How is Each Premier League Team Shaping Up Ahead of 2021-22 Season?

With 2021-22 Premier League season now just days away, here is how each team is shaping up following a packed pre-season.

Pre-season provided all 20 teams with a chance to assess their squad with various friendlies and make necessary decisions in the transfer market, as each manager looked to work out their best eleven and build momentum ready for the new campaign.

Now here is a full roundup of how each team fared during a packed pre-season of chaos as first-team regulars returned at various stages from international duty, whilst several friendlies were cancelled due to Coronavirus outbreaks.

 

Arsenal 

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Mikel Arteta’s Gunners began pre-season in Scotland with an embarrassing 2-1 defeat at Hibernian, before twice fighting back through goals from Nuno Tavares and Eddie Nketiah in a 2-2 draw at Rangers.

Arsenal’s pre-season plans then suffered disruption as their trip to USA was cancelled due to positive Coronavirus cases in the squad, which forced hastily arranged home friendlies against Millwall and Watford which the Gunners won by 4-1 results in both matches.

Arsenal concluded their pre-season with defeats against Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur in the Mind Series, losing 2-1 to the Blues prior to Son Heung-min netting a 79th minute winner for Spurs in their final friendly.

 

Aston Villa

Ollie Watkins produced a brace as Villa began pre-season with a 4-0 victory at Walsall, only to then lose 2-0 at Stoke, before their friendly against Nottingham Forest was cancelled due to Coronavirus cases within the Forest squad.

Dean Smith then split his squad into two groups as Louie Barry netted a winner at Crewe Alexandra, whilst Ollie Watkins netted his third of pre-season in a 3-0 away win at Bristol City with both matches kicking off one hour apart.

Villa’s final pre-season fixture was delayed 24 hours after Sevilla withdrew due to Coronavirus cases within the Sevilla squad, with Italy’s Salernitana stepping in to fulfil the fixture as Danny Ings scored on debut in a 3-1 home win for Villa.

 

Brentford

Joel Valencia got Brentford’s pre-season off to a bright start with victory at AFC Wimbledon either side of cancelled friendlies against Sutton United and Hampton & Richmond Borough.

Brentford went on to take victories over Boreham Wood, Cambridge United and Watford, with Ivan Toney scoring three goals across appearances against Boreham Wood and Watford.

Shandon Baptiste and Bryan Mbeumo netted in a 2-2 draw away to Manchester United at Old Trafford, before suffering a 1-0 home loss to West Ham as Said Benrahma scored against his former team.

Thomas Frank’s Bees concluded their pre-season on a high with a 3-2 win at Southend United before coming from behind to beat Valencia 2-1 at home.

 

Brighton

Graham Potter’s Seagulls found themselves contesting a short pre-season which began with a goalless draw away at Rangers in Glasgow.

Enock Mwepu then scored his first Brighton goal in a 3-1 away friendly win at Luton Town before pre-season ended with a 2-0 loss to Getafe at home.

 

Burnley

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Burnley began pre-season with split squads as Jay Rodriguez and Josh Brownhill scored twice each in a four goal mauling of Salford City, whilst Ashley Barnes and Johann-Berg Gudmundsson netted in a 2-1 win over Morecambe.

Victories over Oldham, Blackpool and Tranmere Rovers quickly followed, although the trip to Tranmere was a late replacement after their friendly against Nottingham Forest was cancelled, due to Coronavirus cases at Forest.

Burnley’s pre-season concluded with a tightly fought 1-0 win over Newcastle before losing 2-0 to Cadiz.

 

Chelsea

Armando Broja impressed in Chelsea’ two pre-season fixtures as he netted in a 6-1 win against Peterborough United, before netting the winning goal in a comeback 2-1 victory at Bournemouth.

In-between both wins, Chelsea’s trip to Drogheda United was cancelled following a positive Coronavirus case within the Blues.

Kai Havertz and Tammy Abraham netted in a 2-1 win at Arsenal before Hakim Ziyech delivered two goals in a 2-2 home draw against Tottenham Hotspur in the Mind Series, which concluded Chelsea’s pre-season.

 

Crystal Palace

Palace’s first campaign under Patrick Vieira began with a cancelled pre-season friendly against Portsmouth at St George’s Park, before Wilfried Zaha netted the only goal in a narrow win at Walsall just 24 hours later.

Defeat at Stevenage was next before Zaha scored from the penalty spot in a 1-0 away friendly win at Ipswich Town, prior to a 2-2 draw against Charlton in which Scott Banks found the goal and likewise in a 3-1 win at Reading.

Palace concluded their pre-season with a 3-1 win at home to Watford as Zaha netted twice with Christian Benteke adding a late third goal, just after Troy Deeney had scored for the Hornets.

 

Everton

Having had to cope without Jordan Pickford during most of pre-season due to his England exploits at Euro 2020, Everton begun life under Rafa Benitez with confident wins over Accrington Stanley and Blackburn Rovers at Finch Farm.

The Toffees then participated in the Florida Cup in USA, prevailing 10-9 on penalties after a 1-1 draw against Millonairos before Moise Kean netted a 19th minute winner over UNAM to seal the title.

Their final pre-season fixture ended in a disastrous four goal thrashing at Manchester United, as Mason Greenwood, Harry Maguire, Bruno Fernandes and Diogo Dalot all netted for the Red Devils.

 

Leeds United

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Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds began pre-season with a dramatic 3-2 victory at Guiseley before drawing 1-1 away to Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park, which was then followed by a run of four consecutive defeats to Fleetwood Town, Real Betis, Ajax XI and Ajax respectively.

Leeds concluded their pre-season with a 2-2 draw against Villarreal after having fought back through Mateusz Klich and Patrick Bamford to lead, only for Daniel Raba to equalise in the 80th minute for the reigning Europa League champions.

 

Leicester City

Leicester’s pre-season got off to a sluggish start as they lost 3-1 on penalties following a goalless draw at Burton Albion, before losing 1-0 at Wycombe just four days later.

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Patson Daka and Kelechi Iheanacho all netted in a dramatic comeback from 3-0 down at QPR to eventually draw 3-3, which was followed by a 3-2 win at home to Villarreal despite initially leading 3-0 after 51 minutes.

Leicester concluded their pre-season on a high as Iheanacho’s late penalty saw the Foxes defeat Manchester City to win their second Community Shield title, exactly 50 years to the very day of their first title in that competition.

 

Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp’s Reds began pre-season in Austria with 30 minute matches against Wacker Innsbruck and VFB Stuttgart in Austria, which both finished 1-1 ahead of a 1-0 win over Mainz through Luca Kilian’s own goal as their Austrian training camp then concluded with a 4-3 loss to Hertha BSC.

Liverpool then played 60 matches against Serie A’s Bologna in Thonon-les Bains, France, prevailing 2-0 and 1-0 respectively.

The Reds’ pre-season campaign finished at Anfield as Diogo Jota netted in a 1-1 draw against Athletic Bilbao in the first of two home friendlies before defeating Osasuna 3-1, although Andrew Robertson was substituted with an ankle injury against Los Leones.

 

Manchester City

City found themselves enduring a chaotic pre-season with only eight first-team players not on international duty over the summer, which meant that Pep Guardiola had to prepare for the new campaign with a large selection of youth players.

Guardiola’s Citizens however didn’t seem fazed by the disruption as Riyad Mahrez and Samuel Edozie netted in their opening friendly win over Barnsley, before the pair scored along with Ben Knight and Nathan Ake in a four goal mauling of Barnsley after City’s trip to Troyes, France was cancelled due to travel restrictions.

Edozie and Mahrez again found themselves on the scoresheet along with a brace from Ilkay Gundogan in a 4-1 win over Blackpool in their final friendly, prior to a shock defeat to Leicester in the 2021 Community Shield at Wembley.

 

Manchester United

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Despite missing several first team regulars during the early part of pre-season. Manchester United started their preparations with a 2-1 away win at Derby County, with Tahith Chong and Facundo Pellistri both finding the net.

Anthony Elanga scored in Utd’s following two friendlies as the Red Devils suffered a shock 4-2 defeat at QPR, before drawing 2-2 at home to Brentford ahead of a trip to Preston which was cancelled after suspected Coronavirus cases amongst Utd squad.

Utd welcomed back several regulars for their final pre-season friendly in a dominant 4-0 victory over Everton.

 

Newcastle United

Steve Bruce’s Magpies began pre-season with a disappointing defeat at York City before edging out Doncaster Rovers 3-2 in a five goal thriller at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Jeff Hendrick rescued Newcastle a late draw at Rotherham before goals from Jacob Murphy and Joelinton defeated Burton Albion, prior to a 1-0 loss at Burnley in a behind-closed doors friendly.

Newcastle finished their preparations for the new campaign on a high as Dwight Gayle’s brace and a goal from Matt Ritchie secured a 3-0 home win over Norwich City.

 

Norwich City

Daniel Farke’s Canaries got their pre-season off to a flier as Kieran Dowell netted a brace in a 3-1 away win at King Lynn Town, with Pierre Lees-Melou then opening his goalscoring account for Norwich with a winner against Lincoln City.

Teemu Pukki and Adam Idah made it three consecutive wins on the bounce with goals in a 2-0 victory over Huddersfield, before positive Coronavirus cases forced cancellation of matches against Coventry City and Sheffield United.

Once Norwich resumed their pre-season plans, Lees-Melou netted twice in a five goal thrashing of Gillingham, ahead of a disastrous final friendly as they lost 3-0 away at Newcastle United.

 

Southampton

Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Southampton began pre-season with a 1-1 draw at home to Fulham in a behind-closed doors friendly at Staplewood Campus.

Victories over Cardiff, Swansea and Levante soon followed before losing their final pre-season fixture 3-1 at home to Athletic Bilbao, as Theo Walcott scored a consolatory with Jan Bednarek adding the visitors’ third with an own goal.

 

Tottenham Hotspur

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Tottenham opened their first pre-season under Nuno Espirito Santo with a 1-1 draw at Leyton Orient before, Son Heung-min, Dele Alli and Lucas Moura all netted in wins against Colchester United and MK Dons.

Moura and Steven Bergwijn netted in a comeback 2-2 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, after Hakim Ziyech scored a brace for the hosts.

Son then produced a 79th minute winner to defeat North-London rivals, Arsenal in Spurs’ final pre-season friendly.

 

Watford

Xisco Munoz’s Hornets begun pre-season with a feisty 3-2 victory over Millwall before prevailing in consecutive friendlies against Colchester United on Saturday 17 July, winning 2-0 and 2-1 respectively behind-closed doors at Watford’s training ground, UCL Sports Ground.

Watford then played two separate home fixtures seven days later with a split squad as their first team lost 3-1 to Brentford at UCL Sports Ground, whilst a second team held West Brom to a goalless draw at Vicarage Road.

A 1-1 draw at Stevenage soon followed alongside a 4-1 loss at Arsenal prior to a 4-0 thrashing of Doncaster Rovers, although their pre-season concluded in disappointment with a 3-1 loss at Crystal Palace.

 

West Ham

David Moyes’ Hammers began preparations for a tough season with a 2-2 draw at Dundee, which was followed by a goalless draw at Leyton Orient.

Conor Coventry scored in wins over Northampton Town and Reading before Benrahma netted in a 6-2 victory at Celtic, which he followed up with a 66th minute winner over his former team – Brentford.

West Ham concluded their pre-season with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Atalanta as Michail Antonio and Pablo Fornals netted late in both halves respectively.

 

Wolves

Wolves endured a shaky start to life under Bruno Lage with victories over Forest Green Rovers and Real Betis either side of losses to Crewe Alexandra and Las Palmas.

Raul Jimenez marked his first-team return from injury with a late winner in a 2-1 victory against Al Shabab, before netting in a 1-1 draw against Stoke.

Wolves’ pre-season concluded with a 2-1 win at Coventry City in which Fabio Silva and Ruben Neves netted, followed by a narrow defeat to Celta Vigo at Molineux.

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