Premier League preview

Bold predictions for all 20 teams headed into the 2023-24 season 🔮

20. Luton Town


What else did you expect?

While Luton are the Premier League's feel good story of the season, they simply lack the financial firepower to be competitive in the world's best league – by a large margin. Their €61m squad is worth just 5% of Man City's, and the club had to make £10m in renovations to Kenilworth Road just to make it suitable for Premier League standards. While there certainly will be some upsets at the 10,356-seat row house that doubles as a stadium, the Hatters will struggle once the novelty and hype of being promoted to England's top flight wears off.

Player to watch: 20 of Luton's 57 league goals last season were scored by Carlton Morris, who leads the lines for the Hatters and is hopeful for a Jamie Vardy-esque breakout. 🎩

19. Sheffield United

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Like a 28-year-old stoner living in their parents' basement, goals are going to be hard to come by for the Blades. After a second-place finish in the Championship, Sheffield have lost all but one (Oliver Norwood) of their top five chance-creators this summer, and done little to recoup their losses in the market. Their goal this season is to avoid relegation.

Player to watch: Often described as a frustrated winger stuck in a center back's body, Anel Ahmedhodžić scored six goals in the Championship last season and will continue to be a threat on set pieces. 🇧🇦 

18. Wolverhampton Wanderers


If it wasn't for striker Matheus Cunha permanently joining in January, Wolves very well could have been relegated last season. Expect more of the same in 2023-24, as new manager Gary O'Neil looks to scrap together the pieces that the perpetually frustrated Julen Lopetegui couldn't seem to put together amidst the club's financial troubles.

Wolves' downfall will be their inability to find the back of the net. Raúl Jiménez has consistently shown that a helmet doesn't protect against bad decision-making, and the club's shallow pockets means that no new attackers will be joining to improve upon Wolves' league-low 31 goals last season. 🤦

Player to watch: There is perhaps no player as important to his team as Matheus Cunha is to Wolves this season. The £43m signing will need to average far more than 0.12 goals per 90' for Wolves to have any chance of staying up. 🐺 

17. West Ham


The UEFA Conference League winners will suffer a meteoric fall back to Earth in the post-Declan Rice era. 📉

The world's best league demands players, managers, club administration, and staff alike to be constantly evolving and always looking for ways to improve. West Ham have done none of that whatsoever this summer, having signed exactly zero players with the €156m they've made in player sales. Other mid-table teams have made improvements this summer, while West Ham have only gotten worse.

Add in the Europa League – a competition the Hammers will likely try to win given their recent European success – and a bottom-of-the-table finish is not too farfetched for David Moyes and co.

Player to watch: Lucas Paquetá. Other attackers started to tap into his genius during the Hammers' Conference League run, and the Brazilian isn't afraid to put a foot out either. 🇧🇷 

16. Nottingham Forest


Bringing in unproven or aging players from big clubs seemed to work for 16th-placed Forest last season, so why not run it back? As my ex used to say in the bedroom, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." 🤷

Staying in the Prem is a sensible target for manager-turned-club-legend Steve Cooper, who bolstered his squad with the additions of Anthony Elanga, Chris Wood, and Matt Turner this summer. Integrating these talents into the team shouldn't be a problem for Cooper, who dealt with an astonishing 30 new signings last offseason. Expect another season of strong showings at City Ground (we're talking to you, Arsenal) and struggles continuing on the road.

Player to watch: Morgan Gibbs-White. The 23-year-old was a revelation when he dropped deeper into an attacking midfield role last season, a position from which he averaged a 6.7 rating. 💫 

15. Bournemouth


Death, taxes, and Bournemouth finishing 15th. Right where they belong.

There are a lot of new faces at Vitality Stadium this summer. Now Wolves' manager Gary O'Neil was shockingly sacked in June after keeping the Cherries afloat amidst a relegation scrap, and key departures in Jefferson Lerma and Jordan Zemura have been replaced with equally important signings in Hamed Traorè and Justin Kluivert.

 While the spine of the squad remains largely unchanged, new manager Andoni Iraola – renowned for his high-pressing style that worked wonders with Rayo Vallencano – will need to do some experimentation to find his preferred XI. With six of their first seven matchups coming against top-half finishers from last season, expect the Cherries to start slow before finding their stride mid-season. 🍒

Player to watch: After returning to the club in April from a nearly two-year absence due to stage-two Hodgkins lymphoma, right-winger David Brooks has impressed in preseason and is poised to win a place in the starting XI. 👏 

14. Everton

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The Toffees could be a McKinsey case study on how to not improve after a season in which the league's longest-tenured side narrowly escaped relegation: Fire your under performing manager? Nope. Offload aging talents and reinvest in youth? Not happening. Make a splashy signing in the transfer market? No shot. Replace three of your sporting directors that left earlier this summer? Why should we?

Like so many of the companies that pay big bucks for 24-year-olds in suits freshly-plucked from the rack at Brooks Brothers to tell them what to do, Everton are simply too big to fail. The Toffees' industrious midfield trio of Amadou Onana, André Gomes, and Alex Iwobi should keep the "organizational realignment" PowerPoints at bay for another season, even if it's a detriment to the club in the long term. That'll be $10m, please. 💰

Player to watch: After an unsuccessful loan spell at Tottenham, left-winger Arnaut Danjuma has been granted a second chance in the PL, and boy do Everton need him; the Toffees scored the second-fewest goals in the league last season with 34. 🇳🇱 

13. Burnley

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Step aside, tikitaka. 'Hoof it and hope' is back on the menu!

The Clarets return to the top flight after a one-year hiatus during which they dominated them Championship, winning in commanding fashion with 101 points – the fifth-most ever in England's second tier. 😤

In just one season, Vincent Kompany has taken a club that, for better or worse, has long embodied workman-like traits such as physicality and ruthlessness, and turned them into a dynamic attacking side that is drawing comparisons to Pep Guardiola's Man City. Doing so in just his third full season as a manager in a league that he is completely unfamiliar with is a testament to not only Kompany's tactical genius, but also the quality of Burnley's squad.

Player to watch: Despite being only 20 years old, goalkeeper James Trafford possesses the 6'6" frame to match his commanding demeanor. He'll get plenty of action between the sticks, and could be the difference between Burnley staying up or getting relegated. 🧤 

12. Fulham


Last season's top-ten finish should be cause for optimism, but those damn Saudis just won't let Fulham have a normal preseason. With Al-Shabab snatching up Willian just two weeks after signing a new deal in London, and Al-Hilal courting leading scorer Aleksandar Mitrović more aggressively than a male peacock, Fulham's squad is still very much unsettled just days before their season kicks off against Everton.

Add in a manager in Marco Silva who was reportedly offered £40m to coach at Al-Hilal, and it's safe to say that Fulham might get off to a slow start. The last thing any team wants is to fight an uphill battle.

Player to watch: João Palhinha is a MONSTER. The DM led the league with a whopping 147 tackles last season, 47 more than Moisés Caicedo in second-place. 💪

11. Crystal Palace

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Out with the old, in with the new. With several veterans having departed on free transfers this summer, most notably Wilfried Zaha, Roy Hodgson will need to put on a masterclass in player development for the Eagles to contend for a top-half finish. But, we think he's capable.

Boasting an experienced CB pairing in Joachim Andersen and Marc Guéhi, and an equally stout double pivot in Cheick Doucouré and Jefferson Lerma, the spine of Hodgson's side is set, albeit uninspiring. The question remains whether Hodgson can maximize contributions from attackers like Eberechi Eze, Michael Olise, and Odsonne Edouard, who've been rather inconsistent during their time at Selhurt Park, despite each showing flashes of brilliance. 💫

Player to watch: At just 21 years old, Michael Olise came out of seemingly nowhere last season to provide the fourth-most assists in the league with 11. Having missed preseason with a torn hammy, he should return to action in late September. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 

10. Brentford

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Thomas Frank has his work cut out for him this season. With star striker Ivan Toney suspended until January for breaking the FA's gambling rules, the cards are stacked against the Bees this season, who finished ninth in their second season in England's top-flight.

While pessimists would contend that a mid-table finish should be the aim, Brentford have shown they are upping the ante with the offseason additions of CB Nathan Collins and RW Kevin Schade. Fielding a cohesive squad with these new signings in the absence of his best player is the biggest challenge of Frank's managerial career, but he's not one to let the chips fall where they may. If the notorious analytics-lover and tactical mastermind plays his cards right, then Brentford could be screaming "Winner, winner, chicken dinner!" all the way to Europe. 

Player to watch: There are so many questions surrounding Ivan Toney. Will his suspension get reduced? Do Brentford sign a stopgap striker? How will he readjust to the physical demands of the sport? Red or black? ♠️

9. Brighton

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After Roberto De Zerbi led the Seagulls to a club-record sixth-place finish and ushered in a new era of European competition, Brighton's future will somehow not be decided until September 1st: the day the summer transfer window closes. 😬

Having already lost Alexis Mac Allister to Liverpool, Brighton can ill-afford to lose Moisés Caicedo, their midfield engine whose pending transfer to Chelsea has had more twists and turns than your average episode of Succession. If Caicedo leaves, then De Zerbi will be forced to start 37-year-old James Milner, who's just not gonna cut it any longer. If Caicedo stays, then the Seagulls will contend for top six and likely focus their campaign on winning the Europa League.

Player to watch: Kaoru Mitoma. The Japanese international put his university dribbling thesis to good use last season, scoring seven goals and providing five assists in his trademark dribble-your-face-off style. 🇯🇵 

8. Tottenham Hotspur


With latest reports indicating that Harry Kane is increasingly likely to sign with Bayern Munich, Tottenham are going to have to pull a rabbit our of their hat (i.e. make a splash signing on deadline day) if they have any hope of competing for top six. Kane scored nearly 40% of Spurs' goals across all competitions last season, a feat that no other player in the league – let alone in Tottenham's attack – can replicate.

Simply put, Spurs are fucked without Harry Kane. 🪦

Player to watch: Free from pain for the first time in a year, Son Heung-min should be Tottenham's primary goalscoring threat, but it remains to be seen whether new manager Ange Postecoglou will play the former Golden Boot winner from his preferred right wing. 🎯 

7. Newcastle United


Eddie Howe's squad took full advantage of a weakened Liverpool and Chelsea last season to finish fourth and secure Champions League for the first time in 20 years. While European qualification has arrived ahead of schedule for the Saudi-backed Magpies, a squad suited compete on the sport's biggest stage has not. 🇸🇦

Newcastle's starting XI is immense, but we can't shake the feeling that the rigors of the Champions League might demand too much of a paper-thin squad that – while among the league's oldest – lacks the experience necessary to win in a hostile environment at a snow-covered Donbas Arena on a Wednesday night. Are the Magpies talented enough to compete in both the PL and UCL? They sure are. But expect some regression to the mean as top six sides that struggled last season regain their usual form. Such is life in the world's best league.

Player to watch: Sandro Tonali. Newcastle's new £52m CM possesses the work ethic and toughness that will instantly translate to the physicality of the PL and make him a favorite of the Toon Army. 🪨 

6. Manchester United

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United fans won't like this, but Rasmus Højlund ain't it. At least not yet.

The Dane bears some qualities (tall, blonde, Scandinavian, cannon of a left foot) that make us not immediately roll our eyes when he's touted as 'Erling Haaland 2.0,' but it will take some time for him to kick on in the world's best league. At 20 years old, he's still very raw. 🥩

With Anthony Martial and Wout Weghort (who's now with Burnley) having scored a combined six goals across 38 league appearances last season, the Red Devils are in need of more immediate attacking output than Højlund can provide. United are one Marcus Rashford or Bruno Fernandes injury away from being in a goal drought that would make Southern California look like Kauai.

Player to watch: Poised for a Gabriel Martinelli-esque breakout, 19-year-old Alejandro Garnacho could take United's attack to the next level if his end product and decision-making improve. 🇦🇷 

5. Aston Villa

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Unai Emery is a magician. After taking over the 17th-placed Villans in October of last season, the Spainard completely reshaped the club, quelling relegation fears and leading Villa to a seventh-place finish and the club's first European qualification since 2010. What might be possible for Villa with a full offseason under Emery? 

No team has improved as much as Aston Villa this summer; new arrivals Pau Torres, Youri Tielemans, and Moussa Diaby should slot into a talented starting XI that includes players who drastically upped their game under Emery, most notably Ollie Watkins and Jacob Ramsey. 🔥

Player to watch: Perhaps already be the most talented player to ever don the claret and blue, the lightning quick Moussa Diaby is the perfect fit for Emery's counterattacking style. ⚡️

4. Chelsea


Last season was a disaster of Vesuvian proportions for the Blues. While nobody entirely knows what to expect of Chelsea in their second year under the ownership of Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital, this much is clear:

  • Chelsea finally have a manager who knows what he's doing in Mauricio Pochettino.

  • Enzo Fernández is a world-class midfielder who excels at doing the dirty work so others can shine.

With a full offseason to figure out what the fuck they're doing, expect Chelsea to at least show more fight and play with more intensity than they did under Thomas Tuchel, Graham Potter, and their revolving door of interim managers. Pochettino excels at developing youngsters, so it's only right that Chelsea fans are drooling at the thought of what could become of the likes of Nicolas Jackson, Noni Madueke, and Andrey Santos. 🤤

Player to watch: Mykhailo Mudryk has shown flashes of his insane skill, but Chelsea's impotent attack need the €100m winger to contribute on a more consistent basis. 🇺🇦 

3. Liverpool

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After a disappointing fifth-place finish, Jürgen Klopp desperately needed to rehaul the Reds' aging midfield. He took a page out of peak Kanye West's book, getting "harder, better, faster, stronger" by cashing in on Saudi interest in Fabinho and Jordan Henderson, and signing Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai. Add the sweet right foot of Trent Alexander-Arnold into the mix, and Liverpool once again have a midfield that should have them in the thick of the title race. 🚀

 Player to watch: Liverpool's season will go as does Virgil van Djik's. Alisson could be in for another busy season if the 32-year-old can't channel his form of seasons past. 🧱 

2. Manchester City

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The treble-winners will not win their fourth consecutive Premier League title after failing to address the losses of Ilkay Gündogan and Riyad Mahrez this summer. Sure, Mateo Kovačić is a tidy midfielder, and the addition of Joško Gvardiol makes already the world's best defense even better, but Gündogan and Mahrez came up big again and again for the Citizens, and we don't think their "clutchness" has been adequately replaced.

Julián Álvarez, whom Pep regrettably deployed as a number eight against Arsenal, will have to take a huge step forward to fill the void left by Gundo and Mahrez, so City's success very much hinges on the 23-year-old's ability to make a leap in his second year at the club, much like Jack Grealish did last season. 👀

Player to watch: After smashing every ball that crossed his path into the back of the net last season, Erling Haaland should continue to shatter records... as long as Kevin De Bruyne can stay on the pitch. 🇳🇴 

1. Arsenal

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After finally getting the Man City monkey off their back with a Community Shield title, the Gunners are headed into the season with more momentum than a redneck listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd in a 2004 Dodge Ram on the open road. 🛻

Mikel Arteta and Edu did not fuck around this summer. Knowing they had to bolster the Premier League's youngest squad with experienced, battle-tested players, the Gunners splashed £200m on Declan Rice, Jurriën Timber, and Kai Havertz, who have had a full offseason to integrate with the rest of the squad. Arsenal now possess championship-worthy depth in midfield and defense, a lack of which plagued them down the stretch last season when William Saliba and Takehiro Tomiyasu went down.

The only question is Gabriel Jesus's health. If the Brazilian is out for an extended period of time, expect the Gunners to make a move for a target man in January.

Player to watch: How could it not be Bukayo Saka? After scoring 14 goals and providing 11 assists in his breakout season, the 21-year-old is poised to break into the upper echelon of footballing talent, if he's not there already. 🌶️