Welcome to Yahoo Soccer’s Premier League Starting XI. This lineup of stories will get you ready for the upcoming season as we count down to kickoff on Friday.
Remember the time when Premier League sides would wear a jersey for more than one season?
Every season, teams in the English top flight release new threads, in order to help raise the necessary capital to pay the wages of the very stars who will wear them. With the 2019-20 season a matter of days away, we’ve gotten down to the important work of ranking each and every Prem home kit.
Sorry Saints fans, this kit is the biggest stinker in the league. The black coloring at the top of the chest makes it look like someone has wrapped a Southampton towel around a Bournemouth shirt. And the large Asian betting sponsor clashes badly with the color scheme.
The Borussia Dortmund-style away strip isn’t too bad, though.
It shouldn’t be too hard to mess up a plain royal blue shirt, but Chelsea have managed it this season. The detailing is made up of abstract images of the stands at Stamford Bridge. (And the stands at Stamford Bridge are not particularly attractive in the first place.)
It looks like a blue version of the cartoon montage at the start of Marvel movies.
This effort stands in stark contrast to the crisp white away shirt, which is one of the best in the league.
18. Norwich City
The Canaries are making a welcome return to the Premier League, but they won’t be looking too sharp.
Yellow and green is a challenging enough pairing without the two colors being faded into one another.
And Norwich fans hoping to find something better in the away strip will also be bitterly disappointed.
17. Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham were wise to dump the Norwich-esque color fade of last year’s shirt, but Nike have effectively settled on a plain white T-shirt for this season. Some might call it a classic look, but others may, more accurately, call it boring.
For a club whose motto is “To Dare Is To Do,” this is not very daring.
16. Wolverhampton Wanderers
Wolves had one of the very best Premier League looks last year, but they’re hovering above the kit relegation zone in 2019-20. They’ve gone for a slightly tackier golden hue, with striped detailing that makes it look like a polyester kit from 1996.
It wins points for the Adidas stripes running down the sides, but loses out, as many kits do, for an oversized, ugly betting sponsor.
15. Newcastle United
The Magpies’ new kit is an opinion-splitter. They are the only Premier League side to put their club crest in the middle of the shirt, and have taken the unusual step of placing the kit manufacturer logo centrally, too. This makes a clean design look a little cluttered.
The controversial decision to go with thick black-and-white stripes is acceptable, but the shirt is a microcosm of the club itself. It has huge potential and likeable qualities, but ultimately the people in charge have messed it up.
Fun fact: The Puma logo on a Newcastle home shirt is never black, as they do not want to have a “Black Cat” on their shirt (that’s the nickname of their fierce rivals Sunderland).
Umbro are generally regarded as one of the better kit designers, and they did Everton proud last season with a typically classic look.
This season, however, the shirt has a pattern on the front that makes it look like a cross between a training top and the seat on a bus. And they still have the bizarre “Angry Birds” shirt sponsor.
Take a long, hard look at that shirt and ask yourself whether people will think it looks good in five or 10 years.
13. Manchester City
It may be controversial to place the Premier League champions in the bottom half of any table, but Man City’s first home strip under their new $790 million deal with Puma isn’t a league leader.
The woven “jacquard wave” pattern that runs through the shirt is a tribute to Manchester’s industrial heritage — a fitting touch in the club’s 125th season. But a perfectly nice shirt is let down by the purple detailing, particularly on the shoulders. At some point, purple became a Man City color, and it is not entirely clear why.
It also appears that Puma let the work placement kid loose on their third strip.
Save for the oversized ugly sponsor — did we mention that 50 percent of Premier League clubs now have a betting sponsor? — Bournemouth’s shirt is fine. In fact, it’s quite nice.
But, if your life depended on it, could you distinguish this one from any of their kits from the past few seasons?
11. Crystal Palace
Palace have jettisoned the yellow trim that has adorned their kit in recent seasons, which is a positive. But the classic Bayern Munich look is made slightly fussy by the addition of a white pinstripe.
It could never be called a beautiful design, but it’s not bad — and it’s certainly less busy than the away strip.
Watford are the Barcelona of the Premier League. Not because of their success, nor their pass-heavy style of play, nor their players’ reticence to pay taxes. It’s their tendency to completely switch up their home kit design year-on-year. After going all-yellow, and then black-and-white stripes, the Hornets have gone a for a 50-50 look this year.
The red Adidas stripes seem a little incongruous, and the kit would earn more points if the sponsor wasn’t so big.
9. Brighton & Hove Albion
With thinner stripes and dark detailing, Brighton’s 2019-20 effort isn’t quite as nice as the shirt they wore in last season’s campaign. But the golden Nike logo works well and it wins points for having an appropriately placed sponsor logo.
8. Sheffield United
After a 13-season absence from the top flight, Sheffield United are back! The Blades have kept their traditional stripes in a very smart design, which benefits from a sponsor logo that actually matches the color scheme of the shirt! How novel!
Their fluorescent third kit looks sharp, too.
7. Leicester City
Leicester have made some great upgrades to their standard royal blue fare. The gold trim feels familiar from recent Real Madrid efforts, while the check pattern is reminiscent of the quirky geometric shapes the grounds staff used to cut into the field at the King Power (before they were banned from doing so).
Their pink third strip, meanwhile, is an absolute beauty.
Remember how we said Umbro are renowned for making classic-looking kits? Burnley’s is a case in point. It has less blue than last season and the faux collar is a nice touch. The Clarets haven’t reinvented the wheel here, but this design should stand the test of time.
5. Aston Villa
At a distance, Villa’s new strip is difficult to tell apart from Burnley’s, but new kit manufacturer Kappa have definitely produced a winner. It’s a clean design, the sponsor isn’t too obnoxious and it appears to have the traditional Kappa fit, without being obnoxiously skintight.
4. West Ham United
There’s no shortage of retro-tinged uniforms out there, and West Ham have one of the best. Their latest pays tribute to the FA Cup-winning side of 1980. (Although the Hammers actually wore white at Wembley that year, they wore a design like this one in the years leading up to that final.)
The stripes beneath the crest and logo are slightly too busy, but otherwise it’s a fine effort.
3. Manchester United
It feels like Manchester United have made plenty of missteps lately — not least in last season’s fade-to-black home shirt. For 2019-20, however, the Red Devils’ sartorial style is among the very best.
It’s a bold shade of red and a pleasingly simple design. The best feature is the black crest — it looks as if the classic 1999 Champions League crest has been switched to dark mode!
Liverpool are aiming to end a 30-year domestic title drought, so it’s no surprise that they are harking back to their 1980s heyday with their superb new strip.
The darker red hue and the white pinstripes are reminiscent of the shirts worn in the early ‘80s, when the Merseyside club dominated on domestic and European fronts.
If they manage their first-ever Premier League title in the upcoming campaign, this will be a fitting look.
To phrase it like a true Liverpudlian: “That shirt’s boss, tha!”
The finest threads in the Premier League this season will be worn by Arsenal. It’s not even close.
In their reunion with Adidas, the Gunners have also gone for a retro feel, with both their home and away shirts leaning heavily on their own early-1990s aesthetic.
The competition for a top four place will be fiercer than ever this season, and Arsenal may not earn one of the hallowed Champions League berths, but they’ll look good trying.
Yahoo Soccer’s Premier League XI