Premier League Preview: 2020/2021 Season

Alex Walls, Contributing Writer

The 2020-2021 season is officially underway, albeit a little delayed. The 29th season kicked off this past weekend, after a busy and exciting transfer market, which is still open until October 5th. Liverpool aims to defend their first premier league title from a slew of strong opponents, including potential title challengers: Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United, and Arsenal. Only one question remains now. Will any of them be able to dethrone the powerhouse that is Jurgen Klopp’s side? At the other end of the table, a fierce relegation battle is set to play out. Who will be sent down to the championship and who will live to fight another season in England’s top division? The 20 teams will start the season playing behind closed doors for the foreseeable future. This is likely to change how teams approach the season, as the players will have to find adrenaline bursts from other sources. Now, let’s see how the teams stack up to each other at the start of the season.

Fulham: Recently transforming into a yo-yo club, Fulham is likely to repeat their usual top-level mediocrity. With few big-name additions, except for Alphonse Areola in goal, Scott Parker will likely have to rely on Aleksandar Mitrovic to score goals throughout the game. The chances for the Cottagers making a big impact this season looks bleak. 

Predicted Finish: 20th

West Bromwich Albion: The Baggies return to the premier league will be a tough one, and they will likely drop right back down. West Brom’s side has very few proven premier league players, aside from Kieran Gibbs. It seems ever more likely that this will play into their downfall.

Predicted Finish: 19th 

West Ham United: The Hammer’s time in the premier league may be coming to an end this season, as their form over the last few seasons has declined. In the past, they have narrowly missed the drop a few times. Despite the talents of their goalkeeper, Lukasz Fabianski, the side as a whole is unlikely to save them this time. Despite this, they will likely fight to the final day, in true giant club fashion.

Predicted Finish 18th 

Southampton: The South Coasters have been a team embroiled in relegation fights for the past few years, and they are likely to repeat that trend this year. The talented Danny Ings will most likely be coming to the rescue again this year. Because of this, they’ll most likely narrowly avoid the drop yet again.

Predicted Finish: 17th

Burnley: Sean Dyche’s men have had little business this transfer market while keeping the same strong core, which has led them to multiple mid-table finishes in a row. They always manage to perform well, despite not playing a style of soccer that is pleasing to the eye. They’re likely to do the same as they do in most of their other seasons.

Predicted Finish: 16th

Aston Villa: The Villains are looking to do better than a relegation battle, which they narrowly escaped from last season, and they will likely have their hopes on a mid-table finish. Star-player and captain Jack Grealish, will lead the claret and blue this season, joined by Ollie Watkins, who recently joined from Brentford. 

Predicted Finish: 15th

Crystal Palace: The boys from South London will look to replicate a fine mid-table finish from last season. The team has added some talented firepower in the form of Belgian Michy Batshuayi, who will accompany Wilfred Zaha at the top. The worry is if Roy Hodgson can keep his team’s head above water or not.

Predicted Finish: 14th

Brighton and Hove Albion: Graham Potter will want to continue his positive impact on the south coast, after seeing the seagulls achieve their personal best league finish, with a solid 15th. The addition of Adam Lallana from Liverpool, and Joel Veltman from Ajax, will give the club much needed top-notch experience, which might see them improve further upon their last season.

Predicted Finish: 13th

Sheffield United: The Blades from Yorkshire had a stunning campaign last season, after getting promoted from the championship. However, this season, they may find themselves in a relegation battle and the dreaded second-season syndrome. With the loss of star goalie Dean Henderson, Bramall Lane may be the sight of some tragic performances this season. Although, in true Sheffield fashion, they will likely put up a solid fight. It is possible that their cohesive team camaraderie might be enough to produce a decent finish this season.

Predicted Finish: 12th

Leeds United: This massive club has finally made its return to the top division of English soccer, after a 16-year absence. Under the management of Marcelo Bielsa, the team from Yorkshire will attempt to fight back to the top of the league. Led by an alum of Wake Forest University, Jack Harrison, the Leeds attack will be fierce, but with the loss of Ben White, their backline will have to find their identity for a good finish this season. 

Predicted Finish: 12th

Newcastle United: The Magpies are set to duke it out for a top-half finish, under the guidance of Steve Bruce. Newcastle has added proven goalscorer Callum Wilson to an already strong side. They’ll likely have a good start to the season but will level out as the campaign drags on.

Predicted Finish: 10th

Wolverhampton Wanderers: The club from the Midlands with Portuguese flair will look to continue their fantastic time in the top division, under the management of Nuno Espirito Santo. Although they lost Matt Doherty to Tottenham, the Wolves have kept a lot of their strong players. The likes of Ruben Neves and Raul Jimenez will lead them to another strong finish, but they’ll have to contend with a flurry of strong opposition.

Predicted Finish: 9th

Leicester City: 2016’s champions will look to continue their time near the top of the table for yet another year. Brendan Rodgers has a solid team this year, and will likely want to finish within the European qualification spots. Last year’s Golden Boot winner Jamie Vardy will look to replicate his form, but that might not be enough to contend with the power of the other big clubs around them.

Predicted Finish: 8th

Tottenham Hotspur: Jose Mourinho’s time in the premier league has lasted another season with his third different team. The Spurs have added some good players to their lineup over the summer in Matt Doherty and Pierre-Emile Hojberg, which strengthens the squad immensely. Although, the North Londoners will likely struggle to find their footing this season.

Predicted Finish: 7th

Manchester United: The affinity of the media for the historically dominant club is unlikely to lift them to a top-four finish. The Red Devils, managed by the legendary Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, have added Dutch youngster Donny Van Der Beek and English goalie Dean Henderson, but these additions will probably not be enough to challenge the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City, and Chelsea. 

Predicted Finish: 6th

Everton: Long in the shadow of Liverpool, the Merseysiders are seriously looking to strengthen and improve themselves. While unlikely to overtake their rivals, Carlo Ancelotti has added a world-class talent in James Rodriguez, and a strong midfielder in Allan. The Toffees will make a strong push for the top and will have their sights set on qualification for European tournaments next year. 

Predicted Finish: 5th 

Arsenal: Mikel Arteta begins his first full season at the helm of this historic club, who aim to improve from their 8th place finish from last season. The team has added two Brazilians to their roster: Willian, who will bring in much-needed cohesion and flair to the front line, and Gabriel Magalhães, who will anchor the statistically weak backline. Up top, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will look to exceed his tally of 22 goals from last season. 

Predicted Finish: 4th

Manchester City: The Citizens showed some signs of decline near the end of last season as Liverpool finally knocked them off of the top spot. Pep Guardiola was unable to secure the signature of Lionel Messi, one of the best players in the world, which was probably their only hope of overtaking the dominance of Liverpool. The player to watch this season is Phil Foden, an up and coming English youngster. 

Predicted Finish: 3rd

Chelsea: The Blues look to be Liverpool’s fiercest competition for the title this season. Frank Lampard has made some ambitious signings this summer, in the form of Kai Havertz and Timo Werner, both making their way from Germany. These new players, along with Christian Pulisic, the American wunderkind, will form a strong attack for the West Londoners. The only worry is the man in between the sticks, Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Predicted Finish: 2nd

Liverpool: The champions of England look very likely to win this season’s trophy. Jurgen Klopp’s ‘gegenpress’ and ‘heavy metal football’ will outperform almost any opponent they come across. A solid backline led by the Dutchman Virgil Van Dijk, and a powerhouse frontline consisting of Bobby Firmino, Sadio Mané, and Mohamed Salah, will most likely outdo all of the other teams. 

Predicted Finish: 1st