Premier League team-by-team guide
We’ve analysed all 20 clubs competing in the 2019/20 Premier League - includes statistics, top trends, plus our verdict on every team.
Footy fans surviving on a diet of cricket, golf and tennis throughout the summer will be licking their lips at the Premier League returning this weekend, where Manchester City set out to defend their crown.
The Citizens recorded another incredible performance last season when landing a memorable treble in the league, FA Cup and League Cup. While Pep Guardiola will the Champions League trophy added to City’s bulging silverware cabinet, he’ll also expect another high standard on the domestic front where they appeared unplayable last term.
City set their stall out with an opening day win at Arsenal 12 months ago, and will want more of the same when facing West Ham in the capital on Saturday. Arsenal, however, will be relieved to face Newcastle for their opening clash, and it is with the Gunners we start our 2019-20 preview…
Manager: Unai Emery
Title odds: 66-1
Key signings: Pepe £72m, William Saliba £27m, Kieran Tierney £25m, Dani Ceballos (loan), David Luiz £8m
Key departures: Aaron Ramsey (free)
Premier League finishes: 5th, 6th, 5th, 2nd, 3rd
Points after first six games (last five seasons): 12, 10, 13, 10, 10
Aug 4: Barcelona 2 Arsenal 1 (Aubameyang)
Jul 31: Angers 1 Arsenal 1 (Nelson)
Jul 28: Arsenal 1 Lyon 2 (Aubameyang)
Jul 24: Barnet 2 Arsenal 3 (Balogun 3)
Jul 23: Real Madrid 2 Arsenal 2 (Lacazette, Aubameyang)
Bogey team: Chelsea (2 wins from 14)
Best team: Burnley (9 wins from 10)
Top trend: 74% of Arsenal’s away games produced 2.5 goals or more (14 out of 19) – the highest in the Premier League.
The fact Arsenal’s first season without Arsene Wenger slipped under the radar suggests it was a satisfactory campaign in which Gunners fans were content.
Finishing runner-up in the Europe League behind Chelsea, along with fifth spot in the table demonstrated Unai Emery’s capability at the club, providing an ideal springboard for this term. More will be expected this time now that Emery has been given his honeymoon season to settle, while the recent additions of Pepe and William Saliba add quality – Kieran Tierney also arrives from Celtic and David Luiz from Chelsea to help seal holes at the back.
The areas in which they will need to improve are on the road, as the Gunners kept a clean sheet just once at 10-man Watford, while winning just two of their eight games against top-four teams. Scoring wasn’t a problem with both Patrick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lazarette notching 35 goals between them, but losing a total of 10 games last term doesn’t smack of a team ready to win the title, hence why the bookies offer 66-1, having been 25-1 12 months ago.
Verdict: Good going forward, but question marks at the back. Improvement on the road could see them snatch a Champions League spot.
Manager: Dean Smith
Title odds: 1000-1
Key signings: Wesley £22.5m, Tyrone Mings £20m, Douglas Luiz £15m, Matt Targett £14m
Key departures: None
Premier League finishes: N/A, N/A, N/A, 20th
Points after first six games (last five seasons): 9, 6, 7, 4, 10
03 Aug: RB Leipzig 1 Aston Villa 3 (Hourihane 2, McGinn)
27 Jul: Charlton 1 Aston Villa 4 (El-Ghazi, Green, McGinn 2)
24 Jul: Walsall 1 Aston Villa 5 (Jota 2, Wesley 2, Grealish)
21 Jul: Shrewsbury 0 Aston Villa 1 (Hogan)
18 Jul: Minnesota 0 Aston Villa 3 (Grealish, Lansbury, Bjarnason)
Bogey team: Manchester United (won 3 out of 48)
Best team: N/A
Top trend: Aston Villa scored 18 goals during minutes 61-75 last season – the most in the Championship.
An incredible run of form saw Aston Villa make the play-offs last season, before success at Wembley against Derby ended a two-year absence form the top flight.
Much of their fortunes came courtesy of manager Dean Smith’s arrival from Brentford. He didn’t enjoy a great start, but once captain Jack Grealish returned, they rocketed up the table via some neat, attacking football. The fact Villa slumped when Grealish was injured will always be a concern, but Smith has spent plenty during the summer in adding quality to the squad. Such additions include striker Wesley Moares from Brugge, who has big boots to fill in Tammy Abraham, who returns to Chelsea having struck an impressive 25 goals in the Championship. Defender, Axel Tuanzebe, also heads back to Manchester United.
Apart form their opener at Tottenham, Villa’s next four matches are not too demanding with Bournemouth, Everton and West Ham at home, plus a trip to Crystal Palace. They will need to get points on the board early if wanting to avoid becoming the fifth play-off winners from the last six years to go straight back down.
Verdict: Play-off winners don’t have a great record in staying up, but Villa spent money and boast quality players, including captain, Jack Grealish, who finally has the chance to shine on the big stage.
Manager: Eddie Howe
Title odds: 2000-1
Key signings: Arnaut Danjuma £16m, Philip Billing £14.5m, Lloyd Kelly £13m, Jack Stacey £4m
Key departures: Tyrone Mings £20m, Lys Mousset £10m
Premier League finishes: 14th, 12th, 9th, 16th, N/A
Points after first six league games: 10, 3, 7, 7, N/A
03 Aug: Bournemouth 3 Lyon 0 (Wilson, Kilkenny, King)
02 Aug: Bournemouth 3 Lazio 4 (Lerma, Solanke, Stacey)
27 Jul: Brentford 1 Bournemouth 3 (Ibe, Solanke, Surridge)
26 Jul: West Brom 0 Bournemouth 0
20 Jul: Girona 2 Bournemouth 1 (Fraser)
16 Jul: Wimbledon 2 Bournemouth 3 (Wilson 2, Fraser)
Bogey team: Man City (0 win from 8)
Best team: Leicester City (lost one in six)
Top trend: Bournemouth’s games produced the most goals approaching half-time last season, courtesy of 28 goals during minutes 31-45.
Having survived their first four seasons in the Premier League, Bournemouth now rank as an established top-flight with a “never-say-die” attitude.
Much of their success comes down to Eddie Howe, who will again be content for a mid-table finish. His approach in picking up points against bottom-half teams is effective, and he’ll look for his side to start well at newly-promoted Sheffield United and Aston Villa in their opening two fixtures. Howe hasn’t lost many of his reliable unit in the transfer market, instead adding strength at the back where they leaked last season. Up front, the Cherries have fewer worries, having struck the seventh highest tally last season behind only Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal and Manchester United. The impressive Callum Wilson was responsible for 14 of those goals despite missing nine games, and his partnership with Ryan Fraser is one not many clubs enjoy facing.
Having started well before fading last time around – eight of their 13 victories came before Christmas – Howe will look for a touch more longevity this season, while cup competitions may unfortunately play second fiddle once more.
Verdict: Steady Eddie Howe’s settled unit look set for another solid campaign – safe, with no fireworks.
Manager: Graham Potter
Title odds: 2500-1
Key signings: Adam Webster £20m, Leonardo Trossard £18m, Matt Clarke £3.5m, Neal Maupay 20m
Key departures: None.
Premier League finishes: 17th, 15th, N/A, N/A, N/A
Points after first six league games: 5, 7, N/A, N/A, N/A
02 Aug: Brighton 2 Valencia 1 (Murray, Duffy)
27 Jul: Birmingham 0 Brighton 4 (Murray, Locadia, Duffy 2)
20 Jul: Fulham 2 Brighton 1 (Gross)
19 Jul: Crawley 0 Brighton 1 (Richards)
13 Jul: Liefering 2 Brighton 5 (Dunk, Murray, Locadia, Trossard, Andone)
Bogey team: Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City (0 wins in 4 meetings)
Best team: West Ham (3 wins and 1 draw in 4)
Top trend: Brighton lost all eight games against top-four teams.
Just two points made the difference in Brighton surviving the drop last season, while enduring a poor run of form in which they won just twice from 18 games.
It was enough to send Chris Hughton packing, leaving the door open for new boss, Graham Potter, who arrives from Swansea City. Prior to arriving in Wales, Potter did great things for Swedish outfit, Ostersund, taking them through the divisions into the top flight, while winning the cup, before a solid enough first season with Swansea in tenth place.
This remains Potter’s biggest test, however, and it will be interesting to see if his passing style works in the Premier League, where he inherits a squad with several stale signings from last summer that didn’t work out. Potter has brought in a few new faces, though, including centreback, Adam Webster, from Bristol City and young left-winger, Leonardo Trossard from Genk, who netted 14 goals last term plus forward Neal Maupay who scored 28 goals for Brentford last season. Club favourite, Glenn Murray, will also be on hand again having rescued them with his goals and will be a valuable cog, as will highly-rated defender, Lewis Dunk, who looks set to stay.
Verdict: A new dawn at the Amex, where Graham Potter takes over. He’ll need to get a tune out of this squad if climbing back up the table.
Manager: Sean Dyche
Title odds: 2000-1
Key signings: Jay Rodriguez £5m, Danny Drinkwater (loan)
Key departures: Tom Heaton £7.5m
Premier League finishes: 15th, 7th, 16th, N/A, 18th
Points after first six league games: 6, 9, 7, N/A, 3
03 Aug: Burnley 2 Parma 0 (Rodriguez 2)
30 Jul: Burnley 6 (Wood 3, Hendrick, Gudmundsson, Rodriguez) Nice 1
27 Jul: Wigan 2 Burnley 2 (Rodriguez, McNeil)
23 Jul: Fleetwood 0 Burnley 3 (Koiki, Wood)
20 Jul: Crewe 1 Burnley 0
20 Jul: Port Vale 1 Burnley 3 (Wood, Vydra, Brady)
Bogey team: Arsenal (0 win from 10 meetings)
Best team: Bournemouth (4 wins from 6 meetings)
Top trend: Burnley conceded in each of their away victories last term.
Last season, Burnley were unable to match their heroic 2017-18 finish of seventh place, instead slumping to 15th in the table. However, there were reasons for that slump.
A European campaign where they played an extra six games before the end of August clearly distracted the Clarets, as they remained winless in the Premier League until exiting the Europa League and then won two of their next four. Sean Dyche will have his men more focused on the domestic front this time around, where it could be a case of bouncing back up the table.
Reading into pre-season friendlies can be misleading, but recent signs are encouraging, with Jay Rodriguez returning to the club for a second spell and netting four goals in their last three, including a brace during their 2-0 win over Parma last weekend. Goals were never a problem last season, as Dyche’s men actually scored nine more than the previous season, though leaking goals at the back was an issue. The departure of keeper, Tom Heaton, won’t help, though England international defender, James Tarkowski, will be on hand once more, while Danny Drinkwater was a handy last-minute deal.
Verdict: Not many new faces, but with no European campaign to distract them, survival looks possible.
Manager: Frank Lampard
Title odds: 40-1
Key signings: Mateo Kovacic £40m
Key departures: Eden Hazard £90m, David Luiz £8m
Premier League finishes: 4th, 5th, 1st, 10th, 1st
Points after first six league games: 16, 13, 10, 7, 16, 11
03 Aug: Borussia Moncheng’bach 2 Chelsea 2 (Abraham, Barkley)
31 Jul: Salzburg 3 Chelsea 5 (Pulisic 2, Barkley, Zouma, Pedro)
28 Jul: Reading 3 Chelsea 4 (Mount 2, Barkley, Kenedy)
23 Jul: Barcelona 1 Chelsea 2 (Abraham, Barkley)
19 Jul:Kawasaki Frontale 1 Chelsea 0
Bogey team: Man Utd (won only 18 from 54 meetings)
Best team: Arsenal (lost only 4 of 21)
Top trend: Only Liverpool kept more home clean sheets than Chelsea last season.
Priced at 7-2 to win the title two seasons ago, before drifting out to 14-1 a year later, Chelsea are now available at a whopping 40-1 – clearly, the bookies don’t envisage the Premier League trophy heading to Stamford Bridge in May.
Much of the talk has centred around former Chelsea legendary midfielder, Frank Lampard, returning to manage the club, and he is without doubt facing an uphill task with the Blues having won the Europa League along with finishing third in the league, prior to losing Eden Hazard – their top scorer last season. It’s hard to know what Roman Abramovich expects of Lampard, and with only one year in the chair at Derby County, Chelsea are very much going into the unknown under his guidance. As for the team, then both Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho have yet to live up to their price tags, and the fact Chelsea can’t sign players because of an embargo hanging over them is another concern. As for positives, then Ross Barkley looked sharp pre-season, while N’Golo Kante may get more of a chance to shine.
Verdict: Hard to see a repeat of last season’s successful campaign under newboy, Frank Lampard, with the loss of Eden Hazard a hard gap to fill.
Manager: Roy Hodgson
Title odds: 1000-1
Key signings: Jordan Ayew £2.5m
Key departures: Aaron Wan-Bissaka £49.5m
Premier League finishes: 12th, 11th, 14th, 15th, 10th
Points after first six league games: 7, 0, 10, 9, 8
03 Aug: Crystal Palace 0 Hertha Berlin 4
27 Jul: Wimbledon 2 Crystal Palace 2 (Pierrick 2)
20 Jul: Bristol City 0 Crystal Palace 5 (Townsend, Schlupp, Benteke, Meyer, Wickham)
19 Jul: Bromley 1 Crystal Palace 0
16 Jul: Nottingham 1 Crystal Palace 0
Bogey team: Man Utd (0 win from 20)
Best team: Leicester City (4 wins from 4 meetings)
Top trend: Palace’s home games witnessed 2.5 goals or more once in every three games last term – the lowest in the Premier League.
It’s fair to say Roy Hodgson did well to keep Crystal Palace in their mid-table position with such little funds available, but his task could be made harder having lost Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
This time last summer all the talk was about Zaha leaving Selhurst Park, and 12 months down the road not much has changed. Palace fans will of course be happy they’ve kept they keep him, despite going public about wanting to leave. Hodgson will need Zaha and both Luka Milovojevic/Andros Townsend to deliver around another 18 goals between them, as they did last season, including in their shock 3-2 win at Manchester City. Indeed, that win at City, Arsenal, Wolves, Leicester and Newcastle, along with beating Tottenham at home, show how high the Eagles are capable of flying, and they should have enough substance to keep afloat for another year.
Verdict: Losing Wan-Bissaka was a blow, so Zaha staying is a huge bonus. Still a tough campaign ahead, but relegation looks avoidable.
Manager: Marco Silva
Title odds: 250-1
Key signings: Alex Iwobi £40m, Moise Kean £25m, Jean-Philippe Gbamin £22m, Andre Gomes £22m, Fabian Delph £8.5m, Alex Iwobi £30m
Key departures: Idrissa Gueye £28.5m, Ademola Lookman £16m, Nikola Vlasic £14m
Premier League finishes: 8th, 8th, 7th, 11th, 5th
Points after first six league games: 6, 7, 13, 9, 6, 12 (max.18pts)
03 Aug: Werder Bremen 0 Everton 0
27 Jul: Mainz 3 Everton 1 (Gibson)
27 Jul: Sevilla 1 Everton 0
24 Jul: Wigan 0 Everton 0
19 Jul: Monaco 0 Everton 1 (Coleman)
Bogey team: Arsenal (won only 3 of their last 24 meetings)
Best team: West Ham (lost only 4 of their last 24)
Top trend: Everton won only 11 of their 90 games against top-eight sides during the last five seasons – against the bottom six sides, they won 41 out of 72.
Marco Silva’s first season in charge at Goodison Park resulted in more of the same for Everton in terms of final position, as they finished eighth – the same slot as 12 months previous.
It’s debatable whether another “satisfactory finish” is acceptable for a club wanting to move forward, but breaking into the top six remained difficult in recent seasons. It is also the subject of bigger clubs that keeps Everton at arms reach, as they continually fail to beat the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham, and the fact Kurt Zouma may not stay on loan from Chelsea may hurt them at the back – the loss of Idrissa Gueye’s tackling will also be missed.
As for the good news, then Italian international striker, Moise Kean arrives from Juventus, along with Arsenal striker, Alex Iwobi, while Jean-Philippe Gbamin arrives from Mainz to offer a helping hand in front of defence – Andre Gomes also signed from Barcelona following a successful loan spell, with the capture of Fabian Delph from Manchester City another plus. Toffee fans will be hoping both Gylfi Sigurdsson and Richarlison remain injury-free, as the pair provided a priceless 26 goals last season, making up for their lack of a prolific frontman – Everton recently netted just twice in five pre-season friendlies.
Verdict: A lack of goals may hinder the Toffees’ ambition of joining the top six.
Manager: Brendan Rodgers
Title odds: 300-1
Key signings: Youri Tielmans £40m, Ayoze Perez £30m, James Justin £6m, Dennis Praet £18m
Key departures: Harry Maguire £80m
Premier League finishes: 9th, 9th, 12th, 1st, 14th
Points after first six league games: 9, 4, 7, 12, 8
02 Aug: Leicester 2 Atlanta 1 (Perez, Vardy)
27 Jul: Rotherham 2 Leicester 2 (Iheanacho 2)
27 Jul: Stoke 1 Leicester 2 (Albrighton, Tielemans)
23 Jul: Cambridge 0 Leicester 3 (Maguire, Iheanacho, Choudhury)
20 Jul: Cheltenham 1 Leicester 2 (Vardy, Albrighton)
Bogey team: Man Utd (2 wins from 26); Arsenal (3 wins from 26)
Best team: Watford (6 wins from 10)
Top trend: Only Liverpool and Manchester City recorded a better record after half-time than Leicester last season – winning 20 of their 38 second halves played.
Leicester have experienced the highest of highs and lowest of lows in recent years, winning the title in 2015-16 before last season’s helicopter tragedy that claimed the club owner’s life.
While the anniversary of October’s disaster will hover over the club, the Foxes can hopefully head into what will be an emotional week for the club on the right footing, and Brendan Rodgers has made the right start the club needed. Rodgers joined with 10 games to go last spring, and made an immediate impact in guiding City to four wins in five matches. Rodgers has also been busy in the summer making several tasty signings, including Newcastle’s leading scorer, Ayoze Perez, who will provide vital assistance up front for Jamie Vardy. The signings will also dampen the blow of Harry Maguire’s exit, while the emergence of last summer’s big signing, James Maddison, proved fruitful throughout the campaign, and any further progress would see him pushing for international honours.
Verdict: Losing Harry Maguire was a blow, but a settled squad strengthened by Brendan Rodgers signings should propel them higher than last season’s ninth.
Manager: Jurgen Klopp
Title odds: 3-1
Key signings: Sepp van den Berg £1.3m
Key departures: Danny Ings £20m
Premier League finishes: 2nd, 4th, 8th, 6th, 2nd
Points after first six league games: 18, 13, 8, 7, 13
04 Aug: Liverpool 1 Manchester City 1 (Matip)
31 Jul: Liverpool 3 Lyon 1 (Firmino, Wilson, og)
28 Jul: Liverpool 0 Napoli 3
25 Jul: Sporting 2 Liverpool 2 (Origi, Wijnaldum)
21 Jul: Sevilla 2 Liverpool 1 (Origi)
Bogey team: Man Utd (4 wins from 19)
Best team: Everton (0 loss in 16)
Top trend: Liverpool scored the most second half goals last season.
The glory days have certainly returned to Anfield, and while they have yet to lift the Premier League trophy, compensation arrived in a big way courtesy of their Champions League success.
Jurgen Klopp has injected a long-term belief around Anfield, and he would love to top all the hard work by winning the title. They went agonizingly close last time around when losing out by just one point to Manchester City, and there is no reason why Klopp’s strong squad can’t repeat the dose. Others may point out that despite enjoying the perfect start last season with six straight opening wins, along with fielding two of the three leading scorers in Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane, they still weren’t good enough – they also recorded the best points total (97) of any team not to win the title. The challenge is being able to repeat that level in keep tracks of the City juggernaut – but, should City slip, then the Reds may be on hand to take advantage.
Verdict: The Champions of Europe look set for another big season, and anywhere near last season’s level could see them go close again.
Manager: Pep Guardiola
Title odds: 1-2
Key signings: Rodri £63m, Joao Cancelo £60m, Angelino £10.5m, Zack Steffen £7m
Key departures: Douglas Luiz £15m, Fabian Delph £8m, Danillo £34m
Premier League finishes: 1st, 1st, 3rd, 4th, 2nd
Points after first six league games: 16, 16, 18, 15, 11
04 Aug: Liverpool 1 Manchester City 1 (Matip)
27 Jul: Yokohama 1 Man City 3 (De Bruyne, Sterling, Nmecha)
24 Jul: Kitchee 1 Man City 6 (Sane 2, Silva, Sterling, Touaizi, Pozo)
20 Jul: Wolves 1 Man City 0
17 Jul: Man City 4 West Ham 1 (Sterling 2, Silva, Nmecha)
Bogey team: Liverpool (9 wins from 44)
Best team: Bournemouth (8 wins from 8 meetings)
Top trend: Man City scored in every home game last season.
It was another record-breaking season for champions Manchester City, who landed an unprecedented clean sweep of domestic trophies, and if other clubs are hoping for some leeway, then they maybe disappointed, as Pepe Guardiola isn’t someone to rest on his laurels.
Guardiola stated in May that he wanted City to be better in 2019-20, which may appear impossible, but with Guardiola anything is possible – maybe three league defeats last season is giving him restless nights! The Spaniard is without the services of Vincent Kompany – who started only 13 league games last term – but he’s already bagged the promising Spanish defender, Angelino, from PSV Eindhoven, along with tall midfielder, Rodri, from Atletico Madrid and full-back, Joao Cancelo from Juventus. Meanwhile, Kevin De Bruyne is back to full strength having missed the first half of last season. The reliability of Sergio Aguero’s goals and the increasing development of Raheem Sterling are two more pluses for Guardiola, whose quest for perfection gets underway at West Ham United this weekend.
Verdict: Hard to fault the champions – a team who simply go from strength to strength, and rate as the bookies’ red-hot favourites for a third straight title.
Manager: Ole Gunnar Solksjaer
Title odds: 40-1
Key signings: Harry Maguire £80m, Aaron Wan-Bissaka £49m, Daniel James £15m
Key departures: Romelu Lukaku £74m
Premier League finishes: 6th, 2nd, 6th, 5th, 4th
Points after first six league games: 10, 16, 12, 13, 8
03 Aug: Man Utd 2 AC Milan 2 (Rashford, Lingard)
30 Jul: Kristiansund 0 Man Utd 1 (Mata)
25 Jul: Tottenham 1 Man Utd 2 (Martial, Gomes)
20 Jul: Man Utd 1 Inter Milan 0 (Greenwood)
17 Jul: Man Utd 4 Leeds 0 (Greenwood, Rashford, Jones, Martial)
Bogey team: Chelsea (3 wins from 15)
Best team: Crystal Palace (16 wins from 19)
Top trend: Manchester United kept only two clean sheets in 19 home games.
The bookies marked Manchester United up at 8-1 for title glory 12 months ago, and that price has now inflated out to 40-1 – odds that were unthinkable a few years ago.
When Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over the reins following Jose Mourinho’s departure, he injected new energy into the players, who ignited to win 10 of their next 12 games – but the wheels soon came off. It may be the players simply ran out of gas towards the run-in, winning just one of their last 10 league games, but they showed enough during the purple patch to suggest Solskjaer has plenty to work with. Paul Pogba will again lead the side, but will need his teammates to join in the party if stringing together the consistency required to challenge at the top.
Last summer’s big signing, Fred, proved a flop, and it will be interesting to see if the newly-wed Brazilian comes back refreshed, while another name whose best days could still be ahead of him is Aaron Wan-Bissaka. The ex-Crystal Palace defender has sparkled pre-season, and with Leicester’s Harry Maguire also arriving at Old Trafford, Solskjaer finally boasts a solid back four. Another to shine this summer was the young striker Mason Greenwood, who could get his chance if the bigger names fail.
Whatever happens during the first few months, the United board need to be patient with Solskjaer, as another new manager isn’t the way forward – David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho all found that out trying to replace Fergie.
Verdict: If the big names perform regularly, then anything is possible for a team boasting so much talent – but, that’s a big if.
Manager: Steve Bruce
Title odds: 1000-1
Key signings: Joelinton £39.5m, Allan Saint-Maximum £16m, Andy Carroll (free)
Key departures: Ayoze Perez £30m, Joselu £2m
Premier League finishes: 13th, 10th N/A, 18th, 15th
Points after first six league games: 2, 9, N/A, 2, 3
03 Aug: Newcastle 2 St Etienne 1 (Joelinton, Longstaff)
30 Jul: Hibernian 1 Newcastle 3 (Joelinton, Longstaff, Lascelles)
27 Jul: Preston 2 Newcastle 1 (Shelvey)
20 Jul: Newcastle 1 West Ham 0 (Muto)
17 Jul: Newcastle 0 Wolves 4
Bogey team: Brighton (0 win from 4 games)
Best team: (unbeaten in 12 meetings)
Top trend: Only Fulham and Huddersfield lost more second halves last season.
If Newcastle fans get us much entertainment on the field as what’s taken place off it this summer, then they are in for a thrilling ride.
With Rafael Benitez leaving the chair and Steve Bruce coming in, there has been much debate on Tyneside as to whether the journeyman manager was the right choice. Bruce didn’t do well at Aston Villa despite having money to spend, before a mediocre spell with Sheffield Wednesday, and now he steps back up to the top flight. Only time will tell, but Bruce faces an uphill task with a side who last term relied upon Ayoze Perez and Saloman Rondon for goals, and both have left the club. Indeed, the pair notched an impressive 23 goals in 2018-19, over half of Newcastle’s tally of 42. Bruce will need to coax back to form the likes of Miguel Almiron, though Sean Longstaff looked good last term and has sparkled pre-season, along with Joelinton, who was brought in from the Bundesliga where he struck seven in 27 games last term.
Verdict: A tough season ahead for Steve Bruce in which avoiding relegation may be viewed as success.
Manager: Daniel Farke
Title odds: 2500-1
Key signings: Ralf Fahrmann £2.7m, Sam Byram £750k
Key departures: Marcel Franke £1.3m
Premier League finishes: N/A, N/A, N/A, 19th, N/A
Points after first six games (last five seasons): 5, 7, 11, 8, 13
03 Aug: Norwich City 1 Toulouse 0 (McLean)
30 Jul: Norwich City 1 Atalanta 4 (Cantwell)
27 Jul: Luton 1 Norwich City 5 (Drmic 3, Stiepermann, Roberts)
24 Jul: Norwich City 1 Brentford 3 (Watkins 2, Marcondes)
19 Jul: Schalke 1 Norwich City 2 (Pukki, Lietner)
Bogey team: Arsenal (2 wins from 16 meetings)
Best team: Crystal Palace (lost 2 from 10)
Top trend: Norwich scored 31 goals during the final 15 minutes last season – more than ant other Championship side.
Having stormed to the Championship title in May, manager Daniel Farke hasn’t splashed the cash on new recruits during the summer – instead, paying a compliment to a squad that look set to hold themselves in the top flight.
Championship winners tended to survive their first season in the Premier League, with recent examples coming via Wolves, Leicester, Burnley and Bournemouth. The Canaries also boast a serious hitman in Teemu Pukki, who struck 29 Championship goals in 2018-19. City also have numerous young talent coming through, and two names who could catch the eye are Max Aarons and Emi Buendia. Farke let his youngsters express themselves in the Championship, resulting in a plethora of goals at both ends, though whether that approach will work at this level is doubtful – something Farke will find out sooner rather than later with an opening fixture list featuring Liverpool, West Ham and Burnley on the road, and Newcastle, Chelsea and Manchester City at home. If they emerge with six points or more before game seven, Farke will be a happy man.
Verdict: Expect action, late goals and drama on City’s return, and one they may survive to live another season.
Manager: Chris Wilder
Title odds: 2500-1
Key signings: Olivier McBurnie £17m, Lys Mousset £10m, Callum Robinson £7m, Luke Freeman £5m, Phil Jagielka (free)
Key departures: None.
Premier League finishes: N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A
Points after first six games (last five seasons): 12, 12, 7, 12, 7
03 Aug: Reims 3 Sheff Utd 1 (Robinson)
27 Jul: Barnsley 1 Sheff Utd 4 (Robinson 2, Osborn, Freeman)
23 Jul: Chesterfield 0 Sheff Utd 5 (Sharp 3, Robinson, Freeman)
20 Jul: Northampton 0 Sheff Utd 2 (Norwood 2)
16 Jul: Burton 2 Sheff Utd 1 (Sharp)
Bogey team: Aston Villa (won 2 from 10 meetings); Man City (0 win from 6)
Best team: Chelsea (3 wins from 6)
Top trend: Sheffield United finished with the best first half record in the Championship last season – losing that period of play just three times in 46 games.
Chris Wilder worked wonders in getting Sheffield United back into the Premier League following a 12-year absence – but, will their stay be a short one?
That was the case in the 2006-07 season when they lasted just one season having been promoted as Championship runners-up, so United fans will be hoping for no repeat. The Blades are equipped well enough at the back having recorded the joint-best defensive record in the Championship, while up front they boast proven Championship power in Billy Sharp (top scorer with 23 last term) and David McGoldrick (15 goals), while signing Olivier McBurnie (22 for Swansea) – plus the underperforming Lys Mousset from Bournemouth. One concern, however, is that United came unstuck against the bigger Championship clubs, with both Bristol City and Swansea City doing the double over Wilder’s men.
Verdict: The Championship runners-up did well to get up, but this is a different test altogether for a squad lacking Premier League experience and quality.
Manager: Ralph Hasenhutti
Title odds: 1000-1
Key signings: Danny Ings £20m, Che Adams £15m, Moussa Djenepo £14m, Kevin Danso (loan)
Key departures: Matt Targett £14m, Charlie Austin £4m
Premier League finishes: 16th, 17th, 8th, 6th, 7th
Points after first six league games: 5, 6, 8, 6, 14
03 Aug: Southampton 2 FC Koln 0 (Ings, Hojbjerg)
28 Jul: Feyenoord 1 Southampton 3 (Adams, Yoshida, Boufal)
23 Jul: Guangzhou 0 Southampton 4 (Adams, Long, Valery)
20 Jul: Preston 1 Southampton 3 (Ings 2)
14 Jul: Altach 1 Southampton 1 (Adams)
Bogey team: Man City (1 win from 12 meetings)
Best team: Crystal Palace (3 losses in 18 meetings)
Top trend: Southampton beat only two top-six sides in 24 attempts.
There is optimism floating around the south coast with Southampton rising from the ashes under Mark Hughes, before becoming a team to note under Ralph Hasenhutti.
The former RB Leipzig manager did well since taking over from Mark Hughes in December, guiding them back up the table into safety. The German also brought out the best in players like Nathan Redmond, while making notable acquisitions in the summer, such as striker Che Adams from Birmingham, who’s been among the goals pre-season.
Saints fans will certainly be hoping this summer’s signings shine brighter than the last batch from 12 months ago, namely Jannik Vestergaard, Mohammed Elyounnoussi, Angus Gunn and Stuart Armstrong – none of whom set St Mary’s alight. While there weren’t many goals last season, the strengthened forwardline should improve matters, Danny Ings hit seven goals in 23 outings and can top that if staying injury-free, while influential midfielder, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, was on the scoresheet with Ings during their final friendly last weekend. Add to that, a cluster of exciting youngsters coming through, and the evidence points to exciting times ahead.
Verdict: Southampton turned the corner under Ralph Hasenhutti and should finish much higher than last season’s 16th placing.
Manager: Mauricio Pochettino
Title odds: 20-1
Key signings: Tanguy Ndombele £54m, Ryan Sessegnon £25m, Jack Clarke £10m, Giovani lo Celso (loan)
Key departures: Kieran Trippier £20m, Vincent Janssen £8m
Premier League finishes: 4th 3rd, 2nd, 3rd, 5th
Points after first six league games: 12, 9, 14, 9, 8
04 Aug: Tottenham 1 Inter Milan 1 (Moura)
31 Jul: Bayern Munich 2 Tottenham 2 (Lamela, Eriksen)
30 Jul: Real Madrid 0 Tottenham 1 (Kane)
25 Jul: Man Utd 2 Tottenham 1 (Moura)
21 Jul: Juventus 2 Tottenham 3 (Lamela, Moura, Kane)
Bogey team: Chelsea (6 wins from 52 meetings); Man Utd (8 wins in 52)
Best team: Bournemouth (6 wins in 8 meetings)
Top trend: Only Manchester City had a better first half record on the road last season – Spurs found themselves behind on only three occasions from 19 games.
It was another thrilling season for Tottenham fans in 2018-19, with an amazing Champions League run to the final being the standout.
Spurs were also in the title race for the majority of last season before running out of petrol, which became evident in their below-par Champions League final defeat. Pochettino’s men also made the top four in each of the last four seasons, and look set for another good season, especially as they’ve added new faces. Record club signing and midfielder, Tanguy Ndombele, is viewed as a replacement for Mousa Dembele, though he may take time in adjusting to the pace of football in England, while both Ryan Sessegnon and Giovani lo Celso are both positive signings.
One of the concerns surrounding Tottenham’s chances is their inconsistency, and while Spurs are viewed as a club making progress, the stats suggest otherwise, as their total points went from 86 in 2016-17, to 77 points 12 months alter, and then 71 in May, where again no silverware was acquired.
Verdict: There are many ifs and buts, but if City and Liverpool dip, Harry Kane stays fit and Tanguy Ndombele proves to be the real deal, then Tottenham can again challenge for the title.
Manager: Javi Gracia
Title odds: 1000-1
Key signings: Craig Dawson £5.5m, Joao Pedro £2.25m, Danny Welbeck free , Ismaila Sarr £35m
Key departures: Dodi Lukebakio £18m
Premier League finishes: 11th, 14th, 17th, 13th, N/A
Points after first six league games: 13, 11, 7, 9, N/A
03 Aug: Watford 2 Real Sociedad 1 (Gray 2)
27 Jul: QPR 0 Watford 1 (Capoue)
20 Jul: Bayer Leverkusen 1 Watford 2 (Hughes, Gray)
18 Jul: Ajax 2 Watford 1 (Gray)
Bogey team: Arsenal (10 losses in 12 meetings)
Best team: Newcastle (4 wins from 6)
Top trend: Thirteen of Watford’s 18 home games last term witnessed 2.5 goals or more – only Manchester City produced more.
These are indeed good times for Watford fans, who last season enjoyed their first FA Cup Final in 35 years, supplementing a tidy finish in the league of 11th place.
The Hornets may have finished even higher last season, but for taking their eyes off the ball for Wembley, though influential manager, Javi Gracia, will strive for more progress this time around. Gracia also gave the club stability by signing a new contract, and hopefully putting a freeze on the high turnover of managers down the years. The gaffer has also done well to keep his best players in a proven squad – notably the hard-working French midfield pairing of Abdoulaye Doucoure and Etienne Capoue – to supplement the additionD of West Brom’s Craig Dawson at the back, Arenal forward Danny Welbeck plus Rennes winger, Ismaila Sarr, for a club-record £35m.
Last year’s big summer signing, Gerrard Deulofeu, proved inconsistent but did produce the goods in the second half of the season with nine goals from February, and it will be interesting to see if Deulofeu continues the good work to support club captain, Troy Deeney.
Verdict: Capped a fine 2018-19 by reaching the FA Cup Final, and another solid campaign expected with no departures from the settled squad.
Manager: Manuel Pellegrini
Title odds: 500-1
Key signings: Sebastien Haller £36m, Pablo Fornals £25m, Albian Ajeti £8m
Key departures: Marko Arnautovic £22.5m
Premier League finishes: 10th, 13th, 11th, 7th, 12th
Points after first six league games: 4, 4, 3, 12, 7, 5 (max.18pts)
03 Aug: West Ham 2 Athletic Bilbao 2 (Lanzini, Wilshere)
31 Jul: Hertha Berlin 3 West Ham 5 (Fornais, Lanzini, Haller, Diangana, Antonio)
27 Jul: Fulham 0 West Ham 1 (Lanzini)
20 Jul: Newcastle 1 West Ham 0
17 Jul: Man City 4 West Ham 1 (Noble)
Bogey team: Brighton (0 win from 4 meetings)
Best team: Southampton (4 wins from 5)
Top trend: Only Fulham and Huddersfield kept fewer clean sheets than the Hammers last term – in other words, West Ham conceded in 31 of their 38 games.
It’s been a turbulent few years for West Ham, having moved homes and changed mangers, but there appears more stability and hope of late. Current manager, Manuel Pellegrini, is one of the reasons for calm at the London Stadium, and there is every hope the Hammers can push higher than the usual mid-division slot – they’ve finished 10th to 13th place in six of the last seen seasons.
Pellegrini will want a better start than in previous seasons if making strides, and his involvement in the summer market suggests he means business, bringing in new signings up front in Sebastien Haller and Pablo Fornals. The pair have been brought in to replace the departed Marko Arnautovic, who was the only player to reach double-figures for United last season. There is also good news from the treatment room with both Andriy Yarmolenko and Manuael Manzini back in full fitness, and the pair looked sharp pre-season.
Verdict: If avoiding injuries progress can be made, while a cup run is long overdue.
Manager: Nuno Espirito Santo
Title odds: 250-1
Key signings: Raul Jiminez £33m, Pedro Neto £16m, Patrick Cutrone £16m, Leander Dendoncker £12m, Bruno Jordao £8m
Key departures: Kortney Hause £3m, Helder Costa loan.
Premier League finishes: 7th, N/A N/A N/A N/A
Points after first six league games: 9, 13, 9, 7, 13
08 Aug: Pyunik Yerevan v Wolves
01 Aug: Crusaders 1 Wolves 4 (Jiminez 2, Bennett, og)
25 Jul: Wolves 2 Crusaders 0 (Jota, Vinagre)
20 Jul: Man City 0 Wolves 1 (Bennett)
17 Jul: Newcastle 0 Wolves 4 (Jota 2, Gibbs-White, og)
Bogey team: Arsenal (1 win in 10 meetings); Liverpool (1 win in 10)
Best team: Burnley (3 wins in 4)
Top trend: 24 of Wolves’ 38 games last season saw only 2.5 goals or fewer – the lowest in the Premier League.
Last season’s big success story was undoubtedly Wolves’ impressive return to the Premier League, where they made great strides in finishing seventh place.
Wanderers gained many admirers despite their defensive style, churning out a stream of impressive results against the big boys. The good news is that Nuno Espirito Santo has kept the squad together, offering hope they can repeat last term’s achievements, even though teams will know a bit more about them this time – there is a theory promoted teams can suffer second season syndrome and drop like a stone. Wolves also have a European adventure which has already begun before the new season kicks-off, and it is hoped they don’t get distracted as a result – Burnley were in a similar situation last season when losing early ground.
Santo will need to make more signings if taking Europe seriously, therefore easing the workload on his key players like Raul Jiminez, who racked up 13 goals on loan from Benfica (now a permanent deal). Diogo Jota has also been among the goals pre-season, and with newboys like Italian, Patrick Cutrone, adding strength up front, there is every reason to believe Wolves can show their teeth again.
Verdict: One of the most improved sides in the country and look nailed on for another excellent season – assuming their Europa League campaign doesn’t impact domestic matters.
Sign up to William Hill using promo code P30, bet £10 and get 2 x £15 free bets.
New customers using Promo Code P30 only, min £10/€10 stake, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 2 x £15/€15 (30 days expiry), free bet/payment method/player/country restrictions apply.
Further terms and conditions may apply