Premier League season preview: Focusing on the relegation candidates

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The 2022-23 Premier League season is almost here and it is time to preview the 20 teams battling it out this season.

[ MORE: Premier League TV schedule

Focusing on the relegation battle, which six teams are most likely to be embroiled in a season-long scrap to stay in the Premier League?

Below we look at all of the key factors, including their odds to go down, key new signings, what these teams are all about and much more.


2022-23 Premier League preview: Focusing on the relegation candidates

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Nottingham Forest

Odds to go down: +125

Key new signings: Jesse Lingard, Dean Henderson, Taiwo Awoniyi

The gaffer: Steve Cooper did an incredible job last season as he arrived with Forest in a relegation scrap in the Championship. At the end of the season they just missed out on automatic promotion and gained promotion via the playoffs as they played an attractive, attacking brand of football. They also reached the FA Cup quarterfinals, knocked out by eventual winners Liverpool after beating Leicester City and Arsenal in earlier rounds. Cooper had great success with the England youth setup as he led the likes of Jadon Sancho, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Phil Foden to the U17 World Cup title in 2017. He loves to work with young players and encourages them to keep the ball and build up from the back.

Why you should watch them if your team isn’t playing: They’re back in the Premier League for the first time since 1999 and Forest are a huge club. They won back-to-back European titles in 1979 and 1980 and they are a sleeping giant of English soccer. Their stadium down by the banks of the River Trent is lovely and after all of their new signings this summer, they are certainly going to give this a real go. Plus, Steve Cooper loves to play possession-based football and for his time to take risks.

Youngster to watch: Brennan Johnson, 21, is already a Welsh international and the winger has incredible skill as well as being able to produce goals and assists. Johnson has come up through the academy at Forest and is a hero in Nottingham.


Bournemouth

Odds to go down: -200

Key new signings: Marcus Tavernier, Ryan Fredericks, Joe Rothwell

The gaffer: Scott Parker has sealed promotion with both Fulham and Bournemouth within the first three full seasons of his managerial career and that highlights his incredible talent for organizing a group of players and making them tough to beat. Bournemouth were not the best team to watch in the Championship last season, at all, but they ground out results and just like Parker, they were very resilient. Parker was a tough, talented player in his great career with Charlton, Chelsea, Newcastle and West Ham and those traits have carried over to the dugout. Bournemouth will not be a nice team to play against this season.

Why you should watch them if your team isn’t playing: The fact they are even in the Premier League is amazing, as they have the smallest stadium (11,364 capacity) by some distance. The Cherries have rebounded well after relegation in 2020 as legendary coach Eddie Howe moved on. But plenty of things are still the same and they are still fighting against the odds despite their wealthy owner Maxim Demin, while young attackers David Brooks (his return after recovering from Stage 2 Hodgkin lymphoma will be a huge positive for Bournemouth) and Dominic Solanke will be fun to watch. Also, Bournemouth is right on the coast close to the golden sand beaches of Dorset and is a lovely place to watch a game.

Youngster to watch: Lloyd Kelly, 23, is Bournemouth’s captain and the young defender is certainly a player who can push towards an England call-up this season. Kelly can play in a variety of positions and is very comfortable on the ball.


Fulham

Odds to go down: +125

Key new signings: Andreas Pereira, Manor Solomon, Joao Palhinha

The gaffer: Marco Silva is no stranger to a Premier League dugout and he certainly isn’t afraid to speak his mind. The Portuguese coach is already sounding off about Fulham’s lack of transfer activity and he has a point. The newly-promoted side have just two senior center backs (Tim Ream and Tosin Adarabioyo) and Silva looks to be on a collision course with owner Shahid Khan and his son, Tony Khan, who is the director of football operations. Fulham have become a yo-yo team (two relegations and three promotions in the last five seasons is one heck of a ride) and the owners are wary of spending too much on a plethora of new signings just like they did in 2018. Silva’s ambitious plans appear to be paying the price for that caution. His teams are set up to counter and if Fulham can get crosses into the box, they will hope Aleksandar Mitrovic can finish them off just like he did in his record-breaking season in the Championship as they won the title at a canter.

Why you should watch them if your team isn’t playing: Down by the banks of the River Thames, Craven Cottage is beautiful and the redevelopment of the Riverside Stand looks stunning. Also, Fulhamerica vibes are still very strong with an American owner and USMNT duo Tim Ream (captain) and Antonee Robinson both starters.

Youngster to watch: Young Australian midfielder Tyrese Francois is one to watch out for and he’s just signed a new contract. The 22-year-old played a lot of minutes in preseason and Luke Harris, 17, impressed too.


Leeds

Odds to go down: +200

Key new signings: Brenden Aaronson, Tyler Adams, Luis Sinisterra

The gaffer: Everyone connected with U.S. Soccer wants Jesse Marsch to succeed at Leeds. He’s such a nice bloke and speaks with passion, clarity and humility. Marsch did well to keep Leeds United up last season as they had so many injury issues, were lacking in confidence and defensively they were all over the place. Staying up on the final day was a huge boost for Leeds and Marsch but some Leeds fans still aren’t sold on the former New York Red Bulls, RB Salzburg and RB Leipzig head coach. He needs a fast start this season and for his new American signings to come flying out of the traps.

Why you should watch them if your team isn’t playing: Well, aside from the obvious American connection with their coach and two new star players in Aaronson and Adams, Leeds are just fun to watch. They still look like a Marcelo Bielsa side with their crazy pressing but Marsch has delivered a small pinch of pragmatism to that madness. Also, the atmosphere at Elland Road is right up there with the very best in the Premier League.

Youngster to watch: Joe Gelhardt continues to impress whenever he’s given the chance and even though he may be Patrick Bamford’s back-up for most of this season, he can play out wide as well as up top and he gives Leeds extreme pace in the final third. The Wigan academy product is so direct with his running and is perfect for Leeds’ high-pressing, dynamic style of play. Gelhardt is still only 20 years old.


Everton

Odds to go down: +300

Key new signings: James Tarkowski, Dwight McNeil

The gaffer: Frank Lampard saved Everton from relegation last season and his dancing in the stands after the famous late-season win against Crystal Palace will live long in the memory. Lampard should be applauded for his pragmatic approach to keeping Everton up, as their 5-3-2 system was far from entertaining to watch but they got the points on the board. It will now be intriguing to see how he changes their style of play because money is tighter than it has ever been under the stewardship of owner Farhad Moshiri. The pressure will be on Lampard to start the season well so Everton aren’t bogged down in another unexpected relegation scrap. Their 4-0 hammering at Minnesota United in preseason didn’t suggest they will be surging up the Premier League table this season, though…

Why you should watch them if your team isn’t playing: Drama. There’s always drama with the Toffees. They’re usually good for about three or four upset wins at Goodison Park each season and their incredible fanbase dragged them over the line last season. They simply wouldn’t let their team be relegated from the Premier League for the first time. Everton can go from the sublime to the ridiculous pretty quickly but if Lampard can get their talented players to play in a more balanced way, they should be clear of real relegation worries.

Youngster to watch: He had a breakout 2021-22 campaign and there’s only really one answer here: Anthony Gordon. The winger, 21, was the subject of some interest from big clubs this summer but Everton turned those offers down and Lampard wants to build his attack around the young talent. Gordon’s dribbling ability and work-rate is incredible and the academy product is exactly the type of player fans love to see break through and become a hero. To take the next step he will have to add a few more goals and assists to his game.


Southampton

Odds to go down: +275

Key new signings: Joe Aribo, Romeo Lavia, Gavin Bazunu

The gaffer: Ralph Hasenhuttl loves to high-press but he’s changed his tactics in preseason as Saints will likely switch to a 3-5-2 system for this season. Hasenhuttl is now the third longest-serving manager in the Premier League with only Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp ahead of him. The Austrian is straight-talking and Saints have pulled off plenty of shocks (good and bad) since he arrived in December 2018. Hasenhuttl needs a good start to this season to impress Saints’ new owners as they have ambitious plans to rebuild the squad with talented youngsters.

Why you should watch them if your team isn’t playing: You simply never know what you’re going to get with Saints. One week they can beat Manchester City, the next they will be hammered by six (or more) goals. Their high-pressing system is always entertaining, plus they also have James Ward-Prowse whipping in stunning free kicks most weeks and some really talented young players. If you’re a fan of a top six team then you should watch Southampton because one of your new star signings over the next few years is very likely to come from the south coast club. Sorry, Saints fans, I’m just saying what we are all thinking.

Youngster to watch: There are plenty of young talents to watch at Saints as they’ve spent big on four promising players under the age of 21 this summer. Gavin Bazunu, 20, will be their starting goalkeeper and looks a real talent but it appears that Romeo Lavia is a rising real star in central midfield as the 18-year-old was highly-regarded at Man City but decided to move to Saints.