The 2022/23 Premier League season kicks off on Friday 5 August, when Arsenal travel to Crystal Palace looking to improve on last season’s embarrassing opening-day defeat away at Brentford.
Arguably for the first time since the pandemic, the transfer market has returned to something resembling normality with the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham making big-name, eye-catching signings, creating a new wave of excitement and anticipation ahead of the season.
Here, the writers at 101 Great Goals have got together to discuss their tips and thoughts ahead of the new season.
Signing of the season
Josh Barker: At the time of writing there is no better pick for signing of the season than Erling Haaland. Manchester City have managed to snap up one of the most prolific strikers in Europe for just £51m (potentially rising to £85m), which is a serious bargain for a man of Haaland’s talent.
The hitman netted 85 and assisted 22 in just 88 games for his previous club, he dominates in the Champions League and is still only 22. As a result, a strong case can be made that Haaland is nowhere near close to reaching his ceiling yet and will have a massive sell-on value if the Sky Blues ever do have to part with him.
Andrew Thompson: Though he didn’t get off to the full debut start he was hoping for in Manchester City’s Community Shield loss to Liverpool, the signs were still there that Norwegian starlet Erling Haaland will bag a ton of goals under Pep Guardiola this season.
Much more than just a physical presence, his instincts in and around the box, pace, ability to press as well as combine when in possession make him a nightmare to defend against. Given the high volume of chance creation City possess, finding the back of the net is inevitable.
Jamie Brown: Tottenham have received a lot of mixed reaction for the signing of Ivan Perišić, with some acknowledging that they managed to capture of the best LWBs from the last two seasons and others pointing out that he’s 33 years of age. However, Spurs have signed him on a free transfer, a short-term contract and on just under £100k-per-week.
He’s a player who Antonio Conte trusts, knows very well and who has been playing some of the best football of his career over the last few years. He adds both experience at the highest level, which will be needed in the big moments, and serious quality in an area that really needed improving. I can see the combination of Perišić to Kane or Son leading to many goals next season.
Ben Browning: Erling Haaland had an afternoon to forget in the Community Shield but is still the man to watch this season, now leading the line for the free-scoring Manchester City side.
Just how much he can elevate a side that have won four of the last five Premier League titles remains to be seen, but he is a strong shout for top goalscorer, and signing of the season.
Flop of the season
Josh Barker: The pre-season hype train is very much headed up by Anthony Martial. The Frenchman has scored a number of goals under Erik ten Hag and is expected to head into 2022/23 as United’s starting striker.
And whilst he has looked decent in pre-season, many United fans have seemingly forgotten just how woeful he was for them last time he played up front regularly. Martial scored just four league goals in 22 Premier League games during 2020/21 whilst largely operating as a striker. He also scored just on in 12 during his recent loan spell for Sevilla.
Andrew Thompson: In a back three system with a manager in Thomas Tuchel that hopes to achieve defensive solidarity, it is difficult to see why maybe Kalidou Koulibaly gets the nod from me here, but the tactical variations, level of forward lines he must content with, and the pace at which Premier League football is played at is likely to be a potential nightmare for the Senegalese star.
That, coupled with the instability at Chelsea, it could make for a frustrating debut season in the top flight of English football for the 31-year-old.
Jamie Brown: An incredibly bold shout here but I just don’t think Erling Haaland will fit into a Pep Guardiola team. When you’ve got a team as well drilled and tactically astute as Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, the most important thing is signing players who will fit into that system and not just big names. Romelu Lukaku and Jack Grealish are great example of this.
Having already shown that his side’s don’t require a traditional number nine to play well, Guardiola is not a manager who will change for any player and Haaland will need to adapt his game to fit into this team.
Ben Browning: Raheem Sterling has left Manchester City to join Chelsea this summer in an attempt to become a key man in a top side, but could become a victim of Thomas Tuchel’s seeming inability to get the best out of forwards at Stamford Bridge since the German’s arrival in London and the chaotic nature of Chelsea’s side at present.
Timo Werner, Romelu Lukaku, Hakim Ziyech, Christian Pulisic and Kai Havertz have all struggled in west London, with Chelsea not having seen a forward top the scoring charts in either of the last two seasons.
And, while Sterling is undoubtedly as good if not better than those mentioned, I fear that he could face a similar fate.
One to watch
Josh Barker: Jadon Sancho had a simply woeful debut campaign with Manchester United, scoring just five and assisting three in 37 outings.
However, the 22-year-old has now had a full pre-season to form a bond/understanding with his current teammates – something he did not get in 2021/22. Erik ten Hag also looks to have got Manchester United’s right-hand side functioning for the first time in several years, with Diogo Dalot a serious upgrade on Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Jamie Brown: Another slightly biased one from a Spurs fan here, but I genuinely believe Cristian Romero will be recognised as one of the best central defenders in Europe come the end of the season. Spurs fans are still bewildered as to how they managed to sign him last summer given they had Nuno, Europa League football and Lionel Messi wanting him at Barcelona.
His first season, despite being hampered by injury on multiple occasions, was so impressive and with him now settled in England, I think we’ll see him explode next season.
Ben Browning: One of Arsenal’s new signings, Fabio Vieira, came out of the blue, but could prove a very shrewd addition for the Gunners.
The Portuguese midfielder may take some time to acclimatise to the top flight, but comes with glowing reviews and may well be the piece that Arsenal have been missing.
Josh Barker: Harry Kane endured his worst ever start to a Premier League campaign in 2021/22. This was due to the striker’s failed attempt to join Manchester City and the woeful football being played under Nuno Espirito Santo.
However, once Antonio Conte got his hooks into him, Kane was back to his explosive best and ended last campaign with 17 league goals and nine assists. Should he be able to recreate that form over an entire campaign, there is no reason why he cannot top the goal-scoring charts in 2022/23.
Andrew Thompson: This is probably the hardest golden boot race to call in Europe given the pedigree of forwards that currently exist in the Premier League. Mohamed Salah kicked off his season on form in Liverpool’s win over Man City and surely he will be the odds-on favorite, while the likes of Darwin Núñez, Harry Kane, Son Heung-min, Jamie Vardy, and even Gabriel Jesus will come into consideration, but Erling Haaland could still end up leading the league when it is all said and done.
With the way City play football, create chances, and the cadre of creativity he has behind him in all areas of the pitch, Haaland should thrive.
Jamie Brown: Following last season’s fiasco with Harry Kane wanting to leave and missing the start of the season, the situation now couldn’t be any more different.
A full pre-season, working with Conte and with a side who will be fighting near the top of the table. Everything indicates Kane will have one of the best seasons of his career which could see him comfortably win this award.
Ben Browning: Tottenham under Antonio Conte were a different beast last season, with Harry Kane striking up a telepathic connection with Heung-Min Son.
With six new signings now in the side strengthening the Lilywhites, and both Erling Haaland and Darwin Nunez needing time to settle at their new clubs, Kane could well clinch his fourth golden boot this season.
Josh Barker: Leicester City had been one of the top sides in English football over the last several years. However, 2021/22 saw their form take something of a nosedive, leaving the Foxes eighth in the Premier League with no European football in the forthcoming campaign.
And after a fairly quiet summer, few are expecting Brendan Rodgers’ side to be in and around the top-six this term, but they still have a number of quality players on their books and their lack of European football, especially this year with a World Cup mid-season, may greatly benefit them and several of their players.
Andrew Thompson: Arsenal have conducted themselves expertly this summer in the transfer market under Edu Gaspar and Mikel Arteta, and despite the possibility of the club still needing another player in the door at either the forward line or in midfield, the project in north London looks primed for next phase, making them a strong pick for a dark horse finish as best of the rest behind City and Liverpool.
Brighton have recruited well with the potential upgrade on Neal Maupay of Deniz Undav but the loss of Yves Bissouma could hinder progress while Nottingham Forest could push for a mid-table finish after some serious summer activity.
Jamie Brown: Patrick Vieira really stepped up to the plate in his first year as a Premier League manager, with Crystal Palace showing plenty of promising signs. Now with a full season under his belt in south London, I can see him and this young team securing a top half finish. The likes of Eze, Olise, Guéhi Mitchell and Zaha are to name just a few of Palace’s top talents.
Ben Browning: Having signed 12 players this summer and still active in the market, it is hard to say what this season will have in store for newly promoted Nottingham Forest. On paper, Dean Henderson and Jesse Lingard are both great additions, while Taiyo Awoniyi and Moussa Diakhate are also standouts from their transfer splurge.
Neco Williams impressed in the Championship last season, as did Huddersfield pair Harry Toffolo and Lewis O’Brien, but whether they can make the step up remains to be seen. But if they gel, they should be well clear of relegation.
Top relegation candidate
Josh Barker: Bournemouth are in danger of developing a reputation as a yo-yo club, and they are currently major favourites to be relegated from the Premier League in 2022/23.
The newly-promoted side’s squad is clearly not up to the standard required to stave off relegation, with their top goal-scorer last term, Dominic Solanke, previously a major flop in the top-flight.
Andrew Thompson: While fellow promoted outfits Fulham and Nottingham Forest have done great work in reinforcing the senior squads at Craven Cottage and City Ground respectively, Bournemouth have hardly impressed with the business they have done this summer, making it difficult to look at the current squad under manager Scott Parker is one that will be good enough to avoid the drop when it’s all said and done.
Parker deserves credit for what he tried to achieve with Fulham the last time he managed in the Premier League, as well as with Bournemouth in the Championship, but few reinforcements to push the needle could make this a bridge too far.
Jamie Brown: I think without doubt Bournemouth will be the number one team to get relegated next season. They just about managed to keep their spot in the top two last season and have failed to add any genuine Premier League level players to their squad.
Scott Parker also has a lot to prove in the top flight with his record in the division being pretty shocking. He’s always had a big budget to get out of the Championship but when he’s been in the big time, his teams have always faced the drop.
Ben Browning: Bournemouth have done the least business of the newly promoted sides, and the Cherries needed to do more to not be considered favourites for the drop under Scott Parker.
Goals will remain an issue for the South coast side, and it is truly hard to see how they remain in the top flight based on their current business.
First manager sacked
Josh Barker: Frank Lampard is one of the greatest Premier League players of all time, but the less said about his managerial abilities the better.
Everton came dangerously close to being relegated last term, avoiding the drop by just four points, which is frankly embarrassing when you look at they players they had at their disposal, and Lampard has already suggested Everton need to prepare for another relegation fight after losing a pre-season friendly 4-0 vs Minnesota.
Andrew Thompson: Narrowly escaping relegation last season should put Frank Lampard immediately in the discussion this season as already under pressure. Everton have not massively recruited new faces this summer either to help alleviate concerns, and even if they are not in the bottom three, he could still be the first man out of a job in 2022-23 if the Toffees are barely getting a sniff at the top half of the table.
Jamie Brown: I think he was very fortunate in the end to see his Leeds United team stay up. Having a player as good as Raphinha was a massive help, but next season he will be without him. Given the departures of Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips, how many new players that need to be integrated into the team and also settle in the league, I think Leeds will get off to a rocky start and the pressure will be seriously on Jesse Marsch.
Ben Browning: Everton narrowly survived relegation last season, and have lost key man Richarlison this summer to Tottenham. Having added Dwight McNeil, James Tarkowski and Ruben Vinagre to their side, Everton are still looking light on goals, and will be relying on Dominic Calvert-Lewin to stay fit and return to goalscoring form.
That seems a stretch, and Frank Lampard could pay the price.
Best summer business
Josh Barker: There are definitely teams who have made better individual signings than Tottenham, but in terms of the overall window, nobody has done better business than Spurs.
The Lilywhites had a couple of problem areas that needed addressing this summer such as a lack of left-sided centre-back, more quality at right-back and a back-up to Harry Kane, addressing them with the additions of Clement Lenglet, Djed Spence and Richarlison.
The additions of Ivan Perisic and Yves Bissouma are particularly astute pieces of business.
Jamie Brown: I think both Arsenal and Tottenham have done a great job in backing managers who showed huge promise last season. Mikel Arteta’s side fell just short of the top four, but by adding a goal scorer as good as Gabriel Jesus and depth with the likes of Oleksandr Zinkencho and Fabio Vieira, I think top four will happen for them next season.
For Spurs, they’ve managed to add quality in areas that needed upgrading and are starting to build a squad which should be strong enough to manage to fight in both the Premier League and Champions League.
Josh Barker: Like in 2021/22, the top-four will be made up of Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham.
The former two of that quartet are lightyears ahead of every other side in the Premier League, so them dropping out of the top-four is very unlikely, with Arsenal the only threat to the status quo.
Jamie Brown: I don’t think Manchester City will be quite as strong next season, as they’ve given up a few quality players, but will still too strong for the rest of the league. Spurs should NOT be underestimated in the fight for a top two spot with Liverpool, who may need a reset after losing Sadio Mane - a player whose absence I feel is being downplayed.
The final spot will be taken by Arsenal I think, with Arteta finally building a team which should be strong enough to make the top four. They fell just short last season but given the additions which they have made and the feel good factor back at the Emirates, they should have enough to take advantage of a Chelsea side who look in disarray
Ben Browning: Liverpool and Manchester City remain a cut above the rest of the league, and I don’t expect Erik ten Hag to be able to work his magic on Manchester United after just one transfer window.
Tottenham and Arsenal have recruited smartly this summer, and were not too far off Chelsea, who so far have only gone backwards and continue to lack a consistent goalscorer.
Josh Barker: All of Bournemouth, Fulham and Nottingham Forest have just been promoted, but none of the clubs look to have enough to remain in the top-flight. Forest have given themselves hope with their summer activity but there is a danger their attempts to integrate 12 new players into the squad at once will be their downfall.
Jamie Brown: I just can’t help but think of the importance of losing Christian Eriksen from the Brentford team will cost them. Leeds were very fortunate in the end to stay up last season and having just lost two of their best players by quite some margin, next year will be very difficult at Elland Road, while Bournemouth have by far the weakest squad in the league and with no real quality additions as of yet, I think they’ll end up rock bottom.
Ben Browning: Bournemouth feel a nailed on certainty to head straight back to the Championship, having done minimal business this summer to strengthen their side and relying on Dominic Solanke to adjust to Premier League life quickly.
I think that they will be joined by Fulham, who have strengthened but not enough for me, while I also expect Everton to be in another relegation scrap after losing Richarlison this summer.
Josh Barker: Manchester City remain the top team in England. They have signed two seriously talented players in Kalvin Phillips and Erling Haaland, with a left-back expected to arrive this summer as well.
As for their closest rivals, Liverpool, they are arguably a weaker side heading into 2022/23 after swapping Sadio Mane for Darwin Nunez.
Jamie Brown: Liverpool and Tottenham will probably push them to a certain extent but Manchester City will just be too strong once again. Premier League title number seven looks inevitable.
Ben Browning: Manchester City.