What To Expect From the 2021/22 Premier League Season
Finally… We are back!
Another edition of the Terzino Talk football blog. Apologies for the long, long break. Since I’ve been gone a lot has occurred in the football world.
We have had a breath-taking Euro 2020 Tournament where Italy defeated England in a dramatic penalty shootout. We witnessed an eventful Olympic football competition where Brazil won the gold medal, defeating Spain in the final with an extra-time winner. In addition to this, we have seen a memorable transfer window, with many big-money moves taking place. Such as Romelu Lukaku’s return to Chelsea, Jack Grealish’s move to Manchester City, Jadon Sancho’s mega-move back to England with Manchester United, and many more.
Nonetheless, this weekend sees the long-awaited return of Premier League football. For the first time since 23rd May, we will witness the famous Premier League drama that we all love. So, this article will serve as a menu for the upcoming season and what we should expect to see over the next year.
A Relegation Scrap
We will start at the bottom of the league, whereas always the relegation battle will be hotly contested with several teams trying to extend their stay in the Premier League.
Brentford will be hoping that their talisman, Ivan Toney can produce the goals in the Premier League this year as his record-breaking season last year fired the Bees into the big time.
They will be joined by Watford and Norwich as the other newly-promoted teams. Watford will be relying on the explosive Ismaila Sarr who scored or assisted 23 goals in 39 games in the Championship last season. Spanish manager, Xisco Munoz will be under immediate pressure, and don’t be surprised to see him get the sack if things go wrong at Vicarage Road, as the Watford owners are known to be very trigger happy in times of desperation.
Norwich are without a doubt the most under pressure of the three promoted teams as they lost their Argentinian playmaker, Emi Buendia, and have failed to impress with their recruitment.
New signing Milot Rashica, will aim to fill the Buendia-shaped hole at Carrow Road, and any hopes of survival will lie on the shoulders of the Kosovan international.
In addition to these teams, don’t be surprised if the likes of Southampton, Newcastle and Burnley are also dragged into this relegation scrap.
As always, this Premier League season will come with a surprise package. In previous seasons, we have seen the likes of West Ham, Sheffield United and Wolves shock the league with impressive seasons and of course we cannot mention surprise packages without mentioning Leicester’s historic 2015/16 season.
As far as this season goes, my picks for surprise packages are Aston Villa and Crystal Palace.
Starting in London, Crystal Palace has recruited impeccably well and in the right areas. The signing of Michael Olise encapsulates the direction that the London club is going in – energetic, gifted players showing a lot of promise. The young core of Marc Guehi, Connor Gallagher, and Michael Olise will provide a spark for the Eagles.
To add to these new signings, after the end of the four-year tenure of Roy Hodgson, they appointed ex-Arsenal legend, Patrick Vieira as his replacement. When he was in charge of OGC Nice, they were high up in the rankings when it comes to possession, short passes per game, and pass accuracy, all indicators of a possession-based style of play that he will try to impose on his new Crystal Palace team.
The new youthful core alongside the unpredictable manager should make Crystal Palace an exciting prospect for the upcoming season.
Moving to the Midlands, Aston Villa has bounced back from the sale of Jack Grealish in the best way possible. They have used the sizeable fee they received from that transfer to vastly improve their squad with smart, astute signings.
Emi Buendia joined the Villains this summer along with Jamaican Bayern Leverkusen star, Leon Bailey. This is in addition to the surprise signing of Danny Ings from Southampton, which came seemingly out of nowhere.
These three signings, alongside the impressive and informative video released from the Aston Villa hierarchy about the direction of the club after the sale of their talisman, evidently show that the club are building for the future and clearly heading in the right direction. In my opinion, the Eagles and the Villains are due for big seasons.
Scintillating Golden Boot Race
This season’s Golden Boot race is hard to call. See, you could go with the regular suspects: Mo Salah and Harry Kane spring to mind.
On the other hand, you could go for one of the new boys like Romelu Lukaku, returning to the Premier League, with a point to prove and vengeance on his mind. A Premier League Golden Boot will also be on that list.
However, you could also go with a left-field pick; someone coming out of the blue to surprise the league by catching fire in front of a goal. Maybe a return to form for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Jamie Vardy? How about a stormer of a season for Dominic Calvert-Lewin or Danny Ings?
Only time will tell.
As every season, there will be a team with high expectations that fail to impress. A team with big ambitions, that fails to live up to them. This season, that team without a doubt is unfortunately my beloved Arsenal.
After successive 8th placed finishes, and now being without European football for the first time in 25 years, this summer was a huge one for Arsenal going forward.
This summer, the Gunners had to do two things:
- Sell the deadwood players
- Improve the first XI in the necessary players
As of Monday 16th August, with less than two weeks left in the window, they have done neither.
“What? They signed Ben White,” I hear you shout. Yes, that is a player that improves their first XI. However, it was universally clear that despite Arsenal having a few defensive lapses last season, their main reason for their downfall was the lack goals. They just could not create chances or put the ball in the back of the net.
Until the arrival of the twinkle-toed playmaker, Emile Smith-Rowe they had no trequartista (attacking midfielder), and they supplemented this position with the loan signing of Martin Odegaard. He has now left leaving a young ESR to take on Arsenal’s creative burden on his own, which makes the large sum of money spent on Ben White quite unnecessary.
Another aspect of that transfer that makes Ben White’s £50milion move to the Gunners even more confusing is that they had already spent £27million pounds on a promising young center-back just two seasons prior, in William Saliba.
Moreover, they have failed to sell their deadwood. Hector Bellerin, Mohamed Elneny, Eddie Nketiah, Willian, Reiss Nelson, etc are all still at the club while Granit Xhaka has not only been kept after what looked like an inevitable move to Roma, but he has now had his contract extended and captained the side in their league opener against Brentford.
The club has no direction, a lack of real leadership, and other than a few young talents like Bukayo Saka and Kieran Tierney, the mighty Arsenal do really look like a sinking ship, and without some significant movement in the latter stages of this transfer window, this season may be their worst yet.
With all that being said, this season will be very exciting. A dramatic top-four battle and significant improvement in majority of Premier League squads will be accompanied with the long-awaited return of fans in full-capacity stadiums.
All in all, I cannot wait.
Nnamdi Onyeagwara | Twitter: @NnamdiOnye | Talk Your Talk Podcast