5 Things To Know Ahead Of The 2021/22 English Premier League Season – Forbes - Techy Hunters

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Thursday, August 12, 2021

5 Things To Know Ahead Of The 2021/22 English Premier League Season – Forbes

The 2021/22 Premier League season starts this Friday when newcomers Brentford host Arsenal.

From the big spenders to the clubs that will struggle to survive, here are five things to know ahead of the new season.

The big clubs have splashed the cash

Despite the financial impact from the Covid-19 pandemic, the Premier League’s biggest clubs have kept on spending this summer.

Champion Manchester City broke the British transfer record to sign Jack Grealish from Aston Villa for $145 million. Manchester United and Arsenal have both spent close to $100 million on new players.

Spurs is also splashing the cash, though the most expensive signing so far, Cristian Romero, is initially a loan. Chelsea is set to spend big to bring former striker Romelu Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge. Liverpool, until now, has “only” spent $47 million on one player.

The need to keep up with rivals, it seems, has outweighed fears about financial instability.

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It is City’s title to lose

City won last season’s title comfortably and has added Grealish, one of the league’s most exciting talents, to its squad. There is still a chance Harry Kane, one of Europe’s most deadly strikers, will follow from Spurs. So, can any team prevent a successive City title?

Liverpool, which won so thrillingly in 2019/20, has been quiet in the transfer market. Can Jurgen Klopp summon the intensity of the title-winning season after a grueling campaign that ended barely a month ago for some players?

Chelsea, which beat City in the Champions League final, finished 19 points behind the Manchester club last season. But with Thomas Tuchel settled in and the likely addition (and goals) of Lukaku, there will be an expectation at Stamford Bridge of mounting a challenge.

Manchester United looks spoilt in attack after signing Jadon Sancho, while Raphael Varane will be a shrewd addition in defence.

Perhaps it will be a closer title race than last season. But it’s hard to see any other winner than City.

Leicester should target the top four again

Last season was a very good one for Leicester City. A first FA Cup win and fifth-placed finish was more than most supporters would have hoped for and the club should be optimistic about this coming season.

Leicester has made a few sensible-looking transfers, the most exciting of which is Patson Daka, the Zambian center forward who joins from RB Salzburg. But there has also been some early bad luck, with key defender Wesley Fofana ruled out with injury until at least next year.

Still, with doubts over Arsenal and Spurs, Leicester should push for a Champions League spot. At the back of the players’ minds could be how they will finish the season. Last season, Leicester missed out on the top four by a point and in the previous campaign it also missed out after losing three of the last four league matches.

Brentford do things differently

Promoted clubs always have a point to prove and one of the season’s most intriguing storylines will be the performance of newboys Brentford.

While the other promoted teams, Norwich and Watford, have recently experienced the top flight, this is Brentford’s first season in the Premier League. The team played a front-foot style in the Championship and is expected to be similarly positive this season.

Manager Thomas Frank will rely on the core of the squad who won promotion through the play-offs, though a few signings have been made, the most eye-catching being ex-Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer. Up front, the London club will rely heavily on striker Ivan Toney, who found the net 31 times last season.

Club owner Matthew Benham, a gambling millionaire, and co-director of football Rasmus Ankersen, have a commitment to data analytics which has seen Brentford overcome teams with bigger budgets before. In the Premier League, where the difference in budgets is even bigger, can it do so again?

The teams that could have a surprising season

Usually, there is at least one team that outperforms (or underperforms) pre-season expectations.

Few would have predicted West Ham would break into the top six last season, or that Newcastle would finish a respectable 12th, or Sheffield United bottom.  

This season, what should be expected of Aston Villa, which has sold its star Grealish but brought in goalscorer Danny Ings and the exciting Leon Bailey? How will Southampton cope without Ings? Can Leeds United, under enigmatic coach Marcelo Bielsa, improve on last season’s 9th place?

Brighton should again be an intriguing team to watch. Had the side taken its chances last season, it would have finished far higher than 16th. If it can secure a new striker before the transfer window closes, the Seagulls might just spring a surprise this season.



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