Title winners? Top 4? Relegation? Everything will be covered...
After all the international football over the last few weeks, club football is back on the radar once again.
With just twenty days until Chelsea’s opening game of the 2019-20 Premier League season against Manchester United, it’s the perfect time to look ahead to the forthcoming club season.
Players to watch out for.
How much of a threat will they be to Chelsea?
And much more.
We will also be getting predictions from all members of The Chelsea Echo writing team on what they expect to see over the next ten months. Finally, you will see a full, prediction league table from yours truly on what I’ll believe to be the final standings for the forthcoming season.
20 days… 20 clubs… Everything will be covered.
Let’s begin with…
MANAGER: Unai Emery
CAPTAIN: Laurent Koscielny
ODDS TO WIN THE LEAGUE: 40-1 (via Oddschecker)
The second year of a manager’s tenure is arguably more important than his first one.
The first year usually goes along the lines of players adapting to the new manager and then the manager adapting to the new squad. By the time the second year comes around, expectations increase and with that, considerations decrease.
This is especially the case for Unai Emery at Arsenal.
After a season that started well, including a 22-match unbeaten run, Arsenal’s season once again as of late ended with a whimper. The London side failing to qualify for the UEFA Champions League for the third consecutive year and also were humiliated by rivals Chelsea 4-1 in the UEFA Europa League Final.
For a club of Arsenal’s stature, that surely cannot be tolerated much longer. It goes without saying that the next season will be very crucial for Arsenal and for Emery. In today’s game, second seasons usually are.
HOW THEY FINISHED IN THE LAST FIVE SEASONS
2014-15 – 3rd
2015-16 – 2nd
2016-17 – 5th
2017-18 – 6th
2018-19 – 5th
Premier League – 5th
FA Cup – Fourth Round
Carabao Cup – Quarter-Finals
UEFA Europa League – Runners-up
Top Scorer – League: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (22), All: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (31)
In – Gabriel Martinelli (Ituano, £6m)
Out – Petr Čech (Retired), Aaron Ramsey (Juventus, Free), David Ospina (Napoli, £5m), Stephan Lichtsteiner & Danny Welbeck (both released)
GK – Leno, Martinez, Macey
DF – Bellerín, Sokratis, Koscielny, Holding, Monreal, Mustafi, Chambers, Jenkinson, Mavropanos, Kolašinac
MD – Elneny, Mkhitaryan, Özil, Torreira, Maitland-Niles, Willock, Guendouzi, Smith-Rowe, Xhaka
FW – Lacazette, Aubameyang, Iwobi, Nelson, Nkeitah, Martinelli, Asano
PLAYER TO LOOK OUT FOR – EDDIE NKEITAH
A former Chelsea academy player – leaving the club in 2015 – Nkeitah has been on the fringe of the first-team setup in North London for the last couple of seasons but is now expected to prosper over the next few months for Unai Emery’s side.
The young English striker has had a great pre-season so far for the Gunners, scoring three goals in as many games, including the winner in the 2-1 win over Bayern Munich.
HEAD-TO-HEAD AGAINST CHELSEA
Matches played – 198
Won – 77
Drawn – 57
Lost – 64
HOW MUCH OF A THREAT WILL THEY BE TO CHELSEA?
Arsenal will pose a threat to Chelsea over the season as they both are expected to challenge for a top 4 spot in the Premier League, ensuring qualification for the 2020-21 UEFA Champions League.
Despite having a decent record against Chelsea over the last couple of seasons, the humiliating defeat to the Blues in the Europa League Final showed that there is a clear gap in talent between both squads, even with the departure of Eden Hazard.
WHERE WILL THEY FINISH?
Arsenal are going through their most difficult period as a club since moving to the Emirates. A host of issues currently surround the club – the lack of leadership in the team, poor transfer policy, crippling confidence problems (especially on the road)… Arsenal needs major fixing. But will those fixes come over the ten months? Most likely not.
Predicted position: 6th
Come back for part 2 tomorrow when we preview one of the newly promoted clubs in Aston Villa.