Premier League preview: Team-by-team guide

With the World Cup over the Premier League is back, check out Patrick Madden's team guides

ARSENAL: New goalkeeper Bernd Leno. Photo: Getty

ARSENAL: New goalkeeper Bernd Leno. Photo: Getty

 

Arsenal

Last season: 6th
Odds for the title: 25-1
Wenger out, Emery in. The Spaniard must bring some spine to a side who are prone to folding all too easily. Top four prospects? Slim.
Key man: Record signing Aubameyang flickered sporadically last term after joining in January – a 25+ goal season is now required.
Watch out for: Arsenal’s last reliable goalkeeper was a German – 26-year-old Bernd Leno could be the one to finally emulate Jens Lehmann.
Notable ins: Bernd Leno (Bayer Leverkusen, €25m), Stephan Lichtsteiner (Juventus, free), Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Borussia Dortmund, €19.7m), Lucas Torreira (Sampdoria, €29m), Matteo Guendouzi (Loreint, €8.9m).
Notable outs: Santi Cazorla (Villarreal, free), Per Mertesacker (retired), Jack Wilshere (West Ham, free).
Prediction: 6th

BOURNEMOUTH: Record signing Jefferson Lerma. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire.
BOURNEMOUTH: Record signing Jefferson Lerma. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire.

AFC Bournemouth

Last season: 12th
Odds for relegation: 5-1
A fourth consecutive top-flight season for the Premier League’s smallest club - securing a fifth will be one of Eddie Howe’s sternest challenges yet.
Key man: Midfielder Lewis Cook flourished last season – particularly after Christmas – and earned a first England cap in March.
The Irish connection: Harry Arter was an ever-present for the Cherries on their rise from League One, but the arrivals of Lerma and Brooks saw him make a loan move to Cardiff on deadline day.
Notable ins: David Brooks (Sheffield Utd, € 11.1m), Diego Rico (Leganes, €11.8m), Jefferson Lerma (Levanta, €27.7m)
Notable outs: Benik Afobe (Wolves, €11.1m).
Prediction: 17th

BRIGHTON: manager Chris Hughton faces difficult season. Photo: Reuters/Andrew Couldridge
BRIGHTON: manager Chris Hughton faces difficult season. Photo: Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

Brighton & Hove Albion

Last season: 15th
Odds for relegation: 5-2
A tricky second season awaits for Chris Hughton’s Seagulls. Brighton have made some astute additions but will only have survival on their minds.
Key man: The scheming Pascal Gross brings a bit of stardust and ingenuity to a well-structured, if unspectacular, side.
The Irish connection: Shane Duffy has formed an imposing partnership with Lewis Dunk but could face a battle to keep his place from Nigeria’s Leon Balogun, who arrives from the Bundesliga.
Notable ins: Leon Balogun (Mainz, free), Alireza Jahanbakhsh (AZ Alkmaar, €19m), Bernardo (RB Leipzig, €10m), Yves Bissouma (Lille, €16.9m).
Notable outs: Liam Rosenoir (released), Connor Goldson (Rangers, €3.3m).
Prediction: 16th

BURNLEY: Striker Chris Wood. Photo: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images
BURNLEY: Striker Chris Wood. Photo: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Burnley

Last season: 7th
Odds for relegation: 4-1
The Clarets are on a European tour after finishing seventh last year. A repeat seems unlikely but they should comfortably retain their top-flight status.
Key man: James Tarkowski was a towering presence last term, enjoying a far better season than Michael Keane after his move to Everton.
The Irish connection: Jeff and Robbie and Stephen and Kevin and Jon. With plenty of their compatriots also down the road at rivals Preston, Lancashire’s red rose is currently green.
Notable ins: Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough, €16.7m), Joe Hart (Manchester City, €3.9m).
Notable outs: Dean Marney (released), Scott Arfield (Rangers).
Prediction: 12th

CARDIFF: Manager Neil Warnock faces toughest challenge. Photo: Dan Mullan/Getty
CARDIFF: Manager Neil Warnock faces toughest challenge. Photo: Dan Mullan/Getty

Cardiff City

Last season: 2nd (Championship).
Odds for relegation: 4-6
Keeping this Cardiff side up would be Neil Warnock’s finest managerial achievement – there’s a reason why the outgunned Bluebirds, who have the weakest squad and smallest budget, are odds-on to go down.
Key player: Junior Hoilett was a player reborn en-route to last year’s improbable promotion.
The Irish connection: Marauding left-back Greg Cunningham arrives from Preston – he will hope to turn Martin O’Neill’s eye towards the Welsh capital. One man who will be doing that anyway is Harry Arter who arrives on a season-long loan deal from Bournemouth.
Notable ins: Harry Arter (Bournemouth, loan), Josh Murphy (Norwich, € 11.4m), Greg Cunningham (Preston, €4m), Bobby Reid (Bristol City, € 11.1m).
Notable outs: N/A
Prediction: 20th

CHELSEA: New ’keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga. Photo: Getty
CHELSEA: New ’keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga. Photo: Getty

Chelsea

Last season: 5th
Odds for title: 14-1
Maurizio Sarri’s arrival will signal an overhaul in tactics and playing style at Stamford Bridge but he won’t have long to make it work. A bonkers nine months could be in store.
Key player: Eden Hazard is Chelsea’s superstar and is the perfect fit for Sarri’s 4-3-3.
Watch out for: How Sarri will satisfy his 100-a-day smoking habit during matches is one of the great curiosities of the new season.
Notable ins: Jorginho (Napoli, €55.8m), Kepa Arrizabalaga (Athletic Bilbao, €80m), Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid, loan).
Notable outs: Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid, €38.9m), Trevor Chalobah (Ipswich, loan), Kenedy (Newcastle, loan).
Prediction: 5th

CRYSTAL PALACE: Key man Wilfried Zaha. Photo: Marc Atkins/Getty
CRYSTAL PALACE: Key man Wilfried Zaha. Photo: Marc Atkins/Getty

Crystal Palace

Last season: 11th
Odds for relegation: 11-2
It has been a quiet summer for Palace but Roy Hodgson’s main aim would have been to keep hold of Wilfried Zaha – with him, they should be safe.
Key player: Zaha was the best player outside of the top six last season – he’s worth more to Palace than any transfer fee.
The Irish connection: Tricky Ireland under-19 midfielder Kian Flanagan is highly regarded within Palace’s youth set-up, and was named scholar of the year in 2016/17.
Notable ins: Max Meyer (Schalke 04, free), Vicente Guaita (free), Cheikhou Kouyate (West Ham, €10.6m)
Notable outs: Damien Delaney (released), Lee Chung-Yong (released), Yohan Cabaye (Al Nasr, free).
Prediction: 13th

EVERTON: New signing Richarlison. Photo: Eleanor Crooks/PA
EVERTON: New signing Richarlison. Photo: Eleanor Crooks/PA

Everton

Last season: 8th
Odds for relegation: 40-1
Odds for title: 250-1
Last season was Everton’s annus horribilis – Marco Silva has work to do to erase the memories of Koeman, Unsworth and Allardyce, but he looks short of firepower.
Key player: Richarlison had a solid first season in England for Watford and can sharpen a very blunt looking Toffees attack.
The Irish connection: Seamus Coleman’s absence was keenly felt at Goodison Park. He returned from injury in January but will now be thriving after a full pre-season.
Notable ins: Richarlison (Watford, €44.6m), Yerry Mina (Barcelona, €31.6m), Lucas Digne (Barcelona, €20m), Bernard (Shakhtar Donetsk, free), Andre Gomes (Barcelona, loan).
Notable outs: Wayne Rooney (DC United, free), Ashley Williams (Stoke, loan), Kevin Mirallas (Fiorentina, loan).
Prediction: 9th

FULHAM: Highly rated Ryan Sessegnon. Photo: John Walton/PA
FULHAM: Highly rated Ryan Sessegnon. Photo: John Walton/PA

Fulham

Last season: 3rd Championship, promoted via play-offs
Odds for relegation: 2-1
Fulham have made some fine signings and should easily beat the drop. Jean Michael Seri nearly signed for Barcelona last summer - Craven Cottage trumps the Camp Nou.
Key player: 18-year-old Ryan Sessegnon is one of English football’s most exciting talents and looks ready for the top flight.
The Irish connection: Cyrus Christie’s January move from Middlesbrough to west London seems to have been an astute one.
Notable ins: Jean Michael Seri (Nice, € 30m), Alfie Mawson (Swansea, €16.85m), Andre Schurrle, (Borussia Dortmund, loan), Aleksandar Mitrovic (Newcastle, €20.2m).
Notable outs: Ryan Fredericks (West Ham, free).
Prediction: 10th

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN: manager David Wagner. Photo: Robbie Jay Barratt/Getty
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN: manager David Wagner. Photo: Robbie Jay Barratt/Getty

Huddersfield Town

Last season: 16th
Odds for relegation: 11-10
Huddersfield’s collective kept them up last season but repeating the trick will be tough. The Terriers have strengthened but look vulnerable.
Key player: Only seven teams had a better defensive record than Huddersfield last season – Christopher Schnidler was the main reason for that.
Notable ins: Erik Durm (Borussia Dortmund, undisclosed), Terence Kongolo (AS Monaco, €20.1m), Juninho Bacuna (Groningen, €2.5m), Adama Diakhaby (AS Monaco, €11.1m).
Notable outs: Tom Ince (Stoke, €11.1m), Rob Green (Chelsea, free).
Prediction: 19th

LEICESTER CITY: Ben Chilwell. Photo: Clive Mason/Getty
LEICESTER CITY: Ben Chilwell. Photo: Clive Mason/Getty

Leicester City

Last season: 9th
Odds for relegation: 14-1
Odds for title: 300-1
Despite the departure of Riyad Mahrez, Leicester still have a strong squad on paper - but they have looked constricted under Claude Puel. Evans and Maddison are sound additions.
Key player: Wilfred Ndidi has the ability to become one of the league’s best central midfielders.
Watch out for: The bookies make Puel favourite to be the first manager sacked this season (9-2). The Foxes need to make a swift start after a stagnant end to last season (P7, W1, D1, L5).
Notable ins: Filip Benkovic (Dinamo Zagreb, undisclosed), Ricardo Pereira (Porto, €22m), Jonny Evans (West Brom, €3.8m), James Maddison (Norwich, € 27m), Rachid Ghezzal (AS Monaco, €14m).
Notable outs: Riyad Mahrez (Man City, € 66.6m), Robert Huth (released), Ahmed Musa (Al-Nassr, €16.5m)
Prediction: 11th

LIVERPOOL: Mohamed Salah. Photo: Jan Kruger/Getty
LIVERPOOL: Mohamed Salah. Photo: Jan Kruger/Getty

Liverpool

Last season: 4th
Odds for title: 4-1
After a significant summer splurge, Jurgen Klopp now has no more excuses – nice football must be complemented by silverware and the adoption of a winning mentality.
Key player: Mohamed Salah will need to repeat the season of a lifetime if his side are to seriously challenge Manchester City.
The Irish connection: 19-year-old goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher featured on Liverpool’s pre-season tour, and came on in the 4-1 win over Manchester United. Klopp has talked highly of the Cork native.
Notable ins: Alisson (AS Roma, € 74.3m), Fabinho (AS Monaco, € 48.5m), Naby Keita (RB Leipzig, €58.5m), Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke, €14.4m).
Notable outs: Emra Can (Juventus, free).
Prediction: 3rd

MANCHESTER CITY: Community Shield winners. Photo: Ian Kington/Getty
MANCHESTER CITY: Community Shield winners. Photo: Ian Kington/Getty

Manchester City

Last season: 1st
Odds for title: 4-6
It’s hard to see City beating the record points total they set last season but it’s even harder to see them being dethroned. A fourth league title in 10 seasons awaits for Abu Dhabi.
Key player: Kevin De Bruyne was the driving force behind last season’s romp to the title.
The Irish connection: From 2004/05 to 2008/09 City’s player of the year was Irish – Richard Dunne winning it four times and Stephen Ireland once. Sergio Aguero, De Bruyne and David Silva are subsequent winners.
Notable ins: Riyad Mahrez (Leicester, €66.6m).
Notable outs: Angus Gunn (Southampton, €15m), Yaya Toure (released), Joe Hart (Burnley, €3.9m)
Prediction: 1st

MANCHESTER UNITED: World Cup winnner Paul Pogba. Photo: Getty
MANCHESTER UNITED: World Cup winnner Paul Pogba. Photo: Getty

Manchester United

Last season: 2nd
Odds for title: 7-1
It’s Mourinho’s last chance saloon in M16. United will either combust or click – if it’s the latter they have the players to challenge.
Key player: A world champion Paul Pogba is United’s best chance of clawing back the 19-point gap to their cross-city rivals.
The Irish connection: Kieran McKenna’s under-18 side were the most entertaining at the club over the last two seasons – Fermanagh’s finest is now on first team duty alongside the retired Michael Carrick.
Notable ins: Fred (Shakhtar Donetsk, €57.7m), Diego Dalot (Porto, €21m), Lee Grant (undisclosed).
Notable outs: Daley Blind (Ajax, € 15.6m), Sam Johnstone (West Brom, €7.2m), Michael Carrick (retired), Axel Tuanzebe (Aston Villa, loan).
Prediction: 2nd

NEWCASTLE UNITED: Ki Sung-Yeung. Photo: Tony Marshall/Getty
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Ki Sung-Yeung. Photo: Tony Marshall/Getty

Newcastle United

Last season: 10th
Odds for relegation: 11-2
How can Newcastle and Rafael Benitez be expected to kick on when the club’s rancid board won’t provide any backing? There’s only so much the manager can do.
Key player: Jamaal Lascelles led the Toon out of the Championship and looked every bit the top flight centre-half last season. Retaining him is vital.
Watch out for: Another summer has gone by without Newcastle breaking their transfer record. The last time they did? Michael Owen, 2005.
Notable ins: Ki Sung-Yeung (Swansea, free), Fabian Schar (Deportivo La Coruna, €3.3m), Yoshinori Muto (€ 10.5m), Kenedy (Chelsea, loan), Salomon Rondon (West Brom, loan).
Notable outs: Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham, €20.2m), Dwight Gayle (West Brom, loan).
Prediction: 14th

SOUTHAMPTON: Mario Lemina. Photo: Reuters/Craig Brough
SOUTHAMPTON: Mario Lemina. Photo: Reuters/Craig Brough

Southampton

Last season: 17th
Odds for relegation: 7-1
After last season’s agonising flirtation with the drop Mark Hughes is the probably the right man to provide solidity and safety, but it’s difficult to see where the goals will come from.
Key player: Elyounoussi is an exciting addition from Basel and should offset the departures of Tadic, Boufal and Carillo.
The Irish connection: Shane Long made 41 appearances for Ireland and the Saints last season and scored twice.
Notable ins: Stuart Armstrong (Celtic, €7.7m), Mohamed Elyounoussi (FC Basel, € 17.7m), Angus Gunn (Man City, € 15m), Jannik Westergaard (Borussia Monchengladbach, €20m).
Notable outs: Dusan Tadic (Ajax, €12m), Sofiane Boufal (Celta Vigo, loan), Guido Carillo (loan).
Prediction: 15th

TOTTENHAM: South Korean midfielder Son Heung-Min. Photo: Getty
TOTTENHAM: South Korean midfielder Son Heung-Min. Photo: Getty

Tottenham Hotspur

Last season: 3rd
Odds for title: 16-1
A shiny new stadium for Spurs but everything else looks familiar. Mauricio Pochettino has retained his stars but hasn’t received the backing needed to win the title.
Key player: Expect Harry Kane to break the 30-goal mark in the league again this season.
Watch out for: Providing all goes to plan, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will host its first fixture on September 15th. Spurs fans will hope it’s the springboard towards silverware.
Notable ins: N/A
Notable outs: N/A
Prediction: 4th

WATFORD: - Troy Deeney. Photo: Reuters/Andrew Couldridge
WATFORD: - Troy Deeney. Photo: Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

Watford

Last season: 14th
Odds for relegation: 2-1
Watford could finish anywhere between 10th and 20th and it wouldn’t register as much of a surprise. It’s doubtful Javi Gracia will be at Vicarage Road for the long term.
Key player: Abdoulaye Doucoure was the driving force behind the Hornets’ solid start to last season and finished up as top scorer from midfield (seven).
The Irish connection: Defender Tommy Hoban hasn’t played for Watford in the league since 2014/15 – the 24-year-old is now on loan at Aberdeen after missing last season with a knee injury.
Notable ins: Gerard Deulofeu (Barcelona, € 12m), Marc Navarro (Espanyol, €2m), Adam Masina (Bologna, €5m), Ken Sema (Ostersund, €2.2m).
Notable outs: Richarlison (Everton, €44.6m).
Prediction: 18th

WEST HAM UNITED: - Mark Noble. Photo: Reuters/Michael Dalder
WEST HAM UNITED: Mark Noble. Photo: Reuters/Michael Dalder

West Ham United

Last season: 13th
Odds for relegation: 15-2 Odds for title: 300-1
This summer West Ham have recruited the manager, Manuel Pellegrini, and the players to accompany their shiny new stadium – optimism abounds after the drudgery of David Moyes.
Key player: Felipe Anderson is only 25 and could prove to be an inspired, heavyweight signing.
The Irish connection: Declan Rice made 31 appearances for the Hammers last season and was runner-up in the player of the year awards. He should get plenty of game time under Pellegrini.
Notable ins: Lucas Perez (Arsenal, undisclosed), Ryan Fredericks (Fulham, free), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal, free), Issa Diop (Toulouse, €25m), Andriy Yarmolenko (Borussia Dortmund, €20m), Felipe Anderson (Lazio, €46m), Carlos Sanchez (Fiorentina, undisclosed).
Notable outs: James Collins (released), Patrice Evra (released), Cheikh Kouyate (Crystal Palace, €10.3m).
Prediction: 8th

WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS: Raul Jimenez shoots Photo: Reuters/Craig Brough
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS: Raul Jimenez shoots. Photo: Reuters/Craig Brough

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Last season: 1st (Championship).
Odds for relegation: 9-1
Odds for title: 250-1
Wolverhampton is the new Lisbon. Wolves romped to the Championship last season and their links with agent Jorge Mendes have seen them strengthen sufficiently to challenge for Europe.
Key player: Ruben Neves should have been part of Portugal’s squad at the World Cup. He scores some ridiculous goals – a volley against Derby defied logic.
The Irish connection: Matt Doherty was a regular en-route to promotion – retain his place in the top flight and he should build on his pair of Ireland caps.
Notable ins: Leander Dendoncker (Anderlecht, loan), Raul Jimenez (Benfica, loan), Rui Patricio (Sporting, free), Joao Moutinho (AS Monaco, €5.5m), Adama Traore (Middlesbrough, €20m).
Notable outs: Barry Douglas (Leeds, €3.3m), Benik Afobe (Stoke, loan).
Prediction: 7th

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