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An Easy Guide to the 2017-18 EPL Season

August 10th, 2017
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premier league guide

The English Premier League starts this weekend and we all know what that means: unfounded and endearing optimism primed for total annihilation as the season wears on.

To get you prepared for the start of the season, we’ve put together an easy-to-follow checklist for newbies and seasoned fans alike, complete with an honest preview for each club.

For EPL veterans:
  1. Check the schedule.
  2. Pick a scapegoat to blame at when your team inevitably lets you down (manager, owner, the entire defense are all good choices).
  3. Choose your favorite pre-10 a.m. pint.
  4. Enjoy the pre-season optimism (or pessimism if you’re a Burnley fan).
  5. Know that watching matches at home, by yourself, in your PJs is lame AF.
For EPL newbies:
  1. Pick a team. This isn’t essential to enjoy the morning beer aspect of EPL matches, but it makes the season way more fun. (See “Why you should be a fan?” in our preview below if you need help choosing.)
  2. Learn two players’ names from your team so you can yell at the T.V. with confidence.
  3. Yes, games start early in the morning. It’s awesome being at a pub that early, so embrace it and set an alarm.
  4. Get some gear. You can’t show up to the pub without sporting some colors, so spring for at least a scarf. This, however, is going overboard.
  5. Learn some key words: relegation, table, wanker, pitch, etc.
  6. Recruit your friends. Watching the match at the pub is fun. Watching it with a group of friends at the pub is better.

Whether you’ve been a fan for years or are just getting into the Premier League, English soccer/football/whatever is fun for all sports fans for a litany of reasons… but mostly day drinking.

Curious how your team is looking at the start of the year? Looking for some solid info in your search for EPL fandom? We got you. Check out our 2017-18 Premier League preview:

arsenal community shield win

Arsenal

Nickname: The Gunners

2016-17 Record (W-D-L): 23-6-9

Coach: Arséne Wenger

The Skinny: Coming off a FA Cup championship season and starting this year’s endeavour with a victory over Chelsea at the Community Shield, optimism is high in North London. But the “Gooners” have seen optimistic starts before the cynicism sets in fully. Arsenal, one-quarter of “The Big Four,” has not been on top of the EPL since the 2003-04 season, but has played the bridesmaid a few times since. If that remains true this year, Wenger, a 20-year fixture for the club and longest-tenured coach in the EPL (by a lot), may be looking for work next year.

Players to Watch: Alexis Sánchez, Mesut Özil, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Why you should be a fan: Arsenal’s nickname is totally badass: The Gunners. Do you really need more? Fine. If you like to complain about your team, even though relegation isn’t a term you’re familiar with, then Arsenal is your team.

An expert’s 2017-18 preview can be found here.

Bournemouth

Nickname: The Cherries

2016-17 Record: 12-10-16

Coach: Eddie Howe

The Skinny: AFC Bournemouth finished in the top-10 and odds are OK they’ll end up around there again this year… and that’s something Bournemouth fans should be stoked about. Bournemouth was promoted for the 2015-16 season and finished 16th. Last year, they finished 9th, but have since added some offensive firepower in the form of Joshua King, who spent some time with Manchester United in 2008. Offensively, The Cherries should be solid, but a big question mark remains on their defense.

Players to Watch: Joshua King, Jermain Defoe, Lys Mousset

Why you should be a fan: It’s a feel-good story and Bournemouth has a legitimate chance of toppling some of the big boys in the EPL. It seems they’ll be fun to watch this year and now’s a good time to jump on board if their trajectory stays the same… you know, to avoid that “bandwagon” stigma.

An expert’s 2017-18 preview can be found here.

Brighton and Hove Albion

Nickname: The Seagulls

2016-17 Record: Did not play in the Premier League. 28-9-9 in the Championship.

Coach: Chris Hughton

The Skinny: Brighton and Hove Albion will make their first Premier League appearance this year and it’s likely not to go well. Just being honest here. Fun fact: the club opens with Manchester City, which has more money committed to two new full-backs than Brighton and Hove have committed to their new stadium. Anyway, it’s been a long time coming for The Seagulls and only time will tell on how they fare in the EPL.

Players to Watch: Izzy Brown, Mathew Ryan

Why you should be a fan: They have a really cool new stadium.

An expert’s 2017-18 preview can be found here.

Burnley

Nickname: The Clarets

2016-17 Record: 11-7-20

Coach: Sean Dyche

The Skinny: Will Burnley stay clear of relegation for a second year in a row? That’s basically the storyline for this club as we head into the season. The Clarets finished 16th last year after being promoted, but will have an uphill battle to stay out of the bottom three. Hell, the manager has said the club is having a hard time adjusting to the Premier League… #confidence. Also, they lost Michael Keane to Everton, which is a total bummer. Fun fact: this is only the fourth Premier League appearance for Burnley.

Players to Watch: Jon Walters, Michael Keane in an Everton kit with teary eyes

Why you should be a fan: If you’re from Burnley, I guess.

An expert’s 2017-18 preview can be found here.

chelsea winning premier league

Chelsea

Nickname: The Blues

2016-17 Record: 30-3-5 and Premier League Champions

Coach: Antonio Conte

The Skinny: Chelsea has seen back-to-back EPL titles only once: 2004-2006, so it’s a bit of an understatement to say it’ll be hard to top the table again. The Blues, led by James Bond villain-looking Antonio Conte, had some drama this off-season with Nemanja Matic’s departure to Manchester United and a, uh, publically shakey? relationship with one of the EPL’s top scorers, Diego Costa. It’s still uncertain where he’ll play this year. Drama!

Players to Watch: Alvaro Morata, Victor Moses, Michy Batshuayi

Why you should be a fan: If you love seasons full of elation, followed by crippling sorrow, you’ve found your team. As one of “The Big Four,” you probably won’t have to worry about relegation… ever, and that’s kind of comforting. Also, their crest is a lion breathing fire. You kidding me? Totally rad.

An expert’s 2017-18 preview can be found here.

Crystal Palace

Nickname: The Eagles

2016-17 Record: 12-5-21

Coach: Frank de Boer

The Skinny: Crystal Palace is a team that has proven it can play with the top-tier team and it’s on a mission to prove it can do so for a long time. This will mark the fifth year in a row The Eagles have stayed in the Premier League and the hiring of new manager Frank de Boer is a move to stay there. Ole’ Frank had a bunch of success with Ajax, where he was a former player, and apparently turned down an interview with Liverpool a few years ago. Word on the street is he’s a pretty good manager.

Players to Watch: Jairo Riedewald, Christian Benteke

Why you should be a fan: Palace supporters are known for their passion and, by reports, are pretty loud. If you like getting rowdy and you think London is a cool town, then we got your team. Also, Crystal Palace feels like a place where a cool witch from Oz would call home, so you have that going for you too.

An expert’s 2017-18 preview can be found here.

Everton

Nickname: The Toffees

2016-17 Record: 17-10-11

Coach: Ronald Koeman

The Skinny: Does spending £150 million on improving your team translate to on-pitch success? If you’re an Everton supporter, you hope so. The Toffees finished 7th last year and Koeman has opened the club’s checkbook. Anyone look forward to seeing Wayne Rooney back in an Everton kit this year? Liverpool fans probably don’t. The question is, can they compete with — and beat — the top teams consistently?

Players to Watch: Wayne Rooney, Sandro Ramirez, Jordy Clasie

Why you should be a fan: Wayne Rooney coming home!?!?! Are you kidding me? If you’re looking to follow one team this year, and this year only, Everton is probably a good choice.

An expert’s 2017-18 preview can be found here.

Huddersfield Town

Nickname: The Terriers

2016-17 Record: Did not play in the Premier League. 25-15-6 in the Championship.

Coach: David Wagner

The Skinny: If you’ve never heard of Huddersfield Town, then don’t worry. We’re not even sure it’s a real team… no offense to the lovely folks in Huddersfield. Fun fact: Huddersfield is the 11th largest town in the United Kingdom. Census reporting aside, Huddersfield has been at the bottom of the Championship for years until earning a promotion last year. Odds aren’t great they’ll stay up.

Players to Watch: Aaron Mooy, Steve Mounie

Why you should be a fan: The coach is an American, which is kind of neat. Well, he’s from Germany, but, you know… semantics.

An expert’s 2017-18 preview can be found here.

Leicester City

Nickname: The Foxes

2016-17 Record: 12-8-18

Coach: Craig Shakespeare

The Skinny: The Foxes drop from the top of the table last year can only be described as a Shakespearean tragedy (ba da dum). Leicester City was the biggest name in sports following their EPL victory in 2015-16, but dropped to 12th last year. Still respectable, sure, but a letdown following their crazy championship run. Let’s just say stability is not this club’s forte.

Players to Watch: Kelechi Iheanacho, Jamie Vardy

Why you should be a fan: They’re exciting, that’s for sure. Well, exciting in the same sense Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are exciting. It’s for sure a strange case, those Foxes. Also, they have a Premier League title under their belt, which is pretty fancy.

An expert’s 2017-18 preview can be found here.

daniel craig at liverpool match

Liverpool

Nickname: The Reds

2016-17 Record: 22-6-10

Coach: Jürgen Klopp

The Skinny: Klopp is in the running for coolest coach name in the EPL, but also has the ability to lead his team to another top-5 finish. The biggest question for The Reds is how the defense will hold up. We know Liverpool will score, but can it be enough? Don’t be surprised if it can be and the club makes a championship run.

Players to Watch: Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho

Why you should be a fan: Because you know they’ll be good and compete for a title. It’s sort of like cheating, but it’s ok because it’s not the best team. Also, Daniel Craig (a.k.a James Bond) is a fan of Liverpool, so that’s pretty cool. Plus, we dare you not to get goosebumps when you hear the stadium sing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” in unison.

An expert’s 2017-18 preview can be found here.

Manchester City

Nickname: The Citizens

2016-17 Record: 23-9-6

Coach: Pep Guardiola

The Skinny: Runner-up for coolest coach name goes to Pep. Seriously, so much fun. What’s not so fun is a 3rd place finish. Manchester City has had a lot of success since 2010, winning the league twice and placing a second the same number of times. It’s gotten to the point where not winning the league feels like a letdown. Well, that could change this year and a lot of people are looking to The Citizens to top the table.

Players to Watch: Gabriel Jesus, Sergio Agüero

Why you should be a fan: Because City has persevered through some, well, tough times. Let’s call them the Boston Red Sox of the EPL — a long time of heartache, followed by recent success, and their rival is the team that attracts the most bandwagon fans.

An expert’s 2017-18 preview can be found here.

Manchester United

Nickname: The Red Devils

2016-17 Record: 18-15-5

Coach: José Mourinho

The Skinny: Manchester United has some of the deepest pockets in the sports world and is not afraid to cut a check. That became evident this summer when Mourinho signed Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku for more than £160 million between the two. The Red Devils have won the Premier League more than anyone else, but haven’t won since the 2012-13 season. It goes without saying that cutting that big of a check comes with a bit of pressure to get back to their winning ways.

Players to Watch: Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku

Why you should be a fan: Are you a New York Yankees fan? Love the Dallas Cowboys? Recently become a fan of the Golden State Warriors? If you answered “yes” to all of these, then you’re a true Man U fan. Seriously though, Old Trafford looks like an awesome place to watch a match.

An expert’s 2017-18 preview can be found here.

Newcastle United

Nickname: The Magpies

2016-17 Record: Did not play in the Premier League. 29-10-7 in the Championship.

Coach: Rafael Benítez

The Skinny: Newcastle is no stranger to the Premier League and winning the Championship last year will help boost their confidence. It’d be a mistake to overlook this squad, brimming with young talent and surrounded by optimistic management. Don’t be surprised if Newcastle stays around the Premier League for at least another year.

Players to Watch: Christian Atsu, Javier Manquillo, Ayoze Perez

Why you should be a fan: Uh, Magpies may be the weirdest and best nickname for any sports team. That alone should pique your interest. Also, by drinking Newcastle beer you’re basically supporting your team, so that’s a total plus.

An expert’s 2017-18 preview can be found here.

southampton fc fans

Southampton

Nickname: The Saints

2016-17 Record: 12-10-16

Coach: Mauricio Pellegrino

The Skinny: A new coach and a drama-filled summer headline The Saints beginning to the Premier League season. Here’s the abridged version: Virgil van Dijk, one of the best defenders in the league has filed a transfer request and Southampton is, uh, not super pumped to make it happen. The good news is The Saints have a solid squad and can realistically hope for a top-10 finish.

Players to Watch: Virgil van Dijk (but not for on-field reasons), Jan Bednarek, Nathan Redmond

Why you should be a fan: There is nothing very sexy about Southampton and a lot of times the organization can have a fire sale of your favorite players, but there’s something endearing about the Saints. Well, endearing like that hipster barista you know is mean just because he needs a friend.

An expert’s 2017-18 preview can be found here.

Stoke City

Nickname: The Potters

2016-17 Record: 11-11-16

Coach: Mark Hughes

The Skinny: Last year was a bit of a disappointment for Stoke City as they failed to clip the top-10 as they have in the previous three campaigns. To add insult to injury, three of the Potters top players have gone to other clubs, but not to worry, Potter-heads. Expect Stoke to put a similar product on the field this year. Well, maybe that does cause worry. Eeek.

Players to Watch: Xherdan Shaqiri, Darren Fletcher

Why you should be a fan: You can make solid “stoked” references. Also, Stoke-on-Trent is known for its pottery industry, so you can make your own trophy if you visit.

An expert’s 2017-18 preview can be found here.

Swansea City

Nickname: The Swans

2016-17 Record: 12-5-21

Coach: Paul Clement

The Skinny: Quit looking at me, Swan! We’re not sure if Adam Sandler is a Swansea City fan, but the club didn’t do super hot last year. In fact, they almost found themselves relegated in worst season in club history. Yup, not great. Clement took the team over mid-season and was named Coach of the Month in January and also got a nod for Manager of the Year for his role in keeping The Swans out of the lower leagues.

Players to Watch: Gylfi Sigurdsson, Tammy Abraham

Why you should be a fan: Are you Welsh? Like Swans or that crazy movie about ballet? If yes, then you should totally jump on board.

An expert’s 2017-18 preview can be found here.

tottenham coach lasso

Tottenham Hotspur

Nickname: The Spurs, The Lilywhites

2016-17 Record: 26-8-4

Coach: Mauricio Pochettino

The Skinny: It was tough to part with Coach Lasso, but it was necessary for improvement. In the last two season, Spurs have nearly topped the Premier League table, but have come up short in both endeavours. Last year, Spurs finished as runner-ups and haven’t changed much of their roster, including keeping the leading scorer, Harry Kane. Is this campaign the one that finally brings the Premier League title to North London?

Players to Watch: Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, Heung-Min Son

Why you should be a fan: It’s not a bad time to be a Spurs fan and London is one of the coolest places in the world, so… win-win. Plus watching Harry Kane strike the ball is like watching butter melt on hot pancakes.

An expert’s 2017-18 preview can be found here.

Watford

Nickname: The Hornets

2016-17 Record: 11-7-20

Coach: Marco Silva

The Skinny: Watford was very close to getting relegated last year and made a change at the helm by bringing in Wal-Mart scarf model Marco Silva. He also led Hull City for a couple months earlier this year after they fired their coach mid-season. Spoiler alert: Hull was relegated. Don’t expect anything special out of this group, but there’s a good shot they stay up.

Players to Watch: Etienne Capoue, Tom Cleverley, Will Hughes

Why you should be a fan: If you like claiming a city, but not actually having your stadium there, then Watford is for you. Although, it’s not as bad as the 49ers claiming to be from San Francisco when their stadium is in f***ing Santa Clara.

An expert’s 2017-18 preview can be found here.

West Bromwich Albion

Nickname: The Baggies

2016-17 Record: Whatever.

Coach: This guy

The Skinny: Does anyone really care about West Brom? It’s basically the equivalent of Vanderbilt playing in the SEC.

Players to Watch: The guy with the cleats.

Why you should be a fan: You probably shouldn’t.

An expert’s 2017-18 preview can be found here.

West Ham United

Nickname: The Hammers

2016-17 Record: 12-9-17

Coach: Slaven Bili?

The Skinny: A not-top-10 finish isn’t going to get the Hammers hammerin’ this year, so the club went out and got Javier Hernandez, the all-time top goal scorer for the Mexico National Team and former Man. United and Real Madrid striker. His resume is pretty good by itself, but the club also added sweet-haired Marko Arnautovic to the roster, so it should make for an interesting season, and a potential top-10 finish.

Players to Watch: Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez, Marko Arnautovic, Joe Hart

Why you should be a fan: If you’re into soccer hooliganism history and/or organizations with deep pockets and a penchant for underachieving. Or you just simply enjoy blowing bubbles, then West Ham has your name all over it.

An expert’s 2017-18 preview can be found here.

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