At the time of writing, the new 2023/24 Premier League season is fast approaching and pre-season friendlies are taking place. The women’s World Cup is up first but many fans will already be thinking of the big domestic kick-off, with the new campaign getting underway on 11th August. The first match is on a Friday night when Vincent Kompany welcomes Pep Guardiola to Turf Moor as Burnley host champions Manchester City.
But what can we expect from the new season? Who are the big movers and shakers in the transfer window thus far and what huge moves might we yet see? City won an incredible treble last year but can they claim an unprecedented quadruple in 2023/24? Or will another side somehow manage to stop them from claiming a sixth title in seven seasons? Who are the new teams in the top flight this year and can any – or even all – of them stay up?
Premier League 2023/24 Key Facts
- Dates – 11th August 2023-19th May 2024
- New teams – Burnley, Sheffield United, Luton Town
- Relegated last term – Southampton, Leeds United, Leicester City
- Playing in Europe – Man City, Arsenal, Man United, Newcastle (UCL), Liverpool, Brighton, West Ham (Europa League), Aston Villa (Europa Conference League)
- Winter break – 13th-30th January 2024
- Transfer windows – summer window ends at 11pm on 1st September, winter window runs from 1st January to 1st February 2024 (closing at 11pm)
Title Race: Can Anyone Stop Man City?
Man City won the league last season by a comfortable – if not emphatic – five points in the end as they went on a superb run and Arsenal faltered. Most pundits, and certainly all bookmakers, expect City to win the Premier League title once more and complacency may be the only thing that can stop them. That said, no team has ever managed to win the top-flight title four years in a row, so Pep and co will have to make yet more history if they are to defend their crown.
The bookies reckon there is a greater than 50% chance of City doing just that, however, with Arsenal and Liverpool deemed the most likely challengers. Man United are next, whilst Chelsea and Newcastle are both dark horses, but how can we look past City?
They bid for a fourth consecutive title, a sixth in seven seasons and an eighth since 2012. At the time of writing, they have not been busy in the transfer market and having replaced Ilkay Gundogan with Mateo Kovacic, appear weaker than last season. That will change, however, with City likely to bring in at least one big-money signing, whilst Guardiola may also look to give some of the club’s younger players a bigger role this term.
Big Premier League Transfers so Far
Arsenal and Liverpool fans will feel happy with their club’s activity in the transfer window so far. The Gunners are the big spenders, paying over £100m for Declan Rice, around £65m for Kai Havertz and up to £38m for Dutch defender Jurrien Timber. Rice will bring something they lacked – real leadership. He could prove a brilliant signing, whilst Timber is also hugely impressive and if Havertz settles quickly Arsenal could really push City.
As for Liverpool, they acted quickly to fix what was clearly a major problem and have brought youth and real class to their midfield. £35m for World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister looks cheap, whilst the £60m they paid for 22-year-old Dominik Szoboszlai might soon begin to look like a bargain too. If that pair gel, and Mo Salah and Virgil van Dijk can get back to their best, Liverpool could yet mount a serious title challenge.
- Christopher Nkunku to Chelsea for £52m
- Mason Mount to Man United for £55m
- Sandro Tonali to Newcastle for £60m
- James Maddison to Spurs for £40m
The battle at the bottom of the Premier League went to the final day once again last term as Everton just about did enough to stay up, relegating Leeds and Leicester in the process. We predict a similarly tense outcome this time around and if the bookies are to be believed there are at least 10 sides in the mix. Whilst minnows Luton are the overwhelming favourites for the drop, there are nine other sides priced at single-digit odds, so predicting the bottom three is no easy task.
Ultimately though, it is really hard to see the Hatters defying the odds that indicate they have around a 75% chance of going down. It was a miracle that they were promoted and it should be remembered that as recently as 2014 they were playing non-league football. They could prove victims of their own ultra-rapid success and may well find themselves out of their depth in the PL.
Predictably Sheffield United are ranked the second favourites for the drop. They finished ninth in the Premier League in 2019/20 but slumped to rock bottom 12 months later. Their transfer activity has been limited thus far and it would be a real surprise were they not battling the drop.
Going purely on the opinion of the bookmakers there isn’t much to choose between Bournemouth, Burnley, Forest, Everton and Wolves. Bournemouth bizarrely replaced the man who performed miracles to keep them up last season and must hope that new boss Andoni Iraola hits the ground running. Everton have the right man in the dugout but appear badly hamstrung financially. The Toffees have been in the mix for the past two seasons and narrowly survived. However, what was a weak squad last term looks far worse, and they will need all the experience of Sean Dyche if they are to stay up.
There are sure to be plenty more big signings in the weeks ahead and we wouldn’t be surprised if there were managerial changes too. We can’t predict exactly how the 2023/24 PL campaign will play out but one thing is certain, it will be worth the wait.