Will Jones writes about football. When he's not doing that he's a  filmmaker  and occasional stand-up comedian.  Jones is an Arsenal fan. It's his cross, he bears it.

Will Jones writes about football. When he's not doing that he's a filmmaker and occasional stand-up comedian.

Jones is an Arsenal fan. It's his cross, he bears it.

Will Almond is also a Will, and also writes about football. What a world.  Almond is a Leeds fan, so he's just cross - largely down to years of boardroom ineptitude.

Will Almond is also a Will, and also writes about football. What a world.

Almond is a Leeds fan, so he's just cross - largely down to years of boardroom ineptitude.

Season Preview: Arsenal, Bournemouth, Brighton, Burnley, Cardiff

Season Preview: Arsenal, Bournemouth, Brighton, Burnley, Cardiff

IT’S BACK! Previews for Arsenal, Bournemouth, Brighton, Burnley and Cardiff in part one. You came here to scroll down to your club, so just get on with it…

If they're not in this part, then try:
Part II: Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Everton, Fulham and Huddersfield
Part III: Leicester, Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd, Newcastle
Part IV: Coming soon...

Scroll to the bottom for full predicted tables.

 

Arsenal

 

The big picture

Things are looking up at Arsenal. No, it’s not just fans craning their necks to catch a glimpse of the latest banner dragged across the North London sky. Instead, things are genuinely looking up. They have a new manager, a fresh squad most of whom avoided real World Cup exertion one way or another, and an air of hope back around the club. Whether that aura can withstand a 3-0 defeat to City in the opener remains to be seen…

 

The grit

In all seriousness though, ARSENAL HAVE BOUGHT A DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER WHO IS ACTUALLY A DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER AND NOT JUST A DEEP LYING PLAYMAKER WEARING A FAKE MOUSTACHE AND A POST-IT THAT SAYS ‘EXPERT TACKLER’.

 

Lucas Torreira looked every inch the real deal in a Uruguay shirt this summer; Aubameyang looked every inch a £70m player by the end of last season; they have a keeper who at the very least will provide competition and depth at the position; and they have a centre-back.

 

The bottom line

 

Finally, Arsenal look to have bought the players they need, rather than their previous strategy which appeared to be much like going to Aldi for a loaf of bread, becoming mired in the middle aisle and coming home with three de-humidifiers and a wetsuit. A return to the promised land beckons. 4th.

 

A punt

 

Lacazette and Aubameyang develop a Bergkamp/ Henry Raquel dovetail. Torreira adds real steel to the midfield but Arsenal concede the most goals in the Premier League and finish 6th.

 

 

Bournemouth

 

The big picture

Bournemouth initially made a splash in the Premier League with their fresh-faced manager and positive football. But that was four years ago and a week’s a long time in politics (or something like that). Bournemouth are a club that now appear to feel very comfortable with their Premier League status. Maybe they’re a little too comfortable?

 

 

The grit

Bournemouth have relied on bringing in young talent from down the divisions and nurturing it (see most recently Lewis Cook.) This off-season has been a similar story (so far) with David Brooks coming in from Sheffield United for £10m and Diego Rico imported from Leganes for a figure in the same ball-park. Will it be enough with free-spending clubs all around them?

 

The bottom line

Last season Bournemouth slipped to 12th, and while they should avoid relegation, expect them to slip slightly lower still. 15th.

 

A punt

Relegated?

 

Brighton

 

The big picture

Chris Hughton is the best person in football. Right, with that fact out of the way, time for some more detailed analysis of the Seagulls’ prospects this year. Well, like the pier on an October morn… bleak-ish, but there is a sun out there.

 

The grit

Brighton struggled to score last season and they’ve tried to address that this summer, signing Florin Andone and breaking their transfer record for winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh who bagged 21 goals and 12 assists in the Eredivisie last season (yes, yes, we do remember Afonso Alves, but sill.). Other additions include former Lille central-midfielder Yvas Bissoume and left-back Bernardo from RB Leipzig.

 

The bottom line

They’re definitely deeper and better than they were last season but the teams around them have also improved and at least two of this year’s promoted sides are no mugs. A similar season seems likely. 16th.

 

A punt

Chris Hughton is declared Nicest Man in Football - a new position created by FIFA in order to restore trust in the organisation. It grants him full immunity from petty concerns such as ‘points’ and ‘goals’. Brighton coast past City’s points record and deliver the title to the South Coast.

 

Burnley

 

The big picture

Burnley. European Football. Turf Moor under the lights. Discerning Swiss fans on wooden away perches. It’s tempting to get swept up in the romance of it all. But through the fog looms Leicester’s 2016/17 campaign and the dangers of a team distracted by Europe (albeit Europe’s second tier competition). Leicester recovered from their early form, binned Ranieri, and made a quarter-final, but it looked dicey for a bit. Burnley’s problem might not simply be in maintaining focus with the bright European lights in their eyes - it’s also that they have a small squad and if anyone does ‘break a leg’ then they really might be in trouble.

 

The grit

Teams who expect to compete in Europe have bigger squads, and, with all due respect, can usually call upon greater youth systems than Burnley. Burnley didn’t have a European-proof squad when they started the summer, and have made a grand total of one signing in the form of Ben Gibson.

 

The bottom line

Expect them to slip back into mid-table. 10th.

 

A punt

European football completely destabilises Dyche. He, and the players, begin to believe their own hype (Dyche has a pub named after him now y’know) and Burnley are relegated, but do a Wigan/ Leicester and snag a Europa League semi, losing to Arsenal thanks to a Lucas Torreira long ball over the top to Aubameyang.

 

Cardiff

 

The big picture

Warnock has achieved eight promotions in his career. He’s done that bit before. But he’s only spent (parts of) three seasons in the Premier League - once relegated and twice (‘mutually’) relieved of his duties. Nuno Santo’s final revenge may well be to watch the Premier League tell Warnock and his Cardiff side to ‘fuck off’ back to the Championship. There may or may not be hand gestures.

 

The grit

Just as with Huddersfield last season, Cardiff’s is a squad light on genuine top-flight quality, and they haven’t spent huge sums on any ‘big time Charlies’ (in Warnock’s words) to change that. Instead, the transfer policy in South Wales has revolved around plucking some of the Championship’s best talent, including £11m winger Josh Murphy from Norwich, £4m Preston left-back Greg Cunningham, QPR keeper Alex Smithies and Bristol City’s Bobby Reid. A decent £30m spent but no serious top-flight experience is a concern.

 

The bottom line

Given Warnock’s track record in this league and Cardiff’s squad it’s tempting to forecast a swift return to the Championship. This Cardiff side look like prime-candidates for a Huddersfield-esque strong start to the season before their lack of quality really begins to tell in the second half of the campaign. Huddersfield got away with it. Cardiff won’t. 19th.

 

A punt

This is probably conservative, but let’s go with Warnock and Mourinho meet three days before Christmas (they do). Both clubs are struggling. Both men are buckling under the pressure of their league position and the impending prospect of spending time with their in-laws. Pies are thrown. Full yer da down the U10s stuff. Pizza-gate pales in comparison to Warnock’s ruddy, kidney stained cheeks.

 

Final Tables

Almond

1. City
2. Liverpool
3. Tottenham
4. Arsenal
5. Man Utd
6. Chelsea
7. Everton
8. Leicester
9. West Ham
10. Burnley
11. Wolves
12. Southampton
13. Fulham
14. Palace
15. Bournemouth
16. Brighton
17. Newcastle
18. Watford
19. Cardiff
20. Huddersfield

Jones

1. Manchester City
2. Liverpool
3. Manchester United
4. Arsenal
5. Spurs
6. Chelsea
7. Leicester City
8. West Ham
9. Everton
10. Watford
11. Southampton
12. Fulham
13. Burnley
14. Wolves
15. Crystal Palace
16. Newcastle
17. Bournemouth
18. Brighton
19. Huddersfield
20. Cardiff

Season Preview: Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Everton, Fulham, Huddersfield

Season Preview: Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Everton, Fulham, Huddersfield

Arsenal season preview 2018/19

Arsenal season preview 2018/19