After a seemingly never-ending offseason (just kidding, the fùtbol offseason is like, three weeks long), the lads are back, ready to take the pitch and knock it into the old onion bag. The pubs are starting to fill with fervent supporters and the children are dancing in the street. This season promises to be a memorable one, and, surprisingly, I've got some opinions on it. Correct opinions, too. I should start by offering some disclosure: I am a Crystal Palace
fan supporter. I've been a diehard Palace Head (still workshopping the name) for about three years, now, so you know my loyalty runs deep. I pretty much picked them because I needed a Premier League team and didn't want to just jump on some bandwagon, so I picked the one with the coolest name. I fully expected to never feel true glory and be happy in the lower middle of the Table. After all, I'm allowed to have one team that doesn't win every year, right? Well, Leicester City ruined that two years ago, and now I'm convinced Crystal Palace is taking the league this year. Last season they had horrible luck with injuries and started the season with Allen Pardew as manager. Hard to win with those circumstances. But, we've got a new manager (Frank de Boer), some splashy new signings loans, and some sharp new kits. Things are pointing up! Crystal Palace, 2017-18 Premier League Champions.
Outside the title winner, there are some other storylines this season, as well. Fortunately for someone like me (a football (my football, for all my devoted international readers)-obsessed American who spends the majority of his brainpower in the fall pouring over football stats and highlights like it was my job (sadly, it isn't)(yet) and only devotes a portion of his free time to the Joga Bonito) (But I still know everything about the Premier League and will correctly predict the League Table with astonishing accuracy) (Amazing, I know), literally every relevant plot point and potential narrative revolves around the Big Six: Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Tottenham. Forgive me for not going deep on Burnley's transfer window, but, outside the Big Six and Crystal Palace, no other team really has a shot at a Champions League spot. Now, plenty of random teams will be exciting. Probably more exciting than Chelsea, at least. Maybe everyone will be more exciting than Chelsea. Well, everyone except West Brom. But as far as making a real impact? Not so much.
The coveted Transfer Window Championship is, as of now, split between the two Manchester
teams clubs. United, again, made sure to have the single biggest singing, finally getting Romelu Lukaku away from Everton. Add in underrated midfielder Nemanja Matic from rival Chelsea and another year for all of last year's huge singings to get acclimated to the Special One's system, and expectations are flying high in Old Trafford. Expectations are always flying high there, though, and that hasn't lead to much of anything (by their standards) recently. City decided to remedy last year's somewhat disappointing third place finish by throwing a ton of money around. They've spent a lot more money than anyone else, and, while they haven't gotten any huge names, everyone they've picked up is relatively young and already really good. Kyle Walker is one of the best right backs in the world, and Bernardo Silva could become a superstar. Chelsea kind of had a head scratching transfer window. They need center backs, but sent two on loan. They need wingers, but sent two on loan. They need another midfielder after puzzlingly letting Matic go, but sent their most promising one on loan (Crystal Palace, bitch!). I don't necessarily think they're done making moves, but just adding Morata, probably losing Costa, and then settling for, what, Danny Drinkwater? I don't know, man. Not really sure what the strategy was Tottenham, the lovable losers who can't seem to win anything despite having the second best team in England the last two years, didn't add anyone. In fact, their only transaction of note was selling Kyle Walker. I guess they have faith in manager Maurico Pochettino and their young, talented core. I'm sure all the Arsenal fans out there are feeling good. They brought in Alexandre Lacazette, the haven't lost anyone yet, they can't choke in the Champions League because they didn't make it, Wenger hasn't lost the locker room yet, everything's going well. Butttttttt, Alexis wants out. Bad. Like, he said he's not going to try this season for Arsenal and leave for free next year. Mesut Özil is always a little flighty. Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsay are always popular transfer rumors. The other shoe is going to drop for the gunners, and it's going to drop hard. I know I'm falling into the classic "talk about the Cowboys no matter what" trap we have over here, but Liverpool is probably the most interesting team to me on a philosophical level. Theoretically, I should like them. The same people that own Liverpool own my beloved Red Sox. But I hate the Red Sox owners and all they represent. They haven't won anything in forever, but carry themselves like they've won ten straight titles. Jurgen Klopp turned down $100 million for Philippe Coutinho because he thinks they're in position to win now. How do you turn down $100 million for anyone, let alone someone like Coutinho, who's good, but not that good. And all they added was Mo Salah, a great player, but certainly not enough to singlehandedly change them into world beaters. Look for Liverpool to be walk into another relatively underwhelming season.
Without further ado, it's time to unveil the Official Brian's Den Premier League Table. No, I'm not a licensed psychic, but you can still take my predictions for scripture. I'd even go so far as to suggest using this to place wagers, but we all know I don't condone that sort of thing.
Premier League Table
- Crystal Palace
- Manchester City
- Manchester United
- West Ham
- Leicester City
- West Brom
- Stoke City
- Newcastle United