Build-Up To The New Season – Newcastle

Team: Newcastle United

Nickname: The Magpies

Founded: 1892

Manager: Rafa Benitez

Stadium Name: St James Park

Stadium Capacity: 52,405

Major Honours: (4) First Division, (4) Second Division, (6) F.A Cup, (1) Community Shield

Main Rivals: Sunderland

Biggest Win v Brighton: 5-0 (October 1961)

Biggest Defeat v Brighton: 4-2 (January 1992)

Last Meeting: Brighton 1-2 Newcastle (28/2/17)

When Do They Play Brighton: Sunday 24th September (AMEX Stadium), Saturday 30th December (St James Park)

 

Players To Watch:

Goalkeeper: Karl Darlow 

Defender: Jamaal Lascelles

Midfielder: Jonjo Shelvey

Striker: Dwight Gayle

 

Newcastle achieved what they should of done at the start of the season; promotion and the league title, but they were given a real run for their money, having to win the title on the last day of the season, courtesy of a late Aston Villa equaliser against Brighton. However, based on results over the season, they were probably the best team in the division, especially away from home where they lost just 5 games and won 14, including wins at Brighton, Huddersfield and Leeds. Gayle will be looking to take his goalscoring form into the Premier League after scoring 23 goals in an injury plagued season; keeping him fit will be vital for Newcastle to avoid beating the drop yet again as will other key players such as Shelvey, Matt Richie, Lascelles and Ayoze Perez.

 

Last Season’s Finish: 1st (Championship)

Predicted Finish 14th

Build-Up To The New Season – Manchester United

Team: Manchester United

Nickname: The Red Devils

Founded: 1878

Manager: Jose Mourinho

Stadium Name: Old Trafford

Stadium Capacity: 75,643

Major Honours: (20) First Division, (2) Second Division, (12) F.A Cup, (5) League Cup, (21) Community Shield, (3) Champions League, (1) Europa League

Main Rivals: Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Leeds

Biggest Win v Brighton: 4-0 (May 1983)

Biggest Defeat v Brighton: 1-0 (November 1982)

Last Meeting: Manchester United 1-0 Brighton (23/1/93)

When Do They Play Brighton: Saturday 25th November (Old Trafford), Saturday 5th May (AMEX Stadium)

 

Players To Watch:

Goalkeeper: David de Gea

Defender: Eric Bailly

Midfielder: Paul Pogba

Striker: Romeu Lukaku

 

Man Utd had a season to forget as well as remember; a 25 game unbeaten run in which they held the same position (6th) the whole time through that run, but also winning the Europa League to qualify for this season Champions League. United started off the season well with 4 wins in their opening 6 games, and straight after the Chelsea defeat in late-October, they began their unbeaten 25 game run, only for them to occupy the same position during that whole run (13W, 12D). Silly home draws to the likes of West Ham, Hull, West Brom and Swansea during that run were all a factor in why they didn't finish up higher; considering they only lost 5 games, but drew a massive 15 of the other 33 games, 10 of the 15 at home! Some big signings this summer like Lukaku, Victor Lindelof and Nemanja Matic mean that they must do better than their 6th place finish last season, and should be big threats at the top of the table, and in Europe once more.

 

Last Season’s Finish: 6th

Predicted Finish; 2nd

Build-Up To The New Season – Manchester City

Team: Manchester City

Nickname: The Citizens

Founded: 1880

Manager: Pep Guardiola

Stadium Name: Etihad Stadium

Stadium Capacity: 55,097

Major Honours: (4) First Division, (7) Second Division, (5) F.A Cup, (4) League Cup, (4) Community Shield

Main Rivals: Manchester United

Biggest Win v Brighton: 5-1 (February 1924)

Biggest Defeat v Brighton: 4-0 (January 1983)

Last Meeting: Brighton 2-2 Manchester City (24/9/08) – Brighton won 5-3 on penalties

When Do They Play Brighton: Saturday 12th August (AMEX Stadium), Saturday 17th March (Etihad Stadium)

 

Players To Watch:

Goalkeeper: Ederson

Defender: Kyle Walker

Midfielder: Kevin de Bruyne

Striker: Sergio Aguero

 

With Guardiola coming to take charge of Man City, there was an excitement around the club that he could be the one to win back the Premier League title, as well as get a step closer to the Champions League title. After a super start to the season, winning their first 6, they then found themselves winning only 3 in their next 9 dropping them from 1st to 4th. 8 wins from their next 11 saw them back within a shout of 1st, but with Chelsea pulling away and games running out, City faults red towards the end and could only settle for 3rd place, and had to qualify for the Champions League on the last day, needing a win to ensure they qualified. With wholesale changes this summer already, anything but the title is failure.

 

Last Season’s Finish: 3rd

Predicted Finish; 1st

Build-Up To The New Season – Liverpool

Team: Liverpool

Nickname: The Reds

Founded: 1892

Manager: Jurgen Kloop

Stadium Name: Anfield

Stadium Capacity: 54,074

Major Honours: (18) First Division, (4) Second Division, (7) F.A Cup, (8) League Cup, (15) Community Shield, (5) Champions League, (3) Europa League, (3) UEFA Super Cup

Main Rivals: Everton, Manchester United

Biggest Win v Brighton: 6-1 (February 2012)

Biggest Defeat v Brighton: 3-1 (January 1961)

Last Meeting: Liverpool 6-1 Brighton (19/2/12)

When Do They Play Brighton: Saturday 2nd December (AMEX Stadium), Sunday 13th May (Anfield)

 

Players To Watch:

Goalkeeper: Simon Mignolet

Defender: Nathaniel Clyne

Midfielder: Philippe Coutinho

Striker: Sadio Mane

 

Liverpool were in desperate need of European football again, after missing out on it the season before, and had to wait until the final day of the season to scrape into the Champions League Play-Off place. Liverpool started of the season quite well, including an opening day win at Arsenal and a win away at Chelsea. By mid November, they had won 8 of their opening 12 and were sitting top (cue the 'its our season' line). However 1 win in January and February, left them falling from 2nd to 5th. With the return of influential winger Mane, they lost just 1 of their remaining 12 games and pipped Arsenal to fourth spot on the final day of the season. This season, I think it maybe a bit different, what with all their rivals spending big amount of money to improve their teams, and could fall well short of the Champions League places.

 

Last Season’s Finish: 4th

Predicted Finish 7th

Build-Up To The New Season – Leicester

Team: Leicester City

Nickname: The Foxes

Founded: 1884

Manager: Craig Shakespeare

Stadium Name: King Power Stadium

Stadium Capacity: 32,315

Major Honours: (1) First Division, (7) Second Division, (1) Third Division, (3) League Cup, (1) Community Shield

Main Rivals: Nottingham Forest, Derby, Coventry

Biggest Win v Brighton: 4-1 (September 1978)

Biggest Defeat v Brighton: 4-1 (April 2014)

Last Meeting: Leicester 1-4 Brighton (8/4/14)

When Do They Play Brighton: Saturday 20th August (King Power Stadium), Saturday 31st March (AMEX Stadium)

 

Players To Watch:

Goalkeeper: Kasper Schmeichel

Defender: Wes Morgan

Midfielder: Riyad Mahrez

Striker: Jamie Vardy

 

After a stunning season where they captured their first top flight title, it all went 'tits up' for the Foxes. 3 wins in their first 14 games saw them hanging above the drop zone, and with only 5 wins on the board up to matchday 25, it was starting to look bleak for the reigning champions. Claudio Ranieri was subsequently given the boot, much to the anger of supporters and pundits across the world, but their fortunes turned drastically; 5 wins on the spin and qualification into the quarter finals of the Champions League, saw them with some breathing space between them and the bottom three. With 2 wins in their remaining 8 games, Leicester finished 12th which given the way the season turned out, it wasn't a bad finishing position. Expect much of the same again this season.

 

Last Season’s Finish: 12th 

Predicted Finish 13th

Build-Up To The New Season – Huddersfield

Team: Huddersfield Town

Nickname: The Terriers

Founded: 1908

Manager: David Wagner

Stadium Name: John Smith’s Stadium

Stadium Capacity: 24,500

Major Honours: (3) First Division, (1) Second Division, (1) Fourth Division, (1) F.A Cup, (1) Community Shield

Main Rivals: Leeds, Bradford, Barnsley, Oldham

Biggest Win v Brighton: 7-1 (August 2009)

Biggest Defeat v Brighton: 4-1 (March 2013)

Last Meeting: Huddersfield 3-1 Brighton (1/2/17)

When Do They Play Brighton: Saturday 9th December (John Smiths Stadium), Saturday 7th April (AMEX Stadium)

 

Players To Watch:

Goalkeeper: Jonas Lossl 

Defender: Tommy Smith

Midfielder: Aaron Mooy

Striker: Laurent Depoitre 

 

Huddersfield exceeded everyone’s expectations last season, just by getting into the Play-Offs, but going on to win them and gaining promotion into the Premier League for the first time, was a huge achievement especially considering the season before when they finished 19th; replicating Brighton’s rise when they finished 20th back in 2015, before a 3rd place finish the next season. Huddersfield were the early pace setters, winning 5 of their first 6 games including an away win against Newcastle. Brighton inflicted their first defeat of the season, which started a barren run of 4 wins in 12 games, dropping them from 1st to 8th. 11 wins in their next 13 games saw them back in contention for automatic promotion, and on the heels of Brighton and Newcastle, but as the games piled up towards the end of the season, they started to drop points and could only manage 3 wins in their remaining 10 games, meaning they would have to gain promotion the hard way; they actually won the play-offs without scoring a goal during the 3 ties including extra time. 

 

Last Season’s Finish: 5th (Championship – Promoted via Play-Offs)

Predicted Finish; 20th

Build-Up To The New Season – Everton

Team: Everton

Nickname: The Toffees

Founded: 1878

Manager: Ronald Koeman

Stadium Name: Goodison Park

Stadium Capacity: 39,572

Major Honours: (9) First Division, (1) Second Division, (5) F.A Cups, (9) Community Shields

Main Rivals: Liverpool

Biggest Win v Brighton: 4-3 (December 1980)

Biggest Defeat v Brighton: 5-2 (February 1924)

Last Meeting: Brighton 1-2 Everton (9/4/83)

When Do They Play Brighton: Saturday 14th October (AMEX Stadium), Saturday 10th March (Goodison Park)

 

Players To Watch:

Goalkeeper: Jordan Pickford

Defender: Michael Keane

Midfielder: Idrissa Gueye

Striker: Wayne Rooney

 

Everton would of been happy to qualify for Europe at the start of the season, and that’s just what they achieved with a strong 7th place finish; a position they had occupied since matchday 18 all they way til the end of the season. 4 wins in their opening 5 games saw them in second place, before 1 win in 10 dropped them back into 9th, including a 5-0 threashing away at Chelsea. A strong second half of the season saw them lose just 5 games, with a superb 4-0 win against Manchester City. Everton have recruited well so far this summer, and it would be a shock if they couldn’t improve on their 7th place finish; possible dark horses for a Champions League place? Who knows?

 

Last Season’s Finish: 7th

Predicted Finish; 6th

Build-Up To The New Season – Crystal Palace

Team: Crystal Palace

Nickname: Eagles

Founded: 1905

Manager: Frank de Boer

Stadium Name: Selhurst Park

Stadium Capacity: 25,456

Major Honours: (2) Second Division, (1) Third Division

Main Rivals: Brighton, Millwall, Charlton

Biggest Win v Brighton: 6-0 (February 1950)

Biggest Defeat v Brighton: 5-0 (January 1956)

Last Meeting: Brighton 0-2 Crystal Palace (13/5/13)

When Do They Play Brighton: Tuesday 28th November (AMEX Stadium), Saturday 14th April (Selhurst Park)

 

Players To Watch:

Goalkeeper: Wayne Hennessey 

Defender: Patrick van Aanholt

Midfielder: Wilfried Zaha

Striker: Christian Benteke

 

After smashing their transfer record to bring Benteke to South London, Palace were looking to set their sights on a top 10 finish; it was looking pretty good up to matchday 7, until a run of 6 straight defeats saw them plummet from 8th to 17th. 1 win in their next 9 saw them in the relegation places at the end of January, and fearing the worst, but 5 wins in their next 7 helped them clamber out of the drop zone, and with a good enough end to the season they managed to secure 14th spot.

 

Last Season’s Finish: 14th

Predicted Finish; 15th

Build-Up To The New Season – Chelsea

Team: Chelsea

Nickname: The Blues

Founded: 1905

Manager: Antonio Conte

Stadium Name: Stamford Bridge

Stadium Capacity: 41,631

Major Honours: (6) Division One, (2) Division Two, (7) F.A Cups, (5) League Cups, (4) Community Shields, (1) Champions League, (1) Europa League, (1) UEFA Super Cup

Main Rivals: Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester United, West Ham, QPR, Fulham, Brentford

Biggest Win v Brighton: 4-0 (February 1967)

Biggest Defeat v Brighton: 2-1 (January 1933)

Last Meeting: Brighton 0-1 Chelsea (15/3/89)

When Do They Play Brighton: Tuesday 26th December (Stamford Bridge), Saturday 20th January (AMEX Stadium)

 

Players To Watch:

Goalkeeper: Thibaut Courtois

Defender: David Luiz

Midfielder: N’Golo Kante 

Striker: Eden Hazard

 

After a dissapointing season previously, Antonio Conte had his work cut out, to propel Chelsea back up the table and back into the Champions League. After 3 wins for 3 at the start of the season, Chelsea failed to win the next 3 including defeats against rivals Arsenal and Liverpool. However, a superb run of 13 straight wins helped them go to the top of the table by the end of the year. Tottenham inflicted their first defeat since September when the two London rivals met just after New Years Day, but 14 wins in the remaining 18 games saw them win the title by 7 points, also setting a new Premier League record for most wins in a season, eclipsing the previous record of 29 wins set by themselves during Jose Mourinho’s first spell in charge.

 

Last Season’s Finish: 1st

Predicted Finish; 3rd

Build-Up To The New Season – Burnley

Team: Burnley

Nickname: The Clarets

Founded: 1882

Manager: Sean Dyche

Stadium Name: Turf Moor

Stadium Capacity: 21,800

Major Honours: (2) First Division, (3) Second Division, (1) Third Division, (1) Fourth Division, (1) F.A Cup, (1) Community Shield

Main Rivals: Blackburn, Preston, Rochdale, Blackpool, Halifax Town, Stockport County

Biggest Win v Brighton: 3-0 (April 1973, October 1978, September 1993, October 1995)

Biggest Defeat v Brighton: 3-0 (December 1992)

Last Meeting: Brighton 2-2 Burnley (2/4/16)

When Do They Play Brighton: Saturday 13th December (AMEX Stadium), Saturday 28th April (Turf Moor)

 

Players To Watch:

Goalkeeper: Tom Heaton

Defender: Charlie Taylor

Midfielder: Steven Defour

Striker: Andre Gray

 

Burnley were looking to consolidate their Premier League status for the first time, after being relegated straight back down the previous 2 times they have achieved promotion to the Premier League. A large amount of their 16th place success was their home form, where they lost just 6 games and won 10 times, including scalps against Liverpool, Everton and a draw against champions Chelsea. On the contrary, their away from was completely shocking, winning only once on the road and that was in April against Crystal Palace. Fans of Burnley will be hoping they can at least get 2 away wins on the board this year, otherwise they could face the drop.

 

Last Season’s Finish: 16th

Predicted Finish; 19th