Premier League Central – Authors’ Insight

With the resumption of the Premier League season just days away, some of our site’s finest footballing minds have offered their thoughts on the campaign’s final furlong.

How do you feel about the EPL returning after so long away?

James Wilkinson

“I’m glad the Premier League is back. I think if we had cancelled the season and seen the Bundesliga, La Liga and Serie A restart, there would have been a feeling of great disappointment amongst fans.

“I’ve missed the excitement and, being a Liverpool fan myself, I can’t wait for the games to come.

“Now the excitement starts again”.

Marvellous Adepoju

“I feel very excited that the league is returning. I’ve missed the nail-biting drama the league serves up each matchday and, of course, Fantasy Premier League.

“I’m looking forward to two things in particular: the intensity of play post-COVID and the race for the top four.”

Patrick Hayes

“I’m really excited, to be honest. I haven’t been too bothered by the lack of crowd in Germany, Spain and Italy as I had really low expectations before they returned. I’ve enjoyed the actual football a lot, and will do even more so when I actually care about the teams I’m watching.

“I’ve missed the feeling of a goal being scored, then the outburst of excitement that follows. I’ve also missed the days of anticipation leading up to a game.

“As a Liverpool fan, I’m really hoping to see a lot of Naby Keita in the remaining games. And from an outsider’s perspective, I’m looking forward to seeing players returning from injury and how they will be integrated back into their sides – the likes of Bournemouth’s David Brooks and Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic, for example.”

David Brooks, Premier League, AFC Bournemouth
Bournemouth’s David Brooks will soon return from an 11-month injury lay-off. All rights reserved by the Premier League.

How do you think the season’s remainder will pan out?

James Wilkinson

“I think the postponement of fixtures has created a level playing field with no momentum being carried into games. For the top four places, it’s United and Chelsea’s to lose. I think Wolves have a great shout as the ‘best of the rest’ with no European commitments and some favourable fixtures too.

“I think Norwich are gone. I know Villa have a game in hand, but they just can’t stop conceding goals. I think Ryan Fraser refusing to play (as per TalkSport) will be a huge miss for Bournemouth and I think Brighton’s time in the league might be up as they haven’t yet won a single league game in 2020.”

Marvellous Adepoju

“I think the top four will remain as it stands. I also think Villa and Norwich will both go down. As for the third team, it’s going to be between Bournemouth and Watford though I’d go with the Cherries due to the difficulty of their upcoming fixtures”.

Patrick Hayes

“Aside from the top two staying the same, it’s difficult to predict how the rest will finish.

“I expect a lack of fans will help the more technical sides whilst taking the sting out of smaller teams, where home advantage won’t be as big of a help.

“The top four will likely stay as it is. Leicester were declining, but have Ndidi and Vardy back which is massive. Of course, with City not being in Europe next season, fifth place will be hotly contested. I expect United to take it, but Wolves will push them close.

“In terms of relegation, I think Norwich are done for. I will go with Villa to join them because they have some really tough fixtures. After that, it’s anyone’s guess – though Bournemouth have a tough run-in. West Ham have too much quality to go down, while Brighton have a good squad that could make use of the five subs better than the rest of the candidates.”

Upon the restart, what other things should we be looking out for?

James Wilkinson

“From a Liverpool fan’s point of view, it’s all about Naby Keita. With nine games left, he’ll possibly play six or seven of them which would do his confidence good.

“If Chelsea’s Werner deal goes through, that would be a huge signing for them going into next season. For the reds, I’ve started to read more on Sancho to Liverpool. A front four of Salah, Mane, Firmino and Sancho would be huge!”

Marvellous Adepoju

“We should look out for how players’ contracts running down could affect squad stability. It will also be interesting to see how Ole Gunnar Solskjær utilises Pogba and Bruno in the same line-up for Manchester United.

“Per player performances, I think Shaqiri has to earn his stay at Anfield. Eyes will also be on Chelsea’s Billy Gilmour after his wonderful form pre-COVID.

“The impending transfer of Werner moves Chelsea to third behind City and Liverpool in terms of squad quality. If they get Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen and a left-back, they should be taken seriously next season”.

Patrick Hayes

“Seeing Liverpool lift the league title.

“On the opposite side of the coin, I look forward to seeing how Manchester United fit Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba into the same team.

“Sheffield United really utilise their fans, so maybe they could see a bit of a drop-off. I actually give Arsenal a better chance of finishing strongly than Spurs, though I don’t think either will be fantastic.”

Jordan Yeardsley-Jones
Forever trying to understand newfangled football terminology - what is a trequartista anyway?
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