A summer without any international tournament is often the cruelest fate for fans, as the only real excitement comes from transfers or youngsters who play well in the preseason. After all those excruciating days counting down the clock, the new season is finally upon us. Meaning it’s time for the greatest of fool’s games, predictions!
Arguably the most entertaining sports league on Earth, the Prem begins yet another season full of different storylines. From Nottingham Forest’s shock return to the arms race between Liverpool and Manchester City, this season has all the makings of a great one.
There are three specific types of teams that fans should look out for: contenders, losers and surprises. Every team falls in one of those three buckets, with certain bottom dwellers having the ability to be surprises and other mid table teams may be losers. Although the title race may be destined to be between Liverpool and City, there are still plenty of interesting teams across England.
In addition, there are certain player storylines that will not only dominate headlines, but the minds of fans across the world. Bubbling under the surface, certain situations will come to the top and bring both excitement and worry to fanbases. These storylines have dominated both the preseason and, for some players, the community shield.
Fans are surely happy to see the Prem back in action on Friday with every fanbase either excited or full of dread on the eve of the start. This is a special time where the slate is still blank and any story could be written on it.
Almost assuredly this title race will be between Liverpool and Manchester City, as their stockpiling of great players has created disparity between the two of them and the rest of contenders. However, looking outside of those two, there is one sneaky team that could become a contender, Antonio Conte’s Tottenham Hotspurs.
Tottenham has looked transformed under Conte with Son looking like the league’s best player and Conte’s great defensive schemes have paid dividends. After a rough start to the season, Conte was brought in to save Tottenham’s season. At one point Spurs looked more like a Europa Conference League team, but Conte has turned the team’s fortunes around and got Champions League play for this season.
Besides Manchester City, Tottenham may have had the best window with a great mixture of exciting prospects and needed veterans. Ivan Perišić and Clément Lenglet have won both at the club and national level, bringing a new level of experience that could help bail the club out in important moments. Richarlison and Yves Bissouma both impressed in the Prem last season and still have sky high ceilings, mixing Prem knowledge and exciting potential that most clubs don’t have.
So much of Tottenham’s success will depend on the partnership of Kane and Son, which to their credit has been excellent, as Spurs will need them to fire them to success. To help them, both Richarlison and Kulusevski will need to create space for them on the wings. If Conte is able to fit all four of them in a cohesive way, they should be able to threaten the firepower of both City and Liverpool.
Spurs are in a unique position where they have both promising youngsters and stars that are desperate to win. While they may not win the Prem, this may be their best chance at winning some silverware, potentially the FA Cup.
Does West Ham still count as a surprise team? Nevertheless, West Ham are putting together a truly interesting side that may challenge for the Champions League.
After barely escaping relegation a few years ago, the club brought in the much maligned David Moyes. Not much was made of the appointment at the time, but he has quickly made West Ham a constant contender for the last few European spots. No matter the players that he has had at his disposal, Moyes has found a win to keep on winning.
The transfer window has been very interesting for the London side, as they have brought in two experienced players who still have room to grow. Gianluca Scamacca, a player who was wanted by both PSG and Juventus, is a towering striker that can be the perfect target man for Moyes. Nayef Aguerd is a centerback who is comfortable with playing out the back and is a threat to score.
Scamacca could be the striker that will elevate West Ham’s attack while Aguerd is a perfect modern centerback that could shore up an already elite defense. Moyes has already molded an excellent team that is at home amongst the best in the league. With Chelsea having a mediocre transfer window and United collapsing, this may be the perfect time for West Ham to challenge for that final spot.
When Moyes returned to the Prem, many expected him to struggle as he had with United in 2014, but he has shown to be the best of the rest. This is the perfect season for West Ham as a great transfer window is matched up with a real shot to get that final Champions League spot.
Look, there are only two real losers, Everton and Manchester United, as both clubs have failed either on the pitch or in the market. Sorry Everton fans, but it’s hard to not go with the Merseyside team, as the summer has been one of horror.
If it hadn’t been for Richarlison last season, Everton would have surely been relegated and the side has done little to fix their glaring issues. A defense that couldn’t stop a fly with an offense allergic to scoring is a recipe for disaster. It feels like the chaos since 2017 has finally caught up with the team as it careens towards disaster.
While James Tarkowski is an excellent Prem defender, the lack of a suitable replacement for Richarlison is flagrant. Dwight McNeil is an interesting signing who should help create space for Calvert-Lewin. However, the club is in a desperate need of a striker that can help them stay alive for another year.
Frank Lampard has been a disaster since he was appointed in January, as he is clearly out of his depth and can’t stop making errors. Lampard has clearly not learned from the mistakes that doomed him at Chelsea, as he has failed to make the jump from the Championship to Prem. From openly criticizing his players to playing some truly awful soccer, it’s clear that Everton should have gone with a more proven manager.
It feels like Everton’s time in the Prem is coming to an end with the club seemingly willing to go down to the Championship. Richarlison’s departure and the loss to Minnesota United will likely not be the most embarrassing moment of Everton’s season.
Like children waiting for Christmas day, fans are counting down the seconds to the opening whistle of the Prem. In what will be an exciting season, there are plenty of storylines to keep your eyes on. A blank slate is a freeing feeling and luckily for every fan base, they get to start with one before experiencing euphoria or pain.
Featured image: Getty