If you’ve decided on all your predictions, assembled your fantasy football team and cleared your calendar for the next 10 months and yet are STILL unsure of what to expect from the new Premier League season, then you’re in the right place.

For our final, lets call it ultimate guide to the new campaign we’ve assembled the experts on each club and asked them the big questions ahead of the looming season.

What could go right? What might go wrong? Who are the key players and the ones to watch? It’s all here, as we get the lowdown on all 20 clubs ahead of Friday’s big kick-off. Read on and get informed.


Hopes and dreams:Arsene Wenger once claimed that confidence is going up via the stairs and coming down via the lift. Arsenal fans saw exactly that unfold at the back end of last season as a capitulation from mid-April onwards saw them lose their grasp on the title and hand it to Manchester City. Therefore, the hopes and dreams for this season are obvious - go one better. Win the thing. End a 20 year wait which has seen some pretty near misses as well as eighth-placed finishes.

Biggest fears: Arsenal’s biggest fear should be failing to build on the momentum of last season, if the Gunners end up worse off next term, it could do untold damage to their confidence and send a message that their efforts during the 2022-23 campaign were little more than a fluke.

In the dugout: Few managers in the Premier League are loved by their fanbase more than Mikel Arteta at Arsenal and who could have predicted that would have been the case during the depths of the 2020-21 season? However, affection only goes so far and if the Spaniard comes away from next term without any silverware, questions will rightfully be asked over his future.

Declan Rice has joined Arsenal and become the most expensive British player ever Declan Rice has joined Arsenal and become the most expensive British player ever (


Getty Images)

Key player:Declan Rice will be Arsenal’s key man next term, the likes of Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli have shown they are good enough, it’s up to the £105m man to take the Gunners to the next level.

One to watch: Ethan Nwaneri remains Arsenal’s one to watch, rarely does a youth player garner such excitement, but rarely does a youth player feature in the league at 15 years of age.

Prediction: First, top of the pile after being run very close by Man City.

Josh O’Brien -Sports Agenda Writer, Mirror Online

Aston Villa

Hopes and dreams: Villa are back in Europe for the first time in 13 years and there’s every chance Unai Emery can win a trophy next term, whether that’s the Europa Conference League, FA Cup or League Cup. He has the squad to deal with what could be a long season.

Biggest fears: Villa don’t qualify for Europe for the following season. It’s imperative that the club continues to build on the success of last season and continual improvement is important. How Villa cope with the demands of playing more fixtures is also a concern, as many players in Emery’s squad have no experience of European football.

In the dugout: Emery is a Villa legend in the making. His impact on the club has been nothing short of transformational and he has won the hearts of the entire fanbase. Villa have built a structure for Emery behind the scenes, with Monchi and Damian Viadagany operating alongside him.

Unai Emery has made an impressive start at Aston Villa Unai Emery has made an impressive start at Aston Villa (



Key player: Could name a few, like Emi Martinez, Douglas Luiz or John McGinn, but for the reliance on him for goals, it’s crucial Ollie Watkins stays fit throughout the whole campaign.

One to watch: Jacob Ramsey is becoming a brilliant footballer. He has made great strides in each of the three top-flight campaigns he has played in since 2020-21, and is ready to continue developing under Emery.

Prediction: Villa to win a trophy. The Europa Conference League provides a great opportunity for Emery to bring to an end the club’s long, long wait to win silverware.

John Townley -Aston Villa correspondent, Birmingham Live


Hopes and dreams: I would say not being drawn into another relegation fight would be a start. Bournemouth did well to survive last season in challenging circumstances and surely wouldn’t want to go through the drama of another relegation battle. Another aim would be to have some attractive and fast football that hasn’t been seen since the days of Eddie Howe. Scott Parker was slow and possession-based while Gary O’Neil was very direct and conservative at times to grind out results.

Biggest fears: It’s whether Andoni Iraola’s new style clicks or not. If it works, Bournemouth will be the Premier League’s dark horse and pick up some good results and surprise many teams. If it doesn’t work, then Bournemouth will struggle, fans will want change in playing style and it could go wrong.

In the dugout: To get Iraola, an up-and-coming manager from La Liga, is a signal of Bournemouth’s intent and future. Gary O’Neil did well to steady the ship following a slow start and helped get some crucial wins over Spurs, Liverpool and Leeds that effectively helped Bournemouth survive. There was a sense that GON was a short-term manager before a more dynamic and long-term manager was appointed. Iraola likes a 4-2-3-1 with a high press which has led to some good goals in pre-season and fans have enjoyed seeing some attacking football they had not seen since Eddie Howe’s stint. Hopefully he will be given the time to gel this group of players together, but I can see him being sacked if results don’t go Bournemouth’s way.

Bournemouth have made an ambitious appointment in Andoni Iraola Bournemouth have made an ambitious appointment in Andoni Iraola (


Simon West/Action Plus/REX/Shutterstock)

Key player: It’s got to be Philip Billing. Last season he was allowed to link up with Dominic Solanke and scored seven goals and picked up a few assists. He is physically and technically talented and a joy to watch when he’s on form at Bournemouth and he will surely be key to what Iraola wants to achieve this season. He has only 12 months left on his contract so it is a priority to ensure Billing signs another contract extension.

One to watch: You have to look out for David Brooks who will have his first full season since battling stage two Hodgkin lymphoma. He was a key player before his diagnosis, was the motivation behind the Cherries’ promotion back to the Premier League and football fans were delighted to see him return to first-team action in March. Brooks impressed during pre-season and scored against Hibernian, Lorient and Southampton and reminded fans of his passing, shooting and football intelligence. Otherwise Dango Ouattara is worth a shout. He showed glimpses of his talents during the second-half of last season and could play a key role this season.

Prediction: A mid-table finish would be ideal. There’s a lot of clubs with a few question marks over them in the bottom half of the table and hopefully Bournemouth can pick up key results against lower teams and be comfortable this season. The signings of Milos Kerkez, Hamed Traore, Justin Kluivert and Alex Scott could be the difference and drive the Cherries up the table, but there’s some question marks over squad depth.

Mike Taylor -Senior reporter, Dorset Live


Hopes and dreams: The big aim this season, given the circumstances, should simply be to emulate last time out. A top-half finish without a recognised striker for half the season and without David Raya would be purely and utterly miraculous. I’m fairly sure that many will just be hoping there’s something to play for when Ivan Toney returns in January.

Biggest fears: There’s simply no escaping the fact Brentford will play at least half the season without their two best players from last season. Toney won’t be back until January and Raya will be battling with Aaron Ramsdale in north London. The big fear, therefore, is simple - selling Raya backfires, the goals dry up without Toney and Thomas Frank leaves in December with Brentford rooted to the bottom of the table. Unrealistic, but perhaps as worst-case as it can get.

In the dugout: Frank, to many Brentford fans, is in ‘lifetime contract’ territory. The man took the club into the Premier League, kept them there comfortably and managed to get them into the top half last season. His tactical shift from 5-2-3 to 4-3-3 reflects how confident Brentford have become in the top-flight. They’re now ready to attack teams rather than sit back and wait for counters.

Thomas Frank continues to work wonders at Brentford Thomas Frank continues to work wonders at Brentford (


Paul Dennis/TGS Photo/REX/Shutterstock)

Key player: Raya? Oh, wait… Toney! Oh, wait… It might sound like a cop-out but this season there’s unlikely to be one stand-out player, simply because everyone has to step up across the board. Bryan Mbeumo will be asked to contribute more goals, Keane Lewis-Potter is returning from a serious injury and looked promising in pre-season, Mikkel Damsgaard will have to put in performances reflective of his transfer fee, as will Nathan Collins. The truth of the matter is that Brentford will struggle unless everyone steps up a gear.

One to watch: Kevin Schade. One of the fastest footballers in the world, the German earned his first senior international call-up towards the end of the season and will now be tasked with playing through the middle in a much more fluid Brentford attack, with Mbeumo and Lewis-Potter flanking him. His speed and direct play will terrify defences.

Prediction: A bottom-half finish, but slightly clear of the relegation zone.

Daniel Blackham -Assistant US Sports Editor, Reach plc


Hopes and dreams: Improve on last season domestically and give the fans a European campaign to remember. It can’t be understated how special the 2022-23 season was for Brighton fans but now Albion have had a taste of success, they’ll be eager for more.

Biggest fears: Injuries in midfield could expose a lack of depth, especially now Moises Caicedo is leaving for Liverpool. Being knocked out of the Europa League group stages would feel like a nightmare given how much expectation there will be for the Seagulls’ first foray into European football.

In the dugout: Roberto De Zerbi’s stock is incredibly high and he is adored on the south coast for good reason. Brighton got his appointment spot on and barring a monumental collapse this season his job will be safe.

Joao Pedro is an exciting arrival from Watford Joao Pedro is an exciting arrival from Watford (


Ian Stephen/ProSports/REX/Shutterstock)

Key player: Lewis Dunk. Moises Caicedo is a more obvious choice but his future is unclear, while Evan Ferguson could also have a huge season if he starts regularly. But it is the captain who encapsulates what Brighton are all about and his presence at the back is felt across the team. With so many games to come for Albion, Dunk will surely play a huge role for Roberto De Zerbi.

One to watch: Joao Pedro. The Brazilian forward arrived from Watford this summer for a club record £30million and has impressed in his outings during pre-season. He can play anywhere across the forward line and, despite being just 21, has more than 100 appearances in English football behind him.

Prediction: Last season Brighton were excellent but they went through patches of shaky form. The squad should learn from that and with plenty of new signings to help ease the busy fixture schedule, they have the tools to continue their upward trajectory this season. Another European finish in the Premier League is a realistic ambition that I think they will manage, but I’m wary they’ll be drawn into a tough Europa League group which could go either way.

Mark Wyatt -Brighton and Southampton writer, SussexLive and HampshireLive


Hopes and dreams: The aim for this season for Burnley, as for any side which has just been promoted to the Premier League, is to survive and finish at least 17th to maintain their top flight status. Naturally, the ambitions of boss Vincent Kompany will be aiming higher than that, but if at the end of the 38th game of the season the Clarets are out of the bottom three, that surely must be seen as a success.

Biggest fears: The biggest fear for Burnley, quite simply, is that it does not happen in the Premier League for them and they go straight back down to the Championship for the 2024-25 season.

In the dugout: Kompany has become such a key figure at Burnley and the figurehead of their success, transforming the club last season with a new passing playing style as they won the Championship title at a canter in the end. He is loved by the fans and his players, who have the utmost respect for him, with many signings name checking him in interviews as a reason to join the club. Kompany signed a new five-year contract with Burnley over the summer, so his job is about as safe as it can be. The only thing that will realistically change that situation is if Pep Guardiola calls it a day at Manchester City and a vacancy in the dugout at the Etihad Stadium becomes available, for obvious reasons.

Vincent Kompany is set to manage in the Premier League for the first time Vincent Kompany is set to manage in the Premier League for the first time (



Key player: Midfielder ** Josh Cullen has become one of Burnley’s key players and the link between defence and attack in the engine room and keeps them ticking. He won Burnley’s Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Season accolade last season, hammering home his importance.

One to watch: James Trafford. Recruited from Manchester City after a successful 18 month loan spell with Bolton Wanderers in League One and his England under-21 success over the summer. Trafford wants to play for the senior England national team eventually and should he become number one at Burnley and be playing regularly and impressing, Gareth Southgate will surely take notice.

Prediction: I don’t think Burnley will be relegated as they are in the best shape probably of the three sides that have come up from the Championship and they could maybe sneak into the top half of the table if they play to their potential and other teams underperform. But I’m going to be cautious and say a finish of somewhere between 11th and 16th.

John McDougall -Football writer, Lancs Live


Hopes and dreams: The Mauricio Pochettino era is about to begin at Stamford Bridge - and if he can avoid anything that resembles the shambles that was last season, he’s going to be well on his way. A top four finish is unlikely but a return to the Europa League and solid domestic cup run would not go amiss.

Biggest fears: After enduring the last 16 months or so of Chelsea - from sanctions to the sale to ‘Potterball’ - it’s been quite a ride and tempered expectations this season. The biggest worry is injuries with Wesley Fofana and Christopher Nkunku both ruled out for months. It needs addressed sooner than later or it could derail the season once again.

In the dugout : There’s a lot of excitement surrounding the arrival of Pochettino from players and fans alike. He appears to have already changed the fitness levels and mentality of struggling stars. Todd Boehly won’t be pulling the trigger any time soon.

Mauricio Pochettino has returned to the Premier League with Chelsea Mauricio Pochettino has returned to the Premier League with Chelsea (



Key player : Enzo Fernandez will be key for Chelsea this season. He was a rare bright spark last season who should thrive under his compatriot’s directive. Some added reinforcements in midfield to play alongside a player who, until recently, was the Premier League’s record transfer signing would not go amiss.

One to watch : Levi Colwill will be the one to watch following a successful loan spell at Brighton. He was the subject of an intense transfer battle between Premier League rivals before signing a new long-term deal. The young defender has taken the No.26 shirt for the season, following in the footsteps of another academy graduate and club legend John Terry.

Prediction : After Chelsea’s worst-ever Premier League finish, the only way is up.

Jennifer Brown - National Sport Social Editor, Reach plc

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Crystal Palace

Hopes and dreams: It’s got to be a pursuit of European football, hasn’t it? With competition fierce in the Premier League, it’s unlikely Palace will qualify via their league position. So, the best option is the cup - whether it be the Carabao Cup or FA Cup. Palace fans will understandably love another Wembley trip as well, having suffered heartbreak against Chelsea and Manchester United in recent years.

Biggest fears: Relegation. Palace managed to avoid the drop with ease last season, but there was a point when a Championship return looked a possibility. There’s a concern among fans that they haven’t strengthened enough this summer, while their rivals have.

In the dugout: Roy Hodgson divided opinion when he returned to Selhurst Park for his second spell in March, with Palace just three points above the drop. His initial four-year spell was fairly successful, but his football attracted criticism. However he’s obviously gone back to the drawing board and has Palace playing free-flowing football, led by Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise. These are exciting times in South London.

Eberechi Eze is a key player for Crystal Palace Eberechi Eze is a key player for Crystal Palace (



Key player: Eze. He was sensational at the back end of last season, with his six goals in eight Premier League games earning him a debut England call-up. The midfielder has picked up where he left off in pre-season, scoring a stunner against Crawley, and looks sharp.

One to watch: Matheus Franca. The Brazilian wonderkid, 19, has arrived from Flamengo after earning rave reviews in his homeland. He’s tasked with filling the void left by Wilfried Zaha. Whether he can do that remains to be seen, but it’s certainly an exciting signing from the Eagles.

Prediction: Cup final, which will end in disappointment. The Premier League could be a struggle again, with plenty of teams competing for the coveted European spots. Relegation won’t be a concern, as Sheffield United and Luton look doomed, while Wolves and Everton are in crisis.

Matt Maltby -Associate Sports Editor, Mirror Online


Hopes and dreams: After the turmoil of the past two years, the dream is not being in the relegation mire at the business end of the season. There has been some much-needed upheaval at boardroom level, although beleaguered chairman Bill Kenwright remains in place, and investment is on the horizon ahead of the move to the new stadium at Bramley Moore Dock. Simply being in the Premier League when that eventually happens is all fans are hoping for right now.

Biggest fears: Had it not been for Abdoulaye Doucoure’s last-day stunner, Everton would have kicked off this season in the Championship. They only stayed up in the penultimate match of the previous campaign too and history suggests when clubs circle the drop for so long, they eventually go. The issues with FFP could also come back to bite with a verdict expected on their case in October.

Arnaut Danjuma is now at Everton having rejected a move to Merseyside in January Arnaut Danjuma is now at Everton having rejected a move to Merseyside in January (


Getty Images)

In the dugout: Few managers would have kept Everton’s threadbare squad up last season but Sean Dyche worked wonders amid the chaos at Goodison. After the failings of his predecessors, his back-to-basics approach steadied the ship and the players seem to be on board too. Dyche’s job shouldn’t be under threat but with Farhad Moshiri in charge, you can never quite be sure what is coming next.

Key player: James Tarkowski - Ever-present last season and will be vital if the Toffees are to stay up again.

One to watch:Arnaut Danjuma - The winger has a point to prove after pulling out of a loan move to Goodison in favour of Spurs at the last minute in January.

Prediction: There looks to be 10 teams that could realistically be in trouble this season and Everton are one of them. If they can add some more quality in attacking positions, they may be able to pull away. Somewhere between 11th-14th would be decent progress.

Liam Prenderville -Sports Content Editor, Mirror Online


Hopes and dreams:Fulham took many teams by surprise last season after being condemned for the drop by several pundits, but the opposition knows what to expect this time round and second-year syndrome is most definitely a thing. A repeat of last campaign would therefore be a huge achievement and an improved cup run - after last year’s FA Cup debacle - would go down very well with fans.

Biggest fears: Fulham have the oldest squad in the division and lack depth in a few key areas. If injuries and suspensions start to pile up then there is no reason why the Whites couldn’t drift into a relegation scrap.

In the dugout: Marco Silva has one of the safest jobs in the Premier League and, barring an absolute nightmare scenario, the only way he doesn’t see out the campaign is if he gets poached.

Marco Silva rejected big money deals in Saudi Arabia to stay at Fulham Marco Silva rejected big money deals in Saudi Arabia to stay at Fulham (


Jed Leicester/REX/Shutterstock)

Key player: Joao Palhinha. The Portugal international is brave and physical; he commands the midfield, breaks up play and brings an air of calm the Whites haven’t had since Mousa Dembele and Brede Hangeland formed the team’s spine. Palhinha was suspended for three matches last season with Fulham losing all of them and conceding 10 goals. He’s worth two Aleksandar Mitrovics.

One to watch: Carlos Vinicius. The striker blows hot and cold but with Mitrovic’s future up in the air and Raul Jimenez only being signed as back-up in case the worst happens, this could be a big year for the Brazilian. Vinicius featured heavily for Fulham at the end of last season while Mitrovic served his lengthy suspension and netted three in the Whites’ final five.

Prediction: Fulham will do very well to match last season’s achievements, especially as they’ve shaken off that underdog tag, which I think works to the club’s advantage. My guess is a top-of-the-bottom-half finish, around 13th.

Jake Polden -Sports Agenda Editor, Mirror Online


Hopes and dreams: That last season represented the end of one era and this is the start of a new one. The presence of Manchester City domestically and the aura and nous of Real Madrid on the European stage means that Jurgen Klopp’s 2018-2022 vintage has to now forever be remembered as a team that should have won more. The departures of six players who were all, in their own ways, important parts of an era of remarkable consistency marks quite the shift. This is a new team now, and a very exciting one at that.

Biggest fears: With that excitement also comes a real sense of jeopardy though. Everything has been feeling quite on edge going into the season prior to the explosion created by breaking the British transfer record for Moises Caicedo, who was so sorely needed. With the arrival of him, Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai and perhaps one other, the midfield which was so poor last season has been revolutionised as the old guard have been shipped out. These are young players though, things will probably take time. But how much time?

In the dugout: Klopp is a totemic figure in Liverpool history, and with three years left on his contract he has now entered a new, probably final, phase of his time in charge. Wielding more power than he’s ever had at the club before, he possesses a leadership style that will likely be studied long after he’s gone, and there seems to be a determination there to make up for last season and falling out of the Champions League elite. As he creates a new team he’s been a given a chance you rarely get in football, and it will be fascinating to see what happens.

Cody Gakpo is a growing influence on the Liverpool team Cody Gakpo is a growing influence on the Liverpool team (


AFP via Getty Images)

Key player: Mo Salah is the easy answer but Alisson is probably the correct one. Things would have been much worse last season if it hadn’t been for the Brazilian goalkeeper, and he’s every inch the best in the world in his position. The sense of absolute dread which would have pervaded had a player the calibre of Caicedo not been signed would have been palpable too.

One to watch: Mac Allister and Szoboszlai look good signings, Caicedo is a brilliant one and Ben Doak is a teenage tearaway to get you off your seats, but keep an eye on the development of Cody Gakpo and his evolution into a vital player for Klopp’s side. The Dutchman is seriously impressive and intelligent, and it is easy to see how assistant manager Pep Lijnders identified him as the “missing link” the developing side needed as Roberto Firmino’s influence ebbed away.

Prediction: It’s going to be entertaining, whatever happens. If it all clicks and it all works this is a Reds side that can string long winning runs together as they did at the end of last season. If they’re in touching distance of the top of table if and when they do that then a title tilt is possible. There’s also an expectation among the fanbase to win the Europa League. Dublin final anyone?

Mark Jones -Sports Features Editor, Mirror Online

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Hopes and dreams: If everything goes to plan and we are as defensively solid as we were last season we can stay up. At Kenilworth Road, with our fans behind us I think we can rattle opposition players and cause a few upsets. Other fans are expecting very little of us so it would be great to surprise them.

Biggest fears: We already have a few injury problems at centre-back. If we pick up any injuries to defenders we would be quite light at the back. Carlton Morris is our main goal threat and if he gets injured or doesn’t score we may struggle, although when Elijah Adebayo is in form he can be very difficult to play against.

In the dugout: Super Robbie Edwards is currently the most loved man in Bedfordshire and I can’t see that changing anytime soon. Luton fans have experienced the worst and I expect them and the board to stay loyal to him and enjoy the ride.

Welsh international Tom Lockyer will be crucial for Luton in defence Welsh international Tom Lockyer will be crucial for Luton in defence (


DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Key player: Tom Lockyer will once again be crucial for us. He picked up almost every award last season and is a huge presence in both boxes, popping up with goals at key moments. We have managed to tie him down to a new contract and the Welsh international will relish playing on the big stage.

One to watch: Tahith Chong has been hugely impressive in pre-season and fans are already loving him after he signed from Birmingham. His drive and speed going forward with the ball will be so important to us, particularly on the counter attack and I think he will cause problems for opposition players.

Prediction: Premier League survival and good vibes all round. We have made good signings in key areas and retained the spine of our team which got us promoted, whilst other teams have not strengthened and have lost big players. I think a 16th or 17th place finish is a realistic prediction.

Finley Cannon -Multimedia reporter, Bedfordshire Live

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Manchester City

Hopes and dreams: Honestly, just to win the Premier League title this year. While not impossible, another Treble would be beyond the dreams of anyone with an ounce of sanity, so just to win the Premier League and break the record for the most titles won in a row - another record taken off United - would be incredibly satisfying.

Biggest fears: In theory there should be nothing to be scared of when you are coming into a season as Manchester City at the moment, but in reality we have everything to lose. The obvious fear is if Erling Haaland’s goals dry up or, God forbid, he gets injured. The other is how we cope with the loss of Ilkay Gundogan. He is a club legend in my eyes. He brought experience, calmness and goals from midfield. I think he’ll be a bigger loss than a few people realise just now.

In the dugout: It’s one thing having money, but it’s another thing using your resources correctly and Pep Guardiola has done a close to perfect job that I am not sure any other manager in the world would have been able to replicate. His eventual departure will be on his terms and you do wonder if City win the Club World Cup at the end of the year whether he says his job is complete.

Rodri is a vital presence in the centre of the Manchester City midfield Rodri is a vital presence in the centre of the Manchester City midfield (


Pedro Soares/SPP/REX/Shutterstock)

Key player: Rodri. Of course the easy answer to this would be Haaland, but Rodri is the one player in the team who you notice is missing when he isn’t there. Kalvin Phillips is clearly a good footballer, but when he plays in place of Rodri, there is a noticeable difference. You could make a case for Rodri being player of the season in every season. He is the best in the world in that position.

One to watch: Cole Palmer. It’s a big year for Palmer with Riyad Mahrez leaving and seemingly no replacement coming in, which means he will undoubtedly have more game time through the campaign. He’s been patient over the past couple of years and has been solid when called upon. But now it’s time to step up and become a star. The Community Shield was the perfect start.

Prediction: You know I said earlier that another Treble would be beyond the dreams of anyone with an ounce of sanity? Well, my prediction is the Quadruple. Yeah. And what?

Aaron Flanagan -Sports Editor, Daily Star

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Manchester United

Hopes and dreams: There is a faint, and I must stress the word faint, hope that Manchester United could challenge for the title this season. But I think the majority of United fans will be hoping for some consistency. A solid dream would be to finish in the top four for a second successive season, to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League and claim another cup - be it League Cup or FA Cup. This, as well as see decent returns from the marquee summer signings.

Biggest fears: The signings don’t work. That Rasmus Hojlund isn’t much better than Wout Weghorst and Mason Mount is about as effective as he was last season. That binning off David De Gea was a mistake and Andre Onana is Fabian Barthez reincarnated. That because all of United’s signings render useless they finish outside the top four and the club are back where they started.

In the dugout: Erik ten Hag has worked wonders so far and it would take a seismic shift in form and results to see him anywhere near ‘at risk’. He has proved he is the right man to lead United forward and now has to, and will, build on a brilliant first season.

Bruno Fernandes supposedly ignored Andre Onana during Manchester United's defeat against Real Madrid Bruno Fernandes is now Manchester United’s new club captain (


Getty Images)

Key player: Captain Bruno. He has a chance to elevate his status within the team even higher and lead United into the next phase of their rebuild. Providing he doesn’t boil over, his passion will be crucial to dragging his team-mates through those tough moments and ensure standards are always high.

One to watch: Alejandro Garnacho. His performance against Lens in pre-season was electrifying and, dare I say it, a little reminiscent of a young Cristiano Ronaldo. He will get bums off seats and is definitely ready to take his game to a whole new level. Special mention goes to Kobbie Mainoo who absolutely bossed Arsenal in the United States. He is injured now but keep an eye out for him when he returns.

Prediction: Top four, Champions League knockout stages and successive League Cup winners.

Thomas Bristow -US Sports Editor, Reach plc


Hopes and dreams: The dream for Newcastle is a good run in the Champions League. European football is back on Tyneside for the first time in two decades and fans are looking forward to memorable nights on the continent once more. The Magpies almost tasted cup glory last season, narrowly missing out at Wembley, so another decent run in the domestic competitions would be welcomed.

Biggest fears: So many teams, especially ones who have overachieved by qualifying for Europe, have struggled when trying to balance Champions League and Premier League football the following season. West Ham won a trophy last time out but spent most of the season near the drop zone. Claudio Ranieri didn’t even last the season at Leicester after winning the title with the Foxes.

In the dugout: It’s hard to think of a manager in the top flight with more credit in the bank than Eddie Howe. Fans adore him, players run through brick walls for him and the Toon owners are backing him all the way. It will be interesting to see how Howe copes if Newcastle endure a blip in form, given how consistent they’ve been under him to date. It would be a huge shock if he didn’t see out the season.

Eddie Howe is hugely popular on Tyneside Eddie Howe is hugely popular on Tyneside (


Getty Images)

Key player: There are a number of options for this question but Bruno Guimaraes takes it. He’s the heartbeat of this team and makes it tick. If the Brazilian continues to shine, Newcastle will once again do well.

One to watch: Elliot Anderson has flourished in pre-season and looks ready to storm his way into the starting XI on Tyneside. The youngster was denied a loan move last year but wasn’t given the desired minutes under Howe. Clearly determined to fix that, Anderson now looks fitter, stronger, hungrier and more confident. If he can continue his summer form, he’ll be the one to watch.

Prediction: Howe and his crop of players have given fans no reason to panic thus far. This season will be mightily tough, fighting on four fronts, but Newcastle are a team on the up. A top six finish, a decent run in Europe and a good crack at one of the domestic cups seems realistic.

Aaron Stokes -Newcastle United Editor, Chronicle Live

Nottingham Forest

Hopes and dreams: From the moment survival was secured last season, Steve Cooper’s focus has been on how Forest can do better this time around. The words ‘progress’ and ‘improvement’ have regularly cropped up in his press conferences. What making forward steps would look like is up for debate, however. Progress can mean many different things. For some, it would be simply achieving safety again - perhaps earlier than last term. Others are keen to see Forest push on by finishing a few places further up the table. And then you can throw in things such as picking up more points on the road (including bettering last season’s tally of one solitary away win) and working on a more attractive style of play. Last season was a real eye-opener, in terms of just how ruthless the division is. Achieving stability and establishing themselves at this level by taking baby steps would be no bad thing for the Reds.

Biggest fears: The drop. Having taken so long to get back among the elite, Forest fans do not want to go back to the Championship. Given how tough the club’s opening run of away fixtures looks (there are some scary trips in there for a team which performed so poorly on their travels in 2022-23), the nightmare scenario would be Forest struggling early on and Cooper quickly coming under pressure.

In the dugout: That #CooperIn was trending when the head coach’s job was under threat last season says it all about how Cooper is perceived among the fanbase. He had already achieved ‘legend’ status by ending the club’s long wait for promotion. Avoiding relegation, beating the odds and defying the pundits only cemented that position further. Added to all of that, he just gets it. He gets Forest and the supporters. Owner Evangelos Marinakis is fiercely ambitious, however. If the Reds start poorly, it wouldn’t be a surprise if speculation about Cooper’s future emerges again.

Steve Cooper is huge popular with Nottingham Forest fans Steve Cooper is huge popular with Nottingham Forest fans (



Key player: Morgan Gibbs-White. The club record signing already looks like being a real bargain for Forest. He was a joy to watch at times last season and has bags of potential. He’s already on Gareth Southgate’s radar, and if he continues on the same upward curve a senior England call-up surely can’t be too far away.

One to watch: Danilo. The Reds have the makings of a real gem on their hands with the Brazilian. He is a great young talent who started to show what he can do during the run-in last season, once he had found his feet in English football. Sit back and watch him go this term!

Prediction: The Premier League is cut-throat. There is no doubt it will be tough again this season. It is hard to make a proper prediction until Forest have completed their transfer business, as they still need a few more key signings. They are certainly capable of finishing with a better points tally and in a higher position, but jumping up too many places will be difficult. Taking it steady can pay-off in the longer-term, though.

Sarah Clapson -Nottingham Forest correspondent, Nottinghamshire Live

Sheffield United

Hopes and dreams: A new owner. When a club wins promotion from the Championship, they usually invest significantly in the squad to give them the best chance of staying up. Sheffield United’s owner, Prince Abdullah, didn’t get the memo. The Saudi chief is trying to sell the club and has given manager Paul Heckingbottom a budget between £20m and £30m. That is absurd for a Premier League club. He’s also sold their two best players in Iliman Ndiaye and Sander Berge. Right now, it feels as if Prince Abdullah is asset stripping. For the sake of the club’s future, he needs to go ASAP.

Biggest fears: Financial ruin. In March, it was reported that Sheff Utd were close to going into administration. With Prince Abdullah now refusing to provide the club with sufficient cash, who knows how long it’ll be before it goes bust? Relegation is a given, let’s just hope the future of the club is too.

In the dugout: Heckingbottom has done a brilliant job in leading Sheff Utd to promotion, but his future is in doubt for two reasons. Firstly, there’s a good chance he will say enough is enough and quit the circus after the sales of Ndiaye and Berge. Secondly, he could be dismissed if a new owner wants to bring in their own manager. Heckingbottom is very popular among fans thanks to his impressive record, but that may not be enough.

Paul Heckingbottom faces a tough job keeping Sheffield United up Paul Heckingbottom faces a tough job keeping Sheffield United up (


Jez Tighe/ProSports/REX/Shutterstock)

Key player: Impossible to say with any confidence due to the state of the club, but Anel Ahmedhodzic, the 24-year-old Bosnian, was outstanding last season. The overlapping centre-back was difficult to beat in one-on-one situations and in the air, and he was a threat in front of goal - scoring six times. He’s certainly good enough for the Premier League.

One to watch: Rhian Brewster. The 23-year-old’s time at Bramall Lane has been blighted by two serious hamstring injuries, but it’s hoped he will be fit again soon. Brewster is a former Liverpool youngster who was responsible for firing England to glory at the U17 World Cup six years ago. He’s obviously a very gifted footballer.

Prediction: 20th. Obviously.

Tom Blow -Sports Writer, Mirror Online


Hopes and dreams: The great hope of all Spurs fans after the last four years is to see some entertaining football, a team stamping their mark on the game with aggression and enthusiasm, not cowering in a low block afraid of the ball and waiting for the other team to score. But of course the dream is silverware, an FA Cup would be an incredible achievement and it would be incredibly Tottenham for the 15-year trophy drought to end the year Harry Kane finally leaves in search of honours elsewhere.

Biggest fears: The fear is that Tottenham end up on the receiving end of more hammerings than they dish out with their new gung-ho style under Ange Postecoglou, especially early on. I’ve no doubt the fans will have patience and stand by the new manager, and it’s vital Daniel Levy does the same.

In the dugout: Tottenham fans have warmed to Postecoglou very quickly. Not just because they can already see a bold, exciting approach coming together on the pitch in pre-season, but because of the way he talks about the club, the game and the enthusiasm he’s shown since taking up the post. For Ange, the Tottenham job is the pinnacle of his managerial career. The same couldn’t be said for Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte, who did their best to sound like they were doing Spurs a favour just by being there.

Ange Postecoglou has arrived at Tottenham after success with Celtic Ange Postecoglou has arrived at Tottenham after success with Celtic (


Kieran McManus/Tottenham Hotspur FC/REX/Shutterstock)

Key player: Cristian Romero. Postecoglou’s style relies heavily on having two brave, competent and quick centre halves. Romero is Spurs’ best defender and it’s vital he stays fit and focussed after a disappointing season. He’s admitted he wasn’t at his best last time out with injuries and the distraction of the World Cup, but he’s reiterated his commitment to the club and has promised a marked improvement.

One to watch: Yves Bissouma. Starved of opportunities under Antonio Conte, Bissouma has been Spurs’ best player in pre-season and is set to be a key man in Ange’s midfield three. The most technically gifted midfielder at the club, his ability to get out of tight spaces, beat players and get his team up the pitch will be vital.

Prediction: The players have seemingly bought in to the new manager’s philosophy and all the early noises are very positive. We’ll see a much more exciting Tottenham side this season, where they finish may well depend on how well they cope without Kane if he does leave, but I think we’ll see much bigger contributions in front of goal from both the midfielders and the likes of Son and Richarlison who struggled last season. With no Europe, Spurs will have the advantage of one game a week and if things click they could surprise a few with a strong push for the Champions League spots.

Conor Mummery - Head of Social Media (Sport), Reach plc

Get the Spurs home shirt for the 23/24 season

The new top has been claimed to “build on more than a century of tradition” and is a fresh update to the iconic kit that gave Spurs the nickname, the Lilywhites. There’s a subtle but distinct linework pattern running through the new shirt that’s said to have been inspired by “the borough’s vibrant music scene and streetwear culture of the borough of Tottenham”

West Ham

Hopes and dreams: After winning one European trophy last season, the dream would be to follow it up with another in the form of the Europa League. We all know what West Ham fans say about dreams, though.

Biggest fears: Not fully appreciating how big a gap Declan Rice’s exit will leave. He often found himself doing the work of two players last season, and failing to adequately replace him could be devastating for a team which finished 14th last season

In the dugout: There’s a bit of a divide between the fans here. There are those who feel the European trophy has earned David Moyes more time, and then there are those who point to the slump in form which arguably began after Angelo Ogbonna’s ACL injury in late 2021. Another slow start - after one win in seven to kick off last season - might be the final straw.

Lucas Paqueta has attracted interest from Manchester City Lucas Paqueta has attracted interest from Manchester City (


Ralf Treese/DeFodi Images/REX/Shutterstock)

Key player: With Rice gone, there will be an incredible amount of pressure on Lucas Paqueta. The Brazilian came into his own last season when he dropped into a deeper role, and a lot of the creative onus will be on him this term wherever on the pitch he is deployed, if he stays obviously.

One to watch: Gianluca Scamacca has left for Atalanta and Michail Antonio’s future is uncertain, so Divin Mubama may be given more Premier League minutes out of necessity more than anything else. Brighton’s Evan Ferguson showed last season that age is no barrier for a talented teenager, and Mubama - who scored his first senior goal in Europe last season - could find himself leading the line ahead of schedule.

Prediction: It could be anywhere from 10th to 20th, which probably isn’t helpful, but at the time of writing none of the expected new signings have been announced. A lot will depend on what happens up front: Said Benrahma top-scored last season with six, and that’s not the sort of thing a team can get away with two seasons in a row.

Tom Victor -Sports Trends Writer, Mirror Online


Hopes and dreams: The first weekend of the season is a time for optimism and dreaming big…unless you support Wolves that is. A change in the dugout and few arrivals have fans concerned. But if things go right, Wolves still have the makings of a good XI. IF it all goes right, a top-half finish still isn’t out of the question.

Biggest fears: Wolves’ owners are hoping that a summer of consolidation will allow them to properly rebuild next year. However, should things go badly and Gary O’Neil proves to be out of his depth, Molineux could very realistically be hosting Championship football in 12 months’ time.

In the dugout: Perhaps unfairly, the jury is out on Gary O’Neil before he even takes charge of his first match. Julen Lopetegui was perceived as an elite coach, the new man doesn’t have the same aura. He does have a point to prove, though, and he did exactly what was asked of him at Bournemouth.

Gary O'Neil has arrived at Wolves following Julen Lopetegui's departure Gary O’Neil has arrived at Wolves following Julen Lopetegui’s departure (



Key player: Matheus Nunes. Without Ruben Neves, the pressure falls on the shoulders of his compatriot. The record signing has shown glimpses, but if he can play up to potential, he could be a genuine season changer.

One to watch: Fabio Silva. This is a make or break season for a player signed for £35m when he was still a teenager. He has all the tools, now is the time to use them consistently.

Prediction: The start of the season is tough and O’Neil will be desperate to quickly win over the doubters. But Wolves still have the nucleus of a good side, it may not always be pretty - but they should have enough to finish above three others.

Ben Husband -Sports News Editor, Mirror Online