New faces, old hands and a mid-season break – the talk of the Premier League

The clubs are preparing for the 30th season of the Premier League era, which begins on August 5.

Champions Manchester City are the favorites for the title, while Fulham, Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest are the newcomers.

Here, the PA news agency selects some of the talking points ahead of the 2022-23 campaign.

New era at Old Trafford

Manchester United’s new manager Erik ten Hag was appointed in April on a first three-year deal (Manchester United handout/PA)

(PA Media)

Erik ten Hag, Manchester United’s fifth permanent manager since the end of the Sir Alex Ferguson era, faces a major challenge to reignite the fortunes at Old Trafford. United have not won the title since Ferguson’s retirement in 2013 and are just coming off their worst season in the Premier League from a points perspective. This somber campaign came amid ongoing fan protests against the club’s owners, while starman Cristiano Ronaldo asked to leave the club this summer. Ten Hag has insisted Ronaldo will not be sold and is part of his plans. The former Ajax manager will be desperate for a strong start to his tenure as he seeks to succeed where David Moyes, Louis Van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ultimately all failed.

Unstoppable City?

Manchester City were crowned champions for the fourth time in five seasons in May after ending Liverpool’s quadruple bid with a thrilling 3-2 comeback win over Aston Villa. City start again as title favorites after strengthening their enviable ranks with prolific striker Erling Haaland and England midfielder Kalvin Phillips. Still, manager Pep Guardiola may have surprised some by allowing attacking duo Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus to join Premier League rivals Chelsea and Arsenal respectively. Liverpool, champions in 2020, have replaced Sadio Mane with Darwin Nunez and will most likely oust City, while Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is hoping Sterling can help close a 19-point gap with his former employers.

Winter World Cup

Gareth Southgate will attempt to guide England to the World Cup title during a six-week break in the Premier League fixture list (Nick Potts/PA).

(PA wire)

Due to this year’s World Cup, which takes place in November and December, the league will go on an unprecedented six-week break. The promotion will end after the games on November 12 and will only resume on Boxing Day – eight days after the final in Qatar. Clubs – and players – have become accustomed to major game disruptions due to the coronavirus pandemic, which lengthened the 2019/20 season and shortened the following one. FIFA’s decision to move their flagship tournament out of the summer months means the upcoming campaign will not be completed until the last weekend of May. After a series of Covid-related postponements last season, there will be limited room to rearrange games.

forest fanfare

Steve Cooper’s trophy ended Nottingham Forest’s 23-year wait for top-flight football by securing promotion at Wembley (Mike Egerton/PA)

(PA wire)

Football fans of a certain age will recall that Nottingham Forest were among the country’s leading clubs. Under Brian Clough, they won back-to-back European Cups in 1979 and 1980 and became the first members of the Premier League. But after relegation in 1999, Forest were absent for a generation during a prolonged crisis that spanned three seasons in the Third Division. Steve Cooper majestically made promotion via the play-offs last term to end 23-year exile. Aside from Ten Hag, the Welshman, whose summer recruits include Jesse Lingard, goes into the new campaign as the only manager with no Premier League experience. Woods fans are feeling back where they belong and hoping Cooper can keep them there.

crowd control

Confrontational pitch invasions became a worrying trend in English football at the end of last season (Peter Byrne/PA)

(PA wire)

Last season ended under a cloud due to an alarming trend of unsightly pitch invasions in English football. A Nottingham Forest fan has been jailed for headbutting Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp during the Championship play-offs, while Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira was sacked after he was goaded by an Everton supporter in another high-profile episode had been. The Football Association and the Premier League have announced tougher penalties to prevent further incidents, while authorities also want to target drug use and fans with smoke bombs and pyrotechnics. Premier League chief executive Mark Bullingham said the rise in anti-social behavior on the ground was “completely unacceptable”.

Manager under the magnifying glass

Although Ten Hag is the only new appointment as manager, a number of managers will be in the spotlight during their first full season at their current clubs. Antonio Conte and Eddie Howe are leading figures in this category. Conte has splashed the cash after pulling Tottenham back into the Champions League, while the speed at which Howe’s Saudi-backed Newcastle are progressing is also under scrutiny. Everton’s Frank Lampard and Leeds boss Jesse Marsch have mimicked Howe’s avoidance of relegation – albeit less emphatic – to convince fans of her abilities. Aston Villa’s Steven Gerrard is the other man trying to fully implement his methods after arriving in the middle of last season. New faces, old hands and a mid-season break – the talk of the Premier League

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