weir (Wigan Athletic) £900k, Adam Lallana (Liverpool) Free, Lars Dendoncker (Club Brugge) Free
Transfers Out: Anthony Knockaert (Fulham) Undisclosed, Martin Montoya (Real Betis) Undisclosed, Aaron Mooy (Shanghai SIPG) £4m, Glenn Murray (Watford) Loan, Shane Duffy (Celtic) Loan
Last season was a year of transition for Brighton, as they moved from the pragmatic, counter-attacking style of Chris Hughton to the free-flowing, attack minded style of Graham Potter. The signs were very promising for the Seagulls, as they played some very exciting football at times, as well as bringing through a number of younger players, such as Alexis MacAllister and Aaron Connolly.
They also looked solid in the defensive areas in their 3-5-2 formation, which will be even stronger this season following the arrival of Joel Veltman from Ajax and the return of Ben White following a magnificent loan spell in the Sky Bet Championship as a key part of Leeds United’s promotion success. The signing of Adam Lallana will add an extra bit of creativity in midfield following the departure of Aaron Mooy, while Lars Dendoncker, brother of Wolves midfielder Leander, could prove to be a very shrewd signing following his arrival on a free from Club Brugge.
Things are looking up for Brighton, whose fans should be very excited ahead of the new season, and they could find themselves well clear of the relegation battle if things go their way.
Last Season: 10th
Transfers In: Will Norris (Wolves) Undisclosed
Transfers Out: Joe Hart (Spurs) Free, Jeff Hendrick (Newcastle United) Free, Aaron Lennon (Released), Ben Gibson (Norwich City) Loan
It was yet another great year for Burnley and Sean Dyche as his side finished the season in 10th, steering well clear of the relegation battle, and at times pushing for a Europa League spot. Behind the scenes however, things don’t seem quite as rosy.
As the season came to a close, Dyche made it clear that he was very frustrated with the departure of Jeff Hendrick and Aaron Lennon before the end of the season, as well as being upset about a lack of backing in the transfer market. Not much looks to have changed over the break though, with just one new player, Will Norris, arriving on a free transfer from Wolves. Holding on to promising winger Dwight McNeil and striker Chris Wood will be key to survival, as will keeping Dyche at the club. If he were to leave early in the season, it wouldn’t be a surprise to find Burnley in the bottom three come the end of the season.
Last Season: 4th
Transfers In: Thiago Silva (PSG) Free, Timo Werner (RB Leipzig) Undisclosed, Hakim Ziyech (Ajax) £36m, Ben Chilwell (Leicester City) £45m, Xavier Mbuyamba (Barcelona) Undisclosed, Malang Sarr (Nice) Free, Kai Havertz (Bayer Leverkusen) £72m
Transfers Out: Willian (Arsenal) Free, Pedro (Roma) Free, Alvaro Morata (Atletico Madrid) £50m, Nathan (Atletico MG) £2.7m, Ethan Ampadu (Sheffield United) Loan, Michy Batshuayi (Crystal Palace) Loan
It has been quite the summer for Frank Lampard’s Chelsea side. Following last summer’s transfer ban, owner Roman Abramovich has decided to spend big money this summer to close the gap between them and Liverpool and Manchester City, signing some of the best players European football has to offer in the process.
It was a promising first season for Lampard’s Blues in 2019/20, with some fast paced attacking football on display, bringing great performances out of the likes of Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic, while Lampard also seems to be getting the best from Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic, who won Chelsea’s player of the season following their 4th place finish in the Premier League.
The signings of Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner show real intent on being even more clinical in front of goal this coming season, but they also needed improvement at the back, as they conceded the most goals out of the top 10 sides in the league last season. The signings of Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva have been excellent, but they could still do with more, especially in the goalkeeping area. The club have reportedly been in talks with Stade Rennes goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and a deal looks to be close to bring him in to replace club-record signing Kepa Arrizabalaga, who hasn’t been up to par over the last 18 months. There is also rumoured interest in West Ham defender Declan Rice, but it remains to be seen whether the Blues will make an offer.
This Chelsea side look to be very dangerous opposition ahead of this coming season, and if the signings gel quickly, they could cause serious problems for Manchester City and Liverpool over the next 8 months.
Last Season: 14th
Transfers In: Eberechi Eze (QPR) £19.5m, Nathan Ferguson (West Brom) Free, Michy Batshuayi (Chelsea) Loan
Transfers Out: Jason Lokilo (Doncaster Rovers) Free
Last season was an average one for Crystal Palace. They never seemed to be in any real danger of getting relegated, and although they looked to be challenging for the Europa League following the restart, it all fell apart during that final stretch, losing 7 of their final 8 games of the season, their only point coming against Tottenham on the final day.
There was a lot of frustration amongst fans at the end of the season over Roy Hodgson’s conservative football and failure to get the best out of Wilfried Zaha, following the wingers return of just 4 goals and 3 assists in 38 league appearances. Spirits have been lifted over the break with the signings of Nathan Ferguson from West Brom and superb young midfielder Eberechi Eze from QPR in the Championship adding some much needed youth into an aging side. There have been rumours swirling of Zaha’s desire to leave Selhurst Park but there have been no offers as of yet and you can’t help feeling that he is imperative to their survival this season.
Signing a new striker this summer would have been top of the agenda and that seems to have been the case with Michy Batshuayi returning for another loan spell at the club from Chelsea. If Zaha stays, it could be a relatively comfortable season for Palace, but if he were to leave before the end of the transfer window next month, then they could find themselves in real danger come the end of the season.
Last Season: 12th
Transfers In: Niels Nkounkou (Marseille) Free, Allan (Napoli) £22m, James Rodriguez (Real Madrid) Free
Transfers Out: Leighton Baines (Released), Morgan Schneiderlin (Nice) Undisclosed, Oumar Niasse (Released)
Everton’s form was very hot and cold throughout last season, but there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic ahead of the new season. It’s a first full season under legendary manager Carlo Ancelotti, and his pulling power in the transfer market has been evident with the signings of two of his former midfielders, Allan and James Rodriguez. Allan will add a real edge in his ability to win the ball back and start attacks while, if James can keep fit, he could be the creative outlet they need to provide chances for the likes of Richarlison and Moise Kean.
There will still be a dilemma ahead of their opening game against Tottenham. Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin performed well together in a 4-4-2 towards the end of last season but Ancelotti may need to switch to a 4-3-3 to accommodate Allan and James in midfield. Everton will be a side to keep an eye on this season and they’ll be hoping that Ancelotti can provide European football and possibly some silverware by the end of it.
Last Season: 4th in Championship (Promoted via Play-Offs)
Transfers In: Anthony Knockaert (Brighton) £10.5m, Harrison Reed (Southampton) £8.1m, Mario Lemina (Southampton) Loan, Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic) £1.89m
Transfers Out: Luca De La Torre (Heracles) Loan, Alfie Mawson (Bristol City) Loan
Fulham are one of the more difficult sides to predict this season. Very few predicted that they would have gotten promoted via the play-offs, with many people predicting Brentford would be the team to go up. Fulham, however, defied the odds and return to the top flight after just one year away.
Despite their promotion, there are major questions over whether they have a side good enough for this level, with many thinking they could go back down to the Championship come next May.
They’ve made some good signings, with the purchase of young full back Antonee Robinson from cash-strapped Wigan looking to be a very good deal, but he won’t be expected to be making regular starts. There is some good quality in the forwards areas, with the likes of Ivan Cavaleiro and the very good but very inconsistent Anthony Knockaert on the wings, but there seems to be a major reliance on Aleksandr Mitrovic to score the large majority of Fulham’s goals this season, and they could find themselves in real trouble if he has a spell on the side-lines over the course of the year. It could be a long year for the Cottagers and they could well find themselves struggling to find their way out of the relegation battle
Last Season: 1st in Championship
Transfers In: Rodrigo (Valencia) £27m, Helder Costa (Wolves) £15m, Robin Koch (Freiburg) £11m, Illan Meslier (FC Lorient) £5,8m, Joe Gelhardt (Wigan Athletic) £900k, Cody Drameh (Fulham) 396k, Jack Harrison (Manchester City) Loan
Transfers Out: Laurens De Bock (Zulte Waregem) Loan, Kamil Miazek, Will Huffer (Released)
There are many words to describe this Leeds United side, but the most obvious would be to call them one of the most exciting sides in the history of the Sky Bet Championship. Under the guidance of iconic Argentinian manager Marcelo Bielsa, Leeds stormed to the Championship title following the restart, losing just one of their last 9 games as they won the title, finishing 10 points clear of second-placed West Brom.
They return to the Premier League after 16 years away from the top flight and they’re looking well set up to come back with a bang, improving in all the right areas ahead of their opening game against Liverpool on Saturday evening. The signing of a central defender was crucial following the failed pursuit of former loanee Ben White at Brighton, and they look to have gotten an excellent deal for German international Robin Koch, while a deal for Dinamo Zagreb defender Josko Gvardiol is also being discussed. The signing of Valencia striker Rodrigo seemed to stun Leeds fans, but when your manager is revered around the globe, this is the level of player you can attract at the top level.
It will be a very interesting year for Leeds, and the battles with the “Big Six” sides should be enthralling contests. Don’t be surprised if Leeds have a similar season to Wolves in 2018/19, because they are very capable of producing it.
Last Season: 5th
Transfers In: Timothy Castagne (Atalanta) £21.6m
Transfers Out: Ben Chilwell (Chelsea) £45m, Andy King (Released), Bartosz Kapustka (Legia Warsawa) Free, George Thomas (QPR) Free
It’s difficult to know what to say about Leicester’s 2019/20 season. At the start of the season, their fans would’ve been delighted with a Europa League spot, but the season ended with real disappointment. Before the season was brought to a halt due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Foxes looked almost guaranteed 3rd place in the league, but it all fell apart for them following the restart, winning just two of their last nine games and dropping from 3rd to 5th, being overtaken by Manchester United and Chelsea, then dropping out of the top 4 altogether following a loss to Manchester United on the final day.
This isn’t the first time a Brendan Rodgers team has crumbled under pressure. His Liverpool side in 2013/14 famously fell apart despite being ahead of Manchester City with two games to go. Leicester fans will be hoping it’s a one-off, but it will be even more difficult to make the top four this year with all the big teams strengthening their squads and looking much better than last season.
The signing of Timothy Castagne from Atalanta is a good deal for a very talented winger who could have a very good year if they play to his strengths. A replacement for departed full-back Ben Chilwell is important. Leicester have been linked with Ajax defender Nicolas Tagliafico, who would slot into that role perfectly. They could also do with signing another striker. Jamie Vardy won the Golden Boot last year, but they would benefit from having another top striker to ease the burden on the 33 year-old. Leicester look set for another good season if they continue to build on what they’ve done so far. Yet, although they might go far in the Europa League, it’s difficult to see them getting as close to the top four this year as they did in 2019/20.
Last Season: Champions
Transfers In: Konstantinos Tsimikas (Olympiacos) £11.7m
Transfers Out: Dejan Lovren (Zenit Saint Petersburg) £10.8m, Ovie Ejaria (Reading) £3.51m, Adam Lallana (Brighton) Free, Nathaniel Clyne (Released)
Dominant is the only word to describe Liverpool in the 2019/20 Premier League season. They finished the season eighteen points clear of second-placed Manchester City and never looked in danger of being overtaken. The title race was essentially over by Christmas and they won the title by a canter, but no matter how good a team is, there’s always a need for improvement.
The possible signing of Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich would be superb but would require a slight change in style to get the best out of him. That move would allow Fabinho to move into a central defensive role beside Virgil van Dijk, further strengthening their excellent defence.
One thing Liverpool do lack is high quality depth, which is what cost them in the domestic cup competitions as well as in the Champions League, in particular the winger and striker areas. They need someone of a similar level to Roberto Firmino who can change a game coming off the bench. If they do sign Thiago, expect Liverpool to become an even tougher opposition this season. It’ll be difficult for anybody to knock them off their perch.
Last Season: 2nd
Transfers In: Nathan Ake (Bournemouth) £40.77m, Ferran Torres (Valencia) £20.7m, Yan Couto (Coritiba CF) £5.4m, Kabore (KV Mechelen) £4.05m
Transfers Out: Leroy Sane (Bayern Munich) £40m, Claudio Bravo (Real Betis) Free, David Silva (Real Sociedad) Free, Pedro Porro (Sporting CP) Loan, Jack Harrison (Leeds United) Loans, Kabore (KV Mechelen) Loan
If anyone can knock Liverpool off that top spot though, it’s Manchester City. It was a poor season for the winners of the domestic treble in 2018/19, winning just the Carabao Cup with a convincing victory over Aston Villa in the final. City had defensive issues all season long, with midfielders Fernandinho and Rodri being played as makeshift central defenders at different points throughout the season. The signing of Nathan Ake should solve this problem, assuming he and Aymeric Laporte stay fit.
The sale of Leroy Sané to Bayern Munich was a shock to many but he has been replaced by Valencia wonderkid Ferran Torres, who looks to have a very bright future ahead of him and was one of Valencia’s most impressive players in their Champions League campaign last season. The departure of club legend David Silva after 8 years at the club was emotional for both the fans and the player, but many will be excited by the prospect of regular game time for English starlet Phil Foden. City are one of the favourites for the title, as they always are under Pep Guardiola, but will they have enough consistency this year to close the gap?
Last Season: 3rd
Transfers In: Donny Van de Beek (Ajax) £35.1m, Odion Ighalo (Shanghai Shenhua) Loan
Transfers Out: Alexis Sanchez (Inter) Free, Tahith Chong (Werder Bremen) Loan, Joel Pereira (Huddersfield) Loan
Securing Champions League football on the final day of the season was a huge boost to Manchester United both mentally and financially. At the start of 2020, not many people would have bet on the Red Devils getting into the top four but the team saw a dramatic improvement following the arrival of Bruno Fernandes from Sporting CP, and went on a 14 game unbeaten run to finish the season. The signing of Donny Van de Beek is an excellent signing but they are still in dire need of a top tier defensive midfielder to get to the level they want to be at.
The goalkeeper situation is an interesting one, as manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has stuck by De Gea despite his poor form over the last two years, but it’ll be interesting to see if he picks Dean Henderson, who was excellent at Sheffield United last season, to start on the opening day.
As Solskjaer has pointed out, United need high quality depth if they want to compete for domestic and European trophies again. If they do that, then they could start on the road back to becoming the Manchester United of old. Question marks still remain over Solskjaer’s tactical abilities, but that’ll be something to review as the season goes on. This is a very important year for Manchester United: if they don’t get it right, then they could end up back at square one.
Last Season: 13th
Transfers In: Callum Wilson (Bournemouth) £20m, Ryan Fraser (Bournemouth) Free, Jeff Hendrick (Burnley) Free, Jamal Lewis (Norwich City) £14.85m, Mark Gillespie (Motherwell) Free
Transfers Out: Jack Colback (Nottingham Forest) Free, Rob Elliot (Released), Freddie Woodman (Swansea City) Loan
It was very much another run of the mill season for Newcastle last year. They had some bright moments, but never really set the world alight. Controversial owner Mike Ashley remains at the club after yet another takeover bid fell through, and he has backed Steve Bruce fairly heavily in the transfer market, which he bizarrely never did when Champions League-winning manager Rafa Benitez was at the helm.
The Magpies suffered from a lack of goals last year, which they hope will be solved following the signing of Callum Wilson from Bournemouth, that is, if Wilson can keep fit. The signing of Jamal Lewis at left-back is a great deal for a very talented young player; he’ll be one to keep an eye on during the season. The free signings of Jeff Hendrick and Ryan Fraser add depth to the team, which was badly needed. Despite some good signings, it will likely be more of the same for Newcastle this season and a mid-table finish looks to be the best case scenario for them.
Last Season: 9th
Transfers In: Aaron Ramsdale (Bournemouth) £18.45m, Wes Foderingham (Rangers) Free, Jayden Bogle (Derby County) Undisclosed, Ethan Ampadu (Chelsea) Loan, Max Lowe (Derby County) Undisclosed, Oliver Burke (West Brom) Undisclosed
Transfers Out: Ravel Morrison (Released), Luke Freeman (Nottingham Forest) Loan, Callum Robinson (West Brom) Undisclosed
They had poor performances following the restart but, overall, it was a very successful first season for Sheffield United. Their 3-5-2 system with overlapping centre-backs worked wonders for them and they played some excellent football throughout the season. The togetherness and trust between this team, some of whom have been together under manager Chris Wilder since their time in League 1, is a credit to the coaching staff who have gotten them to this level while keeping them grounded mentally.
The Blades have made some great additions over the break, especially Aaron Ramsdale in goal and superb young midfielder/defender Ethan Ampadu from Chelsea on loan. Despite the good additions they’ve made, that second season back in the Premier League can be very tough for some promoted sides and if they don’t deal with that and adapt accordingly, we could be talking about them heading back to the Championship next year.
Last Season: 11th
Transfers In: Kyle Walker-Peters (Spurs) £11.97m, Mohamed Salisu (Real Sociedad) £10.8m
Transfers Out: Pierre Emile Höjbjerg (Spurs) £14,94m, Harrison Reed (Fulham) £8.1m, Mario Lemina (Fulham) Loan
Southampton’s 2019/20 season got off to an awful start, winning just two of their first twelve Premier League games. The low point of this run was undoubtedly the 9-0 defeat at home to Leicester City, where they were utterly outclassed for ninety minutes. Credit to the Southampton board though, as they stuck with manager Ralph Hassenhuttl, who somehow managed to turn things around and lead Southampton to a finishing place of 11th.
The Saints possess a top quality striker in Danny Ings, as well as an experienced Shane Long and the promising pair of Michael Obafemi and Che Adams to back him up or partner with him. The signings of Kyle Walker-Peters and Mohamed Salisu will provide more defensive stability, which will be welcomed, although a replacement is needed for the departed former captain Pierre Emile Höjbjerg in midfield.
Overall, Southampton have a quality side and a very good manager. You shouldn’t expect to see them in any danger of relegation this year, but they could be dark horses for a Europa League spot.
Last Season: 6th
Transfers In: Pierre Emile Höjbjerg (Southampton) £14.94m, Joe Hart (Burnley) Free, Giovani Lo Celso (Real Betis) £28.8m, Matt Doherty (Wolves) £15.12m
Transfers Out: Kyle Walker-Peters (Southampton) £11.97m, Jan Vertonghen (Benfica) Free, Michel Vorm (Released), Oliver Skipp (Norwich City) Loan
Last season was a turbulent one for Tottenham. After finishing the previous season as Champions League runners-up, Spurs won just 3 of their first 12 games, which resulted in Mauricio Pochettino being sacked on the 19th November 2019 and replaced by Jose Mourinho the next day. They remained inconsistent but hit form at the right time to get into the Europa League places, losing just once following the restart in June.
They’ve done some good business this summer in the transfer market, with Pierre Emile Höjbjerg adding stability in midfield and Matt Doherty adding much needed quality at right-back at a very good price. Spurs are still in need of major improvements though, in particular at centre-back, left and right wing, as well as a backup for Harry Kane up front. Without these improvements, they could find themselves being left behind by their rivals.
West Bromwich Albion
Last Season: 2nd in Championship
Transfers In: Matheus Pereira (Sporting CP) £8.19m, Grady Diangana (West Ham) £12.15m, Cedric Kipre (Wigan Athletic) £990k, David Button (Brighton) Undisclosed, Callum Robinson (Sheffield United) Undisclosed
Transfers Out: Jonathan Leko (Birmingham City) Undisclosed, Nathan Ferguson (Crystal Palace) Free, Chris Brunt (Bristol City) Free, Ali Al-Habsi (Retired), Gareth Barry (Retired), Lee Peltier (Released), Oliver Burke (Sheffield United) Undisclosed
West Brom return to the Premier League after two seasons away, this time managed by former West Ham head coach Slaven Bilic. The Baggies played some excellent football at times last season, but very nearly found themselves dropping out of the automatic promotion places, despite looking like having the title in their hands pre-lockdown. They won just three of their last nine league games, allowing Leeds to overtake them and win the title.
It’ll be interesting to see how West Brom adapt to the Premier League, especially the pairing of Matheus Pereira and Grady Diangana. They were two of the best players in the Championship last season, with Pereira in particular looking far too good for the league at times. There will be questions over whether their squad as a whole is good enough to survive in the Premier League, with their midfield in particular looking very light. They will be interesting to watch but they will most likely be in the middle of the relegation dogfight over the course of the season
West Ham United
Last Season: 16th
Transfers In: Tomas Soucek (Slavia Prague) £14.58m
Transfers Out: Grady Diangana (West Brom) £12.15m, Albian Ajeti (Celtic) £4.95m, Jordan Hugill (Norwich City) £2.97m, Roberto (Real Valladolid) Free, Pablo Zabaleta (Released), Carlos Sanchez (Released)
Very little has gone right for West Ham fans over the last couple of years. They left their old stadium, the Boleyn Ground, with promises of European football and being able to compete for trophies in a shiny new stadium that they’ll all love.
Instead, they’ve been battling at the bottom end of the table despite spending large amounts of money on players who either turn out to not be good enough or just don’t suit the system. The fans have protested against the ownership and against a stadium that is soulless and has stands that are way too far from the pitch. The fans feel like they’ve lost what made their club special and they’re probably right. They used to produce some of the best players in the country, now they barely get to see most of them play before they are sold to a club at the same level for a decent price.
Under Pellegrini, they thought they’d get back to the top half, but it didn’t work out and now they’re back with David Moyes in charge, the pragmatic style of manager they wanted to move away from. Tomas Soucek is a good signing from Slavia Prague following a promising loan spell but they need a lot more than one player.
There is some really good quality in that squad, but will David Moyes change his style to get the best performances possible out of them? It’s going to be another long year for West Ham, and this one might not end in Premier League survival
Last Season: 7th
Transfers In: Fabio Silva (FC Porto) £36m, Marçal (Lyon) £1.8m, Vitor Ferreira (Porto) Loan
Transfers Out: Matt Doherty (Spurs) £15.12m, Helder Costa (Leeds United) £15m, Morgan Gibbs-White (Swansea City) Loan, Connor Ronan (Grasshopper Zurich) Loan, Will Norris (Burnley) Undisclosed
Wolves had another successful season in 2019/20, finishing 7th and making it to the Europa League Quarter Finals before being knocked out by eventual winners Sevilla. Starting wing-back Matt Doherty joining Spurs is a major loss that they’ll need to replace, but they’ve added depth to the central defence with Marçal, as well as in midfield with Vitor Ferreira and up front with Fabio Silva, who will presumably act as an understudy to Raul Jimenez.
In league action, Wolves will be expected to finish in the European spots once again, but they’ll be hopeful of going all the way in the Europa League this year, thus securing Champions League qualification.