How to Fan – Premier League Edition
Part One of Two
You want to watch the Premier League but don’t know who to follow? Here’s a guide to why each team is worth rooting for (or against) this season! (Check out Part Two Here)
A club with a pedigree and the title case to back it up. The North London squad is a 13 times winner of the FA cup and 13 times league champions; only European glory awaits Gunners fans. Arsenal are in a period of transition, with long-time boss Arsene Wenger leaving after 2017/18 and new boss Unai Emery just starting to put his fingerprints on the club. Recent years have been frustrating for the fan base, but signings like 24-year-old Ivorian Nicolas Pepe have the fans getting excited for the future again.
Reasons to Root for Arsenal – A big club that wins more than it loses and is pretty much a lock for the top 6 every season. A long history of success keeps Arsenal relevant on a global stage. Attackers like Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, Alexander Lacazette, Mesut Ozil and new arrival Pepe make for tons of scintillating goals. Banter with Spurs fans is highly entertaining.
Reasons to Root against Arsenal – You are a fan of Tottenham. One of the longest and fiercest rivalries in the Premier League make Arsenal #1 enemy to any Spurs fan. Other reasons to go against the Gunners include their long-time status as a league heavyweight and their apparent ingrained disdain for defending. Nearly every Arsenal match is marked with a bone-head defensive set that leads to an easy goal for the opposition.
Back in the Premier League after a few years away. Aston Villa is a club that has traditionally played in the top-flight of English football. Playing in historic Villa Park, the club’s home since 1897, Villa is looking to get back to glory. 1982 European Cup champions, Aston Villa is a good team to follow if you want the tradition to go with your underdog tendencies.
Reasons to Root for Aston Villa – A traditionally strong team is back in the Premier League, so you’ll have plenty of fans to share in what is likely to be a tough season for the Villans. Villa has some talent to stay up; including Egyptian winger Trezeguet, young Premier league veteran Matt Targett and the man with perhaps the best name in the EPL, Marvelous Nakamba. A kit with “Marvelous” on the back in that claret and blue would be amazing. Manager Dean Smith puts his players in positions to succeed with sound tactics for each match.
Reasons to Root against Aston Villa – They haven’t been back in the Premier League since 2015/16 and will have a tough time staying up in a hyper-competitive league. Picking a team that might only stick for one year is a good way to end your interest in the league before it can take hold. Villa might end up having to scrap their full-back based attack when facing stronger sides in the Prem.
Bournemouth – Up The Cherries Forum (No SB Nation Page)
Bournemouth has been a consistent mid-table club since they arrived in the Premier League for the first time in 2015/16. Manager Eddie Howe took a lowly 4th division side and with his vision has Bournemouth on the verge of European football. The incredible rags to riches story is a big part of what makes Bournemouth a good team to cheer on. Young talents like Nathan Ake, Dominic Solanke, Jefferson Lerma and speedy goal threat Callum Wilson help the match day entertainment rankings as well.
Reasons to Root for Bournemouth – Not only do they have the great story; the team plays a surprisingly attacking style of football. Eddie Howe is a tactical mastermind who is constantly linked to larger clubs but has stuck with the Cherries despite this attention. This team has a chance to become a consistent member of the upper half of the league. The Cherries support a pretty great kit selection as well, utilizing red and black vertical stripes in their home jersey.
Reasons to Root against Bournemouth – Few and far between. It’s hard to come up with reasons to root against Bournemouth. They play a pleasing style and run their team the right way. One knock against them is they lack the financial might to really get involved in the upper echelon of teams in the league and will likely never make splashy moves during transfer windows. If you want to support a team that wins a lot of titles, Bournemouth will not likely fulfill that desire.
Brighton & Hove Albion – North Stand Chat (No SB Nation Page)
Surprise survival in a relegation fight last year was a big boost to the Brighton & Hove Albion supporters. Strong performances from midfielder Pascal Groß and stalwart defenders Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy kept the Seagulls in the top flight. The relegation struggle cost Chris Hughton his job last season, will current manager Graham Potter make it the whole year?
Reasons to Root for Brighton & Hove Albion – An underdog that stayed in the Premier League despite firing their coach and struggling to score goals. There is a remarkable level of fight in the Seagulls and Pascal Groß is one of the more underrated players in the league. Another team with sharp uniforms.
Reasons to Root against Brighton & Hove Albion – They barely avoided relegation and are amongst the favorites to get sent to the Championship next year. Due to a lack of attacking talent, the team doesn’t score many goals and relies heavily on defense to keep the team in matches. Signing up to be a Seagull fan likely means watching a lot of bus parking, 1-0 matches and likely disappointment at the end of the year.
Burnley – Up the Clarets (No SB Nation Page)
Nobody likes to travel to Turf Moor. Burnley has one of the toughest grounds to visit in the league. Not only is the home ground a rough visit, but the team doesn’t make it any easier; playing a punishing, defensive style that wears opponents out. Head coach Sean Dyche has turned a historically Championship level side into an upper-half team that has even seen European football in the last few seasons.
Reasons to Root for Burnley – A rough and tumble style makes Burnley a good team to follow if you want your squad a little rough around the edges. Team player of the year Ashley Westwood is the talisman for Burnley, driving play from the midfield. Sean Dyche has his teams well drilled defensively and they make very few mistakes.
Reasons to Root against Burnley – Watching a long string of 0-0 or 1-0 matches can be a slog and that’s exactly the type of match that Burnley excels in. On the road, the team tends to dig in and play for draws, which makes for a frustrating watch if your team is hosting. They frequently play on the edge of the rules and their matches tend to be physical on opponents most talented players.
Chelsea – We Ain’t Got No History
Since Roman Abramovich bought the London club in 2003, Chelsea has been one of the most successful teams in the league, winning multiple league titles and the Champions League (Europe’s top club competition) in 2012. They buy big name players and coaches and seem to cycle through both rapidly. With the departure of super-star Eden Hazard to Real Madrid and arrival of United States young phenom Christian Pulisic, it’s going to be a season of transition at Chelsea. After winning the Europa League and getting 3rd place in the league, coach Mauricio Sarri left the club to return to Italy and brought in former club legend Frank Lampard to run the team. It’s going to be an interesting year for the Blues.
Reasons to Root for Chelsea – Money, power and success. Chelsea has the budget and trophy case to attract top talent and put up title challenges. Newest signing Pulisic is an electric player and has a chance to be the best talent to ever come from the United States. While they have an outside shot at the title this year, the excitement for the season will come from seeing how new coach Lampard adapts to the highest level and if the team builds on a solid 2018/19.
Reasons to Root against Chelsea – For many fans, Abramovich buying the club signaled the end of the traditional powers and brought in the new age of the mega-rich foreign owners to the Prem. In winning 5 titles since 2005, you may come across as a bit of a front-runner for picking the Blues to represent, if that matters to you. The team also changes managers like socialites change hair styles, the club prioritizing winning above all else.
Crystal Palace – Holmesdale (No SB Nation Site)
The Eagles are a Premier League staple, having been in the first flight since 2012/13 and only dropping below the second tier of English football once since 1964. Another London based squad, playing out of Selhurt Park, Crystal Palace is one of the larger clubs in the premier league. With exciting attackers like Wilfried Zaha, Jordan Ayew and Christian Benteke and dynamic midfielders Andros Townsend and Max Meyer, the Eagles have plenty of firepower.
Reasons to Root for Crystal Palace – Wilfried Zaha is probably bigger than Selhurt Park, but Crystal Palace has fought off multiple offers for the star attacker and the team is better for it. The team has been on a slow but consistent move up the table since rejoining the Prem in 2013 and doesn’t show any signs of going back down. With strong play from the squad and a few breaks, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Eagles challenge for a European slot this season.
Reasons to Root against Crystal Palace – With little attacking depth, an injury to Zaha or Benteke could be catastrophic to Palace’s chances at the top half of the table. Despite their good working keeping Zaha, the Eagles do have their top talents poached by the biggest teams in the league, this year losing promising fullback Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Manchester United.
Everton are the longest tenured team in the Premier League, with a remarkable current streak of 116 straight years in the top flight. The Toffees are currently in a long title drought but have spent big money this off-season to improve their chances at an elusive top 4 finish. New signing Moise Kean will bring a new flair to the Toffees and the club has been linked to some other big-name attackers, but will it be enough to finally get some silverware for Evertonians?
Reasons to Root for Everton – Having spent 116 seasons in the top rank of English football, you’ll likely always have a team to root for come the weekend. Remarkably consistent, Everton has finished in the top 10 nine of the last ten seasons. With new faces in the team to support manager Marco Silva, is this the year Everton takes the leap and fights the top 6 for European matches come next fall? Everton is also one half of the fantastic “Merseyside Derby” against Liverpool each season. These matches bring out two of the most passionate fan bases in the country and puts them into one stadium, explosive stuff. If Everton does get back to the promised land and win a title, picking them as your team now will look smart.
Reasons to Root Against Everton – Remarkably consistent is correct, with team never finishing above 5th in the last decade. Having your hopes dashes repeatedly by the Manchester clubs and in recent years, fierce rival Liverpool, is not a fun place to be. Good enough to be competitive, but never good enough to get the hardware. The team has also been making managerial changes at a near Chelsea level the past five years, making it hard to discern the direction the club is headed. With no league titles since the 1980’s, the title drought is real for Evertonians.
The magical 2015/16 season where Leicester won the Premier League in one of the biggest upsets in sports history is now in the past, but the Foxes are still a rising force in the league. With new manager Brenden Rodgers, there is a lot of hope amongst Foxes fans that this era of Leicester City football will lead to more titles and European football. The King Power Stadium gets rocking for the Foxes and provides a great atmosphere for their loads of young talent like Youri Tielemans and Kelechi Iheanacho.
Reasons to Root for Leicester City – With a speedy strike force, featuring Iheanacho and English striker Jamie Vardy with a new manager, there’s a lot of hope surrounding Leicester City this season. Brenden Rodgers lead Scottish side Celtic to multiple league titles; can he bring Leicester back to the top? That’s the mixed bag you get rooting for the Foxes; chances at glory mixed with the dread of going back to the Championship. If you like to gamble, Leicester City might just be your golden ticket. Goaltender Kasper Schmeichel is also a great watch; super vocal, animated and a great shot stopper.
Reasons to Root against Leicester City – It will never be as good as it was. As unlikely as it was that Leicester won that league title, the chance they do it again is even less likely. The top 6 teams in the league simultaneously had bad seasons while the Foxes had an unprecedented lucky streak, not a sustainable combination. While there are a lot of good young players featuring at the King Power Stadium, there is also Jamie Vardy – easily one of the least likeable humans in the league with an assault and racial sluts marking his past.
Liverpool – The Liverpool Offside
The reigning champions of Europe are one of the most exciting and attacking teams in all of football. Manager Jurgen Klopp has his side running rampant, forcing turnovers and scoring goals in bunches. Sadio Mane and Mohammed Salah were two of the three joint top-scorers in the league last year and Virgil VanDijk has become one of the most imposing defenders in the world. The last hurdle for the Reds is winning the league; they missed out by only 1-point last year, finishing second to Manchester City. It’s a good time to be a Liverpool fan and as their famous motto states, if you become a fan “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.
Reasons to Root for Liverpool – This side plays with energy. Lots and lots of energy. Klopp came to Anfield in 2015 and has instilled his manic pressing style to great effect. The team wins the ball back quickly and attacks come at breakneck pace. Salah and Mane score the goals, but the whole team is athletic, well disciplined and aggressive. They are currently a top-2 side in the Premier League and top-5 in the world, nearly unbeatable on their best day. Liverpool also has one of the most vocal and passionate world-wide fan bases, so you’ll find plenty of supporters to hang out with.
Reasons to Root against Liverpool – They’re a big club and currently one of the best. It’s easy to be a loveable side when you haven’t won anything, but haters come out of the woodwork when you’re on top and it will be no different for Liverpool. Due to the passion of their fanbase, many fellow Prem fans aren’t as keen on Liverpool or their supporters. Currently owned by the same group as the Boston Red Sox, Liverpool has a very similar feel to their baseball counterpart, so most people either love or hate the Reds.
That’s gonna do it for the first ten teams. Check back tomorrow for the rest of the league.
Patrick View All
Just a guy who loves sports.
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