Chris Kamara: Premier League 2020-21 Talking Points
Hi guys, Kammy here! I’m really looking forward to offering my views on all of football’s hot topics. With the start of the Premier League season just around the corner, I like many can’t wait for things to get started.
If you haven’t already, don’t forget to build a team and go up against my entry in Footstock’s £100k freeroll. Don’t come crying to me when I beat you though!
Sheffield United and Wolves show what can be done
It’s fantastic that Leeds are back in the Premier League. It’s not going to be easy, as we all know, but they’ve been shown by Wolves and Sheffield United what can be done if you get it right.
Like Leeds, both of those sides were above-average Championship teams and the only real worry for them when they went up was a lack of goals. However, Wolves spent big in the transfer market, while Chris Wilder and Sheffield Utd kept hold of what they had and that was more than enough. Leeds will be hoping they can do a similar thing this time around.
I’m a Patrick Bamford fan, but the jury is still out on whether he’s going to score enough goals, which is perhaps why they’ve brought in Rodrigo. Bamford’s biggest asset is that he’s so often in the right place at the right time, so the more experience he gets under his belt, the more potent he’s going to become and that can only be a good thing for Leeds moving forward. Leeds fans will just be hoping he can start to do that this season!
Bielsa’s high press the key to Leeds’ success
Marcelo Bielsa has done a brilliant job and he deserves all the plaudits he’s been given. The one thing that’s really caught my eye since he’s been there is the high press he instils in his players. It perhaps went against Leeds slightly in his first season, where they just ran out of steam in the play-offs, but since then they’re really impressed me and many others with their work rate. It’s the thing that Liverpool are going to have to look out for because it really can unsettle teams, especially if they’re not used to it.
I can’t wait to see how he gets on in the Premier League. Will he stick to his guns and go with that high press or will he be slightly conservative given the scale of the opposition? It’s an absolutely fascinating conundrum and if there’s anyone who can get it right then it’s that man Bielsa. He’s a fantastic tactician and I’m really looking forward to seeing how he sets his teams up this season.
It doesn’t come much harder than an opening game against the Premier League champions, but whichever way it goes, I think it’s going to have little bearing on Leeds’ season. Of course, they’ll be looking to win the game and they’ll go out with that mindset, but I almost see it as a freebie for them. The fans aren’t going to judge them on the result of this game and that makes them a very dangerous proposition for Liverpool. Playing without pressure makes things considerably easier and there’s enough talent in that side to cause Jurgen Klopp’s side problems.
Hard for Klopp to spend
Some might ask why Liverpool haven’t spent much money given the way their rivals are going about the transfer market, but it’s hard to go out and buy top-class players when you already have them in your side.
When a club gets to the level that Liverpool have, if you bring in someone of top-quality where does he fit in? Yes, it improves the squad, but do these sort of players really want to sit on the bench? Once you start winning things and players become accustomed to being in the side more often than not if you go out and sign someone there’s a potential it can upset the applecart. It’s a problem that all the top teams and top managers have to deal with and it will be interesting to see what Klopp does between now and the end of the transfer window.
If you identify a weakness, then of course go out and fix it, but where are the weaknesses in this Liverpool side? I can’t see too many!
Added pressure trying to retain the title
When a side tries to retain the title, there’s considerably more pressure than there was the first time. The players know they have to win a certain amount of games in order to win it again and that isn’t easy to cope with. We saw it affect Manchester City last season and it’s why so many teams fail to win the league back-to-back.
Liverpool are now the biggest scalp in the league and all the other teams are vying to knock them off their perch. You have to play to your maximum week-after-week and if you fall below that standard, teams will beat you.
I think it’s going to be tough for them to retain it, I must admit. The way the other sides are strengthening as well as the fact they won’t have the Anfield crowd behind them just makes me think it will be hard for them to win the league again. That’s not to say they can’t because they showed what a fantastic team they are last season, but those factors just make me think it won’t be them celebrating come the end of the season.