John Newsome takes us through his 2020/21 English Premier League table final position predictions. Does he think Liverpool can do the double or will Man City reclaim the title? Or does he think the league is far from a two-horse race? Read on to find out…
You can view all previous analysis from John’s regular column here: English Premier League Predictions For Saturday.
It appears that Chelsea are the new feeder club for Arsenal with Willian making the short distance move from Stamford Bridge over to the Emirates, following last season’s transfer of Sideshow Bob, aka David Luiz.
However, Will.i.an must have had a bump on his head, during the social distancing tube journey across from West London, as he has stated that the reason he signed a 3-year deal with Arsenal is that Mikel Arteta has promised him that the Gunners will win the Champions League in those 3-years.
Firstly, Big Will, one of those 3-years, the first one, Arsenal are not even in the Champions League, so that only gives the Brazilian 2-seasons at the Emirates to get his hands on the coveted trophy.
If Will had signed a 20-year contract, it still wouldn’t be long enough for Arsenal to win the top European gong.
Arsene Wenger had 22-years at the North London club and had better players than the current squad but couldn’t win the Champions League, there’s no real or new evidence to say that Pep 2 will guide his Gunners to the top of the European tree, his mate, Pep 1, is still trying with Man City.
With Willian through the door already, Arsenal are poised to add another Brazilian, raiding the French club Lille, for their highly-rated 22-year old defender, Gabriel.
Let’s hope he doesn’t cover one of his eyes, however, may cover them both after a game or two with his fellow countryman David Luiz.
Probably the best signing of the close season is to commit Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to the club, as with Big Pete in the team, the Gunners stand half a chance of finishing as high as 7th.
After surprising everyone, even the Gooners faithful, by winning the FA Cup a couple of weeks back, Arsenal get the chance to play on a Thursday night in the Europa League, however, that particular competition as yet to be defined as with the current pandemic, which by the way, hasn’t gone away, may make travelling to the various countries, difficult, especially with the quarantine procedures in place at the moment.
For example, if Arsenal play against a Spanish team or a Croatian team, are the players and staff meant to quarantine for 14-days on their return.
That would plunge the Premier League fixtures into chaos.
Mikel and his boys, without Will.i.an, started off the new delayed campaign in the showpiece opener now known as the Community Shield, against Liverpool at Wembley last Saturday then, in their first Premier League fixture, travel the short distance across London, to Craven Cottage, to face the Premier League newcomers Fulham.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored Arsenal’s opener against Liverpool, then after conceding an equaliser, the Charity Shield, as the old boys and girls will know it as, went straight to penalties, in which Pierre-Emerick stepped up again and converted the winning kick to take the Shield back to the Emirates.
Premier League Finish 7th
Aston Villa have just had their Player of the Season awards dinner and the overwhelming winner for the protracted term was a player called ‘Goal Line Technology’
Quite simply, although Villa had a great finish to the season, getting 2-draws and 2-victories to stay in the division, the ghost-goal, against Sheffield United, in the 1st-game after the resumption of the Premier League, which the Goal Line Technology failed to award, was the difference between, staying up and relegation.
The point gained from the draw against Sheffield United meant Dean Smith’s Clarets finished with 35-points, 1-more than Bournemouth and Watford on 34.
If Michael Oliver’s Del Boy watch had worked at Villa Park against the Blades, Aston Villa would have had the same 34-points but a slightly inferior goal-difference than Bournemouth, so would have been relegated and Eddie and the Cherries would still be in the Top Flight and Villa would be heading to Oakwell this new season.
In football, there are always anomaly’s and ‘if’ ‘buts’ and ‘maybes’ like ‘if he’d awarded a penalty for that‘ or ‘if he had not awarded a penalty in that game’ that changes a teams season but to literally have a procedure in place that confirms a goal that has worked over 9000 times, plus a back-up to that where the Video Assistant Referee can instantly say that the ball crossed the line, not to work, is above and beyond the normal ‘if’ ‘buts’ and ‘maybes’ and Villa should have been relegated.
That one decision set off a correlation of incidents that has effectively seen Eddie Howe, out of a job.
On June the 17th, old Eddie was sat at home in Bournemouth, social distancing, with the remote in one hand and a glass in the other, watching the first bit of football for a few months and couldn’t possibly envisage that Michael Oliver’s lucky lucky watch, would effectively see his beloved Cherries exit the Top Forty and him down the jobcentre.
So as mentioned, the host at the Aston Villa player of the year awards, proudly announced on the mike,
‘The winner for the 2019/2020 season is Goal Line Technology’
Ironically, Villa have been linked with a couple of Bournemouth players, with Dean reportedly interested in bringing in Harry Wilson and Philip Billing.
Werder Bremen’s Milot Rashica is another target, however, the Kosovo star’s wife doesn’t appear to be interested in a move to Birmingham.
Another Bundesliga player, Schalke’s American midfielder Weston McKennie is also being linked with a move to Villa Park but that looks dead in the water now with Weston possibly heading to Juventus.
There are other surprise rumours including Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster and Marko Grujic, so it does appear the club are backing Dean Smith, who needs to get off to a good start or may just find himself next to Eddie Howe at the Job Centre.
Aston Villa get a week off, with their opening fixture against Man City being postponed due to City’s recent Champions League adventure which sees both the Manchester clubs have delayed starts to their campaign.
Guess who Villa play in their first competitive fixture? yes, that’s right, Sheffield United at Villa Park.
It is absolutely nailed on that Goal Line Technology will come into play.
Premier League Finish 18th
Graham Potter and his Seagulls dug in deep towards the end of last season to gain enough points to stay in the Premier League.
In the 9-games after the lockdown, Brighton accrued 12-points to give them a total of 41.
The surprise probably was that 3 of those points acquired was against Arsenal.
Although not the most exciting of football, especially the dogged 0-0 draw against Newcastle in the final home game, it was enough to give the faithful a 3rd-consecutive season in the Top Flight, which ultimately, is all anyone can ask for and if in doubt, ring the Norwich, Watford and Bournemouth fans to see which league they would prefer to be in.
Brighton have brought in Adam Lallana, deemed surplus to requirements at Anfield, who will definitely enhance the Seagulls.
Graham has had the news that his stalwart at the back, Lewis Dunk has signed a new 5-year deal at the club, so Big Lewis is going nowhere, however, Dunk’s mate, Shane Duffy, looks to be heading to Celtic, with a possible swap with Odsonne Edouard, although a lot of scenarios need to occur for Edouard to come South.
Another possible signing to enhance Harry’s squad is already a Brighton player.
Ben White spent last season on loan up North, at Elland Rd and impressed in Leeds United’s Championship winning team, however, after several bids from the West Yorkshire new boys, to sign White, permanently, Brighton have rejected the requests and want to keep Big Ben at the Amex.
One transfer out of the Amex, which does appear strange from the outside, is Aaron Mooy, leaving and moving to China, joining Shanghai SIPG, Aaron maybe feared that his game time would be reduced due to the arrival of Adam.
It’s probably an easier guess or prediction to say the Brighton will be round about the same place as last season and Graham Potter will need to work miracles to keep the Seagulls away from the drop-zone and keep himself away from the Job Centre.
Brighton kick-off the new campaign at home against Chelsea.
No game in the Premier League is easy, however, this will be extremely difficult against a perspective title-challenging team.
Premier League Finish 16th
Sean Dyche is still at the Burnley helm, despite speculation that the big man would leave Turf Moor this summer.
The speculation, however, is just that, as although Sean appeared from the outside that he was at loggerheads with the heir-achy, after constantly working miracles on a low budget, it’s unlikely that Sean would just leave his job unless there was another vacancy somewhere else and the bottom line is, there aren’t any vacancies elsewhere that Big Dyche would be offered unless he changed his name to Seanio Dychio.
The so-called big boys, both here in the Premier League and abroad, will simply not take a chance on Sean Dyche, rightly or wrongly and it’s wrongly.
Imagine that Pep Guardiola decided that he has taken Man City as far as he can, after the Champions League Semi-Final defeat and says he’s out of the Etihad, would the bosses at City, employ Sean Dyche?
The simple answer is no!
Would Manchester United? Arsenal? Chelsea? Tottenham? even Wolves?
The answer is no!
So Sean Dyche is going nowhere and Burnley and the faithful (and the bosses!) should embrace the big man.
Sean is after Adam Smith after the big defender was relegated with Bournemouth.
The Clarets have surprisingly let the versatile Jeff Hendrick leave and join Newcastle United, which, from the outside, does look a strange decision, depending on whether a replacement is being lined up.
Burnley get the first weekend off, following Manchester United’s European exploits that gives the Red Devil’s a longer break.
In-Game Week-2, Sean and his boys start their new journey, away at the King Power against Leicester.
Premier League Finish 11th
As well as being the new feeder club for Arsenal, Chelsea are now the new buying club and although the following is a big statement, seeing this is a betting tipster site, big predictions are required.
Chelsea will win this 2020/21 Premier League.
The bosses have backed Frank Lampard and have initially brought in Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech.
Following Timo and Hakim’s arrival, that enhances the Blues, Leicester’s Ben Chilwell is another new recruit, coming in for a fee of £45 Million in a 5-year deal.
Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz is another on his way to Stamford Bridge.
Four brilliant signings that will make Chelsea contenders in its own right, however, not content with just being contenders, Frank has now signed a fifth, that of the brilliant Thiago Silva from Paris Saint Germain, which now elevates the Blues to a new level, the same as Liverpool and Man City.
Thiago Silva is up there with Virgil Van Dijk, not only on the level of his defending but the added extra of also having the experience and knowledge to help his new teammates.
Prior to playing in the French capital, Mr T played for the Italian giants, AC Milan.
Chelsea head to the South Coast on the opening weekend to play against Brighton, which should be an indicator as to if the new boys have gelled.
The following weekend, Stamford Bridge hosts Liverpool, which really will be a yardstick as to where the Blues will see themselves.
Malang Sarr and Xavier Mbuyamba have also arrived at Stamford Bridge but don’t look to be first-team players at the moment as both have been sent straight back out on loan.
With the signings Big Frank has made, Chelsea are now real contenders to be the new titleholders for next term.
Considering where Frank’s boys finished last season, their displays against the top teams and these new lads, don’t be surprised if Chelsea are there or thereabouts next May.
A few have scoffed at that already but it’s a game of opinions and in this columns opinion, Chelsea are now serious title contenders, with a possible starting eleven of ‘a new ‘keeper’ as Frank doesn’t fancy Keppa, Cesar Aspiliqueta, Thiago Silva, Kurt Zouma, Ben Chilwell, N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, Kai Havertz, Mason Mount, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech.
Remember also, Christian Pulisic and Billy Gilmour will be added later, once recovered from injury.
Premier League Finish 1st
Roy Hodgson is back for another season in the Premier League having just celebrated his 73rd Birthday, which is a fantastic achievement in itself.
Whilst not the most enigmatic of a person, Roy should be afforded tremendous respect for what he has done in football over the years and whatever anyone thinks about his style, Crystal Palace are in safe hands and won’t be relegated whilst Big Roy is at the helm.
The problem for the Eagles is when Mr Hodgson decides to call time on his brilliant career.
At the minute, Palace’s star-man, Wilfried Zaha is still at Selhurst Park, however, the Transfer Window doesn’t ‘slam shut’ until the 5th of October so there is still plenty of time for Wilf to exit the club.
Probably the first few games will define where Wilf’s future will be.
The problem possibly for all connections with Mr Zaha and Crystal Palace is what the fee would be?
A year and a bit back, the fee was around £70 Million, which no club were prepared to pay.
Today, the fee is probably more in the region of £40 Million, which brings a lot of suitors into the equation, one being Arsenal.
Roy as already brought in a possible replacement, signing Eberechi Eze from their London neighbours, Queens Park Rangers, paying £20 Million for Double E.
Ebere, aged just 22, was a top player in the Championship and Palace will now hope he can transfer his skills onto the Premier League stage.
Another possible signing Roy is looking at is Eberechi’s QPR team-mate, Bright Osayi-Samuel, who would cost a fraction of the £20 Million paid for EE and could come to Selhurst Park for around £5 Million.
Crystal Palace start off the new season on the 12th of September, at home against Southampton.
Premier League Finish 13th
Everton are one of the teams that have been relatively quiet in this short close-season, with not many talking about the Toffees, either positively or in a negative way.
Carlo Ancelotti gets a full pre-season, well as full as one can expect in this strange delayed 2020/21 campaign, to get his Toffees grilled in the way that the Italian works.
Like Crystal Palace under Roy Hodgson, Everton are in safe hands and won’t experience the threat of relegation, like under Marco Silva, however, that said, the Toffees faithful, will want their beloved Blues to get as high as possible, after watching the Red half of Merseyside finally win the Premier League.
There are rumours that the Colombian striker James Rodriguez has agreed on terms to head to Goodison Park, which will be a great signing.
James, pronounced ‘Ham-es’ will be a popular acquisition and the Blue Scousers will relish the chance to nick Big Jim’s hubcaps.
Aged 29-years old, Hammy should be in his prime and Everton will be hoping that the Columbian can reproduce the talent that earned him a move to Real Madrid.
Barcelona’s midfielder Rafinha is another target for Carlo and it wouldn’t be a surprise if ex-Manchester United Star, Memphis Depay, rocks-up at Goodison Park.
Allan is also on Carlo’s radar, that’s just Allan, or as the pundits want to say ‘Al-lan’ simple!
It’s Allan though and the Toffees faithful will be hoping he turns out to be as good as his Everton namesakes Alan Ball and Alan Stubbs.
The Napoli midfielder will join up with his old boss on Merseyside in the coming days.
Everton kick-off the new season with an away trip to the Chas and Dave Memorial Stadium to take on Jose and his Spurs.
Premier League Finish 10th
Fulham are back in the Premier League after just a season in the Championship following relegation in the 2018/19 season.
In the first game of the 2019 season, Fulham headed to Oakwell, where Scott Parker’s boys lost the opener against Barnsley FC.
The Yorkshire club, then did the double over Fulham, beating Scott’s boys at Craven Cottage, denting their automatic promotion hopes.
What then followed was Fulham went up via the play-offs and Barnsley went down the league and on the final fixture of the protracted season, it looked like the Reds were going to be relegated.
After another stunning victory against Brentford, combined with Wigan’s 12-point deduction, Barnsley avoided relegation and start off their Championship campaign against Luton. whilst Fulham head to the Premier League and face Arsenal in the opener on the 12th of September.
When Fulham were promoted in 2018 to the Top Flight under Slavisa Jokanovic, the West London club spent over £100 Million and most was wasted.
It’s unlikely that the Fulham owner, Shahid Khan, will allow Scott to spend that much this time, however, the likely outcome is the boys will be back at Oakwell next term.
Fulham host Arsenal in the first game back, which is also the first fixture of the new campaign live on BT Sport.
The Cottages hero in the play-offs, Joe Bryan is wanted by another Premier League newcomer, that of Leeds United, so Fulham will need to open the cheque-book to try and keep Joe.
Aleksandar Mitrovic will be a key player for Scott Parker and will be hoping the big striker stays fit to hopefully get the goals to stave off relegation.
Premier League Finish 20th
Marching on together.
The Yorkshire Real Madrid are back in the big time after 16-years away.
Firstly, to explain the Real Madrid reference, apart from the brilliant way Leeds play, back in the 1960s and 70s Leeds United, wore a Yellow strip, which the then manager, Don Revie, decided to change to an all-white, the same as Real Madrid.
Thus the Whites were reinvented and the famous White Kit of Leeds United will now be showcased in the Premier League, where, they rightly should be.
A strange coincidence occurred in the fact that when Leeds were relegated from the Premier League back in 2004, a certain James Milner was in the team that went down.
Sixteen years on, Leeds born and bred James has just won the Premier League title with Liverpool.
It gives every footballer hope that it’s not always the end if relegated.
Marcelo Bielsa, the brilliant Argentinian Head Coach, who finally got Leeds promoted, is sometimes referred to as ‘El Loco’ which is Spanish for ‘the Crazy One’.
One of the stories associated with Mr Bielsa is that whilst manager of Newells Old Boys in his native Argentina, after losing a game by a 6-0 scoreline, 20-incensed Newell’s Ultras turned up at Marcelo’s home demanding he come and face them.
Mr Bielsa promptly went to the door holding a grenade and said,
‘If you don’t leave, I will pull the pin!’
El Loco was born!
Marcelo Bielsa is revered by so many of today’s top coaches such as Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino, yet if the honours and trophies that Mr Bielsa has won were looked at, there aren’t that many.
It’s fair to say that winning the Championship with Leeds United is up there with his highest achievement, yet his coaching style is copied by so many.
Is Sir Alex Ferguson 3-times the manager that Brian Clough was?
Whilst at Newell’s, Marcelo turned up at a young boys home at midnight and asked his parents if he could measure the youngster’s legs, to see if they were ‘footballers legs’
The young man subsequently signed for Newells Old Boys and the young man was Mauricio Pochettino.
Before joining Leeds United, Mr Bielsa managed a number of teams including the Chile and Argentina national squads and Lazio, for 2-days, back in 2016.
A competition that Mr Bielsa has won is the Olympics, being the coach of Argentina back in Athens 2004.
Whilst the trophy cabinet isn’t as full as one would imagine, Marcelo Bielsa makes players better, one being the excellent Kalvin Phillips who would have been a Premier League player, this term even if Leeds were not promoted.
Kalvin is simply class and the world will now see just how good he and his Leeds United team-mates are.
The Spanish International, Rodrigo has just signed from Valencia, for a fee in the region of £27 Million and joining him at Elland Rd is the German defender, Robin Koch, who arrives from Freiburg at a price of around £20 Million.
Leeds had the Brighton Full-Back and the aptly named Ben White on loan for the promotion-winning season and want the lad back full time but Brighton are reluctant to sell and have turned down bids of up to £20 Million from the West Yorkshire club.
The Transfer Window is open until the 5th of October so there is plenty of time for that deal to happen.
For the football faithful all over the World who only know the English Premier League, tune into the Leeds United fixtures and watch the passion Leeds will show.
The slight unfortunate downside to the Leeds United promotion is the fact that at the moment there won’t be any fans allowed into the stadiums.
Elland Rd simply rocks when full and Leeds United always have a tremendous amount of travelling faithful, who, let’s just say, will bring some fun to the away grounds up and down the country.
Although Bournemouth were unfortunately relegated, the town may just be glad that they don’t have to entertain the Leeds Boys and Girls after still recovering from the visit back in May 1990.
The Championship winners take on the Premier League winners in the opening fixture of the season, which is quite apt really, to give all football fans a chance to see if there is a gap between the two divisions and how big that gap is.
Premier League Finish 9th
Brendan’s Wonderful Human Beings are back to try and emulate their 5000/1 title-winning season of 2015/16 after finishing 5th last term.
After being in the Champions League places for most of the latter part of the season, the Foxes appeared to run out of steam and momentum towards the end and were pipped for the final Champions League spot by Chelsea.
Still a great achievement for Brendan and his boys even having the Golden Boot winner in his team, that of Sheffield Superstar Jamie Vardy who finished with a tally of 23-goals, 1-more than Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Danny Ings.
In that Golden Boot winning tally, came Jamie’s 100th and 101st Premier League goal which now gives the Yorkshireman a slot on Sky Sports 100 Club.
Jamie Vardy is a testament to any young footballer who gets turned down as a youngster.
Don’t wallow in self-pity, don’t blame everyone else, don’t think one has a divine right, take rejection as a positive and work hard.
Go and get a job in a factory and play for the local team and work hard, work hard and continue to work hard and eventually, the talent will be rewarded.
Jamie is 34 in January but still looks 24, has just signed an extension to his contract that will take him past his 36th birthday, still is super-rapid and will still cause the Premier League defences problems for another couple of years.
So if as a youngster, one is thrown out of an academy, don’t blame others, continue to work hard and talent will shine through.
There’s a very old saying, ‘cream always rises to the top!’
Jamie’s the epitome of any sportsman rejected as a youth and like a boomerang, he came back.
Respect Jamie Vardy!
One downside to Leicester’s new campaign is that their brilliant Left-Back Ben Chilwell has swapped his blue Leicester jersey for the blue of Chelsea, now his preferred home following a £45 Million transfer to Stamford Bridge.
A set back for the Foxes but a great acquisition for Frank’s Blues.
There hasn’t been any new blood into the King Power just yet but like all clubs, the Transfer Window is open until the beginning of October so Brendan will have time to sign a few if needed.
Rod Stewart is still not happy with Brendan, even more so now after his beloved Celtic have been dumped out of the Champions League already and the fierce rivals Rangers are currently top of the Scottish Pub League, to try and prevent 10 in a row for the Green and White Hoops.
He’s Celtic, United but Brendan has decided that Leicester is the best place to be.
Leicester travel the short distance over to the Hawthorns to face new boys West Bromwich Albion in the opening fixture on Sunday the 13th of September.
Premier League Finish 8th
After finally getting their hands on the Premier League title following 30-years of hurt and a global pandemic, Liverpool got the opportunity to play in the showpiece opening game as titleholders against the FA Cup winners.
Jurgen did all his preparation to face Pep Guardiola and Man City at Wembley on Saturday but when he and his Reds arrived, was stunned to see Arsenal on the hallowed turf.
‘What’s happened there then?’ enquired Big J.
The boss, like the rest of the football fraternity, couldn’t believe Arsenal had beaten City in the Semi-Final.
Jurgen wasn’t too perturbed as basically instead of pitting his wits against Pep 1, he’s now up against Pep 2.
After conceding an early goal to the Gunners, Liverpool were all over Arsenal after the break and after a couple of inspired substitutions, the Reds equalised through Takumi Minamino.
The Reds faithful have already trademarked the famous Sesame Street song Mahna-Mahnam for the little Japanese forward.
You can hear the Scousers now, many naturally resembling Elmo, Big Bird and the Cookie Monster, singing at the Kop end,
‘Minamino, da-doo-da-doo-do, Minamino, da-doo-do-doo, Minamino, da-doo-da-doo-do, Minamino’
The Scouser’s will love that every-time Takumi comes on and scores like against the Gunners on Saturday.
Unfortunately, despite being the better side, the game finished in a 1-1 scoreline and after everyone apart from Rhian Brewster converted their spot-kicks, Arsenal went away with the Shield and Jurgen was back on the phone to Swansea, asking them if they want young Rhian back next term.
Mo Salah has had a haircut and the Reds faithful will be hoping he’s not like Samson.
To win the Premier League title after 30-years is a great achievement for all connected at Anfield, however, to retain the title will take an even greater effort.
Man City will come back stronger, Chelsea have invested and will push on, Manchester United will be better this time, Tottenham will be more physical under Dracula and Wolves don’t have the inconvenience of the Europa League so will want to finish as high as possible.
Jurgen has his work cut out and up to now has only really invested in one player that of Kostas Tsimikas, a Greek Left-Back to keep Andy Robertson on his toes.
There is talk of the Bayern Munich midfielder, Thiago Alcantara heading to Anfield after just getting his hands on a Champions League medal.
Watford’s Ismaila Sarr is another target for the Reds, mainly just to give him a kicking after he humiliated Liverpool back in February, scoring twice in a 3-0 victory.
The Reds face the Championship winners Leeds United in the opening fixture which is a great game for both sets of the cardboard faithful and the neutrals.
It’s without question Liverpool will be there or thereabouts come next May but to regain the title may be a step too far for Jurgen Klopp.
There are 96 Liverpool legends out there who will always be Premier League winners!
Premier League Finish 3rd
Finally, it is that time to discuss Man City and put to bed a story that as risen up over the past week or so.
Lionel Messi is not leaving Barcelona!
Repeat, Lionel is not leaving Barcelona and is not joining Pep in Manchester.
For a start, the fee in itself would be £632 Million, the release clause amount in Mr Messi’s contract.
After that, there would be wages of approximately £32 Million a year, which is £600,000 a week, (a week!)
Lionel would probably want a 5-year deal, so the Math says, that’s £156 Million, on top of the fee.
It’s not going to happen and is just a brilliant story that gets the Sky Sports pundits excited in this close-season.
There’s even one based in Barcelona talking nonsense every hour.
Nice work if one can get it.
Imagine the scenario, Little Lionel goes home to the missus who’s in the backyard sunbathing in the Spanish sun and says,’
‘Hi lovely, I’ve signed for Man City, we are moving to Manchester, England’
Mrs Messi lifts her head up, pulls down her Louis Vuitton sunglasses and replies,
‘Have you been drinking Leo, come and have a sit down my dear and rest your head’
‘Has that funny man, Arturo Vidal, him with the silly hair given you one of those sweets again, you know what they do to you’
Little Lionel’s determined and carries on the discussion,
‘No love, I’m signing for Man City!’
Mrs Messi takes a drink of her Cubre Libre and coolly replies,
‘If you think I’m leaving the sunshine of Barcelona and taking the kids to Manchester, where it rains for 324-days a year, they all talk funny, (ya’orr-right) and wear funny kagool’s because it rains 324-days a year, then you must have had a bang on the head love!’
‘Yeah, ya right lovely, I’m not eating anything Arturo gives me again, I’m going for a lie-down, be feeling better later’
End of conversation.
Pep needed a Centre-Back, last season’s performances were evident that going forward, City will score goals, however, at the back, will concede.
With Bournemouth getting relegated, Pep was straight in for Nathan Ake, paying £40 Million for the former Chelsea youngster, who will enhance City.
Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly is a constant transfer speculation but will cost City in the region of £100 Million.
No doubt the City owners can afford that but they may want to offset a few players first, with the possibility of John Stones leaving the club for a move to West Ham.
The Spanish Striker, Ferran Torres has arrived in Manchester, for a fee of around £20 Million, obviously, his wife isn’t too bothered about the rain.
As with all clubs, there’s over a month left of the window and it’s likely that Pep will have a few new signings before the window closes, however, Lionel Messi won’t be one of them.
Due to City’s Champions League Semi-Final, Man City don’t play in the 1st-weekend with their fixture against Aston Villa being postponed.
Pep and his boys start the new campaign away against Wolves a week later.
Premier League Finish 2nd
Like Man City, United get the first week off, so their fixture against Burnley is postponed and the Red Devil’s kick-off the new campaign a week later at Old Trafford against Crystal Palace.
As mentioned previously, Ole is on a journey of Phases, with Phase 1 and 2 complete, Phase 3 is this close-season Transfer Window that the United faithful will hopefully see some new arrivals.
There is a protracted ongoing deal that seems to be at a standstill at the moment, that of the possible signing of Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund.
At this present time, Jadon is a Dortmund player and talks may be taking place behind the scenes that the public aren’t privy to.
Jadon will be on International duty this coming weekend, hopefully getting a run out for England in the Euro Nations fixtures against Iceland and Denmark.
It appears that the stumbling block is the £100 Million fee, that Dortmund are after.
United want to pay a lot less for the youngster’s services, in the region of £60 Million, whats £40 Million between friends?
Maybe it’s just a game of poker and when the Transfer Window is coming to an end, Dortmund could just fold and take the United dollar.
One player Ole should go in for is Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who appears surplus to requirements at Arsenal, yet starred in the Community Shield against Liverpool and it’s staggering to think that Mikel Arteta and Arsenal want to sell him.
The fee apparently is only £25 Million, not to tell Ole what to do but a minibus journey down to North London with a bag of Midget Gems and a cheque for £25 Million, made payable to Arsenal FC, just seems the logical thing to do.
Ainsley has been called up by Gareth Southgate for the upcoming International’s so could just be in the shop window.
There’s talk that Jack Grealish is a possible target for Ole, which would be a good signing to replace Fred who may just leave.
The problem with Jack again is the fee that Aston Villa would want.
The £80 Million banded about for Jack is simply not feasible but for half that, which is more realistic, then Mr Grealish could easily fill Fred’s boots.
To be fair, any fourth division clogger could fill Freds boo-its, as the Northerners say.
United fans know their football and must despair when the team-sheet comes out and Fred is in the starting eleven.
The Europa League Semi-Final defeat against Seville may still have happened but once the team was known, there were many, many United fans who’s heart dropped at the sight of Fred in and Matic out.
It’s sometimes unfair to dig out an individual and it’s without a doubt that Fred is a lovely lad but £52 Million, wow, cheers Jose!
Another target is Ajax midfielder Donny Van Der Beek, who was left out of the recent Ajax squad and could head to Old Trafford for a fee of around £45 Million, which would be a fair price for the 23-year old.
RB Salzburg’s striker Patson Daka could be following Donny to Old Trafford, however, all good acquisitions but none are Centre-Backs and maybe not what United need at the minute with the excellent forwards at the club.
It’s at the back, like the noisy neighbours, that Ole could do with some recruits.
Whilst it’s rare nowadays that the top clubs look at English players for recruitment, they look abroad and want to pay £50 Million for the latest Italian or Spaniard, Manchester United and Ole wouldn’t go far wrong in dialling an English number and ringing Brentford up to enquire about the excellent Ethan Pinnock.
Ethan is English so that ticks the quota box and would not look out of place in a United shirt and wouldn’t cost the £60 Million the overseas clubs demand.
Manchester United are back in the Champions League, in whatever format that reconvenes, which is where the team of their stature should be.
Phase 3 is pivotal to the continuation of United’s and Ole’s progression, however, it’s unlikely that a Premier League title is on the horizon anytime soon and they could possibly finish lower than the 3rd-place of last season.
Premier League Finish 4th
Steve Bruce is slowly winning over the Toon Army after a steady 1st-season as boss of the Magpies following on from Rafa Benitez.
With players such as the Andy Carroll, the Longstaff brother’s, Jonjo Shelvey, Miguel Almiron, Allan Saint-Maximin and even Joelinton, Big Brucey has the players to at least stay away from the relegation zone and possibly push on for a European place, or at the worse, try in the cup competitions, either Carabao or FA.
Newcastle do have a potential world-class footballer on their books in Allan SM and if Andy Carroll can stay fit, will trouble any defence in the league, including Big Virgil at Liverpool.
The problem is, Andy is injured too much of the season.
In a recent behind closed doors fixture, Newcastle narrowly beat the mighty Barnsley FC, by a 2-1 scoreline, Andy with one of the goals.
That was obviously a game arranged to get the Magpies ready for the opening fixture against West Ham at the London Stadium, where the Toon Army will be wincing at the price of a pint and a pie.
Steve is after bringing in Rob Holding from Arsenal on loan, however, Big Rob did start in the Community Shield against Liverpool and may want to stay in London.
Another link to Arsenal is Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who is being allowed to leave the Emirates as apparently, is not in Mikel’s plans.
The strange anomaly about those two rumours is both Rob and Ainsley played quite well for Arsenal against Liverpool, so why would Pep 2 want rid?
Ainsley would enhance any team, so Steve should persevere in trying to get the lad up t’North to St James Park.
Big Brucey could just be out cherry-picking, literally with both Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson targets, now Bournemouth are in the Championship.
Newcastle won’t win the Premier League title anytime soon but won’t be relegated either, it’s just where the Toon Army want their beloved Magpies to be.
Premier League Finish 15th
‘You fill up my senses,
Like a gallon of Magnet,
Like a packet of Woodbines,
Like a good pinch of snuff,
Like a night out in Sheffield,
Like a greasy chip butty,
Like Sheffield United,
Come fill me again’
The Sheffield boys are back for another season in the Top Flight and little James from Swinton, which is nowhere near Bramall Lane, is so excited that he hasn’t slept for weeks.
Each night he ticks off the number of sleeps until the 14th of September when his beloved Blades take on Wolves at the Lane in the opening fixture.
Thing is, Jimbo isn’t good with Math and has to ask his girlfriend, she tells him it is 16 sleeps until the big day, he’s bemused because he’d got it at 109.
The fruit Kopparberg are in the fridge chilling and Jim’s booked the Tuesday off work and told his boss that he’s finishing at 4 pm on the Monday, his boss, the beautiful Danielle was surprised, as she told him,
‘Jim, stop coming to work, I sacked you months ago! You don’t work here anymore!’
Little Jimbo just laughs, he’s not bothered, the most important thing in his world is the Blades.
He turns up at work and pretends to mend cars but he doesn’t know what he’s doing, bless him.
Chris Wilder is happy, honest, it’s just that he doesn’t let his face know.
Goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale has joined the Blades to take over between the sticks after Dean Henderson went back to his parent club Manchester United.
The ex-Bournemouth stopper, is familiar with the Bramall Lane outfit, having started his career as a youth with the Blades back in 2013.
Most of the Blunts wanted Dean to stay but Manchester United were having none of it as they know just how important Hendo is and is going to be.
There are a few weeks of the Transfer Window left and as of yet, apart from Double A-Ron, there are no other new players through the door just yet.
Another Bournemouth player, Adam Smith is a potential target for Happy Chris, along with Derby’s Jayden Bogle, Nottingham Forest’s Matty Cash and Swansea’s Connor Roberts.
If United perform anywhere near the level of last season and Chris won’t allow standards to drop, the Blades will be safe and stay in the Premier League.
Premier League Finish 11th
After the stunning 9-0 defeat at St Mary’s against Leicester back in October 2019, it looked a certainty that Ralph Hasenhuttl wouldn’t see Christmas out, however, maybe that was the loss that kick-started his Southampton career and after the fixture against Leicester, the Saints rapidly improved.
The upturn in fortunes was mainly due to the goal-scoring feat of Danny Ings, who eventually finished just 1-goal behind Jamie Vardy and the same 22-tally as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The excellent displays have earned Danny an England call-up for this weekends Euro Nations ties against Iceland and Denmark and whilst still 2-years left on his current contract, is in talks to improve that, so a fist full of dollars are heading Danny’s way.
Mrs Ings will be happy.
Kyle Walker-Peters has made his loan move to the South Coast permanent, signing a 5-year deal with £12 Million going the way of Tottenham.
Wreck-It has also invested in a big Centre-Back, bringing in the Real Valladolid defender, Mohammed Salisu.
James Ward-Prowse has extended his contract at St Mary’s and joins his mate Danny in the England squad.
The Saints won’t win the Premier League title but will want to perform better than the beginning of last season and will be hoping that Leicester or for that matter, any of the other teams, don’t bang 9-goals in.
Ralph and the boys make the journey to Selhurst Park, to face Roy’s Eagles, in one of only two 15.00 PM start-times on the opening day of the new season.
Premier League Finish 16th
Jose Mourinho is assembling a team of giants at the Chas and Dave Memorial Stadium, bringing in Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Matt Doherty, as well as Joe Hart as back-up for Hugo Lloris.
In an EveryTip/John Newsome column published December 2nd 2019, this was a quote mentioned about Matt.
‘Matt Doherty is a Republic of Ireland international and a terrific defender who wouldn’t look out of place in Jurgen’s, Pep’s, Frank’s or Ole’s team, yet it’s unlikely that any of them know about Matt because he’s not called Mateo Doerti.
Mick McCarthy certainly knows about Mateo.‘
It appears Jose knew about Big Matt and has persuaded Mr Levy to folk out around £15 Million for the Irishman who will fit straight into the Tottenham starting eleven at Right-Back.
Although Matt Doherty has thrived in the Premier League and the Europa League which as earned a move to Spurs, the great defender will no doubt want to forget a troubled night back in September 2016, when Barnsley FC visited Molineux.
Barnsley scored 4-times in the final 20-minutes to thrash Wolves.
Conor Hourihane, ex-Wolves star Adam Hammill, Saidy Janko and Tom Bradshaw got the goals against a Wolves defence that included Big Matt and Conor Coady.
Dracula’s teams are renowned for being big, strong and athletic, which is not a bad thing but does pace and power beat finesse and skill, only time will tell, however, one things for certain, with Harry Kane in the squad, Tottenham will score goals.
Spurs start off the campaign on Sunday, September 13th, at home against Everton.
Premier League Finish 5th
Slavin Bilic is once again a Premier League boss, returning to the Top Flight, with another West club, this time West Bromwich Albion, after previously being the manager of West Ham.
West Brom, affectionately known as the Baggies, finished 2nd in the Championship and were promoted along with Leeds United, with Fulham coming up via the play-offs.
It’s thought that the best way to be promoted to the Premier League is to either finish top or win the play-offs.
To finish 2nd is the 2nd best way to be promoted, it’s all well and good winning the play-off final but it’s 1 from 4, with all the added pressure of the games including the final at Wembley.
All connected with West Brom were sat at home, with their feet up, a glass in hand, watching Swansea, Cardiff, Brentford and Fulham fight it out and although Fulham eventually won the final and were in the Big Time, the Baggies were already planning for the new campaign.
That new campaign starts on Sunday, September 13th, at home against their Midland rivals, Leicester.
At the moment, Slavin has only brought in Matheus Pereira, a Brazilian Midfielder from Sporting Lisbon but like the rest of the Premier League, has until October the 5th to bring a few more in.
One thing to mention is that the West Brom player, Gareth Barry has decided to retire aged 39.
Whilst Gareth was better known for his time at Aston Villa, Man City and Everton, Mr Barry was on the books at the Hawthorns for the last 3-years and should be afforded tremendous respect for his time in football spanning 22-years, making a record of 653 Premier League appearances, 21-more than Ryan Giggs on 632 and 44-more than Frank Lampard, in 3rd-place on 609 appearances.
Gareth has 1-Premier League winners medal in the cabinet and an FA Cup winners medal, both gained whilst at Man City.
Premier League Finish 19th
David Moyes, who has had his critics, one being this column, did get the Hammers playing well towards the end of the protracted 2019/20 season, gaining 8-points from the final 4-fixtures to eventually finish with 39-points and 16th-place in the Premier League table.
Whilst not comfortable, the performances were encouraging for the Bubbles faithful, especially the displays from Michail Antonio, who scored 8-goals in the final 9-games, including 4-against Norwich and Tomas Soucek who was initially on loan at the London Stadium from Slavia Prague but now has been signed permanently by the Hammers.
It’s a surprise that no one has come in for Michail as he wouldn’t look out of place in any of the Top Six teams.
At the moment, Tomas is the only signing, there are rumours that David Moyes is after Tammy Abraham but a lot of money would have to change hands between West Ham and Chelsea for that to happen, however, with the signings Frank has made, Tammy may just be surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge, so David might have a chance, if, like Alan Carr would say, The Price Is Right!
West Ham take on Newcastle at the London Stadium, in their opener, in the other 15.00 PM fixture on Saturday, September the 12th.
Premier League Finish 14th
Wolves had an amazing 2019/20 season that lasted well over a year from start to finish, culminating in losing the Quarter-Final of the Europa League against Seville, by a 1-0 scoreline.
Considering that Seville then went on to beat Manchester United in the Semi-Final and eventually win the Europa League by beating Inter Milan in the Final, Nuno Espírito Santo should be proud of his Gold and Blacks.
After finishing 7th in the Premier League table, it was possible that Wolves could return to the Europa League if Chelsea had beaten Arsenal in the FA Cup final.
However, as Arsenal won the FA Cup, the Gunners got the final Europa spot and Wolves are now free on a Thursday night, which could actually be a blessing in disguise for the Molineux outfit.
Nuno hasn’t delved into the market just yet but does need a Right-Back following Matt Doherty’s departure to Spurs.
There was rumours that James Rodriguez was a target but it looks like ‘Ham-es’ is on his way to Goodison Park.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles was another possible interest but again, Ainsley doesn’t look Midland bound.
Wolves start off their new season with a night out in Sheffield, heading to Bramall Lane for the Monday Night Football on the 14th of September.
Without the distraction of Europe and a couple of stellar signings, Wolves could just break into the Top Six.
Premier League Finish 6th
2nd MAN CITY
4th MANCHESTER UNITED
9th LEEDS UNITED
11th SHEFFIELD UNITED
13th CRYSTAL PALACE
14th WEST HAM
18th ASTON VILLA
19th WEST BROM