Welcome to our 2018/19 Premier League preview in which we’ll look at the chances of all 20 teams battling it out during the next nine months, a period when plenty of questions will be answered.
Can Manchester City defend their crown? Will Liverpool win a first Premier League title? How will Tottenham fare at their new ground? Will Jose Mourinho last the season at Manchester United? And, how will Arsenal perform without Arsene Wenger?
And, it is with Arsenal that we start our 2018/19 preview…
Manager: Unai Emery
Title odds: 25-1
You have to go back over 20 years for the last time Arsenal started a new season without Arsene Wenger in charge, making this a very interesting season for Gunners’ fans – and one in which the north Londoners are as big as 25-1 for the title, compared to 12-1 this time last year.
The man bought in to replace Wenger is Unai Emery, who after winning three Europa Cups with Sevilla, was hired by Paris St Germain to win the French League, which he achieved at the second attempt last season. Those achievements certainly read well, and his knowledge of the European leagues suggest he’ll be bringing in some unexposed talent to accompany his summer signings, including Lucas Torreira, who will help improve things at the back where Arsenal were poor last season. Meanwhile, both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, who netted 24 league goals between them last term, should again prove reliable up front.
Key signings: Lucas Torreira £26m, Bernd Leno £19m, Sokratis Papastahopoulos £17m.
Key departures: Jack Wilshere, Per Mertesacker, Santiago Cazorla
Premier League finishes: 6th, 5th, 2nd, 3rd, 4th
Points after first six games (last five seasons): 10, 13, 10, 10, 12 (max.18pts)
Aug 4: Lazio 0 Arsenal 2 (Nelson, Aubameyang)
Aug 1: Chelsea 1 Arsenal 1 (Lacazette)
Jul 28: PSG 1 Arsenal 5 (Lacazette 2, Ozil, Holding, Nketiah)
Jul 26: Atletico Madrid 1 Arsenal 1 (E.Smith Rowe)
Bogey team: Chelsea (1 win from 12)
Best team: Crystal Palace (13 wins from 17)
Top trend: Arsenal scored in 18 of their 19 home games last season.
Verdict: Improvement upon last season’s sixth-place looks realistic under Unai Emery, but it may take him a first season in England to adjust before the Gunners can be being considered title contenders.
Manager: Eddie Howe
Title odds: 1,000-1
Not many would have thought Bournemouth could make a fourth consecutive season in the Premier League, and such a record for a small club can be seen as a successful achievement – but, can they survive another season?
Well, despite winning their final two games of the season, the Cherries appeared to be in a slump during the last three months of the season, with a leaky defence that kept just six clean sheets from 38 games – the joint-worst with relegated Stoke City. If their defence – which hasn’t been strengthened during the summer – concedes regularly once more, then Eddie Howe could be in for a long season. Indeed, with Jermain Defoe’s age finally catching up with him at this level – he scored just four times last term – Howe will also need to strengthen a forward line in which Callum Wilson and Josh King were the club’s top scorers with eight goals apiece during the last campaign.
Key signings: Jefferson Lerma £25m, David Brooks £11m, Diego Rico £10m.
Key departures: Benik Afobe, Lewis Grabban.
Premier League finishes: 12th, 9th, 16th, N/A, N/A.
Points after first six league games: 3, 7, 7, N/A, N/A (max.18pts)
04 Aug: Bournemouth 5 (King 2, Fraser 2, Wilson) Marseille 2
03 Aug: Bournemouth 0 Real Betis 2
28 Jul: N Forest 2 Bournemouth 0
27 Jul: Bristol City 1 Bournemouth 1 (King)
Bogey team: Man City (0 points from six meetings)
Best team: Leicester City (unbeaten in four meetings)
Top trend: Only Watford conceded more goals at home than Bournemouth last season.
Verdict: Struggled at times last season and haven’t added much quality during the summer, suggesting a hard campaign ahead.
Manager: Chris Hughton
Title odds: 1,000-1
There was a lot to like about Brighton’s first season in the Premier League, and their haul of summer signings should put them in good stead for another safe season.
The Seagulls’ main signing, Alireza Jahanbakash, was last season’s top scorer in the Dutch League, and should provide much needed goals for Chris Hughton’s side, especially on the road where they netted the least number along with West Brom. The flip side of that coin reveals that Brighton were a force at home, losing just four times, and anywhere near that sort of strike-rate at the Amex Stadium combined with their new acquisitions will see them difficult to beat down on the south coast – should the cup draw be kind then they might also get beyond last season’s quarter-finals.
Key signings: Alireza Jahanbakash £17m, Yves Bissouma £15m, Bernardo £9m
Key departures: None.
Premier League finishes: 15th, N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A.
Points after first six league games: 7, N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A.
03 Aug: Brighton 2 (Hemed, Gross) Nantes 1
28 Jul: Birmingham 1 Brighton 1 (Bissouma)
24 Jul: Charlton 1 Brighton 1 (Gross)
21 Jul: AFC Wimbledon 2 Brighton 1 (Norwood)
Bogey team: Chelsea, Leicester, Liverpool, Man City (2 defeats in 2 meetings)
Best team: West Ham (2 wins in 2 meetings)
Top trend: Brighton scored the joint-lowest number of away goals last term.
Verdict: Made several good signings and should survive another season in the top flight, while a cup wouldn’t be out of the question.
Manager: Sean Dyche
Title odds: 1,000-1
It was another astonishing season for Burnley in 2017/18, and one in which their magician of a manager, Sean Dyche, guided them into seventh along with a place in the Europa League.
The Clarets’ European venture has also started well with a recent hard-fought victory over Aberdeen where last season’s top scorer, Chris Wood, was on the scoresheet and looks set for another good season. However, Dyche has been unable to make many signings during the summer, which could expose a squad that may come under pressure should their Europa League campaign prove long. The good news is that the majority of last season’s team is still together, including a rock-solid defence that leaked just one more goal than Chelsea and Liverpool last season.
Key signings: Joe Hart 3.5m, Ben Gibson 15m
Key departures: Scott Arfield
Premier League finishes: 7th, 16th, N/A, 18th, N/A, N/A
Points after first six league games: 9, 7, N/A, 3, N/A, N/A (max.18pts)
02 Aug: Burnley 3 (Wood, Cork, Barnes) Aberdeen 1
29 jul: Burnley 0 Montpellier 0
26 Jul: Aberdeen 1 Burnley (Vokes)
Bogey team: Arsenal (0 win from 8 meetings)
Best team: Everton (3 wins from 4 meetings)
Top trend: None of Burnley’s home games last season produced more than three goals.
Verdict: If the Europa League doesn’t cause too much distraction, then another solid season looks in the making.
Manager: Neil Warnock
Title odds: 2,500-1
Cardiff City fans will be hoping their return to the Premier League is more successful than their only venture into the top flight five season ago when finishing bottom.
The Bluebirds return under a wise manager in Neil Warnock, who has Premier League experience in abundance, and while they were hardly impressive in finishing runners-up in the Championship, City fans who follow omens will look to the fact that only one of the last 10 Championship runners-up went straight down (Hull City in 2016-17).
Warnock has also made some sound purchases from the second tier, including Bobby Reid, who smashed 21 goals for Bristol City, while it will be interesting to see how the creative Canadian, Junior Hoilett, goes in the top flight having impressed last term. They will face their acid test upped significantly in class.
Key signings: Josh Murphy £11m, Bobby Reid £10m, Greg Cunningham £4m.
Key departures: None.
Premier League finishes: N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A, 20th
Points after first six league games: N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A, 8 (max.18pts)
04 Aug: Cardiff City 1 (Murphy) Real Betis 2
03 Aug: Cardiff City 3 (Madine, Pilkington, og) Amiens 1
28 Jul: Burton Albion 1 Cardiff City 5 (Zohore, Mendez-Laing, Reid, Paterson, og)
Bogey team: N/A
Best team: N/A
Top trend: Only Fulham scored more Championship goals during the final 15 minutes last season.
Verdict: Did well to gain promotion, but a lack of quality to hurt teams at this level might prove their downfall.
Manager: Maurizio Sarri
Title odds: 14-1
Having lined-up at 7-2 to defend their crown under Antonio Conte 12 months ago, Chelsea looked off the pace from the outset and managed just fifth place – an effort that saw Conte depart, and their odds quadruple for 2018/19.
Taking the Italian’s place in the hot seat is compatriot, Maurizio Sarri, who arrives having taken Napoli to second in last season’s Serie A – albeit at the third attempt. It remains to be seen whether the highly-respected Sarri will be given as much time to get it right in west London, though he has brought with him from Napoli the £57m defensive midfielder, Jorginho, which could keep home fans content should Eden Hazard or Willian leave. And therein lies the main concern with the Blues’ chances of recapturing the title – if they can keep their best players, and Sarri gets a tune out of them, they should be top four material.
Key signings: Jorginho £57m
Key departures: None.
Premier League finishes: 5th, 1st, 10th, 1st, 3rd.
Points after first six league games: 13, 10, 7, 16, 11 (max.18pts)
Aug 7: Chelsea v Lyon
Aug 5: Chelsea 0 Manchester City 2
Aug 1: Arsenal 1 Chelsea 1 (Rudiger)
Jul 28: Chelsea 1 (Pedro) Inter Milan 1
Bogey team: Man Utd (won only 18 from 52 meetings)
Best team: Arsenal (lost only 3 of 19 meetings)
Top trend: Only Manchester City had a better first-half away record road than Chelsea last season.
Verdict: Under another new regime with several key players possibly on their way out, the Europa League or another cup could be their best route towards silverware.
Manager: Roy Hodgson
Title odds: 750-1
Roy Hodgson steadied the ship following defeats in Crystal Palace’s opening seven games last season, and while Hodgson hasn’t had much to work with in the summer market, he has a unit that are well drilled.
Indeed, the Eagles finished last term as one of the form teams winning five of their last eight games, losing just one. If Palace can carry on from where they left off then they should maintain their usual mid-table slot, having finished the last five seasons in 11th to 15th. The pre-season signs have also been good, with Palace scoring 19 goals in five friendlies, though Hodgson will want his team to improve their record against the bigger sides – they won just one of their eight encounters against last season’s top four clubs – while the possibility of losing last season’s second top scorer, Wilfried Zaha, could cause problems.
Key signings: Max Meyer (free), Vicente Guaita (free), Cheikhou Kouyate £10m
Key departures: Yohan Cabaye, Bakary Sako.
Premier League finishes: 11th, 14th, 15th, 10th, 11th
Points after first six league games: 0, 10, 9, 8, 3, 7 (max.18pts)
04 Aug: Crystal Palace 4 (Benteke, Schlupp, Milivojevic, Zaha) Toulouse 1
28 Jul: Reading 0 Crystal Palace 4 (Zaha 2, Sorloth,Tomkins)
21 Jul: Oxford 1 Crystal Palace (Zaha, Schlupp, Kaikai)
Bogey team: Man Utd (0 win from 18)
Best team: Leicester City (2 wins from 2 meetings)
Top trend: Palace led at half-time just 25 times in 152 games during the last four seasons.
Verdict: If Zaha stays then Palace should enjoy a good season, though the opposite could be true if their star player heads for a bigger club.
Manager: Marco Silva
Title odds: 250-1
Everton enter a new season with another new manager in Marco Silva, who this time last year started life out with Watford where he had an impressive start with the Hornets. However, their performance dipped once Everton made an approach for Silva, resulting in his dismissal.
Silva will feel he has a point to prove with the Toffees, though he will need to see some improvement from his side who displayed concerns in an ageing defence during pre-season, leaking 10 in their last three outings – all of which suggests World Cup hero, Jordan Pickford, could be in for a busy season. Silva has brought club record signing, Richarlison, to team up with the likes of Sigurdsson, Tosun and Pickford, suggesting there is enough class for Everton to maintain their traditional top half finish.
Key signings: Richarlison £40m, Lucas Digne £18m
Key departures: Davy Klaasen, Wayne Rooney
Premier League finishes: 8th, 7th, 11th, 5th, 6th
Points after first six league games: 7, 13, 9, 6, 12 (max.18pts)
04 Aug: Everton 2 (Tosun, Keane) Valencia 3
28 Jul: Rennes 4 Everton 1 (Richarlison)
Jul 26: Blackburn 3 Everton 0
Bogey team: Arsenal (won only 2 of their last 22 meetings)
Best team: West Ham (lost only 3 of their last 22 meetings)
Top trend: During the last four seasons, Everton won only 8 of their 76 games against top-eight sides – against the bottom six sides, they won 33 out of 60.
Verdict: Marco Silva takes the reins for what looks an exciting season ahead, as long as he blocks up the holes in defence.
Manager: Slavisa Jokanovic
Title odds: 1,000-1
There is a sense of excitement around Craven Cottage with Fulham making their return to the Premier League following a five-year absence – and the football they played last season offers encouragement they can cause a splash.
While finishing in the top six isn’t realistic, they are capable of making the top half of the table with so much class in the squad. One of those potential star names who could light up the Premier League is last season’s Championship Player of the Year, Ryan Sessegnon, who finished top scorer for the Whites with 16 goals. Then there is the addition of Jean Michel Seri and Aleksandar Mitrovic, to go with some experienced hands boasting Premier League experience such as Andre Schurrle. The one area that may be a weakness is in defence owing to the loss of both Ryan Fredericks and Matt Targett.
Key signings: Jean Michel Seri £25m, Aleksandar Mitrovic £22m, Fabri £5m, Andre Schurrle.
Key departures: Ryan Fredericks, Matt Targett, David Button
Last five Premier League finishes: N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A, 19th
Points after first six league games: 7pts from 18 in last year’s Championship.
04 Aug: Fulham 2 (Mitrovic, Kamara) Celta Vigo 2
01 Aug: Sampdoria 1 Fulham 0
21 July: Lyon 4 Fulham 0
Bogey team: Chelsea (1 win from 26 meetings)
Best team: Newcastle United (won 8 of their last 12 meetings)
Top trend: Fulham scored the opening goal on most occasions in the Championship last term (30 out of 46).
Verdict: Can hold their own, and an outside chance of a top 10 finish with funds available.
Manager: David Wagner
Title odds: 1,500-1
A bright start last August helped Huddersfield Town maintain their stay in the Premier League for a second season, having accumulated 10 points from their first six games – a tally that got them over the line when they struggled during the second half of the season.
Whether the Terriers can start as well again remains to be seen – they begin against Chelsea and then Manchester City – and won’t have the momentum of promotion behind this time. However, their pre-season has gone well with several of their new signings making the scoresheet, including both Adama Diakhaby and Terence Kongolo – a good sign as they were the joint-lowest scorers last season with relegated Swansea. As for what the stats suggest regarding promoted teams who survive their first season, then 11 of the last 13 teams since 2011-12 looking to make it to a third season in the top flight stayed up (Hull and QPR the two who went down).
Key signings: Terence Kongolo £17m, Ramadan Sobhi £5m, Florent Hadergjonaj £5m, Adama Diakhaby.
Key departures: Tom Ince.
Last five Premier League finishes: 16th.
Points after first six league games: 10.
03 Aug: Huddersfield 3 (Mounie, Diakhaby, Billing) RB Leipzig 0
31 Jul: Huddersfield 2 (Mooy, Mounie) Bologna 1
25 Jul: Huddersfield 3 (Depoitre 2, Kongolo) Lyon 1
Bogey team: Arsenal, Everton, Liverpool Tottenham West Ham (2 defeats in 2 meetings)
Best team: Watford (2 wins in 2 meetings)
Top trend: Huddersfield took 12 points from their first 10 games, but only 3 points from their last 10 games.
Verdict: The Terriers did incredibly well to stay up, but will need to start well once more if surviving the drop.
Manager: Claude Puel
Title odds: 300-1
There are plenty of statistics that catch the eye, but two which really standout regarding Leicester City are that Claude Puel took them from 18th to 9th last season, while Jamie Vardy became the first player to score against all top six clubs on the way to bagging 20 goals.
The stats suggest Leicester are back on track, and while they lost Riyad Mahrez to Manchester City, they used that money to attract the promising James Maddison from Norwich, along with Ricardo Pereira, Danny Ward and Jonny Evans – overall, a nice mix of improving talent and experience. Such talent will join the likes of Vardy, Harry Magauire and Kasper Schmeichel, and should City manage to keep the aforementioned trio for the season then their sights could be set on a tip six finish. It’s also worth noting that Kelechi Iheanacho scored three times from seven starts last term and may get more opportunities having been among the goals pre-season.
Key signings: James Maddison £22m, Ricardo Pereira £21m, Danny Ward £12m, Jonny Evans £3m.
Key departures: Riyad Mahrez.
Premier League finishes: 9th, 12th, 1st, 14th, N/A
Points after first six league games: 4, 7, 12, 8, N/A(max.18pts)
04 Aug: Lille 1 Leicester 2 (Iheanacho 2)
01 Aug: Leicester (Iheanacho) 1 Lille 1
25 Jul: Akhirsarspor 0 Leicester 0
Bogey team: Arsenal (2 win from 24); Man Utd (2 wins from 24)
Best team: Watford (5 wins from 8)
Top trend: Leicester were involved in 24 games (from 38) in which both teams scored last season – the most in the division.
Verdict: Losing Mahrez was a blow, but City spent well and have plenty of talent to keep them in the top half – if they keep their star players then a top six or cup success is possible.
Manager: Jurgen Klopp
Title odds: 4-1
This time last year phrases such as ”improving, yet to peak, promising and full of potential” were used to describe Liverpool’s title prospects, and the same remarks are again being made about whether the Reds can win the Premier League for the first time in 28 attempts.
While that may sound harsh – after all, most records come to end at some point – Liverpool will need to improve upon last season’s fourth spot, though the good news is that they retain the same squad as last term, with the addition of some exciting summer signings. In fact, Jurgen Klopp spent the most money in the Premier League this summer, including a world record buy for a goalkeeper in Alisson from Roma, while in midfield they introduce Naby Keita, Fabinho and Shakiri from Stoke.
So, the question remains: can Liverpool win the title? Well, with Mohammed Salah – already with two goals in pre-season – Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino they certainly have the firepower. But, it could all come down to momentum, and getting off to a winning start. They Reds enjoyed a good pre-season – as they did last year – and have a kind opening list of fixtures at home to West Ham and Brighton, plus away trip to Crystal Palace and Leicester, and will haver to make the most of it with reigning champions Manchester City traditionally quick out the blocks (City won 11 of their last 12 matches during August/September).
This could be Liverpool’s best opportunity in years to hit the ground running, this time last year they were 14-1 and now they are 4-1, but can they take matters into their own hands?
Key signings: Fabinho £39m, Alisson £67m, Xherdan Shaqiri £13m, Naby Keita £48m
Key departures: Emre Can
Premier League finishes: 4th, 8th, 6th, 2nd, 7th
Points after first six league games: 13, 8, 7, 13, 5 (max.18pts)
07 Aug: Liverpool v Torino
04 Aug: Napoli 0 Liverpool 5 (Milner, Wijnaldum, Salah, Sturridge, Moreno)
28 Jul: Man Utd 1 Liverpool 4 (Mane, Sturridge, Ojo, Shaqiri)
26 Jul: Man City 1 Liverpool 2 (Salah, Mane)
Bogey team: Man Utd (3 wins from 17)
Best team: Everton (0 loss in 14)
Top trend: Liverpool’s away games last season produced the most number of goals at an average of 3.53 per match.
Verdict: A settled squad with excellent new additions suggest this could finally be Liverpool’s chance to win the title, and a good start could give them every chance.
Manager: Pep Guardiola
Title odds: 8-11
Manchester City set new records in landing the title for the second time in five years back in May, and will be difficult to dethrone as champions.
Pep Guardiola showed just why he is the best manager in Europe by winning the title at the second attempt, doing it in a style that excited many and notching an incredible 106 goals in the process. Guardiola also has the same squad to work with, along with the huge addition of ex-Leicester striker, Riyad Mahrez, which will help reshuffle his attacking pack for Europe where he’ll now want to make his mark with City. Guardiola also has a good record of defending titles throughout Europe so should still be motivated to take City to yet another level, though the only possible concern is despite being traditionally fast starters, they had a number of their team involved at the World Cup. It will also be interesting to see how Mahrez performs at a big club, where he may not start every game should others get among the goals from the outset.
Key signings: Riyad Mahrez £60m
Key departures: Yaya Toure
Premier League finishes: 1st, 3rd, 4th, 2nd, 1st
Points after first six league games: 16, 18, 15, 11, 10 (max.18pts)
05 Aug: Chelsea 0 Man City 2 (Aguero)
Jul 29: Bayern Munich 2 Man City 3 (Silva 2, Nmecha)
Jul 26: Liverpool 2 Man City 1 (Sane)
Jul 21: Borussia Dortmund 1 Man City 0
Bogey team: Arsenal (9 wins from 42 meetings); Liverpool (8 wins from 42).
Best team: Bournemouth (6 wins from 6 meetings)
Top trend: Man City scored the most goals in each of the last four Premier Leagues.
Verdict: Worthy favourites and may even get better if hitting the ground running again.
Manager: Jose Mourinho
Title odds: 8-1
It is easy to forget that Manchester United finished second last season, such was the dominance of rivals City at the top of the table, but can they close the gap this time?
Jose Mourinho did well to get improvement from United last term, but they need to step up again if challenging City, and their pre-season signs haven’t been strong. Mourinho himself has not appeared happy in bringing only Fred and Diogo Dalot to Old Trafford, and should United not start well, then the manager’s history points to possible trouble. On the positive side, the Red Devils have two new signings to accompany Lukaku, Rashford, Pogba and Lingard, while the ultra-consistent David de Gea will again be keeping things tight between the sticks. Then there is Alexis Sanchez, who took a while to settle in but is one of the few who looked good pre-season and could make the difference to United this term if on song.
Key signings: Fred £52m, Diogo Dalot £19m.
Key departures: Daley Blind, Michael Carrick
Premier League finishes: 2nd, 6th, 5th, 4th, 7th
Points after first six league games: 16, 12, 13, 8, 7 (max.18pts)
05 Aug: Bayern Munich 1 Man Utd 0
Aug 01: Real Madrid 1 Man Utd 2 (Sanchez, Herrera)
Jul 28: Liverpool 4 Man Utd 1 (Pereira)
Jul 26: AC Milan 1 Man Utd 1 (Sanchez)
Bogey team: Chelsea (3 wins from 13)
Best team: Crystal Palace (15 wins from 17)
Top trend: Manchester United kept the most clean sheets last season (19 from 38 games).
Verdict: A lot could depend on Sanchez. If he starts well, then positivity could spread and success may follow. If things don’t start well, Mourinho might be out.
Manager: Rafael Benitez
Title odds: 750-1
Newcastle United have a record of finishing around mid-table in the Premier League, and did just that on their return last season when finishing exactly halfway.
However, it is difficult to see the Magpies flying any higher with Rafael Benitez and owner Mike Ashley in stalemate regarding new players/contract, meaning Benitez will have to work with what the affordable shrewd foreign exports he’s brought in. The Brazilian, Kenedy, has also stayed on loan from Chelsea, but they will need to find goals from somewhere, especially as they failed to net in their last three pre-season friendlies. Benitez himself has shown frustration pre-season, and with the first few months proving pivotal to United’s direction, they could face an uphill task with Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal to face in their first five games.
Key signings: Martin Dubravka £4m, Fabian Schar £3m, Salomon Rondon (loan)
Key departures: Dwight Gayle, Mikel Merino, Matz Sels
Premier League finishes: 10th N/A, 18th, 15th, 10th
Points after first six league games: 9, N/A, 2, 3, 7 (max.18pts)
04 Aug: Newcastle 0 Augsburg 1
01 Aug: Braga 1 Newcastle 0
28 Jul: Porto 0 Newcastle 0
Bogey team: Burnley (0 win from 4 meetings)
Best team: Crystal Palace (10 wins from 16 meetings)
Top trend: Newcastle kept just two clean sheets on the road last season – the worst in the division.
Verdict: Did well last season, but tension between the manager and owner along with a tough opening five fixtures could make for a tricky season.
Manager: Mark Hughes
Title odds: 500-1
Having got rid of Mauricio Pellegrino in March, Mark Hughes arrived to guide the Saints to safety – just.
That escape was enough to earn Hughes a three-year deal during which time he is expected to get Southampton moving back into the right half of the table. Hughes has been given money to spend compared to this time last year when only one player around £6m was brought in – this summer saw four players arrive worth £7m or more. If they can get Charlie Austin to remain injury-free then they could have a striker capable of getting 15-20 goals, and his recent strike pre-season offers hope.
It’s also worth noting that the Saints haven’t made a good start for several seasons, and Hughes will be keen for his side to get some points on the board early – with fixtures against Burnley, Leicester, Crystal Palace, Brighton and Wolves among the first seven games, they have a chance to get going early.
Key signings: Jannik Vestergaard £18m, Mohammed Elyounnoussi £16m, Angus Gunn £10m, Stuart Armstrong £7m
Key departures: Dusan Tadic.
Premier League finishes: 17th, 8th, 6th, 7th, 8th
Points after first six league games: 6, 8, 6, 14, 11 (max.18pts)
Aug 4: Southampton 0 B Monchengladbach 3
Aug 1: Southampton 3 (Austin, Armstrong, Elyounoussi) Celta Vigo 2
Jul 21: Derby County 3 Southampton 0
Bogey team: Arsenal (6 wins from 38 meetings)
Best team: Crystal Palace (3 losses in 18 meetings)
Top trend: Southampton failed to beat a top six team in 12 attempts last season.
Verdict: Saints approach the new campaign as a more settled club, and a kind opening schedule could set them on their way to a satisfactory season.
Manager: Mauricio Pochettino
Title odds: 16-1
A new stadium, same manager, no big signings and a double-figure price available about Tottenham winning their first title since 1961 – haven’t we been here before?
The same scenario was apparent only 12 months ago when Spurs were 10-1, yet Mauricio Pochettino’s men are as big as 16-1 despite finishing third in May, and boast a wealth of in-form talent from the World Cup. One such player is Harry Kane, who won the Golden Boot in Russia, while the likes of Kieran Trippier are still improving.
The key will be whether Spurs can stay within touching distance of the leaders while settling into their new home – five of their first seven games are on the road. But, should they make a solid start and more income from the new stadium allows more money to be spent in the January transfer window, then the likes of Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish, along with others could arrive to freshen things up.
Key signings: None
Key departures: None
Premier League finishes: 3rd, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 5th
Points after first six league games: 9, 14, 9, 8, 13 (max.18pts)
Aug 4: Girona 4 Tottenham 1 (Moura)
Aug 1: AC Milan 0 Tottenham 1 (N’Koudou)
Jul 29: Barcelona 2 Tottenham 2 (N’Koudou, Son)
Jul 26: Roma 1 Tottenham 4 (Llorente, Moura)
Bogey team: Chelsea (5 wins from 50 meetings); Man Utd (7 wins in 50)
Best team: Bournemouth (5 wins in 6 meetings)
Top trend: Tottenham scored 20 goals and conceded just three during the first 15 minutes after half-time last season.
Verdict: There is no reason why this tried-and-tested unit can’t go well again, but they will rely heavily on Harry Kane staying fit for the entire season.
Manager: Javi Gracia
Title odds: 1,000-1
Last season was a story of two halves for Watford having started brightly under Marco Silva prior to a 2018 collapse, which saw them plummet down the table.
New boss, Javi Gracia, helped the Hornets stay up, though he doesn’t have the most impressive of CV’s and will have to perform wonders to get the best out of a squad that lost Richarlison during the summer. The good news is that Watford still have the services of Abdoulaye Doucoure, who netted seven times last term, while Ben Foster takes over from Gomes between the sticks, and overall they should have enough via solid yardsticks Troy Deeney, Will Hughes and Andre Gray to stay up.
Key signings: Gerrard Deulofeu £11m, Adam Masina £3m, Ben Foster £2m
Key departures: Richarlison
Premier League finishes: 14th, 17th, 13th, N/A, N/A
Points after first six league games: 11, 7, 9, N/A, N/A (max.18pts)
Aug 4: Watford 1 Sampdoria 1 (Deeney)
Jul 28: Brentford 1 Watford 2 (Gray, og)
Jul 27: Stevenage 0 Watford 1 (Gray)
Bogey team: Arsenal (8 losses in 10 meetings); Tottenham (0 win in 10)
Best team: Bournemouth (0 defeats in 6 meetings)
Top trend: Watford conceded the most Premier League goals during the final 15 minutes last season.
Verdict: Abdoulaye Doucoure has signed a new five-year deal and is key for Watford in staying out of the relegation scrap.
Manager: Manuel Pellegrini
Title odds: 500-1
As West Ham enter the third season at the London Stadium, they do so under Manuel Pellegrini, who won the title with Manchester City and makes a welcome return to the Premier League.
Pellegrini has been busy in the transfer market, bringing in the likes of Felipe Anderson and Issa Diop, plus keeper Lukasz Fabianski, who let in 12 fewer goals than West Ham did last season despite playing for relegated Swansea. The Hammers will also need to gel quickly having lost too much ground from the outset in recent seasons, though they do face Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Man United and Tottenham during their first nine games. However, should they come out of that schedule without too many bruises, they have enough quality via the likes of Marko Arnautovic to make the top half of the table in 2019.
Key signings: Felipe Anderson £40m, Issa Diop £22m, Andriy Yarmolenko £17m, Lukasz Fabianski £7m, Jack Wilshere (free)
Key departures: James Collins
Premier League finishes: 13th, 11th, 7th, 12th, 13th
Points after first six league games: 4, 3, 12, 7, 5 (max.18pts)
Aug 3: Angers 1 West Ham 0
Jul 31: Mainz 1 West Ham 1 (Martinez)
Jul 28: Ipswich 1 West Ham 2 (Anderson, Arnautovic)
Bogey team: Man Utd (5 wins from 44 meetings)
Best team: Burnley (5 wins from 8)
Top trend: Away from home, West Ham conceded 28 goals during the second half – the worst in the Premier League.
Verdict: A tough fixture list early on, along with new players needing to settle, could see West Ham come good in the second half of the season.
Manager: Nuno Espirito Santo
Title odds: 250-1
Last season’s runaway Championship winners look an exciting addition to this year’s Premier League, and are capable of holding their own against the big boys.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side tore teams to shreds with their attacking style last season, with star player, Ruben Neves, at the forefront of their assaults, and the 21-year-old Portuguese will put the frighteners into some of the lesser defences. There is further assistance from Portugal’s Euro 2016 winning side in keeper Rui Patricio and midfielder Joao Moutinho, while the club record may still be smashed should Adama Traore join from Middlesbrough. Clearly, Wolves and the board mean business, and with the last three winners of the Championship surviving their first season in the top flight, the omens look good.
Key signings: Adama Traore 18m, Jaoa Moutinho £5m, Rui Patricio (free), Diogo Jota £12m, Willy Boly £10m, Jonny Castro Otto (free)
Key departures: Barry Douglas
Premier League finishes: N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Points after first six league games: 13pts in the Championship last season (max.18pts)
Aug 4: Villarreal 1 Wolves 2 (Boly, Jiminez)
Jul 28: Derby 2 Wolves 1 (Jota)
July 25: Stoke 0 Wolves 0
Bogey team: Arsenal (0 win in 8 meetings)
Best team: Fulham (9 wins in 14 meetings)
Top trend: Wolves conceded just one home goal during the opening 30 minutes last season.
Verdict: Impressed in winning the Championship and are capable of ruffling a few feathers.