Premier League 2020/21 season preview: Club by club guide (part two)

The Premier League returns after a delightfully brief off-season next weekend and here at FST we’re busy combing through all the recent developments and stats in preparation for another hectic season of top flight action.

Following on from part one of our club by club guide to the Premier League, we delve into the next five contestants vying it out for top flight glory.

And remember, we’ll also be covering every single top flight match in detail, and you can follow along too on our Premier League predictions page.


Crystal Palace van Aanholt

Crystal Palace

Premier League finish 2019/20: 14th

Ins:

Eberechi Eze – QPR – £20m

Nathan Ferguson – West Brom – Free

Outs:

Jason Lokilo – Doncaster – Free

Stephen Henderson – Released

Ryan Inniss – Released

Key Player: Wilfried Zaha

For the time being at least, it looks like Wilfried Zaha will remain a Crystal Palace player.

The Eagles’ talisman has made it clear he wants to leave but with no offers forthcoming he’ll remain the key figure in this squad. That being said, he scored just four Premier League goals last season and will need to be back to his best if Palace are to avoid a relegation scrap.

One to Watch: Eberechi Eze

Goals are hard to come by at Selhurst Park and Crystal Palace faithfuls will be hoping that Eberechi Eze can solve that glaring problem.

Eze, a £20m signing from QPR, scored 14 Championship goals last season and looks well equipped to deal with the top flight. At 22-years-old he’s one for the present and the future, and he’s an injection of youth that Palace sorely need.

Preview:

They may have finished well clear of the relegation zone last season, but all is not well at Crystal Palace.

They have an ageing squad, a wantaway talisman and a dire need for some rejuvenation. They scored just 31 goals last season and finished the campaign with just one point from their last eight games. Improvement is needed.


Everton manager Carlo Ancelloti

Everton

Premier League finish 2019/20: 12th

Ins:

Allan – Napoli – undisclosed

Niels Nkounkou – Marseille – £250,000

Outs:

Fraser Hornby – Reims – undisclosed

Morgan Schneiderlin – Nice – undisclosed

Leighton Baines – retired

Kieran Dowell – Norwich – undisclosed

Cuco Martina – released

Oumar Niasse – released

Maarten Stekelenburg – Ajax – free

Djibril Sidibe – Monaco – end of loan

Key Player: Richarlison

When Richarlison moved to Everton back in 2018, many fans scoffed at the exorbitant price they paid Watford for a player with just five goals from 38 appearances.

However, the young Brazilian has grown into a key player for The Toffees, netting 13 league goals in each of his last two campaigns and seven since Ancelotti took charge.

One to Watch: Dominic Calvert-Lewin

Dominic Calvert-Lewin managed just 11 Premier League goals in his first three seasons in Everton’s first team and was threatening to become one of those ‘nearly made it’ players.

Last season he more than doubled his overall tally, netting 13 in 36 and cementing his place alongside Richarlison as the key attackers for Everton. If he can continue to improve there’s every chance he could propel his club up the table.

Preview:

Carlo Ancelotti’s managerial appointment in December 2019 spoke of big ambition in the Everton hierarchy, and while nowhere near complete the revolution is underway.

Allan has come in from Napoli to strengthen the midfield and rumours suggest James Rodriguez is the next big name on the way to Goodison Park.

The Toffees have lost just five of their 15 league games since Ancelotti arrived and a move back into the top half is the least that’s expected.


Aleksandar Mitrovic Fulham

Fulham

Premier League finish 2019/20: 4th (Championship)

Ins:

Antonee Robinson – Wigan – £2m

Harrison Reed – Southampton – £6m

Anthony Knockaert – Brighton – undisclosed

Mario Lemina – Southampton – loan

Outs:

Leca de la Torre – Heracles – free

Key Player: Aleksandar Mitrovic

Fulham’s top goal-getter won the Championship Golden Boot last season and has now scored an impressive 38 goals in 57 Championship appearances for Fulham.

However, the Serbia international struggled to make the step up to the top flight and that proved one of the Cottagers’ main downfalls.

He has only scored 21 top flight goals in 77 appearances for Fulham and Newcastle. That record must improve if Fulham are to survive.

One to Watch: Ivan Cavaleiro

Scorer of six goals and provider of seven more last season, Ivan Cavaleiro’s loan spell at Fulham has been made permanent after his successful campaign.

The 26-year-old former Wolves player is a key figure in Fulham’s attack and, if he can step his game up, will be important in providing support for Mitrovic.

Preview:

Fulham seem to have learned their lesson from 2018/19. They spent over £100m after their promotion in a bid to remain in the top flight, only to plunge straight back into the second tier after a dreadful campaign. They weren’t expected to bounce straight back up, but now they have the Cottagers do seem to be in a better position than their last attempt.

The signings of Harrison Reed, Mario Lemina and Antonee Robinson speak of a more regimented approach to the transfer window and many of their stars have a season of Premier League experience under their belts.

That being said, they did only finish 4th last season, they didn’t end the season in particularly good form and they depend an awful lot on the goals of Aleksandar Mitrovic.


Marcelo Bielsa

Leeds United

Premier League finish 2019/20: 1st (Championship)

Ins:

Rodrigo – Valencia – £27m

Helder Costa – Wolves – £16m

Robin Koch – Freiburg – undisclosed

Joe Gelhardt – Wigan – undisclosed

Illan Meslier – Lorient – undisclosed

Charlie Allen – Linfield – undisclosed

Cody Drameh – Fulham – undisclosed

Sam Greenwood – Arsenal – undisclosed

Jack Harrison – Manchester City – loan

Outs:

Key Player: Pablo Hernandez

He may be 35 years old, but Pablo Hernandez will be key to Leeds United’s chances following their promotion last season.

The Spaniard scored nine and assisted nine more in the Championship last season and his eye for an opening makes him the catalyst to Leeds’s attacking ambitions.

One to Watch: Kalvin Phillips

One of Leeds United’s prized assets, Kalvin Phillips will come under the spotlight this season as the 24-year-old holding midfielder looks to step up to the top flight.

He was one of The Peacocks’ best players in the second tier last season, but he’ll face a whole new breed of player this year.

Preview:

There’s an awful lot of excitement coming out of Elland Road after their long-awaited return to the top flight, but it’s a huge step up and nothing is certain, even with Marcelo Bielsa’s tactical genius.

Ben White’s return to Brighton is a big blow, and a lot rests on the shoulders of new club-record signing Rodrigo. Patrick Bamford was wasteful with his shooting last season and chances are much harder to come by in the Premier League, so Rodrigo will have to hit the ground running.


Leicester City forward Jamie Vardy

Leicester City

Premier League finish 2019/20: 5th

Ins:

Timothy Castagne – Atalanta – £21.5m

Outs:

Ben Chilwell – Chelsea – undisclosed

Calvin Bassey – Rangers – free

Viktor Johansson – Rotherham – free

Daniel Iversen – OH Leuven – loan

Key Player: Jamie Vardy

He’s not getting any younger, but Jamie Vardy remains absolutely essential to Leicester’s success.

The 33-year-old won the Golden Boot with a 23 goal haul last season to prove once again why he has been so integral to this Foxes squad. However, tired legs thwarted him at times and that’s only going to get worse.

One to Watch: Harvey Barnes

Young attacker Harvey Barnes burst onto the Leicester scene in 2018/19, but last season saw him turn into a full-blooded first teamer.

He made 36 Premier League appearances, scoring six goals and assisting eight more. At 22-years-old Barnes has plenty of room to grow and this could be his defining season.

Preview:

Leicester City aren’t ones to endure a dull season. There’s been incredible highs and lows over the years, and while last season wasn’t the most dramatic it certainly wasn’t without it’s ups and downs.

The Foxes looked assured of a top four position halfway through the campaign, but their legs went away and the second half of the season saw them drop down the pecking order. Just three wins from their final 14 Premier League games lost them a Champions League spot, and they might not get that opportunity again this year.


More FST News:

Racing Post’s The Big Kick-Off

Premier League club by club guide part one

Everton’s engine room evolution

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