Before the games comes alive is an analytical preview of the teams that will contest for the title and the relegation dog fight in the coming 2017/2018 Premier League season.
A lot of excitement pervades the air world over and the atmospheric condition is charged for the noble reason that the English Premier league comes alive this August. Footy aficionados are wont to look forward with keen interest to see how their teams would perform in the new season more so, to see how the new signings fit into their supported teams. On the flip side, the EPL is a money spinner on many informal fronts particularly in Africa and parts of Asia where viewing centers are the real deal in the areas of job creation and relaxation. Away from the intro i shall in earnest begin to discuss the topical piece.
A week preceding the league opener is the charity match christened The Community Shield, this season’s edition comes up on August 6, 2017 at Wembley stadium in London, between Champions; Chelsea and FA cup winners Arsenal. Chelsea would be hoping to take their pound of flesh over the Gunners for the humiliating defeat they suffered at the last season FA cup finals, when they had hoped to win a double but Arsenal had other ideas. The proper season will then commence on Saturday 12 August 2017 and is scheduled to finish on Sunday 13 May 2018. In the mean time, the 20 teams that will be involved in the 38 games slug fest are currently undertaking their obligatory pre season training at different locations across Europe, Africa, America, Australia, and Asia. The essence of the pre season can’t be over emphasized because the season is a marathon and not a sprint more so, that some top echelon teams will be involved in as many as 60 plus games across competitions like the Champions league, Europa, Super cup, FA cup, Capital one cup, and more, the need to have a battle plan and the attainment genuine fitness becomes imperative. Lest we forget that ill preparations and complacency cost Chelsea adversely in the 2015/2016 season despite the fact that they were the defending champions.
It is cast in the stone that the English premier league is arguably the most entertaining, the biggest, and the best commercially viable league in the world. The competitive nature, feisty contests, financial equilibrium, administrative effectiveness and efficiency, marketability, star players appeal, full capacity stadiums, high wages, and the fact that the adored footy game was birthed on the English shores. It is confirmed that 20 teams will slug it out in the new season nevertheless, out of the 20 that contested the 2016/2017 season 3 were relegated to the championship while 3 top teams from the championship were elevated; the 3 new teams are: Brighton and Hove Albion, Newcastle, and Huddersfield Town.
At this point i shall take a journey through the teams and their chances.
Club Profile: Est. 1886
Manager: Arsene Wenger
Captain: Per Mertesacker
Arsenal are perennial title contenders albeit they fell short of champions league places in the last time but with the rigours of the Europa league which they would be involved in after a long time and coupled with the renewed competitiveness of the league i don’t fancy them as champions come May.
Manger: Eddie Howe
Club Profile: Est. in 1890 as Boscombe St. John institute F.C., reformed in 1899 as Boscombe F.C. and now known as AFC Bournemouth. A mid table team, finished 9th last season.
Brighton and Hove Albion
Club Profile: Est. in 1901, earned promotion to the Premier League for the first time in their history on 17 April 2017.
Manager: Chris Hughton.
Club Profile: Est. in 1882, played in the premier league since 2015/2016 season. finished in 16th position last season.
Manager: Sean Dyche.
Club Profile: Est. in 1905, champions of England last season. Defending champions not withstanding as usual complacency might set in if the ugly trend of player power is allowed. Projection: 6th
Manager: Antonio Conte.
Club Profile: Est. in 1905, barely survived relegation the last time. It became so bad under Alan Pardew until the Big Sam was beckoned upon to salvage the trend. They did survived albeit but Sam Allardyce left and the Dutch, Frank De Boer has since been appointed as a replacement.
Manager: Frank De Boer
Club Profile: Est. in 1878, finished 7th last season and a whole lot has transpired since then. Going into the new season they have signed back for free their once upon a time teenage wonder Wayne Rooney who they sold to Manchester United for 30 million pounds some 13 years ago. Most importantly is that they have sold their last season’s talisman Romelu Lukaku to the other direction for a British record of 75million pounds, possibly rising to 90 million world record mark. Aside Wayne Rooney they have made some more acquisitions to strengthen the team.
Manager: Ronald Koeman
John Smith’s Stadium
Club Profile: Est. in 1908, finished 5th of 24 in the championship but promoted to the premier league via EFL play offs final.
Manager: David Wagner.
King Power Stadium
Club Profile: Est. in 1884, they were the wonder team of Europe in the 2015/2016 season when they came out of the blues to win the premier league at the expense of the regular gang of winners. Be that as it may, they were found out last season and they finished lowly in 12th position, not before they sacked Claudio Ranieri the Italian coach who led them to the historic title the season earlier.
Manager: Craig Shakespeare.
Club Profile: Est. in 1892, used to be the most successful team on the British isle until Manchester United through the effrontery and the managerial acumen of Sir Alex Ferguson “knocked them off their perch”. Liverpool in the last 10 years has had mixed achievements and other times they have flattered to deceive. Last season before they eventually ended the season at 4th they were contesting for a higher finale until a resurgent Man City gazumped them.
Manager: Jurgen Klopp.
Club Profile: Est. in 1894, finished 3th the last time despite the fact that a lot of pundits heralded them as champions in waiting due to the arrival of the hugely successful Guardiola but unfortunately, and quite the opposite they ended the season empty handed.
Manager: Pep Guardiola.
Club Profile: Est. in 1878, there is no gainsaying that Manchester United are the biggest and the most commercially viable team there is in the world, and the most successful football team on the British Isles. In Jose Mourinho they possess arguably the best manager in the business, a serial winner, and an unrepentant trophies collector, albeit a very combustible persona. Last season was a mixed one for them in that they finished abysmally in the league in 6th but went on to win the Europa league for the first time in their history, they also won the capital one cup, and the Community Shield. However, with the acquisition of Lukaku for a British record fee and Pogba the world record player in their ranks this may just be the season when they get back their mojo as it was under the legendary Sir Ferguson.
Manager: Jose Mourinho
St. James’ Park
Club Profile: Est. in 1892, finished 1st and got promoted from the championship through the steady and successful hands of Rafael Benitez.
Manager: Rafael Benitez
St. Mary’s Stadium
Club Profile: Est. 1885, finished in a decent 8th the last time.
Manager: Mauricio Pellegrino
Club Profile: Est. in 1863, they rounded up the season in the 13th position last season but may not be that lucky this time around.
Manager: Mark Hughes
Club Profile: Est. in 1912, the Welsh club based in the city of Swansea were saved from relegation narrowly last season this year however, may be the year they go down.
Manager: Paul Clement
Club Profile: Est. in 1882, Tottenham fortunes as a footy team have been greatly revived under the stewardship of Mauricio Pochettino having came 2nd last time and mostly notably above city rivals Arsenal they would attempt to sustain the momentum by possibly finishing 1st after coming so close in the last couple of seasons. Nonetheless, their movement from the White Hart Lane to Wembley stadium may prove detrimental as we witnessed with West Ham’s Olympic stadium ordeal after they left Boleyn and results became abysmal.
Projection: 3rd or 2nd
Manager: Mauricio Pochettino
Club Profile: Est. in 1881, survived the drop last season in 17th position, parted ways with Walter Mazzari the Italian and now have at the helms Marco Silva the astute Portuguese who tried to save Hull from the drop last season to no avail. No fault of his though, Silva arrived Hull when it was almost impracticable to rescue them but now faced with an opportunity to prove his mettle on clean slate the Hornets as the Watford fans are called can dream of a brighter year.
Manager: Marco Silva
West Bromwich Albion
Club Profile: Est. 1878, in Tony Pulis the Albions have a manager who has never been relegated from the top flight. Ended last season in 10th, remarkable isn’t that? Nonetheless this season could be a daunting one for the ultra defensive Pulis who sets up his teams on a safety first approach because attacking teams have evolved by adapting their tactics and signing up players who can break down relentless defences.
Manager: Tony Pulis
West Ham United
Club Profile: Est, in 1895 as Thames Ironworks, reestablished in 1900 as West Ham. David Sullivan and David Gold have the highest stake at the club with more than 80% shares in an amicable dual ownership arrangement. The Hammers finished 11th last time not before they moved home from Boleyn ground to the London Olympic stadium where they struggled largely.
Manager: Slaven Bilic
Finally, while the gladiators are currently honing their skills and working on their physical fitness across different locations world over in preparation for the marathon long season footy fans can not wait to have the games begin and here at Soccer Digest we say let games come alive!!!