ALMOST THERE

by | Aug 3, 2022 | General | 0 comments

(Manchester City players celebrating the Premier League title)
With the Premier League season approaching by the end of the week, some teams look more ready than others. From the relegation fight to the title race and those who are meant to be fighting for the top-4 falling out of contention, here is a quick rundown of each team and their predicted positions for the upcoming season and their readiness.
20. BOURNEMOUTH
(Adam Smith Bournemouth defender)
When it comes to Premier League quality, Bournemouth doesn’t seem to exude any. This time around they could be finishing rock bottom in the upcoming season. Even with Scott Parker at the helm and the additions of Marcus Tavernier, Ryan Fredericks, and Joe Rothwell the squad does not seem capable to compete in the league.

Heavily reliant on Dominic Solanke who in the Championship last season produced 29 goals and 7 assists in the 46-game season may not be able to translate that into the Premier League with Parker’s slow-build up playstyle. Back down they go.

19. LEEDS UNITED
(Joe Gelhardt, Jack Harrison and Daniel James)
After narrowly escaping the drop last season, I’m afraid the Jesse Marsch-led Yorkshire team won’t beat it this year. With an injury-prone striker in Patrick Bamford, a defense that changes shape more than Ghost Rider, and the loss of Raphina and Kalvin Phillips to Barcelona and Manchester City respectively, the strength of the team is not what it was.

The additions of Tyler Adams, Marc Roca, Brenden Aaronson, and Luis Sinisterra are good on paper, however, the latter is out for about three months, and for the others, the speed of the Premier League may prove very challenging.

18. BRENTFORD
(Brentford ace Ivan Toney)
The buzzing bees will have their work cut out for them with the loss of Christian Eriksen who made them a massively better team. In fact, without Eriksen, they won six games from a possible twenty-eight. With the great Dane, they won seven out of ten games contested showing the importance of the playmaker.

Even though the bees have signed two exciting players in Aaron Hickey and Keane Lewis-Potter, with the shrewd signing of Thomas Strakosha on a free, the lack of creativity will be their heaviest issue as second-season syndrome kicks Brentford out.

17. FULHAM
(Fulham players celebrating)
For once Fulham looks like they have invested properly with the acquisitions of former Arsenal and Germany number one Berd Leno, Andreas Pereira from Manchester United, Kevin Mbabu from Wolfsburg, and Portuguese midfielder Joao Palhinha to go along with record scorer Alex Mitrovic, the Cottagers look to secure back-to-back seasons in the top flight since 2001.

Usually, Fulham proves to be a yo-yo club, however, with Marco Silva in charge and the liquid football that got them promoted mixed with the existing quality they have, it could be two straight years for the London-based outfit.

16. WOLVES
(Wolves players celebrating during the 2021/22 season)
The over-reliance on Goalkeeper Jose Sa could spill over into the new season for Wolverhampton and could see their season take a turn for a relegation fight instead of a fight for top six. The permanent deals of Hwang Hee-Chan and Nathan Collins may not be enough to have Bruno Lage’s men back to where they once were.

With the loss of Roman Saiss, who is now a Besiktas player, and loaning Fabio Silva to Anderlecht, depth may be the issue in Wolves stringing two good performances together.

15. LEICESTER
(Leicester during preseason)
The Foxes are not looking good during this window, and the squad that performed last season clearly cannot be the ones to go again this season, or they will be in massive trouble. Leicester has not made any additions, however, they welcomed Wesley Fofana back from injury along with Johnny Evans.

They however have allowed Kasper Schmeichel to leave for Nice in France, Soumare possibly to go on loan, and speculation over the futures of James Maddison and Youri Tielemans. Brendan Rodgers is also on thin ice with his future and these off-the-field issues could distract players to underperform, that is if Rodgers is still in charge.

14. NOTTINGHAM FOREST
(Forest are filled with young talent)
The newly promoted outfit will be involved in fight for mid-table instead of relegation in their first season back in nearly two decades. The loss of custodian Brice Samba was easily and quickly replaced with Dean Henderson on loan from Manchester United.

The English keeper has a point to prove as he wants the number 1 shirt from David De Gea when his loan move ends. Also, with the acquisitions of Omar Richards, Lewis O’Brien, Neco Williams, and Jesse Lingard, Steve Cooper’s men are ready to stay in the division.

13. SOUTHAMPTON
(Southampton striker Adam Armstrong)
Southampton is lucky to be in the division this season seeing as their form in 2022 was relegation-like, only picking up one win. The Saints are still here though led by Ralph Hasenhuttl and captain James Ward-Prowse.

They have signed quite a few young players such as Gavin Bazunu, one of Europe’s most talented ‘keepers, striker Sekou Mara and midfielder Joe Aribo from Rangers, a bit of youthful exuberance could be what Southampton needs to finish mid-table.

12. EVERTON
(The Toffees looking to put last season’s failure behind them)
Even though they were handily beaten 4-0 by Minnesota United in the preseason and saved themselves in the penultimate game of the season, Lampard’s Toffees only experienced a blip. In the Premier League, the only thing more important than quality is experience.

With that in mind, they have that in James Tarkowski, Dele Alli, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin to nurture the younger players such as Dwight McNeil and Anthony Gordon to help fill the void of the departed Richarlison.

11. CRYSTAL PALACE
(Wilfred Zaha and Joel Ward are the remaining squad members from this picture)
Patrick Vieira has transformed the philosophy of the Eagles since Roy Hodgson left and the fans couldn’t be happier. The loss of Conor Gallagher is going to be a mammoth to overcome seeing as the Chelsea player was at the center of everything good last season and even the signing of Mali international Cheick Doucoure can’t fill.

Now with the acquisitions of teen star Malcolm Ebiowei and Chris Richards, Palace could be involved in a Top seven place for most of the season before succumbing to a late-season push from the others around them.

10. ASTON VILLA
(Villa players John McGinn, Ashley Young, Emiliano Buendia, and Danny Ings)
Steven Gerrard’s Villains could be in for a fruitful season, not only in the Premier League. Jacob Ramsey was a breakout star during the 2021/22 season and has been one of the first names on the team sheet since then. Leon Bailey is going to come back with a vengeance after a not-so-spectacular season, mostly halted through injury.

Brazilian magician Philippe Coutinho made his loan move permanent to Villa Park before Diego Carlos and Boubacar Kamara signed for the Villains. With those additions, 10th may be the best place for them unless Gerrard can get the players doing much more.

9. BRIGHTON
(Captain Lewis Dunk in the foreground)
Potter-ball took the league by storm last season and this season won’t be any different. Fighting off Manchester City to keep Marc Cucurella could be one of the best things done this window. Unfortunately, Chelsea is paying full price for the fullback.

They already lost one key member of the squad in Yves Bissouma and they wouldn’t want to lose another, especially with a £15 million bid on the table for forward Neal Maupay. One of the better managers in the PL to work his magic once more.

8. WEST HAM
(Jarrod Bowen looking to carry on the great season)
The bubble-blowing Hammers have been flirting with the top six for the last couple of years under David Moyes, however, they may see more regression than progression this year.

Keeping Declan Rice was a massive statement and adding Gianluca Scamacca for £35 million, Alphonse Areola for £8 million, and defender Nayef Aguerd for £30 million there is depth for Moyes’ men but not enough that can fill in the right way.

7. NEWCASTLE
(Could Newcastle get Maddison before the start of the season?)
Premier League money boys are not spending what most people expected but they are spending to make sure they improve on last season. They already made the loan move of Matt Targett permanent from Villa, they also signed the likes of Nick Pope and Sven Botman.

The Magpies are also trying to recruit a striker after missing out on Hugo Ekitike with names like Benjamin Sesko being mentioned. They are also in for James Maddison from Leicester with the Foxes rejecting a £40 million bid and holding out for £60 million. The latest reports were that a bid amounting to £50 million was lodged and Leicester was inclined to accept the offer but time will tell.

6. MANCHESTER UNITED
(United players during a water break)
New manager Erik Ten Hag has his work cut out for him, but if the play in the preseason can be translated to the league then United fans are in for a treat. Acquiring Tyrell Malacia and Lisandro Martinez from the Eredivise where Ten Hag was last, and also Christian Eriksen are welcome additions to a team that floundered for most of the season.

The saga of Frenkie De Jong looks to be going until the end of the transfer window with the midfielder still not approving a move to Old Trafford after a £72 million fee was agreed between Manchester United and Barcelona. Reports are that the player wants the deferred payments that Barcelona owes him amounting to £17 million. United is still short in some areas so for now, 6th is the best position for the Red Devils.

5. CHELSEA
(New signing Raheem Sterling)
Chelsea has seen all of their summer targets go to Barcelona (except Koulibaly) and has really dented their transfer plans. Todd Boehly who is also co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers wants to pick up where his predecessor left off in terms of recruitment.

Chelsea lost the likes of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, loaning out Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan, the Blues need massive reinforcements as they look to add one of Presnel Kimpembe or Wesley Fofana, and also Denzel Dumfries to four-time league champion Raheem Sterling. Timo Werner may also leave the London club, however, he would need to take a massive pay cut from his current £270,000 per week salary to do so.

4. ARSENAL
(Mikel Arteta with Gabriel Jesus)
Arsenal may finally be back under the guidance of Mikel Arteta and look set for future seasons. Arteta, who I predicted to be Manager of the Season, has assembled a team of youth, experience, and serial winners.

Adding Gabriel Jesus as the missing piece upfront to Bukayo Saka and Gabrielle Martinelli could only be better than last season. A utility player in the form of Oleksandr Zinchenko who can play both left-back and center midfield, and a midfielder in Fabio Vieira from Porto Arsenal’s depth is frightening.

3. TOTTENHAM
(Spurs striker Harry Kane)
Spurs under Antonio Conte have been unrecognizable compared to other seasons, and I say that in a good way. The Italian took a team from 8th place and looked disinterested to 4th place and brimming with confidence.

That will only get better with the additions of Yves Bissouma, Richarlison, Ivan Perisic, Djed Spence, and Clement Lenglet to name a few. It should be smooth sailing for Tottenham and possibly a trophy this season.

2. LIVERPOOL
(Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mohammed Salah, and Fabinho in the background)
They may be favorites to many others but not for me. Liverpool has one of the best XI’s in the league and one of the best coaches in the world in Jurgen Klopp but they don’t have the depth to go all the way this time. Signing Darwin Nunez for £64 million plus add-ons to replace Sadio Mane is a good deal and Fabio Carvalho is definitely going to be a star.

When you want to be in a title race though depth is key. If an important player such as a Trent Alexander-Arnold goes down injured he has no backup. They may look complete but they need to add in the right areas to be contending until the final day.

1. MANCHESTER CITY
(Erling Haaland with Ruben Dias in the background)
Manchester City has a good chance to defend their title from twelve months ago, not because they are better than Liverpool but have more quality options than the Merseyside team. Erling Haaland is a fantastic player but that miss in the community shield could change the narrative briefly.

Not to sound idiotic or anything but the way Guardiola sets his team up and plays, Haaland will find himself on the bench more times than a few because he just won’t fit. Julian Alvarez would suit the striker position more of how Pep plays so he could feature more than the Norwegian in their title run.

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Well, I am 18 years old currently undergoing my Bachelors of Science in Media and communications. I'm currently in my first semester and I would like to be a sports analyst in the future. I am also from Jamaica. I would like to work at one of the biggest sports companies in the world (ESPN/SKY/BT) but everyone needs a start and I would love it if you were to give me that start.

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