Welcome to FC Yahoo’s Premier League preview week. We’ll take a look at each team in our aggregated predicted table, counting down from No. 20 to No. 1, and also reflect on some issues surrounding the league as kickoff approaches on Friday. Follow along with everything here.
20. HUDDERSFIELD TOWN
Last season – Huddersfield Town took an altogether thrilling route in returning to the top flight for the first time since 1972, finishing fifth in the Championship but beating both Sheffield Wednesday and Reading on penalties in the Championship Play-Off to win promotion. Moreover, 22 of the Terriers’ 25 wins were by one goal, which helped them sustain a strong start that saw them top the table eight of the first 11 weeks.
Key transfer notes – Democratic Republic of Congo striker Elias Kachunga led the team with 13 goals across all competitions last season during a loan spell, and Huddersfield signed him permanently from Ingolstadt 04 in July. American soccer fans should also keep an eye on USMNT midfielder Danny Williams, who joined Huddersfield on a free transfer from Reading.
FC Yahoo take
Joey Gulino: Let’s be frank: It figures to be a massive struggle for Huddersfield Town to stay in the Premier League more than one season. However, the club didn’t lose anyone of note from last year’s resilient bunch, and Huddersfield has splashed £40 million in the transfer market on players from successful club systems like Manchester City and Porto. Can manager David Wagner pull off some magic?
Henry Bushnell: Huddersfield was essentially a mid-table Championship team last season that rode some good fortune into a fifth-place finish and won the lottery that is the promotion playoff. Its goal differential of -2 ranked 13th in the league. Its total goals scored tally of 56 was fewer than 17th-place Bristol City and 21st-place Nottingham Forest, not to mention all but one of the league’s top half. And now we expect this very ordinary team, with a few fringe top-flight players added on the transfer market, to survive a Premier League that should be tougher than ever? Hah. Yeah right.
Betting odds (via SkyBet)
Win Premier League – 2000/1
Relegation – 4/6
Shahan Ahmed: 20 | Ryan Bailey: 20 | Alex Baker: 18 | Henry Bushnell: 20 | Joey Gulino: 20 | Leander Schaerlaeckens: 19
Last season – Burnley avoided relegation for the first time in the Premier League era, sealing a stay with a 16th-place finish. The Clarets defended Turf Moor with great aplomb, earning 33 of their 40 points on their home ground, and banked six wins during the busy and brutish months of December and January. The strike tandem of Andre Gray and Sam Vokes combined to score 19 goals in the league.
Key transfer notes – By far the most significant bit of business done by Burnley this window is selling defender Michael Keane to Everton for £25 million. The money has helped the squad stock up with Premier League veterans like Jonathan Walters, Jack Cork and Phil Bardsley, but the loss of Keane, who was on the six-man shortlist for PFA Young Player of the Year last season, leaves a gaping hole in the defense.
FC Yahoo take
Leander Schaerlaeckens: Burnley may have had the fewest goals scored of any team that survived in the Premier League last season. But it also had the fewest conceded of anybody in the bottom half. And while Burnley picked up just seven points on the road, it went a robust 10-6-3 at home at the Turf Moor. It seldom looks pretty, but Sean Dyche – the rare promising young(ish) English manager – has this team punching above its weight by consistently getting the best out of modest means. If that’s enough to save them against the odds for a second season in a row, it will be thanks to him.
Joey Gulino: It bears repeating how bad Burnley’s away form was last season. The Clarets took just seven of an available 57 points, and while an early draw at Old Trafford was commendable, the other road results were draws at the three teams that got relegated and a late win over a Crystal Palace side that limped over the finish line. Keane’s departure means it’ll be much harder to defend Turf Moor with such a bunker mentality, and Burnley won’t do enough to stay up this season.
Betting odds (via SkyBet)
Win Premier League – 1500/1
Relegation – 5/4
Shahan Ahmed: 15 | Ryan Bailey: 16 | Alex Baker: 19 | Henry Bushnell: 19 | Joey Gulino: 19 | Leander Schaerlaeckens: 18
Arsenal | Bournemouth | Brighton & Hove Albion | Burnley | Chelsea | Crystal Palace | Everton | Huddersfield Town | Leicester City | Liverpool | Manchester City | Manchester United | Newcastle United | Southampton | Stoke City | Swansea City | Tottenham Hotspur | Watford | West Bromwich Albion | West Ham United