The EPL Without the EU

What If…..

The Potential Consequences of Brexit on the Premier League

A couple of months ago it was confirmed that the UK will be leaving the European Union within the next two years. As a result, questions have been raised about the future status of European footballers’ work visas that allow them to work (play) in England. It is widely assumed a new agreement will be worked out and the league will proceed as normal.

But what if that didn’t happen? What if tensions between London and Brussels get worse and a “hard Brexit” takes place? How would each EPL team have looked this season without all of their EU players? 

Note: Citizenship used is a player’s primary (ex: David Luiz has Portuguese citizenship but that won’t be counted against him because he’s from/plays for Brazil). Loan and PL2 players will be used to fill out an XI only when necessary, even if they would arguably be better choices (such as Chelsea and Juan Cuadrado). Also, we’ll assume Scotland is seceding and joining the EU.


Who would they lose?

Hector Bellerin (Spain), Santi Cazorla (Spain), Petr Cech (Czech Republic), Francis Coquelin (France), Mathieu Debuchy (France), Olivier Giroud (France), Laurent Koscielny (France), Per Mertesacker (Germany), Nacho Monreal (Spain), Shkodran Mustafi (Germany), Mesut Ozil (Germany), Lucas Perez (Spain), Jeff Reine-Adelaide (France), Yaya Sanogo (France)

Potential XI


Jenkinson – Holding – Gabriel – Gibbs

Xhaka – Ramsey

Walcott – Oxlade-Chamberlain – Sanchez


Yes, Arsenal lose a lot of players (tied for most with Swansea) but they keep their best player in Alexis Sanchez. Their defense certainly takes the biggest hit, but they don’t need to look outside the current first team to put together a fairly solid lineup. They also benefit from Switzerland not being in the EU with getting to keep Xhaka.


Who would they lose?

Harry Arter (Ireland), Artur Boruc (Poland), Ryan Fraser (Scotland), Lys Mousset (France)

Potential XI


Smith – Francis – Cook – Daniels

Ibe – Wilshire – Gosling – Stanislas

King – Wilson

Bournemouth would be in very good shape in the EUless PL (the fewest lost players), with Boruc, Arter, and Fraser the only consequential departures. Eddie Howe would actually still have difficult selection decisions to make, which is not going to be the norm in this league. Assuming Callum Wilson and Jack Wilshere could keep their knees intact this could be a great opportunity for the Cherries.


Who would they lose?

Ashley Barnes (Austria), Robbie Brady (Ireland), George Boyd (Scotland), Steven Defour (Belgium), Jeff Hendrick (Ireland), Kevin Long (Ireland), Stephen Ward (Ireland)

Potential XI


Lowton – Keane – Mee – Flanagan

Arfield – Barton – Westwood – Guomundsson

Vokes – Gray

Having four Irishmen on the team hurts Burnley a bit, but the starting XI is largely intact. No risk to the fortress that is Turf Moor. I’d maybe have Marney in midfield instead of Guomundsson, but that would probably mean 4-3-3 and I don’t think Sean Dyche would abandon the 4-4-2 even in such circumstances.


Who would they lose?

Nathan Ake (Netherlands), Marcos Alonso (Spain), Cesar Azpilicueta (Spain), Michy Batshuayi (Belgium), Diego Costa (Spain), Thibaut Courtois (Belgium), Eduardo (Portugal), Cesc Fabregas (Spain), Eden Hazard (Belgium), N’Golo Kante (France), Charly Musonda (Belgium), Pedro (Spain), Kurt Zouma (France)

Potential XI


Cahill – Terry – Luiz

Moses – Matic – Chalobah – Kenedy

Willian – Loftus-Cheek


So yeah, not good. Chelsea led the EPL in goals from EU players this season, so not surprising that this would be a YUGE problem for the Blues, particularly that they would need to find answers offensively. Chelsea’s admiration for Brazilians helps a little, as does Bosnia/Herzegovina and Serbia not being in the EU. Chelsea’s excess of loan players could be very helpful in this scenario, in particular the likes of Bertrand Traore and Juan Cuadrado to pick up the offensive slack. Who knows, maybe we’d get to see Matt Miazga start for Chelsea again (yikes). Champions of the real EPL, but certainly not the champions of this one.

Crystal Palace

Who would they lose?

Christian Benteke (Belgium), Jonathan Benteke (Belgium), Yohan Cabaye (France), Damien Delaney (Ireland), Mathieu Flamini (France), Steve Mandanda (France), James McArthur (Scotland), Loic Remy (France), Mamadou Sakho (France), Patrick van Aanholt (Netherlands)

Potential XI


Ward – Tomkins – Dann – Kelly


Townsend – Puncheon – Zaha

Wickham – Sako

Basically Palace end up with the same problem they started with: underachieving attackers and bad defense. To make matters worse, the center of their midfield has been gutted, all their defenders are English, and the dream of Benteke scoring 20 goals is really dead now. Another thing that wouldn’t change: the Eagles would be fighting relegation.


Who would they lose?

Seamus Coleman (Ireland), Romelu Lukaku (Belgium), James McCarthy (Ireland), Kevin Mirallas (Belgium), Joel Robles (Spain), Morgan Schneiderlin (France), Maarten Stekelenburg (Netherlands)

Potential XI


Holgate – Williams – Jagielka – Baines

Barry – Gueye – Davies

Barkley – Valencia – Calvert-Lewin

This isn’t a situation completely foreign to the Toffees, as Lukaku is almost certainly going to leave this summer and Coleman is out till well into next season with multiple leg fractures. Still a solid team with lots of young (and importantly English) talent. Also, we have our first youth team player appearance, congrats to Louis Gray; although maybe they’d just bring Tim Howard back. This would be a great opportunity to break into the top 6.

Hull City

Who would they lose?

Kamil Grosicki (Poland), Brian Lenihan (Ireland), Shaun Maloney (Scotland), David Marshall (Scotland), David Meyler (Ireland), Andrea Ranocchia (Italy), Andrew Robertson (Scotland)

Potential XI


Elabdellaoui – Maguire – Dawson – Davies

Elmohamady – Huddlestone – Mason – Clucas

Hernandez – Niasse

When I first saw how many non-English players Hull had I was concerned, but it turns out they’ve set themselves up pretty well for a non-EU Premier League. Yes, I’m assuming Ryan Mason plays again but Hull have options if he doesn’t. This team would be a little thin at the back but Hull have had that problem before. The less change the better in this scenario, and Hull’s minimal personnel losses might keep them up.


Who would they lose?

Christian Fuchs (Austria), Robert Huth (Germany), Bartosz Kapustka (Poland), Nampalys Mendy (France), Kasper Schmeichel (Denmark), Marcin Wasilewski (Poland), Ron-Robert Zieler (Germany)

Potential XI


Simpson – Morgan – Benalouane – Chilwell

Mahrez – Drinkwater – Ndidi – Albrighton

Vardy – Okazaki

The good news for Leicester is their front 6 stays the same. The bad news is they’d be on their third string keeper and lose their best two defenders. Even if Vardy and Mahrez return to 2015/16 form the Foxes might struggle.


Who would they lose?

Adam Bogdan (Hungary), Emre Can (Germany), Loris Karius (Germany), Ragnar Klavan (Estonia), Dejan Lovren (Croatia), Alex Manninger (Austria), Simon Mignolet (Belgium), Alberto Moreno (Spain), Divock Origi (Belgium), Georginio Wijnaldum (Netherlands)

Potential XI


Clyne – Matip – Gomez – Milner


Lallana – Coutinho

Mane – Firmino – Sturridge

In this league, Liverpool’s strategy would basically have to be to score a ton knowing they would concede a ton, but what else is new. The lack of depth at center back only becomes more apparent, with Joe Gomez coming in. Also, we’ve got an on-loan keeper in Danny Ward (plays for Huddersfield). This team would be fun to watch because you could argue they’d have the best offense and worst defense in the league.

Manchester City

Who would they lose?

Gael Clichy (France), Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium), Aleix Garcia (Spain), Ilkay Gundogan (Germany), Vincent Kompany (Belgium), Jesus Navas (Spain), Nolito (Spain), Bacary Sagna (France), Leroy Sane (Germany), David Silva (Spain)

Potential XI


Zabaleta – Stones – Otamendi – Kolarov

Fernandinho – Toure

Sterling – Aguero – Iheanacho – Jesus

Pep Guardiola might be the best manager in the world and even he doesn’t seem to know what the best formation for this team is. It’s basically a better version of Liverpool’s problems. There have been times this year where City are basically playing the throwback 2-3-5 pyramid formation, so really anything is possible.  Also, it’s incredible that you can take out De Bruyne, Silva, and Sane and still have that kind of attack. If they can finish top 4 in the current EPL, no reason to think they wouldn’t do the same in this version.

Manchester United

Who would they lose?

Daley Blind (Netherlands), Matteo Darmian (Italy), David de Gea (Spain), Marouane Fellaini (Belgium), Timothy Fosu-Mensah (Netherlands), Ander Herrera (Spain), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden), Anthony Martial (France), Juan Mata (Spain), Joel Castro Pereira (Portugal), Paul Pogba (France)

Potential XI


Valencia – Smalling – Bailly – Shaw


Mkhitaryan – Rooney

Lingard – Rashford – Young

Ah, yes, the return of Wayne Rooney, center mid. The defense stays pretty much intact, but it’s anyone’s guess how the ball is getting from the back four to the attackers, as this group would depend heavily on Carrick (granted the current United often do as well). All things considered though, not too bad for the over a million pounds a week in wages worth of players that they would lose.


Who would they lose?

Daniel Ayala (Spain), Antonio Barragan (Spain), Marten de Roon (Netherlands), Viktor Fischer (Denmark), Dimitrios Konstantopoulos (Greece), Alvaro Negredo (Spain), Adama Traore (Spain), Victor Valdes (Spain)

Potential XI


Fabio – Gibson – Chambers – Friend

Downing – Clayton – Leadbitter

Ramirez – Gestede – Stuani

Losing Negredo and Traore would be bad news for the lowest scoring team in the actual EPL. The defense is largely intact (it’s actually very good statistically), and to be honest it doesn’t seem to matter much who is in goal for this team (see Valdes howler vs United and Guzan getting ‘megged 3 times by Chelsea). They could only hope that the depleted defenses of other teams would result in a few more goals. Their losses are minimal but important.


Who would they lose?

Jordy Clasie (Netherlands), Manolo Gabbiadini (Italy), Florin Gardos (Romania), Mouez Hassen (France), Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Denmark), Shane Long (Ireland), Jeremy Pied (France), Oriol Romeu (Spain), Cedric Soares (Portugal), Virgil van Dijk (Netherlands)

Potential XI


Martina – Yoshida – Caceres – Bertrand

Redmond – Davis – Ward-Prowse – Boufal

Austin – Rodriguez

The Saints would lose a little bit of everything, the most notable being Gabbiadini and van Dijk. While there may be some reason to worry about the defense, Southampton are a well balanced and deep squad. I don’t see any reason why mid-table irrelevancy could still not be achieved in this league.

Stoke City

Who would they lose?

Charlie Adam (Scotland), Ibrahim Afellay (Netherlands), Marko Arnautovic (Austria), Daniel Bachmann (Austria), Phil Bardsley (Scotland), Shay Given (Ireland), Giannelli Imbula (France), Stephen Ireland (Ireland, of course), Bruno Martins Indi (Netherlands), Marc Muniesa (Spain), Erik Pieters (Netherlands), Jonathan Walters (Ireland), Glenn Whelan (Ireland)

Potential XI


Johnson – Shawcross – Wollscheid

Shaqiri – Cameron – Allen – Sobhi

Berahino – Crouch – Bony

So to put it bluntly Stoke would get absolutely screwed by a hard Brexit. Allan and Cameron are the only remaining central players on the roster and Philipp Wollscheid has been recalled from Wolfsburg because they were out of defenders. This is basically the Man City 3-2-5 without all of the talent, or like Liverpool with worse everything. There’s certainly some goals in this team, but I’m not sure it would be enough to save them.


Who would they lose?

Joel Asoro (Sweden), Fabio Borini (Italy), Jason Denayer (Belgium), Darron Gibson (Ireland), Adnan Januzaj (Belgium), Jan Kirchhoff (Germany), Sebastian Larsson (Sweden), Donald Love (Scotland), Vito Mannone (Italy), Javier Manquillo (Spain), Mika (Portugal), John O’Shea (Ireland)

Potential XI


Jones – Djilobodji – Kone – Oviedo

Watmore – Cattermole – Rodwell – Khazri

Defoe – Anichebe

This is a bad team that would still be bad. On the bright side, most of their losses are bench players anyway. John O’Shea is a huge loss, though, and it’s hard to see this defense stopping anybody. For what it’s worth, they’re not in the real EPL anymore anyway.

Swansea City

Who would they lose?

Jordi Amat (Spain), Borja Baston (Spain), Lukasz Fabianski (Poland), Leroy Fer (Netherlands), Jay Fulton (Scotland), Stephen Kingsley (Scotland), Fernando Llorente (Spain), Oliver McBurnie (Scotland), Luciano Narsingh (Netherlands), Kristoffer Nordfeldt (Sweden), Martin Olsson (Sweden), Angel Rangel (Spain), Gerhard Tremmel (Germany), Mike van der Hoorn (Netherlands)

Potential XI


Shephard – Mawson – Fernandez – Naughton

Cork – Britton – Carroll

Routledge – Sigurdsson – Ayew

Swansea get a similar treatment to Stoke. Llorente would be greatly missed, but otherwise the front six is manageable. The defense is another story, with Liam Shephard getting brought back from Yeovil Town. Losing Fabianski might be as big of a blow as Llorente, and Swansea would really struggle without their continental players. The relegation battle would be crowded in this league.

Tottenham Hotspur

Who would they lose?

Toby Alderweireld (Belgium), Mousa Dembele (Belgium), Christian Eriksen (Denmark), Vincent Janssen (Netherlands), Hugo Lloris (France), Pau Lopez (Spain), Georges-Kevin N’Koudou (France), Moussa Sissoko (France), Jan Vertonghen (Belgium), Michel Vorm (Netherlands), Kevin Wimmer (Austria)

Potential XI


Walker – Carter-Vickers – Dier – Rose

Wanyama – Winks

Lamela – Dele – Son


Spurs would lose some integral pieces in Lloris, Eriksen, and the Jan/Toby center back pairing, but I would argue despite that this team is still solid. Glover, a PL2 keeper, might be a concern as may having Carter-Vickers and Dier anchoring defense. But they’d still be potent going forward and are in a better place defensively than, say, Liverpool would be. Spurs are a team that could still compete without the EU.


Who would they lose?

Giedrius Arlauskis (Lithuania), Etienne Capoue (France), Abdoulaye Doucoure (France), Rene Gilmartin (Ireland), Joe Holebas (Greece), Daryl Janmaat (Netherlands), Christian Kabasele (Belgium),  Younes Kaboul (France), M’Baye Niang (France), Stefano Okaka (Italy), Costel Pantilimon (Romania), Sebastian Prodl (Austria)

Potential XI


Mariappa – Britos – Cathcart – Zuniga

Cleverly – Watson

Amrabat – Zarate – Behrami


A common theme, Watford would see themselves most weakened at the back. To be honest, this team doesn’t get a whole lot worse despite taking away several players. Bottom half, (probably) wouldn’t be relegated, business as usual. Troy Deeney has carried this team through worse than Brexit.

West Bromwich Albion

Who would they lose?

Nacer Chadli (Belgium), Darren Fletcher (Scotland), James McClean (Ireland), James Morrison (Scotland), Matt Phillips (Scotland), Marc Wilson (Ireland)

Potential XI


Nyom – McAuley – Dawson – Evans – Brunt

Livermore – Yacob – Field

Rondon – Robson-Kanu

West Brom is more dependent on the British Isles than any other EPL team, and Scotland’s impending secession would not be good news for the Baggies. It really has been fun to see a Tony Pulis team do something other than just park the bus this season (although they’ve been miserable down the stretch), but if they were to lose players like Chadli, McClean and Fletcher it’s hard to see them doing anything else.

West Ham United

Who would they lose?

Adrian (Spain), Alvaro Arbeloa (Spain), Jose Fonte (Portugal), Arthur Masuaku (France), Pedro Obiang (Spain), Angelo Ogbonna (Italy), Domingos Quina (Portugal), Darren Randolph (Ireland), Robert Snodgrass (Scotland)

Potential XI


Byram – Reid – Collins – Cresswell

Noble – Kouyate

Feghouli – Lanzini – Antonio


West Ham are another team whose already poor defense would only get worse. Being on a third string keeper also isn’t ideal. That said, I think any team would like to be as intact with their front 6 as the Hammers would be. Snodgrass would be gone, but he’s far less important to them than he was to Hull.

Number of Player lost Per Team

14: Arsenal, Swansea

13: Chelsea, Stoke

12: Sunderland, Watford

11: Man United, Tottenham

10: Crystal Palace, Liverpool, Man City, Southampton

9: West Ham

8: Middlesbrough

7: Burnley, Everton, Hull, Leicester

6: West Ham

4: Bournemouth

Biggest Winners and Losers

Winner: Man City.

They lose a lot, but their seemingly bottomless pockets have given them attacking talent to spare and then some. They’d be my favorite to win the league if the squads were left as is (not buying any new players).

Winner: Bournemouth

The Cherries keep almost their entire squad (this team is very English) and would have sufficient funds to replace Boruc and Arter. I could see the these guys pushing for a European place if the teams were left as is.

Loser: Stoke

Sure, other teams like Swansea and Watford would lose a lot of players but the overall ability of the team would not diminish all that significantly; their losses also wouldn’t be all that hard to replace with similar quality players. Stoke, however, would be losing so many of the players that define their hard-working, gritty, blue collar attitude. Stoke may start finding it hard to win on rainy Monday nights in Stoke.

Loser: Chelsea

This is largely a result of the fact that Chelsea are one of the least English teams in England (Fabregas gets counted as a homegrown) and that their best players are mostly Spanish and Belgian. That said, if this were to actually occur Chelsea are well prepared to spend the necessary money to replenish the squad but as is they’d fall a ways down the table.

Top 4 (if teams stayed this way)

Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester United (Everton just miss out)


Sunderland, Stoke, Swansea (with Palace, Hull, ‘Boro, and Watford all barely escaping)

Players from other leagues who would be in high demand

Lionel Messi (Argentina, Barcelona)

There’s been rumors for years about PL teams thinking about splashing the cash for Messi, and this scenario would almost certainly see it happen. Chelsea and Man United would both have the need and the cash, but you’d have to assume Man City and Guardiola would be the favorites to sign him.

Neymar (Brazil, Barcelona)

This more or less goes without saying. The argument could be made he’s a better use of 200 million pounds than Messi, and there’s teams who would pay it. He’s going to be the best player in the world, and there would be more cash for teams to spend than ever before. If there’s a situation where this would happen, a hard Brexit would be it.

Arturo Vidal (Chile, Bayern Munich)

The Chilean is getting older, but he’s still one of the best midfielders in the world and both of the Manchesters and Chelsea would again be the teams with the need and the cash. Who knows, maybe Sanchez could convince Vidal to join him at the Emirates.

Marquinhos (Brazil, PSG)

Young, Brazilian, defender. It wouldn’t be easy to get him away from PSG but with so many teams in need of defensive help he would be in extremely high demand.

Argentine Juve Forwards

Higuain and Dybala are obvious targets if a team doesn’t quite want to spend Messi/Neymar money. Higuain is older and just moved to Turin, so he’s probably the less likely of the two to be up for a move; Dybala would be an excellent option for the teams that could afford him.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon, Borussia Dortmund)

The Dortmund striker has previously been linked with big clubs in England, Arsenal and Man City in particular, and his African heritage would only increase his value.

Christian Pulisic (USA, Borussia Dortmund)

You should have seen this coming. Jurgen Klopp offered 15 million for him last summer and Dortmund was having none of it. If this scenario actually played out his value would increase dramatically. Dortmund is absolutely stacked with young talent, so while Pulisic is one of many, Dortmund doesn’t seem interested in breaking up their platoon of wonderkids. Pulisic’s emerging talent and being not European could make him quite the commodity. Also, seeing an American go to the Premier League for 30 million pounds would be amazing.

This Week In…

Alt Rock

New Albums:

Linkin Park: “One More Light”

Linkin Park’s last two albums were more or less just angry, but not in the good way that early Linkin Park often sounded angry on “Hybrid Theory,” “Meteora” and “Minutes to Midnight.”

This is definitely an album focused on the softer side of the band, like past songs such as ‘Shadow of the Day’ or ‘Iridescent.’ The featuring of Kiiara on lead single ‘Heavy’ is very different from anything they’ve done. While this seems almost too on-trend of a decision, singer/rapper/keyboard player/guitarist Mike Shinoda did point out that the album has been in the works for over a year so they weren’t intentionally adhering to any recent trend. ‘Battle Symphony’ is probably my favorite track on the album, and it would have fit in on “Minutes to Midnight” or “A Thousand Suns.”

Overall, “One More Light” is just ok. I saw them live back in 2010 and everything they’ve made since has confirmed that that was the right time to do so.

Misterwives: “Connect the Dots”

I really liked their first album “Our Own House” so I was definitely looking forward to the follow up. The peppy, inspirational, positive vibes that the first album had are still there but lyrically I don’t think “Connect the Dots” is quite as good. To be fair, that’s not an uncommon characteristic of sophomore albums after a band (or a songwriter) has spent years cultivating what turns into the first album and then has to produce another in much less time. (Exceptions to this rule would include Fall Out Boy and Coldplay, who I would argue have sophomore albums which are the best they’ve made). There’s still a lot to like about this album, with the line “Out of tune piano you’re looking like my life, all the keys are here but they’re not sounding right” being a particularly relatable metaphor.

MISSIO: “Loner”

This debut album from Missio really doesn’t sound like anything else I’ve listened to recently. Electronic, dark and at times just weird. Any album with a song that’s about “killing Darth Vader with my motherfucking kick drum” is worth listening to at least once. There’s also 4 different songs dedicated to how little of a shit this guy gives about anything (I Do What I Want, Middle Fingers, I Don’t Even Care About You, and I Don’t Give A…). For not giving a shit he made a pretty decent album.

WATERS: “Something More!”

I like pretty much everything about this album, which starts off with a great jam in ‘Hiccups.’ There’s nothing really revolutionary about the album but it’s just a ton of fun, like a mix of Walk the Moon and New Politics. If you’re someone who just likes alternative rock in general you’ll like this.

New Singles:

Grizzly Bear: “Mourning Sound”

Local Natives: “The Only Heirs”

Mondo Cozmo: “Automatic”

Muse: “Dig Down”

Phoenix: “Ti Amo”

RAC feat. Rivers Cuomo: “I Still Wanna Know”

As always, here the playlist of all this week’s music:



In the first of their two final games in which all they have to do is celebrate having secured the Title, Chelsea won a crazy game against Watford thanks to a winning goal from Cesc Fabregas with only a couple minutes left in the game. All that’s left now is tomorrow’s final game against Sunderland, where the focus will both be on the trophy presentation to follow and on it being the final game at Chelsea for John Terry. It will be the defender’s 492nd appearance in the Premier League for Chelsea, having won 310 of those games and scored 41 goals, the most by any defender in league history.

White Sox

Since my last post, the Sox have won only won one game after getting swept in LA during the week. The Sox are now 4 games under .500 and are closer to the last place Royals than the 3rd place Tigers. If the losing trend continues it (hopefully) won’t be long until we see the #1 prospect in baseball Yoan Moncada on the South Side.


The Fire have won 3 consecutive games as well as their last 4 home games. They’re now up to second place (!!!) in the Eastern Conference. The Fire haven’t made the MLS playoffs in 5 years.

Ridiculous Statistics

On average, when an NBA team finds itself down 15 or more points in a game they will go on to win that game only about 10% of the time. That is, except for the Golden State Warriors, who win such games nearly 40% of the time.

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