This year, we’ll group the teams into the following categories:
Up next are the cream of the crop. The top 4 feels like a foregone conclusion this year. Sure, a lot can happen over the course of a season (injuries, coaching changes, global pandemic). However, the top 4 in the Premier League should look the same as last season, just in different order. Here’s a preview of Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Manchester United.
Manchester United 2020-21 Premier League Preview
Last Season: 3rd
Last Time Champions: 2012-13
Stadium: Old Trafford, Manchester
Nickname: The Red Devils
Manager: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Key Additions: Donny van de Beek, Dean Henderson (back from loan)
Best Player: Bruno Fernandes
Was Manchester United’s third place finish last season a sign that the club is on the way back? Or was it more of an indication about the quality of the teams below them?
It was a bit of both.
Bruno Fernandes’ arrival helped changed the Red Devil’s trajectory. They have good young talent and some steady veterans. Will 2020-21 be another step forward?
A bit of United history:
- The were founded in 1878 (as Newton Heath LYR FC) and as Manchester United in 1902
- Man U has won the English top division 20 times (most among any PL club).
- They are the only Premier League club to win the European treble.
- They are the most decorated English club with more than 40 trophies.
- This includes 5 FA Cups (last being 2015-16), 3 European/Champions League (last being 2007-08) and one Europa League (2016-17).
Why you should like United:
- You’ll have a lot of friends. United are one of the top brands in all of football.
- They operate with a high-voltage attacking style.
- They’re publicly traded on the NYSE.
- You like the New York Yankees. Basically the same thing.
Manchester United Daily Fantasy star:
- Bruno Fernandes was worth his high price. He produced fantasy points at an elite clip.
Manchester United betting odds: (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook NJ)
- To win Premier League: +1400
- To finish top 4: -240
- To finish top 6: -1000
- Relegation: +100000
Manchester United Outlook:
Oddsmakers view this Man U side as almost twice as likely to win the title or finish top 6 as last year. Their title odds improved from +3300 in 2019-20 to +1400 this year. They were in the -200 range to finish top 6 last campaign. This go around they’re viewed as a lock at -1000.
No team in Europe benefited more than Man U from awarded penalty kicks. Their 14 from last season was a Premier League record. Expect that number to decrease significantly.
Cut those goals in half, and United fall more of a 6th place position.
The team though should balance that out with growth of their young players and added depth. OGS can plug Donny van de Beek in if Bruno Fernandes has to miss any time. Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial will only get better. And getting Dean Henderson back from loan will provide cover if David de Gea continues his poor run of form.
It’ll be tight, but Manchester United should end up 4th this season.
Liverpool 2019-20 Premier League Preview
Last Season: 1st in the Premier League
Last Time Champions: RIGHT NOW
Nickname: The Reds
Manager: Jurgen Klopp
Key Additions: 😒 – a back-up left-back
Best Player: This is a team that plays beautiful soccer together and every piece is interconnected to make the sum greater than the parts. Having said that, Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, Jordan Henderson, Alisson, and Andy Robertson.
Liverpool’s current squad (per ELO) peaked in February as the 4th best team in the history of soccer.
They’e since fallen off a cliff.
Part of it is the simple deep breath taken after climbing a mountain (or two).
Some of it is cheap owners not willing to break FFP regulations like City or acquire debt like Barcelona to freshen up the squad.
Can Liverpool keep it’s historic pace up? Probably not.
A bit of Liverpool history:
- They were founded in 1892.
- Their 19 first division trophies are second best of all-time (behind Manchester United’s 20).
- Their 6 Champions League trophies are the best among English teams.
- Other trophies include: 7 FA Cups, 8 League Cups, 3 UEFA Cups, and 3 UEFA Super Cups
Why you should like Liverpool:
- We could list 50 things, or we could just have you watch this.
Liverpool Daily Fantasy star:
- Salah? Mane? Firmino? TAA? Robbo? Alisson? Take your pick.
- VVD though often had real value defensively ($4400) and delivered goals, assists, and aerials won.
Liverpool betting odds: (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook NJ)
- To win Premier League: +225
- To finish top 4: -1250
- To finish top 6: -5000
- Relegation: +200000
Oddsmakers view Liverpool’s title and top 4 chances basically the exact same as last season.
LAST season, we thought Liverpool had the mentality to win the league title.
What Liverpool have shown since winning it suggests they will not repeat.
There’s a bit of casualness that has crept in with post-clinching performances–both offensively and defensively–that suggests this won’t be another 90+ point season. The front three aren’t as crisp. The backline isn’t as buttoned up.
I don’t think this changes during the 2020-21 campaign.
Not refreshing the squad hurts on multiple levels. One, the starters aren’t challenged. Two, their competitors bought their targets (see: Werner, Timo).
Liverpool will take a big step back this season. Expect a low 80’s point total and 3rd place finish.
Chelsea 2020-21 Premier League Preview
Last Season: 4th in Premier League
Last time Champions: 2015/16 season.
Stadium: Stamford Bridge
Nickname: The Blues
Manager: Frank Lampard
Key Additions: Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech, Ben Chilwell, Malang Sarr
Best Player: Christian Pulisic
Chelsea’s first season under legendary ex-player Frank Lampard had mixed results. Yes, they finished in the Premier League top-4, but they also lost in the FA Cup semi-final & were humiliated in the UEFA Champions League by eventual winners Bayern Munich. Knowing that changes needed to be made to get out of the mediocrity, the club’s Russian owner Roman Abramovich opened the chequebook for the club’s first summer transfer window since the transfer ban.
As a result, the Blues started spending like there’s no tomorrow. Till now, they’ve made 5 signings and spent over $200m at a time other elite sides are struggling to sign players due to the limitations brought on by Covid-19’s impact on finances. Chelsea are effectively building for future dominance, but with the level of talent in disposal, it wouldn’t be foolish to consider them potential title-challengers. For Lampard, a trophy &a solid finish in the league will be the minimum required to keep his job for another season.
A bit of Chelsea history:
- Founded 1905.
- They have won the Premier League 5 times.
- They have won the FA Cup 8 times (the third most in England).
- Chelsea has 1 Champions League trophy (2011-12) and 2 Europa League titles.
- They are the first English club to have won the European Treble (Champions League, UEFA Europa League and European Cup Winners’ Cup).
Why you should like Chelsea:
- Christian Pulisic.
- They bought errrrrryone and will be exciting to watch.
Chelsea Daily Fantasy star:
- Fuggitaboutit – take your pick of Werner, Havertz, Pulisic.
Chelsea betting odds: (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook NJ)
- To win Premier League: +800
- To finish top 4: +225
- To finish top 6: -1000
- Relegation: +100000
Oddsmakers are high on Chelsea. Last season they were +3300 to win the EPL. This go around, they’re +800.
Chelsea will be like Liverpool in 2017-18 (or after this opening matchday, the 2020-21 vintage). They’ll score on anyone. They’ll be scored on.
I don’t think people realize just how good Pulisic, Werner, Ziyech and Havertz are. These guys have so much pace and talent.
Chelsea are a lock for 2nd or 3rd this season. Watch out for them as title contenders next year.
Manchester City 2020-21 Premier League Preview
Last Season: A distant second in the Premier League
Last Time Champions: 2018-19
Stadium: The Etihad
Nickname: City, Citizens, “Fourmidables”
Manager: Pep Guardiola
Key Additions: Nathan Ake, Ferran Torres
Best Player: Kevin de Bruyne
Manchester City dodged FFP punishment because they’re an evil club owned by a human and women’s rights abusing oil state.
A bit of Manchester City history:
- They really didn’t have one before 2008.
Why you should like Manchester City:
Manchester City Daily Fantasy star:
- Kevin de Bruyne is obvious. However, you could go with virtually anyone on the roster. They’re that deep.
Manchester City betting odds: (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook NJ)
- To win Premier League: -112
- To finish top 4: -2000
- To finish top 6: -12000
- Relegation: +200000
Manchester City Outlook:
City could’ve been in trouble this year had CAS / UEFA / the FA not been totally dickless and dropped their FFP suspension.
Instead, they go out and spend heavily again.
Expect City to be back on top this season and bottle in the Champions League again.