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The main narrative of every Premier League club ahead of the 2020/21 season



Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Frank Lampard
Great seasons for both of these two | Getty Images / Getty Images

Just like in any good movie, you need a solid storyline.

A truly compelling storyline that keeps you hooked from the first moment to the last. Twists in the tale that raise an unlimited number of wild assumptions and expectations for what’s to come.

Football is no different.

As the new Premier League season approaches, the main narratives we face are worthy of an Oscar. The football team, most of the time, takes a back seat. “Can X pull out Y?” Or “Will exhibit A find the right balance to make exhibit B successful?” It’s all invigorating stuff. Sometimes, it ends up a bit like wrestling. Fewer rough and temperamental guys, I want to know what your feelings are about it.

With 2020/21 here for our endless, mindless vision, we’ve got you covered with narratives for each of the 20 clubs. Strap.

Mikel Arteta
Can Arteta do it? | Marc Atkins / Getty Images

Texts. The texts are waxed EVERYWHERE.

There is hardly any room left to praise Mikel Arteta after the heaps she has already received. And yet, while it still seems like a big request for him to bring Arsenal back to the top four, there is still much more to do.

Too much, too soon you may be thinking. But this is the club’s goal: Champions League or defeat.

Dean Smith, Jack Grealish
Did Villa deserve to stay awake? | Catherine Ivill / Getty Images

Aston Villa remained standing last season. Kudos to them.

Did they deserve it, though? Or was it simply the fact that there were three worse teams than them? It’s definitely the latter, which is saying something because they were pretty shocking for 95% of the campaign.

The money is thrown back to the team, a dangerous model to adopt for a club that, despite that monumental investment, is still only Jack Grealish and ten others.

Graham Potter
Is Potter’s style sustainable? | James Williamson – AMA / Getty Images

Standing up and then firing the coach right after is a brave call. It doesn’t matter if it was right or wrong. Still brave.

If you intend to undertake a mass overhaul of your playing style, you need to do it right. As it is, Graham Potter it seems to do so, but the question remains whether this is sustainable for a club the size of Brighton.

Sean Dyche
When will the wheels for Burnley come? | Alex Livesey / Getty Images

It’s not pleasing to the eye, nor is it revolutionary, but hook and loop, Sean Dyche makes it work and no money to back it up.

There has to come a point where it falters. It looked like last season was going to end, but then Ginger Mourinho pulled out of the bag with just two losses in 16 games.

Without the money to improve the team, however, that amount of quality can’t get by with grit and determination. Can it?

Hakim Ziyech
Chelsea have signed several champions | Steve Bardens / Getty Images

Nearly the largest single summer payout of any Premier League club in history; all this has gone on.

Two defenders (one on loan and the other 35) don’t seem like the ideal formula to avoid another season of defensive chaos. Frank Lampard has a stupidly talented and full attack line, but their problems weren’t there last season.

They’re giving him pennies now. No excuses can be found if they leave their seats in the Champions League.

Jordan Ayew, Wilfried Zaha
He probably missed this | Sebastian Frej / MB Media / Getty Images

It’s all good and it’s nice to secure shock victories at Manchester United, but if you average a season with one goal per game, those results are achieved once in a blue moon.

Crystal Palace cannot score. If Crystal Palace could score, they would probably be much better off. Now to you, Michy Batshuayi …

Having apparently spent all of his life savings about four times, this is perhaps the fifth lucky time for Everton. The midfield has been redone every year to no avail, although the players entering this time are undoubtedly an improvement.

Can that gel in time? Big purchases, but perhaps over the course of a few windows, not all crammed into the week before the season starts.

Carlo Ancelotti has what he wants, but the work is far from over.

Scott Parker
Parker is back at Prem | Shaun Botterill / Getty Images

Fulham were, let’s face it, pretty awful in their latest flirtation with the Premier League. Relying too much on Aleksandar Mitrović to score their goals, glaring flaws throughout the defense and a string of inadequate signings in midfield, they fell back to the ground.

Two years later, Mitrović is still hitting the back of the net, their defenses are rather weak and Mario Lemina is certainly not the midfielder to ruffle his high-level feathers. Many expect them to collapse the first time they ask.

Marcelo Bielsa
Is Bielsaball ready for the Premier League? | Michael Regan / Getty Images

Marcelo Bielsa gave Leeds the best football in the league last season. By taking a quick look at the expected lower half of the 2020/21 Premier League table, and you can tell they are among the best football teams in that group.

But it’s all hypothetical. Seeing whether Bielsa-ball is manageable against better quality opponents, with a squad expected to be led by Patrick Bamford at the top, may not be the frightening spectacle many had hoped for from Leeds.

With some of the loudest and most devoted supporters in Europe, not to mention the country, that fiery atmosphere and intimidating environment have been key to their success. As it is, they won’t have it (for starters, anyway), which could be harmful.

Jamie Vard
Leicester threw it all away last season | Michael Regan / Getty Images

After being 3,000 points more than fifth place last season, a disastrous run saw Leicester throw Champions League football out of a previously enviable position. Sides of Brendan Rodgers’ past are known to do this.

Is it all his fault? Does it boil down to failing to equip its players? Either way, consistency was the fox’s Achilles heel last season and they have to smooth out those creases.

Jordan Henderson, Mohamed Salah
It was a walk in the park for Liverpool last season | Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images

When you secure the championship title by a staggering 18 points, maintaining momentum should, in theory, be easy enough. They were alone that much better than anyone else.

Yet keeping the Scudetto is a damn difficult task. Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United have already done so, but with an almost identical squad for next season, keeping his Reds side focused and reinvigorated will be Jurgen Klopp’s biggest task.

Pep Guardiola
Can we see the end of Pep in English football? | Alex Livesey – Danehouse / Getty Images

Manchester City have once again made costly changes to their squad, but could it be Pep Guardiola’s last season to manage this group of players? With only one season left on his deal, that air of uncertainty is heavy.

It is difficult to call. If he secures a major trophy, it could be seen as the next step in forging a legendary dynasty, while it could also be the perfect farewell to an already incredible foray into English football.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Solskjaer did what he was asked | Pool / Getty Images

Everyone’s favorite Norwegian did what he was asked to do: bring Manchester United back into the top four. They are once again a Champions League club, but have the managerial acumen to take them to the next level?

They have been given the money to spend and the players to work with (although a deal for Jadon Sancho has not yet been concluded), but if United start losing games on the basis of bad organization and questionable tactics, the merciless hand Premier League management could collapse on Ole Gunner Solskjaer’s head.

Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser
These two will reunite on Tyneside | Marc Atkins / Getty Images

Aside from the takeover turmoil, if you were to look at the business Newcastle are doing in this transfer window, they leave nothing to risk. It’s a four-letter word that has been attached to almost every signature the club has made in the last few windows.

Now, spending money on players who are familiar with splitting is their modus operandi, one that, for once, makes sense.

Yes, I’m not Kylian Mbappe or Gareth Bale, but the change of course will be a welcome relief for supporters who fear another Joelinton.

The Blades endured a great first campaign in the Premier League
The Blades withstood the great first campaign in the Premier League | Pool / Getty Images

Sheffield United exceeded expectations last season with a notable push for the top four. That surge eventually subsided and European football was lost altogether, but the praise they got was fully justified.

It is to be worried, however, that their lack of goals and the familiarity that clubs now have with their style may see them discovered. As it stands, it could be all for Chris Wilder to ensure they maintain their Premier League status and continue to build a solid, top-tier foundation, with no insane ambitions.

Ralph Hasenhuttl
Hasenhuttl had his chance | Pool / Getty Images

Southampton’s worst day in recent memory happened last season, they were in terrible shape, but Ralph Hasenhuttl got a new contract. Why?

It is because there are signs of methods and instructions starting to click. The Austrian is an excellent coach and Southampton have started to reap the rewards. Incredibly, after the second half, only the two Manchester clubs collected more points than the Saints.

Now is the time to see if Hasenhuttl can justify his support and build on what he has done so far.

Giovani Lo Celso, Heung-Min Son, Tanguy Ndombele
Ndombele flopped noticeably last season | Justin Setterfield / Getty Images

Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg have crossed the threshold in the last year, all for a nice fee. Jose Mourinho managed to lead Tottenham to Europe last season but the midfield was a fool who simply couldn’t break through.

Various systems and staff changes have not worked, with the signing of the club record left to rot on the bench. Finding that balance and freezing those players is at the top of the Spurs checklist, otherwise it’s more money down the drain.

Slaven Bilic
Bilic has everything to do this season | Michael Regan / Getty Images

Last season West Brom went to the top level with tooth skin. Failing to win any of their last four games, they were spared from Brentford’s shortcomings.

It is generally accepted that they will be in a relegation match for much of next season, with the pressure that should have built up on Slaven Bilic’s shoulders right from the start. Can you see the campaign? As the fifth manager in three years, it’s hard to say.

David Moyes
Moyes is against it | Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

David Moyes loves a good layoff. The pretty terrible win rates in his last four jobs tend to do that.

Entering the new season with no noteworthy additions, this time around is an omnipotent task in his hands.

It’s hard not to feel sorry for him. He’s in a terribly run club (everyone has seen Mark Noble’s reaction to the sale of Grady Diangana, right?), With an average team of a bang and a group of angry fans in the background. Ignore Man Utd, this job has its difficulties.

Nuno Espirito Santo
Who da man? | Michael Regan / Getty Images

Establishing firmly in the first half of the Premier League since promotion to the division two years ago, it is extraordinary to think that we are now talking about wolves as potential top four challengers.

They are on the verge of getting involved with that elite, currently following a similar trajectory en route to potentially becoming the new Spurs. Are they already able to take the next step or are their 25 new Portuguese players not what they need to break the status quo?

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