Chelsea 0 (10) vs. (11) 0 Liverpool Carabao Cup Final Review

Proud of the team but wastefulness cost us…

Chelsea took on Liverpool at Wembley for the Carabao Cup final on Sunday evening. The pre-match narrative and build up by pundits had formed to make it seem like it was the world against Chelsea because the London Clubs ownership. Liverpool selected a strong XI with everyone who was expected to start making the XI except Kelleher who started in goal and Keita who replaced Thiago in the warm up. Mendy started in goal for Chelsea with a back three of Chalobah, Silva, and Rudiger after Christensen injured his Achilles in training. Azpilicueta, and Alonso started as the wing backs with Kovacic and Kante in the midfield. Pulisic, Mount and Havertz started up front. Strong lineups from both teams.

Chelsea started the game brightly with Pulisic going close in the opening minutes. Azpilicueta played a brilliant ball in but Pulisic’s shot was directed straight at Kelleher from close range. Chelsea then went close again with Mount missing from close range and seeing his shot go wide. Liverpool then grew into the game and dominated possession for much of the 1st half. Mendy was forced into making a stunning double save. The first half ended with Liverpool having had the better half.

The 2nd half began with Chelsea starting strongly once again. Pulisic played in Mount thanks to a brilliant lobbed pass and Mount hit the post which was very unlike him. Mendy made a couple more good saves but Liverpool were largely at bay in the 2nd half. Keita should have been sent off for a tackle on Chalobah but somehow the foul went Liverpool’s way while Chalobah required stitches after the game. The game headed into extra time with Chelsea having not been clinical in the final 3rd.

Extra time was all Chelsea and Liverpool looked tired. Lukaku scored a brilliant goal running in behind the Liverpool defence but it was ruled offside. When it went to VAR his whole body was onside and the goal should have stood but  VAR dubiously used his left arm as the marker to rule it offside. Havertz then scored another goal but he was offside. The game headed into penalties and all players scored their penalties except Kepa who’s shot went sky high. Liverpool won the cup.

Chelsea Team Review

Goalkeepers

Mendy was man of the match thanks to his stunning saves in the first half especially. It was a brilliant performance over the 119 odd minutes. Mendy had little to do for the final 45 or so minutes though. Kepa came on as planned but could not save Chelsea in penalties his time out. No blame was given to him because without him we wouldnt have reached the final in the first place. Just not his day this time.

Defenders

Chalobah had a tough time against Luis Diaz on the right hand side but managed it well none the less. Silva was amazing once again playing the whole game and converting his penalty. He made a stunning clearance during the game albeit it looked like Salah’s chip was going wide. Rudiger was his usual self. Azpilicueta and Alonso actually did quiet well throughout the game and both were a danger from the wing back positions. Alonso also kept Salah quiet. Reece James had to come on for Azpilicueta late on and he did well. It was good to see him back. A clean sheet on any other day and that is all you can ask from you defence.

Midfielders

Kante had a decent game in midfield. The physicality seemed to be getting to him at times but he was brilliant at other times. Kovacic was amazing and he did really well throughout the game. Jorginho came on late in the game helped control the tempo and retain possession for Chelsea. Mount was the main cause Chelsea lost the game. Two brilliant chances and he should have finished both of them. It happens though and there is no need to dwell on it. The finishin has to improve as a whole. 

Forwards 

Pulisic did well for much of the game and he played in a brilliant ball for Mount that should have been a goal. Pulisic himself missed a solid chance though. Havertz was very good throughout and continues his run of good form. Had the ball in the back of the net but was offside. Timo came on in the 2nd half and added pace in behind. Werner also had the ball in the back of the net but he was offside. Lukaku also came on and did well. The hold up play was better and he was more mobile. He scored a perfectly good goal which wrongly ruled offside and he drew a late save from Kelleher as well. Just were not clinical.

Manager

Tuchel would have been proud of that performance and the team did play really well. The manager coached a win and we would have won if we were not wasteful with our chances. As long as Tuchel is Chelsea manager though we will continue to get more chances at trophies.

Not our day and the luck was missing on the night. The finishing boots by some players were also left at home. Finishing has cost Chelsea dearly all season and it is something we have to improve on. Proud of the team though and if we continue to play like that and take our chances we should end the season strongly. Next up is a trip to Luton Town in the FA Cup 5th Round. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Midweek Football Preview

More cups!

FA Cup 5th Round

Peterborough vs. Man City

Peterborough beat QPR in the last round and sit bottom of the Championship. They have since drawn one and lost five. Man City beat Fulham 4-1 in the last round and sit top of the Premier League. They have since won four and lost one of their games. This should be a straightforward win for Man City. Anything else and it would be a massive shock. 

Crystal Palace vs. Stoke City

Palace beat Hartlepool 2-0 in the last round and they sit 11th in the Premier League. Palace have since won one, drawn three, and lost one. Stoke beat Wigan 2-0 in the last round and sit 15th in the Championship. Stoke have won one, drawn two, and lost two since. Palace are the better team on paper and are at home so they should win this even if Stoke cause some problems. 

Middlesbrough vs. Tottenham

Middlesbrough beat United on penalties in the last round and sit 8th in the Championship. They have since won two, drawn one, and lost two. Spurs sit 7th in the Premier League and beat Brighton 3-1 in the last round. They have since won two, and lost three of their games. With Tottenham away and the form that they are in this result could go either way. Spurs though are still favourites on paper.

Southampton vs. West Ham

An all Premier League clash as Southampton take on West Ham. Southampton sit 9th in the Premier League and beat Coventry City 2-1 in the last round. The Saints have since won three and drawn one of their games. West Ham sit 5th in the table and beat Kidderminster 1-2 in the last round. The Hammers have since won two and drawn two. Neither team is unbeaten in their last four but Southampton have won one more game. This should be an interesting game between two good teams and the result can go either way.

Liverpool vs. Norwich

The newly crowned Carabao Cup champions take on another cup as they welcome Norwich City in an all Premier League clash. Liverpool beat Cardiff 3-1 in the last round and have since won five and drawn one of their games. Norwich beat Wolves 0-1 in the last round and sit bottom of the table. Norwich have since drawn one and lost three of their games. This should be a straightforward win for Liverpool.

Everton vs. Boreham Wood

Everton beat Brentford 4-1 in the last round and sit 17th in the Premier League as they take on Boreham Wood. Everton have since won one and lost three of their games. Boreham Wood sit 3rd in the National League and beat Bournemouth 0-1 in the last round. They have since won two, drawn one, and lost two. Everton are at home and even though Boreham Wood will give it their all Everton should win this game. 

Premier League (Games in hand)

Burnley vs. Leicester

Burnley sit 18th in the table as they take on Leicester who sit 13th. A win for Burnley would take them out of the relegation zone and into 15th in the table on goal difference with two games in hand remaining. A win for Leicester won’t mean much movement but it will take them closer to mid table with three games in hand remaining. A big game for both teams Burnley have only lost one of their last five games while Leicester have lost three and drawn two. One game to keep an eye on.

Copa Del Rey Semi-Final 2nd Leg

Valencia take on Bilbao with an aggregate score of 1-1. Betis take on Rayo Vallecano with an aggregate score of 2-1. The Valencia Bilbao game is finely poised and the result can go either way. Betis have a slight advantage but Vallecano are no pushovers and will give it a go. Any team can reach the final. 

Coppa Italia Semi-Final 1st Leg

Milan take on Inter, and Juventus travel to Fiorentina. Two very good games and neither team are clear favourites in their fixture. Milan and Inter are going though a rough patch at the moment while Juventus are inconsistent. Fiorentina are having a decent season. Who will take advantage in the 1st leg?

DFB Pokal Quarter-Final

Union Berlin take on St.Pauli, Hamburger take on Karlsruher, Leipzig travel to Hannover, and Bochum welcome Freiburg. Leipzig are the most high profiel team remaining in the cup. Freiburg are having a very good season though and so are Union Berlin. Anything can happen. 

Coupe De France Semi-Final

Nice take on Versailles, and Monaco travel to Nantes. Nice should beat Versailles and reach the final while Monaco and Nantes will be a more cagey affair. Nice will be favourites though with Monaco and Nantes being at a similar level this season. 

Weekend Football Review

Major movenement!

Premier League MW 27

Southampton 2 vs. 0 Norwich

Adams and Romeu scored for Southampton as the Saints ran out comfortable winners against Norwich. Southampton move up to 9th in the table while Norwich remain bottom of the table and five points from safety. 

Leeds 0 vs. 4 Tottenham

Doherty, Kulusevski, and Kane scored in the first half while Son scored in the 2nd as Tottenham bounced back and won comfortably at Leeds. Leeds dropped down to 16th wth the loss and it saw Bielsa sacked as a result of it. Jessy Marsch is lined up to take the helm but Leeds are truly in a relegation battle at the moment. Spurs move up to 7th with the win five poins from top four.

Brentford 0 vs. 2 Newcastle

Dasilva was sent off for Brentford in the 11th minute to give Newcastle a man advantage. Joelinton and Willock then added the goals as the Magpies won comfortably. A silver lining for Brentford and football in general was the comeback of Christian Eriksen. Brentford drop down to 15th and find themselves in a relegation battle while Newcastle jump up to 14th in the table with yet another win.

Crystal Palace 1 vs. 1 Burnley

Schlupp scored in the 9th minute to give Palace the lead but Milivojevic scored an own goal in the 46th minute to bring Burnley back into the game. Neither side could find the winner. Palace remain 11th in the table while Burnley remain 18th, one point from safety. 

Brighton 0 vs 2 Aston Villa

Cash scored in the 17th minute while Watkins scored in the 68th minute as Villa finally got a win after a run of poor results. Brighton drop down to 10th with a third successive loss while Villa move up to 12th with the win. 

Man United 0 vs. 0 Watford

United huffed and puffed but they couldn’t tear down Watford. So many missed chances for the home team and Watford were able to leave with a point. United remain 4th in the table two points above 5th while Watford remain 19th and three points from safety.

Everton 0 vs. 1 Man City

Foden scored in the 82nd minute due to a big mistake from Keane and then Rodri committed the most blatant hand ball you will ever see but no penalty was given as Everton were robbed of a point at home. Everton drop down to 17th in the table a point above the relegation zone while City remain top of the table six points clear of Liverpool who have a game in hand.

West Ham 1 vs. 0 Wolverhampton

Soucek scored in the only goal of the game in the 59th minute as West Ham got all three points in this important game. West Ham move into 5th in the table two points behind United while Wolves drop down to 8th in the table and seven points behind Man United. 

La Liga MW 26

Real Madrid beat Rayo Vallecano 0-1, Atletico beat Celta Vigo 2-0, Villarreal beat Espanyol 5-1, Sevilla beat Betis 2-1, Real Sociedad beat Osasuna 1-0, and Barcelona beat Bilbao 4-0. Real Madrid reman six points clear at the top of the table with Sevilla behind them. Betis are the only team to lose in the top seven as they see their gap to 4th cut down to one point. Barcelona sit 4th with Atletico 5th, and Villarreal 6th in the table. The title race is not over but Real Madrid have regained form in recent weeks. The top four race is also alive and running with five teams vying for two spots. An interesting season in Spain. 

Serie MW 27

Milan drew with Udinese 1-1, Inter drew with Genoa 0-0, Juventus beat Empoli 2-3, Roma beat Spezia 0-1, Napoli beat Lazio 1-2, and Atalanta are yet to play. Napoli go top of the tabel on goal difference as the Milanese teams continue to drop points. Milan sit 2nd and Inter 3rd. Juventus sit five poins behind Inter in 4th. Atalanta sit 5th and a win would take them to within three points of Juventus. Roma move up to 6th while Lazio sit 7th. A close race at the top while Juventus have a good buffer from 5th at the moment. Anything can happen but it is advantage Napoli for now.

Bundesliga MW 24

Hoffenheim beat Stuttgart 2-1, Leverkusen beat Arminia 3-0, Bayern beat Frankfurt 0-1, Leipzig beat Bochum 0-1, and Dortmund drew with Augsburg 1-1. Bayern go eight points clear at the top of the table as Dortmund drop points. Leverkusen and Leipzig make up the top four. Bayern as I have said are their own worst enemy and this weekend they returned to winning ways and created a bigger gap. Not much to look at in Germany.

Ligue MW 26

Nice drew with Strasbourg 0-0, PSG beat St.Etienne 3-1, Reims beat Monaco 1-2, Marseille drew with Troyes 1-1, and Lille beat Lyon 0-1. PSG go 15 points clear at the top of the table with Marseille, Nice, and Rennes making up the top four. Lille, Monaco, and Lyon sit 8th, 9th and 10th respectively. Ligue 1 just a formality at this point. 

Chelsea 2 vs. 0 Lille Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg Review

What a difference movement can make!

Chelsea took on reigning French champions Lille at Stamford Bridge for the Champions League Round of 16 first leg. Lille selected a strong lineup with the likes of David, Bamba and surprisingly Sanches all starting for Les Douges. Tuchel selected a strong lineup as well with Mendy in goal and a back three of Christensen, Silva, and Rudiger. Azpilicueta, and Alonso made up the wingbacks with Kovacic, and Kante as the midfield two. Havertz started up top in place of Lukaku with Pulisic, and Ziyech playing as the wingers. A strong lineup, Lukaku dropped and Chelsea were ready to go.

The Blues started the game brilliantly with Kai Havertz going close in the opening few minutes thanks to a brilliant ball by Azpilicueta. Havertz then got a shot off which resulted in a corner. Ziyech took the corner and Havertz headed it in to give Chelsea the lead in the 8th minute. Post the goal though Chelsea didn’t have the same impact of the opening 10 minutes. Sanches helped Lille grow into the game and they created some half chances but nothing to test Mendy directly. The half ended with Lille having had more shots but Chelsea had more on target and were more efficient. 

The 2nd half started saw Chelsea start with the same ferocity as they did the first half. Pulisic especially made some good driving runs and Havertz was a constant nuisance. The 2nd goal came in the 63rd minute as Kante drove forward from the midfield and played in Pulisic who finessed a shot into the goal. 2-0 up and comfortable. Chelsea searched for the 3rd goal but Lille held tight to keep the scoreline at 2-0. A good win overall. 

Chelsea Team Review

Goalkeeper 

Another cleansheet for Mendy as he had a generally comfortable game. Some simple catches to make but nothing stunning needed. Mendy continues to have a stellar record in the Champions League and Chelsea overall and long may it continue.

Defenders

Christensen, Silva, and Rudiger all had brilliant games. Silva especially looked very good and that is a testament to how he treats himself and keeps himself fit. A joy to watch. Azpilicueta was solid but Alonso had a shaky afternoon and Tuchel was visibly frustrated by him throughout the game. Sarr did come on in the 2nd half for Alonso to add a bit of energy. 

Midfielders

Kante and Kovacic had a solid game and Kante especially returned to form after having put in some poor performances over the last few games. Kovacic sadly had to come off but hopefully it isn’t a serious injury. Loftus-Cheek came on for him and did well, he took control of the ball and distributed it well, along with using his physicality. Saul also came on in the 2nd half and added extra grit to the midfield. A solid performance overall.

Forwards

Pulisic had a very good game and was a constant threat throughout. Later in the 2nd half he also tracked back well to help out in defence. It looked like the Pulisic of two seasons ago. A deserving goal scored as well. Havertz was a breath of fresh air up front after having seen Lukaku there for several games. Constant movement, constant threat and the whole attack just seemed to flow and funtion better. It was a pleasing performance on the eye and another goal to his name. Ziyech got an assist and had a good game but was relatively quiet. Ziyech did have to come off and one will hope he is ok. Werner did come on for the final 10 minutes and also provided threat. He managed seven touches in 10 minutes which is more than some can manage over 90. A fluid and exciting attack.

Manager

Tuchel will be pleased with the overall performance but he did mention that he didn’t like the way we allowed Lille to grow into the game in the first half. A win and a cleansheet is good though and gives Chelsea a solid footing going into the 2nd leg. Next up is a vist to Wembley on Sunday for the Carabao Cup final against Liverpool. COME ON CHELSEA!!!

Chelsea 21/22 Mid Season Review

On the way up!

With 19 games gone in the Premier League and Boxing Day finished, we are at the halfway point of the season. There is still one more game to go before the New Year and when the January transfer window will officially open. In this post, we will compare this half of the season to seasons before and where we were at this point under previous managers and seasons. At the time of writing this article, Chelsea is 3rd in the Premier League, in the Round of 16 of the Champions League, in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup, and are due to play in the FA Cup and Club World Cup. A solid start indeed.

Premier League 

Let’s begin with the Premier League. Firstly I think it’s fair to compare these first 19 games to some other seasons at this stage along with Klopp and Pep’s first real challenges at the title. 

Screen Shot 2021-12-27 at 19.22.06

Tuchel and Chelsea have done better in their first 19 games this season than each of the last 3 seasons. Unlike the last three seasons, we have also reduced the gap to single digits at this stage of the season, although a more competitive league also contributes to that. We do fall short in terms of the points total when it comes to our last three title-winning campaigns and our draws against the likes of Burnley, United, and Everton have cost us in that regard. Compared to Pep and Klopp’s first full seasons we are doing similarly well. 

We have also improved compared to the latter half of last season and Tuchel’s first 19 games in charge of the club. 3 more points, 18 more goals scored, and the same amount conceded. In Tuchel’s first 19 games we only managed to score 3+ goals in one game the 1-4 win against Palace. This season we have managed to score 3+ goals in 9 games. Our top scorer this season has been Jorginho with 9 goals which is not great while Mount follows him with 7. On the flip side Werner, James, and Lukaku join those two with 5 or more goals this season while we have 17 different goalscorers in our team this season. Reece James leads the team with 6 assists while several players have 4 or more assists to their name. 

We started the season well and led the league from GW 7 to GW 14, with our only loss coming to City at home. The start of November saw some poor results, especially after we lost Lukaku, Werner, Kovacic, Kante, and Chilwell to various injuries. Draws against Burnley, Man United, and Everton really should have been 3 points while the draw against Wolves was a decent point given all the players out with Covid. The 2nd loss to West Ham was also a fluke and should not have happened. 6 points behind City at this stage is not bad but we really should be level with them on points. Losing Lukaku for those crucial mid-table games was massive because those are the games we need him to win for us. 

A tough January awaits with games against Liverpool, City, and Spurs to come before the next international break. By then we really should know where we stand going into the latter half of the season. Regardless though there has been a clear improvement over the last few seasons and hopefully, with players coming back we can return to our early season consistency.

Champions League 

Chelsea has qualified for the Round of 16 having finished 2nd in the group. At the time it looked like a negative but we managed to get Lille in the draw so everything has a silver lining. Lille are the reigning champions of France and no team should be taken lightly in the Champions League. Like I said in the season preview, retaining a Champions League is a very tough task but we are doing well and all the team can do is take each game step by step. 

FA Cup

The FA Cup will kick off in January as well and our first game is against Chesterfield at Stamford Bridge. We should be looking to win that game, and then see how far we can go in that competition.

Club World Cup

Chelsea will be looking to win their first Club World Cup in February as we head to Dubai for that tournament. Our first game will be a semifinal on the 9th against Al Hilal or one of Al Jazira or Auckland City. If we manage to reach the final then we will play either Palmeiras, Al Ahly, or Monterrey. We fell short the last time we played in this competition so we should be aiming to do well here.

Carabao Cup

Chelsea has reached the Semi-Final of the Carabao Cup this season where we will face Antonio Conte’s Tottenham Hotspur in a two-legged tie. We hadn’t managed to get past the second round of the competition for the last two seasons so to reach the Semi-Finals is a good accomplishment. If we beat Spurs then we play either Arsenal or Liverpool in the final. This won’t be an easy competition though.

January Transfer Window

The transfer window will open on the 1st of January and it will give Chelsea an opportunity to restock in some areas, and maybe move some players on. The contract situations of Rudiger, Christensen, Silva, and Azpilicueta also remain open. Rudiger does look like he will be leaving the club in the summer while the other three do look like they will extend their contracts. Rudiger has been brilliant but we are failing to agree on the wage and with this being his final big contract it does look like Rudiger will probably be heading to Real Madrid sooner or later. As far as centre-backs go Chelsea is still heavily linked with Kounde, while De Ligt has also been mentioned.

Chilwell suffered an injury early in the season and should return in January. A surgery still might be needed depending on how he feels and plays when he comes back and Alonso has not been good enough as his replacement. Lucas Digne has been isolated at Everton and replaced by Benitez and Everton are looking to a deal for him with anyone who is interested. If Chelsea are interested then Digne should be coming into the club. 

Finally, we all know Kante is world-class and whenever he is on the pitch a half-fit Kante can cause damage to the opposition. The problem is Kante is getting old and his body doesn’t seem to be managing the workload all too well. We have missed Kante for several games for the past few seasons now and this season has been no different. At a point, we had all three of Kovacic, Jorginho, and Kante out. We do need an alternative in this area and Declan Rice would be on the top of many lists. The fact is that the transfer will be nearly impossible to do for now. The alternative to Rice is Monaco’s Tchouameni an exciting player in the mold of Pogba who can also allow Chelsea to play with a lone CDM. Tchouameni has received high praise from the likes of Fabregas who plays with him. There are rumors that Chelsea are looking at the Frenchman and a deal could be done in January. It would be amazing if we could get him through the door before the window ends. 

Loan Watch

As far as loans go Maatsen, and Colwill have impressed at Coventry City, and Huddersfield respectively in the Championship. Conor Gallagher has lit up the Premier League at Palace this season having scored 6 and assisted 3 goals in 17 appearances this season for the Eagles. Gallagher surely will be joining the team in the summer and will be a welcome addition to the midfield. Broja has been doing well at Southampton as well and has been playing more frequently as the season has progressed. 6 goals and 1 assist for the club in 16 appearances in all comps is not bad for the Albanian. 

Looking Ahead

For the 2nd half of the season, I maintain my predictions from the beginning. I think a minimum of a 3rd placed finish in the league and finishing within 5 points of the winner if we don’t win would be a massive improvement. We have already won the Super Cup, and adding the Club World Cup along with the FA Cup, or Carabao Cup or both would be very very good. Retaining the Champions League would be amazing but I expect a strong run regardless. It’s been a good first half given the fact we have had key players out with injury our star striker out for many games, and Covid ruining our plans. Hopefully, we can keep players fit in the 2nd half, and hopefully Chelsea dive into the market and get Digne and Tchouameni to bolster the squad. 

Premier League Season Preview 21/22

It’s been a fun summer with the Euro’s and the Copa America along with the Olympics as well. Now though its time to return to club football and Premier League football. Fans are going to be back in the stadiums and hopefully people keep getting vaccinated and we keep getting the fans back. With that said let’s preview how the teams look going into the season.

Arsenal – Last Season (8th – 56 points)

Transfers In

Nuno Tavares (Benfica/Defender), Albert Sambi Lokonga (Anderlecht/Midfielder), Mika Biereth (Fulham/Forward), Ben White (Brighton/Defender), Martin Odegaard (Real Madrid/Midfielder), Aaron Ramsdale (Sheffield United/Goalkeeper), Takehiro Tomiyasu (Bologna/Defender)

Transfers Out

David Luiz (Released), Dinos Mavropanos (Stuttgart/Loan), Matteo Guendouzi (Marseille/Loan), William Saliba (Marseille/Loan), Joe Willock (Newcastle), Lucas Torreira (Fiorentina/Loan), Willian (Corinthians), Riess Nelson (Feyenoord/Loan), Alex Runarsson (OH Leuven/Loan), Hector Bellerin (Real Betis/Loan)

Arsenal had a lacklustre season and go into this one not playing European football after a very long time. In a way I feel that could help Arsenal. Arsenal are a team in transition and the extra time to work with the team could help Arsenal. The flip side is if it continues to go poorly then fans will be even angrier about the situation. The summer so far has been quite good for Arsenal. Lokonga, and Ben White are starters while there are rumours that more players could be added to the team. David Luiz is the only one who has left the club but it’s been a hard summer to sell players for many clubs. Arsenal have played 6 friendlies having won 2, drawn 1, and lost 3. 2 of those losses came to Chelsea and Spurs. It’s going to be a tough season for Arteta as things stand. The football has not been great as he struggles to play some mix of tiki taka and pragmatic football a fusion of Pep and Jose. The fans are not the happiest and with them back in the stadium there will be more pressure than ever to perform. There are a few more weeks in the window left but either way I see Arsenal fighting for a top 10 finish. I feel Arsenal will finish 8th again or lower.

(With the transfer window now closed, Arsenal sit bottom of the Premier League with 0 points and 0 goals. It’s not been the greatest start BUT the only silver lining for Arteta is that he doesn’t have a fit squad. White, Gabriel, Odegaard, Tomiyasu, Lacazette, Aubameyang, Partey, and even Ramsdale have barely played a game so it is yet to be seen if things change when they come in. Arsenal have been the window’s biggest spenders but I think they will struggle if Arteta stays.)

Aston Villa – Last Season (11th – 55 points)

Transfers In

Emiliano Buendia (Norwich/Midfielder), Ashley Young (Inter Milan/Defender), Leon Bailey (Bayer Leverkusen/Winger), Danny Ings (Southampton/Forward), Axel Tuanzebe (Man United/Defender), Caleb Chukwuemeka (Northampton/Forward)

Transfers Out

Ahmed El Mohamady (Released), Tom Heaton (Man United), Jack Grealish (Man City), Wesley (Club Brugge/Loan), Conor Hourihane (Sheffield United/Loan)

Villa had a brilliant start to last season and levelled out in the end but they improved by 20 points and just fell short of the top 10. Dean Smith has done a remarkable job and has been backed this summer with some very good signings. Buendia, Bailey, and Ings can cause havoc when they start while Young and Tuanzebe add defensive depth. Add those players to Watkins, Mings, McGinn, Cash, Luiz, Traore, Martinez etc and I can see Villa having a brilliant season. Of course Grealish has left the club in a Premier League record deal but these reinforcements are all quality and I don’t think it will be that big of a loss. Villa have played 4 pre-season games winning 3 and losing 1. Villa play appealing football and they should get better this season. I expect Villa to challenge for a top 10 finish and if I had to nail down a position I would say Villa will finish 7th.

(No major additions since the start of the season, Villa did their business early and did it well. Ings, Buendia, and Young have all featured but Bailey needs to return to fitness. Tuanzebe has been a decent addition as well. Villa have taken some time to get going but they should be around about where we predicted.)

Brentford – Last Season (Playoff Champions)

Transfers In

Frank Onyeka (Midtjylland/Midfielder), Kristoffer Ajer (Celtic/Defender), Myles Peart-Harris (Chelsea/Midfielder), Yoan Wissa (Lorient/Forward), Alvaro Fernandez (Huesca/Goalkeeper) Loan

Transfers Out

Emiliano Marcondes (Released)

Brentford after many seasons of trying have finally reached the Premier League after having won the playoffs. Brentford finished 3rd in the regular season and have been sending players to the Premier League for a couple of seasons now. Watkins, and Benrahma have both come through Brentford. Brentford are managed by Thomas Frank and play an upbeat fluid form of football. It’s a team that likes scoring goals and likes to entertain it’s fans. Raya, Jansson, Dasilva, Mbeumo, and Toney are some of the names neutrals might know. Their incomings have been good as well with quality being added in all positions. Peart-Harris is an exciting attacking midfielder as well. Brentford have played 7 friendlies, winning 5, drawing 1, and losing 1. It’s been good preparation for the club. As with all promoted teams the main goal is to survive in the Premier League for the first season. My opinion is that Brentford will finish in the mid table positions and probably around 16th. I do think Brentford will survive.

(Brentford have started the season well and are unbeaten. A quiet end to the transfer window but the business was done early. I think Brentford could finish higher than we predicted but let’s see how it works out.)

Brighton and Hove Albion – Last Season (16th – 41 points)

Transfers In

Jeremy Sarmiento (Benfica/Forward), Gary Dicker (Kilmarnock/Midfielder), Enock Mwepu (RB Salzburg/Midfielder), Kjell Scherpen (Ajax/Goalkeeper), Kaoru Mitoma (Kawasaki Frontale/Winger), Marc Cucurella (Getafe/Defender)

Transfers Out

Jose Izquierdo (Released), Davy Propper (PSV), Bernardo (RB Salzburg), Mat Ryan (Real Sociedad), Alireza Jahanbakhsh (Feyenoord), Ben White (Arsenal)

It’s been a busy summer at Brighton after what was a season of underachieving for the Seagulls. Many games last season Brighton were the better team and created several chances but they lacked a finisher up top and it meant they failed to score goals thereby dropped points. Graham Potter is a bright manager but again up till now they have not signed a striker that finish the chances they create. Mwepu is the signing that sticks out and with Bissouma he should build a brilliant midfield. White will be a loss at the back but I struggle to see who the replacement is. Lamptey is still out injured which is a loss as well. Brighton have only played 3 pre-season games winning 1, drawing 1 and losing 1. It looks like it’s going to be another season of struggle for Brighton but again they should avoid relegation although I see them finishing 17th this season.

(It was a good window for Brighton but they yet again failed to get a decent forward that can finish the chances they created. Cucurella who was signed recently is probably the pick of the bunch and I can’t wait to see the pacey defender/winger play. Brighton’s goalscoring is still an issue but they should survive as predicted)

Burnley – Last Season (17th – 39 points)

Transfers In

Nathan Collins (Stoke City/Defender), Jacob Bedeau (Scunthorpe/Defender), Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace/Goalkeeper), Aaron Lennon (Free/Winger), Maxwel Cornet (Lyon/Forward), Connor Roberts (Swansea/Defender)

Transfers Out

Robbie Brady (Released), Ben Gibson (Norwich)

Sean Dyche and Burnley rallied at the end of last season to avoid relegation and finish 17th. It was an underwhelming summer last year and this summer seems like more of the same. Dyche will be left frustrated with what he has to work with and while there have been no big departures one has to ask how many times the Ginger Mourinho can pull off a miracle. There will be some key players back like McNeil but I see Burnley once again fighting for survival. Burnley played 7 friendlies winning 6 and losing 1. There are a few more weeks left in the transfer window but I think Burnley will once again be fighting for survival at the bottom of the table.

(The additions of Cornet, Lennon, and Roberts are decent ones for Burnley but they will be fighting it out for survival. The additions will probably help that push though)

Chelsea – Read the season preview.

Crystal Palace – Last Season (14th – 44 points)

Transfers In

Michael Olise (Reading/Midfielder), Remi Matthews (Goalkeeper), Marc Guehi (Chelsea/Defender), Joachim Andersen (Lyon/Defender), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea/Midfielder) Loan, Nathaniel Clyne (Defender), Will Hughes (Watford/Midfielder), Odsonne Edouard (Celtic/Forward)

Transfers Out

Wayne Hennessey (Burnley), Andros Townsend (Everton), Mamadou Sakho (Montpellier), Patrick van Aanholt (Released), Gary Cahill (Released), James McCarthy (Celtic), Scott Dann (Released)

There has been a rebuild this summer at Crystal Palace with Roy Hodgson having left the club at the end of last season and several players being released. Patrick Vieira has come in as the Eagles new manager and the Eagles have backed him with some exciting young signings. Olise has been attracting a lot of attention in the Championship while Guehi is a highly rated Chelsea Academy graduate who had a brilliant loan season at Swansea last year. Andersen impressed at Fulham and has now sealed a move to Palace while Gallagher is another Chelsea player this time on loan who adds a midfield bite. Clyne adds experience to the side. Eze is still out with injury but Zaha, Benteke, Mateta, Ayew, Guatia, etc are all players that have remained. Palace have played 6 friendlies winning 4 drawing 1 and losing 1. It’s going to be an interesting season for Palace, I think they have made smart signings but the question mark remains over Patrick Vieira. I have them once again fighting between 10th and 15th and I would say they finished 12th IF everything works out for them.

(Hughes and Edouard joined Palace before the deadline and they cap off a brilliant window for the Eagles. It was a rebuild and while the signings might take time to gel there are positives from the opening few games. Gallagher especially is looking very good. An interesting season for the club.)

Everton – Last Season (10th – 59 points)

Transfers In

Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace/Winger), Asmir Begovic (Bournemouth/Goalkeeper), Demarai Gary (Bayer Leverkusen/Winger), Andy Lonergan (West Brom/Goalkeeper), Salomon Rondon (Dalian/Forward)

Transfers Out

Theo Walcott (Southampton), Joshua King (Watford), Yannick Bolasie (Releasead), Muhamed Besic (Released), Bernard (Sharjah), Moise Kean (Juventus/Loan)

Everton had some great moments last season under Ancelotti, with the win against Liverpool being a crowning moment. It looked like the only way was up for the Toffees but in football things can change very quickly. Real Madrid came calling for Ancelotti and the Italian jumped ship and swam to Madrid. It was a shock and after some searching Everton settled on Rafa Benitez who famously is the manager who won Liverpool a Champions League. There is clearly a lot of work for Benitez to do to fix those tensions and the transfer window has not helped him. There have been no big departures and all key players are still around but the signings have been underwhelming. Everton have played 5 friendlies winning 3 drawing 1 and losing 1. Up until the 4-0 loss to Man United the defensive solidity that comes with being managed by Benitez was on show for fans. I think Benitez is a good manager and he will have Everton fighting to get into the top 10.

(Everton have started the season well under Benitez as expected. There is a solidity at the back and while the goals aren’t flowing in they are winning games. It was the most eye catching of windows but they are signings fit for purpose. Kean has gone back to Juventus as he never truly settled at Everton.)

Leeds United – Last Season (9th – 59 points)

Transfers In

Amari Miller (Birmingham/Winger), Jack Harrison (Man City/Winger), Junior Firpo (Barcelona/Defender), Sean McGurk (Wigan/Midfielder), Lewis Bate (Chelsea/Midfielder), Kristoffer Klaesson (Valerenga/Goalkeeper), Leo Hjelde (Celtic/Defender), Dan James (Man United/Winger)

Transfers Out

Gaetano Berardi (Released), Ezgjan Alioski (Released), Pablo Hernandez (Castellon), Ian Poveda (Blackburn/Loan), Helder Costa (Valencia/Loan)

Leeds had a brilliant first season back in the Premier League. A top 10 finish was what they deserved after entertaining the fans and the neutrals alike. Bielsa has extended his contract for another year as he looks to improve on the 9th place finish. The summer has been quite good for Leeds brining in Firpo as one of the proper first team players. Miller, McGurk, and Bate would fall under up and coming talent but I can attest for Bate and say that he will be conducting Leeds midfield by the end of the season if he is given a chance. Alioski and Hernandez were stalwarts of Leeds journey but have left. Leeds have played 6 friendlies winning 1, drawing 2, and losing 3. It is safe to say that Leeds gung ho approach has not been tempered although they will have to improve defensively if they want to move further up the table. I have Leeds fighting in the top 10 once again and finishing higher than 9th will depend on there defence.

(It’s been a slow start to the season for Leeds but it seems they will be their entertaining selves once again. Dan James is the big one that’s come in on deadline day and Leeds have been after him for a while. The way Leeds play it should suit James and it will be interesting to see how it works out. No changes in the prediction, Leeds should be fighting where we expect them to).

Leicester City – Last Season (5th – 66 points)

Transfers In

Patson Daka (RB Salzburg/Forward), Boubakary Soumare (Lille/Midfielder), Ryan Bertrand (Defender), Jannick Vestergaard (Southampton/Defender), Ademola Lookman (RB Leipzig/Winger) Loan

Transfers Out

Christian Fuchs (Charlotte), Matty James (Released), Wes Morgan (Retired), Rachid Ghezzal (Besiktas), Dennis Praet (Torino/Loan)

Leicester had another nearly there season last year as they were in the top four for the longest period of time but failed to stick their landing and dropped down to 5th. An FA Cup win was a welcome addition and probably helped keep the fans on Rodgers side. The summer has been a typical Leicester summer with the club doing brilliant business. Daka is a top up and coming striker while Soumare has been labelled the same in midfield. Bertrand adds experience to the team. No one has departed the squad but experienced players in Fuchs, James, and Morgan have left or become a coach in Morgan’s case. Leicester have played 4 friendlies winning 1, drawing 2, and losing 1. They also beat Manchester City to win the Community Shield which should give them a bounce going into the new season. The loss of Fofana to a broken fibula will be big and they should be in the market for a new centre back in the coming weeks. Leicester have a good squad and once again will be fighting in the Europa League as well. The depth will help and if everyone stays fit I see them fighting for top four once again. This time I think they will stick the landing and finish 4th.

(Vestergaard came in soon after an injury to Fofana. Lookman capped off a good summer window for the Foxes as expected. Leicester are finally looking to break into that top four and while it might be tougher than it was 3 weeks ago there is still a big possibility).

Liverpool – Last Season (3rd – 69 points)

Transfers In

Ibrahima Konate (RB Leipzig/Defender)

Transfers Out

Georginio Wijnaldum (PSG), Marko Grujic (Porto), Harry Wilson (Fulham), Ben Davies (Sheffield United/Loan), Xherdan Shaqiri (Lyon)

It’s safe to say last season did not go as expected for Liverpool as Champions of England. They were not able to celebrate their title like they should have. By the time the fans returned to the stadium they were no longer Champions and so it was a moo point of a title. Add to that the bucket load of defensive injuries and the misfiring attack and you had a very poor season. Still Klopp rallied in the end and managed to help the club finish in 3rd. The summer has not been great in terms of incomings at the club. Konate is a good addition at centre back but Wijnaldum will be a loss in the midfield. Players like Elliot have had good loans and are fighting for first team spots while defenders are back fit again most importantly Van Dijk. Robertson is once again injured though which is not a good sign heading into the start of the season. Liverpool have played 7 friendlies winning 3 drawing 3 and losing 1. They are due to play one more. With City and Chelsea steaming ahead and United also doing some good business Liverpool will have to rely on their fragile squad depth once again. If players stay fit then top four should be certain. I expect them to be fighting for the title but finish 3rd.

(Liverpool are expected to fight for the title and they will going off of what we have seen over the last 3 weeks. Where Liverpool have fallen short is the transfer window and they have probably had the worst one of the lot. The only incoming is Konate and he’s only going to play if Van Dijk or Matip is out. A tough time for Klopp but one he has to deal with).

Manchester City – Last Season (Champions – 86 points)

Transfers In

Scott Carson (Derby/Goalkeeper), Jack Grealish (Aston Villa/Midfielder)

Transfers Out

Sergio Aguero (Barcelona), Eric Garcia (Barcelona), Jack Harrison (Leeds)

City didn’t start last season all that well but by the end of it they were comfortably champions. They were of course aided by the fact that Liverpool dropped off a cliff and Chelsea went through their own rollercoaster ride. City also managed to reach the Champions League final but failed to beat Champions Chelsea. The summer has been decent in that no major player has left apart from Aguero who’s contract ended. Jack Grealish has come in for a Premier League record fee and they are still in search of a striker heading into the final few weeks. The main target remains Harry Kane although that will entail another Premier League record fee. Pep also probably wants to sell a few players to make up for the big spend. City played 3 friendlies which they won while they lost the Community Shield. Look if Pep spends north of 200 million on 2 players and that second player happens to be Kane then I expect them to win the title again. I think it will be a close race at the top though. The pressure for Pep will be to win the Champions League after having spent a billion on transfers during his tenure.

(The Kane chase led nowhere, and Ronaldo did not end up at the Etihad either. I don think City have been played on both front this season. On the pitch though they have scored 5 goals in two games alraead. Goalscoring is not an issue for City in games where they dominate it’s against the bigger teams where they will struggle to score).

Manchester United – Last Season (2nd – 74 points)

Transfers In

Jadon Sancho (Dortmund/Winger), Tom Heaton (Aston Villa/Goalkeeper), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid/Defender), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus/Forward)

Transfers Out

Sergio Romero (Released), Tahith Chong (Birmingham/Loan), Facundo Pellistri (Alaves/Loan), Axel Tuanzebe (Aston Villa/Loan), Andreas Pereira (Flamengo/Loan), Brandon Williams (Norwich/Loan), Dan James (Leeds United)

Finishing 2nd last season was a big achievement for Ole and United. It’s yet another season of Champions League football and they also managed to reach the Europa League final which they lost. After two summers of trying they have managed to seal Jadon Sancho’s transfer while Varane is a big coup for them as well. Heaton’s addition is confusing with both De Gea, and Henderson still at the club. On paper this is now a very good United team. All that is really missing is a CDM but Ole shouldn’t be crying. Ole is now into this 4th season as a United manager and the pressure is well and truly on to challenge for the title and win a trophy. Anything less than that and it would rile the fans. United have played four friendlies winning 2, drawing 1 and losing 1. Out of all the managers that need to deliver I think Ole is the one under the most pressure going into this season. I expect United to be fighting in around the top four but I feel they just might miss out and finish 5th. Unlikely prediction but I’ll stick with it, Ole does feel like he is the imposter in a game of Among Us and he just keeps winning but this time he might get caught.

(United were already having a good window when the season began but then City got close to signing Ronaldo, and United went in for their ex player and brought him back. United didn’t need Ronaldo and they needed a midfielder but getting Ronaldo will mean they have a world class player in their squad. The first three games has been more of the same for Ole with no tactics but just luck to see them through. It should be more of the same even with Ronaldo. I still see them dropping down to 5th).

Newcastle United – Last Season (12th – 45 points)

Transfers In

Joe Willock (Arsenal/Forward), Santiago Munoz (Santos Laguna/Forward)

Transfers Out

Kyle Scott (Released), Florian Lejeune (Alaves), Yoshinori Muto (Released)

Bruce did well to guide Newcastle to a 12th placed finish last season. What I feel was needed this summer was some good investment into the squad and that has not happened. With 3 weeks to go though things could change. On the flip side there have been no major departures and they have managed to keep Saint-Maximin. Newcastle have played 6 friendlies winning 3, drawing 1, and losing 2. As thing stand and given the other teams and the business they have done I feel like Newcastle will be fighting for survival this season. It will be close but they will be part of that bottom 15 pile. If they sign Willock and keep Wilson fit then things could look up for the club.

(Newcastle managed to sign Willock and Wilson is fit but the season has started as expected for Newcastle. One signings isn’t enough and they are towards the bottom half of the table. It will probably be another long slog of a season).

Norwich City – Last Season (Championship Champions)

Transfers In

Milot Rashica (Werder Bremen/Winger), Angus Gunn (Southampton/Goalkeeper), Ben Gibson (Burnley/Defender), Dimitris Giannoulis (PAOK/Defender), Billy Gilmour (Chelsea/Midfielder) Loan, Pierre Lees-Melou (Nice/Midfielder), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen/Forward), Christos Tzolis (PAOK/Winger), Brandon Williams (Man United/Defender) Loan, Mathias Normann (Rostov/Midfielder) Loan, Ozan Kabak (Schalke/Defender) Loan

Transfers Out

Alex Tettey (Released), Mario Vrancic (Released), Emiliano Buendia (Aston Villa), Marco Stiepermann (Released), Josip Drmic (Rijeka/Loan)

Norwich are back for round two in three years and they are looking to survive in the Premier League this season having dominated the Championship last year. Everyone remembers Norwich for their free flowing football under Farke and that hasn’t changed although Farke will know defensively they have to be better this season. Rashica, Gunn, Gibson, and Gilmour are all quality additions to the squad. I know very little about Giannoulis, and Lees-Melou. Norwich played 5 friendlies winning 4 and losing 1. I think Norwich will be fighting that mid table battle this season but unlike 19/20 they will survive.

(Survival is the name of the game for Norwich and they have once again bought 4 more players since the start of the season. Norwich have not had the best of starts but they should manage to avoid relegation because they do play decent football, it’s all about finishing those chances).

Southampton – Last Season (15th – 43 points)

Transfers In

Theo Walcott (Everton/Winger), Romain Perraud (Brest/Defender), Dynel Simeu (Chelsea/Defender), Tino Livramento (Chelsea/Defender), Armando Broja (Chelsea/Forward) Loan, Adam Armstrong (Blackburn/Forward), Lyanco (Benfica/Defender)

Transfers Out

Ryan Bertrand (Leicester), Wesley Hoedt (Anderlecht), Angus Gunn (Norwich), Mario Lemina (Nice), Danny Ings (Aston Villa), Jannik Vestergaard (Leicester), Michael Obafemi (Swansea)

Hassenhutl and Southampton began the season so well last year but fell down and finished 15th. It was a tough ending and there was another 9-0 loss as well. The summer has been a decent one with Walcott signing permanently while Perraud seems to be a replacement for Bertrand. Simeu is decent graduate from Chelsea’s academy while Livramento is the highly rated right back for the same academy. Bertrand, Lemina and most of all Ings will be a loss for the Saints. Southampton are looking to sign a striker in the coming days to replace Ings although it will be hard to replace that quality. Southampton have played 5 friendlies winning 3, drawing 1 and losing 1. I still think Hassenhutl is a good coach but he needs to adapt himself defensively. I think Southampton will be fighting that mid table battle this season in and around 12th and 16th. Keep an eye out for Livramento, and Broja though.

(Lyanco has come in to fill in the gap that Vestergaard left although it is yet to be seen if he will be as good as Vestergaard. Southampton generally have good scouting though and the players they have brought in have looked good so far. Livramento has been the most impressive of the lot. There is still work to do but Southampton should challenge in the are we expect them to).

Tottenham Hotspur – Last Season (7th – 62 points)

Transfers In

Pierluigi Gollini (Atalanta/Goalkeeper) Loan, Bryan Gil (Sevilla/Winger), Cristian Romero (Atalanta/Defender), Pape Matar Sarr (Metz/Midfielder), Emerson Royal (Barcelona/Defender)

Transfers Out

Danny Rose (Watford), Paulo Gazzaniga (Released), Juan Foyth (Villarreal), Erik Lamela (Sevilla), Toby Alderweireld (Al-Duhail), Troy Parrott (MK Dons), Joe Hart (Celtic), Pape Matar Sarr (Metz/Loan), Moussa Sissoko (Watford), Serge Aurier (Released), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic/Loan)

What a summer its been for Tottenham. After a tough season that saw Mourinho sacked and Ryan Mason become caretaker manager they then went on search for a new manager. Pochettino, Conte, Foncesca, Gattuso, and I’m probably forgetting a couple more as they finally managed to get Nuno Esprito Santo the former Wolves manager who left the club in the summer as well. Spurs have also appoint a director of football in Paratici who has so far done a decent job of overseeing a small rebuild. The 3 signings so far have been quite decent with Gil and Romero being highly rated as well. Of course the big question remains the future of Harry Kane who actually failed to return to training in order to push for a move to City but is now back as that saga rolls on. Spurs have played 5 friendlies winning 3 and drawing 2. I think Santo is a decent manager and it will be interesting to see what he does with better players. The signings have been good and there are probably more to come if Kane does leave. I have Spurs fighting for those European places and I expect them to finish in and around the Europa League spots. They are also part of the inaugural Europa Conference League the 3rd tier of European football.

(When this was written Kane looked City bound but since then Kane is staying and Spurs have won their first three games. Emerson is a decent addition as well. With Kane staying Spurs could push higher than 5th or 6th and fight for a 4th placed finish but they have not been that convincing in their games. Early days but keeping Kane is a big positive).

Watford – Last Season (2nd – Championship)

Transfers In

Imran Louza (Nantes/Midfielder), Ashley Fletcher (Middlesbrough/Forward), Danny Rose (Tottenham/Defender), Emmanuel Dennis (Club Brugge/Forward), Peter Etebo (Stoke City/Midfielder) Loan, Joshua King (Forward), Juraj Kucka (Parma/Midfielder), Ozan Tufan (Fenerbahce/Midfielder), Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham/Midfielder)

Transfers Out

Carlos Sanchez (Released), Jerome Sinclair (Released), Mamadou M’Baye (Released), Ignacio Pussetto (Udinese/Loan), Isaac Success (Udinese), Will Hughes (Crystal Palace), Troy Deeney (Birmingham City), Andre Gray (QPR/Loan)

Watford are back in the Premier League after a short stint in the Championship with the guidance of their manager Xisco Munoz. Watford finish 2nd in the Championship and are now back to try and survive in the Premier League. I’m not going to try and sugar coat the situation but I feel Watford are going to head straight back down. There are some decent players of course like Sarr, Deeney, Chalobah, and now the likes of King, Rose etc but it looks like a scatter gun approach to transfers. Watford played 8 friendlies winning 3, drawing 2, and losing 3. Those 3 losses all came to Premier League sides as well. It’s not looking good for Watford and I have them in the bottom 3 and their fight will be trying to survive by anyway possible.

(Watford have reshuffled their striker force, I have predicted them to get relegated but they have shown fight in the opening 3 games. It is yet to be seen how long that fight lasts).

West Ham United – Last Season (6th – 65 points)

Transfers In

Alphonse Areola (PSG/Goalkeeper) Loan, Kurt Zouma (Chelsea/Defender), Nikola Vlasic (CSKA/Midfielder), Alex Kral (Spartak Moscow/Midfielder) Loan

Transfers Out

Fabian Balbuena (Released), Felipe Anderson (Lazio)

West Ham with no fans in the stadium last year were allowed to develop and grow as a team under Moyes and they finished in 6th and secured a place in the Europa League as well. Coufal, Bowen, Soucek, Antonio, Rice, and Lingard for a few months caused havoc and deservedly finished where they did. The summer has so far been quiet with the only addition being Areola. There are rumours that a defender is inbound while a striker is also being looked at. Managing to keep Rice is also a positive as they head into a busy season. West Ham played 7 friendlies winning 5 and drawing 2. It’s been a good pre-season and I have them fighting for those Europa League spots once again. I think they need to add depth though because the Europa League can be taxing and it could see them fall down the top 10 if they are not careful.

(Moyes got backed in the end of the window with some quality additions which should allow him to manage the Europa League and Premier League. Zouma is a top defender that comes in while Vlasic, and Kral have caught they eye as well. It is looking like another good season for the Hammer).

Wolverhampton Wanderers – Last Season (13th – 45 points)

Transfers In

Yerson Mosquera (Atletico Nacional/Defender), Francisco Trincao (Barcelona/Winger) Loan, Rayan Ait-Nouri (Angers/Defender), Jose Sa (Olympiacos/Goalkeeper), Bendeguz Bolla (Fehervar/Defender), Hwang Hee Chan (RB Leipzig/Midfielder)

Transfers Out

Ruben Vinagre (Sporting Lisbon), Rui Patricio (Roma), Bendeguz Bolla (Grasshopper/Loan)

Wolves were not able to replicate their 19/20 form mainly due to the injury to Raul Jimenez. Last season is a thing of the past now and Wolves also have a new manager in Bruno Lage. Bruno has coached Benfica and isn’t as defensive as Santo which should be refreshing to Wolves fans. There is a good squad as well with no major departures. Traore, Neto, Neves, Moutinho etc are all around while Trincao is an exciting addition. Wolves have played 6 friendlies winning 2, drawing 1, and losing 3. I have Wolves fighting in the mid table once again and I would not be surprised if they finish in and around 13th again. It all depends on how Lage clicks and whether they can get Jimenez firing again.

(Wolves have no points to their name yet but they have been impressive and done well in their games. What has let them down is their finishing similar to Brighton last season. If the goals start coming then Wolves should be fine)