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PREMIER LEAGUE: 2020/21 SEASON PREVIEW

PREMIER LEAGUE: 2020/21 SEASON PREVIEW

Just 48 days have passed since the end of the last Premier League season. Liverpool, who won the title relatively early on in the 19/20 campaign, secured their first league championship in over 30 years just 78 days ago. And, now, after an unusually moot pre-season, with far less transfers than we’ve become accustomed to, the 2020/21 Premier League season is about to get underway.

Below, we have highlighted three ante-post picks that we think represent good value this season.

Crystal Palace to be relegated – 2/1

Last season, Crystal Palace finished 14th, nine points clear of the bottom three, which ensures that their current run of top flight football extends into an eighth season.

However, the Eagles only managed to score 31 Premier League goals all season – only Norwich City registered less.

Palace went into lockdown knowing that survival looked likely, however their post-lockdown form still looks unforgivable. Roy Hodgson’s men won just one of their nine games behind-closed-doors, and were again spared the wooden spoon thanks to Norwich.

Selhurst Park is known to be one of the most formidable and ferocious Premier League venues to visit when the stands are full. However, without their vocal and passionate fans behind them this season, Palace could well struggle.

Michy Batshuayi – who previously scored ten goals in 22 Premier League appearances in a loan spell at Palace – and Eberechi Eze have been brought in to spark some creativity this season, but the jury’s out as to whether it’ll be enough to prevent this ageing squad from relegation.

Manchester United, league winner without Liverpool or Manchester City – 8/5

Despite having to look through their fingers at bitter rivals Liverpool winning the title, last season was largely very positive for Manchester United.

Although the season ended on a sour note – Sevilla narrowly beating the Red Devils to win the UEFA Europa League – United finished third in the Premier League, and confirmed a return to European football’s top table next season, by qualifying for the UEFA Champions League.

The emergence of youngsters such as Mason Greenwood and Brandon Williams would have been particularly pleasing for United fans, but it’s the signing of Portugal midfielder Bruno Fernandes that has them believing again.

The arrival of Donny van de Beek has caught headlines this summer, and Odion Ighalo’s extended stay will bolster a squad intent on performing on all fronts this season.

United were the only Premier League side not to lose post-lockdown. Expect them to close the gap on Manchester City and Liverpool this season.

Arsenal to finish in the top four – 5/2

Arsenal’s most recent Premier League campaign was disastrous, with the Gunners finishing the season 8th in the table – the club’s lowest league position since 1995.

However, Mikel Arteta would have taken comfort from securing his first piece of silverware when beating Chelsea in the FA Cup final recently. That triumph was soon followed by another Wembley win over Liverpool to secure the Community Shield.

Arsenal fans have had to endure some miserable years of late, but those sorry final days of the Arsene Wenger era – and the Unai Emery stint directly after – could soon be forgotten.

Arsenal – whose success earlier in this century was built upon the solid defensive foundations provided by Tony Adams, Martin Keown, Lee Dixon, Nigel Winterburn, Sol Campbell, Lauren and more – have since always faltered at the back.

Goals have never really been an issue for the Gunners, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s new three-year contract will be widely celebrated in the red corners of North London – as will his reasoning to stay…

Report after report suggest that Arsenal’s squad are big fans of their new manager, Arteta – his methods, his approach, his style. Despite an indifferent post-lockdown Premier League campaign, Arsenal displayed some green shoots in the FA Cup, and can boast two recent wins over Premier League champions Liverpool.

Willian could be a huge signing for Arsenal this season. Pablo Mari and Dani Ceballos return for another season at the Emirates too, which is great news for Gunners fans. However, the capture of William Saliba and Gabriel could really help solve Arsenal’s defensive woes and propel them towards UEFA Champions League football next term – potentially replacing Chelsea, who have recruited well in the summer, but could take some time to get their newest signings to gel.

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