32 Flags previews the 2016-17 Premier League from Arsenal to Crystal Palace

The English Premier League season is less than a week away and we are entering what could be the most unpredictable EPL season in years. We at 32 Flags are here to preview what each team is expected to do this season and where they could finish, as well as letting you know who to look out for from each team. Today, we’re going in alphabetical order, covering Arsenal to Crystal Palace. This is Part 1 of 4 of our EPL preview. Click to read Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4

Arsenal

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 24:  Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal reacts to a missed opportunity during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Emirates Stadium on January 24, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 24: Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal reacts to a missed opportunity during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Emirates Stadium on January 24, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Transfers:

Notable Ins:

Granit Xhaka, Midfielder, from Borussia Mochengladbach for £34m

Notable Outs:

Mikel Arteta, Midfielder, Released

Tomas Rosicky, Midfielder, Released

Mathieu Flamini, Midfielder, Released

Probable Starting XI:

Predicted Finish:

6th (Placed as high as 2nd and as low as 6th among 32 Flags writers)

This may seem harsh on Arsenal, considering they came in 2nd last season, but the problem is that this is the second year in a row that they simply haven’t strengthened enough to build on previous success. We have to remember that a big part of their 2nd place finish last year was down to Tottenham collapsing at the finish line, not from overall outstanding play from Arsenal. They may have had a good pick up in Granit Xhaka, who should find a comfortable spot in the center of the midfield, but it simply won’t be enough. The issues that they faced last year, namely being unable to finish the chances they created, have not been solved.

Player to Watch:

Mesut Ozil

Without a doubt, Ozil is Arsenal’s standout player. He created an unfathomable amount of chances for his teammates last season, and if they had a top class striker, he would have broken the record for most assists in a season. Simply put, he is the player that makes things happen for Arsenal.

Bournemouth

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 19:  Callum Wilson of A.F.C. Bournemouth during the Barclays Premier League match between A.F.C. Bournemouth and Sunderland at the Vitality Stadium on September 19, 2015 in Bournemouth, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 19: Callum Wilson of A.F.C. Bournemouth during the Barclays Premier League match between A.F.C. Bournemouth and Sunderland at the Vitality Stadium on September 19, 2015 in Bournemouth, United Kingdom. (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

Transfers:

Notable Ins:

Lys Mousset, Forward, from Le Havre for an Undisclosed Fee

Lewis Cook, Midfielder, from Leeds United for £7m

Jordon Ibe, Forward, from Liverpool for £15m

Notable Outs:

Sylvain Disitn, Defender, Released

Matt Ritchie, Forward, to Newcastle United for £12m

Lee Tomlin, Forward, to Bristol City for £3m

Probable Starting XI:

Predicted Finish:

16th (Placed as high as 14th and as low as 18th among 32 Flags writers)

Bournemouth have a great young manager, a good squad, and a platform to build off of. The important thing for them this season is to make sure that they stabilize themselves as a solid Premier League team. Many promoted teams try to run before they can walk in their second season in the Premier League and get relegated as a result. Finishing 16th again would be a good return for them, although they will certainly aim higher.

Player to Watch:

Callum Wilson

A lot was expected of him last season before he was injured early on in the campaign. Finally fit with a preseason under his belt, he will look to continue where he started at the beginning of last season and build from there.

 

Burnley

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JULY 30: Ben Mee of Burnley in action during a pre-season friendly between Rangers FC and Burnley FC at Ibrox Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – JULY 30: Ben Mee of Burnley in action during a pre-season friendly between Rangers FC and Burnley FC at Ibrox Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Transfers:

Notable Ins:

Jimmy Dunne, Defender, from Manchester United on a Free Transfer

Nick Pope, Goalkeeper, from Charlton Athletic for an Undisclosed Free

Jon Flanagan, Defender, from Liverpool on Loan

Notable Outs:

Joey Barton, Midfielder, Released

Lloyd Dyer, Forward, Released

Matthew Taylor, Midfielder, Released

Probable Starting XI:

Predicted Finish:

19th (Placed as high as 19th and as low as 20th among 32 Flags writers)

Unfortunately for Burnley, it doesn’t look good for them this season. They have been rebuffed by many of their transfer targets and, without significant strengthening, it doesn’t look like they will be in the Premier League next season. They may have won the Championship last season, but there is a strong chance they they simply will not win enough games to make it over the finish line.

Player to Watch:

Michael Keane

If Burnley want to have any chance of surviving relegation out of the Premier League, not getting beat will be almost as important as winning. Luckily for them, Michael Keane had a great season at the heart of their defense in the Championship, and he will look to continue that form in the Premier League. The big question will be can they keep hold of him with teams like Leicester sniffing around?

Chelsea

MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND - JANUARY 31:  Eden Hazard of Chelsea is tackled by Darren Potter of MK Dons during the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round match between Milton Keynes Dons and Chelsea at Stadium mk on January 31, 2016 in Milton Keynes, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND – JANUARY 31: Eden Hazard of Chelsea is tackled by Darren Potter of MK Dons during the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round match between Milton Keynes Dons and Chelsea at Stadium mk on January 31, 2016 in Milton Keynes, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Transfers:

Notable Ins:

Michy Batshuayi, Forward, from Marseille for £33m

N’Golo Kante, Midfielder, from Leicester City for £32m

Notable Outs:

Radamel Falcao, Forward, End of Loan

Alexandre Pato, Forward, End of Loan

Mohamed Salah, Forward, to Roma for £14.5m

Probable Starting XI:

Predicted Finish:

5th (Placed as high as 2nd and as low as 6th among 32 Flags writers)

This was, admittedly, the hardest probable lineup to pick. This relates to the predicted finish because it is very difficult to tell what this Chelsea team is going to do. Looking the coaching philosophy that Antonio Conte brings to his teams, we can predict that they will be very difficult to beat, favoring defensive stability over attacking flourish. This may come back to haunt them, however, as it will be a bit more difficult to grind their way to a win in the Premier League. Too many draws, and maybe even a shock loss or two, may tip the scales out of their favor and bump them out of the Top Four, though only just.

Player to Watch:

Eden Hazard

Of course, it was going to be Hazard. Over the course of the last two seasons, Hazard went from the best player in the Premier League to invisible. His importance to Chelsea is undeniable and there will be times this season where he will be called upon to create a moment of magic when nothing else is working.

 

Crystal Palace

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 09: (L to R) Damien Delaney, Mile Jedinak and Scott Dann of Crystal Palace celebrate their 2-1 win in the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Southampton and Crystal Palace at St Mary's Stadium on January 9, 2016 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 09: (L to R) Damien Delaney, Mile Jedinak and Scott Dann of Crystal Palace celebrate their 2-1 win in the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Southampton and Crystal Palace at St Mary’s Stadium on January 9, 2016 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Transfers:

Notable Ins:

Steve Mandanda, Goalkeeper, from Marseille for an Undisclosed Fee

Andros Townsend, Forward, from Newcastle United for £13m

James Tomkins, Defender, from West Ham United for £10m

Notable Outs:

Dwight Gayle, Forward, to Newcastle United for £10m

Alex McCarthy, Goalkeeper, to Southampton for an Undisclosed Fee

Probable Starting XI:

Predicted Finish:

15th (Placed as high as 11th and as low as 18th among 32 Flags writers)

With a few smart transfers, Crystal Palace should find themselves safe from relegation this season. They have made a good move in bringing in Mandanda for a good sum and James Tomkins should help solidify their back line. That said, they still look like a team that can run hot and cold on their day. They also looked like a genuinely solid team last season before going on an unprecedented winless streak. All of the elements of that team are still there, so there’s a chance we could see that again.

Player to Watch:

Andros Townsend

Nothing represents the inconsistent nature of Crystal Palace than their new winger, Andros Townsend. He has all of the hallmarks of a safely midtable, if not higher, player (much like Crystal Palace), but it just hasn’t clicked yet. If Alan Pardew can get his head right, though, they will have gotten a key player for a bargain price.

About Jeff Snyder

Jeff Snyder is a professional writer and has been in sports broadcast for almost half a decade. You can follow him on Twitter at @TheJackAnty.

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