Finally the wait is over, and the Premier League is about to begin.
After an insane about of money was spent in one of the wildest transfer windows in recent memory, the Premier League is stacked with talent up and down the table, and the gap to the “big 6” clubs couldn’t be smaller.
Before newly promoted side Norwich City and defending UEFA Champions League winners Liverpool kick off the 2019/2020 campaign, here’s a rundown of all 20 teams, and my predictions for the season ahead.
Key Signings: William Saliba, Dani Ceballos, Nicolas Pepe, Kieran Tierney, David Luiz
Key Departures: Aaron Ramsey, Petr Cech, Laurent Koscielny
Arsenal really stretched a tight budget as owner Stan Kroenke continues to focus more on his LA Rams and their new stadium, but by delaying the fees for new players they have surprised me this summer. The signing of William Saliba from Saint-Etienne secures them a strong, young defender to finally build their defense around, and Nicolas Pepe gives them a very exciting attacking trio alongside Alexander Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Arsenal also signed Real Madrid reject Dani Ceballos on loan this season after a fantastic Under-21 Euros performance with Spain. Ceballos will be expected to fill the void left by Aaron Ramsey, who departed the Gunners on a free for Juventus. Along with Ramsey, Arsenal also lost former captain Laurent Koscielny. To help fill the defensive hole left by the Frenchman Koscielny, on deadline day the Gunners signed Celtic hot commodity Kieran Tierney, and made a shock move for David Luiz of Chelsea to help fortify their weak back line. Arsenal had one of the best transfer windows in the league this summer and look more rejuvenated now to make a run at the Champions League spots.
Key Signings: Wesley, Douglas Luiz, Tom Heaton
Key Departures: Tammy Abraham, Axel Tuanzebe, Mile Jedinak
Newly promoted Aston Villa have been big spenders this transfer window, having released 10 players, and have rejuvenated the squad with 12 new players, costing over £145 million (roughly $176 million). Villa added talented young striker Wesley, who was also a target of clubs like Bayern Munich, from Belgian side Club Brugge to replace Tammy Abraham, who returned to Chelsea after his loan. They also managed to secure deals for Tyrone Mings, Kourtney Hause, and Anwar El Ghazi, who were all on loan at the club last season. They also added Premier League experience in the form of goalkeeper Tom Heaton from Burnley. The big question here is if the spending pays off, or will they end up like Fulham last season?
Key Signings: Philip Billing, Lloyd Kelly, Harry Wilson
Key Departure: N/A
Eddie Howe’s Cherries remain relatively unchanged, and after a 14th place finish last season, they have to do better, and have the talent to do so. They added more youth in the form of 23 year old Danish midfielder Philip Billing from Huddersfield Town, England U-21 international defender Lloyd Kelly from Bristol City, and a loan for the very highly rated Liverpool youngster Harry Wilson, who excelled on loan at Derby County. Hopefully these young additions, along with talented players they managed to hold on to like Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson can push Bournemouth into the top half of the table.
Brighton and Hove Albion
Key Signings: Leandro Trossard, Neal Maupay, Adam Webster, Aaron Mooy
Key Departures: Bruno
After barely staying afloat last season, Brighton sacked manager Chris Hughton and have brought in young Swansea City manager Graham Potter. Potter only managed 10th with the Swans last season, so it’s very up in the air about what he is going to be able to do with the Seagulls this campaign. To help, talented winger and former Arsenal target Leandro Trossard was brought in from Genk as well as prolific striker Neal Maupay from Brentford for £20 million. Brighton also brought in Adam Webster from Bristol City, a young defender who has been surging through the ranks and now has his Premier League move. On deadline day they signed Australian international Aaron Mooy on loan to help with their depth in the midfield, a player crucial to the Terriers’ promotion in 2017/18. However with captain Bruno retiring, they’re missing their leader, and a solid right back, but will the injection of talent and Graham Potter’s philosophy be enough to keep them up more comfortably this season?
Key Additions: Jay Rodriguez, Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Danny Drinkwater
Key Departures: Tom Heaton
Burnley are by far the oldest side in the Premiership, with an average age of 28.8. They haven’t done much this transfer window, but former Claret Jay Rodriguez made his return to the club, and after the loss of Tom Heaton, they signed highly-rated goalkeeping prospect Bailey Peacock-Farrell to fill his spot behind Nick Pope and Joe Hart. Danny Drinkwater also joined Burnley on deadline day, adding much needed help to the midfield. After two seasons of riding the bench at Chelsea, he should be hungry to show that he’s still as good as he was when he won the league with Leicster. The only hope for youth in the side is teenage starlet Dwight McNeil, who forced his way into the starting XI in the second half of last season and hasn’t looked back since. Burnley have been scoring goals left and right this preseason, and without the pressure of the Europa League, can the elder statesmen of the league keep up with the talented youth?
Key Additions: Christian Pulisic, Mateo Kovacic, Reece James, Tammy Abraham
Key Departures: Eden Hazard, David Luiz
Despite their transfer ban, Chelsea have a tremendous amount of upside. With club legend Frank Lampard now in as the boss, and with Lampard giving opportunities to players who were a part of their loan army, it’s like they never had a ban in the first place. Chrisitan Pulisic meets up with the team now after signing in January and being loaned back to Borussia Dortmund for the rest of last season, and Mateo Kovacic’s loan move was made permanent. Prospects Tammy Abraham and Reece James come in after impressive loan spells at Aston Villa and Wigan Athletic respectively, and will be trusted with large roles in the coming season. Abraham is coming off of a 25 goal season, and Reece James at age 19 absolutely commanded Wigan Athletic from his normal right back position and also in the midfield when called upon. Chelsea also have Callum Hudson-Odoi, who took advantage of his chances at the end of last season, and signed a new contract despite interest from Bayern Munich for the teenager. CHO, when healthy, and Pulisic have big shoes to fill on the wings, as Eden Hazard departs the club for Real Madrid. Lampard’s 4-2-3-1 formation has also breathed new life into midfielder Ross Barkley this offseason, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek when he returns from injury. They also resigned Olivier Giroud, and still have world class players at the club in David Luiz, N’Golo Kante, and Jorginho. They should be able to continue to fight for Champions League spots this season.
Key Signings: Gary Cahill, Victor Camarasa, James McCarthy
Key Departures: Aaron Wan-Bissaka
Crystal Palace have one hell of a fight ahead of them this season. After a breakout campaign last season, right back Aaron Wan-Bissaka is off to Manchester United, and Palace are lucky to have kept Wilfried Zaha despite interest from Arsenal and Everton. Palace have also bolstered their midfield by signing Victor Camarasa on a season long loan from Real Betis after an impressive loan spell at relegated Cardiff City last season, and James McCarthy from Everton, but it’s going to take a lot more than that for Roy Hodgson’s men to stave off relegation this season.
Key Signings: Andre Gomes, Moise Kean, Jean-Philippe Gbamin, Fabian Delph, Djibril Sidibe, Alex Iwobi
Key Departures: Phil Jagielka, Ademola Lookman, Idrissa Gueye
Everton are done being in the shadow of Liverpool.
After appointing Marcel Brands as the Director of Football, Everton splashed the cash this offseason. They made Andre Gomes’ loan from Barcelona permanent, along with somehow stealing the incredibly talented young striker Moise Kean from Juventus. The 19 year old made headlines as he scored 6 goals in limited chances for the Turin outfit, and stood up to opposing fans who were racially abusing the teen. They also brought in 24 year old Mainz midfielder Jean-Phillippe Gbamin, and the versatile Fabian Delph from Manchester City to strengthen their midfield. These two will replace Idrissa Gueye, the toffees midfield general who left for PSG this summer. The acquisition of Djibril Sidibe is a nice backup to Seamus Coleman, who is getting up there in age. Right at the end of the window, Everton snuck a deal across the line for Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi, who I wrote about for Arsenal in a draft of this article saying he should be starting at another club. While not prolific, Iwobi is still a great talent out wide, and created the most chances from open play last season for Arsenal. He’s immensely talented and I want to see him break out this season. Everton’s main issue is in central defense, where they have let go of a lot of players like Phil Jagielka, Ashley Williams, and Kurt Zouma who returns to Chelsea after an impressive loan spell. Yerry Mina and Michael Keane are a good pairing, but the two of them alone aren’t going to be able to make it through the season without some help. Another loss is that of Ademola Lookman, who returns to RB Leipzig after riding the bench and wasting his incredible potential. Everton have a very strong starting XI, and now they have a striker to build around, and Richarlison can return to his preferred wing position instead of playing up front. Everton excites me this season and I think they have a good shot at making a Europa League spot.
Key Signings: Ayoze Perez, Youri Tieleman, Dennis Praet
Key Departures: Harry Maguire
Leicester City have done a lot of good business this transfer window, most notably stealing Youri Tielemans from Monaco for an undisclosed fee, after the 22 year old Belgian scored three goals and had four assists in 13 appearances for the Foxes while on loan for the second half of last season. To go alongside Tielemans, Dennis Praet joined the club for €20 million from Sampdoria. The Foxes also acquired Ayoze Perez from Newcastle United, who scored 12 times for the Magpies last season, the Spaniard’s best tally in his career. The 25 year old joins other promising attacking talent like James Maddison, Harvey Barnes, and the ever present Jamie Vardy, who he will likely become the strike partner to. One issue for Brendan Rodgers’ side is that they just lost their defensive anchor Harry Maguire to Manchester United for a world record fee, and failed to replace him by the end of the window.
Key Siginings: Adrian, Harvey Elliott
Key Departures: Simon Mignolet
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
That’s the Liverpool philosophy after a season in which they finished second in the Prem by only a point, and capped it all off with a Champions League title. They cleared out the excess space on their roster, releasing players like Alberto Moreno, Daniel Sturridge, and Danny Ings. They also let longtime goalkeeper Simon Mignolet go, and signed former West Ham United keeper Adrian on a free transfer to back up their general between the sticks Alisson. Divock Origi has been a revelation for the club, really getting into a groove at the end of last season and continuing his momentum into this preseason. He is a player to watch for Liverpool this season. Another very successful campaign should be on the cards for the Reds, but will their depth hold up with all of the other competitions they are in? Will they sacrifice other competitions to continue to chase the Premier League title that has eluded them for so long?
Key Signings: Rodri, Angelino, Joao Cancelo
Key Departures: Vincent Kompany, Danilo, Fabian Delph
The two time defending champions continue to build the deepest and most dominant squad in the Premier League. Rodri has been recruited from Atletico Madrid as the heir to Fernandinho, and is already growing acclimated to the squad. With Benjamin Mendy’s injury troubles still a concern, City have resigned Angelino from PSV Eindhoven after letting him go last season to back up Oleksandr Zinchenko, who impressed in the left back role last season. The last of their major acquisitions came in a cash and player swap with Juventus for Portuguese right back Joao Cancelo, in a cash plus player swap deal with Danilo going the other way. The loss of Vincent Kompany at the beginning of the window is a very tough one, with him not only being the club’s captain but also a defensive mastermind for 11 years at the club. He will join RSC Anderlecht as the player-manager. In his stead, City are prepared to give more first team chances to 18 year old Spaniard Eric Garcia, who played games for City in the Carabao Cup last year, and looked wise beyond his years. City should comfortably challenge for the Premier League title this season and hopefully challenge for a Premier League title.
Key Signings: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire, Daniel James
Key Departures: Romelu Lukaku, Ander Herrera, Antonio Valencia
Well, this wasn’t the transfer window promised to Red Devils fans.
Arguably, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer now has a worse team that what he took over last year, after losing a very consistently good Ander Herrera on a free transfer to PSG, and their top scorer in Romelu Lukaku on deadline day to Inter Milan. On the bright side, they were able to keep Paul Pogba out of the clutches of Real Madrid, and locked David De Gea down to a new contract. Most importantly, United addressed their defensive issues by signing Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace and made Harry Maguire the most expensive defender in history by coughing up $97 million to Leicester City for his services. While he may not be worth the fee, he’s better than Phil Jones and Chris Smalling. There’s also an injection of youth at United, as the speedy wide man Daniel James joins from Swansea City, and the new golden boy Mason Greenwood has been firing on all cylinders this preseason, and has a chance to start against Chelsea. It’s really up in the air about how their season will go, and hopefully with “Ole at the wheel,” he won’t steer the ship wrong.
Key Signings: Joelinton, Allan Saint-Maximin, Andy Carroll
Key Departures: Salomon Rondon, Ayoze Perez, Rafa Benitez
What an eventful offseason for Newcastle.
First they lose a world class manager in Rafa Benitez, the man who is arguably the sole reason Newcastle have been staying afloat, then to make things worse they lose their main goalscorers in Salomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez. Knowing penny-pinching owner Mike Ashley, they aren’t gonna spend the money to replace those two, right? WRONG. They splashed the cash (without a rumored takeover coming to fruition) and signed TSG Hoffenheim’s young star forward Joelinton, who scored seven and assisted seven in 28 appearances in the Bundesliga, and Allan Saint-Maximin of OGC Nice who is the direct Ayoze Perez replacement. The replacement for Rafa however, not so good. The magpies signed Steve Bruce to take over for the departing Benitez, who is a definite downgrade. On deadline day they brought back Andy Carroll, who’s career has been derailed by injuries since leaving Newcastle, but will be a solid backup to Joelinton alongside Yoshinori Muto. I’m sure Carroll will be eager to show the form that made Liverpool scoop him up in 2011. In the midfield, Newcastle managed to fight off Manchester United and keep youngster Sean Longstaff, who has the potential to become a big talent. Newcastle should be able to stay up this season, which seemed bleak at the beginning of the transfer window. Well done, Mike Ashley.
Key Signings: Josip Drmic, Ralf Fahrmann, Patrick Roberts
Key Departures: N/A
Winners of the EFL Championship last season, Daniel Farke’s canaries had an impressive campaign, with standout players like wide backs Max Aarons and Jamal Lewis, Argentine winger/midfielder Emi Buendia, and golden boot winning forward Teemu Pukki, who scored 29 goals in 43 games in the Championship last season. They needed a boost up front to assist Pukki, and got a solid forward in Josip Drmic from Borussia Monchengladbach on a free transfer. Continuing to raid the Bundesliga like they have over the past few seasons, a loan deal was met with FC Schalke 04 for goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann, who was out of favor with Schalke and now gets to show the top class veteran he is in the Prem. Manchester City’s perennial loan fodder Patrick Roberts, who I think is still a top class talent, as he showed when he was on loan at Celtic in 2016/17, scoring nine and assisting 14 in 32 Scottish Premiership appearances before injuries started to plague the 22 year old. Norwich haven’t spent nearly as much money as the other promoted clubs, and it remains to be seen if that will help or hurt the team. Can they shock everyone like Wolverhampton Wanderers did last season after getting promoted as champion? Or will they yo-yo back into the second tier?
Key Signings: Oliver McBurnie, Lys Mousset, Phil Jagielka, Dean Henderson
Key Departures: Kieran Dowell
The last of the three promoted sides, Sheffield United spent a lot to bring in players. However, the squad lacks Premier League experience.They lost midfield prospect Kieran Dowell as he returned to Everton after his loan spell with the club, but adding former toffee Phil Jagielka on a free transfer gives them a great leader in defense. However, this team still feels like Championship-level side. On the bright side, the Blades, which is a super cool name by the way, brought back talented young goalkeeper Dean Henderson on loan from Manchester United, and more offensive firepower in Bournemouth’s Lys Mousset and Swansea City’s Oliver McBurnie. 23 year old Leeds born forward McBurnie scored 22 goals in the Championship last year, and manager Chris Wilder must be hoping he can replicate that form in the top flight. They’re going to need it.
Key Signings: Danny Ings, Che Adams, Moussa Djenepo
Key Departures: Matt Targett, Charlie Austin
This season will be manager Ralph Hasenhuttl’s first complete one with the Saints, after coming in and inspiring them to fight off relegation. They made the loan of Liverpool striker Danny Ings permanent, as well as adding Birmingham City youngster Che Adams up front who is an exciting prospect at the Premier League level. With them coming in, Charlie Austin departed for West Bromwich Albion on deadline day, and defensive prospect Matt Targett left for Aston Villa. Moussa Djenepo was also brought in to play on the wings, adding options alongside Nathan Redmond, Mohamed Elyounoussi, and Sofiane Boufal. James Ward-Prowse and Mario Lemina hold down a solid midfield, and young goalkeeper Angus Gunn should continue to blossom as Southampton should be able to fight off relegation once again.
Key Additions: Tanguy Ndombele, Ryan Sessegnon, Giovanni Lo Celso
Key Departures: Kieran Trippier, Fernando Llorente, Vincent Janssen
I don’t care what anyone says, Tottenham won this transfer window.
After not signing a player at all last season, Spurs made it to a Champions League final and finishing fourth in the Premier League. Now, Mauricio Pochettino has had his squad pumped with three sensational players this summer. Stealing Tanguy Ndombele from the likes of Juventus and Manchester City, Spurs finally have their replacement for former defensive midfield engine Moussa Dembele. Then they pulled a double on deadline day, finally acquired versatile left winger/wing back Ryan Sessegnon from Fulham after being linked with the teenage sensation for over a year now, and former PSG and then Real Betis midfielder Giovani Lo Celso on an initial loan deal with an option to buy. While also linked with the likes of Juventus forward Paulo Dybala and Sporting Club de Portugal gem Bruno Fernandes, Lo Celso is a terrific signing in a midfield consisting of Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen. Lo Celso can also play as a center forward, which provides cover for star striker Harry Kane, who has had his injury struggles in the past. The Lilywhites got rid of all striker coverage in Fernando Llorente and Vincent Janssen, but hope is not lost for depth up top. South Korean superstar Heung-Min Son can also play up top instead of a more natural spot on the left wing, which if he is called upon up top, can be filled by Sessegnon. In defense, they may have lost right back Kieran Trippier after a less than stellar season, but Ben Davies can provide cover on that side, and Sessegnon can play left back thanks to his incredible versatility. Toby Alderweireld has decided to stay with the club as well, keeping together the Belgian center back pairing with Jan Vertonghen after talks with Roma and Manchester United about potentially leaving. To back them up, they have Davinson Sanchez and Juan Foyth. This team is deep and with some consistency, may surprise people.
Key Signings: Ismalia Sarr, Danny Welbeck
Key Departures: Dodi Lukebakio
Javi Gracia’s men managed to impressively finish in the top half of the Premier League last campaign, and made it to the FA Cup final, only to get slaughtered by Manchester City. Gerard Deulofeu, Roberto Pereyra, Troy Deeney, and Abdoulaye Doucouré all had solid seasons, and look to carry that form into the new campaign. Joining them this season are Danny Welbeck on a free transfer from Arsenal and former Arsenal target Ismalia Sarr, a Senegalese international signed from Rennes on deadline day. The Hornets did not address their needs in defense however, and father time will eventually creep up on goalkeepers Ben Foster, who had a stellar campaign last time out, and Heurelho Gomes who are 36 and 38 years old respectively.
West Ham United
Key Signings: Sebastian Haller, Pablo Fornals, Albian Ajeti
Key Departures: Marko Arnautovic, Samir Nasri, Pedro Obiang
West Ham fans have plenty of reasons to be optimistic this season. They finally managed to get rid of the toxic Marko Arnautovic as he finally gets his move to China and replaced him with Eintracht Frankfurt’s Sebastian Haller, who formed a scary offensive trio with Ante Rebic and Luka Jovic. To back up Haller, Albian Ajeti was brought in from FC Basel, a highly rated talent for the future who scored 14 goals in 32 appearances in the Swiss Super League. After letting the likes of Samir Nasri and Pedro Obiang go, the Hammers have a concern with midfield depth, and signed 23 year old Spaniards Pablo Fornals, who is an extremely creative midfielder, and reminds me a bit of David Silva. Manuel Lanzini also returns to the midfield after the Argentine returned from an injury in late May of last season, but while Lanzini and Fornals should excite fans, Jack Wilshire is injury prone and Mark Noble is getting up there in age. Andriy Yarmolenko also returns from injury this year to join the likes of Declan Rice and Issa Diop in a side that should comfortably finish in the top half of the table, and potentially contend for a Europa League spot.
Key Signings: Raul Jimenez, Patrick Cutrone, Jesus Vallejo, Leander Dendoncker
Key Departures: N/A
Nuno Espirito Santo and co. stunned the Premier League as the newly promoted side finished 7th and managed to make the Europa League qualifying rounds. Keeping the likes of Diogo Jota and Ruben Neves at the club will be crucial for Wolves this season, and they made the loan deals for midfielder Leander Dendoncker and forward Raul Jimenez permanent which were two great moves to keep first team regulars in the squad. Jimenez fired home 13 goals and contributed 8 assists in 38 Prem appearances last term, the most by a Wolves player. Jesus Vallejo joins the defense from Real Madrid on loan, and AC Milan’s future star Patrick Cutrone adds another dangerous weapon to an already scary attack. The only question for Nuno’s side is how far they go in the Europa League, and how deep their squad is dealing with the Prem, Europa League and other domestic trophies. Either way, another exciting season is on the cards at Molineux.
Premier League Winners: Manchester City or Liverpool
As we saw last year, City and Liverpool are the class of the league, maybe even the world right now. I don’t think much changes from last season, but if Harry Kane stays healthy and they can get consistent results, watch out for Tottenham.
Champions League Spots: City and Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea, Arsenal
The top 4 finishers in the Premier League get into the UEFA Champions League, and I think that with all the bulking up these top teams have done, I think it’s again a repeat of last year. I think City, Liverpool, Tottenham, and Arsenal finish in the top four, but Arsenal could win the Europa League, guaranteeing them a spot in the Champions League. That would give the last UCL spot to 5th place Chelsea who I think will be solid, but will miss Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reuben Loftus-Cheek for the beginning of the season.
Europa League Spots: Manchester United, Wolves, Everton, Leicester City
If I’m honest, I don’t know if I would even guarantee a spot to United here, considering how much of a mess they are. But clubs like Wolves, Leicester, and Everton have all strengthened their squads significantly and United should be scared.
Relegation: Sheffield United, Norwich City, Crystal Palace
As I mentioned before, Sheffield United still strike me as a Championship quality team, same with Norwich. The way the league is now, money is everything. Sheffield haven’t spent it wisely I don’t think and Norwich haven’t spent enough. As for Crystal Palace, I think this is the year where the Zaha magic wears off, and even his talents aren’t enough to save them.
Well, those are my predictions for the 2019-2020 Premier League season! Good luck to all teams, and here’s to a great season ahead!