Spotkick’s Pseudo-guide to the 2019/20 Premier League: Part 1 (10km Offside)
Last season timeline: Duo of defeats. 22 games unbeaten. Top four might happen. Top four didn’t happen.
The lowdown: Fun attacking team that can blow away sides, yet so fragile contrive to concede against Huddersfield.
The gaffer (Unai Emery): Has a record of being the first Paris St. Germain since the Qatari takeover to not win the league in his full season at the club. A master at the Europa League. Also, he might be a vampire – which would explain his defenders always getting injured and Laurent Koscielny wanting out.
Star man: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will continue to bring in the goals – while missing the occasional sitter – and watch as the defence invalidates his good work.
What will happen: There’ll be that good run of form and that statement win that will trick us into thinking Arsenal are finally alright.
What won’t happen: Winning the league.
Last season timeline: No money, so Grealish might leave. Money, so Grealish stays. Steve Bruce out. 5-5 vs Nottingham Forest. Alan Hutton scoring a wonder goal. Promotion at Wembley.
The lowdown: Premier League returnees who may or may not be doing a Fulham, but it will be fun.
The gaffer (Dean Smith): Buzzkill who had the audacity to ruin the Frank Lampard narrative of getting Frank Lampard’s Derby County promoted.
Star man: Big guns no longer seem interested in Jack Grealish, probably accepting that he’ll be at Villa till the dusk of time.
What will happen: Entertaining win against mid-table side within the first three months of the season, probably a 4-2 or 3-1 victory.
What won’t happen: They won’t do a Fulham.
Last season timeline: Impressive-ish start. Good run. Bad run. Good run. Bad run. Mid-table.
The lowdown: Fun-loving side who’ll thump four past Chelsea then ship a handful to Burnley.
The gaffer (Eddie Howe): Has spent the last four top-flight showing us he can neither garner consistency, spend right in the market, nor organise a defence. Will still be kinda-sorta talked about for a bigger job during the season.
Star man: Ryan Fraser bagged a hatful of assists last season.
What will happen: That game against a top-six side in which they utterly dominate, yet manage to lose.
What won’t happen: Dominic Solanke reaching double figures in goals.
Last season timeline: Beat Manchester United. Top-half by December. Utter slump. Goodbye Chris Hughton.
The lowdown: Seagulls who think they’re in the world’s most marketed league for anything other celebrating finishing 17th.
The gaffer (Graham Potter): Doing well with Swansea in the Championship and previously with Swedish side Ostersunds may have got him the Brighton job, but it doesn’t matter if he can’t get a higher rank on the Mark Ogden Premier League gaffer board.
Star man: Skipper Lewis Dunk’s knack for mixing superb defending with the occasional own goal is a nice touch.
What will happen: Reliance of Glenn Murray, again. He’s 36!
What won’t happen: They won’t finish in the top 14.
Last season timeline: Curse you Europa League. Drop Joe Hart. Beat a top-six club. Survive comfortably. Season peters out.
The lowdown: Lancashire side whose players won’t look out of place in Game of Thrones. Will always run all top-six teams close.
The gaffer (Sean Dyche): The manager every talks about not being talked about. Has moulded Burnley in his image, and seems unsackable, until he does get sacked.
Star Man: Ashley Barnes was probably fashioned in a lab specifically on Dyche’s orders.
What will happen: Barnes will yell in the face at some point in the season.
What won’t happen: Ashley Westwood won’t score from a corner. Surely not.
The lowdown: The arch-short-term-ist, who know how to sparkle and combust, sometimes at the same time.
(Kepa)(Frank Lampard): The former Chelsea midfielder arrives after a fairy-tale of getting Derby County to sixth place in the Championship – a point lower than his predecessor – in his rookie season. Hopefully the fan favourite can put things right after last season’s Maurizio Sarri disaster of third place and Europa League triumph.
Star man: Hopefully Eden Hazard can fire Chelsea to… oh he’s left? How about Ngolo Kante then?
What will happen: A win over a fellow top-six side that gets the tabloids running over Super Frankie.
What won’t happen: They won’t get spied on by Leeds United agents, that’s for sure.
Last season timeline: We won’t get relegated. We will get relegated. We won’t get relegated. We will get relegated. Boom Andros Townsend! We won’t get relegated. We didn’t get relegated.
The lowdown: An eternally striker-less London club managed by a golden oldie, and reliant on the best player in the world named Wilfried.
The gaffer (Roy Hodgson): A veteran British manager that doesn’t whine about Proper Football or being ousted by Johnny Foreigners. Weird.
Star man: Wilfried Zaha might leave!
What will happen: A poor run of form that makes them dead-certs for relegation. They’ll also take points off Arsenal.
What won’t happen: Actual relegation.
Last season timeline: Decent start. Pickford!! Dour run. Impenetrable Goodison. Sam who?
The lowdown: Ambitious Merseyside team who believe every year is the year they’ll break into the top six.
The gaffer (Marco Silva): Portuguese geezer who’s basically Gary Rowett.
Star man: Gylfi Thor Sigurdsson is the Norse god from dead balls.
What will happen: Brilliant results against some of the top-six at Goodison Park.
What won’t happen: They won’t finish in the top six.
Last season timeline: Get Puel Out. Get Puel Out. Puel Out. Hail Brendan.
The lowdown: Fantasy Foxes who ruined everything about the Premier League by winning the league in 2016. May ruin things even further with a potential top-six spot.
The gaffer (Brendan Rodgers): Savvy and likeable Ulsterman who left ‘immortality for mediocrity’.
Star man: Jamie Vardy is still the go-to man in front of goal.
What will happen: Rodgers will hail his team’s character after a 3-1 defeat.
What won’t happen: They won’t finish in the top-six.
Last season timeline: This may be our year. This could be our year. This will be our year. This wasn’t our year.
The lowdown: Merseyside team looking to make up for last season’s embarrassment of having 97 points and winning the Champions League.
The gaffer (Jurgen Klopp): Lovable German who pissed off a few by winning an actual trophy last term, because the ones he won at Dortmund doesn’t count.
Star man: Only one player has dribbled past Virgil van Dijk since March 2018.
What will happen: An early exit in one of the cups.
What won’t happen: A home defeat to Everton.