The return of the English Premier League is upon us, with the 2022/23 campaign set to be a season like no other. Whether it be a nail-biting title race, a hectic hunt for European qualification or a desperate fight for survival, there is sure to be plenty of drama throughout, with the added extra of a never-before-seen Winter World Cup as Qatar opens its doors to the world in November.
Ahead of the big kick off, we preview how the 2022/23 Premier League season will shape up.
For the past few seasons, Premier League fans have been blessed with arguably two of the best ever footballing sides to exist as Manchester City and Liverpool battle it out for domestic and European honours. Pep Guardiola’s side, renowned for their slick passing and free flowing attacking football, secured a 6th Premier League title last time around, edging Liverpool by a single point after a dramatic final day comeback. City have undergone somewhat of a post-season reshuffle, with stars such as Raheem Sterling (Chelsea) and Gabriel Jesus (Arsenal) moving on from the champions.
Nevertheless, Pep’s side have been boosted by the arrival of Norwegian powerhouse Erling Haaland. The forward, previously of Borussia Dortmund was one of the summers most coveted players after a string of hugely impressive performances in the Bundesliga and Champions League despite only being 22 years of age and will no doubt thrive in his first season at the Etihad.
Meanwhile, Liverpool themselves have incurred a few notable changes. After 6 impressive seasons at Anfield, which included both Premier League and Champions League success, Jurgen Klopp’s men will begin life without Sadio Mane, who takes on a new challenge with German giants Bayern Munich.
Despite the loss of Mane, last season’s Golden Boot and Player of the Year winner Mohamed Salah has committed his future to the club by signing a new contract, while January signing Luiz Diaz will hope to continue his fine form after a blistering start to his Liverpool career. An already formidable attack has also been further boosted by the arrival of club record signing Darwin Nunez for a reported £85 million from Benfica.
Hunt for Europe
With the battle at the top all but a two-horse title race, many teams focus their attention to achieving European qualification. Last year’s introduction of a third-tier competition means as many as 7 Premier League sides can potentially qualify to compete across the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League. Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur will be the most likely teams competing for the remaining two top-four places.
The Gunners, who narrowly missed out on a Champions League spot last season, will be aiming to go one better this time around with Mikel Arteta outlining his intentions with a couple of very smart signings – Forward Gabriel Jesus and versatile left back Oleksandr Zinchenko arriving at the Emirates from champions Manchester City.
Local rivals Spurs have also been busy in the transfer market with additions across all areas of pitch as they build a squad capable of competing with Europe’s elite. Ahead of manager Antonio Conte’s first full season in charge, the Italian has seen one of the largest squad overhauls of the summer with six first-team additions so far – Richarlison (Everton), Yves Bissouma (Brighton), and Clement Langlet (Barcelona) to note a few. However, arguably more importantly for Spurs, is ensuring they continue to fight off any potential suitors for the deadly duo Harry Kane and Heung-min Son, with the pair combining for a Premier League record 37 goal combinations so far.
Across the capital, a period of turbulence and uncertainty at Chelsea has been resolved following a £4.25 billion takeover of the club, ending Roman Abramovich’s 19-year ownership. The new owners have been quick to express their intentions with the signings of England attacker Raheem Sterling from Manchester City as well as long-term defensive target Kalidou Koulibaly from Italian side Napoli, replacing the outgoing Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan) and Antonio Rudiger (Real Madrid).
There will also be optimism amongst fans of Manchester United and West Ham United that their clubs can break into the top four this season. Manager Erik ten Hag begins a new era at Old Trafford, with many believing he can be the man to take the club back to the glory days. The former Ajax man has already begun his overhaul, acquiring a couple of defensive additions from his native Netherlands as well as experienced playmaker Christian Eriksen, whilst midfielder Paul Pogba has returned to former club Juventus.
West Ham meanwhile will be hoping to continue on their recent progress which included a 7th place finish last season and a run to the Europa League semi-finals. David Moyes has added Moroccan central defender Nayef Aguerd to his ranks as the only notable signing so far, whilst holding onto midfield anchor Declan Rice will be crucial to their success this season.
There will also be a number of teams harnessing greater ambitions than a mid-table league finish who could perhaps throw in a potential surprise in the challenge for the Europa League spots.
Newcastle’s new owners have spoken openly of their desire to take the club to the very top following last season’s takeover. The Magpies impressive form since the arrival of manager Eddie Howe has provided reason for optimism for the season ahead, with Dutch defender Sven Botman recently joining January additions such as Kieran Trippier and Bruno Guimaraes.
Another club with big ambitions to climb the table are Aston Villa. The Midlands club recently made Philippe Coutinho’s loan from Barcelona a permanent transfer, with Brazilian defender Diego Carlos joining his compatriot at Villa Park. Steven Gerrard has also added highly rated midfielder Boubacar Kamara to his side as they look to improve on last season’s slightly disappointing 14th place finish.
There are also several sides who will look to build on surprisingly impressive campaigns last time around. Brighton were perhaps the biggest surprise, with Graham Potter’s side receiving plaudits for both their style of play and results on way to achieving a 9th place position, meanwhile Wolves (10th) and Crystal Palace (12th) will both be very happy with the start to life under managers Bruno Lage and Patrick Viera following their first seasons in charge. However, all three clubs will require reasonable investment if they are to make a push for a top eight spot.
Of course, for many sides, objective number one for next season will be to avoid relegation and remain in the Premier League, particularly those who have worked so hard to gain promotion last season. Fulham and Bournemouth are back in the division, knowing all too well the cost of relegation to the Championship having experienced it themselves in recent years. They will however hope they have the required experience within the squad to handle the pressures that come with a battle for survival.
Nottingham Forest also return to the Premier League for the first time since 1999 following 23 years away from the top-flight after an incredible season that saw them clinch promotion through the playoffs. The newly promoted side also endured an impressive FA Cup run last season, claiming victories against Arsenal and Leicester on the way.
There have been a number of arrivals so far – the singing of goalkeeper Dean Henderson on loan from Manchester United is a solid bit of business, however, the major transfer news at the City Ground so far has been the capture of England international midfielder Jesse Lingard, seen as a major coup for a newly promoted side. After over two decades in the lower leagues, Forest are desperate to remain a Premier League club and are investing heavily in the playing squad to ensure Steve Cooper’s side have the best chance possible.
Aside from the newly promoted sides other teams who could struggle once again include Everton and Leeds. Everton, who endured their worst league finish since 2004, are reportedly hamstrung by financial fair play regulations following years of disastrous and wasteful overspending. The Toffees have lost top scorer Richarlison to Tottenham, with free agent James Tarkowski the only arrival so far this summer. Manager Frank Lampard admitted himself in an interview that another difficult season could be on the cards at Goodison.
Another team who could get dragged into trouble is Leeds United. After an emphatic return in their first season back in the Premier League, Leeds struggled last season with manager Marcelo Bielsa replaced by Jesse Marsch and victory on the final day securing safety. However, the club have since lost their two most crucial players in Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha to Manchester City and Barcelona respectively and fans would not be blamed for fearing the worst.
Whatever happens we are sure there will be lots of twists and turns along the way. We have some availability for groups at matches throughout the season – if you’d like to find out more about our Premier League Experiences please click below.