The A-Z of the 2016/17 Premier League season
The 25th season of the Premier League kicks off on 13 August and it is already one of the most eagerly anticipated ones yet. Now the home of several world class managers and players, the most popular league in the world now aspires to reach heights that were previously unimaginable.
With nine months of non-stop football action, 380 games evenly spaced out in an all-new calendar with more matchdays every other weekend and enough attractions to keep viewers glued to their television sets, we can barely wait. With that in mind, we look at the A-Z of the new EPL season.
A – Antonio Conte
Italian players called him the Godfather. When he talks, everyone listens. He has already promised to play good, attractive football and also said that the team that runs the most will win the title. A change in philosophy at Chelsea (read as 3-5-2), perhaps?
B – Barclays dropped as title sponsor
This will be the first time the Premier League will not have a title sponsor since 1993 (a year after the Premier League was formed). While the EPL has enjoyed the sponsorship of Carling before and Barclays in the last 12 years, the league itself has become such a popular brand that it does not require a sponsor tied to it anymore.
C – Champions League spots
With so many world class players and managers arriving in the Premier League, the competition will increase significantly. All 20 clubs have similar resources to spend in the transfer market and the “traditional top four” is no longer a thing. Leicester City upset the established order last season. How many teams will fight it out for top four spots this time? Conte feels it could be seven teams!
D – Diego Costa
After a strong first season in the EPL, last seasons saw Diego Costa’s stock fall, leading to Chelsea’s struggles. His lack of effort was seen as a strategy to get Jose Mourinho ousted and the Brazilian-born Spanish striker was roundly booed by the Stamford Bridge faithful. Left out of the Spain squad for Euro 2016, Costa has a point to prove and the arrival of Michy Batshuayi will also keep him on his toes – if he stays in the EPL.
E – Everton looking to rebuild lost reputation
A decade ago, Everton were in the Champions League qualifiers under David Moyes. Now the Merseyside club has dropped from the top half of the table (finishing as high as in fifth place) to 11th in two consecutive seasons. The aura of Roberto Martinez was shattered and the club acted quickly to bring in Ronald Koeman from Southampton. The Dutchman oversaw the rise of the Saints when all hope seemed lost after they lost key players. Can he do the same with the Toffees?