Premier League 2018/2019 Season Preview

BOOOOOOOOMMM!! What’s that? New logo? New website? You betcha. We’re turning it up this season with a new look and I hope you all can come along for the ride for another 10-month long stint of the most magical sport on earth.

Last season’s preview was my first ever article and I ended up picking the top 4 correctly, an extremely difficult thing to predict. I will try my best to do the same this year but we will see.

Last year was a smashing success as I never once had a negative total record in both the league season and the World Cup in over 550 picks. I’m expecting more of the same this season and I’m excited for the new readers to see the value in betting on Premier League Spreads.

Last Season: 263-236-67 (58% non-loss rate, 47% win rate, 42% loss rate)
This Season: 0-0-0

In this preview I’m going to preview each team in the Premier League, a reason to root for them, incoming and outgoing transfers, players to watch and my prediction for the top 4. Twenty teams will battle for a title, Champions League qualification, Europa League qualification and of course relegation. Let’s grip it and rip it starting in alphabetical order.

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Arsenal

Ahhhh the one time of year that Arsenal sit top of the table. All jokes aside this is an Arsenal team that will be on a mission this year behind new manager Unai Emery who previously managed PSG, Valencia and Sevilla to great success. Yes you read that right, Arsene Wenger is finally out and Arsenal fans now feel rejuvenated. After an abysmal 6th place finish for the Gunners in 17/18, they’ve finally brought in players to fill the gaps that were so futile a season ago and have a real chance to get back into the top 4 again. With Aubameyang and Lacazette having a year under their belt, an experienced midfield, and finally a new goalie this Arsenal squad may surprise the people who think they’re going to replicate last season’s performance.

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Last Season: 6th Place
Key Signings:
GK Bernd Leno, D Stephan Lichtsteiner, D Sokratis Papastathopoulos, M Lucas Torreira
Key Departures: M Jack Wilshere, M Santi Cazorla, D Per Mertesacker
Key Player: M Mesut Ozil. Whether it’s the constant doubters or the German Federation after his recent rift with his country, Ozil has a lot to prove this season. Expect him to play with a chip on his shoulder and provide most of the assists for this Arsenal squad.
Reason to Root for Arsenal: They have a new manager and seem to be turning a page as a club. The only way to go is up for the Gunners, so hop on the bandwagon now.
Prediction: 5th Place

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Bournemouth

Although the Cherries were miserable against the top 6 last season, they finished in the 12th spot with a 11-11-16 record. Bournemouth were a team last season that never quit, with several late comeback results that were key in hanging around the middle of the table. They actually got off to a horrible start winning only one of their first 8 matches and had one of the worst starts to the Premier League campaign. But they are a team that turned it around and with no key players leaving, they could make some noise. Their grit and determination makes them a great watch and they can really be a trap game for most teams in the league this year.

Last Season: 12th Place
Key Signings:
D Diego Rico
Key Departures: None
Key Player: D Diego Rico. Can the new signing clean up some of the big holes defensively for the Cherries? He will be key in limiting their goals conceded mark this season and could help them crack the top 10.
Reason to Root for Bournemouth: Last season they were a team who had a flair for the dramatic, grabbing points at the death of multiple games last season. They are a squad that can face adversity and it will again be interesting to watch this season.
Prediction: 13th

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Brighton and Hove Albion

After Brighton’s first ever Premier League campaign ended in them staying up for this season, hopes are high. But they only won two away matches all last year which forced their hand at home where they only ended up losing 4, a situation they don’t want to find themselves in again this season. They bring back a strong defense commandeered by Dunk and Duffy and boast a strong midfield, but where the goals will come from is going to be a big concern for Brighton fans. Can their defense hold up and can their offense find the goals for them to stay up another year? We’ll see.

Last Season: 15th Place
Key Signings:
M Bernardo
Key Departures: M Steve Sidwell, GK Tim Krul
Key Player: M Pascal Gross. The 27-year old central midfielder proved his worth for Brighton last season, starting in 35 of the 38 games. His creativity was enough to make some noise last season in the Premier League and he tallied 15 points off of 7 goals and 8 assists.
Reason to Root for Brighton: Seeing this team and this town stay in the Premier League would be awesome. They have a tremendously loyal fanbase and a new stadium for that small of a club, making them easy to root for.
Prediction: 17th Place

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Burnley

Burnley finished in a shocking 7th place in only their second Premier League season in recent history, qualifying for the preliminary rounds of the Europa League. Their gritty style of play led by manager Sean Dyche held teams scoreless countless times but scored only the 14th most goals in the league. That isn’t sustainable if you’re not a top 6 club and I expect Burnley to regress a little bit this season if they can’t find ways to put the ball in the back of the net. Another reason to expect regression would be if they end up making it far in the Europa League qualification, or even enter the 32-team tournament in the final stage. It could take away from a Premier League campaign and they may not have the depth to battle that sort of schedule. Can they prove they’re not one-hit-wonders? Or will Burnley suffocate under the brutal schedule of a European campaign?

Last Season: 7th Place
Key Signings:
D Ben Gibson
Key Departures: M Scott Arfield
Key Player: GK Nick Pope. The 24-year-old keeper won Burnley’s players’ and fans’ Player of the Season award respectively and looks to keep building off of that momentum. After backing up Pickford at the World Cup, Pope comes into the season with confidence and should be in good form.
Reason to Root for Brunley: It will be interesting to see if this team can replicate last season’s success, and their gritty style of play is a fan favorite. Also Sean Dyche is premium content in press conferences.
Prediction: 10th Place

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Cardiff City

Our first promoted side to preview comes in the form of Cardiff City as they come off of a second place finish in the lower division, the Championship. Sadly they are the odds-on favorite to get relegated back to the Championship but Neil Warnock, their brash and often controversial manager, may have something to say about that. He has helped promote 8 teams, a record in English football, and he intends on keeping Cardiff in the Premier League this season. Although I don’t know much about the squad they have, I know Warnock won’t make it easy for teams to beat them and if they can get off to a good start I expect them to carry some momentum into December. My only issue is whether or not they can maintain the consistency needed to last 10 months in a Premier League season and do they have the depth if an injury bug or suspensions hit.

Last Season: 2nd Place in Championship (lower division)
Key Signings:
None of note (bold strategy)
Key Departures: None of note
Key Player: M Aron Gunnarsson. The Icelandic captain has experience both in the Euros and in this most recent World Cup and will be vital if they want to stay compact in the middle.
Reason to Root for Cardiff: This one is easy. Everyone wants the newly-promoted teams to stay and see how long they can make it in the big leagues. It would be great to see this Welsh club succeed.
Prediction: 20th Place

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Chelsea

An odd offseason for Chelsea will usher in a new era for the Blues. Several key departures, a managerial change and a good signing or two could jumpstart Chelsea coming off of their 5th place finish last season after winning the title in 2016/2017. The introduction of manager Maurizio Sarri will bring an entirely new style of play, as he led Napoli to a very successful campaign last season in Italy. He will be a stark contrast from previous manager Antonio Conte who feuded with several key players on his way out and boasted a negative attitude. How different? Well Sarri said, “My goal is to have fun… The child in us must be nurtured because this often makes us the best.” Will it translate to success in the Premier League? Or will this new-look Chelsea squad have trouble putting it all together in their first season under Sarri?

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Last Season: 5th Place
Key Signings:
 M Jorginho, M Mateo Kovacic, GK Kepa Arrizabalaga
Key Departures: GK Thibaut Courtois
Key Player: F Eden Hazard. He was the outright best player in the World Cup this summer and in Sarri’s 4-3-3, he could be even more dangerous for the Blues this year, *IF* he stays.
Reason to Root for Chelsea: This is a team chock full of talent, and one that can finish in the top 2 in almost any season they play. It will also be intriguing to see how Sarri can try to turn this team around. But I think it will take them a year to get used to the system and roster changes.
Prediction: 6th Place

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Crystal Palace

Seven matches into last season Palace had 7 losses, 0 goals scored and 17 goals conceded in the worst 7 match start in English top-flight history. Frank de Boer was sacked and in came Roy Hodgson to salvage the season as he led them all the way up to an 11th place finish. They lost some key players this season including Cabaye, Loftus-Cheek and Fosu-Mensah but this is a team, and a coach, that will do their best to not let it affect them. With their star man Zaha staying, center back Sakho staying on a permanent deal, Max Meyer coming in (FOR FREE!) and Kouyate coming from West Ham; this is a team that has reloaded and their supporters have the top 10 in their sights.

Last Season: 11th Place
Key Signings:
D Mamadou Sakho (permanent deal from loan), M Max Meyer, M Cheikhou Kouyate
Key Departures: M Yohan Cabaye, M Ruben Loftus-Cheek (returning from loan), D Fosu-Mensah (returning from loan)
Key Player: F Wilfried Zaha. He is no doubt the golden boy for Palace, coming out of their academy system and providing 12 points this past season.
Reason to Root for Palace: Palace are a team with many young stars and play an exciting version of footy. I’m mostly excited to see how Max Meyer, coming from German club Schalke, plays in the most competitive league in the world.
Prediction: 11th Place

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Everton

Everton always find themselves on the outside looking in in regards to the top 6, and these last few seasons have proved that fact. They have widely been known as that ‘7th team’ in the league but in the last four years they have finished in 11th, 11th, 7th, and 8th respectively and since the start of the 2016/2017 season, Everton have had five different managers. The fan base is dying for some sort of stability in the clubhouse and that may come with 41-year-old manager Marcos Silva. They had a few important players leave, but Silva has brought in two big signings in Digne and Richarlison and looks to help Everton get back in the top 6 hunt.

Last Season: 8th Place
Key Signings:
F Richarlison, D Lucas Digne, D Yerry Mina, M Bernard, M Andre Gomes
Key Departures: F Wayne Rooney, M Davy Klasson
Key Player: GK Jordan Pickford. Look there are lots of above average players that will play a big role this season for the Toffees, but Pickford will be big if they want this year to be the year they crack the top 6 again. After his stunning performances in the World Cup for England, Pickford has the chance to become a Premier League star.
Reason to Root for Everton: It will be great to see this team rebound after their recent poor finishes in the league and under young manager Marcos Silva, it could be a new look Everton this season.
Prediction: 7th Place

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Fulham

Fulham return to the Premier League yet again after a triumphant run in last year’s Championship. In November they were close to the bottom but they fought their way back, going on a 23-match unbeaten streak, to reach promotion back to the Premier League. They are led by star 18-year-old Ryan Sessegnon who won Championship player of the season last year along with 5 other awards. This team looked more than capable in the Championship and have a roster that is built for staying in the Premier League. But it is often a shock for newly-promoted clubs at the start of a Premier League campaign, and they will need to act like they’ve been there or they may be headed back down to the Championship.

Last Season: 3rd Place in Championship
Key Signings: GK Fabri, M Andre Schurrle, D Alfie Mawson, M Seri, F Alexsandar Mitrovic, D Fosu-Mensah
Key Departures: D Ryan Fredericks, GK David Button
Key Player: M Ryan Sessegnon. This 18-year-old wonderkid is about to make his mark in the Premier League and most people won’t be shocked. Winning Championship Player of the year at only 17-years-old is an unbelievable feat and he’s ready to take the Premier League by storm.
Reason to Root for Fulham: Fulham are American-owned and commonly bring in American players (Brian McBride, Clint Dempsey, Carlos Bocanegra, Kasey Keller, Emerson Hydnman and currently Tim Ream), which gives them an added incentive to root for them.
Prediction: 16th Place

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Huddersfield Town

The Terriers had a successful season last year in their first ever Premier League campaign by staying up, but they will surely look to improve on their 16th place finish. Led by German-American manager David Wagner, Huddersfield have completely reloaded for this upcoming season but still remain as the second best favorites to get relegated this season. Many believe this squad is too inexperienced, along with their manager, to stay in the Premier League for another season. Another reason is that this team was sitting at the bottom of the Championship for several seasons before their meteoric rise to the Premier League and many believe they are due for a regression to the mean. They also were held scoreless in 21 of their 38 matches last season, which is not ideal. Can they fix their goalscoring woes and their lack of production away from home to keep their head above water for another season?

Last Season: 16th Place
Key Signings: D Erik Durm, F Adama Diakhaby, D Terence Kongolo (permanent deal from loan), GK Jonas Lossl (permanent deal from loan)
Key Departures: M Tom Ince
Key Player: F Steve Mounie. Can their leading scorer from last year improve on his 7 goals scored? He will need to if Huddersfield want to stay up.
Reason to Root for Huddersfield: Manager David Wagner, an American, has his players believing and is a hero among fans after keeping Huddersfield in the Premier League last year. It ain’t to late to hop on the Wagner bandwagon as an American fan!
Prediction: 15th Place

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Leicester City

Much like Everton, Leicester have had the goal of breaching the top 6 ever since their miracle run in 15/16. But since that title run, Leicester have had some serious manager issues and are now on their third manager in as many seasons. To add to that, the current manager Claude Puel still hasn’t shown enough to give the fans confidence going into this season especially after losing their star Riyah Mahrez to Man City over the summer. The team sort of fell off towards the end of last season and fans aren’t convinced just yet that this team can make some noise this season, especially considering their lack of depth specifically at the back. I think there’s a chance they don’t crack the top 10 for the first time since their 14/15 season when they returned to the Premier League.

Last Season: 9th Place
Key Signings:
D Ricardo Pereira, D Jonny Evans, M James Maddison, F Rachid Ghezzal
Key Departures: D Robert Huth, F Riyad Mahrez, F Ahmed Musa
Key Player: D Harry Maguire. He had a breakout season last year for Leicester and was brilliant for England at the World Cup, and I expect that run of form to continue. He’ll be key at the back and could create a great partnership with Evans.
Reason to Root for Leicester: Although I think they’re going to plateau this season, they still have ambitions of making it inside the top 6 and they do have the taste for the extraordinary. Don’t count them out!
Prediction: 9th Place

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Liverpool

There are high expectations for this Liverpool side this season after their solid domestic campaign last year and their run to the Champions League Final. Vegas actually are giving them the second best odds to win the Premier League at (+375) and with good reason. They are only losing one key-(ish) player in Emre Can and have filled the gap at goalkeeper along with a few other big signings. Their front three is arguably the best in the world and they have had a year to gel under Klopp, possibly making them even more dangerous. Although City are the clear favorites this season, I expect Liverpool to give them a run for their money in the title race.

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Last Season: 4th Place
Key Signings: M Fabinho, M Naby Keita, M Xherdan Shaqiri, GK Alisson
Key Departures: M Emre Can
Key Player: F Mohammed Salah. This was an easy one. After 32 goals and 10 assists in 34 starts last season, Mo Salah returns as the reigning PFA Player of the Year and I don’t think a single defense has figured out a way to slow him down yet.
Reason to Root for Liverpool: This team has so many likeable players and they all seem to thrive under Klopp’s leadership. Oh, and they’re American owned.
Prediction: 2nd Place

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Manchester City

Most goals scored in a season, most points in a season, first ever to 100 points, largest title-winning margin, earliest title clinch, most wins in a season, most consecutive wins, most away wins and best goal differential were only some of the records that Manchester City broke in their 2017/2018 title-winning campaign. They come into this season as one of the heaviest favorites in the history of the Premier League at (-150) and you’d be stupid to believe they won’t repeat. Yes, I’m a City fan but I would love for you to find me one person who truly doesn’t believe they won’t repeat. Of course many things can change from now until May, but if this season is anything even close to last season then City seem to be in great shape. They have lost virtually nobody of note, added Mahrez and have a young core to help with depth for deep cup runs. The only thing that could be their undoing is a deep run in the Champions League which could hinder their focus on a Premier League campaign. But Guardiola’s men seem ready for the task as they completely dismantled Chelsea in the Community Shield on Sunday, looking like the same City that they were last season.

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Last Season: Champions
Key Signings: M Riyad Mahrez
Key Departures: M Yaya Toure
Key Player: M Kevin De Bruyne. I was going to try to get cute and pick someone else but this team runs on De Bruyne. He’s their best provider, he’s their best box to box midfielder and he can score. KDB had a Premier League high 16 assists and added 8 goals to his tally last season.
Reason to Root for City: This is another easy one. They play the best footy in the league by far and it’s an utter joy to watch. Even the teams getting picked apart each weekend can’t complain as it’s complete eye candy.
Prediction: 1st Place

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Manchester United

We go to the West side of Manchester as United are looking to test City again after they came in 2nd place last season, albeit 19 points behind. On paper United should improve as they finally have a squad that has a year under their belt together but their manager seems to be the one holding them back. The always negative Jose Mourinho has been moaning all summer, making excuses and even trashing his young players claiming they aren’t his players and aren’t good enough. Several United players have expressed their distaste and rumors have even circulated that Paul Pogba, their World Cup winning midfielder, might want out. Besides that, this team is extremely dangerous but they need to make sure they are more consistent than they were last season where they lost to all three newly-promoted teams for the first time since 89/90. That will definitely change as they settle in together and I think they will cause some serious issues this year. But can they navigate through the top 4 this season, which will likely be very clogged and contentious? Will this team rally despite their manager and give their bitter rivals City a run for their money? Lots of questions that will need answers early on in the season.

Last Season: 2nd Place
Key Signings: M Fred
Key Departures: D Daley Blind, M Michael Carrick
Key Player: M Paul Pogba. He was the key piece in the midfield for France in their World Cup triumph and if he is utilized in the proper way, he can be the best midfielder in the Premier League. I expect him to bring that momentum from the World Cup into the season.
Reason to Root for United: This one is hard since they’re basically the Yankees/Patriots of the Premier League, but they have several young stars that are wonderful to watch. Paul Pogba, Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku, David De Gea, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford will lead this team and they’re all young stars in the league.
Prediction: 4th Place

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Newcastle United

After their brief stint in the Championship in 16/17, Newcastle came into this past season with high hopes of not only staying up but making some noise in the process. They succeeded in that and finished in 10th place proving that a good foundation and a good manager can take you far as a promoted club. They look to add to last season’s success and prove that they’re not a one-hit-wonder. They’ve lost a few mainstays from last season, but have replaced them quite well and I’m excited to see how manager Rafa Benitez will handle that type of change which is one of his specialties.

Last Season: 10th Place
Key Signings: M Ki Sung-yueng, F Salomon Rondon, D Fabian Schar
Key Departures: D Mikel Merino, D Chancel Mbemba, F Aleksandar Mitrovic, F Dwight Gayle
Key Player: D Jamaal Lascelles. The captain will look to commandeer their defense yet again after a stellar season and he will be key in keeping them in the top 10 hunt this season.
Reason to Root for Newcastle: Deandre Yedlin. He’s the United States’ best outside back and he played in 34 and started in 31 of the season’s 38 matches. He’s young, he’s got a load of swagger and he’s blazing fast…. and obviously he’s American.
Prediction: 8th Place

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Southampton

It was a very tough season for Southampton as they finished in 17th place and were 3 points away from relegation. In 16/17 they finished 8th, in 15/16 and 14/15 they finished 6th and in 13/14 they finished 8th. They have usually been a team that is really tough to beat even after selling their star players but something fell apart for them this past season. Although they finally have settled on a manager, I don’t see them finding success this season after what I saw last year. They have been absolutely abysmal at home the last two seasons, winning only 10 matches out of 38 and only 4 of those came last season. They need to change a lot and I’m not too confident that they will this season.

Last Season: 17th Place
Key Signings: F Mohamed Elyounoussi, D Jannik Vestergaard
Key Departures: M Dusan Tadic, F Guido Carrollo, M Sofiane Boufal
Key Player: F Charlie Austin. The club’s main striker will need to provide the goals that the fans expect of him if they want to stay up this season, specifically at home.
Reason to Root for Southampton: They had a good run of hanging around the top 8 for a few years, and it would be awesome to see them return. Although I don’t see it happening…
Prediction: 18th Place

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Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs come into this season after showing promise in 17/18, but not enough muster to challenge City or United at the top. They’ve received a lot of flack for bringing in literally nobody during the transfer window and I think that’s a bit unfair. Just because most teams make a lot of moves in the transfer window doesn’t mean making no moves is the wrong decision. Pochettino clearly feels content with the squad he has and the club is strapped for cash as they’re opening their new billion dollar stadium in September (which they had to take out a $450 million loan for). Along with City, they will be most impacted by players being worn out from the World Cup but they should be able to ride the storm for the first few weeks. With Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Hugo Lloris and Chrstian Eriksen leading the squad this season it will be hard to see them regressing from their 5th place finish last year.

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Last Season: 3rd Place
Key Signings: None
Key Departures: None
Key Player: F Harry Kane. Obviously winning the Golden Boot in the World Cup will be a big boost to his form but this is a 25-year-old who has scored at least 20 goals in 4 consecutive seasons, including 29 and 30 in the last two seasons.
Reason to Root for Spurs: With their new stadium and a slew of likeable English players who showed out at the World Cup, Spurs will be easy to root for. Oh, and they haven’t won silverware in forever so it could be interesting to see if they can finally break the curse.
Prediction: 3rd Place

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Watford

After losing both their manager Marcos Silva and their leading goalscorer to Everton this offseason, Watford seem to be in a bit of trouble this season. Yes they bring in former Everton and Barcelona player Gerard Deulofeu but I think their regression from last season will continue. They were tied with the second most losses in the league last year and went on a really poor run of form towards the end of last season. They seem to be one of the odd teams out and I see them fighting an upwards battle at the bottom of the table.

Last Season: 14th Place
Key Signings: M Gerard Deulofeu, D Marc Navarro
Key Departures: F Richarlison
Key Player: F Troy Deeney. He’s the club’s hero every since his goal promoted them to the Premier League two years ago and he will need to score more than the 5 goals he produced last season.
Reason to Root for Watford: Their mascot is a moose, which is just ridiculous considering I don’t think they even exist in England.
Prediction: 19th Place

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West Ham United

West Ham have had quite the transfer window this summer adding a few key pieces to their squad in order to crack the top 10 yet again. They were inside the top 10 in 15/16 but since then they have finished 11th and 13th respectively and they’re clearly looking to change that. Last season was a very interesting one for the Hammers as supporters clashed with the club’s chairman and board regarding their stadium situation and the overall state of the club. Can West Ham bring the fans back in good faith with the proper performance on the field, or will they stay in a state of uncertainty.

Last Season: 13th Place
Key Signings: GK Lukasz Fabianski, M Jack Wilshere, F Andriy Yarmolenko, M Felipe Anderson
Key Departures: D Patrice Evra, M Cheikhou Kouyate
Key Player: F Marko Arnautovic. An unconventional pick here but he surprised many with his performance last season with 11 goals and 6 assists in his 31 matches. He along with Chicharito will need to be the ones who provide the goals for the Hammers this season.
Reason to Root for West Ham: Their fans are absolutely nuts. They aren’t afraid to speak out and will support the Hammers til the day they die. If you don’t believe me just watch the movie Green Street Hooligans…
Prediction: 14th Place

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Wolverhampton Wanderers

Wolves close out our preview as the winners of the Championship last season, gaining automatic promotion. They absolutely ran away with the title and many believe they are well-suited for a long stay in the Premier League. To add to that they’ve had one of, if not the best, transfer window in the league. Usually newly-promoted clubs don’t have the funds to bring in top talent but Wolves have signed several big names and have completely flipped their squad for this season. I am one of those believers in this Wolves squad as they went 30-9-7 during their spectacular run last season and with their new pieces, they can be this seasons Newcastle.

Last Season: 1st in Championship
Key Signings: GK Rui Patricio, M Jao Moutinho, F Raul Jimenez,
Key Departures: None of note
Key Player: M Jao Moutinho. He’s been a crucial player for Portugal as well as Monaco domestically and will be the best midfielder on this team. His leadership, experience and quality will be huge for Wolves this season.
Reason to Root for Wolves: They were exciting to watch last season in the Championship and they will be even more exciting with the pieces they’ve added. Don’t short this Wolves squad, as they’re likely here to stay.
Prediction: 12th Place

I hope you enjoyed your Premier League team-by-team preview for this upcoming season as this season will surely be one for the books. We have a few ambitious promoted teams, some reloaded top 6 squads and Man City’s title defense to keep us occupied for the next 10 months.

My Top Four:
1. Man City
2. Liverpool
3. Spurs
4. United

Keep an eye out for my Matchweek 1 preview, set to come out on Friday where I will pick each match according to the spread as I will do every single Matchweek for the season. I hope you can come along for the ride this season and enjoy the best league in the best sport in the world!

Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.

Twitter: @nicodegallo // @canikickitblog 

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Nico

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