Will newly-promoted Norwich be heading straight back to The Championship? Can Palace improve on 14th place last season and will Burnley need another miracle to avoid the drop again?
Norwich City FC
After the disappointment of relegation to The Championship, Norwich eventually won that league, racking up an incredible 97 points in the process, which is one of the highest ever tallies recorded in The Championship. That said, their cup form suffered as the club concentrated on league success and all the prestige and money that comes with an EPL spot. Perhaps The Canaries’ best hope for glory this year, however, could be a cup run. Manager Daniel Farke must use his resources wisely to primarily stay in the EPL and secondarily perhaps do something in one of the cup competitions.
Players to watch
Finnish striker Teemu Pukki was absolutely deadly in The Championship last season. For example, on the 6th of April 2021, he scored his first-ever Championship hat-trick, in a total 7-0 demolition of Huddersfield. In doing that he registered his 25th goal of the season. So many deadly-looking strikers have attempted to mix it with the big boys of The Premier League though. Will Pukki have the skill-set to still find the net with regularity in the EPL, or will he struggle like so many before him?
A 23-year-old rising star and local Norfolk boy, Cantwell had a really high-quality last season in The Championship. The academy product could be well suited to the PL with his surging runs from midfield, calm finishing, and passing. Cantwell’s link-up play with Pukki is key and he had some really good spells throughout the last season. Again the question is can he make the necessary step-up to the challenges of The Premier League?
Crystal Palace FC
Crystal Palace had a disappointing campaign last season in the EPL. Then manager Roy Hodgson could only guide the Eagles to 14th place in the EPL. After that, Palace and Hodgson parted company and the big news is that the new man at the helm is none other than Arsenal legend Patrick Viera. Viera however, is a relatively inexperienced coach. His only other notable role was at Nice in France in 2018-2020. Can Viera be the kind of leader that he was on the pitch for Arsenal with this group of players, or will management at this level prove too much for the Frenchman? A lot of players left the club last season and Viera has been a busy man in the transfer market. That will surely be another indicator of his managerial ability.
Players to watch
Zaha is a skillful, fast, and tricky attacker who has been with Palace for many seasons now. Last season he found the net 11 times and provided 2 assists. The Ivorian will be no doubt looking to improve that tally and help the Eagles achieve something better than their fairly miserable 14th in the league last time out.
Eze is an attacking midfielder who will no doubt be seeking to be a reliable and creative partner for Zaha in Palace’s attack. Unfortunately, it was reported in May 2021 that he had suffered an achilles injury and would be out for several months. However, if that medical prognosis is accurate, the exciting midfielder still has plenty of time to make an impact on this year’s EPL.
Burnley will begin their EPL campaign by hosting Brighton at Turf Moor. Their next fixture is a much more intimidating game away to Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. However, little Burnley will take heart because the last time these two sides met, Burnley ended Liverpool’s incredible run of 68 home games unbeaten in the top flight. Manager Sean Dyche will be looking for more results like that and more importantly to pick up the maximum amount of points from the closest rivals in the league.
Players to watch
Watch out for this attacking player. In the season of 2020-21, the New Zealander who wears number 9 made 33 appearances and scored 12 goals. However, one gets the feeling that he’s going to need to do even better this year if Burnley are to enjoy a more comfortable season this time around.
Dwight Mcneil is a promising young talent at the age of 21. He plays in midfield and usually on the wing. The player has made 96 appearances for Burnley, which suggests that Sean Dyche has a lot of faith in him. That said, in those 96 appearances, he has only netted 7 times and provided 16 assists.