Your Premier League club’s pre-season plans – The Athletic

Your Premier League club’s pre-season plans – The Athletic

By failing to prepare, you prepare to fail — or so the old saying goes.

The 2021-22 season may have only just finished but it won’t be long before Premier League teams find themselves in the heat of competition once again, and over the coming weeks, all 20 of them will be looking to get the most out of their preparations for 2022-23.

There’ll be globetrotting tours to wow international fans, warm-weather training camps in exotic locations and friendlies designed to help new signings and experienced campaigners blow out the cobwebs.

Here is what Premier League clubs are planning during pre-season.


Arsenal

Pre-season fixtures:

  • July 8: Nurnberg, Max-Morlock-Stadion, Nuremberg
  • July 16: Everton, M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore
  • July 20: Orlando City, Exploria Stadium, Orlando
  • July 23: Chelsea, Camping World Stadium, Orlando
  • July 30: Sevilla, Emirates Stadium

When do they report back for pre-season training? The week commencing June 27.

What to look out for: This pre-season, Arsenal are planning on two foreign training camps: an initial shorter one in Germany before a US tour which takes in Baltimore and Orlando. The club are also likely to confirm at least a couple more friendlies to ensure sharpness at the start of the season.

The identity of these opponents is yet to be revealed, although there is the possibility some of these will be held behind closed doors at the club’s London Colney training centre. The fixture against Sevilla will form part of a returning Emirates Cup.


Aston Villa

  • July 9: Walsall, Poundland Bescot Stadium
  • July 17: Leeds, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
  • July 20: Brisbane Roar, Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville
  • July 23: Manchester United, Optus Stadium, Perth
  • July 30: Rennes, Roazhon Park, France

When do they report back for pre-season training? TBC

What to look out for: In his first pre-season campaign as Aston Villa head coach, Steven Gerrard will be heading Down Under. Villa’s preparations for the 2022-23 season will be headlined by a tour of Australia, with games against familiar foes Leeds and Manchester United sandwiching a meeting with Brisbane Roar.

Villa’s tour will be a far cry from the pre-season schedule in 2021-22, where they played six domestic friendlies. 


Bournemouth

Pre-season fixtures:

  • July 30: Real Sociedad, Vitality Stadium

When do they report back for pre-season training? There is no set date as yet but Bournemouth’s players are expected to return for pre-season testing at the end of June. The likes of Chris Mepham, Ryan Christie and Jamal Lowe are currently on international duty, and are expected to join a little later.

What to look out for: After jetting away to sunny Marbella last year, Bournemouth are set for another exotic pre-season trip to the Algarve in Portugal, where Scott Parker took his Fulham squad in 2019. The tour will run from July 10-20 and the club are expecting to have “a couple of friendlies” in Portugal, as well as multiple at the Vitality Stadium.

If last season’s preparations are anything to go by, the warm weather, along with Parker’s gruelling training regimen, should be a fitting precursor for what looks set to be a tough season in the Premier League.

Scott Parker, Bournemouth

Scott Parker oversaw gruelling training camps during his time as Fulham manager (Photo: Robin Jones – AFC Bournemouth/AFC Bournemouth via Getty Images)

Brentford

Pre-season fixtures: 

  • July 9: TBC
  • July 16: Stuttgart, Zeppelinstadion, Friedrichshafen
  • July 23: Wolfsburg, venue TBC 
  • July 30: TBC

When do they report back for pre-season training? After enjoying an extended break following their first season in the Premier League, Brentford’s players will be expected to report back towards the end of June. Players who have been called up to represent their countries in the Nations League in June, including David Raya and Christian Norgaard, will be allowed to return slightly later.

What to look out for: Due to the pandemic, Brentford decided against travelling abroad last summer and held their training camp at St George’s Park. With the lifting of restrictions, they will be venturing out to south-west Germany this year for a week between July 12 and July 19, where they will play two friendlies. The opponents have yet to be confirmed but Brentford are in talks with Bundesliga clubs.

They plan to play five matches in total as they prepare for their second season in the top flight. The first game will be held on July 9 in London while the final fixture will take place at the Brentford Community Stadium on July 30. 


Brighton & Hove Albion

Pre-season fixtures:

When do they report back for pre-season training? Players not involved in internationals will report back on June 27. Those that have been on international duty return later on staggered dates, depending on when they finish with their countries.

What to look out for: Brighton travelled no further than Glasgow last year because of the pandemic, but a week-long training camp in alpine or summer holiday destinations somewhere in Europe is customary.

Portugal was popular during the Gus Poyet era, while other destinations have included Spain and Austria. A trip to the US is among Brighton’s plans (American Express and Nike are major sponsors).

The winter World Cup interruption has shortened this summer’s break but Brighton are heading to a training camp in Portugal in July, which will include at least one behind-closed-doors friendly.


Chelsea

Pre-season fixtures: 

  • July 16: Club America, Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas
  • July 20: Charlotte FC, Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte 
  • July 23: Arsenal, Camping World Stadium, Orlando

When do they report back for pre-season training? The Chelsea squad fly out to the US on July 9, although they are expected to start earlier at Cobham. Those involved in internationals during June will be given a longer break.   

What to look out for: The timing of Chelsea’s trip to the US couldn’t be any better. Plans to play across the Atlantic were already being put in place before Roman Abramovich was sanctioned. Now an American consortium is taking over, the club’s owners can show off their new asset on home soil.  

Thomas Tuchel’s squad will spend the first week training in Los Angeles, which should also get a bit of attention given two of the new investors, Todd Boehly and Mark Walter, also own a stake in the LA Dodgers. 

Chelsea used to be regular visitors to the US but this will be their first tour there since Antonio Conte was appointed as manager six years ago. The club will have nearly two weeks to prepare for the opening Premier League game on their return, so will organise more games to fill the gap.


Crystal Palace

Pre-season fixtures: 

  • July 15: Liverpool, National Stadium, Singapore
  • July 19: Manchester United, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
  • July 22: Leeds United, Optus Stadium, Perth

When do they report back for pre-season training? June 27

What to look out for: This is an unusual pre-season for Palace, with a trip to Australia and Singapore on the calendar. Despite travelling to Hong Kong for the Premier League Asia Trophy in 2017, recent tours have been based in Europe. 

There will be a home friendly, likely against international opposition, the weekend before the season starts but those not making the trip to the other side of the world will mostly have to settle for youth-team games to get their fix.

Melbourne Cricket Ground

Crystal Palace will play Manchester United at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (Photo: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Everton

Pre-season fixtures:

  • July 16: Arsenal, M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore
  • July 20: Minnesota United, Allianz Field, Minnesota

When do they report back for pre-season training? July 1

What to look out for: Although the wider warm-up fixture schedule is yet to be finalised by the club, particularly any domestic games, it should be a typical pre-season for Frank Lampard’s first spell of preparation as Everton manager.

There promises to be plenty of new faces, and some familiar ones gone, but Lampard is likely to try and implement his long-term footballing philosophy next season, and clues may be found in the shape of the team for some of their friendlies.


Fulham

Pre-season fixtures: 

  • July 16: Nice, Estadio Algarve, Portugal
  • July 17: Benfica, Estadio Algarve, Portugal
  • July 31: TBC, Craven Cottage

When do they report back for pre-season training? June 29

What to look out for: This pre-season will seem a world away from the experiences of the last two summers. In 2020, Fulham had 39 days to prepare for the Premier League while last year, the departure of Scott Parker meant pre-season began with veteran Stuart Gray overseeing proceedings.

This time, Fulham have a more structured approach to their planning and will be heading overseas for a short training camp in the Algarve, Portugal, in July. They will play in a mini tournament, the Algarve Trophy, at the Estadio Algarve before returning to the UK for their final preparations. There is also a final friendly planned ahead of the new campaign at Craven Cottage on July 31, too.


Leeds United

Pre-season fixtures:

  • July 14: Brisbane Roar, Cbus Super Stadium, Robina, Queensland
  • July 17: Aston Villa, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
  • July 22: Crystal Palace, Optus Stadium, Perth

When do they report back for pre-season training? TBC

What to look out for: Like a clutch of other Premier League teams, Leeds will be strutting their stuff in Australia this summer.

In a tour sure to evoke memories of their last trip Down Under in 2019, which was headlined by a clash with rivals Manchester United at the Optus Stadium in Perth, Jesse Marsch’s side will meet Premier League opposition again in Aston Villa and Crystal Palace, as well as taking on Brisbane Roar. Matches against the A-League side and Villa will form the Queensland Champions Cup.

Optus Stadium

Leeds will return to the Optus Stadium this summer, where they played Manchester United in 2019 (Photo: Will Russell/Getty Images)

Leicester

Pre-season fixtures: 

When do they report back for pre-season training? June 28

What to look out for: For once, there will be no showpiece home fixture on the eve of the season as the King Power Stadium is being used for the Community Shield. Leicester are expected to go away to France for a training camp after the first week of testing and return for a series of domestic friendlies, although so far, none of those games have been scheduled.


Liverpool

Pre-season fixtures:

  • July 12: Manchester United, Rajamangala Stadium, Bangkok
  • July 15: Crystal Palace, National Stadium, Singapore
  • July 30: Manchester City, King Power Stadium, Community Shield

When do they report back for pre-season training? The Liverpool squad will assemble at Kirkby’s AXA Training Centre on July 4.  

What to look out for: This will be a return to what was typical before the pandemic, with Liverpool going on a lucrative overseas tour before the focus shifts to a training camp behind closed doors in Austria.

Friendlies in Thailand and Singapore will represent Liverpool’s first trip to the Far East since 2017 when they went to Hong Kong. It forms part of their agreement with shirt sponsors Standard Chartered. The club have a hugely passionate fanbase in that part of the world and they are guaranteed two big turnouts for the games in Bangkok and Singapore. They are scheduled to fly out on July 9 and then return to Merseyside a week later.

Without a major international tournament this summer, Jurgen Klopp should have his full squad together for the full pre-season programme. You can expect a punishing training schedule, with double sessions most days. Tactically, the time will be spent trying to work on how the style of the team can evolve to stay unpredictable. It will be fascinating to see where new signing Fabio Carvalho fits in following his arrival from Fulham. Liverpool have no plans to loan out the youngster, who can play across the front line or as an attacking midfielder. 


Manchester City

Pre-season fixtures:

  • July 21: Club America, NRG Stadium, Houston
  • July 24: Bayern Munich, Lambeau Field, Green Bay
  • July 30: Liverpool, King Power Stadium, Community Shield

When do they report back for pre-season training? TBC

What to look out for: City will have the luxury of having their players back without worrying about international summer tournaments. Last year, they had more players away with their countries than any other top European club and that was reflected in the number of youngsters who played in their pre-season friendlies, which were played at the Academy Stadium.

That hampered their start to the league campaign, too, so they will be delighted to have proper time with the whole squad this summer. The most interesting aspects will be how Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez start life at their new club, and a US audience will get to see that now that travel is back on the agenda. There may even be a friendly against Barcelona at the Nou Camp, although it’s not been confirmed yet and a planned meeting last summer was cancelled.

Lambeau Field, Green Bay

Manchester City’s friendly against Bayern Munich will be the first association football match played at Lambeau Field, the home of the Green Bay Packers (Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Manchester United

Pre-season fixtures:

  • July 12: Liverpool, Rajamangala Stadium, Bangkok
  • July 15: Melbourne Victory, Melbourne Cricket Ground
  • July 19: Crystal Palace, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
  • July 23: Aston Villa, Optus Stadium, Perth
  • July 30: Atletico Madrid, Ullevaal Stadion, Oslo

When do they report back for pre-season training? New manager Erik ten Hag said some of the players will return on June 27.

What to look out for: The Ten Hag era will get underway nearly 10,000 miles away from Old Trafford when Manchester United travel to Thailand and Australia this summer.

Their first friendly of the summer pits them against rivals Liverpool in Bangkok before games against Melbourne Victory and Crystal Palace in Melbourne and Perth respectively, before things round off by renewing hostilities with Atletico Madrid, who knocked United out of the Champions League last season, in Oslo.

A typical globe-trotting pre-season awaits as United supporters search for signs of a new course of direction under their new manager.


Nottingham Forest

Pre-season fixtures:

When do they report back for pre-season training? TBC

What to look out for: This is very much not a typical pre-season, given that it will be the first in a generation in which Forest are preparing for the top flight.

Plans are not confirmed yet, with everyone still taking a breath after that dramatic play-off final, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a trip to Greece in the offing: Forest played owner Evangelos Marinakis’s “other” team, Olympiakos, in the summer of 2019 and there’s a good chance that he will want to show off his brand new Premier League team. 


Newcastle 

Pre-season fixtures

  • July 26: Benfica, Estadio da Luz
  • July 29: Atalanta, St James’ Park
  • July 30: Athletic Bilbao, St James’ Park

When do they report back for pre-season training? July 1

What to look out for: Newcastle’s plans remain unconfirmed following the cancellation of the Ohio Cup at short notice. Eddie Howe had meticulously planned a 10-day trip to Cincinnati for mid-July, with a training camp and matches against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Valencia and Villarreal scheduled, but they were informed earlier this month that it was no longer taking place.

Newcastle have since been exploring alternative options, with Howe still keen on the US if possible, but European trips are now being considered. What is vital is that Newcastle have a base at which to train and top-level opposition to face, unlike during their ill-fated tour across the Atlantic in 2015, which left Steve McClaren frustrated and his players undercooked before a campaign that ended in relegation.

Confirmed already is a trip to Lisbon to take on Benfica before back-to-back friendlies at St James’ Park against Atalanta and Athletic Bilbao, for which Howe is expected to split his squad.

Eddie Howe, Newcastle

Eddie Howe and Newcastle’s plans were disrupted by the cancellation of the Ohio Cup (Photo: Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

Southampton

Pre-season fixtures:

  • July 18: SK Austria Klagenfurt, Worthersee Stadion

When do they report back for pre-season training? Late June

What to look out for: Southampton’s annual pre-season trip to Austria is favoured by Ralph Hasenhuttl and is designed to maximise performance and fitness, as opposed to commercial gain. They will travel to the lakeside resort of Velden am Worthersee for one week on July 13. 

Whilst in Austria, Southampton have organised a fixture against Klagenfurt, who finished sixth in Austria’s Bundesliga, in their 32,000-capacity stadium. What is notable about this match is that Hasenhuttl’s son, Patrick, plays for Klagenfurt.


Tottenham Hotspur

Pre-season fixtures:

  • July 13: Team K League, Seoul World Cup Stadium, South Korea
  • July 16: Sevilla, Suwon World Cup Stadium, South Korea
  • July 23: Rangers, Ibrox
  • July 30: Roma, Sammy Ofer Stadium, Haifa, Israel

When do they report back for pre-season training? The plan is for those players who haven’t been involved in internationals since the season finished to return around Monday,  July 4. For those on international duty, they will return in time to fly with the team to South Korea on Saturday, July 9. 

What to look out for: Tottenham’s summer plans are fairly typical of a pre-COVID-19 world, with a combination of overseas trips and a game in the UK. South Korea will be fascinating given the presence in the Spurs ranks of Son Heung-min and the national team’s women’s captain Cho So-hyun. Their opponents for a friendly in Israel, meanwhile, Jose Mourinho’s Roma, will give the occasion extra spice.  


West Ham

Pre-season fixtures: TBC 

When do they report back for pre-season training? June 27

What to look out for: West Ham are yet to reveal plans for their pre-season friendlies ahead of the 2022-23 season. Their seventh-placed finish in the Premier League last season secured Europa Conference League football and with David Moyes’s side heading straight for the play-off round, they won’t have to play any competitive qualification matches before the new season gets underway on August 6.

Last season, the COVID-19 pandemic restricted West Ham to friendlies in England and Scotland.


Wolves

Pre-season fixtures:

When do they report back for pre-season training? This is likely to be Monday, June 27, for Wolves’ non-international players. The rest, like Conor Coady, Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho, will return to Compton Park a week or two later.

What to look out for: It certainly wouldn’t be a typical pre-season if Wolves didn’t play any matches! They’re working pretty furiously to sort out a week abroad in central Europe after a US tour, playing games against Newcastle, Valencia and Villarreal, and visiting Ohio and California, fell through.

As yet, no pre-season fixtures have been announced either at home or overseas.

(Top photo: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

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