With the Premier League due to restart in less than five days’ time, Calcio Insider looks into two teams who could emerge as surprise packages during the course of the campaign. It has been a culture to start with an early Saturday kick-off involving the champions, but it will be different this time with Arsenal due to host Leicester City in a Friday night opener at the Emirates.
The Gunners always make a low tempered start to the league season, only to find themselves in the title race in December. However, they manage to bottle it between January and March, eventually settling for a top-four spot. This did not happen for once last season as they finished fifth with a record points tally (75) for the position. Arsene Wenger led the Gunners to another Community Shield win earlier on Sunday, and they are likely to come with a renewed vigour following the signings of Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac – the latter who already looks an excellent addition on a free transfer.
Keeping stars has been their major hurdle in recent years, but this may finally be their year with the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil staying put regardless of their contractual status. A new attacker could be ideal to spur them to the title and it will be interesting to see whether they can wrap up a deal for Thomas Lemar.
West Ham United:
Both Everton and West Ham United have been fairly ambitious in the market, but the Hammers would be more of a surprise following their stutter last season. Slaven Bilic got the transfer window all wrong last summer and this resulted in an 11th place finish for the Hammers – 17 points and four places apart from the 2015/16 season.
Bilic has brought in a seasoned Premier League campaigners in Marko Arnautovic, Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta and for one period Javier Hernandez. This is likely to provide a significant boost to their overall performance from last season, and the club could be expected to fight for the Europa League positions at best during the upcoming campaign.
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