Here’s a quick look at how the teams of the Premier League are set for the season ahead
The wait is finally over as the Premier League returns this weekend with the opening game kicking-off between Arsenal and Leicester at the Emirates on Friday night. Chelsea look to defend their title, newcomers Brighton and Huddersfield prepare for football in the top-flight and Sam Allardyce can expect a call from some struggling club sometime into the new year.
Manager: Arsene Wenger
Last Season Finish: 5th
Fans were split on whether Arsene Wenger’s time was up, but the Frenchman will stay on as manager for another season although a 5th placed finish means the Gunners miss out on Champions League football for the first time in 20-years. An FA Cup win may have softened the blow and they’ve started this term with a Community Shield win over rivals Chelsea. A top four finish is a must.
Manager: Eddie Howe
Last Season Finish: 9th
Manager Eddie Howe has encouraged an exciting, attack-minded style of play for the Cherries which saw them net more goals than any other team outside the top seven last season. Jermain Defoe has joined from Sunderland on a free transfer and after playing the first half of last season on loan, Nathan Ake will return after being signed from Chelsea for £20 million.
Manager: Chris Houghton
Last Season Finish: 2nd (Championship)
Brighton had the best defensive record in the Championship last season, keeping 21 clean sheets and matching Newcastle in leaking just 40 goals. They return to the top tier of English football for the first time since 1983. They have tough a season ahead of them, kicking off with a visit to the Etihad to take on Manchester City. Players Glenn Murray and Anthony Knockaert will be expected to take starring roles again.
Manager: Sean Dyche
Last Season Finish: 16th
Burnley’s home form last season has kept them afloat in the Premier League for a second successive season, but performances took a dive at the end of the campaign which saw them win just two of their last fifteen games and narrowly avoid relegation. They need to significantly improve away from Turf Moor, as they won just one league game on the road last term and that was against Crystal Palace.
Manager: Antonio Conte
Last Season Finish: 1st
Once manager Antonio Conte had got to grips with the team, Chelsea became a seemingly unstoppable force last season winning 30 of their 38 matches. They’ll have to balance Champions League football this season and will start their Premier League campaign without the instrumental Eden Hazard, who is recovering from ankle surgery. Monaco midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, Roma defender Antonio Rudiger and Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata have been their big summer signings and should help deepen the squad.
Manager: Frank de Boer
Last Season Finish: 14th
Sam Allardyce was brought in to save a sinking Crystal Palace and it was mission accomplished in surviving another season in the Premier League. Former Inter Milan manager Frank de Boer has taken the reigns and they can target more than mere survival this season.
Manager: Ronald Koeman
Last Season Finish: 7th
Everton have parted ways with Romelu Lukaku and as a contender for the Golden Boot last season he could be sorely missed. But they’ve made some shrewd signings in goalkeeper Jordan Pickford from Sunderland and Burnley defender Michael Keane. We’ll also see the return of Wayne Rooney, who re-joined his boyhood team and started in their Europa qualifiers with Ruzomberok last month.
Manager: David Wagner
Last Season Finish: 5th (Championship)
As winners of the play-off final with Reading, Huddersfield will play in the top-tier of English football the first time in over 45-years. They’ve made plenty of summer signings and play with an energic pace, but survival will be the goal and it will be a real test.
Manager: Craig Shakespeare
Last Season Finish: 12th
The fairy-tale champions of the 2015-2016 season fell apart last term but league results dramatically improved after the unpopular sacking of Claudio Ranieri. After keeping them in the top-flight Craig Shakespeare has been kept on as manager, but there will be no Champions League football this season and a mid-table finish may the best Foxes fans can expect.
Manager: Jurgen Klopp
Last Season Finish: 4th
The Reds had defensive problems last season but they achieved their goal of a top-four finish and return to Champions League football. They’ve been strong in their pre-season fixtures and new signing Mohamed Salah is looking like a wise addition to a squad that will have to cope the extra workload in Europe.
Manager: Pep Guardiola
Last Season Finish: 3rd
Pep Guardiola’s first season in charge at Manchester City didn’t quite meet expectations, but the three summer signings of defenders Danilo from Real Madrid, Benjamin Mendy from Monaco and Kyle Walker from Tottenham look to be tackling the defensive issues. They lost a pre-season friendly to rivals Manchester United, but had wins over Real Madrid and Tottenham.
Manager: Jose Mourinho
Last Season Finish: 6th
Jose Mourinho’s first term in charge of Manchester United may not have been a great league success, but they ended the season as League Cup winners and qualified for the Champions League. Romelu Lukaku replaces Zlatan Ibrahimovic and goals will be needed if they are to get into the top-four.
Manager: Rafael Benitez
Last Season Finish: 1st (Championship)
Newcastle return to the Premier League at the first time of asking and look the most likely out of the three promoted clubs to remain. Dwight Gayle netted 23 league goals for the Magpies last season but he missed several games through injury and still has a bit to prove in the top-flight.
Manager: Mauricio Pellegrino
Last Season Finish: 8th
They played Europa League football and were runners-up in the League Cup, but an 8th placed finish was two below the previous season and manager Claude Puel was replaced with Mauricio Pellegrino. They have a reputation as a feeder club but are normally shrew in their acquisitions and can improve on last season’s league position.
Manager: Mark Hughes
Last Season Finish: 13th
Stoke took a while to get going last season failing to win any of their first seven matches, but they should benefit from the return of keeper Jack Butland who made just five league appearances for the Potters last season. They’ve been lacking up front as Peter Crouch was their top goal scorer last term with seven goals.
Manager: Paul Clement
Last Season Finish: 15th
Paul Clement took over a Swansea side in disarray in January, but they gained 13 points from their final five games to ensure survival. If playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson leaves for Everton they could struggle to replace him. They’ll also need to strengthen their defence as only Hull let slip more goals last term.
Manager: Mauricio Pochettino
Last Season Finish: 2nd
The league’s highest goal scorer in Harry Kane and the best defensive record helped Tottenham to the runners-up spot last season. The departure of Kyle walker and a full season at Wembley could be disruptive, but Pochettino has a dynamic squad who will be looking to get back in the title race.
Manager: Marco Silva
Last Season Finish: 17th
Watford escaped the drop last season but manager Walter Mazzarri’s contract was terminated and he made way for Marco Silva, who was interim coach at Hull after Mike Phelan’s departure. The Hornets have some talented players and Nathaniel Chalobah and Will Hughes are exciting additions. They should finish higher up the ladder this season.
Manager: Tony Pulis
Last Season Finish: 10th
Darren Fletcher’s move to Stoke was a blow and results in pre-season fixtures have been disappointing. West Brom ran out of steam last season and picked up just two points from their final nine games. But they could benefit from a lighter run in their first five fixtures and manager Tony Pulis has never been relegated.
Manager: Slaven Bilic
Last Season Finish: 11th
The astute signing of Pablo Zabaleta will hopefully help sort out some West Ham’s defensive problems and the arrival of former Manchester United and Bayer Leverkusen striker Javier Hernandez should inject some energy upfront. They should be more settled in their London Stadium home, where results need to significantly improve.