Mon. Dec 5th, 2022
Premier League Team

Arsenal

Will Gabriel Jesus fill the void up front?

Arsenal desperately need a reliable source of goals. Whether Jesus can provide them is still unclear. With nine or fewer goals in four of his last six Premier League seasons, he has yet to truly establish himself as an out-and-out striker. For £45 million, you’d expect something close to the finished article. But Jesus’ familiarity with Mikel Arteta – who coached the 25-year-old during his apprenticeship at Manchester City – could benefit the Brazilian. Few managers outside of Pep Guardiola understand how to use Jesus.

Aston Villa

Can Steven Gerrard lift Villa into the top 10?

Gerrard had the benefit of the doubt last season. He took over Villa midseason, catching them as they tumbled down the standings. Avoiding relegation was all that mattered. But the goal this season is far loftier. Villa’s squad has youthful exuberance and talent in spades. Midfielder Jacob Ramsey is ready to take the next step, and Philippe Coutinho has settled in since joining in January. If center-back Diego Carlos adapts and two-way midfielder Douglas Luiz stays put, Villa will have what it takes to finish in the top 10. And it will be up to Gerrard to get them there.

Bournemouth

Can Solanke carry over his Championship form?

Over his last two seasons in the Championship, Dominic Solanke found the net with impressive frequency, bagging 44 goals. But his time in the Premier League hasn’t been nearly as fruitful – the English forward has just four goals in 63 Premier League appearances to date. That comes with significant caveats, though: The majority of those appearances came as a substitute, and he was still a young player finding his feet at the time. Solanke, now 24, has never had an opportunity to be the guy for a Premier League side. He’ll get exactly that in 2022-23. For Bournemouth to avoid the drop, they’ll need Solanke to translate his prolific Championship form to the top flight.

SOC

Brentford

How much will Eriksen be missed?

Brentford rode the rollercoaster last season. A rip-roaring start to the campaign was followed by a brutal two-month dip that saw the Bees win only once in the league from Boxing Day through February. Christian Eriksen’s uplifting arrival was vital in arresting that slide. With the inspirational Dane now at Manchester United, someone else will have to dictate the tempo and pull the strings in midfield. Replacing Eriksen’s pinpoint delivery from set pieces, where small details make all the difference, won’t be easy, either. Brentford have done some very astute business in the transfer window, but a difficult season could be in the cards if they can’t adequately replace Eriksen.

Brighton & Hove Albion

Was last season the ceiling?

Graham Potter engineered the greatest top-flight campaign in club history last year. Brighton scored more goals (42) and racked up more points (51) than ever before en route to an impressive ninth-place finish. Any upward trajectory from there would see the Seagulls challenging for a European place. But taking that next big step is likely to prove challenging after a summer that, to date, has featured more significant departures than arrivals and could yet worsen with Marc Cucurella’s expected transfer away from the Amex. Much faith is being placed in 18-year-old Paraguayan forward Julio Enciso to invigorate the attack. The teenager is an exciting prospect, but asking for an immediate impact might be too much too fast.

Chelsea

What will Chelsea’s defense look like?

Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea will look very different next season. Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger – two of Tuchel’s defensive pillars in previous seasons – are long gone. New signing Kalidou Koulibaly hasn’t had much time to prepare for the rigors of the Premier League, and if Cesar Azpilicueta leaves for Barcelona, Tuchel will have another hole in defense to fill. Even if the Blues are reportedly set to sign Brighton & Hove Albion left-back Marc Cucurella, they’ll still have a problem at center-back. After missing out on Matthijs de Ligt and Jules Kounde, Tuchel may have to consider a change to a back-four.

Crystal Palace

Can Vieira sustain the excitement?

His arrival was met with skepticism, but Patrick Vieira didn’t need very long to silence those who doubted his appointment at Crystal Palace. The Frenchman transformed a formerly stodgy, stubborn team that relied almost exclusively on Wilfried Zaha into an outfit capable of slick passing and attractive football. There’s genuine optimism at Selhurst Park that last season was just the beginning of something special; Palace’s expected goals difference was sixth-best in the league, suggesting they deserved better than their 12th-placed finish. The team is also, quite simply, fun to root for, with exciting talents such as Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise now being joined by Malcolm Ebiowei and Cheick Doucoure. The Eagles have all the pieces to soar.

Everton

Will Dominic Calvert-Lewin break the 10-goal mark?

After breaking out under Carlo Ancelotti, Calvert-Lewin endured his worst season as a Premier League starter, recording just four goals across the 2021-22 campaign. A fractured toe compromised the early part of the season, and a change of manager did little to help the 25-year-old reintegrate into the team. Calvert-Lewin struggled alongside Richarlison when the two started up front partly because he wasn’t the main focal point of the attack. If the English striker can stay healthy, he’ll have a chance to show manager Frank Lampard what he demonstrated under Ancelotti: that he can poach goals like the best of them.

By admin