Wow, it feels like just yesterday the Premier League season came to an end, and somehow the new season starts today.
We’ve already previewed each of the teams and where we think they’ll finish (if you missed it here is Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4), so today we’re bringing you the things we’ll be keeping an eye on this season. Not necessarily teams or the race for the title, but things that make the league interesting, whether that’s players going to new places, new teams fighting to stay up, or what certain moves mean off the field.
That said, here is our list:
@ Wayne Rooney’s Everton Return
It’s impossible to ignore the story of Wayne Rooney’s return to Everton. I’ve long said that he’s probably well past his prime and there’s nothing that can really bring him back.
But if there is anything that will help him find his form, it’s returning to his boyhood club, the one he’s been attending during his off-weeks with his children and raising them to support. The one with whom he made a name for himself with a screamer of a goal against Arsenal all those years ago.
He scored a thunderbastard of a goal in preseason and is returning to his team seeing them as he never has before. With legitimate, if far-fetched Champions League dreams. An honest chance at winning the Europa League, and a team that anyone could see winning the FA Cup or EFL Cup.
He’s said that after everything he’s accomplished in Manchester, holding a trophy for Everton would be “his pinnacle.” It’s time to see if he can aid the cause.
@: How Huddersfield adjust to life in the big leagues
The one storyline I’m looking forward to this Prem League season is how Huddersfield Town adjusts to life in the big leagues. Like Leicester City before them, Huddersfield was a lower-tier squad that rarely had a taste of the top glory.
It’s hard to root against an underdog. And they’re there on the back of American manager David Wagner, who has engineered Huddersfield’s quick ascent in the soccer pyramid.
A former USMNT player with 8 caps, Wagner been bandied about as a potential USMNT manager candidate, so the team’s progress alone is worth watching out for using that angle.
@Rovitz: Chicharito’s impact on West Ham
West Ham had been sorely lacking in star power after Dmitri Payet basically forced his way back home to France, and the Irons finally fill that void with Mexican star Chicharito.
Now, I don’t think Chicharito is the type of player who will carry West Ham to a surprise Top-4 finish, or even a Top-6, but I think he’ll contribute enough goals to make West Ham a tough team to play against. But more than anything, I’m interested in seeing how much he impacts West Ham off the field.
Chicharito is the biggest soccer star in North America (it’s true, Pulisic isn’t quite there yet), and could be a big boost off the field for West Ham. You know those US tours that Man United and Real Madrid take? Chicharito is how West Ham gets into those.
Add in that extra money and attention from North America, and it could impact West Ham in a huge way going forward, both on and off the field.
@KedgeOnline: Tottenham’s move to Wembley
My biggest talking point is how Tottenham do at Wembley. It’s a completely different environment for them.
They’re moving from a narrow pitch, with fans right on top the action, to a massive pitch with the fans miles away. Last year they played their Champions League games there and didn’t make it out of their group so I think I think it’s already creeping into the heads of the players and staff.
They’re already punching above their weight when it comes to finances, the other Top -6 teams have a lot more money to spend, and I think this just puts them at another disadvantage to their rivals.