Premier League – A Club-by-Club Guide to the 2020-2021 Season (G-Z)
Just two more sleeps before the new Premier League campaign kicks off and if you’re still on the fence on who will claim English football’s biggest prize, we can help. We continue our club-by-club guide to the new season, with part two continuing from right where we left off.
Leeds United Back Where They Belong
Last Season: 1st (Championship)
In: Helder Costa (£16m, Wolves), Illan Meslier (£5m, Lorient), Jack Harrison (loan, Man City), Joe Gelhardt (£900,000, Wigan), Cody Drameh (undisclosed, Fulham), Rodrigo (£27m, Valencia) Robin Koch (£11.7m, Freiburg).
Out: Ryan Edmondson (loan, Aberdeen), Laurens De Bock (loan, Zulte Waragem), Illan Meslier (loan, Lorient)
Love them or loath them; it’s hard to argue that the Premier League won’t be a better place with the last winners of the last league championship, before the Premier League became a thing, in it. The Yorkshire club has an amazing fanbase, which suddenly seems to have doubled since their coronation from the Championship. After 16 years of hurt, welcome back Leeds. It’s just a shame Elland Road won’t be packed to witness the return, for now, at least.
The newcomers in the Premier League have not been shy of making bold moves. They signed Kiko Casilla from Real Madrid and have now brought in Spanish star man Rodrigo Moreno Machado to add to their lethal attack as they try to keep their stay in their Premier League. Rodrigo scored just four goals for Valencia last season but is still effective as was seen with an assist in Spain’s draw against Germany in the UEFA Nations League.
Leeds biggest goal threat comes from 27-year-old Patrick Bamford; the well-travelled forward has had spells with Derby, Middlesbrough, Norwich, Crystal Palace, Burnley before joining Leeds. In 68 league games for Leeds, 25 goals and four assists, including 16 in their promotion season. We expect some spirited performances from the side and mid-table safety.
Veteran Vardy Still Vital for Leicester
Last Season: 5th
In: Timothy Castagne (£25m, Atalanta).
Out: George Thomas (free, QPR), Calvin Bassey (free, Rangers), Andy King (released), Bartosz Kapustka (undisclosed, Legia Warsaw), Ben Chilwell (£45m, Chelsea), Ryan Loft (free, Scunthorpe), Viktor Johansson (free, Rotherham).
The Foxes had a fantastic start to last season but were on a free fall ever since the league resumed after the corona hiatus, running out of steam on the finishing straight was tough to take, especially as they looked challengers for the title early on. Their manager, Brendan Rodgers, will regret not making the most of their flying form last season but just like their amazing title win, you wonder if these chances will come around very often.
Jamie Vardy at 34 years of age, is still the Foxes’ most important player, and against all the odds was the Premier League’s top scorer last term. Many people have written him off in the past, and he could easily prove us wrong, but emerging talents in the side such as James Maddison need to step up. Kelechi Iheanacho has been disappointing for The Foxes, just 28 games in the Premier League have produced just nine goals in three seasons.
The only addition so far is in defence with Timothy Castagne signing from Atlanta. The 24-year-old played the full 90 minutes in Belgium’s 2-0 Nations League win against Denmark. Castagne’s main strengths are his ability in aerial duels, passing and holding up the ball. He took part in six games (two as sub) in Atlanta’s Champions League campaign.
Will Lack of Transfer Activity Hurt Liverpool’s Title Defence?
Last Season: 1st
In: Kostas Tsimikas (£11.7m, Olympiakos).
Out: Dejan Lovren (£10.9m, Zenit), Adam Lallana (free, Brighton), Morgan Boyes (loan, Fleetwood), Nathaniel Clyne and Andy Lonergan (released), Adam Lewis (loan, Amiens), Ovie Ejaria (£3.5m, Reading), Kai McKenzie-Lyle (free, Cambridge), Sheyi Ojo (loan, Cardiff), Isaac Christie-Davies (free, Barnsley)
In just a short few years, Jürgen Klopp turned his nearly men into champions both in Europe and the one they coveted, even more, the Premier League title. Achieving a milestone that was three decades in the making, few would be surprised to see a grinning Klopp statue outside Anfield at some point.
Liverpool’s only addition is the Greece international Konstantinos Tsimikas. The 24-year-old signed from Olympiacos in an £11.7m deal. The youngster excels at dribbling and impressed in Champions League (6 games, average rating 7.22) and Europa League (4 games, average rating 7.09) games this season.
It is, however, this lack of recruitment that we feel will hit Liverpool hard. They may have world-class players in every position, but aside from the starting 11, Liverpool doesn’t have that quality on the bench. Potential yes, but immediate quality, no. This season is shaping to be the most competitive ever, with fixtures coming every few days, we think this “happy with what we have” mentality if it continues, could allow a likely resurgent Manchester City to edge it. The cracks started showing last season, will the house crumble?
Ole’s Rebuild Continues at Old Trafford
Last Season: 3rd
In: Donny van de Beek (£35m, Ajax).
Out: Cameron Borthwick-Jackson (free, Oldham), George Tanner (free, Carlisle), Alex Fojticek (free, Blackpool), Angel Gomes (free, Lille), Alexis Sanchez (free, Inter Milan), Ethan Hamilton (free, Peterborough), Tahith Chong (loan, Werder Bremen), Joel Pereira (loan, Huddersfield).
Under manager Ole, Manchester United seem to have shed their English Galácticos approach that has been the club’s trademark, a tactic that has hurt the club in recent years. The baby-faced manager is publicly stating a preference for players who want to play for the club, rather than the big paycheques.
United’s limited transfer activity is interesting, Van Der Beek arrived at the club and instead of public spat over the deal, Edwin van der Sar sent an open letter to the club. He tells them what a great talent they had bought and with the affection of a father, asks the club to look after the former Ajax player. The strange thing for United fans, this wasn’t a position that needed strengthening, a central defender, a striker, a right-winger and if a luxury signing was needed, a left-back for cover in what has proved to be a challenging position with Shaw’s continual problems. The continual speculation of United buying Sancho is likely to continue till the window closes, recent reports say a deal appears closer, but with the sums involved, both sides will want to appear to have gotten the best deal and it could still all end in tears.
United, dare we say it, are like Liverpool five years ago. Plenty of promise, capable of beating anyone on their day, but lacking that consistency and quality in depth to make them genuine champion contenders. The rebuilding is going well, but this is certainly not the house that Sir Alex built just yet, as the two semi-final defeats in the Europa League by Sevilla and the FA Cup by Chelsea showed.
Messi? Never Wanted Him Anyway!
Last Season: 2nd
In: Yan Couto (£5.4m, Coritiba), Issa Kabore (£4m, Mechelen), Ferran Torres (£20.87m, Valencia), Nathan Ake (£41m, Bournemouth).
Out: Leroy Sane (£44.7m, Bayern Munich), Fisayo Dele-Bashiru (undisclosed, Sheffield Wednesday), Luke Bolton (loan, Dundee United), Issa Kabore (loan, Mechelen), Ko Itakura (loan, Groningen), Daniel Arzani (loan, Utrecht), Jack Harrison (loan, Leeds), Pedro Porro (loan, Sporting), Nahuel Ferraresi (loan, Moreirense), David Silva (free, Real Sociedad), Aleix Garcia, Claudio Bravo (free, Real Betis), Lukas Nmecha (loan, Anderlecht), Gavin Bazunu (loan, Rochdale), Yangel Herrera (loan, Granada), Ante Palaversa (loan, Getafe), Felix Correia (£9.45m, Juventus), Paolo Fernandes (undisclosed, Castellon), Yeboah Anankwah (loan, Rochdale).
What a tease that little Argentinian is, getting our hopes up that arguably the best player in the world would be leaving Barcelona to sample the Premier League. It sounded too good to be true, and it was. However, even without Messi, The Citizens have been a dominant force in the Premier League, before Liverpool took their crown, they had secured back-to-back titles.
Losing the title will have concerned manager Pep Guardiola, but he’ll be more concerned about the margin, 18 points. This gap is huge and would have been even worse had Liverpool not took their foot off the pedal since becoming champions. City gambled big on Europe, but once again lost big. They still possess the most expensive side in the world, and you would only expect a few tweaks for them to challenge.
The club has spent around £70 so far. The majority of that went on Nathan Aké who joined from Bournemouth. The defensive-minded player can play in defence as well as a midfielder and started his professional carer at Chelsea in 2013. The Dutchman played 29 games in the Premier League last season, winning an average of 2.1 aerial battles per game. At just over £20m, Ferran Torres may prove to be the bargain of this transfer window. The attacking right midfielder was in sensational form in the Champions League for Valencia, two goals and two assists in five starts is a great return. We feel this could be the minor adjustment that City need; there is still time for more additions, of course.
Different Season, Same Old…. Ashley
Newcastle Last Season: 13th
In: Mark Gillespie (free, Motherwell), Jeff Hendrick (free, Burnley), Callum Wilson (Bournemouth, £20m), Ryan Fraser (free, Bournemouth), Jamal Lewis (£15m, Norwich)
Out: Jake Turner (loan, Morecambe), Jack Colback (free, Nottingham Forest), Tom Allan (loan, Accrington), Freddie Woodman (loan, Swansea), Kelland Watts (loan, Plymouth), Rob Eliot and Jamie Sterry (released).
Just a few months ago, Geordies were on cloud 9, a Middle East consortium planned to overthrow owner Mike Ashley, ending his tyrannous rule that has existed for an uneasy thirteen years. Finally, the long-suffering Newcastle fans had a chance to celebrate, that was until the Premier League blocked the deal, scuppering dreams of signing Kylian Mbappé, Lionel Messi and Neymar. It is alleged that another party are interested in buying Newcastle, we doubt fans will be holding their breath.
Steve Bruce has been a premier League manager for eleven seasons, more than any other manager. The flair that Allan Saint-Maximin brings to the side is outstanding and could form a great attacking trio with Miguel Almiron to his side. The third part of the trio is Joelinton, if the Brazilian can reproduce the form he showed at Hoffenheim. At the German club, he scored seven and assisted five in 25 games, much better than his two goals and assists in 38 games for Newcastle. The 24-year-old has found the intensity of the Premier League hard to adapt to. However, with a season under his belt, this could be his time to shine—another rollercoaster season for predictably unpredictable Newcastle.
Blades Will Be Blunted But Not Out
Last Season: 9th
In: Wes Foderingham (free, Rangers), Aaron Ramsdale (£18.5m, Bournemouth), Ethan Ampadu (loan, Chelsea), Jayden Bogle, Max Lowe (combined £15m, Derby).
Out: Jake Young (free, Forest Green), Callum Gribbin (free, Barrow), Jake Eastwood (loan, Kilmarnock), Marcus Dewhurst (loan, Carlisle), Luke Freeman (loan, Nottingham Forest), Rhys Norrington-Davies (loan, Luton Town), Mark Duffy (free, Fleetwood), Nathan Thomas, Jack Rodwell, Ben Heneghan, Kieron Freeman, Phil Jagielka and Leon Clarke (all released).
Sheffield United was the surprise package last season, coming so close to European qualification and despite being tipped for the drop, 9th place is an incredible achievement, finishing two points behind Arsenal in 8th and just five points off 6th. What is really surprising about a team that almost reached Europe is that hardly anyone stands out in the team for performances. Stat wise; not a single player averaged over 7 in post-match ratings, their strength is unity, passion and playing as a team. A tactic that served them well.
The determination, cohesion, and spirit in the side are unmatched with a new system of overlapping centre-backs to be proud of that has since been adopted by Arsenal. They, however, need to add goal creating ability to their squad as they lack that continual goal threat. Last season, they scored just 39 goals, Arsenal above them scored 56 with the league’s top scorers, Manchester City scoring 102 goals for comparison. Their top scorers were Lys Mousset and Oliver McBurnie who both scored six. Many more teams will be aware of United this year; we still expect them to be safe.
Saint Ings to be Southampton’s Messiah Again
Last Season: 11th
In: Kyle Walker-Peters (£12m, Tottenham), Mohammed Salisu (£10.9m, Real Valladolid).
Out: Mohamed Elyounoussi (loan, Celtic), Cedric Soares (free, Arsenal), Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (£15m, Tottenham), Maya Yoshida (free, Sampdoria), Jack Ross (released), Harrison Reed (£8m, Fulham), Mario Lemina (loan, Fulham), Alfie Jones (undisclosed, Hull).
Finishing in 11th place, nestled in between Burnley and Everton was a credible end of the season for Southampton. After being slaughtered at home 9-0 by Leicester, relegation rather than a European push seemed more likely at the time. However, manager Ralph Hasenhüttl steadied the ship, and the maritime club found themselves in calmer waters.
The redemption of The Saints is credited to the form of Danny Ings; the Englishman was agonisingly close to claiming the Golden Boot contender with 22 goals. The former Liverpool man now has 64 goals in 161 games. Without him, the Saints would be in serious trouble, James Ward-Prowse and Stuart Armstrong are the club’s next best scorers, both with just five.
Right defender Kyle Walker-Peters has joined from Spurs alongside central defender Mohammed Salisu from Real Valladolid. If Ings stays fit, Southampton will be fine.
All or Nothing For Mourinho
Tottenham Last Season: 6th
In: Giovani Lo Celso (£28.8m, Real Betis), Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (£15m, Southampton), Joe Hart (free, Burnley), Matt Doherty (£15m, Wolves).
Out: Troy Parrott (loan, Millwall), Kyle Walker-Peters (£12m, Southampton), Jan Vertonghen (free, Benfica), Michael Vorm (released), Timothy Eyoma (loan, Lincoln), Luke Amos (undisclosed, QPR), Oliver Skipp (loan, Norwich).
Jose Mourinho has no excuse for failure in North London. The squad he manages has quality players that were once on his dream list when managing other clubs. Spurs scrapped sixth, helped massively by the enforced break in football action, allowing high-profile stars such as Harry Kane and the always impressive Son Heung-Min, a chance to finish the season they were ruled out of initially.
Mourinho’s coaching tactics are there for all to see. Amazon’s “All or Nothing” sports-documentary went behind the scenes at Tottenham; the timing couldn’t be any better as it showed the transition from former manager Mauricio Pochettino to the former Chelsea and Manchester United boss.
New acquisitions include Giovani Lo Celso Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg on a five-year deal from Southampton who was the club’s first signing this window; defender Matt Doherty from Wolves joined later. They are currently looking for a striker to reduce the minutes of Harry Kane with Darwin Nunez of Benfica rumoured as a potential target
A Short Visit From the Baggies
Last Season: 2nd (Championship)
In: Matheus Pereira (£8.2m, Sporting CP), Cedric Kipre (£1m, Wigan), Grady Diangana (£18m, West Ham), David Button (undisclosed, Brighton).
Out: Nathan Ferguson (free, Crystal Palace), Finn Azaz (loan, Cheltenham), Jonathan Leko (£1m, Birmingham), Callum Morton and Alex Palmer (loan, Lincoln), Chris Brunt, (free, Bristol City), Lee Peltier, Ali Al-Habsi, Jonathan Bond, Gareth Barry (all released).
West Brom won the race for the last automatic promotion place by a nose, just two points ahead of Brentford and Fulham on 81 points. Those fine margins are the difference between success and failure, and with a team built up from lower division clubs, they will need a lot of luck this season. They will, of course, be motivated by Sheffield United’s performance last season.
To West Brom’s credit, the goals are split well between the team, always a good sign for a promoted club. Ex-Southampton player, Charlie Austin has Premier League experience and scored 10 in the Championship last season. Hal Robson-Kanu also has Premier League experience from the last time West Brom was in the top-flight, he too has 10. Four other players have scored five or more.
Although we tip West Brom for relegation, their capture of winger Diangana on a five-year deal is exciting. Such is the talent of the youngster, West Ham captain Mark Noble and Jack Wilshere took to social media to slam their club for selling him.
The Bubble to Burst for Moyes
West Ham Last Season: 16th
In: Tomas Soucek (£15m, Slavia Prague)
Out: Albian Ajeti (£5m, Celtic), Jordan Hugill (£5m, Norwich City), Kane Wilson (free, Forest Green), Stephen Hendrie (free, Morecambe), Jeremy Ngakia (free, Watford), Roberto (free, Real Valladolid), Daniel Kemp (Blackpool, loan), Pablo Zabaleta and Carlos Sanchez (released), Grady Diangana (£18m, West Brom).
The hammers had a fantastic end to last season that saved them from the drop. Unbeaten in the last four (two wins and two draws) they defied the bookies who predicted the worst. Their escape was engineered by Michail Antonio who suddenly turned into Cristiano Ronaldo, bagging all four goals in their 4 – 0 win against Norwich. With eight of his ten goals last season, coming in the last seven games, cometh the hour, cometh the man.
The return of Andriy Yarmolenko makes David Moyes attack look a very threatening side if they become consistent enough. The likelihood is that we will only see the best out of the Hammers when the pressure is on. Manager David Moyes has been the saviour twice; surely he can’t avoid the lightning forever?
The only incoming transfer so far is the signing of defensive midfielder Tomas Soucek from Slavia Prague for £15m.
The Wolves Pack Still Strong But Need New Cubs
Wolves Last Season: 7th
In: Matija Sarkic (free, Aston Villa), Fabio Silva (£35.6m, Porto), Marcal (£1.78m, Lyon).
Out: Helder Costa (£16m, Leeds), Elliot Watt (undisclosed, Bradford), Ryan Giles (loan, Coventry), Jordan Graham (free, Gillingham), Ming Yang-Yang and Phil Ofosu-Ayeh (released), Morgan Gibbs-White (loan, Swansea), Matt Doherty (£15m, Tottenham), Matija Sarkic (loan, Shrewsbury), Terry Taylor (loan, Grimsby), Benny Ashley-Seal (undisclosed, Northampton).
To call Wolves last season impressive would be a huge understatement. Their campaign started over a full year ago, and a small squad had to contend with the added pressure of the Europa League. Not only did they do themselves proud in Europe, but they also surpassed their previous season’s points tally, and only Arsenal’s victory in the FA Cup final denied them another shot in Europe.
However, with a gruelling campaign ahead, their squad is looking very thin. They have lost a lot of their key players without bringing in their potential replacements. The most recent departure of Doherty would be a big blow; he was one of their most dangerous goal-scoring wingbacks whose numbers in that position will be hard to replace.
They are still a very dangerous side on the counter-attack, especially a big threat to the big boys, doing the double against Man City was their highlight of the season. The uprising of Adama Traore and the form of Raul Jimenez is a double threat to any defence with great speed and clinical finishing. We predict they will be the best of the rest but will need reinforcements to bolster their depth, a year without Europe might be a blessing in disguise.
That concludes our club-by-club guide to the new Premier League season. Only a couple of days to go to the start and if you’ve not already placed your bets, betway consistently offer great odds for football betting.