A great man once said, “We need to talk about facts.” And, well, we’re here to do exactly that.
Over the coming weeks, you’ll read a lot of things about the 20 Premier League teams set to line up for the 2019-20 season – most of which are downright lies.
In this shameful era of FAKE NEWS mainstream media, sometimes you need a reliable soul to cut through the bullshit and tell it how it really is. You need a source you can trust to provide only the most accurate, deeply researched and immaculately sourced information.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is your source. You’re welcome.
Manager: Andy Garcia
Stadium: A soulless bowl, the construction of which has effectively hamstrung the club for the past 15 years and all but ended them as a title-challenging outfit. Still, it was totally worth it for those artisanal kale sandwiches on sale on matchdays and the electric atmospheres the famously raucous Arsenal crowd serves up every fortnight.
Key Player: Shkodran Mustafi – The “key” being the one thrown away when Stan Kroenke locks him up so he can’t do any more damage to the team’s already shaky defensive foundations. Even out on loan – or transferred to a different country – the “German Wall” will find some way of derailing Arsenal’s season, no matter how far away from London they send him.
Manager: John Terry
Stadium: Formerly an amusement park during the Victorian era, Villa Park returned to its comedic roots in the 2010s, when then-owner Randy Lerner attempted to revisit the spirit of those ritzy fairground days by employing the likes of Tim Sherwood and Rémi Garde as manager. Lerner’s mission was an unqualified success, with the Villans dropping out of the Premier League and Villa Park once again becoming the leading source of entertainment for people in the Midlands region.
Key Player: Jack Grealish – He may have a haircut straight out of Peaky Blinders and a pair of boots straight out of Peaky Blinders, but he’s got a right foot straight out of the Irish international underage setup.
Grealish hasn’t let that hold him back, however, and is now turning out to be quite decent at football – decent enough, in fact, not to have to bother being an Irish international any more.
Manager: Squadron Leader Edward Biggles-Howe, Esq.
Stadium: Essentially a prefab borrowed from a local builder’s firm, the “Vitality Stadium” – RIP Dean Court, whoever you were – is actually quite charming, despite the fact matchday attendance is capped at four brickies, six carpenters, eight sparkies and a foreman (every second Wednesday, 4-6pm).
Key Player: Mark Travers – Look, there aren’t many Irish players knocking around the Premier League these days, so forgive us for getting excited about Travers. We won’t go overboard, of course, but based on his two league appearances for the Cherries in 2018-19 we’re absolutely convinced he’s the best goalkeeper the world has seen since Lev Yashin.
Brighton and Hove Albion
Manager: Some absolute bastard who thought it was okay to take Chris Hughton’s old job.
Stadium: Ikea Identikit #247, aka “Bländístådiøn”. Brighton may have assembled their stadium out of a box on a Sunday afternoon, but they tend to fill it out and often create a decent atmosphere. Especially when hated rivals Crystal Palace come to town for the world-famous M23 Derby, an event that outdoes even the Old Firm in its seething, red-hot intensity.
Key Player: If you think Shane Duffy is NOT the Seagulls’ key man, then you need your head examined. Which, coincidentally, is probably not a bad idea for Duffy himself to contemplate, considering he bravely thrusts that magnificent crown under about 55,000 long balls and crosses every season.
Manager: Sean “Ginger Farage” Dyche
Stadium: Turf Moor may sound like the name of a gritty BBC police procedural in which a mismatched pair of messed-up Northern detectives must put aside their differences to solve the murder of an earthen-fuels salesman, but – much more excitingly – it’s actually a slightly dilapidated old ground in the beating heart of Brexitland. So there.
Key Player: Ashley “Actually I’m Austrian” Barnes – Probably no-one is as emblematic of Dyche’s Burnley as Barnes. He’s a totemic figure in the modern history of the Clarets, a man who loves nothing more than running into other people at high speed and occasionally bumping in the odd goal off his arse. Certain to enter the realms of legend in coming years, if he hasn’t already.
Manager: Doesn’t particularly matter, he’ll be gone within a few months
Stadium: Stamford Bridge really ought to be renamed the John Terrydome, but so far the club’s hierarchy are yet to see sense. There’s absolutely no truth in the idea that Roman Abramovich’s sole purpose for remaining involved with Chelsea is to hold onto this exceptionally valuable piece of west London property. None whatsoever.
Key Player: Until recently, we would have said Rob Green, who, amazingly, hasn’t conceded a single league goal in the last two seasons with Huddersfield and Chelsea. Sure, he may not have played a single league game in that time, but you can’t argue with the stats.
Now, however, with Green having made his Chexit, the Blues’ key man is probably one of the 825 former loanees they’ll be forced to bring into the first team setup in 2019-20.
Manager: Roy Hodgson, the man who, arguably more than anyone else, was integral to Liverpool’s recent success. Roy made the Reds who they are today – time will tell if he has the same impact with the Eagles
Stadium: Palace have been forced to use Wimbledon’s old ground for a while now (no need to fact-check that), but it seems to be working for them. Selhurst Park is, of course, more famous for Robbie Earle knock-ons and mistimed Kenny Cunningham tackles than it is for being the home of players such as Wayne “History Buff” Hennessey and Christian “Goal Machine” Benteke – but there’s no denying Palace are building a legacy there. A few more years and they might even foster the same widespread adoration in south London as Joe Kinnear and Oyvind Leonhardsen.
Key Player: Max Meyer – Just don’t let him take any more photos.
Manager: Why’s-it-always-got-to-be-a-foreign-manager Silva
Stadium: Everton can’t be particularly fond of their stadium, as they always seem to be trying to leave it. We don’t know why, because it’s one of the few old-school English grounds remaining in the league. Then again, it’s 2019 and if a Premier League stadium doesn’t have an onsite hemp outfitters and a gift shop so big it could accommodate the entire population of Tokyo, is it even a Premier League stadium?
Key Player: Theo Walcott – Seriously, one of these years, he’s going to deliver on that vast potential. Okay, so maybe the same thing has been prophesied before each of the last 13 seasons of his career, but 2019-20 could finally be the one. No, seriously. Why are you laughing?
Manager: Do you really need to be told?
Stadium: It may sound like a premium potato chip brand, but King Power is in fact the latest cool and refreshing craft beer from a renowned Belorussian microbrewery. Here at Paddy Power (no relation), we love nothing more than whiling away the long summer evenings by washing down a delicious vegan barbeque with a few chilled cans of King Power.
Key Player: Let’s be honest, Leicester’s key man in 2019-20 isn’t on the pitch. No, he’s sitting in the dugout formulating a masterplan that will surely catapult the Foxes to the summit of world football within two seasons. Rumours abound that totally-not-sociopathic Elon Musk has already guaranteed Brendan Rodgers a place on his new Mars-bound mobile space-colony – and rightly so.
Manager: Jurgen “Colgate” Klopp
Stadium: Liverpool are very fortunate to possess the only stadium in the known universe where it’s possible to create a decent atmosphere on Those European Nights. Which is doubly lucky because the only people capable of truly enjoying football matches are Liverpool fans. It’s not unfair to suggest they may have actually invented the very concept of finding meaning in football.
Key Player: Dejan Lovren – Liverpool may be the current holders of the coveted Premier League second-place trophy, but they’ll likely want to go one better in 2019-20 and win the actual Premier League trophy. Lovren will be central to that – if Liverpool can keep him on the bench (or preferably not even in the matchday squad) for the majority of the season, they’ll be all but unstoppable.
Manager: A giant Catalan football-brain-in-a-jar brought out once, sometimes twice, each week and plopped into an artificially created host body known to its manufacturers as “Pep” (or “Bald Fraud” if you’re from Liverpool)
Stadium: Some may have nicknamed the City of Manchester Stadium the “Empty-had”, but this is unfair. The fact there are usually more players on the pitch than there are fans in the stands is irrelevant, because a trip to the Etihad is a chance for supporters to experience everything the great nation of UAE has to offer. It’s a chance to immerse oneself in the majestic gloriousness of Abu Dhabi, which is of course open to visitors and investments right now! Suggestions we have been “incentivised” to write this are entirely inaccurate.
Key Player: Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan – The big man has been instrumental in firing City to the top of the football pyramid. He’s a top, top player at the peak of his game, a well-oiled machine with a wicked left foot and a keen eye for a pass. So long as he remains at City, they’ll remain at the top of the league.
Manager: Alex Ferguson via some Norwegian lad
Stadium: A decrepit, leaky old ground that serves as a pretty handy metaphor for the overall state of this club. Back in the day, Old Trafford was ahead of its time – now it’s grimly hanging onto past glories, railing against the spectre of modernisation while several high-profile figures from the good times swan around as if they own the place.
Key Player: Phil Jones – One of the planet’s most gifted footballers. Nuff said.
Manager: We all know who’s really pulling the strings here – Shola Ameobi
Stadium: To proper Magpies, their ground will always be known as SportsDirect Park. Sadly, a few blow-ins have attempted to hijack SportsDirect Park’s noble past and are trying to shamelessly transfer it onto the rather corporate-sounding “St James’ Park”. But you can’t just wipe away 100-plus years of history like that, even with bucket-sized novelty mugs. Disgusting.
Key Player: Jonathan Joseph Shelvey – The Romford Kojak is probably Newcastle’s best player of the last ten years or so, which may or may not say a lot about the club. Still, it’s an utter disgrace he isn’t England captain at this stage.
Manager: No idea but it should be Alan Partridge. If you disagree you are wrong. As horribly wrong as the pedestrianisation of Norwich city centre.
Stadium: The Colman’s Mustard Letsby Avenue Stadium has been the proud home of the Canaries (who are named in honour of the colour of Norfolk’s favourite condiment) for the past 80-odd years, and we look forward to welcoming it back to the Premier League in 2019-20. Like a hot dog without a dollop of that delicious yellow gold, its absence has been hard to stomach.
Key Player: Tom Trybull? Marco Stiepermann? Aston Oxborough? Come on lads, you can’t seriously expect anyone to believe these are real people?
Manager: Billy Wilder, affectionately nicknamed “Chris” in tribute to the famous Hollywood filmmaker.
Stadium: Much time has passed since we last saw Bramall Lane in the Premier League, and we’re delighted at its return. So many massive occasions have taken place there in the past, most notably a Billy Graham Evangelist gathering in 1985, two Springsteen concerts in 1988, a motocross race in 2016 and a Rod Stewart gig in 2019.
Key Player: David McGoldrick – The latest in a long-running tradition of Irish forward-line hitmen, McGoldrick is guaranteed to make a big impact in the top tier. He’s turned in some huge performances for the Boys In Green recently and has an impressive international record of 10 games, zero goals. If that doesn’t scream “2019-20 Premier League Golden Boot”, we don’t know what does.
Manager: Rudolph Hansenbrink
Stadium: The Le TissArena is a 32,505-capacity all-seater film studio in which Southampton FC have produced a number of hugely popular kit-reveal social media videos. Built in 2001, the facility is home to a 300-strong team of animators, editors and CGI specialists dedicated to the conception of “high-impact, holistically birthed comedic sports equipment vignettes.”
Key Player: Shane Long – Like McGoldrick, the Tipperary Trezeguet is a prolific scorer in the Hibernian “joga bonito” mould. Rumours abound that he has in fact already agreed a move away from Southampton, but there’s no way any manager would be short-sighted enough to sanction the departure of a man who scores a goal roughly once every six games.
Manager: We’ll only believe it’s still Mauricio Pochettino when we literally see him sitting in the Spurs dugout on day one of the 2019-20 season
Stadium: No cheese-room, apparently.
Key Player: Moussa Sissoko – No, honestly, we’re not actually joking this time. Former Newcastle makeweight Moussa Sissoko is really a key player in a Champions League-finalist team. Swear to god.
Manager: Javi Gracia has been Watford manager for a year-and-a-half now, which is a minor miracle in itself – imagine having to put up with Troy Deeney for that amount of time.
Stadium: Vicarage Road has a Sir Elton John Stand, and any stadium with a Sir Elton John Stand is just fine in our book. Only a matter of time before it gets a Heurelho Gomes Stand as well, which would immediately elevate it to the UEFA Category 4 status it deserves. Champions League Final Watford 2024, here we come.
Key Player: Vicious rumours have circulated that Heurelho Gomes is leaving Watford. This is FAKE NEWS. In fact, he’ll be “repurposed”, given the number nine shirt and used as a target man in 2019-20. You heard it here first.
West Ham United
Manager: Ex-Liverpool defender Mauricio Pellegrino
Stadium: In 2016, West Ham captain Karren Brady proudly lifted the “Most Successful Stadium Migration” trophy after the club “successfully migrated” from their beloved, picturesque Upton Park ground to a characterless plastic bin on the outskirts of east London. As a result, the Hammers will enter the 2019-20 Europa League at the Preliminary Preliminary-Qualification Playoff Stage. Someone update the Wikipedia “Honours” section.
Key Player: Former Irish international and current English international, Declan Rice – Honestly, we’re not bitter about losing Rice to England. He’s overrated anyway – I mean, I can think of approximately three better under-21 prospects currently operating in world football. No loss. We’ve got Glenn Whelan, after all.
Manager: The Holy Spirit, literally
Stadium: Frankly, this place hasn’t been the same since 34,000 people showed up on a magical day in 2003 for a Bon Jovi concert. Since then, it’s struggled to live up to expectations as a venue. Hopes are high that grand old Molineux will get its groove back when Mahmood, the chap from Italy’s 2019 Eurovision entry, plays to an anticipated full house on Waterloo Road in July 2026. Until then, we must wait and watch.
Key Player: Jorge Mendes – Wolves’ revival is a lovely story. All it took was a slightly dodgy Portuguese super-agent and a shady Chinese hedge fund with seemingly bottomless wealth. Truly a heart-warming underdog fairytale, it’s set to continue if Mendes can keep banging in the contracts week after week.