Today, we will discuss about the three newcomers, who came from the second tier this season, as we will focus on their strength, weakness and key players who may make major impact
The new English football season is knocking on the door.
Due to the unexpected and almost unprecedented situation of the Covid-19 pandemic, the season will kick off on September 12, just a fortnight following the Uefa Champions League final.
The season will start with many other anxieties like empty stadiums, the unsure situation of the clubs’ finances due to the jolt in the world economy and an uncertain future in the post-Covid world.
However, like always, Dhaka Tribune Sports will try to analyze and review the different aspects of the most popular football league in the world.
Today, we will discuss about the three newcomers, who came from the second tier this season, as we will focus on their strength, weakness and key players who may make major impact.
The club from west Yorkshire is one of the most popular clubs in England and they have a rich heritage.
However, Elland Road, the home ground of Leeds is deprived of top-tier football for last 16 years, longest in their history with the clubs nose-diving in terms of performance and economic condition.
But, an Italian sports media businessman Andrea Radrizzani changed the scenario as he pumped money and belief into the club, and employed one of the finest tacticians in modern football.
Marcelo Bielsa, the eccentric Argentine is hailed by many as a super genius and the influence of many modern coaches like Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino, helped Leeds alleviate their game.
The off-the-field duo of Radrizzani and Bielsa was instrumental in bringing Leeds back to the top flight as the side comfortably topped the Championship, the second tier league, in 2019-20.
And the timing could not be better as the year is the centenary for the traditional club which won the English league title thrice (one may watch Netflix’s well-made documentary regarding Bielsa’s first season at Leeds, and also the 2009 film The Damned United, based on the tenure of legendary manager Brian Clough at Leeds).
Bielsa himself will be the biggest star of the side and it seems he will continue basically with the same team along with one or two changes.
In that case, local boy Kalvin Phillips, a 24-year old defensive midfielder and the 26-year old striker Patrick Bamford are expected to play key roles.
Bielsa will also perhaps be keen to get the service of center- back Ben White, who was loaned to Brighton and Hove Albion, as the 22-year old had an amazing season in the championship.
West Bromwich Albion
WBA were one of the 12 founding clubs of the Football League in 1888.
The Hawthorns have since played 81 seasons in the top flight, won the league exactly 100 years back in 1920, and bagged five FA cups.
After a two-year gap, when the club saw some financial turmoil before being taken over by a Chinese entrepreneur Lai Guochuan, they returned to the EPL by finishing second in the championship.
Like Leeds, perhaps their most popular figure is their coach Slaven Bilic, who played for and coached the Croatian national side.
WBA’s 24-year old Brazilian Matheus Pereira will be one to look out for.
Their 30-year old skipper Jake Livermore is another one to watch and their Nigerian international Semi Ajayi could be a star in the EPL.
However, for football romantics, the promotion of WBA ensures one of the most heated derbies in England.
The Black Country derby, which is played between WBA and Wolverhampton Wanderers, is considered one of the most fiercest, and the recent success of Wolves in the top league may inspire west Midland rival WBA.
London’s oldest professional football club Fulham failed to win a single top-tier league in their 141-year history, but won the Uefa Intertoto Cup in 2002, and were runners-up in the Uefa Europa League in 2010-11.
The Pakistani-born American billionaire sports tycoon Shahid Khan owns the club and Craven Cottage has a dedicated fan base at the heart of the capital.
Fulham’s 25-year old striker Aleksandar Mitrovic is their biggest star.
The Serbian was voted as the best player in the championship ahead of Philips and Pereira.
Scottish midfielder Thomas Cairney was also a bright spot in their campaign, when they got promoted by winning the playoff, and will expect to rock the EPL.