It’s the beginning of August, and you know what that means football fans (English football), the Premier League is right around the corner. Coming off the heels of an edge-of-your-seat six weeks of World Cup action in Russia, this year’s Premier League clubs have been busy all summer long making moves, and trying to better their squads.
This year there are the three promoted clubs from the Championship: Wolverhampton, Fulham, and Cardiff City replacing the three teams that got relegated last May: Swansea City, Stoke City, and West Bromwich Albion. Let us take a look at how each club has fared this summer, and what each one can expect in the upcoming season.
This is part one of a four-part series, previewing all 20 clubs competing in the English Premier League for the 2018/19 season.
Arsenal (Last Season: 6th)
After 22 years under the tutelage of Arsene Wenger, the Gunners enter the upcoming campaign with a new manager in Unai Emery. He has promised Arsenal supporters a new style of football. Of course, a change in style means new players, and Arsenal has had a busy transfer market. They brought in the likes of: Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi in the midfield, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Sokratis Papastathopolous on defense and Bernd Leno in goal. There is a lot of optimism surrounding the club, especially seeing how Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette will combine up front. Mesut Ozil will continue to be the key, however, after Emery made him captain recently.
Major Ins: Stephan Lichtsteiner, Bernd Leno, Matteo Guendouzi, Sokratis Papastathopolous, Lucas Torreira
Major Outs: Per Mertesacker, Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere
Predicted Finish: 5th
Bournemouth (Last Season: 12th)
Now entering their fourth consecutive Premier League campaign, the Cherries are silencing the critics who say they are relegation favorites and stabilizing themselves as mid-table finishers.
Eddie Rowe consistently spends money in the summer to bolster their squad and this year was no different. After a year where they conceded more goals than Swansea and West Brom (who were both relegated) they looked to defender Diego Rico to help out in the back four. Their other big signing was David Brooks from Sheffield United. He only started nine games for the Blades, but has enjoyed a breakout season. He should provide offense for Bournemouth throughout the year. Nathan Ake looks to build on his fantastic season last year.
Major Ins: Diego Rico, David Brooks
Major Outs: Benik Afobe, Max Gradel, Adam Federici, Lewis Grabban
Predicted Finish: 14th
Brighton (Last Season: 15th)
After proving doubters wrong last year and staying up in the top flight and avoiding relegation, manager Chris Hughton is out to show that the Seagulls are capable of more.
Hughton signed a new three-year contract at the end of the season. Now he’s looking to have the same success with his new players as he had last year. That’s when he added the likes of Pascal Gross, Matt Ryan, Davy Propper, and Jose Izquierdo.
The headliner of the new bunch is Iran international Alireza Jahanbakhsh, who was signed for a club-record £17 million from AZ Alkmaar and should be the key player for the Gulls this year. They should steer clear of relegation again but will have trouble scoring goals. If they want to improve their lot, they need to take the pressure off Glenn Murray.
Major Ins: Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Leon Balogun, Florin Andone, Jason Steele, Bernardo Fredades, David Button, Yves Bissouma, Percy Tau
Major Outs: Steve Sidwell, Jamie Murphy, Bailey Vose, Tim Krul, Liam Rosenior, Jiri Skalak, Connor Goodson, Tom Dallison, Uwe Hunemeier, Niki Maenpaa, Sam Baldock
Predicted Finish: 16th
Burnley (Last Season: 7th)
Last year Sean Dyche and the Clarets defied the odds and qualified for the Europa League. That is great for the supporters and the club, but Burnley faces major challenges this year. With not much money to spend, every player they covet is seemingly too expensive, and they can’t seem to buy anyone.
With English international, Nick Pope, sidelined, and the Europa League calling, Burnley doesn’t have a big enough squad at the moment to replicate last season’s success. If they can get a superb season from Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood, they should be able to stay up another season.
Major Ins: Ben Gibson
Major Outs: Scott Arfield, Dean Marney, Chris Long
Predicted Finish: 13th
Cardiff City (Last Season: 2nd in Championship)
Neil Warnock’s side last year used gritty play and a little skill to ride their way to the Premier League once again. Staying there will be the hard part for the Bluebirds. They’re hoping their toughness can be used to their advantage. Sean Morrison and Sol Bomba proved to be an awesome pairing last year against Championship opposition. Ditto Kenneth Zohore. But the ever important question, as always, is will the team score enough to stay in the Premier League.
New signings Josh Murphy, Alex Smithies and Bobby Reid, will have to play an essential role in the upcoming campaign for Cardiff, as will Junior Holiest.
Major Ins: Greg Cunningham, Josh Murphy, Bobby Reid, Alex Smithies
Major Outs: None
Predicted Finish: 20th
The other parts of this preview series
Part Four (Coming Soon)