Finally, after a longer-than-usual layoff, England’s top flight of soccer action returns on Friday, August 9th. The season will kick off with Liverpool taking on newly promoted Norwich City, before the familiar full slate of matches gets underway Saturday morning for all of us in North America.
The Premier League can produce an unbelievably exciting and attacking blend of football, perhaps the main reason why the league has quickly endeared itself to many sports fans across the pond.
In this article, we will preview each team briefly and do it through the lens of my predicted final standings when the dust settles on May 2020. We’ll have a look at each club’s strengths, weakness, and acquisitions – starting at the bottom, all the way from the 20th team, up until the eventual league champions.
With loads of exciting player and management movement over the course of the off-season, there is plenty of intrigue and drama surrounding the beginning of the upcoming campaign. To best catch you up on all the news and notes, please keep on reading below as we start from the very bottom, 20th place Norwich City.
And don’t forget you can shop for the best betting odds to win the EPL in any of our top Premier League betting sites.
20 – Norwich City (+200000)
- Last Season: 1st (Championship)
Following a convincing campaign in the tier below the Premier League, Norwich City has once again been promoted to the top flight following a brief layoff. They were clearly too good for inferior competition down there, but are poised to really struggle against the bigger clubs in this campaign.
For starters, when teams have success down in the Championship and go on to win the league and promotion – they generally then go out and spend money to further improve their roster. That didn’t happen with Norwich City this off-season to the extent it needed to. The players brought in were relatively uninspiring and it remains to be seen if star player Teemu Pukki will have enough of a supporting cast to string wins together.
The Canaries do play an intriguing style and do like to attack, which is quite rare for a predictably poor side. They have speed, youth, and players who are best with the ball at their feet, but still haven’t done enough with their roster to succeed on both sides of the pitch. They scored 93 goals in 46 games last season, but with their lack of defensive structure and tougher competition, the Canaries will be flying right back to the Championship come season’s end.
19 – Sheffield United (+250000)
- Last Season: 2nd (Championship)
The only real contenders to Norwich last season was in fact Sheffield United. Following a lengthy 12-year layoff from the Premier League, the Blades have finally fought their way back to the top flight. It’s an excellent story as this just so happens to be one of England’s most cherished teams. In three years, Sheffield-born coach Chris Wilder has had his club promoted from League One to the Premier League, and with some intriguing new additions, this team should produce quality matches.
Unfortunately, the jump from the Championship to the Premier League can be a steep one. And while I’m not intentionally trying to pick on just the newly promoted clubs, there just isn’t enough quality within the side to maintain a consistently successful campaign from August to May.
While the Blades did go out and bring in some solid pieces like Callum Robinson and Phil Jagielka, they are old at the back and won’t be able to score regularly enough. Expect Sheffield United to hang around for the duration of the season, but ultimately their lack of quality and depth will have them back down to the Championship for next year.
18 – Newcastle United (+100000)
- Last Season: 13th
On talent alone, the Magpies shouldn’t be in the relegation discussion. Though they did lose some key pieces, there’s still enough quality, support, and money within the club that should keep them up – but the continued dysfunction runs rampant in northern England. This is an organization with many competing factions and voices, and the lack of a clear vision or purpose could spill out onto the pitch this season.
There’s just a general malaise surrounding the club, and new manager Steve Bruce seems ill-equipped to handle it. He was not a popular choice among their legions of loyal supporters, and thousands of season seats still remain unsold. This is rare for a Newcastle side that has recently been down in the Championship themselves. Owner Mike Ashley is reportedly looking for a buyer for the club, but nobody seems interested. It’s a messy situation.
On the pitch, Newcastle has brought in Joelinton to play up front, but there’s not much to surround him with. The pressure on the attacker will be immense, after being brought in for a club record transfer fee, but dismal pre-season results and the departure of Ayoze Perez and Salomon Rondon mean this club will again be toiling in a relegation battle for this campaign.
17 – Brighton & Hove Albion (+150000)
- Last Season: 17th
After narrowly surviving relegation last season, the Seagulls will again be in for a lengthy fight in 2019-20. They managed to stay up by a minuscule two-point margin last year, after failing to record a victory in their final ten matches. In six of those games, they didn’t even manage a goal. Out of all the clubs entering the Premier League this season, Brighton possibly has the least momentum. This is especially true when you look at their recent pre-season results which saw them suffer an embarrassing loss a couple of weeks ago to lowly Fulham.
The sacrifice for Brighton’s lack of success was the firing of manager Chris Hughton. Graeme Potter has arrived as the new bench boss, but already many are skeptical given the lack of success he had at his former club.
Brighton will stay up though due to their depth, experience in the Premier League, and knack of attacking soccer. This new approach should give them some flair up front, and with some of their recent signings – notably Matt Clarke, Leandro Trossard, and Adam Webster, expect the Seagull’s lineup to be stronger than what they finished with last campaign. It won’t be pretty, but there’s enough quality and support for Brighton to avoid the drop this year.
16 – Aston Villa (+100000)
- Last Season: 5th (Championship – Won Playoff for Promotion)
The third and final newly promoted club to be featured in this article, Aston Villa returns to the top flight with a vastly different lineup than what they fielded in the Championship.
While many might be critical of their personnel overhaul, it will allow them to better compete this season, and eventually, stay up. They have brought in twelve new additions to the squad, and have kept their star talents in John McGinn and Jack Grealish which should make them competitive in most matches.
Upfront, the Villains should be exciting to watch. Though they lost Tammy Abraham who has gone back to his parent club, Chelsea – Villa brought in talented Brazilian striker Wesley Moraes. His blend of speed, skill, and size should work perfectly in the Premier League, and it will be exciting to follow his progress. I can’t see Villa going back down, there’s just too much quality.
15 – Southampton (+100000)
- Last Season: 16th
The Saints have spent the past few years battling relegation, and surprise – they’ll be in more another fight this season! And while they did buck the trend and actually make some impressive signings this off-season, it speaks to the quality and depth in the Premier League that it likely won’t move the needle too much for Southampton.
Danny Ings is now full-time at the club, and acquisitions of Che Adams and Moussa Djenepo should help with overall quality, but they are still missing a real lynchpin within their midfield. They seem solid at the back and decent upfront, but without a proper distributing player in the centre of the pitch, the Saints could fall short of their goal for a mid-table finish this year. While they could surprise because of impressive signings, 15th seems to be a fitting spot for the Saints.
14 – Burnley (+200000)
- Last Season: 15th
A couple of years back Burnley had an immensely successful season, which actually resulted in the small club qualifying for the Europa League. While this was seen as a huge achievement, it really hindered their ability last year. The squad lacked the necessary depth to make up for all these extra fixtures while flying all over Europe. It did for harm than good, and they really never recovered as a result.
This year, without that European burden, expect a small uptick in performance from Burnley. While Sean Dyche hasn’t done too much to his pesky group, the goal-scoring quality should improve as Jay Rodriguez has returned from West Bromwich Albion where he netted 22 goals last year.
The Clarets also have an impressive youthful tandem in Dwight McNeil and James Tarkowski – both of whom will likely move on to bigger clubs in the next few years. For now though, they’ll be helping Burnley and this talent should propel the club to safety in 2019/20. As mentioned, many clubs will be bunched together at the bottom. It’ll be tight, but they will stay up this season.
13 – Crystal Palace (+100000)
- Last Season: 12th
The red and blue of Crystal Palace return for another season of mid-table action. They have an exciting group, but one that is certainly getting up there in age. This is, of course, the preference of their 71-year old manager in Roy Hodgson. He has been reluctant to trust the exciting youth at the club, and it could catch up with them this campaign.
Gone from the first team is the talented defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who netted Palace a boatload of cash from Man United. Unfortunately, the Eagles haven’t really done all that much with the transfer fees just yet. While rumors still circulate that Palace will enhance this roster, it remains to be seen how much can be done.
Palace remains vulnerable at the back, especially without Wan-Bissaka, but this group remains talented and dangerous on the attack. It can and has produced beautiful spells of football, and with the German midfielder Max Meyer expected to take on more of a role at the club, it should only enhance the goals for the likes of Wilf Zaha and Christian Benteke.
This is still a group with many question marks, but the talent and managing experience is there and should propel them to a relatively easy bid to stay up this season.
12 – Bournemouth (+150000)
- Last Season: 14th
The Cherries had a pretty solid off-season, managing to keep hold their top talents in Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser. While this remains an inexperienced group without the depth of top clubs in the Premier League, Bournemouth does have many young and hungry players that can and likely should surprise.
They haven’t struggled to score in recent seasons, but where improvement is a must is with their back-line. It has been dreadful in recent campaigns, and though they did make some solid signings to try and address this, we are going to need more than some promising friendly results that the changes are permanent.
Though they’ve lost talented 22-year old David Brooks with an ankle injury to start the year, the Cherries should be safe throughout. They’re exciting and talented upfront, and greater familiarity within the squad with tactics and systems should make them better defensively. This is a group that could surprise.
11 – Watford (+100000)
- Last Season: 11th
While many anticipate Watford making improvements on last season in 2019-20, I’m not there just yet. Javi Gracia is a solid coach and he has built a dependable group, but they really didn’t add much quality in the off-season. This is still a team that has many good players but lacks a game-breaking talent to secure a victory.
They’ll be chasing the likes of Leicester City, Everton, Wolves, and West Ham – all of which did better business than them during the transfer window. Doucoure is a great player for Watford, but there remains a lack of similar quality to surrounding him.
Watford was also fortunate to start so hot out of the gate last season, and that really propelled them throughout the year. This year they have a tough schedule to begin their campaign, so it will be up to Gracia to continue to get results that exceed the quality of this roster.
The Hornets have tested themselves with a tough pre-season and have come away from that looking poised for another promising season. Though they’ll be hoping to contend for Europa League positioning, more talent remains a dire need at the club.
And there you have it, folks! A brief breakdown of teams 20-11 as per my predicted order of finish for the upcoming Premier League Season. Tomorrow we will be back with a look at teams 10-1 on the table, as well as some picks for the league title and the Golden Boot winner. Enjoy the beginning of the EPL season!