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Predicting The Premier League Winner And Table For The 2020-21 Season

As the 2020-21 Premier League season kicks off on Saturday, where Fulham hosted Arsenal in a 0:3 encounter for the curtain-raiser in a stadium unable to welcome fans and missing one of its four stands.

It represents great symbolism for the campaign ahead: Is anyone really ready to play football? 

Half-baked transfer activity, a farce of a pre-season and an international break that interrupted vital preparation time would suggest no. Alas, we move on.

Football is a business that must continue, and as post-lockdown football in June taught us, it will only take a few matches for everyone to get back up to speed and things to feel pretty normal again. Heck, we might even get some fans in by Christmas.

All of these uncertainties make predicting the Premier League table and the winner for the campaign ahead even more impossible than usual, but have we ever shied away from a challenge? Absolutely not. So let’s give it a go!


20. West Bromwich Albion

The summer business has been solid and well thought through, but as so many promoted sides have found over the past few years, the step up in quality is serious.

It’s tough to have faith that West Brom’s collection of strikers (Charlie Austin, Kenneth Zohore and Callum Robinson) can score the goals that keep them up, while the first run of fixtures (Leicester City, Everton, Chelsea, Southampton, Burnley) is rough.

Once you get into a downward spiral in the Premier League, it’s hard to break out of.

19. Fulham

Fulham have been promoted as a much more settled unit than in 2018, allowing them the chance at a much smoother summer of business. But like with West Brom, it feels like what they’ve done (at least so far) probably isn’t enough.

That could change in the weeks to come, but concerns over the attack’s potency and the defence’s ability to cope are fair. Captain Tom Cairney needs to shine much brighter than he did two years ago, though injuries played a part in his previous struggles in the Premier League.

18. Brighton & Hove Albion

You’re going to start sensing a theme here: When it comes to Brighton, who scores the goals?

Outside of Neal Maupay, who managed a solid 10 last season, the Seagulls badly need Leandro Trossard to step up more regularly and the talented Alexis Mac Allister to explode.

There’s a lot to like about this Brighton side under Graham Potter, but it’s hard to escape the feeling they don’t feel particularly threatening. They’re one of four clear contenders for 18th, and it’s a tough spot to call, but they’re the pick.

17. Crystal Palace

Palace have committed to freshening up their side and getting a little younger in the transfer market, which is a crucial step for them; it had felt a little like they were sleepwalking toward relegation in previous years.

Eberechi Eze will steal focus from opposing defences and keep them more honest toward Wilfried Zaha on the opposite side. That, plus Roy Hodgson’s reliable coaching in the clutch, is what probably keeps them up.

16. Aston Villa

It’s been a nervy summer for Villa as their pursuit of a striker hit dead end after dead end, but Ollie Watkins has finally signed, and he transforms their prospects in the final third.

Add his speed and potency to the fact that this group of players continue to rise to every challenge set to them—the most recent one being a remarkable eight points in four games to survive relegation in July—and it feels silly to bet against them, particularly with Jack Grealish still around.

15. West Ham

Arguably the most difficult team to place in the table, West Ham are, quite literally, anyone’s guess.

On talent levels alone, they’ll be more than fine; Lukasz Fabianski, Issa Diop, Declan Rice and Michail Antonio form a great spine, Tomas Soucek is emerging as David Moyes’ new Marouane Fellaini and they have a glut of playmakers to sprinkle on top.

The concern is just how combustible the club is. When your captain is tweeting angrily about player sales, you know things aren’t quite right—and that’s a threat that constantly hovers over the Hammers and puts them in relegation contention.

14. Newcastle United

A predicted table compiled two weeks ago would have had Newcastle in the relegation zone, no doubt. There was more than a fair share of fortune attached to quite a few of their results last season, and had the same side continued into 2020-21, it probably wouldn’t have gone well.

But the club clearly recognised this, and in recent days, they have pulled off a series of blinders in the transfer market. Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser and Jamal Lewis have followed Jeff Hendrick (the most Steve Bruce player ever), greatly strengthening the side and solving problem positions.

It’s now pretty easy to see the Magpies gliding to safety.

13. Leeds United

A newly promoted side finishing as high as 13th isn’t such a bold prediction any longer—particularly in light of Sheffield United’s top-half finish last season—but this will still take some by surprise.

Quite simply, it’s all about the manager, Marcelo Bielsa. A figure held up as the tactical inspiration for Mauricio Pochettino, Pep Guardiola and more, his high-pressing, abrasive tactics will take many by surprise and take a while to adjust to.

Add this to the fact that they have bought well—Rodrigo and Robin Koch are very good players—and a quick start (that opening game against Liverpool aside) that sees them sail to safety is coming.

12. Sheffield United

Ah, yes—the ominous second season. So many promoted sides fall foul of it, as it can be so hard to sustain momentum over a break and into another campaign.

A 12th-placed finish would be a drop of four places for the Blades on last season, but most fans would accept a stabilisation campaign. They will be less of an unknown but just as difficult to play against in midfield, just as difficult to break down and just as robust up front.

11. Burnley

Not a single signing in sight for Burnley, which is probably cause for concern.

But Sean Dyche and his men are bomb-proof; a legion of people have predicted them to go down every season since promotion (this writer did last year), and they continually defy those suggestions.

They have a strong, robust spine, England’s best goalkeeper, an excellent prospect in Dwight McNeil and a battering-ram strike force that still bullies defences.

10. Everton

A 10th-placed finish would probably disappoint Everton, but the gap between where they are and where they want to be is absolutely massive—bigger, perhaps, than they realise.

Signing Allan, Abdoulaye Doucoure and James Rodriguez represents potentially transcendent business, but we’re holding back a little on the Toffees because there’s a lot to put in place before they take off. We need to see it.

9. Southampton

If post-lockdown football is anything to go by, Southampton are a rising force that look set to hit the 2020-21 campaign running.

Their behind-closed-doors points tally (18) was bettered only by those of the two Manchester clubs as Ralph Hasenhuttl’s ideas fully set in and his team swept opponents away one by one.

A ninth-placed finish will need Danny Ings to hit top form again, Che Adams to rise up alongside him and the defence to remain as stout and reliable as it was in June and July.

8. Leicester City

We shouldn’t be talking about Leicester City here at eighth because their season prospects should be so much greater.

Their post-lockdown slump saw them slip from third to fifth, missing out on UEFA Champions League qualification as things unravelled a little. It’s hardly an unfamiliar story wherever Brendan Rodgers is involved, and the trend has been that when that happens, Rodgers has struggled to claw it back.

With a crowded schedule because of their Europa League involvement and no Ricardo Pereira (injury) or Ben Chilwell (transferred)—though Timothy Castagne is an excellent pickup—we’re a little down on the Foxes this term.

7. Tottenham Hotspur

Talentwise, Spurs are a top-five outfit, no question.

But the club are up against other issues this season that are beyond their control—namely, the ludicrous playing schedule they face because of their involvement in four competitions.

Thanks to the Europa League qualifiers and the Carabao Cup third round, they could play seven games in September, with the first coming on the 13th. The squad as it stands can’t handle that; they need three or four more through the door to cope, physically, with the demands that beckon.

Perhaps seventh is too much of an adjustment—and were it not for the schedule, Spurs would be higher—but it just seems impossible for Tottenham to play up to their full potential.

6. Wolverhampton Wanderers

While Spurs’ schedule has filled up, Wolves’ looks pretty clean. We’re tipping that as a difference-maker between the two.

Even having lost Matt Doherty to Spurs, Wolves represent one of the strongest clubs in the division, and now they’re able to focus solely on domestic matters, they should rise up the table again.

The quality of Raul Jimenez, Joao Moutinho, Ruben Neves and Adama Traore is undoubted, and the defence will be as strong and combative as ever.

5. Arsenal

Arsenal in fifth is a big call, but they’re on the up, and there’s a lot to like about what Mikel Arteta has done over the course of 2020.

Adding Willian to an already strong attacking corps gives them incredible flexibility in how they line up, while the addition of Gabriel Magalhaes goes a long way to finally shoring things up at the back.

With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang spearheading a tactically sound and intriguing side, they’re in line for a very good season.

4. Manchester United

United have been generally superb in 2020, with Bruno Fernandes representing the final piece in what became a very, very good starting XI.

But it’s clear they need more players to take a big step forward this season. As soon as one of the 11 players they came to rely on during that goal-filled run post-lockdown ducks out, the team will take a step back.

Placing them in fourth is a show of respect for how good they can be but also recognition of the fact that they need three or more new faces to be able to sustain that sort of level all campaign long.

3. Chelsea

Chelsea, they’ve been busy, haven’t they?

Six signings, five of which directly upgrade the first team, have whipped fans into a frenzy of optimism and hope. Can they mount a title challenge, or at least close the frankly cavernous gap to last season’s top two?

The former still feels impossible, but the latter is within their grasp. If they can pull to within 10 or even 15 points of Liverpool and Manchester City (they finished 33 points off the title in 2019-20), riding on the wings of Timo Werner and Kai Havertz, that’s a building block toward a future challenge of their own.

2. Liverpool

The agonising wait for their first Premier League title is over; the 2019-20 campaign, however tumultuous, felt like “mission complete” for Liverpool and their jubilant fans.

It will be interesting to see what their title defence looks like given how this summer’s course has run. While the Reds have invested in just a back-up left-back, passed on Timo Werner and are threatening to do the same with Thiago Alcantara, Manchester City have purchased more aggressively and are threatening to continue, per B/R’s Dean Jones.

1. Manchester City

So, while Liverpool may be 5 per cent flatter, having achieved the ultimate, City will be the opposite. There will be a hunger to them in 2020-21 after a genuinely disappointing previous campaign; the last time Pep Guardiola endured such a season, his side bounced back with 100 points.

None of this is to discredit the Reds’ motivation or professionalism, but in such a tight race between two elite sides, 5 per cent of something either way could decide it. We’ll tip City, the wounded animal with a point to prove, to regain the title this term.

Source: Bleachers Report (RB).

Transfer News: Chelsea’s £71m Kai Havertz Joined From Bayer Leverkusen

The transfer of the young, highly rated attacking midfielder from Bayer Leverkusen follows on from the purchase of Timo Werner from another Bundesliga club RB Leipzig, and is in addition to the recruitment of Hakim Ziyech, Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva as Frank Lampard’s squad for the forthcoming season takes shape. They have also signed young French defender Malang Sarr who is going out on loan with a view to gaining more experience before he is involved.

Havertz had this to say on becoming a Chelsea player. ‘I am very happy and proud to be here, For me it is a dream come true to play in a big club like Chelsea and I can’t wait to meet all the players and the trainers. Yeah, I am very happy to be here!’

Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia added: ‘Kai is one of the best players of his age in world football, so we are very happy that his future lies at Chelsea. He has proven pedigree in one of the best leagues in Europe, he plays for the German national side and he is an exciting, dynamic talent. We are delighted to be able to add his versatility and quality to the squad before the season begins.’
 

Havertz has become one of German football’s highest-rated young players following his breakthrough at Bayer Leverkusen, setting a series of records for his achievements, including those for the youngest player to make 50 and 100 Bundesliga appearances, which were both previously held by Timo Werner.

Tall (he is 6ft 2in), fast and technically excellent, the 21-year-old has shown impressive versatility given his age. Predominantly a central attacking midfielder known for his accurate and incisive passing, along with an ability to retain possession in tight spaces and win the ball back in advanced positions, Havertz also played wide on the right earlier in his career, cutting inside onto his favoured left foot.

More recently, he proved himself a capable striker while filling in for that role due to injuries in the second half of 2019/20, and has been dubbed an ‘Alleskonner’ in his homeland – meaning a player who can do everything.

Having received his early education at local lower-league clubs Alemannia Mariadorf and Alemannia Aachen, the former run by his grandfather, Havertz joined Bayer Leverkusen at the age of 11 in 2010 and made a name for himself in their youth set-up, receiving the Silver Fritz Walter Medal in 2016, given to the best Under-17 players in Germany.

He made his senior debut that same year, becoming the club’s youngest Bundesliga debutant, and continued to grow in stature over the course of the 2016/17 season. He made his first Champions League start in that season’s last 16, although he missed the second leg of their defeat to Atletico Madrid because it clashed with his school exams. Before the end of the campaign he had his first goal, in a 3-3 draw with Wolfsburg, making him Leverkusen’s youngest Bundesliga scorer.

Transfer: Arsenal Serious About Signing Said Benrahma, The Algerian Is Also In Chelsea’s Radar

The FC Arsenal is in the market since Mikel Arteta wants to continue its reconstruction by helping world class players improve the quality of the team massively before the following season. Arsenal is prepared to welcome Said Benrahma ‘s signature from Brentford, according to reports, because Mikel Arteta identified the Algerian attacker as the biggest Summer Transfer Target.

22-year-old Algerian aggressor Said Benrahma was considered one of the best young attackers in England, as his impressive championship performance has attracted a number of UK top clubs’ interest. Like Chelsea and Tottenham, the attacker was also linked, but Arsenal will have the signature well ahead.

Arsenal is prepared to meet the €40.000.000 Brentford assessment of the Algiers who are likely to join a massive contract with the Gunners, according to reports. Benrahma said he was great for the Gunner when, throughout the season, he scored 17 goals and placed 10 assists for the championship club.

The Gunners will hop on Benrahma as he has opened preliminary negotiations with the Algerian star to replicate his formidable shape at the club. Benrahma said that the Gunners are threatened with an explosive pace and are very capable of dribbling, creative and capable of scoring objectives.

Arsenal is very active on the transfers market as they have signed Willian, Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares are also signed by the Gunners. Benrahma said that he could be the latest player in the game to join Mikel Arteta and bring the young Gunner coach new options.

Done Deal: Thiago Silva MOVES To Chelsea From PSG After Champions League Final

The Brazilian Centre back, Thiago Silva, is the current captain of the Brazilian national team and the French champions, PSG, but has today accepted Chelsea bid for a move until June, 2022. He’s going to leave PSG and sign for the next two years.

The deal to be completed in the coming days. The contract is for 1 year plus an option of another year that can be triggered by either side. Thiago is scheduled to undergo medical this week. And is for €6M/season contract until June 2022.

After Thiago Silva signing, Chelsea will consider loaning out Tomori to Ligue 1 and a number of clubs are interested. Bakayoko to AC Milan is in an advanced talks and a deal is set to be finalised soon. Also, Chelsea is looking for a deal to sell Emerson Palmieri, so they’ll complete Ben Chilwell deal with Leicester City.

This is coming few days after PSG lost the 2020 Champions League Final to the eventual winners, Bayern Munich.

Chelsea’s Willian And Brazilian Forward Has Finally joins Arsenal

Willian announcement graphic

Brazil international Willian has signed a three-year deal to join us ahead of the 2020/21 season.

The 32-year-old forward has a wealth of experience and has made more than 600 club appearances in a career spanning 13 seasons.

Willian started at Brazilian side Corinthians, before joining Shakhtar Donetsk in August 2007. In his six years there, he won four Ukrainian Premier League titles and the Uefa Cup in 2009. Four years later, he briefly signed for Anzhi Makhachkala before joining Chelsea, winning the Premier League and League Cup in his second season in England.
 
Throughout his seven years at Chelsea, he won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and the Europa League. He made 339 appearances, with 63 goals and 56 assists in that time.
 
“I believe he’s a player that can really make a difference for us,” Mikel Arteta said. “We have been monitoring him for the past few months, we had a clear intention to strengthen in the attacking midfielder and the winger positions [and] he is a player that gives us a lot of versatility, he can play in three or four different positions. He has the experience of everything in the football world but to still have the ambition to come here and contribute to bring the club where it belongs. I have been really impressed with all the talks I have had with him and how much he wanted to come.” 
 
Willian has made 70 appearances and has scored nine goals for Brazil, making his international debut in 2011. He has since represented his country at the 2014 and 2018 World Cups, the 2015 Copa America, the Copa America Centenario, and the 2019 Copa America where he was a key member of the squad that lifted the trophy on home soil.
 
Technical director Edu said: “I know him very well, since a long time ago because we’ve been working together for the Brazilian national team and of course I was following him because he played for another club. He has a lot of fantastic attributes as a person, as a football player of course, his character. I’m 100 per cent sure that everybody in the dressing room, the fans, myself and Mikel will enjoy having Willian in our side.“
 
Willian will wear the number 12 shirt.
 
The deal is subject to the completion of regulatory processes.

Transfer Latest: Done Deals And Rumours Across Europe

Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana signs for Brighton on a three year deal.

Chelsea are set to be offered Aaron Ramsey by Juventus in a shock swap deal for Italian midfielder Jorginho.

Norwich City have signed Bali Mumba from Sunderland for an initial fee of around €350,000.

Atletico Madrid defensive midfielder Thomas Partey is reportedly open to joining Arsenal as Mikel Arteta looks to bring him to the Emirates.

Inter Milan will look to land Alexis Sanchez on a permanent deal this summer by sending Ivan Perisic to Manchester United this summer.

Barcelona are plotting a transfer swoop for Manchester City defender Eric Garcia this summer.

Manchester United have had an €89 million bid for Jadon Sancho rejected by Borussia Dortmund.

Philippe Coutinho is likely to sign for either Arsenal, Leicester City or Tottenham Hotspur this season.

Troy Deeney admits he could leave Watford following the club’s relegation from Premier League to the Championship.

Tottenham have confirmed the depatures of Michel Vorm and Jan Vertonghen.

Arsenal suffers a huge blow after their transfer target Dayot Upamecano agrees a new contract with RB Leipzig.

Bayer Leverkusen joins Chelsea in the race to sign Ajax goal keeper Andre Onana.

Chelsea are interested in signing €45 million rated AC Milan midfielder Ismael Bennacer.

Manchester United are preparing to make a bid for Lille and Brazilian defender Gabriel Magalhaes.

Japhet Tanganga signs a new five year contract with Tottenham.

Manchester City are looking to strengthen their defense with the signing of Nathan Ake and Kalidou Koulibaly this summer.

Chelsea wants to keep hold of their Brazilian winger Willian this summer by offering him a new contract at the club.

West Ham’s forward Albian Ajeti is closing in on a loan move to Scottish Champions Celtic.

Liverpool defender has completed a €12 million move to Zenit St. Petersburg.

Barcelona will prioritise a new deal for German goal keeper Marc Andre Ter Stegen this summer amid interest from Chelsea.

Ajax rejects a €20 million bid for goal keeper Andre Onana from Bayer Leverkusen.

Bayern Munich have made an approach to sign Norwich City right back Max Aarons this summer.

16 year old defender Bitshiabu El Chadaile have signed a professional contract with PSG this summer.

Ole Gunner Solksjaer ready to offload six players this summer in order to fund transfer budget.

James Maddison signs new €110, 000 a week contract with Leicester City.

Arsenal offered Arturo Vidal and Ivan Rakitic by Barcelona in shock swap deal for Matteo Guendouzi.

Barcelona are considering a move for Manchester United defender Diego Dalot.

Tottenham Hotspur are set to resume talks with Southampton over the signing of Pierre Emile Hojbjerg with the club demanding €25 million for the midfielder.

Borussia Dortmund begin talks with Lille midfielder Jonathan Ikone.

Leeds United could miss out on Edinson Cavani as the Uruguayan forward agrees to join Benfica this summer.

Chelsea make a move for €27 million rated Getafe left back Marc Cucurella.

Source: News Hub.

Transfer: Juventus Star Pjanic Turned Down Chelsea, Wants Barcelona Move

Transfer: Juventus Star Pjanic Turned Down Chelsea, Wants Barcelona Move – Daily Watch Press

Miralem Pjanic is once again reported to have turned down Chelsea and will not leave Juventus for any club other than Barcelona.

Marca state that the Blues and PSG have both had approaches turned down for the Bosnian.

Maurizio Sarri is keen to do a deal which will see Pjanic move to West London with Jorginho going the other way, but the midfielder does not seem keen to play ball.

And Sarri would also sell Pjanic to Barcelona if he can get Arthur in exchange, but the Brazilian has no intention of moving to Turin.

Football: Eminrate FA Cup Set To Return After The Covid-19 Break

Football: Emirate FA Cup Set To Return After The COVID-19 Break – Daily Watch Press

The English football shut down like all other leagues around the globe at the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic scare.

Before the pandemic, the Emirate FA Cup was concluded and the following teams qualified to the Quarter Finals; Norwich City, Manchester United, Shefield United, Arsenal, Leicester City, Chelsea, Newcastle United and Manchester City.

The new fixtures shows that when the Emirate FA Cup resumes: Norwich City vs. Manchester United will be played on Saturday 27th June, 2020, 5:30Pm, Shefield United vs. Arsenal will be played on Sunday 28th June, 2020 by 1Pm,Leicester City vs. Chelsea will also be played on Sunday 28th June, 2020 by 4:00Pm and the Newcastle United vs. Manchester City match will still be on Sunday 28th June, 2020, by 6:30Pm.

All the matches will be played behind closed doors and fans can only watch them through BT Sports and BBC channels.