Where Your Premier League Team Needs To Improve Next Season

Charlie Mullan
By Charlie Mullan
 |  13 mins
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Where Your Premier League Team Needs To Improve Next Season

The 2021/22 Premier League season ended with another dramatic day as Manchester City came from 2-0 down at home to Aston Villa to win their fourth title in five seasons. Pep Guardiola’s side, who started the season as favorites with many online sports betting sites before the season started, were once again pushed all the way by Liverpool who missed out on the title by a point for the second time in four seasons. 

Tottenham secured the fourth and final Champions League place after winning 5-0 at Norwich with Son Heung-Min scoring twice to share the Golden Boot award with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.

At the bottom of the table, Burnley joined Norwich and Watford in next season’s Championship after losing 2-1 at home to Newcastle on the final day of the season. 

Those three teams will be replaced in the top flight by Fulham, Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest who beat Huddersfield 1-0 in the Championship Playoff Final. 

Between now and the start of the new Premier League season on August 6, managers will reflect on the past season wondering where things went wrong last time out and how they can improve things.

And that goes for Guardiola as well. The Spaniard knows he and his team cannot afford to standstill, which is why they have won the race to sign Erling Haaland from Dortmund. City have been installed as early favorites with many of the leading betting sites to win three successive titles next season.

We’ve analyzed the stats from the 2021/22 season and highlight areas where teams need to find ways to improve.

If you find a free bet or two in your accounts, then why not use it now before the season starts as the odds can be much better now than when the season gets under way.

Champions Need To Be More Clinical

It seems petty to criticise Manchester City after they withstood the pressure put on them by Liverpool, but there are areas the champions can improve in. Pep Guardiola’s side finished the campaign one point clear of Jurgen Klopp’s side despite scoring 99 goals.

Had City been a little more accurate with their shooting, they could and should have won the title by a greater margin. Guardiola’s side hit the woodwork a league high 24 times throughout their title-winning season with Kevin de Bruyne and Phil Foden cursing their luck four times each.

Luckily, when trailing 2-0 in their final game of the season, efforts from Ilkay Gundogan (2) and Rodri found the back of the net and up the woodwork otherwise it would have been Liverpool celebrating a championship win. Check out Manchester City's stats for the 2021/22 season here.

To Beat City, Liverpool Have To Beat City

Liverpool found out the hard way just how difficult it is to win the quadruple. Jurgen Klopp got permission from the Anfield board to go all-in to do it this season with the January arrival of Luis Diaz giving Klopp five top quality strikers to choose from. As Liverpool's stats for last season shows, the Reds had no problem scoring goals, averaging 2.47 a game. 

It almost paid off but the Reds fell just a point short of the champions to miss out on the title by the smallest of margins for the second time in four seasons. Klopp will spend the summer looking at his team’s performances wondering what they could have done differently that would have helped them finish top.

The simple answer can be found in the two matches against City which both ended in 2-2 draws. Had Liverpool won just one of those, like they did in the FA Cup semi-final, or found a way to beat third-placed Chelsea, Liverpool would have won the title. 

Chelsea’s Owners Will Want Better Defending

Chelsea face a massive summer with new owners now confirmed which should bring stability to the club that derailed their season in the final few months of the season. Thomas Tuchel will be expected to bring a trophy back to Stamford Bridge which was a regular occurrence not too long ago. 

The Club World Cup success aside, the 2021/22 season will be seen as a disappointment as the Blues finished 19 points behind the champions City. It’s easy to forget that Chelsea were leading the league at the start of December, when they were averaging 2.35 points from their opening 14 games and according to Chelsea's stats for last season, they only lost six games..

But that fell to 1.70 for the remaining 24 matches as second half goals became an issue for Thomas Tuchel’s side. Of the 33 league goals Chelsea conceded, 23 (69.7%) of them came in the second half. Considering they were the only team in the league not to trail at half-time courtesy of the league low 10 first half goals they conceded, this is an area Tuchel will want to address.

Conte Can’t Just Rely On Kane And Son

Where would Tottenham be without Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min? It’s probably best that Spurs fans don’t spend long thinking about that because the answer is not one they would like to see. The pair can lay claim to Golden Boot awards in the last two seasons with Son sharing this season’s accolade with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah 12 months after Harry Kane pipped Salah to the honour. 

Kane and Son scored 40 (57.9%) of Tottenham’s 69 Premier League goals this season while combining for 16 assists. Manager Antonio Conte has a lot to thank the pair for during his time in north London. Six own goals was third on Tottenham’s goalscoring list in the league and the Italian knows that he needs to find goals from other outlets next term as they embark on a Champions League campaign for the first time in three seasons. 

Dejan Kulusevski has shown in the few months he has been at Spurs that he can take the goalscoring burden off the other two, but Conte will have had an eye on a striker or two to buy in the summer transfer window to take some of the pressure off Kane and Son. You can check out all Tottenham's key stats from last season, right here.

Gunners Must Hit The Ground Running

Nothing is won in the first month of the season, but ground can be lost in a team’s quest to achieve their goals throughout the season. Arsenal were one of three teams without a point at the end of August when three rounds of fixtures had been played. Norwich and Wolves were the others as they ended up relegation and missing out on European football respectively. 

Arsenal did manage to turn things around but when it came to must-win games at the end of the season, Mikel Arteta’s side choked as they surrendered fourth spot to north London rivals Spurs. It’s the sixth successive season in which the Gunners have finished below Spurs. 

The Spaniard will want his side to show better powers of recovery after going a goal down. They conceded the opening goal 11 times last season and recovered to win just once. Those three points were all they took from a possible 33. More Arsenal data for the 2021/22 season can be found here.

Resilience Needed For Ten Hag To Succeed

Eric Ten Hag knows he has a massive battle on his hands to make Manchester United challengers for the title once again. After finishing second, 12 points behind neighbours City, last season was supposed to be the season when United made strides to close the gap at the top. Instead, Manchester United's stats showed they lost 12 games to finish sixth, 35 points behind the back-to-back champions.  

Ten Hag won’t be afforded much time to turn things around as the Old Trafford faithful will demand improvements immediately. There are so many things the Dutchman needs to fix and one of these is their ability to bounce back in games. 

During the 2020/21 season, United won 10 of the 15 games when they conceded the opening goal. Last season, United allowed their opposition to score the first goal 17 times and won only twice. The negative body language of the players when they fell behind was evident for all to see and their opponents capitalised on that.

Hammers Have To Show Up At Top Teams

For West Ham, it’s a case of ‘if you can’t beat them, you can’t join them’. The Hammers want to be a top four team, but their inability to claim away wins against sides in the top half of the table means they will continue to miss out on a top four finish. A look at West Ham's stats for last season shows they won 16 games, but they lacked a statement win. 

On the road to the nine teams that completed the top half of the league, David Moyes’ side failed to win any, taking just one point from a possible 27 thanks to a 2-2 draw at Leicester. 

Spurs, who did finish fourth, lost four of their games, but they did win 3-2 at the Etihad and took a point from Anfield after a 1-1 draw. 

There is no doubt West Ham are a much better team now than before Moyes joined them and their final league position of seventh could have been improved on had it not been for their impressive run to the semi-finals of the Europa League where they were knocked out by the eventual winners Eintracht Frankfurt.

Clean Sheets Must Be A Priority For Foxes

Following back-to-back fifth place finishes, Leicester ended the season eighth, but it could have been worse had the Foxes not picked up 10 points from their final four fixtures. Brendan Rodgers knows he needs to strengthen his defence in the summer if they are to qualify for European football at the end of next season.

Rodgers’ future was a major talking point throughout the season as he was linked with several jobs including the vacancy at Manchester United. Now that his future is at the King Power Stadium, Rodgers can set about improving Leicester’s defence. 

Leicester's data from last season shows the Foxes conceded 1.55 goals per game as talisman Jonny Evans missed 20 games through injury which is one factor into why the Foxes were so fragile at the back. Just seven clean sheets in 38 league games is a poor return and only Leeds (5) and relegated pair Norwich (6) and Watford (4) registered fewer. 

Fewer Draws, More Wins For Potter’s Seagulls

Graham Potter has been linked with a few managerial vacancies over the course of the previous season and it’s no wonder why. Potter has the Seagulls flying in the right direction and their ninth place finish was the club’s highest in the Premier League era. 

Looking at Brighton's stats, things could and should have been a higher position given the fact Brighton drew more games than any other team. Had they turned just three of those 15 stalemates into wins, Brighton could have finished seventh and be preparing for European football next season.

Arsenal drew the fewest number of games, drawing just three times and if they had turned three of their 13 defeats into draws, the Gunners would be playing Champions League football next season. As for Brighton, European football next season is well within their grasp if they continue to progress like they have under Potter and turn draws into wins.

Wolves Paid The Penalty For Rash Defending

Keeping teams goalless in the Premier League is hard enough as it is without giving the opposition free opportunities to score. Therefore defending in the penalty box has to be right and with the introduction of VAR, arms have to be kept in a ‘normal’ position.

Wolves missed out on qualification for Europe following a dismal end of season run that saw them fail to win any of their last seven games. Manager Bruno Lage will try to put that right in the off-season as well as their decision making in their own penalty box. Only relegated Norwich (12) conceded more penalties than Wolves who conceded 10 spot kicks.

Of those 10 penalties, Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa faced all 10 and was beaten eight times from 12 yards. Who knows where the Molineux side would have finished in the league had it not been for the penalties they gave away. Wolves' stats for 2021/22 showed they lost more games than they won, only won one of the eight games in which they conceded a goal from the penalty spot.

Magpies Need To Stay Focused For 90 Minutes

It’s not very often a manager whose team finished in mid-table is in consideration for manager of the year. But Eddie Howe deserves to be in the conversation after guiding Newcastle to 11th after the Magpies failed to win any of their opening 14 games under Steve Bruce. Newcastle's stats shows they lost 15 games last season, but six of them came in the first 10 games. 

Bruce paid the price for that dismal start and the club’s new owners decided Howe was the right man to bring some much needed stability to St James’ Park. Now regarded as one of the richest clubs in Europe, Newcastle fans expect some big name signing to join them in the summer, but Howe has to make sure they have the right attitude to play for him.

One of the areas Howe will be working on ahead of next season is their ability to finish games better. Howe’s side were outscored 15-6 in the final 15 minutes of matches which prevented Newcastle from finishing in the top half of the table.

Palace Could Be In Europe If Not For Late Goals

A few eyebrows were raised when Crystal Palace announced that Patrick Vieira would be their next manager, but the French World Cup winner silenced his critics with a solid first season in charge of the Eagles. 

Reaching the semi-finals of the FA Cup gave the fans a rare day out at Wembley while in the league, Vieira’s side finished 12th, two places and four points better off than the previous campaign.

Crystal Palace's stats for last season showed they finished the season with more goals scored than conceded. However, it’s a case of how things could have been much better had Palace not dropped 10 points in the final 15 minutes. Had they not squandered those points, the Eagles would have finished the season on 58 points, the same number as Manchester United who finished sixth.

Sleepy Bees Caught Cold Too Often

Brentford were the only one of the three promoted teams to extend their stay for a second season and they did so comfortably finishing 11 points clear of the relegation zone. Brentford's stats for last season show they won 13 games, but there was a spell during the season that suggested the Bees had hit a wall when they took just eight points from a possible 42, but the Bees recovered to stay up.

During that dismal run, Thomas Frank’s side failed to score the first goal in all 14 contests and conceded the opening goal 13 times. However, after picking up Christian Eriksen in the January transfer window, they picked up six crucial wins to ensure they would feature in the top flight next season.

One area Frank will demand an improvement in, is the way they start matches. The Bees managed to score just one goal in the opening 10 minutes while conceding six times. The Premier League is difficult enough without giving an opponent an early advantage and this must be addressed next term.

Villa Need To Do Better Against Top Teams

Steven Gerrard knew how difficult it would be to manage in the Premier League for the first time and after his first campaign came to an end, Gerrard won’t be happy to see his Aston Villa side occupying 14th place. The truth of the matter is, Villa's stats don't make for great reading as they finished closer to relegation (10 points) than they did qualifying for Europe (11 points).

Gerrard will reshape his squad for next season and another full pre-season will help him get across to his players the way he wants them to play. One area that Villa need to improve in, is in games against the top five. 

Villa were one of four teams that failed to take a single point from any of the clubs that finished in the top five. Improve this part of their game and Villa should be capable of finishing in the top half of the table. 

Saints Need Cure For Half-Time Hiccups

If the Premier League table was decided on first half performances, Southampton would have finished sixth last season. Their first half results would have earned them 52 points, but that drops 17 points to 35 in the second half. 

Ralph Hasenhuttl side ended the campaign in 15th place, the same position as last season, although their total of 40 points was three fewer which will not sit easy with the Austrian or Saints supporters. 

Southampton's data shows they conceded 24 goals more than they scored and it seems that half-time comes at a bad time for Southampton. If Hasenhuttl can address this matter, then the south coast side should be able to improve on their disappointing finishing positions in the last two seasons.

Toffees To Improve Against Bottom Half Teams

Last season will be one Everton fans will want to forget in a hurry, but the realisation that relegation to the Championship was a distinct possibility until the final week of the season. Frank Lampard has a big summer ahead of him righting the wrongs of last season to make sure last season was simply a blip. None of Everton's statistics from last season make for comfortable reading.

Injuries played a part in the struggles encountered by the Toffees with Dominic Calvert-Lewin featuring in just 17 games. Thankfully for Everton Richarlison scored the goals when they mattered most to ensure the Toffees survived.

Next season, Lampard’s side must do better against the teams in the bottom half of the table. Ten defeats from 18 games is simply not good enough if they are to climb into the top half of the table.

Squad Building A Must At Elland Road

When Patrick Bamford got injured in September and again in December, the alarm bells should have gone off at Elland Road telling them they needed to sign a striker in the January transfer window. For some reason, manager Marcelo Bielsa decided not to.

It was a decision that almost had catastrophic consequences as Leeds waited until the final day of the season to guarantee their place in next season’s Premier League. Bielsa was sacked at the end of February and new manager Jesse Marsch was the man to get the team over the line. 

Leeds started a total of just 22 players last season and whoever is in charge of the Whites going into next season, additions have to be made to strengthen the squad. You can check out the key data for all the players that played last season in Leeds' stats section.

A Summer Of What-Ifs Awaits Burnley

Burnley went into the final game of the season with their fate in their own hands. Beat Newcastle and they stayed in the Premier League. However, they lost 2-1 and would have survived had Leeds lost at Brentford. But a last minute penalty earned Leeds a 2-1 win to condemn Burnley to the Championship.

Many pundits have feared the worst for the Clarets who can ill afford to lose the money guaranteed from being in the Premier League which could lead to the club selling their star players like goalkeeper Nick Pope and forward Maxwell Cornet. 

As Burnley's stats show, they failed to win any of their final four games which helped sealed their fate. Relegation is a chance for Burnley to promote players from their youth team and whoever their manager is next term, getting the ball down and keeping it will be a must. Burnley were relegated with the worst possession percentage of any team in the league with just 38.1 per cent. Champions Manchester City had 68.2 per cent possession.

Vicarage Road Too Welcoming For Visitors

To avoid relegation, a team needs to give themselves the best chance possible to stay up. Making their home ground a fortress is often a quote offered up by managers and players alike before and during a season. Watford's statistics show they lost a total of 27 games and 15 of those came at home.

As Watford prepare for life back in the Championship, after just one season, they know they could and should have done more to make Vicarage Road a more intimidating place to visit for opposition players.

Picking up just eight points on home soil is a terrible return from 19 games and that is one of the reasons why they were relegated with three games left to play. If they do bounce back and win promotion back to the top flight, making their home a fortress needs to be a priority.

Too Much Reliance On Pukki Cost The Canaries

Norwich were the first team to be relegated this season when on May 1, they lost 2-0 to Aston Villa and Burnley came from behind to beat Watford. The writing was on the wall for the Canaries who can have no excuse for their relegation.

Norwich came close to equaling the lowest goals total in the history of the Premier League, but Derby and Sheffield United’s total of 20 remains intact for another season anyway. Stats for the Canaries showed they ended the season with just 23 goals with Teemu Pukki scoring 11 of them (47.8%).

Lessons were not made from Norwich’s previous season in the top flight when Pukki scored 11 (42.3%) of his side’s 26 goals. If Norwich win promotion back to the Premier League, they will need to have more of a threat in front of goal and not rely on one person to score the goals to keep them up.

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Charlie spent 11 years as a sports reporter at the Hull Daily Mail before joining the Press Association where he helped set up their bespoke betting channel using his sports data to provide content to accompany odds operators were offering in key matches. Charlie is the sports editor for bookmakers.com covering everything from the Premier League to the NFL.

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