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English Premier League 2020-2021 Season Preview: From Arsenal to Wolves- a team by team breakdown-Ram’s Randoms

Yes, believe it or not but the Premier League 2020-2021 season kicks off THIS Saturday September 12th!! Football is back and then American Football the next day…. Boy I for one CANNOT wait! Best time of the year right here and throw in baseball in full swing and NBA/NHL playoffs winding down, it is a very busy time for sports fans so buckle up we are in for some fun!!

But first (can you tell I’ve been watching Big Brother?), we have A LOT to discuss with moves made this short off-season for EPL. Let’s jump right, going alphabetically.

Arsenal

8th LY, disappointing season for the Gunners who expect themselves to compete for top 4 every year.

Additions:

Forward Willian (from Chelsea, huge get, still has plenty left in the tank and will help in free-kick situations and be another playmaker up front with Aubameyeng and Lacazette. Defender Gabriel (young Brazilian defender who is highly rated… should compete for spot later in season or step in when injuries and suspensions hit the Gunners back line. Defender William Saliba (young French defender who should pair nicely with Gabriel for years to come if all goes right)

Losses:

Defender Rob Holding (on loan to Newcastle, minimal loss, especially with the young defenders brought in.)

Prediction:

This could be a great campaign for the Gunners, their offense is primed for a big year with a real Big 3 threat and Dani Ceballos starting to really come into his own under Mikel Arteta. I predict they finish 5th this coming season as the defense is still not top notch.

Aston Villa-

17th LY (which is just clear of relegation)… it was a tough first year up for the Lions as they barely hung on to secure EPL life for another season.

Additions:

None so far… they need a goalie (Reina loan up and Heaton hurt) and have been linked to Sergio Romero and Emiliano Martinez who are both capable first team goalies. They have also been linked to a few cheaper/lower profile strikers such as Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster/Bournemouth’s Joshua King/Brentford’s Ollie Watkins. These adds would be welcomed help but won’t tip the scales enough.

Losses:

Just Goalie Pepe Reina’s loan being up but he was just a stop-gap until Heaton came back (which he’s hurt AGAIN).

Prediction:

Looks like not enough has been done to help out star midfielder Jack Grealish and Villa seems doomed for demotion. I predict them to go down and finish 19th.

Brighton-

15th LY, the Seagulls had some solid results and plenty of puzzling losses last season but managed to scrape enough points together to stay up for another year.

Additions:

Defender Joel Veltman (from Ajax is an excellent signing, he will provide a lot of leadership and some needed skill in the back.) Midfielder Adam Lallana (from Liverpool is a nice low risk get as he is desperate for playing time and he will definitely be at the top of the squad sheet as his skill should give the gulls a little more oomph going forward and from dead balls.)

Losses:

Forward Glenn Murray (loaned to Watford), Midfielder Aaron Mooy (to Shanghai), Defender Shane Duffy (to Celtic on loan), Goalkeeper David Button (to West Bromwich.) None of these are big losses… Connolly came on nicely late to step in for Murray, Lallana will easily replace Mooy, Burn had already taken over for Duffy at the back and Button was just a backup.

Prediction:

I really like what Brighton have done this off-season. I see sunnier days down on the coast for the Seagulls… I predict them to finish 13th this season.

Burnley-

10th LY, a really nice campaign this past year for the Clarets, some may say they overachieved but that defense is sound and their collection of decent forwards always seem to score when needed.

Additions:

None… they have yet to make a splash in the transfer market.

Losses:

None… looks like the same squad as last season but hopefully with a healthy Johann Gudmundsson to lead the playmaking.

Prediction:

I don’t see this season going quite as well for Burnley as they have not done anything to improve their squad like others around them. I predict them to finish 12th this season.

Chelsea-

4th LY, qualified for Champions League. Young squad, new manager, all went right in the end for the Blues as Frank Lampard’s return to Stamford Bridge was a mostly happy one. Plenty of what-ifs but got the job done… now the wallet has been opened.

Additions:

Defender Ben Chilwell (from Leicester City, a massive signing for a team in need of stability in the back…), Defender Thiago Silva (from Paris St. Germain… speaking of stability at the back… you get exactly that from the Brazilian veteran, sure to be the leadership needed in center defense to help shore up a very, very poor defense last season.), Midfielder Hakim Ziyech (from Ajax, wonderkid was signed early early on and is sure to star in the midfield for the Blues with plenty of high powered options to aim at.), Midfielder Kai Havertz (from Borussia Dortmund, another young stud midfielder to shore up a shaky crew from last year… will roam the middle and look to set up the big guns up top as well as get involved in the scoring.), Forward Timo Werner (from Red Bull Leipzig, yet ANOTHER young stud player coming to London… he will instantly step into the leading striker and could have a monster season.)

Losses:

Midfielder Willian (off to Arsenal, which hurts a little more than just losing this terrific player, did so many great things in a Chelsea kit), Forward Pedro (no big loss, he was a rotation guy later in his Chelsea career and could never stay healthy).

Prediction:

Chelsea still have not signed a top goalkeeper like they claimed to be prioritizing in the summer, but the big upgrade in defense should help Kepa/Willy out more and the new attack pieces should bode well for another top 4 finish. I predict Chelsea finish 3rd this coming season.

Crystal Palace-

14th LY, it was a down year for Palace, they really struggled to score (31) as only relegated Norwich had fewer goals (26).

Additions:

Forward Eberechi Eze (from Queens Park Rangers, good young talent, had 14 goals and 8 assists in Championship last season, probably replaces Zaha if he moves.), Defender Nathan Ferguson (from West Bromwich Albion, very young highly rated center back has yet to prove anything but should learn from a well disciplined side.

Losses:

None…. yet. Zaha is always rumored to move but nothing seems imminent.

Prediction:

Could be another tough sledding season on the offensive end with the same crop of mediocre talent. I predict the Eagles finish 14th yet again.

Everton-

12th LY, it was a very disappointing season down at Goodison Park as they were 8th the season prior and looked to improve on that. Injuries definitely hurt the Toffees and a lack of a true playmaker in midfield limited their offensive upside.

Additions:

Midfielder Allan (from Napoli, dynamic midfielder who plays both ways very well, was a good PK taker too.), Midfielder James Rodriguez (from Real Madrid… wow, what a signing… this could be the biggest they’ve ever made and at a real steal of a price no less… I love this addition for Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin.)

Losses:

None.

Prediction:

The excitement down in Liverpool is palpable for the Evertonians and I believe with some better injury luck and the new additions, sky is the limit… but it’s Everton so 7th is where I predict they finish.

Fulham-

Won promotion from the Championship last season I the Play-off final.  Good side, defense is not their strong suit. Have a few guys who have proven themselves in the Premier League before.

Additions:

Midfielder Mario Lemina (loan from Galatasaray, a proven Premier League caliber player, will get another shot at big minutes at Craven Cottage.)

Losses:

Defender Alfie Mawson (loaned to Bristol City, Mawson is a capable defender but Fulham has a few other guys who will fill his spot easily.

Prediction:

I don’t think this Premier League season will be a good one for the Cottagers… I predict them to finish 20th and be relegated back to the Championship.

Leeds United-

Won promotion from the Championship last season by winning the league. They are a good side but have some deeper pockets than other promoted teams, it’s good to see them back at the highest level in England.

Additions:

Defender Robin Koch (from Freiburg, decent defender, should help shore up their defense.), Forward Rodrigo (from Valencia, a top notch signing, he should be really good for them.)

Losses:

None.

Prediction:

I like this Leeds United squad, their manager Marcelo Bielsa is a top gaffer and Rodrigo will help lead their attack. I believe they survive their first season back on top and finish 16th.

Leicester City-

5th LY, the Foxes outperformed some of the “bigger” clubs yet again. Led by England stars James Maddison and Jamie Vardy they will be a force yet again but maybe not quite the same as this past season.

Additions:

Defender Timothy Castagne (from Atalanta, full-back who should lot right into Chilwell’s spot and won’t be too much of a drop off.)

Losses:

Defender Ben Chilwell (sold to Chelsea, a top full back in the EPL, will be tough to fill his shoes but Castagne coming gives them a good shot.)

Prediction:

Not much happened for the Foxes in the off-season… they gave Maddison a HUGE contract and sold off Chilwell to help offset a bit of the cost. I think their season ends a little south of what they are hoping for when they finish 8th.

Liverpool-

Last season’s runaway Champions. They finally broke a long drought and really did it in commanding fashion. Although they looked very pedestrian post-Covid break and that worries me a bit.

Additions:

None. They tried to get Thiago from Bayern Munich but couldn’t get it to work.

Losses:

Midfielder Adam Lallana (to Brighton, not a big loss, rarely played but just a little hit to the depth.)

Prediction:

They did next to nothing this transfer window and still should be in contention for the title. I think they lose the crown though and finish 2nd.

Manchester City-

2nd LY, City finished a distant 2nd from the Champions Liverpool and crashed out of the Champions League surprisingly as well as Pep seemed to lose his way a bit.

Additions:

Defender Nathan Ake (from Bournemouth, a stud center back is exactly what they needed and this is exactly what they got, will immediately slot in every game at the back.), Forward Ferran Torres (from Valencia, young talented right winger who should help with some depth and give the others a little push in training.)

Losses:

Midfielder David Silva (signed with Real Sociedad, he said he was leaving and his leadership will be missed no question about it… let’s see if De Bruyne and company can step up.)

Prediction:

I believe they take that next step and Ake shoring up a very leaky defense propels them to the title. I predict they win the league.

Manchester United-

3rd LY, a year that was up and down but finished with a flourish as they secured Champions League qualification. Lots of young talent and they added Bruno Fernandes mid-season and he proved to be a HUGE addition.

Additions:

Midfielder Donny Van De Beek (From Ajax, a very good young playmaker who will help give that United midfield a little more stability.), Goalkeeper Dean Henderson (recalled from loan at Sheffield United, should challenge De Gea immediately and push him to be great… Romero should be moved.)

Losses:

None yet, should move Romero as he is dispensable.

Prediction:

I think they have another really solid season and make top 4 again as I predict them to finish 4th.

Newcastle-

13th LY, it was a disappointing season for the Magpies this past season as they could not get any momentum going as injuries bit them every turn of the way.

Additions:

Midfielder Ryan Fraser (from Bournemouth, a dynamic playmaker who will instantly make Newcastle better going forward.), Forward Callum Wilson (from Bournemouth, a solid striker who will provide a much more stable option in front of goal, should be a big bounce back season in the cards.), Defender Jamal Lewis (from Norwich, a capable full back who should help add depth to a defense that was constantly injured last season.), Defender Rob Holding (loan from Arsenal, solid center back who will also shore up the injured-prone backline.)

Losses:

Forward Dwight Gayle (already injured… just can’t stay healthy.)

Prediction:

I really love what Newcastle have done this transfer window, I think they have big things possibly in store but I predict them to finish 10th this season.

Sheffield United-

9th LY, the darling story of last season the Blades nearly made Europa League out of nowhere. A newly promoted side, they used a stout defense, a top notch goalie (Dean Henderson) and timely goals to shock many people last season.

Additions:

Defenders Jayden Bogle and Max Lowe (from Derby County, two young wing-backs who will provide depth to a squad who has a very good defensive mold.), Defender Ethan Ampadu (loan from Chelsea, young star in the making, played very well for RB Leipzig last season on loan and should provide the Blades with another top notch defensive option to play.)

Losses:

Goalkeeper Dean Henderson (loan recalled to Manchester United, a huge loss for this squad as he was a top 3 goalie in my mind last season.)

Prediction:

The Blades did not do what they really needed to do this transfer window and that was add someone who can put the ball in the net… they only scored 39 goals in 38 matches last season and if they hope to repeat or improve their place in the Premier League that must improve. I predict Sheffield to finish 11th.

Southampton-

11th LY, the Saints struggled at home last year and still put in a respectable campaign.

Additions:

None, they seemed to try for a few big names but could not find anyone to add thus far.

Losses:

Midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (to Tottenham, midfield depth and played well at the end of the season.)

Prediction:

Danny Ings had a remarkable season and I do not believe that to be a fluke, he has the nose for goal and James Ward Prowse will continue to feed him opportunities. I predict the Saints to finish 15th as others seemed to improve as they stayed pat.

Tottenham-

6th LY, Mourinho was not pleased on where his squad finished… they expect top 4 and injuries definitely played a part in missing out this past season.

Additions:

Defender Matt Doherty (from Wolves, not quite sure where he plays as he’s been a wing-back for Wolves the past few seasons but maybe he will just slide into a full-back role opposite Serge Aurier, he is a great defender who has offensive upside too.) Midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (from Southampton, adds depth to a shaky midfield, good playmaker.), RUMORED: Forward Gareth Bale (a reunion possible?! Spurs trying to resign Bale from Real Madrid…. This is one to keep an eye on.)

Losses:

Defender Jan Vertonghen (to Benfica, hurts their center back depth but he is past his prime and Davinson Sanchez should be ready to step in.

Prediction:

I like what Spurs are doing this window but not enough to make any big waves… I predict them to finish 6th.

West Bromwich Albion-

earned automatic promotion from the Championship last season and return to the Premier League for another go.

Additions:

Goalkeeper David Button (from Brighton, provides a capable first team option for them.)

Losses:

None.

Prediction:

West Brom are back but they won’t be staying…  I predict them to finish 18th and be relegated back to the Championship.

West Ham United-

16th LY, it was a very disappointing campaign for the Hammers last season as they nearly were relegated. Injuries and lack of finishing has really hurt them.

Additions:

None… they’ve been trying to get Burnley’s Defender James Tarkowski but no success yet.

Losses:

None.

Prediction:

Jarrod Bowen really came on late season and Michail Antonio was a man possessed… is that possible for a whole season? Doubtful… and that’s why I have the Hammers finishing 17th and just avoiding relegation.

Wolves-

7th LY, Wolves again proved they belong with the big dogs as their defensive style was effective enough to see the finish in the top third of the table.

Additions:

Defender Marcal (from Lyon, left –back who has good quality, not a ton of offensive upside but fits their style well. Forward Fabio Silva (from FC Porto, super young, highly regarded prospect, lots of hype around this kid to be a star, could be the partner Raul Jimenez needs to take it to the next level.) RUMORED: Defender Alex Telles (FC Porto… this would be a huge get as he is one of the better offensive full backs in Europe.

Losses:

Defender Matt Doherty (to Tottenham, tough spot to fill but they definitely have plans in motion.)

Prediction:

I think they could have a higher finish than what I predict but a lot will have to go right for them. I predict them to finish 9th.

Hope you enjoyed my Season Preview, and hope to see you in the Karma Discord this Saturday!

-Ram

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