Spotkick’s Pseudo-guide to the 2019/20 Premier League – Part 2 (10km Offside)
Last season timeline: Wins. Wins. Unbeaten? Nope. 14 wins a row. Treble.
The lowdown: A group of expensively-assembled talent-laden players, who bought football with sports-washing money, and are bossed by a managerial narcissist with tedious attention-to-detail.
The gaffer (Pep Guardiola): Bald Spaniard who still seeks a Champions League without Lionel Messi. Also, he’s gotten rid of that sweater.
Star man: Raheem Sterling took on opposing players, fans, and the media last season, to brilliant effect.
What will happen: Scoring with a tap-in from three yards for about 25 times.
What won’t happen: Many defeats.
Last season timeline: Jose Third Season Syndrome. Jose sulks. Jose leaves. Ole’s at the wheel. Should Ole be at the wheel?
The lowdown: An expensively-run superhero squad, led by Ed Woodward, as they go about securing corporate sponsors all around the world. Acquirers! Assemble.
The gaffer (Ole Gunnar Solskjaer): The former Manchester United forward did a wonderful job of tricking United into giving him a full-time appointment before starting to make a mess of things. Very respectful; he doesn’t park his car in Fergie’s spot.
Star man: Paul Pogba is the goal-getter, goal-creator, ball-winner, team leader, morale raiser, and party coordinator. He probably also gets the squad snacks during team meetings.
What will happen: David de Gea will get them out of some jams.
What won’t happen: Matteo Darmian leaving.
Last season timeline: Winless in ten. Relegation? Nope. Record-signing. Finally beat City. Make Newcastle Great Again.
The lowdown: An enterprise run by a head who is intent on making their life miserable while smiling to the crowd. Almost reminds you of a country that also begins with ‘N’.
The gaffer (Steve Bruce): The lovable boyhood Magpies fan that will love the club who also happens to be the replacement of a well-liked manager, and the former gaffer of the enemy. Has managed Aston Villa and Birmingham, and Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday, so knows a thing or two about crossing enemy lines.
Star man: Newcastle seem intent on getting rid of them, so it’s hard to say. New signing Allan Saint-Maximin rocks Gucci headbands; that should count.
What will happen: Boos after that tame defeat to a side placed in the bottom six.
What won’t happen: This is Newcastle we’re talking about.
Last season timeline: Patience with Farke-ball. Heil Farke-ball. Heil Teemu Pukki. Champions!
The lowdown: East-Anglian entertainers who have swapped wins and fun in the second-tier for the elite opportunity to struggle towards 17th place.
The gaffer (Daniel Farke): Johnny Foreigner who annoyed Proper Football advocate Ian Abrahams by having the effrontery to win an English league. Has a wonderful German English-speaking accent, it should be said.
Star man: Teemu Pukki is the goal machine up top. Didn’t he use to have much more hair!
What will happen: Predictions of relegation.
What won’t happen: They won’t win the league this time, Ian (although another Johnny Foreigner might).
Last season timeline: Surprising auto-promotion push (?). May be pipped by Leeds. May not be pipped by Leeds. Will be pipped by Leeds. Pipped Leeds.
The lowdown: Plucky Yorkshire side who had consistently made a mess of FourFourTwo’s predictions of them getting out of League One, before final getting things right.
The gaffer (Chris Wilder): The former Sheffield United player who has a track record of success to go with the sparkling qualification of ‘knowing the club’.
Star man: Billy Sharp is playing in the Premier League after having a lot of fun in the other tiers.
What will happen: The first home goal will get a passionate commentator’s line.
What won’t happen: A Sheffield United player being in people’s Fantasy Premier League teams in August.
Last season timeline: Boring Saints. Grumpy Hughes. Save-It Ralph. Shane Long the goal machine. Survival
The lowdown: A former model club who lost their way but may be finding it again.
The gaffer (Ralph Hasenhuttl): Surpassing Mark Hughes’ success with the Saints wasn’t going to be easy, but he made it work.
Star man: James Ward-Prowse found his goal-scoring boots under Hasenhuttl, or maybe Hasenhuttl got him a pair.
What will happen: An exciting 4-3 win over a side between seventh and 11th.
What won’t happen: A Saints manager who whinges.
Last season timeline: The new stadium will open tomorrow. In the title race. Out of the title race. No new stadium. New stadium. VAR. Lucas Moura.
The lowdown: Archetypal side who stopped themselves from doing something as hideous as winning a trophy last term.
The gaffer (Mauricio Pochettino): Said he’s have resigned had they won the Champions League last term, just about forcing Spurs’ hand.
Star man: The software upgrade on Moussa Sissoko worked majestically last season.
What will happen: Spurs getting knocked out of the title race due to the squad being stretched.
What won’t happen: Harry Kane not getting injured.
Last season timeline: Pereyra. Good form. Deulofeu. Deulofeu at Wembley. Seventh place? Nope. FA Cup annihilation.
The lowdown: A squad that is worth the name ‘international’, who are legally obligated to change managers every season (so what happened last term?)
The gaffer (Javi Gracia): The Spaniard has ruptured the space-time continuum by staying at the Vicarage Road dugout for more than 18 months.
Star man: Gerard Deulofeu is the man that makes the Hornets attack sing… sometimes.
What will happen: That heavy defeat to a top-six side.
What won’t happen: Surely Gracia can’t be there for long. It’s the law!
West Ham United
Last season timeline: Awful start. Form picks up. Arnautovic is going to China. Arnautovic is not going to China. Arnautovic should have gone to China.
The lowdown: Residents of Queen Elizabeth’s London Olympic Stadium, who manage to give fans tiny doses of optimism before crushing it.
The gaffer (Manuel Pellegrini): The Engineer, who’s trying to ruin things at West Ham with aims of stability.
Star man: West Ham don’t deserve Lukasz Fabianski.
What will happen: Victory at home to at least fellow London teams.
What won’t happen: West Ham having a good defensive record.
Last season timeline: New boys. Fight. Slump. Jota x Jimenez. Best of the RestTM
The lowdown: Gold-coloured Jorge Mendes FC, who will fight tooth and nail against the top six but succumb to the bottom six.
The gaffer (Nuno Espirito Santo): Nathan Redmond from an alternate timeline, who has the lovely habit of celebrating goals with his coaching staff.
Star man: In this summer of transfer madness – like every summer – it’s incredible that Ruben Neves hasn’t been in the news.
What will happen: A convincing home win against the top six.
What won’t happen: No one will call them Wolverhampton Wanderers.