It’s the start of a new Premier League season. Everyone except Fulham fans are filled with hope at the promise and potential of the glory a new campaign might bring. This really could be the year for [insert team]!
Or not. Some teams will stink this season. They will under-perform expectations and leave you disappointed. Face it. It’s going to be your favorite team. They suck. Here’s why.
Arsenal — if, and it’s a massive if, you could get Arsenal fans to stop navel-gazing about Mikel Arteta long enough, they might realize what everybody else knows about the roster: it’s mediocre. You can insult the midfield pairing of Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos all you want because they don’t have the mobility to chase you down. The metrics on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang show a player pretty clearly in decline. And David Luiz, who was actually historically bad at defending last season, figures to play significant minutes again.
Aston Villa — had one of the worst defenses in the Premier League last season and only managed to stay up because Watford collapsed worse than the 2016 Warriors in the NBA Finals (never forget, they blew a 3-1 lead). To “fix” that problem they added Emi Martinez and Matty Cash.
Emi Martinez is like that NHL goalie that got hot for a playoff run, and everybody thought he was a star. Turns out, pumpkins almost always turn back into pumpkins. And a Championship right back? More like Matty Cash parachute payments because you’re going down.
Brighton & Hove Albion — look at their roster, outside of Adam Lallana who was more a meme than Liverpool contributor, do you know ANY of their players? There’s a reason for that: the players aren’t worth knowing. And according to Matteo Guendouzi, they’ll never make much money.
Burnley — a wise creature once said, “Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering,” and I’m not sure there is a better way to describe Sean Dyche on the sidelines. His constant anger is going to get him thrown into a reactor core someday. It’s not too late, Sean. There is good in you. I can sense it.
Also, Burnley’s players might be more irrelevant than Brighton’s.
Chelsea — Kepa Arrizabalaga. I don’t really need to say more, but I’m happy to give them to you. I’m generous. You’re welcome.
Their defensive plan is “N’Golo Kante and *shrug emoji*” this season. They spent over £200M and haven’t managed to address their biggest problem from last year — DEFENSE. “But we got Thiago Silva and Malang Sarr on free transfers!” Yeah? There’s a reason they were free. It’ll be tough for Thiago Silva to get around the pitch pulling an IV pole behind him (because he’s old). And raise your hand if you’d even heard of Malang Sarr before this transfer window. Tells you all you need to know about his quality. Did I mention Thiago Silva is OLD.
Crystal Palace — other than Wilfried Zaha, their roster is made up of “yeah, I remember that one good game he had for [former team] like five years ago” players. Wilfried Zaha is so thirsty for a move to Arsenal (well, really anywhere that ISN’T Crystal Palace) that I’m embarrassed for him. And I’m pretty sure Roy Hodgson falls asleep in his chair during matches.
Everton — marquee signings James & Allan sound more like a law firm that’s asking me if I’ve been injured or if I want to get more money from my structured settlement on a 2 AM TV commercial than an effective Premier League midfield partnership. And sooner rather than later, they’ll be playing like two middle-aged dudes in ill-fitting suits instead of actual, professional footballers.
I’m also not sure Jordan Pickford has washed off the clown makeup he wore all of last season. To his credit, he elevated crap goalkeeping to an art form. You go ahead and think his performance against Tottenham is evidence of a page turned. I’m going to bet on him being the dude he’s been his entire career.
Fulham — Scott Parker’s suits are going to be the most attractive thing you see from the club this season. My reaction to Craven Cottage is the same as my reaction to Fulham Football Club — “aw, that’s cute.”
Leeds United — they are going to quickly discover that to succeed in the Premier League you need talent, not just a flashy system with a lot of running. Patrick Bamford, their leading scorer in the Championship last season, had an extremely low chance conversion rate. So the goals are going to dry up, and you need those to win, I’m told.
To replace (reinforce?) him, they spent £26M, a club record, on Rodrigo — a dude that scored 12 goals in his last 60 La Liga matches. Do you really want to trust a club that makes those kind of decisions?
Leicester City — I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer not to have my entire team resting on the shoulders of a 33-year old striker with a Red Bull addiction who is in the “down” part of a demonstrated up-season, down-season cycle. Also, Brendan Rodgers isn’t a good manager. He may have many of you tricked, BUT NOT TODAY SATAN.
Liverpool — slapping a new coat of paint on an (admittedly) nice car that has 150K miles on it doesn’t change the odometer. Things start to break down when you use them a bunch, and Liverpool’s players have been used A LOT over the last two years. No team in English top flight history has gone over 90 points three seasons in a row. No amount of positive talk and good vibes from Jurgen Klopp can change that.
Manchester City — here are City’s centerbacks coming into the season: a guy who can’t lock down a spot in the England national team (Stones), a perennially overrated dude (Laporte), an average Premier League player (Ake), a guy who is at least 5 years past his distinctly average prime (Otamendi), and a child (Garcia).
Their fullbacks are Kyle Walker-past me in on goal, Benjamin “if he’s healthy” Mendy, and João Cancelo. Ask Matteo Darmian how well Serie A to Premier League outside back transfers work out. Oh, he’s back in Italy because he couldn’t cut it?
Do you want to back that defense? Oh. And the best coach at Manchester City last season now coaches Arsenal.
Manchester United — Harry Maguire, the most expensive defender ever (LOL), a man who literally can’t kick a ball with his left peg, starts and is their “leader” on the pitch.
Not even Manchester “we may or may not have paid off the referees” United will repeat their Premier League record 14 penalties awarded last season. Fewer penalties = fewer goals = fewer points. Quick maths.
David de Gea is lucky that Kepa and Jordan Pickford are still around to take most of the “this keeper stinks” spotlight off him. Because we should shine some of that light his way. Everybody has this idea of what he is as a keeper, and he hasn’t been that guy for a few seasons now.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer might be the worst manager in the Prem, no cap.
Newcastle United — other than the fans being in open revolt against ownership, this club is so irrelevant I can’t even think of ways to bash them. Like, nobody even wants to buy them. Billionaires who view sports teams as safe investments in which to park their money look at Newcastle and say, “nah, we good.”
Sheffield United — the Blades exposed themselves during the restart as the aggressively mediocre team they actually are. Thanks for saving me the trouble. They almost had us fooled with their start to last season. Turns out banking on winning matches 1-0 when you’re not very good at scoring goals isn’t a recipe for Premier League success.
Southampton — I’m not interested in backing a squad carried last season by Danny Ings doubling his career best Premier League goal output (11 to 22). They are the quintessential, “mhm, they exist and are definitely a Football Team” club. Can we just give them their unimpressive but safe points total and be done with it? And I don’t really want to think or write about Southampton anymore.
Tottenham Hotspur — Imagine thinking Tottenham will come close to winning a trophy. The Jose Mourinho toxic death spiral has already started. It’s like the Saw franchise — a horror story we’ve seen before and has devolved into near-comedy by now. Grab your popcorn, sit back, and enjoy.
Also, Harry Kane is a medical miracle. He’s a 27-year old with the body and fitness of a 45-year old. I have no idea how he manages to drag his Draco Malfoy hair having self around the pitch each weekend. Not very well, I suppose.
West Bromwich Albion — we’ve seen the whole “keep the same roster that got you up” strategy in the Premier League before. Ask Norwich how that turned out. They should thank Fulham for existing because they’d be the worst team in the division otherwise. Another roster full of “oh he’s still playing” guys. They stink.
West Ham United — if there was an award for discrepancy between talent and results, West Ham would win it every year. They’ve got a roster full of guys that make you say “how are they not better” as a club. And fair play, they manage one good result against a top team per season. But week in, week out, you look at the results and they’ve lost 3-1 to someone in the mid-table or drawn someone in the relegation zone at home. They’re bad.
This is the year I’m not going to be fooled by them. And they’re always a handful of poor results away from going into utter meltdown and firing their manager. That actually might not be a bad thing, come to think of it. David Moyes peaked at Everton. That was almost 10 years ago.
Wolverhampton Wanderers — last time I checked, repeatedly smashing your head into a wall, hoping that this time it breaks...isn’t a good idea. That’s Wolves’ tactical strategy. They play one way, and one way only. “But João Moutinho. Adama Traore. Raul Jimenez.” System players. They’re the Tim Tebow at Florida of the Premier League. Don’t be fooled.
Also, even though Portugal have been quite good on the international stage lately, buying most of their players but notably not Cristiano Ronaldo is a bold strategy, Cotton.
Editor’s Note: PDB reminded me that Drew Magary popularized the “Your Team Sucks” concept. His work is funny and you should read it, too.