After another summer of pre-season festivities, the Premier League returns to our lives in just four days.
For some clubs on these shores the summer has been dominated by blockbuster bouts against the cream of Europe, while others have taken a more low-key approach and locked horns with some of the continent’s more middling sides.
But, whether the top brass opted for a stateside sojourn, Asian adventure or a close-to-home tour, every Premier League side has had to pit their wits against a whole host of interesting opposition.
So who were those clubs, and how did each side fare across the past couple of months? Read on for a club-by-club review of their pre-season results.
Matches: Colorado Rapids 0-3 Arsenal, Arsenal 2-1 Bayern Munich (International Champions Cup), Arsenal 3-0 Fiorentina (International Champions Cup), Real Madrid 2-2 (3-2 pen) Arsenal (International Champions Cup), Arsenal 1-2 Lyon (Emirates Cup), Angers 1-1 (3-4 pen) Arsenal, Barcelona 2-1 Arsenal (Joan Gamper Trophy).
It has been an up-and-down summer for the Gunners; emphatic triumphs over Bayern and Fiorentina preceded a commendable draw with Los Blancos, before French outfits Lyon and Angers beset the growing momentum in north London. Unai Emery’s side brought a close to their preparations for the new campaign by further highlighting their defensive frailties, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles netted an own goal against Barca in their Joan Gamper Trophy defeat.
Matches: Minnesota United 0-3 Aston Villa, Shrewsbury 0-1 Aston Villa, Walsall 1-5 Aston Villa, Charlton 1-4 Aston Villa, RB Leipzig 1-3
Five matches, five wins for the newly-promoted club, with a blistering 3-1 triumph over Julian Nagelsmann’s newlook Die Roten Bullen the pick of the bunch. Dean Smith also oversaw three successive wins over English lower-tier opposition as preparations have now concluded for their curtain raiser against Spurs this weekend.
Matches: AFC Wimbledon 2-3 Bournemouth, Girona 2-1 Bournemouth, West Brom 0-0 Bournemouth, Brentford 1-3 Bournemouth, Bournemouth 3-4 Lazio, Bournemouth 3-0 Lyon
It’s been a real mixed bag for Eddie Howe, but some very convincing results for him take encouragement from heading into the new campaign. Against overseas opposition, the Cherries lost to both Girona and Lazio, but clinically humbled Lyon 3-0 to round off the South Coast club’s pre-season exertions in fine fashion.
Brighton & Hove Albion
Matches: Liefering 2-5 Brighton, Crawley Town 0-1 Brighton, Fulham 2-1 Brighton, Birmingham 0-4 Brighton, Brighton 2-1 Valencia
A first chance for Graham Potter to evaluate his new playing squad and implement his ideas; and on the whole, it has been a rallying summer for Chris Hughton’s successor, with a final pre-season win over Valencia offering plenty of promise while leaving an exultant mood at the Falmer Stadium.
Matches: Burnley 1-0 Fulham, Port Vale 1-3 Burnley, Crewe 1-0 Burnley, Fleetwood 0-2 Burnley, Wigan 2-2 Burnley, Burnley 6-1 Nice, Burnley 2-0 Parma
There has been little change in Lancashire but plenty to ponder for Sean Dyche, with the Clarets enjoying impressive wins over Nice and Parma, not to mention some tidy results against lower league English opposition.
Matches: Bohemians 1-1 Chelsea, St Patrick’s Athletic 0-4 Chelsea, Barcelona 1-2 Chelsea (Rakuten Cup), Reading 3-4 Chelsea, Red Bull Salzburg 3-5 Chelsea, Borussia Monchengladbach 2-2 Chelsea
Frank Lampard has really had to sink his teeth into hotseat proceedings this summer as the Chelsea legend prepares for life in the Stamford Bridge dugout after just one season of his nascent managerial career; and a convincing win over Barca has left many Blues fans purring at the possibilities, but having seen his side concede eight goals in the previous three matches, there remains a modicum of uncertainty in west London.
Matches: Luzern 1-1 (5-6 pen) Palace, Young Boys 2-0 Palace, Barnet 6-2 Palace, Nottingham Forest 1-0 Palace, Bristol City 0-5 Palace, AFC Wimbledon 2-2 Palace, Palace 0-4 Hertha Berlin
Don’t let the ‘thug life’ shades deceive you, the Eagles have been anything but cut-throat this summer, with Roy Hodgson’s side having endured one of the worst pre-season campaigns of any Premier League side.
Humbling defeats to non-league Barnet and Hertha Berlin spell concern in south London, while the prospect of entering the new campaign without Aaron Wan-Bissaka and a head-turned Wilfried Zaha – without having really invested in the squad – has all the makings of a difficult 2019/20 for Palace.
Matches: Kariobangi Sharks 1-1 (4-3 pen), Everton, Sion 0-0 Everton, Monaco 0-1 Everton, Wigan 0-0 Everton, Werder Bremen 0-0 Everton
It has been a very tentative summer for the Toffees with just the single win and only two goals scored across five matches. Marco Silva will be hoping new recruit Moise Kean can prove a more prolific marksman than his pre-season strikers.
Matches: Scunthorpe 0-1 Leicester, Cheltenham 1-2 Leicester, Cambridge United 0-3 Leicester, Stoke 1-2 Leicester, Rotherham 2-2 Leicester, Leicester 2-1 Atalanta
It has been a domestic summer for the Foxes these past few months, with Brendan Rodgers’ side only testing themselves against just the single foreign opponent: Atalanta. But, they passed that test with flying colours and also went unbeaten across their entire pre-season campaign, leaving an aura of optimism despite the seemingly inevitable departure of Harry Maguire.
Matches: Tranmere 0-6 Liverpool, Bradford City 1-2 Liverpool, Liverpool 2-3 Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool 1-2 Sevilla, Liverpool 2-2 Sporting CP, Liverpool 0-3 Napoli, Liverpool 3-1 Lyon
After easing past Tranmere and Bradford, Jurgen Klopp was made to sit on the touchline and watch his side lose their next three out of fours matches, including Napoli’s 3-0 thrashing in Edinburgh. A 3-1 win over Lyon has certainly lifted spirits to a degree, but there will no doubt be concern for the German tactician.
Matches: Man City 4-1 West Ham (Premier League Asia Trophy), Wolves 0-0 (3-2 pen) Man City (Premier League Asia Trophy), Kitchee SC 0-6 Man City, Yokohama F. Marinos 1-3 Man City
Apart from losing the Premier League Asia Trophy to Wolves, Pep Guardiola’s side were also accused by Chinese state media agency Xinhua of being “arrogant” and showing “utter disrespect”, so not quite smooth sailing for the Catalonian, as he heads into the new campaign with ambitions to become only the second manager to lift three consecutive Premier League titles.
Matches: Man Utd 2-0 Perth Glory, Man Utd 4-0 Leeds United, Man Utd 1-0 Inter Milan (International Champions Cup), Spurs 1-2 Man Utd (International Champions Cup), Kristiansund BK 0-1 Man Utd, Man Utd 2-2 (5-4 pen) AC Milan (International Champions Cup)
A first pre-season for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has yielded some exceptionally positive results, with wins over both Milan clubs and league rivals Spurs, and of course, that blitzing 4-0 rout against bitter adversaries Leeds United.
Subscribe to Squawka’s Youtube channel here.
Matches: Newcastle 0-4 Wolves (Premier League Asia Trophy), Newcastle 1-0 West Ham (Premier League Asia Trophy), Preston 2-1 Newcastle, Hibernian 1-3 Newcastle, Newcastle 2-1 Saint-Etienne
It has been a summer of substantial change on Tyneside, but recent results and recruitment have somewhat alleviated the immense frustration that has presided over St. James’ Park, if only by a fraction. Steve Bruce will be optimistic following the last two results, as well as his double transfer swoop over the weekend.
Matches: Arminia Bielefeld 2-2 Norwich, Schalke 1-2 Norwich, Norwich 1-3 Brentford, Luton 1-5 Norwich, Norwich 1-4 Atalanta, Norwich 1-0 Toulouse
Daniel Farke has opted against splashing the cash this summer, and with his side’s contrasting results picked up across these past dozen or so weeks, the Canaries enter the forthcoming season as something of an enigma.
Matches: Real Betis 0-1 Sheffield Utd, Burton 2-1 Sheffield Utd, Northampton 0-2 Sheffield Utd, Chesterfield 0-5 Sheffield Utd, Barnsley 1-4 Sheffield Utd, Stade de Reims 3-1 Sheffield Utd
The summer began with a dark cloud looming over Bramall Lane as an ownership battle raged on with the club’s hierarchy, with speculation even linking boyhood devotee Chris Wilder to an exit. However, things have since kicked on and the Blades have made a number of new signings as well as picking up some positive results in pre-season.
Matches: SC Rheindorf Altach 1-1 Southampton, Preston 1-3 Southampton, Guangzhou R&F 0-4 Southampton, Feyenoord 1-3 Southampton, Southampton 2-0 FC Koln
Like Rodgers at Leicester, Ralph Hasenhuttl came in midway through the season and has had his first taste of pre-season action at his latest club; and the ‘Alpine Klopp’ will be buoyed by what he has seen, with summer newcomers Danny Ings and Che Adams firing on all cylinders.
Matches: Juventus 2-3 Spurs (International Champions Cup), Spurs 1-2 Man Utd (International Champions Cup), Real Madrid 0-1 Spurs (Audi Cup), Spurs 2-2 (6-5 pen) Bayern (Audi Cup), Spurs 1-1 (3-4 pen) Inter Milan (International Champions Cup)
There doesn’t appear to be any hangover for the Lilywhites from last season, as Mauricio Pochettino has masterminded big wins over big clubs, including Los Blancos, the Bavarians and the Old Lady, as well as picking up some pre-season silverware to boot.
Matches: Ajax 2-1 Watford, Bayer Leverkusen 1-2 Watford, QPR 0-1 Watford, Watford 2-1 Real Sociedad
It has been a more subdued pre-season for the Hornets, but Javi Gracia will take solace from their three wins against Bayer, QPR and Real Sociedad, with the latter leaving a much-needed vibrancy at Vicarage Road as Watford play host to Brighton this weekend.
West Ham United
Matches: Rheindorf Altach 2-3 West Ham, Man City 4-1 West Ham (Premier League Asia Trophy), Newcastle 1-0 West Ham (Premier League Asia Trophy), Fulham 0-1 West Ham, Hertha Berlin 3-5 West Ham, West Ham 2-2 (2-4 pen) Athletic Bilbao
The Hammers began pre-season by picking up the Premier League Asia Trophy’s wooden spoon, placing bottom of the competition having lost to Newcastle, but they have since picked up, with new signings Sebastien Haller and Pablo Fornals both impressing.
Matches: Newcastle 0-4 Wolves (Premier League Asia Trophy), Wolves 0-0 (3-2 pen) Man City (Premier League Asia Trophy)
Wolves have only contested in two pre-season matches as Nuno Espirito Santo has had to juggle his side’s Europa League qualifying matches this summer. But they didn’t do too badly in their Asian double-header, with a thumping 4-0 win against Newcastle preceding their victory over reigning league champions, Man City, to clinch the 2019 Premier League Asia Trophy.