The 2020/21 English Premier League season begins on Saturday 12 September and another competitive campaign is expected at both ends of the table. Will Liverpool successfully defend their title and which of the newly promoted teams will have the biggest impact on the top flight? Those questions will be answered between now and spring.
The action begins at 12:30 in London where derby rivals Fulham and Arsenal face-off. Craven Cottage provides the backdrop as the newly promoted hosts take on a Gunners side hoping to force their way back into the top four and regain Champions League football. Other games of note on week one includes Liverpool vs Leeds United, Sheffield United vs Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham vs Everton.
Man City linked with Messi
As well as following each round of the Premier League season, lovers of the beautiful game can also make predictions on the winners and losers of this campaign. Manchester City were denied three league titles in-a-row by Liverpool earlier this summer, but they are expected to bounce back and have been picked by many respected pundits to regain the trophy.
Pep Guardiola hasn’t been as active in the transfer window as fans are used to but the club were linked with Lionel Messi after it emerged the Barcelona legend wanted a fresh challenge away from La Liga. That remains the case and he could still end up at the Etihad but there’s nothing more than gossip in it at this stage. If Messi does sign for City, it would drastically improve their chances of winning the title. The club has focussed on keeping hold of their best talent this summer, securing them on new contracts.
Liverpool expected to improve
Liverpool fans enjoyed a dominant Premier League title win last season as the Reds followed their Champions League glory with a return to the head of English football. They almost missed out on their chance at history due to the coronavirus emergency and resulting lockdown, but credit must go to league officials for seeing the campaign through to a conclusion. Jurgen Klopp’s men came close to an invincible season and will aim to build on that and retain their prize.
The German put his players under incredible stress in the title winning campaign as he stuck with a similar line-up in the league and Europe. It’s believed the current squad are more than good enough to make it two-in-a-row, but they require reinforcements in the summer transfer window. Liverpool hope to bolster their squad and ease pressure on the likes of Mo Salah and Sadio Mane. One man who won’t be at Anfield is Messi, Klopp saying he’s a big fan, but the numbers involved in that transfer just don’t work for his club.
Chelsea lead the chasing pack
With Liverpool and Manchester City expected to contest the title again this season, many fans are wondering if a challenge will come from outside the big two. Chelsea finished fourth last season under Frank Lampard and have been this summer’s biggest spenders, splashing £200m in the transfer market. The blues are back in the Champions League, but recent business proves they are determined to catapult themselves into contention for the Premier League trophy.
Manchester United are another with the cheque book out and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gave himself a solid foundation on which to launch his attack by leading the Red Devils to a third place finish last season. It wasn’t the smoothest of runs but there’s no doubting United will improve and become a major force once again. If they can find their feet early there’s no reason why they can’t challenge for top spot as confidence returns to the camp.
Baggies could bounce back down
At the opposite end of the charts, recently promoted West Brom are expected to make a quickfire return to the Championship. They finished second behind Leeds United in the summer, but their transfer moves do little to inspire confidence. The Baggies have moved between the top two leagues in recent seasons and could struggle to hold their own in the main division again.
Fulham were granted access to the Premier League through the Championship playoffs, beating fellow Londoners Brentford in the final at Wembley. Confidence is high in the camp, but this is a major step up in class and they face a tough opening month of the new campaign. A poor start to the season would pile pressure on the Cottagers.
Premier League odds
22bet members can make bets on their Premier League predictions including which side will win the league and which will be relegated. Manchester City are 4/5 favourites to win back the crown with Liverpool available at 9/4. There’s 10/1 on Chelsea, 16/1 for Manchester United, 40/1 Arsenal and 50/1 Tottenham.