With the world cup being over and the European leagues not starting either, football fans all across the globe are experiencing a sudden emptiness within themselves. Although there are various big teams squaring off against each other in the International Champions Cup (ICC), it hardly feels like proper intense football. The games may not be going on, but the teams aren’t sitting idle. With the transfer season open, everyone is trying to make their squads as strong as possible for the upcoming season.
Today, we take a look at the top six teams of the English Premier League and predict how they may finish their season next year.
1. Manchester City
Last season, no one came close to them. They finished the season with exactly 100 points, becoming the first ever team in the Premier League to achieve this astonishing feat. Besides breaking the record of most points in a season, they also made the records of most consecutive wins (18) and most goals scored (106) in an EPL season theirs. They won the league by a mammoth 19 points better off of Manchester United, which itself is another record. After failing in his first season, Pep Guardiola truly showed his class last season.
“We have to fight for everything that we are…”
— Manchester City (@ManCity) July 23, 2018
With a team that’s got the better of every team in the league apart from Liverpool, it’s quite tough to improve them. But City aren’t resting on their laurels. They’ve already brought in Algerian superstar Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City for a club-record 60 million pounds. With Bernardo Silva, Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus already in the ranks; City’s forward line has been boosted again. But in central defence, another signing may help the Citizens when the rotations are needed. And a cover for the Left back spot is also needed. After missing out on Fred and Jorginho, City may go in the market again for a holding midfielder. But with the squad already in full flight, very few would bet against them retaining their title.
Prediction: 1st (Champions again)
2. Manchester United
The way they started last season, everyone thought it’s going to be an eternal battle between the Manchester clubs for the title. But City went from strength to strength, and United fell behind. They didn’t perform well. They didn’t impress either. And various dressing room clashes with Mourinho and the players didn’t help. But now, United are more determined than ever to win their first premier league title in six years. With that in mind, Mourinho has started recruiting. And they’ve recruited wisely.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) July 26, 2018
They’ve snatched the Brazilian holding midfielder Fred from right under City’s noses. This transfer hints at Paul Pogba finally being able to play further up the pitch as Fred might play alongside Nemanja Matic. They’ve also signed young Portuguese full back Diogo Dalot. United have a good crop of players, but they don’t play that well together. Even Jose himself has admitted that this pre-season. The starting line up is quite good, but one has to really wonder about the backups. And with Mourinho’s sort of negative football, and other teams improving their ranks massively; won’t be surprised if they finish outside the top 4 this season. Even if they do make it to the UCL spots, it would be by the skin of their teeth.
Last season was a disaster for The Blues. After winning the title in 16/17, they finished 5th and missed out on Champions League Football. This ultimately cost manager Antonio Conte his job. In his place, came another Italian; namely former Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri. Chelsea have brought in their legendary forward Gianfranco Zola as Sarri’s assistant coach. With two Italians in their ranks, Chelsea hope to regain their status as one of the top teams of the League. But it’s easier said than done for the Blues. Especially when you look at their transfers. They’ve brought in midfielder Jorginho and goalkeeper Robert Green.
The Blues are training this morning, before heading to France this afternoon…
We take on Inter Milan tomorrow in Nice! 👊 pic.twitter.com/FefjEjzIUr
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) July 27, 2018
But it’s what’s about to unfold in the coming days that can make or break Chelsea. Real Madrid has been sniffing around for a deal for Belgian Duo Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard for a long time now. And with both of them having their hearts set in Madrid, it’s really hard to see Chelsea having them for the next season. The center forward position is also an area of massive problems for Sarri. Club record signing Alvaro Morata didn’t perform well at all. Olivier Giroud wasn’t at his best either. Therefore, a center forward is a must for them. With Higuain’s name being mentioned, it’s one transfer Chelsea must finalise before the season begins. But with their current squad and transfer progress, it’s really hard to see them finishing in the top 4.
A new era is underway for ‘The Gunners’. After being in charge for 22 years, Arsene Wenger’s reign as Arsenal manager finally came to end last season. Spanish manager Unai Emery has been brought in to fill the biggest boots of the Premier League since Sir Alex Ferguson.
Final game of #AFCTour2018?
We’re ready ✅ pic.twitter.com/FgGY6hAOqi
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) July 28, 2018
Emery has started well in terms of transfers. They’ve recruited in areas they needed to improve. Lucas Torreira, Sokratis Papastathopoulos are great signings taking into account the Arsenal midfield and defence need improving. Stephan Lichtsteiner is also a shrewd signing to provide Hector Bellerin some competition. With Emery playing Lacazette and Aubameyang together upfield; and with Ozil, Mkhitaryan behind them, Arsenal are a force to be reckoned with this season. Don’t be surprised if they finish well above the table than other big names.
Liverpool enjoyed their best season in almost a decade last time around. Reaching the Champions League Final, they also finished fourth in the table to ensure a Champions League spot this season. With the fearsome trio of Salah-Firmino-Mane, they’ve torn apart many a defences across Europe. The midfield was an area they needed to improve. And Klopp has jumped onto it once the transfer window opened. Naby Keita was already in. But Klopp felt the need of another midfielder. So, in came Fabinho. In attack, Salah didn’t have any ‘number 2’. So, Liverpool signed Xherdan Shaqiri.
“They probably could have had three [goals] each.”@JamesMilner delighted with the impact made by @MoSalah and Sadio Mane on their return to #LFC action: https://t.co/fEkOkgQY9p#LFCPreSeason pic.twitter.com/94pOfusLHU
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) July 27, 2018
But it was between the sticks that Liverpool had most problems. Mignolet wasn’t that composed, neither was Karius. So, they broke the world record for Allison Becker, the Brazilian shotstopper will don the iconic red of Liverpool from this season. In terms of upgrading their squad from last season, few have done it better than Liverpool. And their fans are starting to dream. That maybe, just maybe, after all these years; time has finally come for Liverpool to bag the Premier League title. But it’s always easier said than done. Liverpool will most likely be the most entertaining team in England again, but the Premier League is a marathon and not a sprint. Liverpool squad depth is still up for debate. But if Klopp can micromanage the squad like he did last season, we may very well see the premier league returning to Liverpool this season.
6. Tottenham Hotspur
17/18 was a great season for Spurs in terms of the Premier League. They finished 3rd, ensuring Champions League football this season again. Harry Kane once again won the Golden Boot. Christian Eriksen, Delle Alli, Heung Min-Son- all of them were in form throughout the season. And with the White Hart Lane rebuilding being done, they can once again move back to their actual home after having to play all their home games in Wembley last season. But it hasn’t been a good transfer outing for Mauricio Pochettino’s side. They’ve not signed anyone. But the main squad is intact despite rumours for Kane, Eriksen, Alli.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) July 27, 2018
Spurs are set to maintain their starting lineup for next season as well. But one really has to wonder about their squad depth. Spurs don’t have a worthy replacement for any of their ‘Fantastic Four’. Lucas Moura, Erik Lamela haven’t fired in quite a long time now. And with the season only two weeks away from commencing, Spurs’ transfer business is to be questioned heavily. And with many of their players going in the final stages of the World Cup, the likes of Lloris and Vertonghen will require rest. Can their replacements perform to the extremely high levels they’ve set? The answer is most likely no. All in all, this may turn out to be a disastrous season for Kane and Co.