The Premier is back for another rollercoaster ride of a season. Starting with the ten most northerly teams, Daniel Evans compiles a preview of each side.
Absent from the topflight far too long, Forest are finally back after 23 long years away. They are also big spenders having invested nearly £100m into their squad. A big spend is no guarantee of survival and Forest will likely have a fight on their hands at points during the season.
This is a team that finished 17th in the Championship just a year ago, so getting too excited would be naïve. However, the squad is young and ambitious. If they commit to their play style and their signings click there is every reason to think we will be seeing Forest for 2023/24 Premier League season.
Going into their fifth consecutive Premier League season, Wolves will be hoping to improve on what was ultimately an underwhelming league finish last campaign. Well-funded and seemingly well run, Wolves have built up a talented squad over the years that has a reputation for being hard to score past.
If they can solve their goalscoring issues and kill off more games there is no reason to think they cannot improve on 10th place. On the other hand, should they fail to improve on their issues in attack it is likely they will stagnate even if relegation is a distant possibility.
Money is of absolutely no object whatsoever
The Saudi project in the Northeast is certainly taking its time, but Newcastle’s continued rise seems more or less inevitable. Pundits can wax lyrical about the intelligence of modest singings and a new sporting director, but this is not a normal club.
Money is of absolutely no object whatsoever and the ownership’s objective is largely concerned with improving the Saudi Arabian image through sportswashing. A push in earnest for top four is unlikely this season, but we will likely see a move into the top half if not the conference league places. Form is also very good, being up there with the best in the league so if that is maintained, early positioning will be very strong.
United got extremely lucky last season. Had they finished the 20/21 season with the same points tally they would have been well into the bottom half; instead, they fluked their way into the Europa league ahead of far more deserving clubs. For a team that has spent close to a billion pounds in ten years united are a lesson for all clubs on the dangers of blind investment and allowing players to get undue power.
For the Red Devils anything below fourth is failure, but this is almost becoming the expectation
For the Red Devils anything below fourth is failure, but this is almost becoming the expectation. They will probably be in the mix for a Champions League place, but it is a simple fact that Spurs, Chelsea, Liverpool, and City are currently well ahead. If Ten Haag is given the time to build his own team things can improve, but a volatile and impatient fanbase along with a reactionary and incompetent board means he faces a severe challenge.
Simply put, anything below second would be a surprise. Even with some notable outgoings the Guardiola machine is still streets ahead most other teams. The addition of Haaland is a vital addition to their frontline. The true goal for any ‘oil’ club is to legitimise themselves as a ‘real’ club with European success. Both PSG and City have more or less dominated their own leagues but have yet to buy anything of note elsewhere, so that will be the priority for the club’s owners. It is possible that they will be pushed once more for the title, but they are still the undoubted favourites.
After an impressive season last time out Liverpool still fell just short of the title and Champions League. They have also lost a key component of the attack in Mané and will be hoping that Núñez can fill his boots. Star player Mohammed Salah has renewed on large wages, but only after threatening to leave for another league side, so it will be hoped his commitment will remain as it was at the start of the 2021/22 season.
If City falter and Liverpool can maintain their form, then the title is theirs to win
Liverpool have been the only side capable of challenging City in recent years, but only have one league title to show for it. The ambition is there, the skill is there, and Klopp is undoubtedly one of the best managers in the world. If City falter and Liverpool can maintain their form, then the title is theirs to win.
The Foxes have begun to stumble in recent seasons. After coming so close to the Champions League places in back-to-back seasons, they dropped to eighth in 2021/22. Star players such as Vardy are not getting any younger and there has been strong interest for Maddison, Tielemans, and Fofana which would seriously weaken their squad.
Additionally, they have also failed to significantly strengthen, putting them in a weaker position than at the beginning of last season. The Leicester team is still promising, but a finish in the European places seems unlikely and a rebuild is sorely needed in order to once again challenge for top four.
After surviving a difficult 2021/22 season Leeds will be hoping for a more comfortable campaign. Commitment is something that is never in doubt and an aggressive style of play guarantees goals. If injuries can be kept to a minimum and the defence is tightened up, survival should not be in question. It is true that the squad has been weakened by key outgoings like Phillips and Raphinha, but that money has been reinvested. Even though Leeds are not one of the favourites to go down, the risk is certainly still there.
It’s rare that a club the size of Everton goes down, but it is without doubt a possibility.
Everton drifted dangerously close to relegation last season, and the club’s problems still run deep. They lost arguably their best player in Richarlison to Spurs’ bench, and main striker Calvert-Lewin looks set to miss the beginning of the season through injury. Whether Lampard will be capable of steering Everton through what will undoubtedly be another challenging season remains to be seen. The team looks weaker than at the beginning of last season and the competition is stronger. It’s rare that a club the size of Everton goes down, but it is without doubt a possibility.
Villa are certainly a club with ambition, even if they lack the league finishes to prove it. They are backing Gerrard with signings and time, so there is reason to be hopeful for the future. As for this season, Villa are still not quite where they would want to be. Coutinho was a world class player, but that was years ago, and it remains to be seen whether he can still maintain anything close to his old form for the majority of a season.
Villa also lost 19 matches last season, which was more than the relegated Burnley. If they can maintain control over more games and new defensive signing Diego Carlos works out there is every reason to think that Villa can have a more successful campaign.
That’s a wrap for the ten most northerly teams competing for Premier League glory in the 2022/23 season. Stay tuned for the second half of the preview and more Premier League content across the season!
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