Born in the south east of Ireland, Simon put his life-long love of football to good use when he started a successful independent blog in 2010. That opened up an alternative route to a career in journalism, and having had work published across a number of sites and publications, Simon joined the staff at Spotlight Sports Group in 2018.
The 2020/21 Premier League season is almost here, and with just days to go before the big kick-off, the division’s clubs are gearing up for another white-knuckle campaign in the world’s most exciting domestic competition.
Ahead of the action, we’ve been raking through the info to put together a detailed club-by-club guide complete with ins, outs, key players, ones to watch and individual season previews for all of this season’s 20 top-flight combatants.
Below, you can read the fourth and final part of our pre-season guide, and you can find the first entries of our Premier League League 2020/21 season preview by clicking the relevant links below.
Remember – we’ll be covering all of the proceedings this term with match previews and free betting tips on our Premier League predictions page.
Premier League finish 2019/20: 11th
Kyle-Walker Peters – Tottenham Hotspur – £11m
Mohammed Salisu – Real Valladolid – £10m
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – Tottenham Hotspur – £14m
Harrison Reed – Fulham – £8m
Mario Lemina – Fulham Loan
Cedric Soares – Arsenal – Free transfer
Jack Rose – Walsall – Free transfer
Maya Yoshida – Sampdoria – Free transfer
Key Player: Danny Ings
With a superb 22 goals, Danny Ings accounted for nearly half of Southampton’s total Premier League haul for 2019/20, and the ex-Liverpool poacher will hope to lead the Saints from the front on their latest domestic adventure. The 28-year-old’s phenomenal strike rate saw him finish as the league’s joint second highest scorer last term alongside Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
One to Watch: William Smallbone
20-year-old Republic of Ireland youth international William Smallbone was forcing his way into the first team reckoning at Southampton near the back end of the 2019/20 season, and after Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s summer departure to Spurs, the Saints starlet could be handed a more prominent role this term.
Austrian tactician Ralph Hasenhuttl has overseen about a remarkable improvement in Southampton since his appointment two years ago, and the Saints’ eventual 11th placed finish last season was powered by a run of just one defeat in their final nine matches.
Hasenhuttl managed to find an attacking formula that made the Saints a real threat in the final third, and the arrival of the highly-rated Mohammed Salisu promise to improve a backline that often struggled to function.
With a young and talented squad at their disposal, and a strong tactical blueprint that allows them to play some easy on the eye football, progression is the name of the game for Southampton again in 2020/21, and the Saints could find that a top half finish is in reach.
Premier League finish 2019/20: 6th
Giovani Lo Celso – Real Betis – £28m
Matt Doherty – Wolves – £15m
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – Southampton – £14m
Joe Hart – Burnley – Free transfer
Kyle-Walker Peters – Southampton – £11m
Jan Vertonghen – Benfica – Free transfer
Oliver Skipp – Norwich – Loan
Michel Vorm – Released
Key Player: Harry Kane
Tottenham talisman Harry Kane missed a chunk of the season through injury, though the England international still managed to notch 18 goals in 29 Premier League appearances. A fully fit and firing Kane is capable of breezing past the 30 goal mark this term for Spurs, and his touch in the final third will be worth plenty of points.
One to Watch: Steven Bergwijn
January signing Steven Bergwijn begins his first full campaign in North London, and having bagged three goals and an assist in eight Premier League starts last term, the Dutch international will hope to increase his output in 2020/21. The pacey attacker’s versatility should ensure that he sees plenty of game time this season.
Tottenham showed some signs of life under the instruction of controversial coach Jose Mourinho towards the end of last season, losing just one of their final nine league games after football’s post-COVID restart.
However, few of Spurs’ performances were convincing with the team’s transition from Pochettino to Mourinho’s style of play has been far from seamless.
While Matt Doherty and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg arrive at Spurs as established Premier League players, Tottenham’s summer recruitment did little to excite supporters ahead of the new campaign, and with things looking a little stale, an improvement on their 6th place finish from last season should prove tough in 2020/21
West Bromwich Albion
Premier League finish 2019/20: N/A (promoted as Championship runners-up)
Grady Diangana – West Ham – £12m
Matheus Pereira – Sporting CP – £8m
Cedric Kipre – Wigan – £900k
David Button – Brighton – £990k
Jonathan Leko – Birmingham – £990k
Nathan Ferguson – Crystal Palace – Free transfer
Key Player: Matheus Pereira
The Baggies paid just £8m to convert Matheus Pereira’s temporary stay at the Hawthorns to a permanent one, and if the Brazilian can transfer his silky skills from the Championship to the Premier League, the deal could go down as one of the summer’s best moves. Pereira notched 16 assists and eight goals in the English second tier last term, and the 24-year-old has the talent to be a hit a division up.
One to Watch: Grady Diangana
West Ham’s decision to allow Grady Diangana to leave the club caused uproar among the club’s support online – and with good reason. The 22-year-old attacking midfielder finished his season on loan with the Baggies with 14 goal contributions in 23 starts in the Championship, and at 22, the winger still has plenty of room to develop.
Championship runners up West Brom have been relegated four times since 2002 and a poor end to the 2019/20 season hints at the possibility of a fifth.
The Baggies won just three of their final 11 Championship fixtures and scraped an automatic promotion by only two points after a run-in where the Baggies avoided a dramatic collapse by the skin of their teeth.
WBA did well to tie Matheus Pereira and Grady Diangana to permanent deals this summer, but with no further additions snared, Albion look light on talent and short on depth for their first top-flight campaign in three years, and a season of struggle is anticipated.
Premier League finish 2019/20: 16th
Tomas Soucek – Slavia Prague – £14m
Grady Diangana – West Brom – £12m
Albian Ajeti – Celtic – £4.95m
Jordan Hugill – Norwich City – £2.97m
Roberto – Real Valladolid – Free transfer
Pablo Zabaleta – Released
Carlos Sanchez – Released
Key Player: Michail Antonio
The versatile Michail Antonio found what promises to be a more permanent home at centre-forward at the back-end of last season, and the 30-year-old’s haul of seven goals in his final seven Premier League appearances should ensure that he remains the focal point of the Hammers’ attack in 2020/21.
One to Watch: Jarrod Bowen
With pace to burn and quick, creative feet, Jarrod Bowen made a decent impact at the Irons following his winter transfer window switch from Hull, scoring once and laying on four assists for his new teammates in just 11 Premier League starts. Those early numbers suggest double figure goal contributions should be the target for his first full campaign in claret.
West Ham secured their Premier League status thanks to an excellent climax to the 2019/20 campaign in which they lost just one of their final seven games, however, a 16th place finish could still be considered a poor return for a talented group of players.
The Hammers improved considerably when Michail Antonio move into a more central attacking role and Jarred Bowen has shown promise since his January move, but following a slow summer, frustration about the direction the club are headed in under its current ownership is threatening to spill over.
A strong start to 2020/21 is imperative if the Irons are to pull away from the toxicity, though David Moyes will be a manager under severe pressure if the Hammers limp out of the blocks. Another flirtation with relegation is a real possibility this season.
Premier League finish 2019/20: 7th
Fabio Silva – FC Porto – £36m
Marcal – Lyon – £1.8m
Matija Sarkic – Aston Villa – Free transfer
Helder Costa – Leeds – £15m
Matt Doherty – Tottenham Hotspur £15m
Key Player: Raul Jimenez
Mexican hitman Raul Jimenez was undoubtedly Wanderers’ star man in 2019/20, smashing home 27 goals in all competitions for Wolves during a stunning individual campaign. Jimenez’s nose for the occasion and knack of finding the net at crucial times were crucial for Nuno Espirito Santo last term, and the 29-year-old will hope to his talisman tag at Molineux this season.
One to Watch: Fabio Silva
Fabio Silva arrived in Wolverhampton with a huge reputation and as the club’s record signing this summer, though the 18-year-old has made just a smattering of first-team appearances in his fledgling career so far. For a fee of £36m, Wolves’ board will expect to see a return on their investment straight away, and it will be fascinating to see hope the teenager handles the pressure.
Nuno Espirito Santo defied expectations last season as he successfully juggled Premier League and Europa League commitments, but a push for a top four finish in 2020/21 looks unlikely.
Wolves’ squad is undeniably a solid one, though it looks equally shallow, and only 14 players made more than 15 Premier League appearances in 2019/20.
Wanderers have stepped up their recruitment recently with the acquisitions of Fabio Silva and experienced Lyon campaigner Marcal, though further additions are needed if they are to improve upon last season’s 7th place finish.
Only last season’s top three lost fewer games than Wolves last season however, and their tough to crack exterior should make them a competitive force against any of the division’s other clubs again.
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