The Premier League is coming back after its summer break. It is the most watched league in the world and fans anticipate its August return each year with feverish excitement.
There are three new teams joining the league, in the shape of Burnley, Sheffield United and Luton. The latter in particular have enjoyed a meteoric rise through the divisions in recent years and will make for a fascination addition.
Elsewhere the question will be whether anyone can take on Manchester City for the title, with a host of pretenders keen to prove that they can. Given the range of stories each Premier League campaign produces, it may be helpful to read this piece on what to watch for in the 2023/24 season.
The Top and the Bottom
The drama is divided into two parts: the fight for the title or a place in the top four and the relegation battle at the bottom of the table. Here is what to expect from both of them.
- The top
Manchester City are the team to beat at the top end of the table. They have won it in five out of the last six seasons and for the past three in a row. Of course it did not always look like they would be champions last season, as Arsenal led the table for much of the campaign.
They pushed most of the way, but finished five points behind City. Whether they wilted under the pressure or City just hit an unstoppable run of form remains in debate, but the correct answer is surely ‘both.’
Arsenal have strengthened with the additions of defensive midfielder Declan Rice and German midfielder/attacker Kai Havertz, so another challenge is expected. Fans must be worried about a possible hangover from last season’s disappointment though.
Two other sides that will be expected to mount a title challenge are Newcastle United and Manchester United. The Red Devils improved under Erik ten Hag, but still looked some way short of title contenders, while big things are demanded by the ultra-wealthy owners of Newcastle after making the top four in 2022/23.
Outside of the title, the other main contenders for a Champions League spot are likely to be Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham once again. None look capable of winning the league this year though.
- The bottom
The relegation battle is always stressful for fans of the clubs involved. They are the ones most in need of escapism like the Rainbow Riches game, bingo slots or football themed ones at online sites. Thankfully these games are available at all times during the season.
The fans that will want them this year are those who support the promoted sides, plus Everton and Wolves. Everton look to be in really deep trouble again, with fans divided against the board, a serious lack of firepower up front and a squad that lacks genuine quality in almost every department.
Sheffield United and Luton are also widely tipped to go straight back down. Burnley fans are quietly confident though, after storming the Championship under Vincent Kompany.
Wolves are another team that will be starting the new season with foreboding rather than anticipation. They struggled last season and the departure of influential Portuguese midfielder Ruben Neves will put their defence under more pressure.
Research into the confidence levels of Premier League fans ahead of the 2023/24 season found that supporters of these teams were the most pessimistic. It is not hard to see why.
Predicted Premier League Table
The pre-season predictions have the Manchester clubs finishing in the top two positions, with the Champions League places completed by Arsenal and Liverpool. That is hard to argue with, although for Liverpool it will depend on keeping strikers like Salah fit, while Newcastle will feel like they have a good chance of finishing above the Reds.
Promoted sides Luton and Sheffield United are forecast to finish in the relegation spots, but pundits are predicting Everton to take up the third of them. The Toffees have narrowly avoided relegation for the past two seasons, but lessons have not been learned in terms of strengthening their squad where it is most needed.
They still look desperately short of goals and main striker Dominic Calvert Lewin is injury prone. The predicted table has them going down in place of Burnley and many fans of both sides will agree with it.
If these clubs do find themselves fighting for survival, football themed slots games will come in useful as a consolation for supporters. The Premier League is fun when your side is winning but can feel brutal when the results are going the wrong way.
This is what fans can expect to see happen once the Premier League action kicks off.