Surprising Season?

by Kyle Williams | Aug 9, 2023 | General | 0 comments

The upcoming Premier League season begins on August 11 and heading into it, this may be one for the ages. Manchester City fresh off winning the illustrious treble and going three in a row for Premier League titles, with Erling Haaland breaking goal records, Luton Town in someone’s backyard at Kenilworth Road, and Brighton and Aston Villa posing threats, some of these predictions may come as a shock to some.

20. LUTON TOWN

(Luton celebrating their promotion)
A fairy tale story, from points deduction to administration and non-league football to playing under the lights at Old Trafford, Anfield, and St. James’ Park, they are living in a dream. Coming up through the ranks of English football with heroes such as Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu and Tom Lockyer, those players deserve this moment.

The problem is, there is a massive quality gap between them and other teams. Now even when 110% percent is given, Wout Weghorst is no better than Alexander Isak. Additions of Tahith Chong from Birmingham City, Issa Kabore from Manchester City, and Ryan Giles from Wolves just won’t be enough to cut it at this level.

19. SHEFFIELD UNITED

(Sheffield players back up after one season)
Unfortunately, the term ‘yo-yo club’ comes into the equation when speaking about Sheffield United. The Blades look like they just might be off the pace and without the creative tactics of Chris Wilder there to inspire the team, they might go right back down.

A team who lost Tommy Doyle and James McAtee to their parent club Manchester City and Iliman Ndiaye to Marseille, the firepower and creativity just aren’t there. Just like Luton Town the lack of quality at this point in the window to survive, even with Aaron Trusty strengthening the defence.

18. WOLVES

(Wolves player Goncalo Guedes)
The inevitable will become a reality. Wolverhampton have been on the periphery of relegation for the past two seasons and now I feel they won’t have enough to save themselves from the second tier. They needed goals for a long time ever since the headed injury of Raul Jimenez and that has still not been addressed. Diego Costa, Sasa Kalajdzic, Matheus Cunha, none have worked and time is wearing thin.

They have also lost their captain Ruben Neves to Saudi side Al-Hilal, Nathan Collins to Brentford, and Raul Jimenez to Fulham, and they could be losing manager Julen Lopetegui due to lack of investment. Matt Doherty’s return is not enough, and if they don’t strengthen before the end of the window, this prediction could become a reality.

17. BOURNEMOUTH

(Bournemouth players celebrating a goal)
The Cherries of Bournemouth are in this position where sacking Gary O’Neil will prove to be a clanger of a mistake. Last season was horrendous with Scott Parker in charge, and when O’Neil took over, they were revolutionized. Phillip Billing scoring goals from midfield was the brightest spark with Solanke, Semenyo, and Tavernier chipping in.

This season will not be easy as they try to avoid second-season syndrome and remain in the top division. They have made decent additions to the squad with Justin Kluivert, Andrei Radu, and possibly Alex Scott, but to have them all gel and test their mettle in the Premier League will be tough this season.

16. EVERTON

(From Left: Demarai Gray, Conor Coady, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Alex Iwobi)
After back-to-back relegation threatened seasons, Sean Dyche’s men will finally have some relief in terms of positioning in the league. Dyche is a man who has never been relegated with any team, the ginger man has a tough task ahead. With influential, and arguably their best player last season Demarai Gray on his way to Fulham, a winger is desperately needed.

You could say they have already replaced him with the acquisition of Arnaut Danjuma on loan from Villarreal, with the player previously playing in the Premier League with Bournemouth and Tottenham. The loss of Conor Coady could be easily covered by the emergence of Jarrad Branthwaite and Amadou Onana and Alex Iwobi building a decent partnership. The goals will come as Dominic Calvert-Lewin is looking to overcome his injury problems to be back amongst the goals.

15. BURNLEY

(Winners of the EFL Championship Burnley)
Champions of the second division Burnley come in 15th where Vincent Kompany’s ball-playing squad has a good chance to finish. The tiki-taka playing team has evolved their playstyle since Kompany took charge and that play is exactly what is needed to stay up. In certain games confidence, power, and determination, are the ingredients needed to stay in the top division and Burnley has them all.

They already had a good squad with Manuel Benson and CJ Egan-Riley, and with the additions of Jacob Bruun Larsen, Dara O’Shea, and James Trafford, the Clarets look to have a great chance of survival in their first season back in the big time. One note to make is that we have seen this before with last season, where a young promising goalkeeper left Manchester City for big money with international experience and club experience no higher than League One with Gavin Bazunu last season and his team got relegated. Hopefully, Trafford doesn’t face the same fate.

14. NOTTINGHAM FOREST

(Nottingham talisman Brennan Johnson [center])
The men from the City Ground have proved doubters wrong last season by finishing above the relegation zone and they will only build on this success. Nottingham Forest led by Steve Cooper in the dugout and Taiwo Awoniyi and Morgan Gibbs-White on the pitch, Forest have a good chance to rival other teams for a mid-table spot.

Adding to that with pacy winger Anthony Elanga and American goalie Matt Turner, there should be no reason they don’t improve. The only thing that could derail their season is losing Brennan Johnson late in the window, however, it seems difficult for any team to fork out $62 million for the Welsh international.

13. CRYSTAL PALACE

(Palace star Eberechi Eze)
The Eagles in 13th or mid-table mediocrity is almost every season. No matter how much you may like Palace, the players, or chairman Steve Parish, there has to be an admittance of regression this season. Keeping Roy Hodgson as manager for the upcoming season may prove to be a mistake with his pragmatic style of play. Players like Eze, Michael Olise, and Matheus Franca are flair players who don’t suit that style of play.

Losing club legend Wilfred Zaha to Galatasaray this summer is a massive blow and forward reinforcements are needed. They are currently in talks to sign Che Adams from Southampton before the window shuts, Lewis Hall will join Selhurst on loan, and Jefferson Lerma already made the move from Bournemouth earlier in the window but it just won’t be enough to break the top 10.

12. WEST HAM UNITED

(Europa Conference League winners West Ham United)
From European champions to relegation fighters, West Ham have only themselves to blame. Losing captain Declan Rice to Arsenal is a massive blow as you’ve taken the insides of that team and left them spineless. With the Hammers, they were in and around this region last season due to a lack of fit and firing forwards. Michail Antonio could be on his way out of London as Everton has shown interest and so have Al-Ettifaq of Saudi Arabia. Gianluca Scamacca has been a flop if I’ve ever seen one and is on his way back to Italy, meaning West Ham have no top striker (Danny Ings is there) and a lack of midfield options.

Tomas Soucek is not enough and they need more. Over the past few days, the London-based club has agreed terms with the representatives of Mexican Edson Alvarez and also a fee with Ajax. They have already been priced out of moves for Scott McTominay and James Ward-Prowse so things may get difficult during the season. Somehow they will turn around their fortunes, with or without David Moyes.

11. FULHAM

(From left: Antonee Robinson, Willian, Andreas Pereira, and Joao Pahlihna)
This prediction is more of the way the league is going than Fulham themselves. The top 10 teams have just strengthened in superior ways that make Fulham fall back in terms of positioning. They have recruited very well with Calvin Bassey from Ajax, Raul Jimenez from Wolves, and potentially Demarai Gray and Callum Hudson-Odoi which helps them in areas they were lacking.

The Cottager’s biggest addition, however, was keeping Marco Silva at the club after Al Ahli offered him a contract worth over $40 million. That is essential in progressing with this team, and he is the perfect manager to develop the players that they currently have in Pereira, Lukic, etc. They will be their same dangerous selves, and keep more clean sheets, but there is uncertainty over goals.

10. BRENTFORD

(Josh Da Silva and Aaron Hickey)
Mid-table, pushing the top 8 till the end, that’s where I place Brentford for the 23/24 season. To be completely honest, they could be lower as the performances of Mark Flekken don’t inspire me with confidence. David Raya is on his way to Premier League team Arsenal and if Flekken is the number one, there could be massive problems. Maybe it is time for Strakosha?

On the bright side, they managed to sign Kevin Schade on a permanent deal and broke their club record to sign defender Nathan Collins. Thomas Frank is somewhat of a magician for the work he has done and is one of the top 8 managers in the league, but this season may be his toughest yet, especially without Ivan Toney.

9. TOTTENHAM

(Spurs fans waiving the flag high)
Spursy Spurs in 9th and some would think they could be lower based on how the rest of the league improved. With a defense that was shocking, to say the least, last season with Eric Dier, reinforcing that back-line is a must and they have sorted that with Mickey Van De Ven from Wolfsburg and young Ashley Phillips from Blackburn. James Maddison is a most needed creative addition in the midfield, but the question remains; what happens to Harry Kane?

Tottenham has rejected a bid from Bayern Munich worth $120 million for the English striker. If Tottenham do lose Kane, they have options in Randal Kolo Muani from Frankfurt, Jonathan David from Lille, and Medhi Taremi from Porto. The problem is Kane scored about 44% of Tottenham’s goals last season, and that would be a massive hole to fill.

8. CHELSEA

(The Blues of Stamford Bridge)
The high-spending Chelsea who spent over $660 million and finished 12th last season will have spent over $180 million and will finish 8th. Signing Axel Disasi, Christopher Nkunku, Nicholas Jackson, and Robert Sanchez to add to a semi-bloated squad and having Mauricio Pochettino in charge is hope for Chelsea fans.

They will be in and around the mix at the top, but just changing the manager won’t fix everything, especially not in one season. The mixture of new egos, new ideas, and new philosophies will all be on show at Stamford Bridge and I am all here for it.

7. ASTON VILLA

(Villa star striker Ollie Watkins)
The more things change the more they remain the same and I think Villa will be in the exact same position as last season, but maybe with a trophy. The Villains exploded under Unai Emery when he was appointed and that form may also continue.

The firepower of Ollie Watkins will continue to burn bright, with the addition of Moussa Diaby with Emi Buendia on the flanks, with Pau Torres reinforcing the defense with Diego Carlos the team looks outstanding. The challenge of playing two/three games a week may prove to be their biggest challenge.

6. NEWCASTLE

(The “Toon Army”)
The money boys of the league Newcastle owned by the Saudi-led PIF foundation have put Newcastle where they belong amongst England’s elite after just one season. This upcoming season however will prove more difficult than the last.

Even though they have made arguably the signing of the season in Sandro Tonali, and got Tino Liveramento from Southampton and Harvey Barnes from Leicester City, the physicality of playing against Europe’s elite will ultimately be their downfall in the league.

5. LIVERPOOL

(The Reds of Merseyside)
Undoubtedly, Liverpool has improved their team replacing Jordan Henderson with Alexis Mac Allister, and replacing James Milner with Dominik Szoboszlai, however, the lack of defensive reinforcements is what will hurt Liverpool this season. They are an injury in the center-back position away from being a mediocre team.

The other issue is that they still have a hole in the midfield and defending the counter will be challenging. They are still pushing for Romeo Lavia from Southampton, Leeds’ Tyler Adams is also an option, but until they fix the midfield, 5th is the best against the odds.

4. BRIGHTON

(The Seagulls fly high)
The best footballing side in the league, and possibly the world, will be challenging for the most part this season and will go deep in all competitions. Next season, they should be punching in the weight class of Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, and Napoli.

The signings of Mo Dahoud, Igor, and Joao Pedro take the team to another level, whether they lose Moises Caicedo or not. Levi Colwill will be a distant memory when fans get a taste of Igor and the way Robert De Zerbi wants them to play, I can see them entertaining us for the entire season.

3. ARSENAL

(Mikel Arteta’s Gunners)
The side that pushed Manchester City all the way last season, the Gunners I feel have not massively improved. Signing Declan Rice and David Raya does improve the team, but they still have no replacement for Gabriel Jesus or Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Kai Havertz was signed and he can play as a striker, but he lacks the physicality, pace, and composure needed to be a number nine to win the league. Also, Kieran Tierney has been off the pace for the past 18 months, and having only one left back can prove costly.

2. MANCHESTER CITY

(Champions League Final scorer Rodri [left])
The most controversial pick that could have been made is putting the treble winners Manchester City finishing as runners-up in the league. The thing is they have regressed and it is obvious. Losing Ilkay Gundogan is going to hurt City more than they know. He has been the only player to keep his form throughout the business end between February and May.

Yes, they still have Erling Haaland. Yes, Kevin De Bruyne is still there, but there is something that tells me City will be starting slow again but without Gundogan’s intelligence on the pitch, some games they narrowly won last season will turn into draws and possibly lose.

1. MANCHESTER UNITED

(New signing Rasmus Hojlund with manager Erik Ten Hag)
Maybe it is red-tinted glasses, or maybe I’m just an idiot, but Manchester United for me will be the Premier League champions for the 2023/24 season. The Dutch magician in the dugout in Erik Ten Hag developing this team to become a household force once more.

With Rasmus Hojlund, a young striker who gives off vibes of a certain Bulgarian forward who ran the show during his time at Manchester United, and if that potential is released, it will be scary but not for us.

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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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