Well well welcome back TFGers!
Just when you thought it might be all over – here we are, all ready for another season. And by ‘ready for another season’, you’ll be pleased to know we mean that in true TFG style, some of last seasons prizes are yet to reach their destination. Last seasons winners – rest assured they are en route!
Back to this season – MASSIVE thanks to bulb energy for sponsoring us for the 2019 / 2020 campaign and equally MASSIVE thanks to TFG legend Russell Davies for brokering the deal. Russell – your place in the TFG hall of fame is cemented. Well, it will be when you send us your pic.
With the 2019 / 2020 campaign at the forefront of all our minds here at TFG HQ, our mate Dan Wiseman has kindly returned to the blog shed to provide his thoughts on the coming season….
Deep breaths, ladies and gentlemen. I don’t want any sudden movements once you’ve read this next sentence. Don’t panic, keep your cool, and make sure you’re sitting down.
So, here goes nothing: It is exactly 5 days until the start of the brand new, fresh-faced, dazzling, 2019/20 Premier League season. God, it feels good to type that. After a summer in which we have been entertained by the progressive milestone that was the Women’s World Cup, it is time for international football and pre-season tournaments to be pushed to one side once again, and for us to take our seats, popcorn in hand, ready for the start of the greatest footballing show on planet Earth. The Premier League is back and its bigger than ever before.
Last season, the division reached a standard never seen before in English football. The title race between Liverpool and Manchester City was impeccable. Two teams, both of superhuman quality and focus, who ran each other down to the final game of the season – but eventually, after a win against Brighton on the final day, it was Pep Guardiola’s sky blues who took home the trophy for the second season running.
Now without the imperious Vincent Kompany, the champions have signed Sergio Busquets 2.0, Rodri, from Atletico Madrid, and Angeliño, a former academy left-back who has been playing for PSV Eindhoven. This business sees them as the bookies’ clear favourites for the title this season, with Liverpool still yet to make a notable signing (at the time of writing).
However, this is the Premier League. It is never as simple as that.
The Reds’ recent Champions League successes may see them turn their attention to an illusive first Premier League title, with City perhaps looking to do the opposite. It has long been the ambition of owner Sheik Mansour to bring European glory to the light blue proportion of Manchester – could this be their season?
However, do keep one eye on Spurs amongst all of this. A trip to UCL final in Madrid has made the club desperate for success, and they’ve made a huge statement in the signing of Tanguy N’Dombélé. For those that don’t know much of the young Frenchman, you sure will do soon. I see him being a revelation in that midfield, a perfect ball-carrying pivot to play alongside Christian Eriksen. In their first full season in their incredible new stadium, it will be very interesting to see how Spurs perform.
After losing Aaron Ramsey, Arsenal have also notably bolstered their midfield with the arrival of Dani Ceballos on loan, who has just as much potential as N’Dombélé to improve that side. The Spaniard joins alongside the mercurial Nicolas Pepe, who could form a formidable front three of himself, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Chelsea, still transfer-banned and now lead by club legend Frank Lampard look set to have a season of revolution, focusing on youth and a project for future successes. The same can be said of Manchester United, who certainly do not have a transfer ban, having signed Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James for a combined £65M and are still working on the acquisition of Harry Maguire for a world-record fee, as far as defenders are concerned. A potential swap deal with Juventus is also rumoured, with Romelu Lukaku heading to Turin and Paulo Dybala coming the other way. Should these deals come off, United will be in good stead for an improvement on last season if nothing else, but the club will almost certainly have one eye on the Europa League, where they are clear favourites to lift the trophy.
Spending far more than any of the top six however, are newly promoted Aston Villa (yay!). An eye-watering £132M has already been splashed out on 12 well-thought-out signings, as Dean Smith looks to put his boyhood club back amongst the league’s elite. They enter the league alongside yo-yo club Norwich City and Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United, who will both consider survival this season to be a resounding success. The two automatically promoted sides had very impressive seasons in the Championship last campaign and so definitely shouldn’t be underestimated, but you do question whether they possess the financial capability to remain in the Premier League long-term.
Looking further up the table into the ‘best of the rest’ category, and three teams stand out for me. The first are my favourites to make a surprise entry to the top six at the expense of a club like Chelsea – Everton (if they make the following deals official). The Toffees have made the signing of Andre Gomes from Barcelona a permanent deal, added Fabian Delph to the midfield, but it is the potential acquisitions of Wilfied Zaha and Moise Kean, who could form an incredible attacking threesome with Richarlison if all of the pieces fall into place.
Leicester are next up, who will be glad to have tied up a deal for Youri Tielemans early on, after his impressive loan spell caught the eye of several top clubs all around Europe. Ayoze Perez will also be debuting at the King Power Stadium this season after his £30M transfer from Newcastle, along with James Justin, a young full-back from Luton Town who will win over Foxes fans with an attacking mindset identical to the already established Ricardo Pereira and Ben Chilwell.
Wolves are the third and final team, who I have put last in this list due to their European commitments this season which will take high priority. In order to cope with the increased number of games, Nuno Espirito Santo’s squad has been bolstered by the likes of Patrick Cutrone from AC Milan and Jesus Vallejo from Real Madrid. It would be one heck of a season if Wolves could make strides in the Europa League and continue their march towards the top six, but that isn’t to say that it can’t be done…
Also worth noting are West Ham, who if they can get new signings Pablo Fornals and Sébastien Haller firing on all cylinders, have a very promising squad in Manuel Pellegrini’s safe hands. Newcastle, in the not-so-safe hands of Steve Bruce (yep, that’s still a thing), have made positive movements on the transfer scene having brought in Joelinton, though their new manager’s Premier League track record suggests they might need the young Brazilian to fire them away from the relegation zone.
I see Burnley, Brighton and either Sheffield United or Norwich as my early candidates to face the drop, if I were to make the prediction now (which I am). I don’t see any of those teams possessing the necessary firepower to keep a struggling side afloat. I could be wrong, and as good as Jay Rodriguez and Oli McBurnie are as marquee signings, I struggle to identify a consistent and reliable source of goals in any of those sides, as things stand.
So that, ladies and gents, is my 2019/20 Premier League season preview. It looks set to be a fascinating season, as the best league in the world continues to flood its banks with amazing players, big money deals and ever-rising global hysteria. But whilst the division continues to change around us, as always, TFG will be your number one source for office bragging rights, right here, all year. So you officially have my permission to examine the fixture lists in excruciating detail, because the new campaign is just around the corner. And we just can’t wait.
And with all that in mind… Don’t forget to make your pick before the new season starts on Friday 9th August, when Liverpool face newly promoted Norwich at 8pm.
Good luck everybody!
Yours footballingly,Team TFG