ALEX CROOK PREVIEW

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ALEX CROOK: Final Words / First Words

As the doors close on another Premier League season, talkSPORT’s chief football correspondent ALEX CROOK with his final words on the season just gone and his first words on the season ahead ….


FINAL WORDS

πŸ•” Everton are destined never to get relegated. The Toffees have circled the drain on so many occasions during the Premier League era, but always find a way to save themselves. In this case the freak 5-1 win at Brighton was season-defining.

πŸ•” Eddie Howe and Gary O’Neil between them became the flag bearers for English coaches. Scott Parker, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard were far more decorated players but are unlikely to get another Premier League job any time soon. Graham Potter will be back but also needs to repair his reputation.

πŸ•” Arsenal both over-performed and choked all at the same time. Nobody expected them even to make the top four let alone contest the title but the way they folded at the business end of the season suggests they still need to learn to deal with pressure.

πŸ•” Luton’s amazing rise from non-league just nine years ago to the Premier League is one of sport’s greatest ever feel-good stories. Trips to their ramshackle Kenilworth Road home will be a culture shock to pampered Premier League stars and I can see the happy Hatters dishing out some bloodied noses to the big guns.

πŸ•” Sometimes it is better to stand by your manager. Southampton, Leicester and Leeds all pulled the trigger but all find themselves in the Championship. Nottingham Forest and West Ham reaped rewards for being loyal to Steve Cooper and David Moyes (pictured below).


FIRST WORDS

πŸ—“οΈ It will take a brilliant team (and a heap of cash) to stop Manchester City becoming the first side in English football history to win four successive top-flight titles. Pep Guardiola’s men underwhelmed for the first half of the season but showed their class when it really counted. Who can possibly stop them?

πŸ—“οΈ Keep an eye on Aston Villa as dark horses for the top four. Unai Emery proved what a class act he is to take them from relegation contenders into Europe and their ambitious owners are set to spend big in the summer transfer window.

πŸ—“οΈ Roberto De Zerbi will be a man in demand. Brighton know he is there for a good time and not a long time. I don’t think it is a coincidence that Pep Guardiola has been so public in his praise for the Italian. I can easily see him as the next Manchester City manager.

πŸ—“οΈ Liverpool and Chelsea will roar back next season. Mauricio Pochettino does not believe it will take much to turn Chelsea’s bloated squad into contenders again and I have faith in the Argentine. Jurgen Klopp admitted to me he was pleased to see the back of this season, but I sensed a glint in his eye when I warned him how important their summer rebuild will be! Alexis Mac Allister is Klopp’s top transfer target and can shine at Anfield.

πŸ—“οΈ Alejandro Garnacho (pictured below) is my player to watch for next season. Erik Ten Hag had initial question marks over the teenager’s professionalism, but the exciting winger really matured over the campaign. I can see him flourishing and leaving under performers like Jadon Sancho in his wake.

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ALEX CROOK


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