Who will score more Premier League goals this season, Wilfried Zaha or Gabriel Jesus?
Crystal Palace: Jay Crame, The Eagles Beak
Arsenal will still be regretting not spending the money to sign Wilfried Zaha a few seasons back. Instead, they opted for a repayment plan option – like they have so often done – and brought in Nicolas Pepe for a club record fee of £72m, when all instalments have been settled, unless he is sold before that happens.
Since then, Zaha v Pepe has been the comparison for Arsenal fans in a desperate bid to prove they made the right choice. Of course, the Ivorian has had a few successes, but it’s nowhere near as many as the Gunners would have had if they had signed his compatriot, the proven Zaha.
Their hesitancy has been Palace’s gain. Zaha heads into the new campaign off the back of a 14-goal Premier League season – his best yet and impressive for a player who does not always play as a central striker.
Step forward the next challenger: Gabriel Jesus. He certainly has pedigree, and is likely to be a much worthier competitor – but that does depend on Arsenal playing to his strengths.
The pressure is on the former Manchester City man as the main striker. Zaha has none of that so, of course, we will back Wilf.
Arsenal: Charlene Smith, AFTV
This isn’t even a question.
Jesus will 100% score more goals than Zaha. Our new number nine is a clinical striker who has played consistently in the Champions League and has been coached by Guardiola. It’s fair to say that he did not get the minutes he deserved at Manchester City, but he is now at a big club with a fanbase that love and support him.
At Arsenal it will be completely different than at City. He is our main man, he will get minutes and score goals. I reckon he will be in contention for the Golden Boot this season.
Zaha is a great player, Palace’s talisman, and I mean no disrespect to him – he is a player that I like. But the project at Arsenal is going to bring the best out of our players and Zaha will not be hitting those heights.
Pre-season has been a little taster of what to expect from Arsenal. I am confident that Jesus will get more goals than Zaha this season, starting with the opening Premier League game on Friday!
Fabio Carvalho joined Liverpool in the summer, but should he have stayed at Fulham for another season?
Fulham: Dan Crawford, Hammy End
Every Fulham fan was desperate for Fabio Carvalho to give us even only one more memorable year at Craven Cottage, but it wasn’t to be.
The gifted attacking midfielder exuded class in Fulham’s age-group sides and shone in a sensational individual season that saw him win the Fulham Supporters’ Trust’s Johnny Haynes’ Trophy for academy player of the year.
Carvalho’s quality was not released by the risk-averse Scott Parker until the Whites were already relegated, but he became the fulcrum of Fulham’s formidable attack under Marco Silva.
A measure of the teenager’s confidence came when he told an interviewer that he wanted to win the Ballon d’Or one day – but he is a polite and focused young man.
He scored 10 goals and added eight assists – rejecting a January move to Anfield – as the Whites won the Championship. Carvalho could have aided his development by playing every game for Fulham, but opted to move on.
His time in the Fulham first team might have been fleeting, but he gave us so many magical moments and leaves with the good wishes of everyone at the Cottage.
Liverpool: Harriet Prior, The Anfield Wrap
With 11 goals, eight assists, and an abundance of talent on display last season, there is little wonder Fulham fans wanted Carvalho to stay another year. His move to Liverpool, though, could not have been better timed.
He’s a player who already boasts positional fluidity, pace and attacking flair – and glimpses in pre-season prove that his potential is frightening. And is there a better manager in world football than Jurgen Klopp at nurturing young talent? Arguably not. Harvey Elliott, Curtis Jones and Trent Alexander-Arnold are three of many who are testament to that.
While regular first-team football is not guaranteed, Carvalho will be inspired to push himself and take his chances when they arrive. Training alongside attacking, creative players such as Mohamed Salah and Thiago Alcantara – to name just two – at Liverpool provides an unrivalled opportunity to learn from the best, and to eventually become the best.
We saw last season how vital squad depth is when fighting on all four fronts, and the 19-year-old simply couldn’t turn down the opportunity to be part of another push for trophies in his first season at Anfield.
The future of Klopp’s side is beginning to form – and Carvalho has a big part to play.
Newcastle have more league titles, Forest have more European Cups – but which is the bigger club?
Newcastle: Pete Davey, LoadedMag NUFC
Are Newcastle a bigger club than Nottingham Forest? What is considered a “big club”? Stadium? Fans? Signing players? It seems that a European Cup win from the 80s or a string of league titles up to 1926 are no longer part of the discussion. We’re in the Premier League era, the here and now, so there is no question in my mind.
It’s the cathedral on the hill, sold out with 52,000 fans roaring every week. It’s the sold-out away grounds following the lads up and down the country (occasionally in Europe too). And it’s the outstanding ‘Wor Flags’, who are easily the best fan-funded flag display team in the UK. We continually set the standard.
Champions League, Uefa Cups, regularly fighting for the top five – we have been there and done it. One further thing that cannot be forgotten is the ability to consistently attract top talent, even in the dark ages of Mike Ashley – Patrick Kluivert, Laurent Robert, Yohan Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa and Bruno Guimaraes to name just a few. That shows how this club is considered, not just in England but across Europe too.
Because of those points, it is without question that Newcastle are the bigger club.
Nottingham Forest: Ben Dore, Dore on Tour
After a 23-year absence from top-flight football, and despite being a club with the pedigree and history of Nottingham Forest, we have to be realistic and accept that we are no longer viewed as being a big club.
However, that all depends how you measure “big”.
The consistent demand for tickets and showing us play live on television, combined with the statement from Wembley that they had never experienced numbers of enquiries like it for the play-off final, shows that we are still massive, despite what some may think.
In the words of the great man: “I hope nobody is stupid enough to write us off.”
If Pep Guardiola were West Ham manager, would he do a better job than David Moyes?
West Ham: Mia Claydon, Green Street Hammers
Barcelona. Bayern Munich. Manchester City. Guardiola has led several European powerhouses.
During this time, he has had access to billions of pounds and has assembled teams of world-class players. Guardiola is known for tiki-taka football, impressive possessional play and having the best players in each position.
If Pep took over West Ham right now, he would struggle to change the current squad’s style. The Hammers have a history of playing without possession for long periods. Their recent success has come from attacking quickly from wide positions, being accurate with set-pieces, and converting low possession into goals when opportunities present themselves.
West Ham, unlike City, play long forward passes when they regain possession, usually from Declan Rice or Aaron Cresswell. Unlike the champions, the Hammers prefer a mid-to-low block, synchronising when out of position. City are known for their positional reaction when they don’t have the ball, with Bernardo Silva pushing ahead of Rodri depending upon the position of an opponent’s defensive midfielder.
Meanwhile, Moyes’ management has led West Ham to two consecutive European seasons, which was unthinkable for many fans only a few years ago.
Although Pep is one of the best managers in the world, I believe the best is yet to come for Moyes’ side and they deserve to see further success.
Manchester City: Ger Deegan, Maine Road Ramble
Moyes has a done a fantastic job despite the doubts I had when he initially landed in east London. He has found a way to change his style and rejuvenated what many thought was an average squad of players to begin with. He has created something really positive at London Stadium, which for years was nothing like the fortress of Upton Park.
I suppose the answer to this will lie in whether you think Guardiola would improve West Ham? I think he would – and I don’t mean this in an entirely on the pitch sense, either.
This is not a criticism of Moyes in any way, but I believe Guardiola would improve players in a greater manner on the pitch such is the way he sees and thinks about the game of football. I also believe he not only picks your XI players on a Saturday, but also changes the entire culture around your club.
City have changed their entire DNA right the way through the club in order to facilitate Guardiola and the way he operates. He is not just a fantastic coach in how he thinks but also demands a complete mindset shift from top to bottom of your club.
I believe the same thing would happen at West Ham, despite the on the pitch success they have enjoyed in recent years.
Would any Everton players make it into Chelsea’s best starting XI?
Everton: Briony Bragg, This Fan Girl
Thomas Tuchel has questioned his Chelsea squad after some toothless pre-season displays. How many of their players are realistically considering their options?
You can’t say the same of Frank Lampard’s Everton. New signings James Tarkowski, Ruben Vinagre and Dwight McNeil have slotted in beautifully, and he only wants more. At Everton you’re fighting for your place.
Who could walk into Chelsea’s XI? First, England’s number one – Jordan Pickford. Edouard Mendy is highly decorated, but he has not impressed in pre-season whatsoever.
Pickford under pressure is top class. He was our player of last season and arguably kept the Toffees in the Premier League. He could handle the scrutiny that will inevitably come knocking from Chelsea’s north London rivals for a top-four finish.
Moreover, do Chelsea have a real strike force? Timo Werner seems to mentally be elsewhere in Europe (a common problem for Chelsea and their strikers) and Kai Havertz hardly set the league alight with eight goals last season.
Play to his strengths and Dominic Calvert-Lewin is up there with the league’s top goalscorers. When fully fit he’s got power, strength and quality. After recent injury woes he’s hungry for goals too, an attitude Tuchel is crying out for.
Chelsea: Ross Mooring, Chelsea Fancast
If there was one Everton player I think would fit into this Chelsea team well it would be Calvert-Lewin. As we know, he’s a very good all-round striker who would be capable of leading the line at Chelsea, finishing chances, assisting others and initiating the press to boot.
Bar academy product Armando Broja, there isn’t a forward at the club who currently offers this as Thomas Tuchel seems to be entering the new season with a Havertz-Raheem Sterling combination as his primary option in attack.
Calvert-Lewin is the sort of footballer who could easily dovetail with these two as well as his England teammate Mason Mount and would surely be an improvement on the departed Romelu Lukaku.
Being cheeky, I wouldn’t say no to poaching Anthony Gordon from Goodison Park either. While Chelsea have a lot of attacking options to choose from already and could be buying another, the Toffees’ talented England winger seems set for the top.