Updated: Sep 23, 2020
This will be a regular article. The ratings will be low, medium, high and extreme and are based on the fans expectations, club ambitions and the managers job security. For the big 6 clubs the expectations are to win the EPL, go deep in Europe and FA cup success. For other clubs it’s to avoid relegation. So here we go, round 2 has just been completed and there is a week to go until the transfer window closes.
Manchester United: A 3-1 loss to Crystal Palace in their first match and yet to land the real big signings they crave (e.g. Jordan Sancho). Ed Woodward seems up to his usual drawn out tactics which so often fail as he has to overpay in the end (e.g. Harry McGuire). They need to fix their defence. 3rd place finish last year meant they were expected to challenge but Ole Solskjaer game 1 tactics will has got no one excited.
Chelsea: When you sign £200 million worth of premium talent your billionaire owner expects you to deliver - over to you Frank Lampard. Young side surprised many finishing 4th with a transfer ban last campaign but Frank can’t afford second year blues for the Blues with an EPL win expected. Top 4 won’t cut it, neither will an FA cup or League Cup win. Looked clunky (naturally) in round 1 when won 3-1 over BHA, before dropping points against direct opponent Liverpool.
Fulham and West Bromwich Albion: The two newly promoted teams have conceded 7 and 8 goals respectively and are yet to register a point. They could be going straight back down.
Tottenham: Jose Mourinho’s first full season at a club has always brought trophies (Porto, Chelsea x 2, Inter, Real Madrid, Man Utd) and the usually stingy club has opened the purse stings and signed him quality - now the special one must deliver! Gareth Bale is back and the club has no excuses for not finishing top 4. Surely with their talented squad fans expect a trophy for the first time since 2008’s League Cup. A 1-0 loss to Everton in round 1 was not an ideal start but the Spurs lead by Kane and Son were rampant on Sunday against Southampton.
Manchester City: Pep Guardiola is a brilliant tactical coach and always wins his club trophies. He has always had the money and squad to do it, be it in the Spainish, German English league. Needs to bounce back from being left in Liverpool’s shade last year and quarter final exits in the Champions League are not good enough.
Leeds United: Back in the big league finally and their legion of fans expect them to stay there. Shipping in 7 goals in two games is a massive concern however fortunately they have scored 7 themselves and beat Fulham to sit on 3 points. Deserved a draw against Liverpool - that's how well they played! Can they do a Wolves (18/19) or Sheffield United (19/20) and finish top half or will it be a scrap to avoid the drop?
West Ham: On paper, this side looks good enough for a top half finish but disappointed last year and failed against a similar side, Newcastle (rd 1) before Arsenal were too strong. Seem to regularly disappoint.
Aston Villa and Brighton: Were fighting all of last season to avoid relegation and a lucky 'non-goal' saved Villa the drop. Going to be a similar 20/21 season. Both on 3 points.
Southampton: Two losses to start the EPL and a League Cup loss when they were close to full strength. 1-0 to Crystal Palace not so bad but 5-2 at home against Spurs. A club expected to finished 11-15, it's early days but don't won't big losses at home.
Everton: With the three quality signings they’ve made in midfield (James, Allan and Doucoure) to go with a decent XI from last year the pressure is on highly experienced manager Carlo Ancelotti to challenge the top 6 - something they failed to do last campaign. Have started this season in emphatic fashion to be 2/2 otherwise, they’d be in the ‘high zone’.
Wolves and Sheffield United: Top half finishes last year (and the year before for Wolves) meaning dreams of Europa League will be held by these clubs. Wolves have just sold Jota and had a 2-0 win over Sheffield Utd in round 1, so have made the better start. I expect Wolves to be 6-10 again, while Sheffield United will stay in EPL but find season two much harder (2 losses and yet to score a goal not a great start).
Burnley and Newcastle: Ultimately fans know these squads aren’t top 6, but don’t expect a drop either. Top half finish is a dream but realistic expectation is 11-15.
Crystal Palace: Before the season started I thought Roy Hodgson would be sweating all season about keeping his job but the perfect start of wins (1-0 over Southampton and 3-1 against Man Utd) have them sitting pretty on 6 points. Star-man Wilfred Zaha has 3 goals, so he’s either in a content mood to stay or his transfer value has just gone up - a win win for the club.
Leicester City: Faded to finish 5th last year and squad looks no weaker with Vardy still doing his magic despite being over 30. Will make things awkward for the big clubs and no reason why they can’t be top 6 again or go deep in Europa League.
Is there such thing as low pressure in the cut throat EPL? No is the only correct answer but these two all red teams have a content fan base right now.
Liverpool: Last years EPL champions, European Champions the year before. Best squad in the league and only stronger with Thiago for a bargain and Jota for £41 yet to hit his prime. Manager Klopp and all the players are already club legends. Considered to go deep and they will after winning both opening matches.
Arsenal: Odd choice but hear me out. Added to trophy cabinet with FA Cup to end last season, star man Aubameyang just resigned, playing in Europa League and new signings Willian and Gabriel both starred on debut. A year of hope for gunners fans.