With the 2018 World Cup over, attention once again returns to the new domestic campaigns and the hotly anticipated English Premier League, with some big results in week one of the new season.
In what will surely be the most competitive season in recent years, many teams have strengthened significantly to achieve their desired goals. Here we will provide a predicted final table, with an insight into each team, key men and new signings:
Last year’s champions, City took the league by storm with their free-flowing attacking football leading to many asking whether they are the greatest team to have played in the Premier League era. Pep Guardiola’s side possess quality throughout the pitch with great strength in depth which should stand them in good stead for the long season competing across four competitions.
New Signing: Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City – £60mil)
Mahrez finally completed his much-anticipated move to City. The Algerian winger was key to former club Leicester’s fairy tale league winning campaign collecting the PFA Player’s Player of the Year along the way and will add greater competition in the wide areas providing goals and assists.
Key Men: Vincent Kompany, Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero
Another team who received great plaudits for their attacking style, Jurgen Klopp’s men came agonisingly close to winning last season’s Champions League, beaten by Real Madrid in the final. Forward Mo Salah will be looking to continue his hot form, finishing as last season’s top scorer with 32 goals, 44 in all competitions. Elsewhere, the playing squad has been strengthened significantly over the summer with a number of key signings including Allison (GK), Fabinho (Midfield), Keita (Midfield) and Shaqiri (Attack) in the hope of ending the club’s trophy drought.
New Signing: Allison (Roma – £67mil)
Liverpool finally addressed the goalkeeping dilemma at the club with the arrival of Allison following shaky performances from pair Mignolet and Karius. The Brazilian international arrived from Italian giants Roma in a world record deal for a goalkeeper with the hope of shutting out opposition teams.
Key Men: Virgil van Dijk, Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino.
Last season’s runners up, United will be looking to go one better this season and regain Premier League title they have won 13 times previously. Failure to do so may result in huge pressure on boss Jose Mourinho position, following large financial backing from the club’s owners in recent seasons. Fan’s will be hoping World Cup winner Paul Pogba can replicate the form shown for France at this summer’s tournament to fire his side to glory.
New Signing: Fred (Shakhtar Donetsk – £50mil)
Brazilian midfielder Fred made a big money move to Old Trafford as Jose Mourinho’s key signing. A box-to-box midfielder, Fred will aim to conduct the transition between defence and attack using his pace, passing ability and aggressive nature to dominate the centre of the park.
Key Men: David De Gea, Paul Pogba, Alexis Sanchez
Another season finishing in a Champions League spot, Spurs were expected to push on further to a possible league title challenge. However, Spurs became the first team in Premier League history to fail to sign a player during the summer transfer window. Despite this, one positive for manager Mauricio Pochettino is that the club were able to hold on to players such as Deli Alli and prolific striker Harry Kane who were linked with big money moves away from the club. The team are currently playing home matches at Wembley Stadium, with work ongoing to complete their new 62,000 capacity stadium, set to open later this year.
Key Men: Deli Alli, Christian Eriksen, Harry Kane
Current FA Cup holders, Chelsea make a fresh start following the appointment of coach Maurizio Sarri. Previously of Napoli, the Italian gained a strong reputation with his side playing attractive attacking football which he will aim to emulate with the Londoners. Sarri himself however, has admitted that it could take time for the players to adapt to his style and so a league challenge this season could be a step too far. With players such as mercurial Belgian Eden Hazard, Chelsea are sure to still be one of the top forces this season.
New Signing: Jorginho (Napoli – £55mil)
Heavily linked to rivals Manchester City, Chelsea won the race for the midfielder’s signature, who follows the path of his manager arriving from Napoli. A deep-lying midfielder, Jorginho will look to pull the strings in the heart of the Blue’s side and should have no problem adapting to boss Sarri’s style.
Key Men: Cesar Azpilicueta, N’Golo Kante, Eden Hazard
Following a slightly disappointing campaign, Everton have recruited significantly over the summer in an attempt to break into the top 6. As well as 6 new first-team players – including 4 on deadline day, Everton also appointed former Watford manager Marco Silva. Everton fans will be hoping their club can follow suit of neighbours Liverpool in once again challenging for domestic trophies as well as the return of European nights on the blue side of Merseyside.
New Signing: Richarlison (Watford – £40mil)
Brazilian attacker Richarlison took the Premier League by storm when he first arrived last season at Watford under coach Silva. Full of energy, pace and trickery, as well as a keen eye for goal, the wide man cause havoc for opposition defences and was crucial to Watford’s survival campaign.
Key Men: Jordan Pickford, Gylfie Sigurdsson, Cenk Tosun
Life after Arsene Wenger begins at Arsenal following the Frenchman’s exit. Former PSG boss Unai Emery is the man tasked with rebuilding the side following a few years of disappointment and failure to qualify for the Champions League. Despite this, Arsenal failed to make a marquee signing during the window with Emery perhaps preferring to take a closer look at the players already at his disposal.
New Signing: Bernd Leno (Bayern Leverkusen – £22mil)
Highly rated German goalkeeping Leno arrived on a deal to provide much needed competition for number one Petr Cech after more than 300 club appearances in his homeland. With Cech coming towards the end of his career it is hoped that Leno can be the man to succeed for many years to come.
Key Men: Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Crystal Palace could cause a few upsets this season as they look to build of last year’s 11th place finish following several close relegation battles in previous seasons. A team full of pace, Palace can be particularly dangerous on the counter attack with the likes of Wilfred Zaha and Andros Townsend in the side.
New Signing: Max Meyer (Schalke – Free)
Highly rated German midfielder Meyer was available on a free following the expiry of his contract at Schalke. Once linked with moves to some of the world’s biggest clubs, Meyer has always aspired of playing in the Premier League and hopes to provide the Eagles with the creativity and goals from an advanced midfield role.
Key Men: Mamadou Sakho, Luka Milivojevic, Wilfred Zaha
Premier League new boys Wolves retuned to the top flight following their Championship success last season. The Wanderers have made a statement of intent with some eye-opening transfer signings as they look to cement their place amongst England’s elite. Midfielder Ruben Neves is a player to watch with some astonishing strikes last season.
New Signing: Rui Patricio (Sporting Lisbon – Free)
Portuguese international goalkeeper was one of a number of native recruits by manager Nuno Espírito Santo. The highly rated goalie arrived on a free transfer from Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon as one of a number of players who requested the termination of their contract following a club incident and should provide much needed solidarity at the back.
Key Men: Rui Patricio, Ruben Neves, Raul Jimenez
West Ham United
Another club with high ambitions who have invested heavily in the playing squad over the off-season. Now Settled in their new stadium, fans expect the club to push on and aim for those much-coveted European places. Former Manchester City boss and Premier League winner, Manuel Pellegrini has been appointed to try and take the club to the next level.
New Signing: Felipe Anderson (Lazio – £35mil)
Brazilian attacker Anderson arrived at the London Stadium in a big money from Italian club Lazio following a 5-year spell. The attacker can both create and score goals with his versatile attacking talents and should excite the Hammers crowd.
Key Men: Manuel Lanzini, Mark Noble, Marko Arnautovic
Watford began last year’s campaign with such promise but with reports linking then manager Silva with a move away from the club, the teams on field performances suffered and Silva was eventually sacked as the Hornets plummeted down the table. With the new season upon us however there is once again reason for optimism under manager Javi Garcia’s guidance.
New Signing: Gerard Deulofeu (Barcelona – £11mil)
Watford completed the permanent signing of Deulofeu following a previous loan spell to provide some much-needed attacking quality, particularly following the sale of Richalison to Everton. The Spaniard will look to start the campaign with the type of form he showed on his last spell with the club.
Key Men: Abdoulaye Doucoure, Roberto Pereyra, Andre Gray
Following a long relegation battle last season, a remarkable run in resulted in Rafa Benitez’s side finishing in a impressive 10th place for their first season back in the Premier League. Off-field politics have threatened to derail the Magpies however with manager Benitez desperate for investment in order to push the club on.
New Signing: Salomon Rondon (West Brom – Loan)
Newcastle have been crying out for a striker since returning to the top flight and Benitez has finally been able to bring one in. Despite being relegated with West Brom last season, Rondon impressed proving to be a real handful for defenders. Wearing the famous Newcastle number 9, Rondon will be aiming to become a local hero.
Key Men: Jamaal Lascelles, Jonjo Shelvey, Ayoze Perez
Leicester recent season is always going to struggle to live up to that magical campaign in 2015/16 where they won the league against all odds. Realistically, the club should be aiming to finish between around 6th and 10th place. However, with star player Riyad Mahrez joining champions Manchester City fans may be anxious about the upcoming season.
New Signing: James Maddison (Norwich – £22mil)
The youngster’s reputation continues to grow, rising from League 1 to the Premier League within 2 seasons. Big pressure will be on the midfielder’s shoulders to step up and produce the goals and assists left void by the exit of Mahrez.
Key Men: Kasper Schmeichel, Harry Maguire, Jamie Vardy
Bournemouth continue to defy expectations as they play their 4th straight season in the Premier League. The Cherries, under manager Eddie Howe, have adopted a footballing style that has led to him being tipped to become manager of some of the country’s biggest clubs as well as the national side in the future.
New Signing: Jefferson Lerma (Levante – £25mil)
Columbia midfielder Lerma joined the cherries from Spanish side Levante, becoming the clubs record transfer. The powerful midfielder will add a new dimension to Bournemouth’s midfield as they look to avoid getting dragged into a relegation battle.
Key Men: Nathan Ake, Ryan Fraser, Callum Wilson
Fulham are another of the teams returning to the Premier League after a few season’s in the Championship. Slaviša Jokanović’s side gained a reputation as one of the best footballing teams in the second tier scoring plenty goals and conceding few. Similarly, to other new boys Wolves, Fulham too have spent plenty money and time will tell on how far they can go this season.
New Signing: Alexander Mitrovic (Newcastle – £22mil)
Fulham completed the full signing of Serbian forward Mitrovic following a successful loan spell in the second half of the season. The strikers 12 goals in 17 games were crucial in Fulham achieving promotion and fans will be delighted to see him back at the club as they prepare for an exciting season.
Key Men: Jean Michael Seri, Tom Cairney, Ryan Sessegnon
Manchester City aside, Burnley were probably last season’s stand out team surprising everyone with their physical and direct approach as they finished in 7th position and qualified for the Europa League. Sean Dyche’s side have struggled to recruit though and with 4 competitions to compete in, their squad is looking a little light.
New Signing: Matej Vydra (Derby – £10mil)
Last season’s Championship top scorer, Burnley will be banking on Vydra to step up in the Premier League and fire in the goals required for a successful season. The Czech striker has previously spent time at Watford and Reading.
Key Men: James Tarkowski, Steven Defour, Chris Wood
Brighton & Hove Albion
The Seagulls were tipped by many to be relegated last season, however narrowly avoided relegation mainly thanks to their ability to defend as a unit. Chris Hughton’s side will be hoping to be more competitive this year following the arrival of 10 new signings to the Amex stadium.
New Signing: Alireza Jahanbakhsh (AZ Alkmaar – £17mil)
The attacking midfielder netted an impressive 21 goals in 27 appearances in last season’s Eredivisie scooping the golden boot award. Brighton fan’s will hope that he can provide the side with some much-needed attacking threat after scoring the 4th fewest goals in last year’s campaign.
Key Men: Glenn Murray, Pascal Groß, Davy Pröpper
The saints flirted with relegation last season, narrowly managing to survive. However, it appears it may be another difficult year for the south coast club. Low expectations might work in their favor on the other hand and they are a team that could sneak under the radar.
New Signing: Mohammed Elyounoussi (Basel – £16mil)
Saint’s fans will be hoping they have a new cult hero in Elyounoussi. The attacker, who can play on either wing or through the middle scored 22 goals for swiss side Basel last season catching the eye of manager Mark Hughes who moved quick to bring him to St Mary’s.
Key Men: Ryan Bertrand, Nathan Redmond, Charlie Austin
Last season’s favourites for relegation, the Terriers defied all odds to survive in their first ever Premier League campaign. David Wagner is under no illusions that his side face a tough battle once again this season, with a good start is crucial to avoid playing catch-up later on.
New Signing: Adama Diakhaby (Monaco – £10mil)
Promising French under-21 international Diakhaby singed from Monaco to provide the spark going forward. Comfortable with both feet and possessing natural pace, Diakhaby could develop into a real talent but will need to adapt quickly to the Premier League.
Key Men: Christopher Schindler, Aaron Mooy, Elias Kachunga
A bit of a surprise in last season’s championship, Cardiff were tipped by very few as a promotion candidate. Definitely one of the favourites to return to the second tier, Cardiff appear to be lacking in Premier League quality and barring a big surprise, will probably go down.
New Signing: Josh Murphy (Norwich – £11mil)
A young prospect who has featured at England youth level, Murphy is an exciting and pacey player who manager Warnock will be looking to develop into a key member of the Cardiff side and will be crucial in an undoubted survival battle.
Key Men: Sol Bamba, Aron Gunnarsson, Bobby Reid