The new 2021/22 Premier League season has arrived. There have already been some massive signings made by the top clubs. More are bound to be on the way before the summer transfer window closes. Manchester City bid to retain their Premier League title but will face a battle with Manchester United, Liverpool and European Champions Chelsea determined to win the Premier League too. Let's look forward to what the new season has to offer us at both the top and bottom of the table.
Manchester City have won the Premier League five times, including three of the last four. However, only once have they managed to successfully defend their title. They won the 2020/21 Premier League title by 12 points. But for some late season losses it'd have been a wider margin.
They have lost Sergio Aguero but he barely played last season. Jack Grealish is the new kid in town after being signed from Aston Villa for £100m. Could Harry Kane join him by the end of August? If he does then it's going to take a massive effort for any club to finish above them in the Premier League this season. There are odds of 4/5 at Betway on them winning the title. Those odds would likely shorten if Kane does join them.
Chelsea are the champions of Europe but not their own country. Last season saw them nearly miss out on a top four finish and lose the FA Cup final. They finished 19 points behind Manchester City last season, so there's a big gap to make up. Only 58 league goals were scored last season. No player managed to score more than seven league goals last season. The return of Romelu Lukaku for £97m should change that.
The chances are that Chelsea will sign more players before the transfer window shuts. Could they persuade Erling Haaland to make his way to Stamford Bridge? Last season saw major signings from Germany but Timo Werner was a big disappointment. Kai Havertz was in the same category but improved as the season progressed. More improvement would be a big boost for Chelsea this season. 888sport will give you odds of 9/2 on them winning the title.
Liverpool finished 18 points clear of Manchester City when winning the title in 2019/20. Last season saw them end 17 points behind the new champions. It was virtually impossible to predict the way Liverpool played last season. Who could have imagined that they would lose six consecutive home league games? They earned 22 points less at Anfield than in the previous season and ended up with more away points than those earned at Anfield.
The Reds lost Virgil van Dijk to injury and their defence was never the same for the rest of the season. Mo Salah was again in top scoring form but Mane and Firmino only managed 20 league goals between them, seven less than in their title winning season. The good news for Liverpool is that Virgil van Dijk is fit again and hopefully Trent Alexander-Arnold won't miss as many games either. The same applies to Diogo Jota who made an impressive start to last season before injury got in the way.
Liverpool can't afford to go out and spend £100m plus on players. The only way they could do that if someone like Salah or Mane were sold. Ibrahima Konate has been signed for £36m from RB Leipzig and will hopefully strengthen their defence. If Liverpool can get that home form back to something like it was in the past, then a title challenge is on for the Reds. You can get odds of 5/1 at BetVictor on a second title success for Jurgen Klopp
It's not just Manchester City and Chelsea who can splash plenty of cash. Manchester United have already spent over £100m in this transfer window. Jadon Sancho has been their major signing for £73m and Raphael Verane is on his way from Real Madrid. United finished second last season but were still 12 points behind City.
They could have finished closer but for poor home form that saw them lose six league games at Old Trafford. Their away form saw them go unbeaten throughout the season, though Manchester City still earned two points more than them on their travels. Can United improve on that away record this season?
One problem they had last season was the number of goals they drew. 11 in total, if that number had been significantly reduced it'd have been a much closer title race. Just think of it, cut down the home losses and reduce the number of draws and they could have won the Premier League last season.
United have an exciting line-up with plenty of experienced players and young international players. They need to play more exciting football though, if they do they can challenge for the title but are still 8/1 at William Hill.
The past two Premier League seasons have had disappointing finishes for Leicester City. On both occasions they went into the final day of the season with the chance of making it into the Champions League. Both times, despite being at home, they lost and ended up in the Europa League.
At least last season saw them win the FA Cup for the first time in their history. This season has already seen them win the Community Shield and another bold bid for a top four finish will be made. Over £50m has been spent so far this summer with the arrivals of Patson Daka, Boubakary Soumare and two players from Southampton. Jannik Vestergaard has cost them £15m but Ryan Bertrand has arrived on a free transfer.
There's talk of James Maddison possibly leaving but talk of Jesse Lingard being his replacement. City need to improve their home form this season, 2020/21 saw them lose nine home league games, while only being beaten three times on their travels. They need more than 28 points at home if they want to finally get back into the top four or even challenge for the title. It's 50/1 at Unibet that they win the title.
The battle to get into European competitions in 2022/23 will be as fierce as ever. Liverpool's good end-of-season form saw them finish third and make it into the Champions League. They finished only ten points ahead of Everton who ended the season in tenth place. It's likely to be close again, though the allure of the Europa Conference League isn't the most exciting of prizes.
West Ham United looked to be contenders for a Champions League place. They were in the top four for a few weeks but a run of three losses in four games ended their hopes of a top four finish. The simple fact is that if they'd beaten Chelsea at home, rather than lose to them, they'd have finished in the top four.
They haven't been busy in the transfer window this summer. Usually every other transfer story has something to do with the Hammers. Not so this season, their main task is to ensure that Soucek, Rice and Antonio aren't sold. Only Manchester City earned more away points than West Ham last season. They had the eighth best away record and that needs improving. It's 12/1 at 888sport that they finish in the top four this season.
Tottenham now have Nuno Espirito Santo in charge and he has a major job on his hands this month. Not getting his new club off to a new start (Manchester City at home first game up doesn't help) but ensuring Harry Kane stays at the club. As every day goes by the chances of him leaving will diminish. If they are to sell Kane (most likely to Manchester City), they will need time to sign a replacement. Remember, they've lost Gareth Bale already. He and Kane scored 34 league goals between them last season.
Last season saw Tottenham get off to a good start but then their form faded away. In the end they had to win three of their last five games to get into the Europa Conference League. £68m has been spent on defender Cristian Romero and winger Bryan Gil but more will be needed if Kane does leave the club. Paddy Power will give you 11/2 on Tottenham finishing in the top four.
Everton also looked as if they might finish high enough to play in Europe in 2021/22. They made a great start to the season winning their first four games. Then they won one of their next seven and began to slip down the table. Home form is where they desperately need to improve. Last season saw them win six at home and lose nine and had the 15th best home record in the Premier League. Away from home though, Everton had the fourth best record with 11 wins, that's compared to just five in the previous season and eight home victories.
The Toffees lost manager Carlo Ancelotti during the summer as he returned to Real Madrid. Former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez is now in charge. Little has been spent in the transfer market this summer. Andros Townsend has arrived from Crystal Palace on a free transfer and Demairi Gray from Bayer Leverkusen for £1.6m. They are 13/1 at Betfair to finish in the top four but Benitez may have to work some miracles to achieve that.
Arsenal began the 2020/21 season dreaming of again playing Champions League football. When the season ended, they were eigth and not in any European competition. They nearly made it though, missing out by a point after winning their last five league games. There are still doubts over Arteta and if this season goes badly it may well be his last one at the Emirates.
The Gunners are another side who uncharacteristically had a bad home record. Few would have suggested that Liverpool, Leicester and Arsenal would lose 22 home league games between them. Arsenal lost seven at home and only scored 24 goals. The summer has seen them sign defender Ben White for £50m even though they only conceded seven goals more than Manchester City last season. They made a poor start to the season with an away loss at Brentford.
Two of the three teams relegated last season (Fulham and WBA) had been promoted the previous season. The other side that went down were Sheffield United who were in their second season. It's more than likely that at least one of the sides relegated to the Championship this season will be newly promoted teams.
Norwich City are the classic yo-yo club. This is the fifth season in a row they begin in a new division. It's a continual case of being promoted and immediately relegated. Back in the Premier League they face another tough survival battle. They have a tough start to the season and playing catch-up will make life even more difficult for them.10/11 at William Hill looks a good bet.
Watford also took one season to make it back into the Premier League. They had a good home record last season but can they reproduce that in the Premier League, most likely not. Xisco Munoz is their current manager but Watford aren't that patient with their bosses. He's 5/1 at BetVictor to be the next Premier League manager to leave his club. A slow start to the season could easily see that come up. They are 9/10 at Unibet to be relegated and Elton may well be singing the blues by May.
Brentford are back in the top flight for the first time since 1947. They won promotion via the play-offs and have kept faith in most of the side that got them promoted. They got off to a great start with a 2-0 win over Arsenal but how will they get on away from home and if injuries come along. It's 11/5 at Paddy Power that they go down.
Of clubs that were in the Premier League last season, Burnley look in danger of the drop. They continue to struggle when it comes to scoring goals and are 2/1 at Betfred to go down. Crystal Palace were as inconsistent as ever but still have Wilfried Zaha. If he goes then they could be in big trouble and are 7/4 at 888sport to be relegated. Brighton may struggle too if they can't find a more consistent striker and are tempting at 9/1 with Paddy Power to go down.