English Premier League Preview: Man City, Liverpool leading title favorites – SBI Soccer

The English Premier League title race was a two-team affair last season, and Manchester City’s successful run past Liverpool for league honors set up a very busy summer transfer window across the league.

City made major waves with the addition of Erling Haaland, while Liverpool bid farewell to Sadio Mane before adding highly-regarded Uruguayan striker Darwin Nunez. Haaland and Nunez will have key roles to play in determining which powerhouse lifts the Premier League trophy, and which of them makes the deepest run in the UEFA Champions League.

As close as the title race is shaping up to be, the battle for the remaining top-four places in the standings will be even more hotly contested. Chelsea and Tottenham finished in the top four last season and will be favored to do so again, though Arsenal and Manchester United have made significant additions to bolster their bids for a top-four spot.

At the other end of the table, Fulham and Bournemouth re-enter the EPL trying to make a lasting impression after a quick return from the EFL Championship. Nottingham Forest’s long wait to get back to the top flight ended as Steve Cooper’s squad edged Huddersfield Town in the promotion playoff final.

Here is a closer look at SBI’s full 2022/23 season preview for the English Premier League:


Arsenal

Transfers In: Marquinhos, Fabio Vieira, Matt Turner, Gabriel Jesus, Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Transfers Out: Dinos Mavropanos, Alexandre Lacazette, Matteo Guendouzi, Omari Hutchinson, Marcelo Flores, Nuno Tavares (Loan).

Player to Watch: Gabriel Jesus’s playing time diminished in his final season with Manchester City, but now has a golden chance to lead the Gunners line for his former assistant coach, Mikel Arteta.

Outlook: Arsenal will be pushing for top four once again this season, but needs help from other players to contribute goals alongside Jesus in the final third.


Aston Villa

Transfers In: Philippe Coutinho, Boubacar Kamara, Diego Carlos, Robin Olsen, Ludwig Augustinsson (Loan), Ewan Simpson.

Transfers Out: Matt Targett, Conor Hourihane, Lovre Kalinic, Trezeguet, Wesley (Loan), Carney Chukwuemeka.

Player to Watch: Ollie Watkins remains Aston Villa’s top goalscoring option this season and after 11 goals in 2021-22, the former Brentford man will be seeking to double that this season.

Outlook: Aston Villa finished just outside of the top ten in Steven Gerrard’s first season in charge and with Philippe Coutinho joining on a permanent deal from Barcelona, the Villains could certainly pose a threat to crack the top ten this campaign.


AFC Bournemouth

Transfers In: Ryan Fredericks, Marcus Tavernier, Joe Rothwell.

Transfers Out: Gary Cahill, Brennan Camp, Ryan Glover, Connor Kurrran-Browne, Luke Nippard, Owen Palmer, Aaron Roberts, Jack Seddon, Gavin Kilkenny, Zeno Ibsen Rossi.

Player to Watch: Dominic Solanke has totaled 45 goals in the last two EFL Championship campaigns for Bournemouth, but only has four for the club in the Premier League. After netting 30 goals alone last season, Solanke will be a big reason on if Bournemouth stay up or not.

Outlook: Bournemouth have goalscoring options in its squad, but the main question will be if it can be a stout defensively and keep goals from going in at the other end.


Brentford

Transfers In: Max Dickov, Max Wilcox, Aaron Hickey, Keane Lewis-Potter, Ben Mee, Michael Olakigbe.

Transfers Out: Mads Bidstrup (Loan), Christian Eriksen, Marcus Forss, Ellery Balcombe.

Player to Watch: Bryan Mbuemo scored only four goals last season, despite being a handful for many of the Premier League’s defenders. With many teams focusing on Ivan Toney, Mbuemo will have to contribute more in order to help Brentford be a consistent threat offensively.

Outlook: Brentford exceeded many peoples expectations last season, finishing in 13th and just outside of the top ten. The loss of midfielder Christian Eriksen hurts and will force others to step up and be the creative force in the Bees’ squad.


Brighton & Hove Albion

Transfers In: Julio Enciso, Benicio Baker-Boaitey, Simon Adingra.

Transfers Out: Yves Bissouma, Aaron Connolly (Loan), Leo Ostgard, Taylor Richards (Loan).

Player to Watch: Robert Sanchez has made the most of his opportunities with Brighton & Hove Albion, totaling 65 league appearances over the past two seasons. The Spaniard is one of the top shot-stoppers in the Premier League and will be relied on to come up with big saves once again.

Outlook: Brighton & Hove Albion had a better defensive record than Arsenal, Manchester United, Leicester City and West Ham United, helping the Seagulls finish ninth. Similar success defensively will only improve the team’s chances of moving up the table this season and certainly will be a key focus for Graham Potter.


Chelsea

Transfers In: Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly, Omari Hutchinson, Carney Chukwuemeka.

Transfers Out: Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Danny Drinkwater, Charly Musonda, Romelu Lukaku (Loan), Ethan Wady (Loan), Tino Anjorin (Loan).

Player to Watch: Kalidou Koulibaly comes into a Chelsea backline that lost Antonio Ruddier and Andreas Christensen this summer. Koulibaly has become one of the top centerbacks in Europe over the past few seasons and should fit right in next to Thiago Silva in defense.

Outlook: For Chelsea to truly test Manchester City or Liverpool this season, the offensive attack needs to hit the ground running. Raheem Sterling should help in that area, but others such as Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech, and others have to start solidifying their roles in the squad.


Crystal Palace

Transfers In: Malcolm Ebiowei, Sam Johnstone, Chris Richards, Cheick Doucoure.

Transfers Out: Martin Kelly, Sion Spence, Aidan Steele, Remi Matthews.

Player to Watch: Odsonne Edouard scored six goals last season since his move from France and quickly showed a strong connection with Wilfried Zaha. Edouard is a physical striker who can beat teams in a number of different ways, making him a top option for Patrick Vieira’s squad.

Outlook: The 1-2 combination of Zaha and Edouard will be fun to watch for Crystal Palace this season, and if those two can both hit double-figures, the Eagles will be pushing for a top ten finish.


Everton

Transfers In: James Tarkowski, Ruben Vinagre, Dwight McNeil.

Transfers Out: Richarlison, Jonjoe Kenny, Joao Virginia, Jarrad Branthwaite (Loan).

Player to Watch: Dwight McNeil’s move from Burnley was a great move for Frank Lampard’s squad, giving the Toffees an experienced midfield option that has already impressed in limited time this summer.

Outlook: Everton cannot afford to hang at the bottom of the league table this season, especially with the summer departure of Richarlison to Tottenham. There is enough quality in the squad to have a better campaign overall, but Lampard will need leadership in the squad for that to happen.


Fulham

Transfers In: Joao Palhinha, Kristian Sekularac, Callum McFarlane, Andreas Pereira, Manor Solomon, Kevin Mbabu.

Transfers Out: Fabio Carvalho, Cyrus Christie, Fabri, Michael Hector, Alfie Mawson, Jean Michael Seri, Timmy Abraham, Steven Sessegnon (Loan).

Player to Watch: Andreas Pereira was loaned out four times during his years with Manchester United, but now has a new opportunity to play consistently in England with Fulham. The 26-year-old is a talented midfielder and should bring quality to Marco Silva’s squad in a number of different areas.

Outlook: Fulham will go as far as Aleksandar Mitrovic takes them, a theme that has been on display in the Championship. For the London-based club to truly avoid any relegation worries though, others will have to help Mitrovic in attack with many EPL backlines set to track him at all costs.


Leeds United

Transfers In: Brenden Aaronson, Rasmus Kristensen, Marc Roca, Tyler Adams, Darko Gyabi, Luis Sinisterra, Sonny Perkins.

Transfers Out: Kalvin Phillips, Laurens De Bock, Raphinha, Charlie Cresswell (Loan), Tyler Roberts (Loan), Jamie Shackleton (Loan)

Player to Watch: Tyler Adams was acquired to fill the void left by Kalvin Phillips, and a reunion with former New York Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch should give the U.S. men’s national team midfielder a new challenge to grow his game at club level.

Outlook: Leeds United conceded 79 goals in the Premier League last season, but still avoided relegation on the final day. That number needs to drop big time for the Yorkshire club to avoid a similar pattern in 2022-23.


Leicester City

Transfers In: None.

Transfers Out: Eldin Jakupovic, Vontae Daley-Campbell, Callum Hulme, Will Russ, Tyrese Shade, Jacob Wakeling, Khanya Leshabela, Ben Nelson.

Player to Watch: James Maddison was a key two-way player for Leicester City last season, scoring 18 goals in all competitions. The skillful attacking midfielder will be trusted to deliver more of the same as Leicester City aims to get back into top-four talks.

Outlook: Leicester City might have one of the dynamic attacks with Jaime Vardy, James Maddison, and Harvey Barnes, but defensively its 59 goals conceded last season were the most allowed by the club since 2017-18. Brendan Rodgers needs to focus his team on defense first in order to improve up the table.


Liverpool

Transfers In: Fabio Carvalho, Darwin Nunez, Calvin Ramsay.

Transfers Out: Divock Origi, Loris Karius, Sheyi Ojo, Ben Woodburn, Sadio Mane, Takumi Minamino, Neco Williams, Rhys Williams (Loan), Ben Davies.

Player to Watch: Darwin Nunez replaces Sadio Mane in the Liverpool attacking corps, bringing a new attacker to Jurgen Klopp’s squad. Nunez’s rapid rise with Benfica helped him earn a first-ever move to England and the Uruguayan will be eager to hit the ground running alongside Mo Salah and Diogo Jota.

Outlook: Liverpool will push Manchester City for the league title once again, having one of the top squads in international soccer. Mane’s departure will ask early questions of Nunez and if the Uruguayan cannot answer quickly, pressure could be on the Merseyside club immediately.


Manchester City

Transfers In: Erling Haaland, Stefan Ortega, Kalvin Phillips.

Transfers Out: Fernandinho, CJ Egan-Riley, Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Gabriel Jesus, Tommy Doyle (Loan), Raheem Sterling, Zack Steffen (Loan), Oleksandr Zinchenko, Ari Muric.

Player to Watch: Erling Haaland earned his move to Manchester City, giving Pep Guardiola a true No. 9 to call on. Haaland is one of the top forwards when healthy, and should be among the Golden Boot challengers from the get-go.

Outlook: Manchester City has what it takes to claim a fifth league title in the past six years, but the losses of several important depth players such as Sterling, Jesus, Fernandinho, and Zinchenko could be crucial to the reliability on others.


Manchester United

Transfers In: Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen, Lisandro Martinez.

Transfers Out: Edinson Cavani, Juan Mata, Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Lee Grant, Nemanja Matic, Dean Henderson (Loan), Andreas Pereira.

Player to Watch: Bruno Fernandes took a step back in 2021-22, along with the entire Manchester United squad. With Erik Ten Hag needing a new leader in midfield following Paul Pogba’s move to Italy, Fernandes will be tasked with running the show on a weekly basis.

Outlook: Getting back to basics for Manchester United will be key in having a strong first season under Ten Hag. The Red Devils conceded 57 goals last season, the most in their top-flight history since 1978-79, and will be key in turning things from the start.


Newcastle United

Transfers In: Nick Pope, Matt Targett, Sven Botman, Charlie McArthur.

Transfers Out: Issac Hayden, Dwight Gayle, Freddie Woodman, Jeff Hendrick, Ciaran Clark (Loan).

Player to Watch: Nick Pope was one of several players to leave Burnley this summer, making the move to Newcastle United to be part of Eddie Howe’s project. Pope has recorded 46 clean sheets in 141 league appearances and will be key in the Magpies becoming strong defensively this season.

Outlook: Newcastle United’s continued roster building under its new ownership will have fans expecting the best from the Magpies this season and a strong end of last season will be on Howe’s and his players minds this August.


Nottingham Forest

Transfers In: Taiwo Awoniyi, Dean Henderson (Loan), Omar Richards, Neco Williams, Wayne Hennessey, Harry Toffolo, Lewis O’Brien, Jesse Lingard, Orel Mangala.

Transfers Out: Tobias Figueiredo, Carl Jenkinson, Gaetan Bong, Ethan Horvath (Loan), Brice Samba, Lewis Grabban.

Player to Watch: Jesse Lingard is in a new situation with Nottingham Forest, joining the newly-promoted side over a possible move to MLS. Lingard still has a lot he can offer in the Premier League and will be relied to come up with many big moments in Steve Cooper’s squad.

Outlook: Nottingham Forest excelled last season in the Championship, winning the playoff final over Huddersfield Town. However, the losses of several key players including Brice Samba, James Garner, and Djed Spence means new signings will need to be ready to go on Matchday 1.


Southampton

Transfers In: Alex Iwumene, Gavin Bazunu, Mateusz Lis, Armel Bella-Kotchap, Romeo Lavia Joe Aribo, Sekou Mara.

Transfers Out: Harry Lewis, Fraser Forster, Caleb Watts, Kazeem Olaigbe, Shane Long, Dan Nlundulu, Will Smallbone (Loan).

Player to Watch: Joe Aribo enjoyed three impressive seasons with Scottish club Rangers, totaling 26 goals in his time in Glasgow. The 26-year-old earned a move to Southampton this summer, providing the former Charlton Athletic man with a new crack at the Premier League. His versatility will be important as Ralph Hasenhuttl seeks a new leader in his attack.

Outlook: Southampton came close to avoiding relegation last season, but needs all-around better effort to surge up the table. With no true star players on the roster, the Saints will have to be working hard together to give their fans a lot to cheer about.


Tottenham

Transfers In: Ivan Perisic, Fraser Forster, Richarlison, Djed Spence, Yves Bissouma, Clement Lenglet (Loan).

Transfers Out: Cameron Carter-Vickers, Steven Bergwijn, Jack Clarke, Troy Parrott (Loan), Dane Scarlett (Loan), Joe Rodon (Loan).

Player to Watch: Richarlison’s move to Tottenham gives Antonio Conte three match winners on any given night. The Brazilian forward will team up with Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min, giving him a great opportunity in the Premier League and UEFA Champions League.

Outlook: Tottenham’s summer moves have only bolstered a strong squad from last season and anything less than a top-four finish will be a disappointment. With European competition returning to North London, Tottenham will need to prioritize its schedule especially with a crammed first-half.


West Ham United

Transfers In: Nayef Aguerd, Alphonse Areola, Gianluca Scamacca.

Transfers Out: Ryan Fredericks, David Martin, Mark Noble, Andriy Yarmolenko, Sonny Perkins, Arthur Masuaku (Loan).

Player to Watch: Gianluca Scamacca’s arrival in London should help ease the pressure off of Michail Antonio and Jarrod Bowen. The Argentine forward has registered double-digit goals in each of the past three seasons and will be expected to hit the ground running in England.

Outlook: West Ham United will once again take part in European competition this season, forcing David Moyes’ hand early with added matches during the first-half of the schedule. The Hammers added attacking help in the form of Scamacca, but need to tighten it up defensively in order to get back into the top-six.


Wolverhampton Wanderers

Transfers In: Nathan Collins.

Transfers Out: John Ruddy, Romain Saiss, Ki-Jana Hoever (Loan), Ryan Giles (Loan), Dion Sanderson (Loan), Fabio Silva (Loan).

Player to Watch: Ruben Neves has the ability to deliver goals and assists when needed and with Wolves hoping to improve on its 38 goals scored last season, the Portuguese midfielder could be important in changing that.

Outlook: Wolves finished 10th last season, despite scoring the fourth-fewest goals (38) in the Premier League. Bruno Lage has a talented striker in Raul Jimenez, but will need help from others to see his club hit the 40-goal plateau this season.

Who’s your favorite to win the English Premier League this season? Will Manchester City and Liverpool run away once again in this year’s title race? Which club do you think can trouble Man City and Liverpool the most? Who will end up relegated?

Share your thoughts below.

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English Premier League Preview: Man City, Liverpool leading title favorites – SBI Soccer

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