Three to Watch for Each Club

Trying to pop a list like this for any team is silly subjective, so don’t get offended if your favorite player isn’t listed here.  Americans are included by default, but when you consider each relative to their club, their spots are largely deserved. Some appreciated assistance provided by my friend Lars Sivertsen.

Arsenal (ARS): Saka, Ødegaard, Rice

Aston Villa (AVL): Emi, Tielemans, Diaby

Bournemouth (BOU): Adams, Solanke, Brooks

Brentford (BRE): Toney, Wissa, Schade

Brighton & Hove Albion (BHA): Mitoma, Enciso, Ferguson

Chelsea (CHE): Enzo, Caicedo, Jackson

Crystal Palace (CRY): Elise, Eze, Richards

Everton (EVE): Doucoure, Calvert-Lewin, Onana

Fulham (FUL): Ream/Robinson, Palhinha, Pereira, Willian

Liverpool (LIV): Diaz, Sarah, Szoboszai

Luton Town (LUT): Mpanzu, Lockyer, Makamba

Manchester City (MCI): Haaland, Grealish, Foden

Manchester United (MUN): Onana, Bruno, Rashford

Newcastle (NEW): Guimaraes, Tonali, Isak

Nottingham Forest (NFO): Turner, Awoniyi, Johnson

Sheffield United (SHU): Traore, Ahmedhodzic, Hamer

Tottenham Hotspur (TOT): Maddison, Son, Richarlison

West Ham United (WHU): Paquetá, Ward-Prowse, Bowen

Wolverhampton Wolves (WOL): Nunes, Cunha, Silva

ARS: Like several here, Arsenal is a side we could list far more than three players.  It would have included new defensive addition Julian Timber had he not suffered a season-ender ACL injury in Week 1.

  • Bukayo Saka (7): Absolute terror and superstar in the making from the right side, English international, will screw defenders into the ground and finish goals from impossible spots.
  • Martin Ødegaard (8): The young Norwegian seems to have been around forever, but we only now really beginning to see the promise of his “prodigy” tag as the Gunners’ version of Kevin De Bruyne.
  • Declan Rice (41): Just added from West Ham, the English international is a full package midfielder who many have waited to see his level on a top-flight side.

AVL: The arrow is pointed up for Unai Emory’s side, and the continuation of last season’s positive direction seems very likely with a few very enticing additions.

  • Emi Martinez (1) – the rare keeper on this list, but Emi is that World Cup winner, prankster and the league’s master of shithouse behavior
  • Youri Tielemans (8)- one of the aforementioned additions (from Leicester) the Belgian midfielder very well might be the connecting piece the Villains needed, can hit a banger too.
  • Moussa Diaby (19) – the other new addition, French winger, from either side, was sought after by several clubs – explosive, quick, skillful

BOU: The Cherries are, relative to the Premier League, a small club, but American owner Bill Foley won’t have it.  The new manager, Iraola, will have his side capitalize on the roster’s overall athleticism

  • Tyler Adams (18) – The American will be a much-needed addition and fits well into a high-pressing, all-out system
  • Dominic Solanke (9) – Initially bought for a big fee and flopped, but has gradually made himself a very respectable goal scorer
  • David Brooks (7) – Was a hugely promising and exciting players when he was younger, then suffered first a bad ankle injury and then cancer. Now trying to work his way back to his best. Worth keeping an eye on

BRE: The well-run West London club has been a consistently pleasant surprise since getting promoted, and so far, dealt well with their missing star striker (explained below)

  • Ivan Toney (17) – star striker and talisman, banned for gambling thru the holiday, they’ll be counting the days until he’s back
  • Yoane Wissa (11) – Bit-part player last season but with a very respectable goal record relative to minutes on the pitch. Must step up in Toney’s absence, has started with 2 in 2
  • Kevin Schade (9) – Huge physical capacity, over 6ft tall + VERY fast. A bit rough round the edges but could develop into a real star

CHE: Simply the most bonkers Premier League story of the last, I dunno – ever? American billionaires, Russian oligarchs, and historic spending got the historic London club nowhere. Patience is key. We could do three lists of three and still not cover all the talent on the roster – now can Pochettino turn it into a functional team?

  • Enzo Fernandez (8) – World Cup winner, young and has all the tools to be the top midfielder in the league
  • Moisés Caicedo (25) – the latest “most expensive transfer fee ever”, (from Brighton) he’ll work w/ Enzo and a formidable midfield duo
  • Nicolas Jackson (15) – another addition that checks all the “potential” boxes for the one position that Chelsea have lacked, of late

CRY: The perennial mid-table London club, featuring the return of their elder statesman manager and their historic Selhurst Park where we’d recommend anyone attend a match.

  • Eberechi Eze (10) – Shifty, clever and flat out fun to watch play the game
  • Michael Olise (7) – Turned down a chance to move to Chelsea to stay at Palace, and is smooth progressor of the ball
  • Chris Richards (26) – From Birmingham, Alabama (by way of FC Dallas’ academy), he is one of the USMNT’s most promising center backs – but needs to find playing time and may end up going out on loan

EVE: “The other historic Liverpool club”, are tangled in the messy combination of building a massive new (expensive) stadium, while also trying to stave off relegation, again, this season

  • Abodoulaye Doucouré (16) – Rampaging central midfielder whose forward runs and presence in the box is crucial because of Everton’s lack of strikers
  • Dominic Calvert-Lewin (9) – The only proper Premier League level forward in the squad, and gets hurt too often
  • Amadou Onana (8) – Everton have made some dreadful decisions in the transfer market the last decade but Onana is a gem. Brilliant ball-winner, has a powerful stride on him, will be sold to a big club for a big fee

FUL: London club who have regularly featured Americans (McBride, Dempsey) and play in Craven Cottage along the river Thymes

  • Tim Ream (23)/Jedi Robinson (33) – The USMNT duo play center back, left full back respectively and mostly show up when called upon
  • João Palhinha (26) – a fantastic ball winning holding-midfielder, will kick your guy
  • Willian (20) – surprising resurgent run of attacking form since returning to the PL with Fulham

LIV: Another historic club worthy of multiple “lists of three”, the great Klopp as manager and the classic all red kits

  • Luis Díaz (7) – young, dynamic Columbian winger who plays with a street-baller’s flair
  • Mohamed Salah (11) – Superstar Egyptian, one of the club’s all-time best and you can’t keep your eye off of as he works his magic from the right side.
  • Dominik Szoboszai (8) – New young Hungarian midfielder who has already demonstrated his pure class on the ball and already my pick for “signing of the year”

LUT: The most storybook story of English football – Once at the top level (pre-Premier League), fell all the way down to the fifth tier and now back to the top.

  • Pelly Mpanzu (17) – Box-to-box guy. First player to go from non-league to the Premier League with the same club. Has played for Luton in the 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd and top tier in England, which is pretty wild
  • Tom Lockyer (4) – Captain and all-action defender. Collapsed in the play-off final and had to be taken to hospital due to a heart condition)
  • Marvelous Nakamba (13) – (yup, that’s his name) Zimbabwean midfield battler. Big part of their promotion push. Grew up in poverty and now does a lot of charity work off the pitch

MCI: England’s most dominate club. Current and 3x Champion, reigning Champions League champs, and the best manager in Pep. (Another worthy of multiple entries)

  • Erling Haaland (9) – Weird what happens when you add the world’s best finisher to the world’s best team
  • Jack Grealish (10) – When you think of “characters”, Jack definitely qualifies. Skill, quick first step and those calves!!
  • Phil Foden (47) – Finds himself in this trio with the injury to Kevin de Bruyne, now holds the opportunity to fill this role and live up to all his hype

MUN: Historic club, one-time PL dominator has fallen into a Cowboys-like downturn in the last decade. Hired Dutch manager Eric Ten Haag (ETH) to set things right

  • Marcus Rashford (10) – England international and a product of the United youth system. Better running at defenders from the wings than with his back to goal.
  • Bruno Fernandes (8) – Portuguese midfielder who creative abilities and determination tends to be a two-sided sword
  • André Onana (24) – Replaces the legendary David deGea, but arrives with ball playing abilities required for ETH’s desired tactics

NEW: Set aside the controversial ownership, the Premiership benefits from not only having another “top club”, the return of great brand of black/white stripes is always a good thing.

  • Bruno Guimarães (39) – another great Brazilian midfielder with a bit of a nasty side
  • Sandro Tonali (8) – Newly added Italian midfielder who already has shown he can be a force of his own with qualities that mesh well w/ his new teammates
  • Alexander Isak (14) – Do not be surprised when this deceptively lanky striker pulls off an insane skill move or hits a banger from a silly angle

NFO: One of the PL’s best home atmospheres, and one of those clubs you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get

  • Matt Turner (1) – USMNT’s top keeper, moved from Arsenal for a starting spot, will certainly have his work cut out, and see a LOT of action
  • Taiwo Awoniyi (9) – Forward with a nice blend of strength, speed and work-rate. No superstar but has a lot of things you want your striker to have and should probably be at a bigger club
  • Brennan Johnson (20) – Exciting and versatile young attacking player, good at running with the ball at speed, can take people on and finish. Will move to a bigger club at some point

SHU: Generally found in most anyone’s “relegation prediction” list, newly promoted and simply didn’t (couldn’t?) refresh/upgrade the roster

  • Bénie Traoré (11) – Ivorian forward/wide player who made his name in the Swedish league. 12 goals in 14 games there in the first half of 2023 before me moved to England
  • Anel Ahmedhodzic (15) – Born in Sweden but of Bosnian descent and at 24 has 21 caps for Bosnia. Fine central defender who is good on the ball.
  • Gustavo Hamer (8) – Born in Brazil but grew up in the Netherlands. Scrappy and aggressive midfielder who also likes getting forward and can score goals

TOT: Tremendously popular north London club with the fancy new stadium, having to deal with the sale of their legendary striker (Harry Kane) and a new manager who’s new to the Premier League

  • James Maddison (10) – Brought in from relegated Leicester City, the crafty English midfielder is exactly what Spurs have needed
  • Heug-min Son (7) – Korean superstar with blazing speed, word class finishing qualities and genuinely one of the game’s nice guys
  • Richarlison (9) – Brazilian striker who has the unfortunate role of replacing Kane, wears his emotions on his sleeve next to his numerous tattoos

WHU: Another London club (The Hammers) who last year had the curious mix of a poor league season while also winning a European trophy

  • Lucas Paquetá (10) – Wildly effective midfielder who never quite showed off his stuff last season, and now is facing a suspension over accusations of betting, TBD
  • James Ward-Prowse (7) –  Arguably the best set piece and free kick taker in the league and rescued from relegated Southampton and we finally get to see what he’s capable of in a team more his equal
  • Jarrod Bowen (20) – Simply a super hard-working goal-scorer and will wear out a defender

WOL: A team who has more been known as a landing spot for a long list of Portuguese internationals has struggled of late and fired their manager just days before the start of the season.

  • Matheus Cunha (12) – Gifted but inconsistent forward. Good dribbler but has never been reliable in front of goal.
  • Matheus Nunes (27) – Born in Brazil but moved to Portugal at the age of 12. Midfielder with excellent technical qualities (Man City are currently poking around on buying him)
  • Fábio Silva (29) – Was brought to Wolves at significant expense when he was still very young. Was thrown off the deep and when Raul Jimenez got injured, and clearly wasn’t ready. Have spent some time out on loan and Wolves now really need him to step up