Almost every summer, there are wide-eyed predictions of tight title races, top four scraps and relegation fights to the death. Every Premier League campaign, if pre-season tips are believed, is set to be the best and most compelling ever. This time, though, such predictions might actually pan out
Last season saw Manchester City stroll to their third Premier League title in four years and Pep Guardiola’s side will once again be the frontrunners to finish top of the pile after their £100m capture of Jack Grealish. Their standing as title favourites will be further underlined if Harry Kane arrives at the Etihad Stadium before the end of the transfer window.
The field beyond City, however, will almost certainly be stronger this season than it was last. A blockbuster summer across the Premier League will likely be followed by a blockbuster season, not just in terms of the prizes on offer at the top end of the table, but all the way through the division.
Following on from an encouraging second place finish, Manchester United have enjoyed their best window in a number of years with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer addressing two glaring deficiencies in his squad. In Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane, United have added genuine quality with the addition of the latter most notable given their relative weakness at the back in recent seasons
Chelsea, still fresh from winning last season’s Champions League, have spent the best part of £100m on Romelu Lukaku to give Thomas Tuchel the world class centre forward he longed for. The Belgian has some unfinished business at Stamford Bridge and could be the final piece of the puzzle for the Blues as they plot a Premier League title challenge
After the difficulties of last season, Liverpool will surely be stronger this season. Virgil van Dijk is back on the pitch with Ibrahima Konate signed from RB Leipzig to provide the Dutch centre back with some support. Some rest over the summer and a full pre-season may well have restored Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur should be more comfortable in their own skin as they continue their respective generational transitions, while Leicester City have kept their best players and added impressive Zambian striker Patson Daka. The top seven Premier League positions could be settled in a number of different ways.
This is before Aston Villa, who have spent nearly £100m on new signings to fill the Grealish void at the club, are even considered as top six contenders. Dean Smith’s side have made progress season-on-season and with Leon Bailey, Emi Buendia and Danny Ings now in their squad they could be a more rounded team.
Leeds United stand a good chance of building on last season’s ninth-place finish too with Marcelo Bielsa’s team among the most entertaining sides in the whole division. West Ham have kept the core of their team together, including Declan Rice, after crashing the top six last season, and will also be competitive in the top half of the table.
Everton, however, appear to be going backwards after losing Carlo Ancelotti as their manager over the summer with Rafael Benitez controversially appointed as the Italian’s replacement. With Wolves, Crystal Palace, Southampton and even newly prompted sides like Brentford and Norwich City ambitious in their efforts to break the top half, Everton might be vulnerable.
It could be argued that the Premier League has never been stronger, from top to bottom, than it is at this moment in time. The division has hoovered much of the best talent across the continent due to its financial advantage and that will manifest itself in the teams that take to the pitch, and the moments created, this season.
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