Last season just ended, but here at SportMuse, we’re not taking any breaks! We want to make sure that you are all ready for next season’s teams! We have a few new ones joining us this year (three from the EFL Championship) and a few who’ve departed the league (back to the Championship).
Premier League Teams
Ever had questions about the Premier League teams that you were afraid to ask? Here’s the rundown on all 20 league teams in the top tier of English Soccer, the Premier League. Some historical facts, some questions to be answered, and some takeaways. Here is everything you wanted to know about the clubs but didn’t want (or know) to ask. We’ll be exploring each team’s transfer business (In and Out) as it comes to see how well teams have addressed their needs!
Nickname: The Gunners
Founded: 1886 (Under a different name)
Team Colors: Red/White
Kit Manufacturer: Adidas (2019-present)
Kit Sponsor: Emirates Airlines
Ground: Emirates Stadium (2006-present)
Manager: Unai Emery (2018-present)
18/19 Season: 5th
Arsenal is a perennial top-tier team, with their only stint in lower-tier football occurring before World War I (as part of their progression to the top flight). Since then, they’ve been a stalwart and are considered part of English soccer’s royalty, the “Big Six.” While placed in this royalty, Arsenal’s recent form have had them finishing outside of the top-4 which is a prerequisite for the UEFA Champions League. After the Arsenal loss to Chelsea in the Europa League final the Gunners will have to settle for Europa League again.
In the 2018-19 season, Arsenal finished in fifth place (a disappointing fifth if you ask Arsenal fans because they missed out on fourth position and the subsequent automatic Champions League place by one little point). Though they did improve on their prior year point haul by seven points, and a finished one place higher than in the 2017-18 season. They also earned a Golden Boot winner for the (joint-) highest goalscorer in the Premier League courtesy of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and his 22 goals. Aubemeyang was also a 2018 acquisition (but in the January window) that the Gunners paid handily for although the return was nearly instantaneous.
The Gunners’ spent heavily on their team in the 2018-19 season including a goalkeeping replacement in Bernd Leno for now-retired Petr Cech. They added several new faces that helped their campaign mightily. Lucas Torreira made 34 appearances (at nearly 70′ per appearance), two goals, two assists, although he played only intermittently throughout the Europa League campaign. Sokratis made 25 appearances (nearly averaging the full 90) in the Premier League providing one goal, two assists, and making a litany of appearances in the Europa League. Matteo Guendouzi has made 33 appearances (65′ per appearance) and 10 Europa League appearances. Lichensteiner was perhaps the one player that could be thought to be suspect — but he came on a free transfer — and still made 14 league appearances for an average of 67′ per appearance and a couple more in the Europa League.
Click here for an in-depth look at Arsenal’s transfers in advance of the 2019-20 season.
Team Colors: Claret/Sky Blue/White
Kit Manufacturer: Kappa (2019-present)
Kit Sponsor: 32Red (2019-present)
Ground: Villa Park
Manager: Dean Smith
18/19 Season: 5th in EFL Championship (won promotion via Playoff)
The Villains have traipsed through much of the Football Association through the years. Much of their proud history is tarnished by recent events including a massive loss of nearly £54M from the 2010-2011 season, which started Aston Villa’s recent decline. The club was relegated from the Premier League in the 2015-2016 season after which a Chinese businessman bought the club for a mere £76M. The club has been through 5 managers during this short timespan trying to earn their way back to the Premier League.
The newly-promoted Premier League team was able to overcome the Championship to return to the Premier League after three years. They did so by winning the Championship playoff after trailing the first-place team (Norwich City) by 18 points. The new manager, Dean Smith, was appointed in October 2018 and he was able to guide the team to a brilliant vein of form between the beginning of March up until the end of April where they managed only one draw and not a single loss. This run is likely what got the team into a position for a possible playoff run, which they saw all the way through.
The Villains managed only to expend about $3.5M net while they strengthened their team over the 2018-2019 Championship season. The club was able to supplement their squad with several loans from three different Premier League teams; Axel Tunzabe from Manchester United, Yannick Bolasie from Everton, Tammy Abraham from Chelsea, and Tyrone Mings from AFC Bournemouth as well as a paid loan from LOSC Lille in the French First Division. Aston Villa will probably not be able to rely on supplementing their squad with their competition’s players, although the financial boon from the promotion will help some. There are plenty of options for the Villains to choose from, and they will have some new Premier League cash to spend, especially if they use their scouting network to its fullest.
Click here for an in-depth look at Aston Villa’s transfers in advance of the 2019-20 season.
Nickname: The Cherries
Team Colors: Red/Black
Kit Manufacturer: Umbro (2017-present)
Kit Sponsor: M88
Ground: Dean Court (1911-present), called Vitality Stadium (for sponsorship Purposes)
Manager: Eddie Howe (2012-present; 2nd spell with club)
18/19 Season: 14th
AFC Bournemouth has predominantly been a Tier 3 (League 1) team for the majority of their recent history, occasionally slumping to Tier 4 (League 2). The Cherries latest rise coincides with the end of a period of financial instability ultimately resulting in a 17-point penalty for failing to follow financial rules. After the 2008-2009 season, they were acquired by new ownership which allowed them freedom from past debts. Up until the 2015-2016 season, which was their first in the premier league, they largely maintained a positive transfer balance (less outlays than proceeds). The team expended substantial amounts of transfer money in an attempt to shore up the club for the long-haul. However, despite their astronomical increase in transfer spending, it seems to be largely sustainable due to the dramatic increase in sponsorship and television revenue realized by the Premier League clubs.
Based off of their transfer expenditures and their wage bill, I imagine they are probably up between $14 and 17.5M per year (based on expected TV deal income of ~$117M – Wages + Transfers into the club). This is an anomaly in the Premier League, and I imagine they’ll try to keep adding to the club balance sheet while they can. They clearly will have some high dollar investment-type purchases (a new stadium is in work) The Cherries have managed to maintain their mid-table finish, although they did drop from 14th to 12th position. Considering the vast expenditures they’ve faced, they are doing quite well for themselves — they are likely lining the coffers with a nice “rainy day” fund. More information will come from the financial filings, but the windfall from the Premier League media deal alone was nearly $100M.
Despite their modest spending (~$38M) they’ve managed to continue their streak of respectable Premier League positions. The Cherries brought in
Click here for an in-depth look at Bournemouth’s transfers in advance of the 2019-20 season.
Brighton & Hove Albion
Nickname: Seagulls or Albion
Team Colors: Blue/White
Kit Manufacturer: Nike (2014-present)
Kit Sponsor: American Express
Ground: Falmer Stadium (1911-present), American Express Community Stadium or “the Amex” for Sponsorship Purposes)
Manager: Graham Potter (2019-current)
18/19 Season: 17th
Brighton and Hove Albion (BHA) finished second in the Championship in the 2016–2017 season giving them automatic promotion to the Premier League for 2017-2018. By winning promotion, they ended 34 years without top tier soccer. BHA haven’t found one particular league home, they’ve spent at least some time at every level. Since their promotion year, they’ve managed to retain their spot in the Premier League, but it’s continued to looking more and more tenuous.
Brighton was able to stave off relegation as the nearest Premier League team to the bottom, but barely on the positive side allowing them to stay in the top flight. To do so, they spent just shy of $70M. Brighton’s most significant flaw this season was their inability to score goals; even though they were good defensively, it’s hard to come out on top without scoring. They may have to get close to the $70M they spent last season if they want to make a long-term stake in this league, and that would probably be mostly used to get some back-up on the attacking side of things.
Brighton’s transfers from last season involved a massive influx of ten new players. The list includes Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Yves Bissouma, Bernardo, Martín Montoya, Florin Andone, David Button, Dan Burn, Percy Tau, Peter Gwargis, and Billy Arce. Jahanbakhsh made 26 total appearances (7 off the bench) for the Seagulls but only added two assists and did not perform great in his limited role. Bissouma made a similar number of appearances on the defensive end, 28 in all (with 11 off the bench), he struggled to fit well into the side and will need to improve before he regularly features for the side. Bernado slid in at left-back for the team over 25 appearances (only three off the bench) and played well, even contributing an assist in the process. Montoya was brought in to play right-back for the premier league team and did reasonably well with 25 appearances (1 off the bench) — though to stave off future competition, Montoya should continue to raise his playing level. Andone made 23 appearances for the team (15 off the bench), despite appearing in nearly half of their games, he contributed only 3 goals to the cause (however, Brighton scored the 4th fewest goals of all Premier League teams totaling only 35) and I daresay Andone will have to do more next season.
Transfers into the club (continued): David Button made four appearances for the club, although he was the squad often as the backup goalkeeper. Dan Burn was bought from Wigan, and the spent the season on loan there making 14 appearances in the Championship along with three more in the FA Cup. Percy Tau spent the season on loan to Saint Gilloise where he made 23 appearances (2 off the bench), providing six goals and seven assists for the Belgian Second Division club. Peter Gwargis joined the club but hasn’t registered an appearance for the first team, although he has recorded a few appearances for both the reserves and the U18 club. Arce spent a total of one month with Brighton before being shipped out on loan to Emelec (Ecuadorian Top Division League team) where he would make a half-dozen first-team appearances adding two goals and an assist in an average of 50′ work. They also had two players join the club on free transfers, though neither would make a first-team appearance for the club.
Click here for an in-depth look at Brighton & Hove Albion’s transfers in advance of the 2019-20 season.
Nickname: The Clarets
Team Colors: “Claret” Red/Blue
Kit Manufacturer: Puma (2010-present)
Kit Sponsor: LaBa360
Ground: Turf Moor
Manager: Sean Dyche
18/19 Season: 15th
Burnley has fallen as low tier 4 between 1985 and 1993 and nearly fell out of Tier 4 in 1987. Last season the club played in continental competition (Europa League) for the first time in roughly 50 years, although they lost places in the Premier League standings compared to the prior year. After a 7th place finish one year prior, the fall to 15th has to be a concern going into this season.
Burnley managed a lower mid-table finish, and like their fellow Premier League team competing on the cheap (Bournemouth) they’ve managed to retain their spot in the Premier League on an even more meager budget. They should have a more significant transfer chest available to manager Sean Dyche this season with the windfall that accompanies participating in the Premier League. The team’s 2018-2019 transfers were minimal, and by keeping their expenditures in line, the club will have to address some areas of weakness.
Their 2018 transfers included Ben Gibson, Matej Vyrda, and Joe Hart. Gibson only made one senior appearance for the club in the 2018-19 season, although in the appearance he made he scored a goal. Vyrda made 13 appearances for the club (10 off the bench) and added one goal and one assist to his account. Vyrda was very inconsistent in his appearances, providing one excellent performance and many wildly inconsistent performances. The former-England keeper, Hart, made 19 appearances during which he played reasonably well despite keeping only four clean sheets and conceding 41 goals (~2.2 goals allowed per appearance).
Click here for an in-depth look at Burnley’s transfers in advance of the 2019-20 season.
Team Colors: (Royal) Blue/White
Kit Manufacturer: Nike (2017-present)
Kit Sponsor: Yokohama Rubber Company
Ground: Stamford Bridge
Manager: Maurizio Sarri (2018-present)
18/19 Season: 3rd
Chelsea is one of the premier clubs in the world, with a wage bill in the hundreds of millions and transfer expenditures not markedly lower. Chelsea has consistently been a part of the continental competitions and has been able to pry away unsettled players from other clubs (Olivier Giroud from Arsenal) for less than market value rather than lose them on free transfers at the end of their contract. Chelsea has historically had a brilliant eye for talent and has made some great acquisitions for young players that end up playing for the Blues for years to come. Along with the success and money, billionaire owner Roman Abramovich has brought lofty expectations for his club.
Chelsea is another of the Big Six and perennial Premier League teams vying for continental competition (returning to the Champions League in the 2019-2020 season). On the heels of last season’s managerial debacle which ended up with Conte leaving and Sarri joining the club, uncertainty abounds again — with many rumors that Sarri is likely to leave the club. Chelsea had their best finish under Sarri since Conte brought them a title, which resulted in a two-place improvement, with two additional points. Now transfer rumors have begun to emerge over Eden Hazard, and they seem to be more concrete with official talks said to be underway.
The 2018 transfers: Kepa Arrizabalaga, Jorginho, and Robert Green. Arrizabalaga was signed to fill in for Thibault Courtois after his transfer and in true fashion, he appeared in all 36 Premier League games along with 13 Europa League games. He suffered from some poor choices this season, but he still managed to finish the season with 14 Premier League clean sheets and 7 Europa League clean sheets. During this time he averaged concessions only slightly above a goal per game in the Premier League and barely over 0.5 goals per game in Europa League games. Jorginho had an essential role from the defensive midfield where he was a stalwart clocking 37 Premier League appearances (notching two goals). However, his role was to shore up the defense to allow Eden Hazard the ability to roam more freely without defensive duties. He also appeared in all eleven Europa League games for the side providing his consistent presence across both competitions. Robert Green joined the team as a backup goalkeeper but failed to make even a single appearance for the club.
Click here for an in-depth look at Chelsea’s transfers in advance of the 2019-20 season.
Nickname: The Eagles
Team Colors: Red/Blue
Kit Manufacturer: Puma (2018-Present)
Kit Sponsor: ManBetX
Ground: Selhurst Park
Manager: Roy Hodgson
18/19 Season: 12th
Crystal Palace has had a fair amount of success in the league but has been hampered by repeated financial problems. The club has entered administration multiple times and had assets sold off to repay creditors. Each time the club has been unable to recover from the sale of key players. Crystal Palace is a prime example of the hazards faced by clubs at the top level, spending is a must — and relegation can be an excruciating time for the club. Also concerning, the club was late in the submission of their findings by nearly two months thus far, although surprisingly when the reports came out, they were positive. The 2017-2018 season revealed that their finances had improved to the point that they showed a profit of about $15M, compared to the 2016-2017 loss of about $10M. The 2016-2017 season showed a roughly $8M loss, and this year’s filings will have payoffs for two fired managers, Alan Pardew, and Sam Allardyce.
Crystal Palace will need to ensure that they continue to get (and keep) their finances under control. Although the team had a very rough start to the 2018-2019 season, they were able to recover and finish 12th, one place below the year before. When Max Meyer made his move last season, the team added nearly $12M per year to the wage sheet for him alone. Hodgson will need to continue to get results, and it’d be highly beneficial for the club if they can continue to capitalize on free (or “nearly free”) players or their youth prospects to keep transfer outlays to a minimum. This will be especially important if the club continues to spend mightily to sign players on massive wages due to their mid-table position.
The 2018 Palace transfers included Chiekhou Kouyate, Max Meyer, and Vincente Guaita. Kouyate made 31 Premier League appearances (10 off the bench) playing defensive midfield for the majority of his appearances. His starting appearances seemed to be much better than his substitute appearances although, overall he provided some much-needed support for the midfield. Meyer made 29 appearances (14 off the bench) after arriving with much fanfare after a falling out with the management at Schalke. His performances were quite mixed with a single goal and a pair of assists from his midfield position. Of the three players acquired last year; Guaita is my pick of the lot. While he only made 20 Premier League appearances, he also managed two Man of the Match awards (neither of the others secured any). He conceded 23 goals, but he also kept eight clean sheets, so just under 50% of his starts, he allowed zero goals. This phenomenon continued the FA Cup games, where he allowed only one goal in three starts.
Click here for an in-depth look at Crystal Palace’s transfers in advance of the 2019-20 season.
Nickname: The Toffees
Founded: 1878 (Under a different name)
Team Colors: Royal Blue/White
Kit Manufacturer: Umbro (2014-present)
Kit Sponsor: SportPesa
Ground: Goodison Park
Manager: Marco Silva
18/19 Season: 8th
Everton has been a mainstay in the Premier League, competing in the top division for over 100 years. Within those years, however, Everton has managed to hold almost every position in the league including first. Everton has been a mainstay in the Premier League, competing in the top division for over 100 years. Within those years, however, Everton has managed to hold almost every position in the league including first. Everton has managed to keep a relatively positive transfer balance, though, they have spent about $60M a year on incoming transfers on average. Much of what’s kept their balance close has been selling marquee players
Everton secured five more points this year but maintained the same final position as the year before. In a year that saw their biggest rival win the UEFA Champions League and come up just short of the Premier League title, the blues will be looking for a comeback. Like many Premier League teams, they have struggled to score goals in the amounts required to remain competitive in this league. They spent heavily last season to bring in Richarlison who began the season on a tear; unfortunately, the striker cooled off markedly. Marco Silva will need to continue to work towards finding a way to strengthen the side (and continue Richarlison’s development).
Richarlison brings flexibility to the side; he made appearances in five different positions for his side. He made 35 appearances for the Premier League team contributing 13 goals and two assists. A left winger by trade he spent equal time amongst both sides and spent the most time leading the Everton attack. He’s nearly tripled his 2017-2018 production (five goals to 13) with this Premier League team. Yerry Mina has been unable to replicate his form for the Colombian National team, and it has shown, both in the number of appearances, thirteen, and how far behind Kurt Zouma and Michael Keane he has appeared in the pecking order. Mina has a long way to go if he wants to be a regular here. Bernard made 34 Premier League appearances for Everton and put in some great performances. The only real knock on him is the substantial inconsistency in his performance. Much like Richarlison, he played in several different positions for his team, but he hasn’t been nearly as consistent.
Click here for an in-depth look at Everton’s transfers in advance of the 2019-20 season.
Nickname: The Foxes
Founded: 1884 (under a different name)
Team Colors: White/Royal Blue
Kit Manufacturer: Adidas (2018-present)
Kit Sponsor: King Power
Ground: King Power Stadium
Manager: Brendan Rogers
18/19 Season: 9th
The 2018/2019 season saw the Foxes fall back to earth after their shock victory two years back. The Foxes have a single title in the Premier League, and they have split their time between the Premier League and the Championship for the most part. One of the problems the Foxes have fallen victim to in recent years is not providing the competitiveness desired by its players (and/or Continental football) with them ultimately releasing star-playmaker Rihyad Mahrez last season to rival Manchester City. Leicester City has been pretty clever in their business dealings over the past few years and has largely kept their spending in check, and they appear to be in a great position to continue this trend with James Maddison.
Like Everton, the Foxes managed five more points than the season before as well as keeping the same place as the prior year. The Foxes seem to have a bit of a hangover from the 2015-2016 Premier League title win. They have failed to return to the same level they played and during that season and have been through a myriad of managers (three in two seasons) since. It began with the sacking of Claudio Ranieri in February 2017, less than three months after receiving a Coach of the Year award. Since then the time the club has been led by Craig Shakespeare, Claude Puel, and now is led by Brendan Rodgers.
James Maddison, I think if I had to pick a newcomer of the year, it would be Maddison (although Pereira would be a close second) having made 36 appearances (only one off the bench). He added seven goals and seven assists to go along with three Man of the Match performances, but focusing solely on scoresheet contributions would be a disservice to him. He is dangerous from set pieces and provides several key passes per game as well as a couple of shots. He is the subject of substantial rumors as to whether or not he will be remaining with the club or if Leicester City will make a healthy profit on their investment. Ricardo Pereira made the majority of his appearances for the Premier League team at right back, but it is quite telling that he made 35 appearances for the side, with every each being a start. He’s added a pair of goals and seven assists to his Premier League tally while also bringing in four Man of the Match appearances. Çaglar Söyüncü came from Freiburg in the Bundesliga but has failed to impress for Leicester. He’s only made six total appearances since the move, and all but one (against Cardiff) were very lackluster. If he can’t string together some better performances, I’m not sure he’ll be with the club for long.
Previous Season Transfer Business (continued): Filip Benkovic spent most of the season on loan with Celtic where he has appeared regularly, clocking 20 appearances and a couple of goals to go with it. Benkovic is still young, so the pre-season will be his opportunity to shine, or he may get sent out on loan again to get some more experience. Danny Ward was likely bought to be a long-term replacement for the aging Kasper Schmeichel (32), so he was unlikely to ever get the lion’s share of the minutes in the Premier League right away. He did represent the team in a few of their EFL Cup matches and also made an appearance in the FA Cup. Rachid Ghezzal made appearances in nearly half of the Premier League opportunities, though most of them were off the bench. He seemingly did not do enough to persuade is management that he needed opportunities in addition to what he was getting, and with the emergence of both Youri Tieleman and James Maddison, his stock has fallen. The team’s transfer business this season (with rumors abounding about Maddison potentially leaving) could impact his long-term value to the club. Jonny Evans was pretty consistent for the side despite only making 24 appearances (21 starts) and was seemingly an excellent investment for the club. All things considered, he was a reasonably cheap acquisition considering the level of consistency he has had (previously, this has been his Achilles heel).
Click here for an in-depth look at Leicester City’s transfers in advance of the 2019-20 season.
Nickname: The Reds
Team Colors: Red
Kit Manufacturer: New Balance/Warrior (2012-present)
Kit Sponsor: Standard Chartered
Manager: Jürgen Klopp
18/19 Season: 2nd
Liverpool is among the more famous clubs in the Premier League with a horde of trophies, league titles, domestic cups, and international titles. Liverpool has a strong rivalry with both Manchester clubs, partly due to proximity — although the recent history has favored the Manchester and London clubs. Liverpool is one of the most valuable sports clubs and possesses a huge international fan base. Liverpool has also struggled on occasion with large burdens of debt trying to keep up with the remaining Big Six clubs. Liverpool also has had two of the most bizarre campaigns in history. The first — they tied in points with Arsenal, goal difference (goals scored – goals allowed), and ultimately lost the 1988-1989 title because of a goal Arsenal scored in the final moment of play. However, after some ups and downs in the recent history leading to many clubs chiding Liverpool over needing an anthem called “You Will Never Walk Alone” with derisive comments about their inability to collect titles, they seem to have found some light. And the second…
In 2017-2018 Liverpool set a rather undesirable record, the most points by a runner-up in Premier League history. Given the considerable amount spent and the expectations at the beginning of the season, this is a bit of a letdown. Liverpool was sensational during the season and only lost to out to an even more sensational Manchester City (I mentioned that history has been good to the Manchester-clubs). However, as a bit of a “concession,” which is almost painful to say (or type) they were able to win the UEFA Champions League over fellow top-four Premier League team, Tottenham. While I don’t think Jurgen will supply the same level of spending they did in the prior season, I expect the club to sign a player or two before they settle in to give it another try at the Premier League title.
Alisson went a long way to start to fix the blunders that have plagued this Liverpool team from a goalkeeping standpoint. He appeared 38 times for the Premier League team as well as 13 times in their Champions League en route to their title and supported their efforts to the highest point total ever, for a second-place team. During the Champions League campaign, he managed six clean sheets and less than one goal allowed per game on average; the Premier League campaign gave him 21 clean sheets and 22 goals allowed across the entire season. Naby Keita arrived to much media coverage before settling into a rotation role appearing in roughly half of the Premier League games, and just under a third of the Champions League games. Keita added a pair of goals and an assist in the Premier League and one goal in the Champions League. Fabinho appeared in 26 of his 28 games as a defensive midfielder and provided very consistent, high-level performances for Liverpool. His job was to give some extra coverage to allow for the Liverpool attack to have a little more freedom to get forward. Xherdan Shaqiri appeared 24 times in the Premier League for Liverpool, although most were off the bench. Despite this, he managed to score some important goals for them to lock down valuable points. He only accrued a little over 1500 minutes in the Premier League, but during that time he added six goals (roughly one goal every 177 minutes) and three assists. In recognition of his efforts on the field, he was awarded a Man of the Match performance on two occasions.
Click here for an in-depth look at Liverpool’s transfers in advance of the 2019-20 season.
Nickname: The Citizens
Team Colors: Sky Blue
Kit Manufacturer: Puma (2019-present)
Kit Sponsor: Etihad Airways (2009-present)
Ground: City of Manchester Stadium, called “The Etihad” (for sponsorship reasons)
Manager: Pep Guardiola
18/19 Season: 1st
Even after a season that saw this Premier League team rewrite the record books, City managed to lock down another title. As perhaps you’ve guessed by the Stadium’s naming rights or the kit sponsor — money abounds in Manchester. This year they’ve spent drastically less — but they aren’t shy, City has bigger goals. Pep wants City to be more competitive in the major English trophies and perhaps, more importantly, the Champions League. Manchester City managed to become one of the shortlist of Premier League teams that were about to win back-to-back Premier League titles. For the most part, this side was even able to overcome the vaunted “points drop” I talked about in the Manchester City Darkhorse post.
While Manchester City recorded another fantastic finish to the season bringing their second title to Manchester in two short years, they were knocked out of the Champions League much earlier than they’d have liked. To add even more salt to the wound, they were knocked out by fellow Premier League team Tottenham who eventually lost to Liverpool. In a competition that would have the second- and fourth-placed teams competing for the Champions League title and the associated glory, it has to have left City salty about going out in the quarterfinals. However, in fairness to Pep though he was without star midfielder Kevin de Bruyne for a good portion of the season, and de Bruyne seems like he’ll be recovered for the start of this season.
Riyad Mahrez took a much smaller role for City than he did in previous seasons for Leicester City appearing in only half of the Premier League winner’s games. In past seasons, he had played almost every moment for his team, and as a result, his production has dipped expectedly. He managed seven assists and four goals for City where he scored 14 goals and ten assists for Leicester. Philippe Sandler was not a part of the City success this year, instead, he spent time with the reserves where he made a few appearances as well as a few scattered cup appearances. There is a potential that Sandler could get worked into the rotation to give Otamendi and Kompany a rest, but I don’t see him becoming any more than a squad rotation player for this next year. Daniel Arzani spent the season on loan at Celtic in Scotland, where he spent most of the season with a ruptured cruciate ligament. He did make one appearance for the Scottish Premiership side, but it only lasted for 33 minutes. City is not short of players that can play on the left-hand side of midfield, so I doubt they’ll rush Arzani into the lineup, and it is likely that he’ll go out on loan again to continue his development (while hopefully staying injury-free).
Click here for an in-depth look at Manchester City’s transfers in advance of the 2019-20 season.
Nickname: The Red Devils
Founded: 1878 (under a different name)
Team Colors: Red
Kit Manufacturer: Adidas (2015-present)
Kit Sponsor: Chevrolet (2014-present)
Ground: Old Trafford
Manager: Ole Gunnar Solskjær
18/19 Season: 6th
The Red Devils are one of the most recognizable clubs and brands in the world. Even during the Post-Sir Alex Furguson era, the club has managed to lead the way in income, profitability, and global image despite Manchester United having a down period in the club’s history (relatively). In a club whose managerial legend was knighted for his work and spent more than twenty-five years with the club, it’s inevitably tough to follow. They began last season on a high note after qualifying for the Champions League from a position outside the top four by beating Ajax in the Europa League (which comes with a guaranteed place). Mourinho began the season as manager, but the faith in him and club fell as the club grew farther and farther away from Pep and Jurgen’s sides.
Manchester United got the dubious honor of writing a new page in their book of records, this time for having the worst start to the Premier League season for the team since the league’s inception in 1992. In mid-December Mourinho was relieved of duties with the club nearly 20-points back from league-leading Liverpool and barely within 10-points of a Champion’s League place. After Mourinho left, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, set a different record — this time for the number of wins to begin an (interim at the time) manager’s tenure over the club. However, eventually the performances would sink exposing some serious needs for the club, and they finished five points outside of Champions League places.
Fred’s appearances for United were a mixed bag, and relatively inconsistent. He managed one goal (to draw against Watford) and was given a Man of the Match performance, however, despite the rest of his season there was really only one other game worthy of note. He played well against Young Boys in the Champions League but only made a couple of appearances in that competition as well. Overall, he made 17 Premier League appearances (four off the bench) for the club totaling barely over 1,000 minutes. His game needs to improve dramatically, or I don’t imagine he’ll get playing time or be around long. Diogo Dalot made 16 Premier League appearances (four as a substitute) for Manchester United and four more in the Champions League. Dalot was a most successful in his preferred right-back position, though he was forced to compete with Ashley Young and former-captain Antonio Valencia. Dalot paired well with Luke Shaw, and the two were able to get the ball into attacking positions. He provided two assists to the Premier League team in spite of their lackluster year; in addition, he added two clearances and a key pass per game on average. Lee Grant was brought in to be a backup goalkeeper, and he only appeared in one EFL Cup match. He was always going to be at least the third in line behind de Gea and Sergio Romero, so it’s not really a surprise that his appearances were limited.
Click here for an in-depth look at Manchester United’s transfers in advance of the 2019-20 season.
Nickname: The Magpies
Team Colors: Black/White
Kit Manufacturer: Puma (2010-Present)
Kit Sponsor: Fun88
Ground: St. James’ Park
Manager: Rafael “Rafa” Benítez
18/19 Season: 13th
Newcastle has been another stalwart in the Premier League spending most of their history in the top division, minus a few short stints in Tier 2. Current manager, Rafa Benitez was unable to keep the club from relegation in the 2015-2016 but was able to secure promotion the following year back to the Premier League. The 2017-2018 was the highest position they have achieved in some time. Newcastle has been very proficient at maintaining reasonable transfer expenditures over the recent years, with an average expenditure of only about $35M. Based on TV deals and final position for the 2018-2019 season, Newcastle should be receiving in the ballpark of $140M, meaning that the club should have healthy prospects for the future and remain sustainable going forward.
Newcastle United fell three places from their 2017-18 Premier League position but was middle of the pack in terms of both goals scored and goals allowed. There has been much discussion about if Rafa will return (as of June 7th it’s still up in the air) and there have also been rumors of an impending takeover bringing more Middle Eastern money into the Premier League. The outcomes for each situation will likely have implications for both, Rafa was said to have had constructive talks with current-owner Mike Ashley, but with club ownership in question in adds some extra drama.
Yoshinori Muto only appeared 17 times, most of which came off the bench. The quantity of appearances is highly misleading because, for the entire season, Muto only logged 519 minutes which equates to about a half hour per appearance. The striker managed zero assists and only the lone goal; which means he received as many yellow cards as goals scored. Federico Fernandez made 19 total Premier League appearances for the team while accumulating just under 1500 minutes. Overall, I think this has to be considered a reasonable season for the ex-Napoli player. However, his form varied pretty wildly throughout the season. Sometimes putting in exceptional performances but sometimes he let his team down in a dramatic way (0-3 loss to West Ham and the 2-2 draw with Bournemouth in particular).
Fabian Schär appeared in 24 matches for the side, putting together some fantastic performances in the Premier League. Although most of his performances were good, there were definitely some noticeable down-games, but it’s a long season, and overall he performed very well for Newcastle. For what Newcastle paid (~$4.5M) I think he’s a steal and will have a good run for them. Martin Dubravka was brought in to play starting goalkeeper, which he did for all 38 appearances for the Premier League team. He accrued 11 clean sheets across those appearances but conceded 48 goals (1.26 goals allowed per game or 1.77 if clean sheets are excluded). While Dubravka’s concessions are a little elevated, Newcastle’s struggles are more related to their inability to score goals. Sung-Yong Ki came in to provide additional assistance in the midfield, the elder statesman of the first team (along with Dubravka) made 18 appearances (four off the bench). He played a substantial amount of time for each appearance and provided a reasonable level of consistency along with an assist.
Click here for an in-depth look at Newcastle United’s transfers in advance of the 2019-20 season.
Nickname: The Canaries
Team Colors: Green/Yellow
Kit Manufacturer: Erreà (2011-present)
Kit Sponsor: LeoVegas (2017-present)
Ground: Carrow Road
Manager: Daniel Farke
18/19 Season: 1st in EFL Championship
Norwich City has spent the majority of their time since World War II split between the Premier League and the Championship. They were most recently a part of the Premier League in the 2013-2014 season, but after a couple of years absence, they have returned to the top flight. In 2017, the Canaries hired their first foreign manager in the club’s 114-year history. They managed a first-class finish in the Championship which was a substantial improvement over the 14th-place finish the prior year. They finished four points higher than Cardiff City did last season, and five points short of where Wolves finished.
Norwich City led the Championship in scoring by six goals. However, they were very much middle of the road in concessions. Norwich will have an excellent financial boost entering the Premier League, but they will likely have some critical defensive positions to address. They will probably also be missing James Maddison who left the club (for a club record transfer fee) last season to go to Leicester City.
Ben Marshall had only a minor role for this team, making four appearances and adding a goal. During those four appearances, he played the lion’s share of minutes but didn’t feature anymore for the side.
Emiliano Buendia probably has to be the signing of the season for me. He appeared in 38 games (3 off of the bench), but he provided eight goals to go along with 12 assists. As if that’s not enough, he was also tied for the most Man of the Match appearances for the now-Premier League team. Moritz Leitner played a first team role but made a lot of appearances of the bench (10) in route to his 29 total appearances. He added a couple of goals and an assist to the cause. Philip Heise came over from Dynamo Dresden in the 2nd Bundesliga but hasn’t made an appearance for the team.
Last season’s transfers (continued): Mason Bloomfield hasn’t made an appearance yet for the first team. Instead he went out on loan to AFC Fylde where he made five appearances and one goal. He’s not in the plans for this season either, with a loan to Crawley Town already determined. Tim Krul came in and took over the reins as the de facto goalkeeper in all 46 matches after arriving from Premier League Brighton. In 46 appearances he allowed 57 goals against (good for 1.24 goals against average), but he also managed 13 clean sheets in the campaign. Teemu Pukki was a brilliant pick up as a free transfer. He was ever-present for his team as shown by the 29 goals and ten assists in 43 appearances for the side (averaging a goal roughly every 130 minutes). Also indicative of the team’s reliance on him is the fact that he started for each of his appearances (and the six Man of the Match performances help).
Click here for an in-depth look at Norwich City’s transfers in advance of the 2019-20 season.
Team Colors: Red/White/Black
Kit Manufacturer: Adidas (2014-Present)
Kit Sponsor: Ramsdens Currency (2018-Present)
Ground: Bramall Lane
Manager: Chris Wilder
18/19 Season: 2nd in EFL Championship
Sheff United’s time has been spent mostly as a Premier League and the Championship team, however, in the early 1980s, they fell as low as the fourth tier. The club’s last Premier League season was for the 2006-2007 season, so after a second-place finish Blades, fans will be thrilled to return to the Premier League after a twelve-year drought. The Blades are another of the teams that suffered substantial financial problems from bouncing between the Premier League and the Championship with the gross differences in revenue. In September of 2013, a Saudi Prince bought a 50% stake in the club’s parent organization for £1 and promises of huge capital investments to return the team to the Premier League. That plan seems to have turned out pretty well for the club so far.
They managed an excellent finish in the Championship and were one of the best performing teams in my Dark Horse series. Sheff United was only separated from winning the Championship by five points despite both scoring fewer goals (15 fewer) and conceding fewer (16 fewer) than the eventual champions. The team managed to finish one point higher than Fulham did in the 2017-2018 rendition of the Championship, but the Blades will be hoping for a better result for their first season back in the Premier League. I don’t see any immediate needs for this side, but I imagine that manager Chris Wilder will be looking to strengthen the squad however he can.
John Egan was a rather expensive pick up for the club at about $6M, but he’s been worth his weight in gold for Sheff United. He appeared in 44 games, and added a single assist and goal; however, he was a massive part of the back line. He earned two Man of the Match awards to showcase his value to his club, and I expect him to have an extended stay at the club. Oliver Norwood joined from Brighton (for about $3M) and like Egan, had a significant impact for the club. He made 43 starts for the team while producing a few (3) goals and eight assists. He was probably the most consistent player (though Egan wasn’t far behind). Dean Henderson was a loan from Manchester United, but he also had a big part as he took over as the starting goalkeeper appearing in all 46 matches.
Click here for an in-depth look at Sheffield United’s transfers in advance of the 2019-20 season.
Nickname: The Saints
Founded: 1885 (under a different name)
Team Colors: Red/White
Kit Manufacturer: Under Armor (2016-present)
Kit Sponsor: LD Sports (2019-Present)
Ground: St. Mary’s Stadium
Manager: Mark Hughes
18/19 Season: 16th
Southampton has spent a good portion of its existence in the Premier League following their initial quest to it. They have punctuated most of their periods in the EPL with a stunning fall from grace and down into Tier 3 soccer. I’m concerned that we are approaching yet another of those dives as the team barely managed to stave off relegation (reminder, 18-20 go down) on the last match day of the season. They also sold several players Virgil Van Dyke (to Liverpool, for about $87M) and Jay Rodriguez (to West Bromwich Albion, for about $15M) on their way to netting more than $30M from transfers. Over the past several years, Southampton has managed to make it a trend to sell players to cover nearly all of their transfer expenditures and sometimes to add a princely sum to the club accounts.
Southampton’s position in the Premier League continues to grow more perilous, they were tied for the third-lowest number of wins on the season, and to make matters worse shipped 20 more goals than they scored. Midseason appointee Ralph Hasenhüttl will have a tough challenge to turn this club around, although he was able to help RB Leipzig into a second place finish before he would eventually leave the club (Leipzig hired a new manager). In his first full season, he’ll need to figure out how to address their defensive woes to move the club further up the table.
Jannik Vestergaard joined from Borussia Moenchengladbach and was within one appearance (23) of the most for any defender. The massive defensive rotation limited his appearances, but when he was on the pitch, he played well. Vestergaard played an average of 88’ for each appearance he made. Mohammed Elyounoussi made 16 total appearances for an average of fewer than 45 minutes. He did not play particularly well during his time on the pitch (likely a reason that he made half of his appearances off the bench) though he did average a little over a shot per game, and almost one key pass per game. Angus Gunn made 12 appearances for the team and averaged 1.5 goals allowed per appearance recording only three clean sheets. Southampton conceded the sixth-most goals in the Premier League, so they need to improve dramatically. This year’s rotation included Gunn and Alex McCarthy. Stuart Armstrong made a total of 29 appearances for the first team (13 appearances off the bench) for an average of about 45 minutes per appearance. He provided three goals and two assists across his appearances but overall was not a substantial factor when he was on the pitch.
Click here for an in-depth look at Southampton’s transfers in advance of the 2019-20 season.
Team Colors: Navy Blue/White
Kit Manufacturer: Nike (2017-present)
Kit Sponsor: AIA (2015-present)
Ground: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Manager: Mauricio Pochettino
18/19 Season: 4th
Tottenham is another of the Big Six clubs and perennial Premier League sides, having basically been a part of the EPL consistently since the end of World War II, with only a few detours through the Championship. Tottenham christened their brand new stadium (when it finally came about…) with a win and managed to finish the season in the top four. Tottenham should be competing for at minimum a top-4 spot again this season, and frankly, anything less is a bust. Tottenham came close to winning the UEFA Champions League trophy but eventually came up short to Liverpool.
Tottenham’s most immediate concern might be to keep what they currently have. There are lots of media outlets that are connecting Mauricio Pochettino with many high profile clubs. He has spoken about leaving the club if he doesn’t feel that his vision for the club is matched by the Chairman, although he’s been coy on where that would take him exactly. The issue is further compounded by Eriksen’s public statements in Denmark that he is considering a new challenge (possibly Real Madrid) and will be looking to leave.
Tottenham didn’t make a single transfer last year and despite dealing with long absences of Heung-Min Son and the injuries that Harry Kane and company experienced. Despite all of these hurdles, they managed a fourth-placed finish in the Premier League and Champions League soccer. The real test might be if Tottenham can hang on to Pochettino despite all the interest from elsewhere, this season alone was probably a $100M bump to their bottom line.
Click here for an in-depth look at Tottenham’s transfers in advance of the 2019-20 season.
Nickname: The Hornets
Founded: 1881 (under a different name)
Team Colors: Black/Gold/Red
Kit Manufacturer: Adidas (2017-present)
Kit Sponsor: FxPro
Ground: Vicarage Road
Manager: Javi Gracia
18/19 Season: 11th
Watford has been a member of Tier 3 for all but a few quick stops at Tier 4, but in recent times have been steadily improving their standing. They have been back in the Premier League since the 2015 season and since this time has spent pretty heavily in attempts to stay the Premier League course. They have managed a series of mid-table finishes and have spent much less this summer transfer window than in windows past. However, the club continues to look at improvements to all areas of the squad and facilities to continue to leverage the Hornets for future successes.
Watford began the season with a stunning run of form, with four wins in four opportunities out of the gate. However, they would start to “cool off” before managing to find a comfortable home right in the middle of the table. After the conclusion of week eight, the club was never more than three places away from their final finishing position. The team climbed to one of it’s highest places since the mid-80s under Javi Gracia, and I don’t see any reason they will not continue to improve.
Gerard Deulofeu was brought into this side to be a point-man for the Premier League team, and he did just that. He appeared 30 times (four off the bench) and scored ten goals and five assists for the team. On average Deulofeu played nearly 70 minutes for each appearance and was rewarded with three Man of the Match awards for his contributions. They paid just shy of $15M to bring in the 25-year-old, and it seems like he’ll be an asset to the club for several years. Adam Masina came into the side to provide a rotation option so that the club was able to provide rest for the 34-year-old Jose Holebas. He made 14 total appearances (three of the bench) and did an excellent job in his limited time on the pitch, like Deulfeu, Masina is young, and his role should continue to expand over the next few years.
Last season’s transfers (continued): Ben Foster was the first-choice goalkeeper for this Premier League team and appeared in all 38 of their league games. Foster averaged 1.6 goals allowed per game, clocking only seven clean sheets (1.9 excluding clean sheets). Ken Sema appeared 17 times for the team (eight from the bench) averaging less than 45 minutes per appearance. His contributions were minimal for the side providing one goal and two assists. Marc Navarro provided only 85 minutes of playing time for the team across one start and one substitute appearance. His performances on the pitch were not good, and that’s likely at least partly to blame for his lack of consistent appearances. Ben Wilmot only played 26 minutes for the first team this season throughout two appearances. He is still only 19, but he did not have a good 26 minutes. Domingos Quina, like, Navarro made only a couple appearances for the side with three starts and five substitute appearances for a total of 335 minutes and one goal.
Click here for an in-depth look at Watford’s transfers in advance of the 2019-20 season.
West Ham United
Nickname: The Hammers/The Irons
Founded: 1895 (under a different name)
Location: (East) London
Team Colors: Red (Claret)/Blue
Kit Manufacturer: Umbro (2015-present)
Kit Sponsor: Betway (2015-present)
Ground: London Stadium
Manager: Manuel Pellegrini
18/19 Season: 10th
West Ham has averaged about $30-35M in transfers per year, but seem to be in a great place. West Ham received about $150M from their final place and TV revenue over the past season. Based on the club’s financial filings, fans of this club should be beyond excited about the future. The club has posted of a minimum of $22M profit since the 2012-2013 season, culminating in the 2016-2017 season and the nearly $75M profit. Not only does this show responsible stewardship, but a desire to grow the club sustainably. After their free transfer acquisitions last season I expected at least a top-ten finish which they ultimately provided.
West Ham had basically the opposite of Watford’s season; they started out in atrocious form before slowly being able to mold the team into a midtable contender. West Ham finished last season in the middle of pretty much every category and a barely negative goal differential. I anticipate the club to continue to mold some of the younger talents they acquired for little to no fee like Fredericks into the club. Pelligrini still has some work to do to improve the squad, but squad cohesion was clearly an issue at the beginning of last season so it will be essential to manage any transfers in/out by getting them in early for a full preseason of training.
Felipe Anderson was the general of the left-hand side of the Hammers midfield. In fact of his 36 appearances, only three came from central midfield or the right-hand side. The Brazilian brought fantastic form to the Premier League team providing nine goals and four assists; he also won six Man of the Match awards. He is going to be an asset for many years for the side unless he gets bought out somewhere else. Issa Diop made 33 appearances for the Hammers providing one goal from a position in defense. He was a fantastic addition and held down the defense quite well, especially for a youngster. Andriy Yarmolenko made nine appearances with four off the bench and provided two goals, his appearances were not great for the side, and I don’t know that he will find a long-term solution at this club without massive improvements. Lukasz Fabianski was the everyday goalkeeper the Premier League team, in fact, he didn’t miss a single moment of the Premier League. He was also awarded one Man of the Match award for his success between the success. Carols Sanchez made seven appearances and didn’t really provide much of consequence for the team.
Last season’s transfers (continued): Lucas Perez was another of the members of the Premier League team that featured very intermittently with a total of 15 appearances, all but four of which were off the bench. The number of appearances is also misleading because he tallies just over 450 minutes. He provided three goals as his contribution to the team. Fabian Balbuena played very well for the club across his 23 appearances (all of which were starts) as well as providing a goal and receiving a Man of the Match award. Xande Silva featured only once for the side with a grand total of 17 minutes and had nothing to show for it. Ryan Fredericks fell in and out of favor throughout the season; he made of 15 total appearances (three off the bench). He provided one goal for the team but was overall pretty consistent with reasonable form. Jack Wilshere joined the club and was able to make eight total appearances (four from the bench) before he fell into a season-ending injury. Before his injury, he was able to provide one assist for the team.
Click here for an in-depth look at West Ham’s transfers in advance of the 2019-20 season.
Founded: 1877 (under a different name)
Team Colors: Black/Gold
Kit Manufacturer: Adidas (2018-present)
Kit Sponsor: W88 (2018-present)
Ground: Molineux Stadium
Manager: Nuno Espírito Santo
18/19 Season: 7th
Wolves are pretty well accustomed to Tier 1 and 2, with only occasional ventures to the lower Tiers mostly around a particularly poor period from 1986-1988 (4th Tier only once). After the end of the 2016 season, a Chinese investment group took over ownership of the club, and it immediately paid dividends with the 2017-2018 Championship title, which guaranteed Premier League soccer for 2018-2019. Wolves followed up on their promotion-worthy performance with one of the best finishes for a promoted side in Premier League history.
Wolves spent heavily last season and have already (technically) begun their spending for this season after triggering buyout clauses on players taken on loan last season. I think in triggering those transfer clauses, they’ve likely done the majority of their spending for this season. The stand to make well into the $150M range but they are already at roughly $70M in transfer expenditures. I also don’t think that this side is in dire need of any marquee signings, expect to see a transfer or two (maybe a couple if they are youth players), but that’s about it.
Adama Traore made 29 appearances (21 off the bench). However, the amount of playing time he had is far more representative of his importance, accruing only 900 minutes (30 minutes per appearance). He performed reasonably well in that time, adding a goal and an assist. Rui Patricio arrived from Sporting in Portugal, and he made appearances in all games but one for the team and played well. He only kept eight clean sheets but only conceded just over one goal per game; however, the number of goals allowed was not responsible for their place. Diogo Jota made 33 appearances for Wolves (only four of which were off the bench) and was one of the better players for the team. He was given three Man of the Match awards on his way to nine goals and five assists.
Last season’s transfers (continued): Willy Boly was one of the best players for the team, making 36 appearances, all starts averaging 88 minutes per appearance. The defender organized the defense well and scored four goals for the team and received two Man of the Match awards for his efforts. Joao Moutinho pulled all the strings in the midfield and was one of the reasons for their high finish, especially right after their promotion. He managed one goal and eight assists, one Man of the Match award, and a fantastic level of performance throughout the season. Leo Bonatini featured only a couple of times off of the bench averaging less than 20 minutes per appearance. He also provided one assist to the team in his short time. Ruben Vinagre made 17 appearances (10 off the bench) for about 40 minutes per appearance. He didn’t play particularly well for the side during that time and had no statistics to show for it. However, there is still an opportunity for improvement and to impress the training staff.
Click here for an in-depth look at the Wolves’ transfers in advance of the 2019-20 season.
That’s all for now. Be sure to join us over the next few weeks before the season starts in mid-August for more in-depth coverage of all the English Premier League teams. We hope you’re as excited for the season as we are!