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2018/2019 Premier League Season Preview

It has been a quick and whirlwind summer. After experiencing what was arguably one of the best World Cups, the Premier League season is back! It has been 89 days since the Premier League ended and the new season is finally here. Here is a preview for every team in the League this season.

It has been a quick and whirlwind summer. After experiencing what was arguably one of the best World Cups, the Premier League season is back! It has been 89 days since the Premier League ended and the new season is finally here. Here is a preview for every team in the League this season.

Arsenal
2017/2018 Finish: 6th
Manager: Unai Emery

The headlines surrounding Arsenal last season were all regarding Arsene Wenger. Now with the legendary coach no longer at the helm, it’s Unai Emery’s turn to return Arsenal back to the top four. Emery comes to the Emirates following a stint as manager at Paris Saint-Germain. PSG had high standards that Emery could not meet, but he still won a Ligue 1 title and the French League Cup. Emery also won three straight Europa League titles when he was with Sevilla and that experience should help Arsenal this season.

Emery made his presence know right away with some impressive signings. Arsenal signed goalkeeper Bernd Leno from Bayer Leverkusen and he will be the Arsenal No.1 goalie moving forward. The 26-year-old will give the Gunners stability in goal, the kind of stability Arsenal has lacked for some time. Emery also brought in Sokratis Papastathopoulos from Borussia Dortmund. Sokratis will replace Per Mertesacker who retired at the end of last season.

Key Player: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

The striker from Gabon scored 10 times in 13 PL appearances since joining Arsenal at the beginning of this year. If he can continue this goal scoring form this season, he could singlehandedly win Arsenal a lot of games this season. Emery made the purchases necessary to solidify the Arsenal defense, now Auba needs to do his job and lead the attack.

CB Predicts:

Arsenal will be floating around the top four all season. It is still too early to tell how this team will play under Emery, but there have been flashes during the pre-season that gives Arsenal fans reason to hope. Emery’s experience winning the Europa League will be crucial in Arsenal’s attempts to get back into the Champions League. With City, United, Liverpool and Chelsea all getting stronger, so is the competition for the top four. Arsenal will finish fourth and will be back in the Champions League.

Bournemouth
2017/2018 Finish: 12th
Manager: Eddie Howe

The story of AFC Bournemouth is a beautiful one, but now the club is entering their fourth-straight season in the top-flight. With four-straight top-flight seasons come a lot of money, the most money Bournemouth has ever had in their history. The underdog story is starting to fade on the Cherries and now is the time to improve.

With Wenger gone, Howe is now the longest serving manger in the Premier League. The former Bournemouth player has been able to make his team to play a free-flowing style with a solid defense and that’s what has kept them in the PL thus far. However, the team struggled last year and despite finishing 12th, flirted with relegation. The club has only made two signings this summer, David Brooks—a 20-year-old midfielder from the Championship—and Diego Rico, a defender from La Liga. Rico, who is the club record signing, is a left-wing back that will help build a leaky defense from a year ago. However, Rico will miss the first three games of the season due to a suspension from being sent off in the last La Liga game of the season.

There is one positive for Bournemouth. Lewis Cook, the 21-year-old midfielder, looks poised to have a breakout season after leading England’s U-21 team to success the last few years. Tottenham Hotspur is keen to sign Cook, but for the moment, he is still at the Vitality Stadium.

Key Player: Callum Wilson/Josh King

Wilson and King need to lead the attack for Bournemouth. Jermain Defoe is 36 years old and cannot be counted on for goals. Wilson and King have shown in the past that they are capable of leading this squad, but they have both struggled to stay healthy and score goals.

CB Predicts:

Bournemouth will be in a relegation battle again this season but will stay in the league. The Cherries haven’t really improved on the team that only mustered 44 points last season. If Wilson and King can find their goal scoring touch, the team should be just fine. Nathan Ake will continue to lead the defense and Asmir Begovic has been solid in goal since joining the club. The only questions for Bournemouth going into the season is will they score enough goals and where will those goals come from?

Brighton and Hove Albion
2017/2018 Finish: 15th
Manager: Chris Hughton

The Seagulls survived their first season in the Premier League and now they must avoid the Sophomore slump. The only thing more dangerous for a newly promoted side, after their first season in the league, is their second season in the league. Brighton fans shouldn’t get delusions of grandeur and think that since they survived one season that they can expect to push for the top half of the table.  Brighton’s main goal she still needs to be to remain in the league and avoid relegation. However, Hughton will be expected to improve his side.

The Seagulls have spent almost $70 million this summer, but instead of buying quality, they bought quantity. Bernardo, the $11 Brazilian full back from RB Leipzig, will add to an already solid defense. The Seagull defense conceded to 54 goals last season, the lowest of any team in the bottom half of the table. Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk were one of the best CB duos in the entire PL last season and both are only 25. The future of the Brighton back line is very bright.

Key Player: Pascal Gross

Gross was the heartbeat of the team last season. The German had seven goals and eight assists last season and was a big reason the team stayed up. Brighton’s attack always started with Gross and it will go through him again this season.

CB Predicts:

If Brighton can score goals, Brighton will be fine, but if they struggle to put the ball in the net, they will be in another relegation battle. The Seagulls only scored 34 goals all of last season and were shut out 17 (!!) times. Everton is a good example of what happens when you try to just throw money and improve that way, so spending $70 million doesn’t mean success for Brighton.

Burnley
2017/2018 Finish: 7th
Manager: Sean Dyche

Burnley was one of the surprise teams from last season and earned their spot in the Europa League. Dyche was praised for the organization and tenacity of his team—praised that linked him to take over at some of the top clubs in England. While the success this team had last season should not be forgotten, this season will be one of the most challenging the club has ever experienced.

Burnley brought in former City and England No. 1 Joe Hart as a backup to Nick Pope. Pope had a fantastic season last year and earned the starting spot. Bringing in Hart as a backup will be a great benefit to Pope. Pope is still a young keeper and Hart will bring plenty of experience that will only make Pope better. Hart is also a solid backup that can fill in the void in Europa or PL games.

Key Player: James Tarkowski/Ben Mee

These two central defenders were vital to Burnley last season. Because Dyche likes to play a defensive type of game, it puts a lot of pressure on his holding midfielders and defenders. Burnley had one of the most resilient defenses in the league last season and that was thanks to Tarkowski and Mee. If Burnley makes a decent showing in the Europa League and maintain their hunt for the top seven again this season, it will be because of these two center backs.

CB Predicts:

We will see Burnley slide down the table this season. The Clarets will probably mid-table. Burnley will want to put in good performances in the Europa League for their fans, meaning that their form in the PL will suffer. With more games and little depth rotation, I don’t see Burnley being able to repeat their form from last season.

Cardiff City
2017/2018 Finish: 2nd in Championship
Manager: Neil Warnock

The Bluebirds are back in the PL for the first time since the 2013/2014 season. Warnock has made the rounds around England and Wales as manager, but he’s had his most success with Cardiff. Despite the success he’s had leading Cardiff back to the PL, this will be his toughest test yet.

The club from Wales hasn’t made any big-name signings, but they have brought in some players that will go straight into the first team.  The biggest signing for Cardiff was forward Bobby Reid. Reid scored 19 goals and had seven assists last season in the Championship for Bristol City. If everything goes well for Cardiff, Reid has the talent and the goal scoring ability to be one of the underrated players of the season.

Key Player: Junior Hoilett

The Canadian striker is entering his third season in Wales and is the club’s go-to goal scorer. Hoilett led the team with 11 goals last season and will be looked at again to lead the club. The biggest problem almost every promoted side struggles with is scoring goals. If Hoilett and Reid can score at least 10 goals each, Cardiff may be able to stick around for another season.

CB Predicts:

Cardiff will be relegated and go straight back to the Championship. The Bluebirds only lasted one season in the PL last time and it is going to happen again. Though the signing of Bobby Reid is a good one, he’s never played in the PL and could struggle against some of the stronger defenses.  I just don’t think Cardiff has improved enough from their Championship side from last year to last in the PL.

Chelsea
2017/2018 Finish: 5th
Manager: Maurizio Sarri

Now that the grey cloud that was Antonio Conte has left west London, Chelsea fans are starting to see the sunrise on the horizon. It was evident last season that Roman Abramovich quickly fell out of love with Conte and Conte lost the locker room. All of the instability in the backrooms showed on the field. But now, Sarri is in charge and there is still a lot of work to do. In the Community Shield last weekend against City, Chelsea looked like a team struggling with its identity. It was clear that the Chelsea players were still learning and trying to adapt to all of the changes Sarri is making.

The best move Sarri has made this offseason was holding on to his star players like Willian, N’golo Kante and Eden Hazard. Though Sarri let Courtois leave, he brought in a more than capable replacement in Kepa Arrizabalaga—even if he did overpay and break the transfer record. In addition to keeping those players, Sarri also brought Jorginho with him from Napoli. Jorginho was the best passer in all of Europe last season and the Chelsea attack will go through him. In the Community shield, Jorginho was the best player for Chelsea, but that is to be expected with his familiarity with Sarri’s system.

Key Player: Eden Hazard

Hazard always has and always will be Chelsea’s key player. There were times last season where he disappeared in games and the whole team suffered.  Hazard has a great showing at the World Cup this summer and now it’s time to turn his focus back to Chelsea. For Chelsea to succeed, Hazard will need to get back to the form during Chelsea’s 2016/2017 title-winning campaign.

CB Predicts:

Once the team can learn and play “Sarri-ball,” Chelsea could be a very dangerous team. Last season, Napoli was one of the most creative and dynamic attacking teams in Europe and if Sarri can replicate that same system in the PL, they are title contenders. Chelsea has very talented players but now they have a manager that can get the best of them.

Crystal Palace
2017/2018 Finish: 11th
Manager: Roy Hodgson

Since the beginning of the 2014/2015 season, there have been five managers at the helm for the Eagles. Still, despite all of that turnover, the lowest place Palace has finished is 15th.  Last season, Roy Hodgson brought something to the club that has been missing for the last three seasons: stability. After the Frank de Boer debacle, Hodgson turned the season around and Palace finished 11 points clear of the relegation zone.

Hodgson, who just signed a contract extentstion that keeps him at the club through 2020, has made some great, and surprising, signings. Max Meyer, once one of the most sought-after talents in all of Europe, came from Schalke on a free transfer. Palace also brought in Cheikhou Kouyate from West Ham. Kouyate is a bully in the midfield and will solidify the Palace defense.

Key Player: Wilfried Zaha

It wasn’t easy, but Palace was able to hold of bids from other Premier League clubs and keep Zaha. At his best, Zaha is one of the best wingers in the league. His pace is unstoppable and his ability to cut inside and score goals is one of the reasons Palace is still in the PL. With Zaha in their side, Palace can be a favorite in any game.

CB Predicts:

Palace will struggle again because…well, that’s what Palace does. Crystal Palace is one of the stalwarts of the PL now and they will most likely finish 12thor 13th. Palace has the talent to finish in the top half of the table but are one or two players away from compteting for a Europa League spot.

Everton
2017/2018 Finish: 8th
Manager: Marco Silva

Everton finally got their man in Marco Silva. For years, Everton has tried every way possible to break into the “top-six club”. David Moyes, Roberto Martinez and Ronald Koeman all failed to take the club to the next level and now it is Silva’s turn to prove he can do it.

Koeman spent nearly $200 million last summer, so Silva didn’t have to splash the cash to get the players he wanted.  Silva did spend $45 million on the Richarlison, the young Brazilian who made a name for himself in the PL last season with Watford. It was under Silva that Richarlison became a household name in the PL. Richarlison will add speed and width down the right side for Everton and he will be a second goal scoring threat that Everton needed. Silva also brought it Lucas Digne from Barcelona for $23 million. Digne has won La Liga and Ligue 1 and will bring that experience to the PL. Digne fills a problem spot for Everton and will strengthen Everton’s defense. Then on deadline day, Everton brought in Yerry Mina and Andre Gomes from Barcelona—Mina on a permanent deal and Gomes on a season long loan.

Key Player: Richarlison

Richarlison shined under Silva in Silva’s short six-month tenure at Watford and now the two are together again. Richarlison is just as good at winning the ball in the air as he is running past defenders. Silva knows how to get the best out of Richarlison and that can only mean good news for Everton.

CB Predicts:

Everton—for all of the money that have put into it—has one of the more talented squads in all of the PL. Everton has tried so hard to break into the top six and this may be the season where it finally happens, but most likely, Everton will finish outside of the top six. While the Toffees have the talent, there is still the threat that it could all fall apart. There is the very real possibility that all of the expensive pieces Everton has brought together won’t fit or play well together.

Fulham
2017/2018 Finish: Championship Playoff Winner
Manager: Slaviša Jokanović

It’s been a while since Fulham have been in the Premier League. The club, known to most Americans soccer fans as the club Clint Dempsey played for, was relegated to the Championship in 2014. In two seasons in charge at Craven Cottage, Jokanović has turned the club around and led them back to the Premier League. Fulham is going to be a fun and energetic team to watch, and don’t be surprised if they are kryptonite to the top-six on more than one occasion.

Fulham spent a lot of money (in their standards) bringing in players this offseason but they spent well. Bringing back Aleksander Mitrovic won a permanent deal was crucial. Mitrovic spent last season on loan at Fulham from Newcastle United and scored 12 goals in 17 games and was vital to Fulham’s promotion. The Whites also brought in Andre Schürrle on a two-year loan deal from Borussia Dortmund. The World Cup winner has PL experience from his time with Chelsea back in 2013-2015. Fulham also have Ryan Sessegnon, the young English prodigy that has been linked to some of the biggest clubs in Europe.

Key Player: Jean Michael Seri

Landing Seri this summer from Nice in Ligue 1 was an absolute major signing for Fulham. Seri, who nearly joined Barcelona last summer, is a box-to-box midfielder that cripple an entire defense with a single pass.

CB Predicts:

Fulham will stay in the Premier League and may even be the best newly promoted side. Securing Mitrovic from Newcastle gives the Whites a proven, Premier League tested goal scorer which is what most newly promoted sides lack. If the season goes beyond my expectations, Fulham could even find themselves threatening for a Europa League spot.

Huddersfield Town
2017/2018 Finish: 16th
Manager: David Wagner

The worst of the three promoted teams last season, the Terriers were—barely—able to stay in the league. Huddersfield Town had the second worst goal differential in the league—and the worst of any team still in the league from a year ago. Even worse that all of those goals they conceded is the fact that Huddersfield scored joint-lowest with 28 goals. 11 of those goals came in a three-game span.

With the money Huddersfield has received from the league, the club has brought in some solid players this summer. Most notably, Terrence Kongolo the $22 million center back from Monaco. Kongolo will be the anchor in the center of the defense and will strengthen one of the worst defenses from last season. Wagner also secured Jonas Lossl on a permanent deal from Mainz after being on loan last season. The team may have conceded a lot of goal, but Lossl is a very talented goalkeeper that earned Huddersfield a lot of points last season.

Key Player: Aaron Mooy

The bald Australian turned heads last season and was the heat of the Terriers. Though he didn’t have mind-blowing stats—he only had four goals and three assists last season—Huddersfield had five wins and one loss in the matches where he recorded a goal or assist. Mooy will once again be the quarterback for Huddersfield.

CB Predicts:

Huddersfield has seen the bright lights, but this season they will be Icarus. As much as I hate to say it, I believe Huddersfield will be one of the relegated teams this season. Though I believe they did enough to fix their defense, Wagner and the club hasn’t spent the money on goal scorers, which they desperately need. They will be relegated because they simply won’t score enough goals.

Leicester City
2017/2018 Finish: 9th
Manager: Claude Puel

Another summer and another key player in Leicester’s squad has gone on to a bigger team in the Premier League. This time, Riyad Mahrez joined Manchester City. N’Golo Kante, Mahrez and Jamie Vardy were the three most important players in Leicester’s title-winning season two years ago and only Vardy remains.

Despite missing games last season because of transfer-related issues, Mahrez still contributed 12 goals to be second on the team. With the $80 million Leicester received from City, they haven’t brought in enough attacking talent to fill the void. James Maddison, the $32 million signing from Norwich, is Leicester’s most expensive signing is coming off an MCL injury. When he’s healthy, Maddison will do well playing in that No.10 role.

Key Player: Kelechi Iheanacho

Iheanacho will have to fill the goal-scoring void left by Mahrez. The former Manchester City striker hasn’t hit his stride since joining Leicester. Iheanacho proved he could score in the PL when he was at City, but now he will have to prove his worth to Leicester.

CB Predicts:

If Iheanacho or any other Leicester player can score the goals that Mahrez leaves behind, then Leicester will be just fine. Only if everything goes horribly wrong will Leicester end up in a relegation battle. Leicester will be in the PL’s no man’s land.

Liverpool
2017/2018 Finish: 4th
Manager: Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool is the second-best team in the league. Liverpool had a fantastic window and Klopp will definitely get the best out of his team. The Reds showed last season that a lengthy Champions League campaign won’t affect their PL run. The front three on Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah will be extremely tough to defend. With an improved defense, Liverpool are the best contenders to City this season.

Klopp’s best signing this summer was Naby Keita. Though the deal was agreed upon last summer, Keita joined a few months ago and looks ready to take the PL by storm. With another new signing Fabinho, the midfield of Keita, Jordan Henderson and Fabinho is an incredible improvement over last season. Klopp also brought in Brazil’s No. 1 goalie Alisson for $73 million. Alisson is exponentially better than Karius and Mignolet. Alisson will singlehandedly win Liverpool a lot of points this season.

Key Player: Mo Salah

Of course it is. Salah was an absolute monster last season and he will have another great season this year. However, don’t expect Salah to put up the same goal number that he did a year ago. Every team across Europe now knows what Salah is capable of and every game plan will be to stop him.

CB Predicts:

Liverpool is the best team in the league behind City. As it stands, Liverpool and City are the only two teams that will really be challenging for the title. Expect Liverpool to finish first or second and have another deep run in the Champions League.

Manchester City
2017/2018 Finish: 1st
Manager: Pep Guardiola

City has the best season ever in the English top-flight last season. With all of the records they set last season, where could this team improve? Can City go back-to-back? Now that Pep has a PL title in his cabinet, the leaders at City, Pep and the rest of the team is going to focus on the Champions League. While winning the title and putting up 100 points is nice, Pep was really brought in to bring Champions League success to City and that is going to be his focus this season.

The only major signing City brought in was Riyad Mahrez from Leicester. Mahrez is one of the most creative players in the league and adds quality in depth for City. Pep now has two different but still very good starting XI’s at his disposal. The amount of depth and quality in depth that City has is absurd and good enough for City to make a push at the Champions League title.

Key Player: Kevin De Bruyne

(David Silva is a close second.) KDB is the heat beat of this team. He is the soul of the team and everything goes through him. His partnership with David Silva can devastate any team in Europe. KDB is coming off a great World Cup and there is no reason that he won’t be the best player in the league once again.

CB Predicts:

This is City’s title to lose. The only reason City don’t push for the title is because they put all of their eggs in the Champions League basket. City have the best team in the league by far and their only legitimate rival for the title is Liverpool.

Manchester United
2017/2018 Finish: 2nd
Manager: Jose Mourinho

Where to begin with United? For a club that finished second last season, there is a lot of questions and negative vibes surrounding this club. United is the club that was hurt by the most by the World Cup, with most of their first team players going deep into the tournament. Because of that, most of the first team didn’t show up to pre-season training. Mourinho is upset that United didn’t bring in enough players this summer, but the players they brought in are solid and add to their squad.

United’s best signing was Fred, the Brazilian midfielder. Fred will play alongside Nemanja Matic in that holding midfielder position. With Fred taking over that second holding midfielder role, that will let Pogba play in his favored CAM position with Alexis and Rashford playing the wings and Lukaku upfront.

Key Player: David De Gea

United did all they could to fend off offers from Real Madrid for De Gea, and now that Los Blancos signed Courtois, De Gea looks set for a long stay at Old Trafford. De Gea is—by far—the best goalie in the league. He won United so many points last season and he will do it again this season.

CB Predicts:

This is the toughest prediction. With the World Cup really diminishing this squad over the summer, United could get off to a slow start in the league. With all the talent at the top of the table, a slow start could be catastrophic to their title aspirations. Regardless of how you feel about Mourinho, no one can deny that he is a great manager. United still has a very talented squad and are top four favorites. I think United will finish fourth.

Newcastle United
2017/2018 Finish: 10th
Manager: Rafa Benitez

This will be an interesting season for the Magpies. Benitez did a fantastic job last season to not only keep his Championship side in the PL, but finish in the top half of the table. But with another summer transfer window gone, Newcastle didn’t do much to strengthen their squad. Much to the chagrin of Benitez, Newcastle didn’t spend as much as he would have liked in the transfer window.

Just because Newcastle weren’t big spenders in this window doesn’t mean they didn’t make any moves. Newcastle brought Chelsea-loanee Kenedy back on a season-long loan. The winger made 13 apperances last season at St. James’ Park and became a quick fan favorite. The Magpies also brought in Salomon Rondon in from WBA on a loan. Rondon has proven himself in the PL and will certainly add goals.

Key Player: Jamaal Lascelles

Lascelles is the leader of this Newcastle team. The central defender has established himself as one of the best young center backs in the league. Lascelles was sixth in the league last season with 230 clearances. Not only does he anchor that defense, he also added three goals last season. If Newcastle plays well and pushes for the top half of the table, it will be because their leader can motivate this squad on the field.

CB Predicts:

I don’t think we will see Newcastle in the top half of the table. Benitez did a fantastic job last season, but the club didn’t really improve with the players they brought in. If Newcastle does finish in the top half, it will be once again thanks to Rafa.

Southampton
2017/2018 Finish: 17th
Manager: Mark Hughes

Southampton barely stayed in the league after a roller coaster season, but they have one more season to turn it around. Hughes kept the Saints in the PL and he’ll get his shot to improve on last season.

The Saints made a big signing on deadline day when they brought in Danny Ings from Liverpool on a season-long loan. Ings has struggled with injury since joining Liverpool, but he is a proven PL goal scorer.

Key Player: Nathan Redmond

Redmond isn’t a goal scorer, but his by far Southampton’s best player. The English midfielder is the most dangerous player for the Saints and can cause the best defenses in the league trouble.

CB Predicts:

Southampton will be relegated. The Saints, once again, did not strengthen enough during the summer to keep them in the PL. This will be the season where we finally see the results of Southampton selling all of their talents over the last half-decade.

Tottenham Hotspur
2017/2018 Finish: 3rd
Manager: Mauricio Pochettino

Tottenham finally did it—they made history. Tottenham became the first PL team to not sign a player in summer transfer window. Though Tottenham didn’t sign any players, they also didn’t lose some of the players rumored to leave. Spurs finished third last season, but with teams like Chelsea and United having tumultuous summers, their spot in the top four may not be threatened.

Key Player: Harry Kane

Of course, it’s Harry Kane. Who else could it be? He’s a guaranteed goal scorer and game-winner.

CB Predicts:

Tottenham will finish outside of the top four for the first time in four years. Spurs still have one of the best teams in the league, but without improving, they are hurting their chances at a legitimate title push. Moving to their new stadium will put extra pressure on Tottenham to succeed. Tottenham will still have a solid season, but they will finish outside of the top four.

Watford
2017/2018 Finish: 14th
Manager: Javi Garcia

This Watford side can be a very dangerous team under Javi Garcia. Garcia righted the ship after Watford sacked Marco Silva. Garcia’s attack-minded play won’t be Watford’s problem, it will be their defensive struggles that could hurt Watford. The Hornets did bring in Ben Foster from West Brom to give them a solid No. 1 in goal.

Watford’s best signing this summer was Gerard Deulofeu from Barcelona. Deulofeu spent last season on loan at Watford and impressed. Deulofeu will add his own style in and flair to the left side of the field. It was his ability to beat defenders and occasionally knock in goals that made his move to Barcelona from Everton possible a few years ago.

Key Player: Abdoulaye Doucoure

Doucoure is a beast. He is a big and powerful midfielder that can defend and score goals. At his best, Doucoure can be similar to Yaya Toure of the 2013/2014 season. With the Richarlison the exception, he was by far their best player last season. Doucoure is the heart and soul of this team.

CB Predicts:

Safety. Watford will be in the fluctuate between the middle of the table to near the bottom half of the table all season. Watford has a very solid squad, but just solid enough to keep them in the PL. Nothing more.

West Ham United
2017/2018 Finish: 13th
Manager: Manuel Pellegrini

It was a tumultuous season last year at West Ham, but with the way they have conducted themselves over the summer should give Hammer fans reason to be hopeful. It wasn’t easy for West Ham to let Slaven Bilic, but after he couldn’t get the results, the club had to let him go. David Moyes did a good job in righting the ship and keeping the team in the PL.  Now it’s Manuel Pellegrini’s turn. Pellegrini is probably the best manager West Ham has had in a long time. The Chilean manager won the PL with Manchester City in the 2013/2014 and has the experience West Ham needs.

Pellegrini has brought in some serious talent this summer. The most expensive was Felipe Anderson for a club-record $43 million. Anderson is a very creative attacking forward that scored eight goals and had 10 assists last season in Serie A. The Hammers also brought in Andriy Yarmolenko and Issa Diop. Yarmolenko is young talent and will play opposite of Anderson on the wing. Yarmolenko had a bit of a setback when he joined Borussia Dortmund last summer, but the Ukrainian forward has the talent and ability to set the PL alight. Diop, who was approached by some of the biggest clubs in Europe, chose east London and will anchor a defense that was one of the worsts in the league last season.

Key Player: Marko Arnautovic

Arnautovic was the target man for the Hammers last season with 11 goals and six assists. Now, with Yarmolenko and Anderson on both of his sides, Arnautovic will have talented players who can feed him the ball in dangerous areas.

CB Predicts:

Pellegrini is a great manager and is—at times—criminally underrated. He has the experience of leading a talented team to a PL title. While this West Ham team is unlike the City team of 2013/2014 season, they are still a talented team. It can go unsaid, however, that this club is still on the brink of turmoil. If West Ham and Pellegrini get off to a bad start, the fans will once again reach their boiling point. This is a make or break season for the Hammers.

Wolverhampton Wonderers
2017/2018 Finish: 1stin Championship
Manager: Nuno Espirito Santo

Wolves may have just been promoted, but they did not spend like a newly promoted team. Wolves, thanks to foreign owners, are wealthier than newly promoted teams and for that reason, have a legitimate shot of finishing near the top of the table.

Two of the big-name signings Wolves brought in are Joao Moutinho and Rui Patricio. Patricio, the Portuguese No. 1, has been one of the best goalies over the last 15 years. Moutinho, another successful Portuguese international, brings plenty of experience and he can be the leader for this team. Start to life in the PL won’t be easy, as Wolverhampton face Everton, Leicester, City, West Ham, Burnley and United in their first six games—not an easy task for a newly promoted side, regardless of wealth.

Key Player: Joao Moutinho

Moutinho might be the signing of the summer. A player with his resume and his experience for only $7 million is absurd. With Moutinho serving as the midfield anchor for Wolves, this team will be tough to score on.

CB Predicts:

If everything goes right for Wolves, there is no doubt that they will be in the top half of the table at the end of the season. However, if Wolves stumble out of the gate and can’t get all of their pieces to fit together, it could be a long season at the Molineux.

 

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