PREMIER LEAGUE IS BACK!!!

by Chris Balding

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and we’re not talking about Christmas. The Premier League kicks off this Friday for the 2022/23 season and we literally cannot wait!

Just like last year we will be running a fantasy football league with the winner receiving a MASSIVE £500 voucher to be spent at scotts. So get your analyst on and build the team you think will earn the most points. 

All 20 teams will be battling it out for the top spot this campaign, many of the clubs have done some great business this summer to strengthen their squads. This year is going to be one hell of a cracker!

Let’s take a look at the transfers that are causing a stir in the league and help you to decide if you need to make any last minute changes to your Fantasy Football team.

Manchester City

The reigning champions Manchester City have brought in one of the hottest prospects in world football, the blonde viking Erling Haaland. He is a great addition to their squad giving their attack a focal point and will be the main man to finish the chances which they have desperately needed. City have also invested heavily in the talents of England international and former Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips. He is a replacement for club legend Fernandinho who decided to go back to his home country and join Athletico Paranaense. City have however had to let some serious talent leave the club, Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko have both joined Arsenal which may leave some City fans scratching their heads. Most notably Raheem Sterling has joined rivals Chelsea after 7 years at the Manchester club, which has led to former player Augero publicly slamming the decision. However Pep Guardiola certainly knows what he is doing so expect City to be challenging for the title. City have won the title four times out of the past five seasons.

Liverpool

Liverpool were unlucky to finish second last season and in any other season they would have won the title. Even though they won the FA Cup and the League Cup it was a disappointing campaign for the reds. They played exceptional football both domestically and in Europe but were beaten by Real Madrid in the Champions League final, which they were desperate to win. Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich is a huge loss for the club but they have recruited the talents of Darwin Nunez who joined from Benfica after building up a great reputation. Another exciting signing for the club is young prospect Fabio Carvalho from Fulham. Not expected to feature much this year  but he is one for the future. Remember the name!

Chelsea

A lot has happened with Chelsea football club this year. Long term owner Roman Abramovich was forced to sell the club after the UK government put sanctions on him following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, freezing his assets. The club was sold for £4.25 billion to American businessman Todd Boehly, the co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team. The sale of the club doesn’t seem to have had much of an effect on the London club as it’s been business as usual over the summer. As previously mentioned Chelsea were able to secure the signature of Raheem Sterling for £47.5m after his lack of game time for City frustrated the England international. Chelsea fans were frustrated when one of the players of the season last year, Antonio Rudiger left on a free to the los blancos. The club has found a solid replacement for the German, bringing in world renowned Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli. Rudiger wasn’t the only big name to leave the club, frustrated and controversial  Romelu Lukaku has left on loan to former club Inter Milan and long time blue Andreas Christensen. We can’t see Chelsea winning the league but we can see them being hot on the heels of City and Liverpool.

Spurs

Late bloomers Spurs could be the team to surprise everyone this year, with Conte at the helm, he has managed to get the backing from Chairman Daniel Levy allowing him to improve his squad and get business done early to allow for more cohesion. Several big signings have joined the club, most known will be the acquisition of former Everton striker Richarlison, for 50m. Many might think that is simply not worth that sum but many pundits have liked the signing, believing if he plays in a better team and with Conte pushing him, he can live up to his potential. Spurs have also secured the signatures of Yves Bissouma from Brighton after fighting off competition from Aston Villa, Arsenal and Everton among others. Conte was keen to sign the player after he impressed him when Brighton played Spurs. After helping Nottingham secure promotion while on loan, Djed Spence has joined the north London club from Boro for £20m. While playing in the championship he earned EFL Championship Player of the Month, EFL Championship Goal of the Month and, for the second time in his career, the EFL Young Player of the Month. French international Clement Lenglet on loan from Barcelona to allow the Spanish giants to free up some much needed cash. More experience joins the club in the form of Ivan Perisic. He is versatile and has real quality which would benefit any club he played for.  Spurs have set the tone with the quality they have brought in but will it be the same old or will they finally win some silverware!

Arsenal

Staying in North London, Arsenal much like their rivals have made some good signings. We already mention Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko who will transform the club and could be the missing link Mikel Arteta is searching for. Fabio Vieira signed for the club for £30m which many believe is a bargain as he has real pedigree working his way through Porto’s academy and cementing himself in the first team helping them achieve domestic success. Arsenal’s team sheet will strike fear and will end the era as a banter club.

Manchester United

Erik ten Hag has stayed true to his word and shook up the Manchester United squad bringing in a new style and some new signings too. Like always Man United have been linked with every Tom, Dick and Harry but many have been shocked by how players now see the club. Unlike the golden years, Old Trafford isn’t the draw it used to be. The club is trying desperately to get Frenkie de Jong to join the club but it is proving more difficult than they originally thought as the saga continues. It’s not all bad news, Erik ten Hag has brought over some talent from the Eredivisie as right back Tyrell Malacia and centre back Lisandro Martinez join from Feyenoord and Ajax respectively. These will help sure up the defence and get the team playing how Erik ten Hag wants. A lot of experienced players have left which some may see as a blessing and not a curse. Dean Henderson, Edinson Cavani, Juan Mata, Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Nemanja Matic have all parted ways with the club. But to combat this exodus the club managed to sign Christian Eriksen after his impressive comeback at Brentford. This transfer window is a clear sign on how Manchester United want to turn their fortunes around. 

West Ham

The hammers have had a fairly quiet transfer season, but one player of note they have secured the signature off is Moroccan International Nayef Aguerd who they see as a long term replacement for Angelo Ogbonna. West Ham are looking to the future and improving bit by bit so we expect them to slightly improve on their season tally last year. 

Leicester City

Leicester City have held onto their pennies this summer bringing in no talent. This must prove that either Bredan Rodgers has exactly what he needs or the board has lost confidence in him. You decide!

Brighton

The seagulls have had quiet one as well only bringing in 3 players during the summer, the most exciting is the 18 year old Paraguayan Julio Enciso for just under £10m, however due his age it is undecided whether he will go straight out on loan, even though he did impress Potter in preseason. After losing Bissouma to Spurs Brighton did well to hang onto the talents of Marc Cucurella after several big clubs were sniffing around the Spaniard. We really like what Graham Potter has done at the club but without being able to replace what they have lost we don’t think they will achieve the same level of success as they did last season.

Wolves

Wolves hasn’t made a big splash in the market bringing in Nathan Collins to replace Romain Saiss for £20m after the Moroccan left on a free. We were hoping to see the young prospect Fabio Silva play in the prem but he has gone on loan to Anderlecht. Nothing to howl about this season we think, could have a relegation battle on their hands.   

Newcastle

Under Eddie Howe are starting to show signs of promise and with the signing of Sven Botman from Lille for £35m they have a great player in their ranks adding to the good signing they made in the last window. They have also brought in Nike Pope and Matt Target giving Howe lots of competition at the back. You can see how the oil money is having a positive effect on the toon. We think they could make the top 6 but don’t take our word for it!

Crystal Palace 

Patrick Veria has made some low key signings to help strengthen his squad, bringing in goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, forward Malcolm Ebiowei and Mali international Cheick Doucoure. Doucoure is who we are most excited to see as he was part of the squad that helped the French team Lens achieve promotion and  then finish 7th in their first season back in the top flight.

Brentford 

It’s no surprise that Thomas Frank’s team likes to hold tightly on the purse strings and this window has been no different. The most recognisable signing is former Burnley centre half Ben Mee who arrives on a free. However they have lost Eriksen who will be a big miss as the team doesn’t have a player who is world class so hopefully one of their players will stand up and pull the strings for the club. 

Aston Villa

Great business from the Birmingham outfit as they have kept Coutinho and signed him permanently after impressing last season. Furthermore they have signed Boubacar Kamara from Marseille on a 5 year deal. The french international is still young but has great potential which could make him a fan favourite at Villa Park. The other key signing for the club is centre back Diego Carlos who will add some steel to the defence. Not a bad window at all for Stevie G. 

Southampton 

Have looked to the future as they have signed 20 year olds Sékou Mara from Bordeaux for £11m and Gavin Bazunu from City for £12m. Nothing much to shout about for the Saints this transfer window. Could be a long season for Ralph Hasenhüttl.

Everton

Not looking good for the Toffees as they dodged relegation by just 4 points last season. It is not a transfer window to remember for the club as they lost Richarlison and failed to replace him but it’s not all doom and gloom as they have acquired the talents of James Tarkowski who should feature in the starting 11. As he went down with Burnley last year he will keen not to follow it up this year.

Leeds

The Yorkshire club has lost two of it’s superstars this window, Kavin Phillips as mentioned has gone to City and Raphinha has gone to the Nou Camp. To help fill the void the club has brought in three players from the Bundesliga. American International winger Brenden Aaronson and right back Rasmus Kristensen join from Red Bull Salzburg costing 25m and 10m respectively while midfielder Tyler Adams joins for 20m from RB Leipizig. Let’s hope Leeds have found some real talent but replacing Phillips and Raphinha is easier said than done.

Fulham

Last season Championship winners Fulham, will hopefully avoid what they seem to do every season and that is come up and then go straight back down. That’s enough negativity from us, Marco Silva did a great job at the reins, leading them to finish top of the championship blowing everyone out of the water. Aleksandar Mitrovic, scored 43 goals last season so isn’t shy in front of the sticks and they will need his goals this season to survive. Bernd Leno joins from Arsenal so they have a quality keeper to give their defence confidence. Fabio Carvalho will be a big miss this season but hopefully someone will fill his boots.

Bournemouth 

Last season Championship runners-up Bournemouth have made a couple of good signings to help their chance of survival this campaign but we don’t think they will be enough. Bringing in fridge player Ryan Fredericks from West Ham and Marcus Tavernier from Middlesbrough are not the signing you want your club to be making. Bournemouth will be relying on Dominic Solanke carrying on his form from the championship but having failed in the top flight before it’s not looking good. On a lighter note the cherries do have Scott Parker in charge who is passionate and will get the team hyped up (look at his halftime talk on youtube).

Nottingham Forest

Out of all the new boys we are most excited to see how Last season Championship play-off winners Nottingham Forest get on in the top flight. The club has made 13 signings with the most notable being Jesse Lingard who turned down the chance to join West Ham after revitalising his career while at loan at the hammers. Liverpool’s Neco Williams joins the club permanently and could be given the opportunity to shine now that he’s not behind Liverpool’s  pecking order which boasts two of the best full backs in the world. If you play Fifa then you will have heard of Moussa Niakhate who joins from Mainz, the ball playing centre back helped the club reach 8th in the Bundesliga narrowly missing out on Europe. 

For more Fantasy Football and the Premier League be sure to follow @scottsmenswear for all the latest news. 

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