Two Major Talking Points Ahead of the Upcoming Premier League Season
The dust has barely settled on the hectic final day of last term’s Premier League. Manchester City scoring three late goals to come back from the dead against Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa, ripping the title away from Liverpool in the process, will live long in the memory. But as always, as one chapter ends, another one begins, and another season of the greatest league on the planet is just around the corner. oddschecker, which compares odds and provides free offers on Premier League football, has made City the favorites to retain their crown. And why wouldn’t they? Pep Guardiola’s winning machine has quality in all areas of the pitch and it will take a herculean effort if anyone is to stop their march to a fifth title in six years.
But that isn’t the only talking point. Fans up and down the country will tell you that all 20 teams have their own story being written. There are some clubs attempting to return to their glory years and others who just are happy to be a part of the league, one of which will be competing in the English top-flight for the first time in over 20 years. With that being said, let’s take a look at three things fans should be watching out for ahead of the Premier League’s return.
How will Nottingham Forest fare upon their return to the top?
The team that has not played in the Premier League for over 20 years is, of course, Nottingham Forest. The Tricky Trees were once a staple of the top flight. They won back-to-back European Cups under maverick manager Brian Clough back in the late seventies, as well as claiming the old Division One title for good measure. But in recent years, those glory days have never felt further away.
Forest has languished in the Championship since 1999, even dropping down to League One for a brief stint, becoming the first-ever European Cup winners to ply their trade in the third tier.
This season, however, everything changed. Steve Cooper masterminded a run of 10 wins in 12 games towards the latter end of the season, only for defeat away at Bournemouth in the penultimate game to curtail their hopes of automatic promotion. They didn’t let that stop them though. They went on to defeat Sheffield United and then Huddersfield Town in the playoffs to secure a windfall of £100m and a place at the most elite of dinner tables.
Their preparations for next season couldn’t be going any better. They’ve tied academy starlet Brennan Johnson down to a long-term contract, as well as breaking their transfer record to bring in striker Taiwo Awonyi from Union Berlin. Don’t be surprised to see the newly promoted club steer well clear of relegation in the upcoming campaign.
Are Arsenal contenders once again?
Arsenal is a club that made huge strides last term. They were in sensational form during the second half of the campaign. A run of nine wins in eleven games looked to have put The Gunners on course for a return to the UEFA Champions League for the first time since the days of Arsene Wenger however two away defeats to Newcastle and Spurs — who took fourth place ahead of their archrivals — stopped them in their tracks.
If their summer signings are anything to go by, Mikel Arteta means business. He has already secured the signature of Manchester City star Gabriel Jesus, who arrives at the Emirates for a fee of £45m. Leeds’ Brazilian winger Raphinha has also been linked with a move to North London, as has Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez.
Even if they miss out on those two, The Gunners shouldn’t worry. They have a wealth of young talent already blooded into the first team, with the likes of Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith-Rowe, and Gabriel Martinelli all becoming household names last season. You can bank on Arteta’s side challenging for the top four once again, at the very least.