2018/19 KingFut Season Preview: Pharaohs in the Premier League
Many Egyptian footballers will be plying their trade in foreign leagues this season, but only three have managed to earn themselves a spot at the English top-flight, which is set to kick off this weekend.
The Premier League is arguably the best domestic competition in world football, and with all the pressure and all the stress, only players with the right mentalities and the best of talents can shine there. Egypt’s Mohamed Salah, Mohamed Elneny, and Ramadan Sobhi have arguably proven their qualities and will be representing Liverpool, Arsenal, and Huddersfield Town respectively in the 2018/19 Premier League season.
KingFut’s Muhammad Sayed provides a detailed season preview for the three Pharaohs in the Premier League and an overall assessment of how they could fit right into their teams’ starting line-ups.
The Egyptian King does not need any introduction. The Premier League’s best player and top scorer, who stole the spotlight during his debut season at Anfield, has a massive season ahead. Almost every football fan will be waiting for the 26-year-old to perform consistently week in and week out like he did last season.
While he already established himself as the No.1 player on Liverpool’s teamsheet, the Egyptian will have many quality players to back him up as Jürgen Klopp signed Xherdan Shaqiri, Monaco’s Fabinho, RB Leipzig’s Naby Keita, and his former Roma teammate Alisson.
Signings like Fabinho and Naby Keita could offer the former Chelsea winger a lot of help when coming back on defense. With an inverted three-man midfield, including Henderson/Wijnaldum, Fabinho and Keita, Salah could have the freedom to stay wide when the opposition has possession of the ball and to rapidly build up attacks or give Liverpool the width they need to conquer compact defenses.
I believe that Salah could absolutely hit some new heights or at least pick up where he left off last season with this new and improved squad that could definitely challenge for the title alongside titleholders Manchester City and their biggest rival Manchester United.
A lot of speculation in the past few days has flown about Elneny’s future at Arsenal under the leadership of newly appointed manager Unai Emery. However, with things staying put and with Elneny appearing to be staying, he is likely to find himself as a third choice for Emery’s double midfield pivot that includes Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey.
The former PSG manager has added a few names that could help Arsenal get back into the top four and challenge for the Europa League in an attempt to rebuild from Arsene Wenger’s ruins last season. Players like Dortmund’s Sokratis, Juve’s Lichtsteiner, Leverkusen’s Brend Leno, Sampdoria’s Torreira, and Lorient’s Guendouzi will arguably give Arsenal the depth they need to compete with other teams in order to guarantee a top four spot and even challenge for the title.
As for Elneny, he needs to step up his game in order to impress the new manager. No one could complain about his passing abilities and his capability of holding possession and stabilising the game, but if he really wants to continue at a top level, the 26-year-old needs to be more aggressive with his tackles. Elneny also needs to fit into the box-to-box role where he could shoot on goal and have a few decisive passes throughout the season.
From my point of view, Elneny has all the right attributes to do so. His stamina, determination, and his understanding of the game could do him very well in becoming an all-round midfielder for the Gunners.
With his £5.7 million move to The Terriers, the 21-year-old winger will have another opportunity to stay in the Premier League after spending two seasons with the now-relegated Stoke City. Huddersfield’s new No.14 has a lot of potential to live up to, especially after the faith shown in him by the manager.
“I’m very happy that we will be able to welcome Ramadan to the club. He’s a real talent and has achieved a lot for a player who is only 21 years old,” Huddersfield coach David Wagner said. “We’re looking forward to working hard with Ramadan on the training pitch to give him every chance of success at Huddersfield Town.”
Ramadan could be a very important player in Huddersfield’s fight for survival in the Premier League. A player with his skill and pace could serve as a decent winger and shadow striker if needed. The Terriers finished just four points above the relegation zone last season, and their manager has confirmed that it would be foolish to put up high expectations other than survival going into next season.
Although they are the side with the smallest budget in the league, Huddersfield still managed to pull up some decent signings ahead of the new campaign. They signed defender Terence Kongolo permanently from Monaco after his decent loan spell for a club-record fee of £17.5m. They also signed Kongolo’s Monaco teammate Adama Diakhaby, Jonas Lossl from Mainz, Florent Hadergjonaj from FC Ingolstadt, and finally Erik Durm coming in from Borussia Dortmund.
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