Welcome to FC Yahoo’s Premier League preview week. We’ll take a look at each team in our aggregated predicted table, counting down from No. 20 to No. 1, and also reflect on some issues surrounding the league as kickoff approaches on Friday. Follow along with everything here.
12. CRYSTAL PALACE
Last season – The coaching turnover continued at Selhurst Park, as Alan Pardew was sacked in favor of Sam Allardyce in December. Palace has now changed managers nine times since returning to the Premier League in 2013, although it must be noted Keith Millen served as a caretaker on three separate occasions. Yet behind Christian Benteke’s 15 goals, Big Sam still managed to get a glut of results from late February through late April, including wins at Chelsea and Liverpool, to ensure survival for the club.
Key transfer notes – Dutch defender Jairo Riedewald is only 20, but he was part of Ajax’s resurgence over the past couple years, and he follows former manager Frank de Boer to Crystal Palace for a rumored fee of a little less than £8 million. The club also added midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek on loan from Chelsea.
FC Yahoo take
Leander Schaerlaeckens: Now that they’ve pulled themselves out of the tactical stone age by appointing de Boer as the successor to last season’s managers, the Eagles look much better positioned to get the most out of all that talent they assembled last summer. Although only Riedewald was recruited, there’s an awful lot of upside in this team yet to be exploited. Because it feels like nobody has quite unlocked Benteke, Wilfried Zaha, Andros Townsend and even Yohan Cabaye at Palace yet. There’s plenty of punch in this team, and it should be able to steer well clear of relegation.
Joey Gulino: De Boer almost certainly figures to get more time to develop Palace than he did at Inter Milan last season. The question is, how quickly will it happen? The Eagles were square pegs banged into round holes for nearly two years under Pardew, so who knows how long it’ll take to train those habits out of them? And they’d better get results quickly over the first month of the season before facing Chelsea, Tottenham, Everton and the Manchester clubs as part of a brutal-seven game stretch that could plunge them into another relegation fight.
Betting odds (via SkyBet)
Win Premier League – 1000/1
Relegation – 9/2
Shahan Ahmed: 19 | Ryan Bailey: 12 | Alex Baker: 10 | Henry Bushnell: 10 | Joey Gulino: 15 | Leander Schaerlaeckens: 8
11. NEWCASTLE UNITED
Last season – Newcastle responded exceedingly well to relegation in 2015 by retaining the experienced and tactically proficient Rafa Benitez as manager, making a number of smart deals in the transfer market and putting together a complete campaign to finish first and return to the Premier League. Dwight Gayle scored 23 goals and Ayoze Perez proved adept as a playmaker, and Newcastle tied for the Championship lead with 85 goals overall. The restocked Magpies look fit to fight for an extended stay in England’s top flight.
Key transfer notes – If nothing else, the club has reinforced its squad depth — and we all know how much Benitez thirsts for big, rotational squads — by spending over $38 million in the midfield and defense. Ghanaian winger Christian Atsu signed a four-year deal after a loan spell at St. James’ Park last season, while the most expensive deal was $15.5 million for Norwich City midfielder Jacob Murphy, who took part in the Under-21 Euros for England this summer.
FC Yahoo take
Joey Gulino: Ever since hedging its downward momentum with March 2016’s appointment of Benitez, Newcastle has lost just 14 times in league play. The Magpies didn’t avoid relegation, but they did engineer as quick and effective a turnaround as you could ask for, and one look at the situations surrounding the rest of the bottom-half Premier League clubs offers little resistance to the idea Newcastle is bound for a mid-table finish, maybe more.
Henry Bushnell: The expectations for Newcastle are getting a bit out of hand. Sure, the Magpies are as equipped as any newly promoted side this decade to avoid relegation. But to push for a top-half finish? Come on. They have, what, three players who have had successful stints in the Premier League? Four? Their squad is roughly on par with those of last season’s strugglers who managed to stay in the top flight. Their possible first-choice XI primarily comprises wild cards (such as Florian Lejeune and Mikel Merino) and replacement-level EPL players (like Gayle and Ciaran Clark). Benitez is accomplished enough to keep that squad at arm’s length from the bottom three, but let’s not get carried away.
Betting odds (via SkyBet)
Win Premier League – 750/1
Relegation – 7/2
Shahan Ahmed: 9 | Ryan Bailey: 9 | Alex Baker: 12 | Henry Bushnell: 13 | Joey Gulino: 11 | Leander Schaerlaeckens: 12
Arsenal | Bournemouth | Brighton & Hove Albion | Burnley | Chelsea | Crystal Palace | Everton | Huddersfield Town | Leicester City | Liverpool | Manchester City | Manchester United | Newcastle United | Southampton | Stoke City | Swansea City | Tottenham Hotspur | Watford | West Bromwich Albion | West Ham United