The Premier League countdown has begun, we’re now just days away from the action kicking off at Old Trafford on Friday. The teams have been busy this summer with huge amounts of spending right across the board but as always, nothing from Tottenham. Obviously, the transfer window is still open and things can still change but I’ll take a look at five players or teams to look out for in the upcoming 2018/19 season.
5) Ruben Neves
To be honest, I could’ve put Wolves as a team here due to the transfer business they’ve done this summer, however, I don’t actually think their signings will be as good as they look on paper. Instead, I think what Premier League fans should be eagerly anticipating is the presence of Ruben Neves in the Premier League.
The Portuguese midfielder was brilliant during the 2017/18 Championship season and was heavily sought after earlier in the window. However, he put those rumours to bed and announced that he was happy to stick with Wolves and was prepared to help nail down Wolves’ Premier League status for the years to come. This shows his confidence and determination to work hard with Wolves which is a key reason to why I think he’ll have another successful season. He’s an exciting player and will be a joy to watch in an improved Wolves side. His passing range and shooting ability are his best attributes and at just 21-years-old, he’s still very young and I’m predicting him to have another brilliant season with Wolves who I doubt will be relegated.
Out of the top six sides and for that matter, any side in England, Liverpool probably had the best transfer window. Off the back of a disappointing end to the 2017/18 season, Klopp is determined to claim his first piece of silverware since his arrival at the Merseyside club in October 2015. The signings of Naby Keita, Fabinho Tavares, Xherdan Shaqiri and Alisson Becker will be huge in bolstering Liverpool’s starting XI and their chances at getting their hands on a first Premier League title.
Liverpool has improved their areas of weakness by adding Alisson Becker in goal for a record fee and have also bolstered their midfield options. Not only the arrival of Keita and Fabinho but Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge’s return to full fitness will add even more depth to the squad. They’ve also held on to all three members of their dynamic forward line and look ready to challenge Manchester City for the title. Last season, they showed they have what it takes to beat Manchester City which in theory, should be their hardest challenge this season. Additionally, Klopp’s intense style of play which gives his squad lots of stamina means they are perfectly suited for knockout football so don’t be surprised if they go on another Champions League run.
3) Aubameyang and Lacazette
The arrival of a new manager has brought more belief to the Emirates than ever before. Unai Emery has been very active in the transfer market and might even continue his spending with a surprise loan move for Ousmane Dembele. However, it’s not these signings that you should be looking out for but instead, two players that are already at the club. Arsene Wenger was blessed to be able to work with two brilliant finishers but wasn’t ever able to get them to click together. After having a summer working alongside one another and Lacazette’s confidence back up, I think these two could form an immense attacking duo and help Arsenal get the goals they’ve failed to find since Alexis Sanchez’s departure.
The two strikers are not only fantastic finishers but their pace to get in behind and aerial dominance could make them lethal when Arsenal go forward. Along with that, they’ll have two of the league’s best creators supporting them, in Mkhitaryan and Ozil. These four players will be key to Arsenal’s season and if Lacazette and Aubameyang do form an effective strike partnership then expect big things from Emery this season and in the seasons to come.
Although I spoke earlier about Wolves’ transfer activity not meaning much, I think Fulham’s is very different. They’ve beaten some huge clubs to complete some of their signings and have brought in some top talent despite being one of the favourites to get relegated. This isn’t to say that their squad wasn’t already good enough to survive the drop. Ryan Sessegnon will have his chance to prove himself in the Premier League as will Cairney and a few others. They’ve brought in some brilliant additions in Seri, Schurrle, Mawson, Le Marchand and rumours are now circulating that they could be looking to bring in World Cup star, Theo Hernandez.
Fulham could break into the top 10 and surprise us all, their squad is definitely good enough to challenge the likes of Leicester City, West Ham United, Crystal Palace and Everton in the mid-table area. I’m expecting their new signings to adapt well to Premier League life and if Sessegnon can play with the level of confidence we saw last year then they won’t struggle for goals. Players like Andre Schurrle and Aleksandar Mitrovic are already used to Premier League football and that experience will be key for Fulham.
1) West Ham United
My number one team to watch out for in the 2018/19 Premier League season is West Ham. Almost every season West Ham are tipped to perform well based off of their signings and a lot of the time they perform well below expectations. However, let’s hope this time is different and that the London club can get back to their best, making the most of their brilliant stadium and passionate fanbase. Following the departure of David Moyes, Manuel Pellegrini was appointed as the new head coach for the Hammers and his transfer business has been very impressive.
The reason I think we should watch out for them is that they’ve addressed key areas and have strengthened right across their squad. This will add lots more quality to their team but also a level of depth they haven’t had before. Goalkeepers were a huge issue for them and the acquisition of Lukasz Fabianski from relegated Swansea will help them massively. The Polish keeper was one of the only positives from Swansea’s disastrous season in 2017/18 and should help improve a shaky Hammers’ defence as will Issa Diop, Fabian Balbuena and Ryan Fredericks who are all exciting acquisitions. In midfield, they’ve added Jack Wilshere on a free transfer who will be a standout performer if he can maintain match fitness. Up front, they’ve brought in Felipe Anderson and Yarmalenko who will link up well with Lanzini and Arnautovic, both of whom were in good form towards the end of last season.
Overall, I think West Ham look very dangerous and the signings they’ve made are a huge statement of intent. I expect them to push for a Europa League Qualification spot and perhaps target one of the cups as a possible chance of silverware. They strong in all departments and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t have a successful season.
Those are my five, let us know if you think I missed someone or if you think I’m wrong on any of these. Not long to wait now, so prepare yourself for another season of brilliant goals, controversy and drama for the next ten months. Who do you think are the players or teams to look out for this season, let us know by tweeting @AllOutFootball_ using #AOF.