Yeah boy, the boys of partial summer, Fall/Winter, and mostly Spring are back! The English Premier League! While it’s arguably not the most exciting league in the world, it is the most expensive, in terms of ticket prices and ridiculous transfer fees. All told the teams in the Premier League will have combined to spend nearly a billion Euros and this includes Tottenham having spent literally zero!
This week in sexy Europe we will do a short break down of the league in typical snarky Daves fashion. If you want a good primer on where teams are at right now I’d (right) click here to take yourself over to NBC Sports. Next week we’ll take brief looks at the Bundesliga, Serie A, and La Liga.
There are basically six teams that have any real hope of winning this damn thing. The problem is that each of these teams is fundamentally flawed, so I don’t see any clear favorite.
- Arsenal – They actually brought the old man back. Teams around the EPL rejoiced. They brought in Lacazette but are likely losing Oxlade-Chamberlain and Alexis Sanchez. Plus they have to deal with Europa League and Thursday nights in Kiev!
- Chelsea – Antonio Conte does not seem long for English football. They did bring in Alvaro Morata but they lost Costa and Matic and lost out on the Lukaku sweepstakes. Plus can their 15 man rotation hold up to the rigors of Champions League?
- Liverpool – Ugh, can we please figure out this Coutinho business. Also it doesn’t hurt to have more than 5 capable defenders on the roster, just ask Minnesota United FC. This team could break the Goals Scored in a season record of 103 easily and it’s not out of the realm of possibility to hit almost 160 in all competitions. But can they stop anyone?
- Manchester City – The most complete team in the league, they brought in reinforcements for and are poised for a title challenge and to make a deep run in the Champions League. The questions is can they get all of the pieces to gel in time.
- Manchester United – Jose Mourinho pried Lukaku from Everton and brought in Matic from rival Chelsea. They didn’t lose anybody and after the daunting Europa League the Champions League should be a lot easier in terms of travel. A true title contender, but I think Jose’s got bigger (Champions League) aspirations.
- Tottenham Hotspur – The youth rules the day at Tottenham. While every club was spending, and their companions in this group spending a whole lot more, the Spurs decided that spending money was for losers! Stupid losers. Mauricio Pochettino is riding his young guys and with a little luck they could once again contend, unfortunately I don’t think that is in the cards, the luck that is.
There are literally three teams that will be content to maybe pull off an upset or two, maybe make a Cup run and should anyone <cough> Tottenham <cough> falter they maybe able to make a Top 6 finish.
- Everton – Everton is somewhat of an enigma. They lost Lukaku but brought in Michale Keane and Davy Klaassen. If they splash the cash for Gylfi Siggurdson this team could make a run at the Top Six, however I think they settle for being in this group and maybe prioritizing Europa and making a run at that.
- Southampton – Southampton, or as they more affectionately known to American Liverpool fans, the Liverpool AAA affiliate, keep plugging along. They bring in Pellegrino to manage the side (their 5th manager in 6 years) and they have yet to finish lower than 8th.
- Stoke City – A rainy night in Stoke isn’t just a euphemism for ball sweat. Stoke manages to hang around each year and play just well enough to give their fans hope. The addition of Darren Fletcher should help a squad that largely stayed intact from last year.
- West Ham United – Any other year the Hammers bringing in Joe Hart and Pablo Zabaleta from Man City and signing Chicharito from Leverkusen and the whole of England would’ve been like “blimey that’s a right cracker of a squad, hopefully the gaffer can make’m all fit, pip pip, cheerio.” But this year, it was mostly a collective shrug emoji. I do like the Little Pea signing in terms of the Hammers raising their awareness in the Mexican markets which I think is largely untapped for EPL (and rightfully so, because LigaMx is some damn fine football).
Hey we’re just happy to be here collecting all of this TV money!
- AFC Bournemouth – The Cherries rebounded at the end of the year to stay up. They brought in Begovic from Chelsea and Defoe from Sunderland. That should be enough to keep them out of the relegation battle for the entirety of the year.
- Leicester City – Leicester managed to not have any of their big guns poached this summer which is good, they brought in Vicente Iborra who will help drastically. This is a solid mid-table team that could, if they regain some of that luck and form from two years ago, make a Cup run.
- Newcastle United – Not gonna lie, it was weird watching a Prem season without Newcastle. They went down to the Championship and absolutely destroyed the competition down there. Rafa Benitez is a good manager who should keep these guys well above the relegation zone all year.
- Swansea City – This is another team that I wish would just hurry up and decide whatever the fuck they are going to do with Gylfi! Without him and without adequate reinforcements, this team is clearly down in the next group. If he stays, even until January this team should be solidly safe this year.
- West Bromwich Albion – I don’t really know what to make of West Brom. They seemingly don’t seem to do much each season and yet they still manage to finish easily mid-table. So why the fuck won’t they do it again!
Oh shit, we are screwed, like royally fucked
And last and most certainly least here are the teams that are screwed, well at least screwed to varying degrees. Some are most definitely going down others will just be stuck in a relegation fight all year.
- Brighton & Hove Albion – Yeah, good luck with that!
- Burnley – Barely survived last year, sold their best player to Everton, yeah, this shouldn’t end well.
- Crystal Palace – Honestly this team should probably be in the group above but in spite of having Wilifred Zaha and Christian Benteke they were ina relegation battle all year. They brought in Frank de Boer, Ajax legend and if this team gels early they could make a run. That is a stretch in my opinion.
- Huddersfield Town – Yep. Nope.
- Watford – Troy Deeney is hurt to start the season and Watford was in a relegation battle all year last year. I think they stay up only because of the bad teams below them!
Allright fucker, put your money where your mouth is!
Arsenal (Back to Europa)
Matches to Watch this Weekend
(All matches are CDT)
Everton v Stoke City 9am – Probably the best match of EPL Saturday, two solidly above mid-table teams feeling each other out at Goodison Park. We’ll see how much love Rooney gets back on his return to Goodison for the first time in Blue!
Newcastle v Tottenham 7:30am – Newcastle gets their first test at the Tyne hosting the Spurs who are looking to start the season strong.
Manchester United v West Ham United 10am – How will Arthur Blank tell the difference when two of the three Uniteds square off? (I know that joke is starting to get old but dammit if it still doens’t make me chuckle) Jose Mourinho’s men face off against the aforementioned rejuvenated Hammers. Joe Hart knows something about stopping Manchester United shots and this is my pick for upset of the week!
Barcelona v Real Madrid 3pm – Barcelona and Real Madrid square off for the second El Clasico of the season so far, this time in the Supercopa de España. This match seems to lose some luster to us neutrals because they play so goddman much, but, if you are a fan of either of these two teams you definitely want to win this match!
Cool? Cool, well that’s what to peep this weekend. Don’t forget matches kick off this afternoon in the EPL, Ligue 1 plays it’s second matchday this week and we are back to watching grown men kick balls around at a competent level (sorry, not sorry MLS). So set those alarm clocks, get your Brass Monkey supplies ready and join me over on twitter.com Saturday morning as I complain relentlessly about Liverpool taking shots 40 yards out against Watford!