A Complete Premier League Preview

I'm ready for this to get thrown back in my face at the end of the season when I'm wrong about everything!

The 2017–2018 Premier League season was, well, boring. Manchester City had the league essentially won by Halloween, sapping the world's biggest league of a climactic title fight. Hopefully, this season will be different and City will only win the league by ten points. 

If you're looking for a stat-heavy, analytical, in-depth preview, then this is not for you. In alphabetical order, we (and by we, I mean me) are going to look at all twenty Premier League sides, predicting where they will finish and covering any interesting storylines. 

Arsenal (2017–2018: 6th place, 63 points)

  • Notable additions: (team in parentheses indicates team player arrived from): Unai Emery (manager, PSG); Stephan Lichtsteiner (Juventus); Bernd Leno (Leverkusen); Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Dortmund); Lucas Torreira (Sampdoria)
  • Notable subtractions: (team in parentheses indicates team player departed for): Arsene Wenger (manager, released/left club); Per Mertesacker (retired); Santi Cazorla (released, reportedly training with Villarreal); Jack Wilshere (West Ham)
  • For the first time at the Emirates, Arsene Wenger will not be in the home dugout (Gunnersaurus wept). Instead, Unai Emery has taken over, and the three-time Europa League winner will be tasked with improving the Gunners' defense—the signings of Leno, Sokratis, and Torreira will certainly be upgrades over Petr Cech, Mertesacker, and Wilshere, respectively.
  • Pierre-Emrick Aubameyang will look to continue from last season where he finished as the top goal scorer for Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal despite only spending half a season at each club.
  • Arsenal is a lock for a comfortable top-six finish and expect to also compete for the Europa League.
  • Predicted league finish: 5th
  • Fun fake gambling wager: OVER/UNDER: number of times Arsene Wenger's name gets mentioned each broadcast (4.5) (OVER -110)

Bournemouth (2017–2018: 12th place, 44 points)

  • Notable Additions: Jefferson Lerma (Levante)
  • Notable Subtractions: Benik Afobe (Wolverhampton)
  • Bournemouth enters their fourth consecutive season in the top-flight, and manager Eddie Howe will look to keep the Cherries up once again. However, this season will not be the comfortable mid-table finish they've experienced the past two seasons.
  • Bournemouth's defense outside of Nathan Ake doesn't inspire anyone with confidence, and they're relying on Jermain Defoe to score goals—they should stay up, but they're only one or two injuries away from a possible return to the Championship.
  • Predicted league finish: 17th
  • Fun fake gambling wager: Which number will be higher at the end of the season? Jermain Defoe's age (36) or the number of goals scored by Bournemouth this season? (goals -225).

Brighton and Hove Albion (2017–2018: 15th place, 40 points)

  • Notable additions: Leon Balogun (Mainz); Florin Andone (Deportivo); Bernardo (RB Leipzig)
  • Notable subtractions: none (as in, I don't recognize any of the names that left the club for it to be notable enough to note here)
  • Brighton is in the top-flight for the second consecutive season, with the Chris Hughton-led side being a defensively stable team that doesn't score a lot of goals (relegated Stoke City outscored the Seagulls last season). Balogun and Bernardo are young talents that will improve the defense, and Andone will be tasked with helping Glenn Murray score goals.
  • If Brighton can continue to be a solid defensive side, Andone, Anthony Knockaert, Pascal Gross, and Murray should be enough to keep the Seagulls flying in the top-flight (sorry, that was bad).
  • Predicted league finish: 15th
  • Fun fake gambling wager: Number of inches Glenn Murray's hairline recedes or number of places Brighton finishes safe from relegation (ex. 15th place is 3 places off relegation) (Place EVEN odds).

Burnley (2017–2018: 7th place, 54 points)

  • Notable additions: Joe Hart (Manchester City); Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough)
  • Notable subtractions: Scott Arfield (Rangers)
  • Burnley qualified for the Europa League last season with a surprise campaign that began with a 3–2 win over defending champions, Chelsea. Manager Sean Dyche has made the Clarets a brick wall at the back, only conceding 39 goals in 38 games last season, sixth-best in the league. However, they only scored 36 goals, which could be a problem as it is really hard to win games without scoring.
  • Everything went right for Burnley last season. It won't this season.
  • Predicted league finish: 13th
  • Fun fake gambling wager: number of games played in Europa League or league finish (LEAGUE -150).

Cardiff City (2017–2018: 2nd place in Championship, 90 points)

  • Notable additions: Josh Murphy (Norwich) (could easily qualify as "not notable enough")
  • Notable subtractions: none
  • Cardiff City is this year's version of "the team that gets promoted and is immediately favored to be relegated," and they rightfully should be. They haven't made any significant signings, and they haven't lost anyone (I could be completely wrong about this—I couldn't name one player on their team).
  • That being said, someone has to finish last, so I'm picking the team I know nothing about.
  • Predicted league finish: 20th
  • Fun fake gambling wager: goals scored this season or number of people predicting Cardiff City to finish last (LAST -10000).

Chelsea (2017–2018: 5th place, 70 points)

  • Notable additions: Mauricio Sarri (manager, Napoli); Jorginho (Napoli); Kepa (Bilbao); Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid)
  • Notable subtractions: Antonio Conte (manager, fired); Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid)
  • Note: Kepa, Courtois, and Kovacic are all reported as of my writing this. They should be finalized ASAP.
  • Chelsea defended their 2016–2017 Premier League title in rather unspectacular fashion; a 3–2 opening day loss to Burnley set the tone for a turbulent season. The Blues won the FA Cup and rewarded manager Antonio Conte by replacing him with Napoli manager Mauricio Sarri. Sarri brought with him midfielder Jorginho, making an already good midfield downright scary.
  • They'll be good, but Sarri will need time to adjust the team to his style of play. (Not to mention that Conte bought like eight wing-backs and Sarri doesn't even use wing-backs.) A rough first half will turn into a promising second half.
  • Predicted league finish: 6th
  • Fun fake gambling wager: number of league goals for Alvaro Morata higher or lower than the number of players Chelsea has out on loan (20), (MORATA -150)

Crystal Palace (2017–2018: 11th place, 44 points)

  • Notable additions: Cheikhou Kouyate (West Ham); Max Meyer (Schalke)
  • Notable subtractions: Lee Chung-Yong (Newcastle); Yohan Cabaye (Al Nasr)
  • Crystal Palace bounced back nicely from the worst start in league history to finish 11th, and they have Wilfried Zaha to thank for that. The Ivorian winger makes this side tick, and, if he were to leave the club, they would go from mid-table side to relegation favorites.
  • Predicted league finish: 10th
  • Fun fake gambling wager: Which number is higher: Palace's league finish or the number of goals scored by Christian Benteke? (Benteke +200)

Everton (2017–2018: 8th place, 49 points)

  • Notable additions: Marco Silva (manager; Watford); Richarlison (Watford); Lucas Digne (Barcelona)
  • Notable subtractions: Sam Allardyce (manager, fired); Wayne Rooney (D.C. United); Ashley Williams (Stoke City); Joel Robles (Real Betis)
  • Everton signed a lot of players last year, and most of them ended up not playing well. The Brazilian, Richarlison, will add some much-needed wide talent to a roster crying out for a winger, and it helps that he played well under Silva last season at Watford. Everton's ceiling is and will always be 7th place—not bad.
  • Predicted league finish: 7th
  • Fun fake gambling wager: Which number is higher: Everton's final place in the league or the number of times per game that Richarlison embellishes any contact? (LEAGUE -100)

Fulham: (2017–2018: 3rd place in the Championship, 88 points)

  • Notable additions: Jean Michael Seri (Nice); Andre Schurrle (Dortmund); Alfie Mawson (Swansea City)
  • Notable subtractions: Ryan Fredericks (West Ham)
  • Fulham won promotion to the Premier League via the Championship play-offs, and they have made some big-name additions to the squad to ready for a season of top-flight football. Seri was attracting interest from Barcelona last summer (not bad), and Schurrle famously assisted the winning goal in the 2014 World Cup for Germany (pretty good). Steven Sessegnon is the player to watch, however, as the winger/fullback has made a name for himself at only 17 years of age.
  • Predicted league finish: 14th
  • Fun fake gambling wager: Which number is higher: Ryan Sessegnon's age (17) or the number of matches Andre Schurrle will miss due to injury (AGE -250)

Huddersfield Town (2017–2018: 16th place, 37 points)

  • Notable additions: Terence Kongolo (Monaco); Ramadan Sobhi (Stoke City); Erik Durm (Dortmund)
  • Notable subtractions: Tom Ince (Stoke City)
  • Huddersfield was promoted last season despite finishing the league with a negative goal difference; they did not score a goal en route to winning the Championship play-offs; they tied for least goals scored last season (28) and somehow weren't relegated. You could try to use logic all you want, but David Wagner and the Terriers will defy that silly little thing called logic.
  • Predicted league finish: 19th
  • Fun fake gambling wager: Which is more likely to happen: Huddersfield avoid relegation or everyone with a Twitter account makes an Old Yeller reference after they get relegated? (YELLER -300).

Leicester City (2017–2018: 9th place, 47 points)

  • Notable additions: James Maddison (Norwich); Ricardo Pereira (Porto); Jonny Evans (West Brom)
  • Notable subtractions: Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City)
  • Leicester City enters their first full season under manager Claude Puel as a team pegged to challenge for 7th place. However, the Foxes sold Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez to Manchester City, and compatriot Rachid Ghezzal and Maddison are expected to replace Mahrez's creativity. They have the quality to do just fine in the league.
  • Predicted league finish: 11th
  • Fun fake gambling wager: Which number is higher: Jamie Vardy number of goals or number of matches before Leicester realizes Ghezzal is not Mahrez? (GHEZZAL -1000).

Liverpool (2017–2018: 4th place, 75 points)

  • Notable additions: Naby Keita (RB Leipzig); Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City); Fabinho (Monaco); Alisson (Roma)
  • Notable subtractions: Emre Can (Juventus)
  • Liverpool entered the transfer window off a 4th place finish in the league and a trip to the Champions League final. Jurgen Klopp addressed every area of need for the team: Alisson in goal, Keita and Fabinho in the midfield, and Shaqiri for an attacking option off the bench.
  • Another peak season for Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, and Roberto Firmino would spell trouble for the rest of the league.
  • Predicted league finish: 2nd
  • Fun fake gambling wager: Which is higher: the number of no-look goals Firmino scores or the number of goals Shaqiri scores from over 30 yards? (EVEN odds)

Manchester City (2017–2018: 1st place, 100 points)

  • Notable additions: Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City)
  • Notable departures: Yaya Toure (released); Joe Hart (Burnley)
  • The Citizens set many records last season en route to a league and league-cup double. For some perspective, they tallied more points than Wolverhampton (100 compared to 99) despite playing eight fewer games. They added Mahrez, and they're still the favorites. It's not even close.
  • Predicted league finish: 1st
  • Fun fake gambling wager: Which is higher: the number of league losses this season or the number of times Pep Guardiola lectures an opposing player about how he wants them to play? (LOSSES -100)

Manchester United (2017–2018: 2nd place, 81 points)

  • Notable additions: Fred (Shakhtar); Diogo Dalot (Porto); Lee Grant (Stoke City)
  • Notable subtractions: Michael Carrick (retired); Daley Blind (Ajax)
  • Manchester United enters the season as one of the most talented teams in the league—and with a manager who thinks they're one or two signings away from winning the league (more importantly, a manager who won't hesitate to air said frustration about needing another signing).
  • This has all the signs of a classic Jose Mourinho third season, but they're too talented to fall out of the top four.
  • Predicted league finish: 4th
  • Fun fake gambling wager: Which is higher: the number of games Anthony Martial plays under Mourinho this season or the number of games under a different manager? (WITH MOURINHO -150). 

Newcastle United (2017–2018: 10th place, 44 points)

  • Notable additions: Ki Sung-Yueng (Swansea City); Salomon Rondon (West Brom)
  • Notable subtractions: Mikel Merino (Real Sociedad); Aleksander Mitrovic (Fulham)
  • Manager Rafa Benitez is the most interesting manager in the league—simultaneously able to complain about needing players (a la Mourinho), yet still able to get the most out of the players currently in the locker room. They're a very solid defensive side, and there's no reason to think anything different.
  • Predicted league finish: 9th
  • Fun fake gambling wager: Which is more likely to happen: Newcastle finishes 7th or mortal rival Sunderland wins promotion back into the Championship? (SUNDERLAND -300)

Southampton (2017–2018: 17th place, 36 points)

  • Notable additions: Stuart Armstrong (Celtic); Jannik Vestergaard (Monchengladbach)
  • Notable subtractions: Dusan Tadic (Ajax); Sofiane Boufal (Celta Vigo)
  • Southampton manager Mark Hughes nearly did the impossible last season—getting two clubs relegated in one season. Somehow, he was able to save the Saints from the drop, but, after selling two of their best creators, Tadic and Boufal, it's hard to see how they're going to stay up.
  • Predicted league finish: 18th
  • Fun fake gambling wager: Which is higher: the number of goals scored in the league or the number of points gained in the league this season? (EVEN ODDS)

Tottenham (2017–2018: 3rd place, 77 points)

  • Notable additions: They literally haven't signed a single new player.
  • Notable subtractions: none
  • Bold strategy on Tottenham's part to try to make up 23 points on Manchester City by literally not doing anything to their squad. They'll continue to be a constant in the top four, but they did absolutely nothing to close the gap.
  • Predicted league finish: 3rd
  • Fun fake gambling wager: Which number is higher: the number of new players signed or final place in the league? (SIGNINGS -10000000000000)

Watford (2017–2018: 14th place, 41 points)

  • Notable additions: Gerard Deolofeu (Barcelona); Ben Foster (West Brom)
  • Notable subtractions: Richarlison (Everton); Nordin Amrabat (Al-Nassr)
  • The Hornets (who have a moose in their crest; this always bothered me, but I digress) started off hot last season, but the team went cold after firing Marco Silva as manager. They have no discernible goal-scorer outside of Troy Deeney, and they sold their best creative player, Richarlison. They go through managers like it's going out of style, and the famed manager bump they'll get midseason will probably keep them up.
  • Predicted league finish: 16th
  • Fun fake gambling wager: Whic his higher: the number of Troy Deeney goals or the number of red cards as a team? (GOALS -310)

West Ham (2017–2018: 13th place, 42 points)

  • Notable additions: Manuel Pellegrini (manager, some team in China); Issa Diop (Toulouse); Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City); Jack Wilshere (Arsenal); Andriy Yarmolenko (Dortmund); Felipe Anderson (Lazio)
  • Notable subtractions: David Moyes (manager, fired); Chiekhou Kouyate (Crystal Palace); Patrice Evra (released)
  • West Ham added depth all around the field, upgraded the manager, and are poised to make a push towards 7th place. Fabianski and Diop will tighten up the defense and Anderson will add creativity going forward.
  • Predicted league finish: 8th
  • Fun fake gambling wager: OVER/UNDER: number of times fans rush the field at any point this season (0.5), (OVER +1000).

Wolverhampton (2017–2018: 1st in the Championship, 99 points)

  • Notable additions: Joao Moutinho (Monaco); Rui Patricio (Sporting Lisbon); Benik Afobe (Bournemouth)
  • Notable subtractions: Rafa Mir (Las Palmas); Benik Afobe (Stoke City)
  • Wolves are back in the top flight and will be the closest thing we'll ever really get to "How would a national team do in a league?" Wolves currently have 14(!) players from Portugal on their roster, and the strategy of "Portugal won the Euros two years ago, let's buy every Portuguese player we can" oddly enough isn't the worst strategy ever.
  • Predicted league finish: 12th
  • Fun fake gambling wager: Which is higher: the number of Portuguese players on their roster (14) or the final place in the league? (EVEN ODDS)

Well, this was fun. We should do this again. Let's say, this time next year?

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