It doesn’t seem five minutes since fireworks were being launched from backsides and Gianluigi Donnarumma destroyed a dream, but here we are.
The new Premier League season is already upon us and hopefully this one will feel a little bit more normal than the last as supporters return in their droves and artificial crowd noise becomes a thing of the past.
Of course, one thing that will never get old is the rating and slating of football kits by a man who knows absolutely nothing about fashion and dresses accordingly, so here were are again for the 2021-22 version that is sure to upset some of you in some way.
Get ready to support your favourite Premier League this season with the latest kits, available from these online retailers now:
Come on, it’s a tradition.
You know the drill, we’ve taken (almost) all 40 Premier League home and away kits – none of your third kits here please, they’re too inconsistent – for the new season and put them in a very serious order of our choosing.
So sit back, relax and prepare to get very angry as we rank the strips from the absolute worst to the outright best.
All we ask is that you keep your feedback constructive.
40. Burnley away
The kit rankings wait for no man.
For the second season in succession, Burnley are cutting it very fine before they release their away number, and we just can’t wait for you any longer lads.
Last season they were saved from the bottom spot by the fact that Wolves’ away kit was so, so terrible, but there is no rescue from the foot of the table this time around.
The Clarets face Liverpool at Anfield in their second game of the season next weekend, so they’ll presumably need an away kit by then.
But for now, it is absent.
39. Watford home
Recent years have seen Watford go with yellow and black stripes, a yellow and black half and half shirt and just a full-on yellow effort, so you can’t accuse the Hornets of lacking creativity.
It’s just that all the decent designs were taken.
This hooped effort is a bit of an assault on the eyes, and coupled with with enormous sponsor it is somewhat headache inducing.
Back to the drawing board lads.
38. Newcastle United home
Action Images via Reuters)
Just what is that grandad collar doing there?
Newcastle United kits are always subject to that age-old debate about stripe length, but that isn’t really too bad here.
It is the collar and the bright blue sponsor – yet another gambling company – that let it down, and leave you with a sense of unease about just why certain elements of this shirt seem to be disconnected and working against each other.
Although maybe that’s a decent metaphor for the club.
37. Norwich City away
Norwich City Instagram)
Norwich City are back for yet another season in the big time, and so you know what that means.
Yep, you’ll barely see their away kit.
That might actually be a good thing this time around though, as the Canaries have gone with this dark effort which includes rather odd stripy sleeves that seem to have been added as an afterthought.
Something just isn’t quite right here.
36. Chelsea home
When the designers just try and squeeze an extra dollop of jazziness out of a football shirt this is what you get.
The new European champions return for the 2021-22 campaign with this, a shirt that has an awful lot going on and not too much of it is very good.
Not much else about it is, either.
Truly a football kit for our times.
35. Tottenham Hotspur away
Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty I)
Am I out of touch? No, it’s the children who are wrong.
Tottenham’s psychedelic old t-shirt you’ve dug out of the bottom of the drawer to paint the front room might well be down with the kids. In fact you’ve got to hope it is, as surely they wouldn’t have come up with it otherwise.
It will also probably look good on Dele Alli, Son Heung-min and Harry Kane once they’ve forced him into it while he’s kicking and screaming, but on your average supporter? Probably not.
Try wearing that down the pub without getting some funny looks.
34. Leicester City away
It’ll be the Spearmint Foxes on the road for Leicester City this season, as Brendan Rodgers’ side don this kind of minty green look on their travels.
The picnic blanket pattern is… different, and while there have been worse versions of this type of thing fairly recently – we’re looking at you, last season’s Liverpool away kit – it just doesn’t inspire as it could have done.
For the Foxes’ sake, it could have been better.
33. Watford away
Yep, its an inauspicious return to the Premier League for Watford after just one season away.
As with Norwich, the Hornets are a club for whom an away kit can often be fairly rarely seen, but they’ve never been shy to mix things up a bit when it comes to the colours.
This lighter, almost Manchester United shade of red is absolutely fine, but the fact that the club’s sponsor seems to dominate half of the shirt lets it down somewhat.
32. Southampton home
And so we enter the part of these countdowns we like to call ‘haven’t we seen you before?’
The Saints aren’t averse to mixing things up every three or four seasons, and 2020-21’s reverse Peru red with the white sash was an excellent example of that, but in the intervening years they like to dip back into their old designs and basically just bring out the same shirt they wore a few years ago.
Revamping old designs is massive now of course, and you’ll see some great examples of that further down this list, but the general rule is that you need to wait 20 years or so before you bring back an old classic.
And… well… didn’t Sadio Mane wear this one for them? How long ago was that?
Not long enough, is the answer.
31. Brighton home
Maybe it’s a stripe thing, as when you divert from them for one year then you’re always more likely to go back to basics the following year, but there is a very familiar look about the Seagulls’ home kit for the new season.
Maybe they were hoping that no-one would notice?
Us kit rankers weren’t born yesterday though.
30. Newcastle United away
Newcastle United Instagram)
Black and gold is a bold combination – and also a pretty safe main colour choice when so much of your home kit is black anyway – but it just isn’t quite coming off the way that Newcastle will have hoped it did here.
The little wavy lines are different, at least, but they do leave you a bit distracted as you search for the signs of life.
29. Brentford home
Offside via Getty Images)
The Bees have played it safe for their first season in the top-flight for 74 years with a kit that you could really have found in any division for much of the previous three-quarters of a century.
It does come complete with an obligatory little known gambling company as the sponsor though, showing that they already know what the Premier League is all about.
28. Tottenham Hotspur home
PA Images Contributor/Press Association Images)
They’re celebrating 100 years of having the cockerel on their shirts at Tottenham this season, which is nice, obviously, and the sort of thing that we approve of around here.
They wanted to create an old fashioned kit in order to aid with that anniversary, and while retro designs are something to be welcomed in the modern football kit, can you really call this one a design?
It’s just a white t-shirt with a massive sponsor.
27. Wolves away
Last season’s away kit has now passed into the annals of Premier League history, thankfully, and Wolves have returned with a new manufacturer but still a commitment to the odd speckled quality on the front.
It’s not as bad as last year’s, because very few things in this world are, but it’s still not going to set the world alight.
26. Norwich City home
Norwich are back again and they’re back with this very Norwich-looking shirt featuring the classic green sleeves and bright yellow look.
They’re not called the Canaries for nothing, obviously, but there’s something about those sleeves that attracts the attention – and not in a good way.
It’s difficult to pinpoint, this one, but it’s just not doing enough to climb further up the table.
Let’s see if the team can this time.
25. Manchester City home
They’re marking the 10-year anniversary of Sergio Aguero’s title winning goal against QPR at Manchester City this season – 10 years! We are all trudging slowly towards death – and so they’ve gone full-on sky blue just like they were back then.
Maybe it’s because of that goal though, but that kit just seemed to have a bit more about it than this one, and the shade of blue was a bit more City.
24. Everton home
Everton FC via Getty Images)
It’s another effort that looks very similar to last season’s for Everton, but then who are we to mess with those lovely Hummel chevrons?
It still looks weird to see them on a blue shirt and not the red and white of Denmark, but they’re here again on a kit that also has a bit of wavyness going on on the chest in an attempt to at least make it a little bit different to 2020-21, but not that much different.
23. Wolves home
Now we’re well aware that this is always a bone of contention with Wolves supporters, and also something that we won’t really be able to judge until we see it up close and personal at Molineux, but… gulp… is this a bit yellower than usual?
However bright the hue, everything else that you expect to see on a Wolves kit is there, including the various symbols associated with the gambling company sponsor, while they’re also advertising a cryptocurrency on their sleeves.
It could be an up and down season.
22. Leeds home
Leeds are in the same boat as Spurs when it comes to trying to make exciting things happen on a shirt that should, as per the club’s proud history, really should just be a plain, crisp white look.
They’ve gone with an odd collar to try and jazz this one up, and as with Newcastle above it isn’t quite the strongest look, but the rest of the kit – including the rather bright yellow adidas stripes (yeah okay maybe we judged Wolves too harshly) – works quite well.
21. Aston Villa home
It’s basically last season’s Aston Villa home kit with some pretty heavy pinstripes, and as long-time readers of these countdowns will know, a) they’ve wasted many minutes of their lives that they won’t get back, and b) we quite like pinstripes around here.
Villa might have gone a little overboard with them in this instance, but they kind of work and that’s just fine.
It won’t be enough to get Jack Grealish back – as him and lovely locks and even lovelier calves have gone now, long gone – but hopefully new memories can be made and new heroes can emerge in this number which is still Aston Villa and still worth supporting.
Did that work, Villa fans? Yeah thought not.
20. Everton away
A sash on a football kit is of course a wonderful thing, we all know that. If you don’t then we’d really have to question just what you’re doing here, frankly.
But a sash on a black football kit? It’s an interesting one.
The overall darkness of the shirt seems to negate that exciting orange burst across it, and it makes this kit which is an apparent homage to one of Everton’s first shirts in the 1880s something of a curiosity.
19. Brighton away
Every team seems to have one of these a season, and this time it is Brighton’s turn.
Yep, it is the away kit that you think is actually a goalkeeper’s kit upon first glance, but sure enough will be worn by those outfield.
The minty green look has been attempted by a few clubs in recent years, and this one is a fresh enough attempt that might well get you reaching for your Airwaves chewing gum, especially when you look at those wavy sleeves.
18. Manchester United home
It’s fine. It’s fine. Just fine. No, it really is absolutely fine. Absolutely. Fine.
There’s a classic, timeless quality to it and that’s what Manchester United were going for with this effort that draws on some of the iconic kits of the club’s illustrious, trophy-laden past.
It’s just that there’s not really a lot else going on with it, is there?
17. Brentford away
We like a yellow away kit around these parts, and Brentford have gone very yellow as they make their bow in the Premier League.
There’s something of a Villarreal quality to this one, and that is absolutely a good thing, while with that sponsor we’re sure the likes of Tom Cruise will be desperate to follow the Bees up and down the country, the maverick that he is.
16. Burnley home
Forgive us for getting a little giddy here, but after a few years of doing this and looking at the same Burnley home kit over and over and over again, we’ve actually got a bit of variation.
The funky sleeves might not be working for Norwich and Brighton this season, but its a thumbs up for them here just because they are actually a bit different to what we normally see.
Look at them!
15. West Ham away
Carlos Tevez, Javier Mascherano, Pablo Zabaleta, Manuel Lanzini… er… Lionel Scaloni.
There is a rich Argentinean seam that runs through West Ham, and to that we can add this rather dashing away effort which immediately makes you think you’ve been transported to a disappointing quarter-final exit at a World Cup.
As with most of these kits the giant sponsor does get in the way a bit, but it’s still nice.
14. Liverpool home
There’s a couple of big breaks with tradition for Liverpool this time around, with the diagonal pinstripes making a rare appearance as well as this sort of odd burnt orange colour on the trim.
They probably tried it with the more traditional white at first, and it would be interesting to see how that turned out, but it’s an example of how different can still be decent.
13. Leeds away
Leeds United are here with a strong vibe of donning a kilt and drinking 10 pints in Trafalgar Square, and as we know by know, that is very much a good thing.
Traditionalists might have preferred their away kit to be yellow, but as we also know it is good to mix things up from time to time and they’ve done that pretty well here.
12. West Ham home
You know you’re getting on a bit when you quite easily remember the old kits that the new ones are based on. Not the rehashing of old designs like Southampton etc, but the classic shirts from days gone by.
And this year’s West Ham home kit is based on the one they wore when Paolo Di Canio scored THAT volley against Wimbledon in 2000. Y’know, THAT one?
Google it kids. It’s worth it.
11. Aston Villa away
You know we like pinstripes, we know you like pinstripes, and here they are making a fairly subtle appearance on the front of the pretty nice Aston Villa away kit.
There are just the four, but that really is the beauty of pinstripes.
You don’t need many and they can brighten up what had threatened to be a pretty dull kit.
10. Crystal Palace away
Can we just shock you? We’re going to be contradictory for a bit.
Crystal Palace actually had an away kit very much like this one in 2016-17 – you may remember Christian Benteke scoring twice in a win at Anfield in it – but even though we’ve slagged off clubs for repeating recent designs further up there, it’s okay to repeat them when they’re good.
That’s our rule and we’re sticking to it.
9. Arsenal home
PA Images Contributor/Press Association Images)
Arsenal have decided to go for something that is a little less Arsenal this time around, and after their performances in recent seasons you really can’t blame them for that.
The result is this Ajax-alike shirt featuring the white going all the way down the sides as opposed to just on the sleeves, in that classic Arsenal fashion that we’ve all come to set our watches by.
And it’s good isn’t it? Embrace change.
8. Southampton away
Revisiting the 90s is all the rage for those who are really serious about their retro shirts these days, and Southampton have gone back to one of their fan favourite away efforts from the early part of the decade for this one.
And it works.
Those Hummel chevrons can brighten most things up, and combination of yellow on blue makes this a stand out even more.
7. Leicester City home
If you recall the pre-Euro 2020 kit rankings you’ll a) no doubt still be reeling from the fact that, yes, we do this for a living, and b) recall that we pretty much predicted who was going to win the tournament by crowning Italy as the country with the best kit.
It’s not quite as lofty a position for Leicester, but their home kit does have strong Azzurri vibes about it, and that is very much a good thing.
6. Manchester City away
Some recent City away numbers have been a bit hit and miss, from 2019-20’s Hacienda-inspired kit of black and then many other colours, to the third kit of the same season which was so bright it could be viewed from space, but this one is a bit more understated.
It is all the better for it too, with Puma thankfully ditching that away kit template they used during the Euros.
This time around they’ve come up with something which is sleek and stylish, whatever those words actually mean, as City have swapped garishness for something that you might actually not mind being seen in as an adult.
It’s not got off to the best start though, as they wore it in last weekends Community Shield defeat to Leicester at Wembley, but you get the feeling it’ll get plenty of chances to make up for that.
5. Chelsea away
If they weren’t already signing Romelu Lukaku then you might think that this was a cry for Erling Haaland’s attentions, but even if it is it is a very nice one.
Chelsea will have the look of Thomas Tuchel’s former club Borussia Dortmund on their travels this season as two very wonderful things, a yellow away kit and the pinstripes, come together.
4. Arsenal away
“Whether it is the double of 71 or Anfield in 89, it’s plain to see we win in yellow,” says the spiel on the Arsenal website as they advertise this, and it is also plain to see that this is indeed very, very yellow.
Does that mean that they’ll win all the time then? We will see.
They’ve worn it once so far, in a friendly against Hibernian, and lost.
3. Crystal Palace home
In previous years we’ve done two separate versions of this countdown, one for the home kits and one for the aways, and so in a nod to that we’d like to present you with the 2021-22 season’s best of the home efforts, coming at you from south London.
Palace are in that same boat as the other striped teams are where they can often fall into the same trap of repeating themselves over and over, but they’ve come up with something that looks truly different this time.
We’ll let them get away with the gold, too.
2. Manchester United away
Man Utd Instagram)
We’re going back to 1992 for Manchester United’s very fetching away number for the new season, but also forward as the club themselves state that this kit “is inspired by the power of youth, and the incredible achievements that can be reached through the willingness to stand up for what you believe in, have faith in yourself, and above all, to dare.”
We just think it’s really nice.
1. Liverpool away
In the official blurb they call it ‘stone’, but those of us of a certain age known that this is a kit based on Liverpool’s 1996 number that gave us all a new word for cream. Ecru.
That kit was launched with Steve McManaman and Jason McAteer donning Beatles wigs and singing into microphones, but it is all glossy photoshoots these days, and let’s be honest it is much the better for it as we get to admire the collar and the subtle detailing here.
Once you reach adulthood, one of the key tests of a football shirt is how you’ll look if your wear it down the pub, and this one ticks plenty of boxes in that regard.
It’s the winner, and deservedly so.
We’re sure you’ll ALL agree.