The reigning champion won the second title in a row after a great battle that lasted till the last round but the City endured everything. Before the previous season stared they were deemed as the most serious candidates to win the title and it wasn’t even expected that will have to fight so hard all the way till the end. It is important to add that at one point the City had seven points fewer than Liverpool and defending the title was very questionable. Then the City kicked into higher gear and didn’t lose a single point since the beginning of February. Series of victories in the Premier League is now 14 matches long and is still ongoing. We shouldn’t forget that Manchester City won the FA Cup and League Cup, which was their first domestic treble, but they were stopped in the Champions League once again, this time by Tottenham in the quarter-finals. Pep Guardiola has naturally kept his job and their ambitions are the same like last year, and that is to win all possible titles.
Manchester City didn’t start weaker in last couple of seasons, and is usually stronger than before. They didn’t overdo with buying this year but they did make one big transfer with bringing defensive midfielder Rodri from Atletico Madrid. That was the only true shopping, although they also brought Angelino from PSV. Two midfielders who didn’t get the right chance and had mostly spent time on the bench or even stands have left; D. Luiz and Delph, just as veteran Kompany, so the defence is a bit weaker. That is why is very possible to buy in the meantime a proven stopper, as well as that forward L. Sane leaves as Bayern is interested for him.
Probable lineups Manchester City: Ederson – Walker, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko – Rodri, Gundogan – B. Silva, de Bruyne, Sterling – Aguero
Forecast: Third consecutive title is the only thing that will satisfy Manchester City and objectively they are the biggest favourites to win it. The only question is will someone like Liverpool or some other team have enough strength to follow them throughout the long season where every team must oscillate. Manchester City did have a shorter crisis last year and will probably have one in the future, but we still see them at the very top.
What a season for Liverpool but in the end they haven’t stayed empty handed. They again didn’t win the title and that hurts, however, they cannot blame themselves as they lost just once and away to the future champion Manchester City. The Reds played quite well and didn’t show bigger oscillations. In the end they won 97 points but that wasn’t enough. We should give him recognition for playing on two fronts at the same time; they fought for the title in the Premier League and played in the Champions League where they didn’t excel in the group phase. They were on verge of elimination in the semi-finals after losing to Barcelona 3-0 but they managed to annul the backlong in the rematch at home. Liverpool had defeated Tottenham in the final and become the European champion. Now, they would probably accept elimination in the group phase if that would mean winning the English Premiership. Of course, Jurgen Klopp has kept his job and it is clear what his first objective is.
It is interesting that the European champion hasn’t practically traded this summer, or more precisely they haven’t done that till the moment when we wrote this text. Forward Sturridge has left and that is a loss, however, he was in shadow of excellent offensive trio. They have sold another forward, Ings to Southampton, who anyway played for them last season, while left back Moreno left as well. There are no new players yet but that will not stay like that as right back Clyne is injured and Klopp has just one proper solution for the position. Perhaps they will buy more players to cover wider range of position as the season is long and they have to play on several fronts.
Probable lineups Liverpool: Alisson – Alexander-Arnold, van Dijk, J. Matip, Robertson – Fabinho, Keita, Wijnaldum – M. Salah, R. Firmino, S. Mane
Forecast: It is questionably can Liverpool play as good as it played last season, which wasn’t good enough to win the title. Still, perhaps this season smaller number of points would suffice to win the title and clearly they will focus their strength on that objective. Manchester City will be a great opponent but perhaps some other team joins the race as well. Anyway, Liverpool should end up among first three positions.
Tottenham didn’t win a title last year but it cannot be said that they were unsuccessful. Playing in the final of the Champions League is a success that will be remembered for a long time, regardless of the defeat. The Spurs oscillated very little in the very demanding Premier League and had spent practically the entire season at positions that lead to the Champions League. They spent the most time at the third place and they finished at the fourth one, simply because they run out of steam due to playing in the Champions League all the way to the final. We should add that the Spurs started the previous season practically without any new players and have started playing at their new stadium only in the second part of season. Manager Mauriciao Pochettino did a great job and despite rumours that he is leaving he will stay at the White Hart Lane with objective to again take Tottenham to the very top of English Premiership and European football.
They finally brought a strong reinforcement all more precisely the only famous name so far. That is midfielder Ndombele from Lyon and now the Spurs have very good choice of players in that part of team. N’Koudou has returned from loan to Monaco and that would be it. They surprisingly sold Trippier to Atletico Madrid and it can be said that was a loss for them as now they have only Aurier as the first solution for the right back position. Forward F. Llorente also left but he wasn’t in the foreground for a larger part of the previous season but he helped very much when H. Kane was injured. Departure of forward Janssen was practically irrelevant and altogether the Spurs again traded very modestly but it doesn’t mean they are not ready for big achievements.
Probable lineups Tottenham: Lloris – Aurier, Alderweireld, D. Sanchez, D. Rose – Ndombele, Sissoko – Son, Eriksen, Dele Alli – H. Kane
Forecast: The Spurs can hardly join the title race. The season is long and they will surely have a weak period which will eliminate them from the title race. We don’t expect that they can repeat good results in the Champions League as well. Still, they are ready and strong enough for the third or fourth place and we see them racing for those positions.
Altogether, the previous season was good for Chelsea. They won a title in the Europa League, which is definitely commendable, given a very strong competition. In the final the Blues defeated their great city rival Arsenal. Chelsea also played in the final of the League Cup and failed as Manchester City triumphed after penalties. The only disappointment was early elimination from the FA Cup, while their position in the Premiership was objective. It become clear very early that Chelsea cannot join the title race and they can only try to reach the Champions League, which they did with winning the third place. Nevertheless, the club management decided to replace Maurizio Sarri and they brought instead the club legend Frank Lampard. That was a risky move as Lampard doesn’t have much coaching experience, however, he did a great job with Derby County in the Championship last year, which was his recommendation.
Chelsea lost this summer its best by far player given they sold Eden Hazard to Real Madrid and clearly such loss cannot be easily compensated. Veteran G. Cahill left as well, while loan for forward Higuain has expired. Loan for midfielder Kovacic expired as well but they decided to buy his contract from Real Madrid and he is practically the biggest reinforcement. Chelsea is under transfer ban and returnees from loans are players on whom they can count, unless they will send them somewhere again. Chelsea has many players in other clubs and now forward Batshuayi is back with several other players. We shouldn’t forget that previously acquired C. Pulisic from Dortmund will play for Chelsea this season.
Probable lineups Chelsea: Arrizabalaga – Azpilicueta, D. Luiz, Rudiger, M. Alonso – Jorginho, Kante, Kovacic – C. Pulisic, Batshuayi, Pedro
Forecast: Chelsea should be pleased if they repeat the previous season but our estimate is that will not succeed in that. First of all, it is very difficult to again win a European title, while regarding the Premier League the title race would be more than they can handle after departure of the best player. It is realistic to reach the Champions League; from the fourth place but not higher.
Season from which was expected a lot at the Old Trafford had turned into a true debacle. They even replaced manager Morinho in the first part of season, after losing to Liverpool although the defeat wasn’t crucial but number of weak results before it. Instead of Morinho they brought Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and with his arrival had started a series of positive results that raised hope that Manchester United can reach the very top. The United had 12-game unbeaten streak in the Premier League but then came a new crisis in the finish of season with too many losses and they ended up at mere sixth place, meaning there are no Champions League and titles as they were eliminated earlier from English Cups. In the Champions League they had one good result against PSG and that was it. Too little for this great English team but they start the new season with new hope to join the race for the title. Solskjaer is still the manager, while no real reinforcements have arrived yet.
Shopping spree was expected as the previous season was really bad, however, for the time being nothing spectacular happened. They will most probably bring a famous name and for the time being those who arrived and worth mentioning are Wan-Bissaka, young right back from Crystal Palace and he is definitely reinforcement since we remember how much problems the United had with that position. They brought another young player for the left flank and that is Daniel James from Swansea, and it would be very surprising if the United doesn’t continue to shop. Ander Herrera and A. Velencia have left as players who hadn’t imposed themselves last year. Bailly’s injury could force them to buy stopper Maguire but that hasn’t materialise till we wrote this text. Several other names are mentioned although all that belongs to rumour category and it is questionable will anything of that become reality.
Probable lineups Manchester United: de Gea – Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Smalling, L. Shaw – Matic, Pogba, McTominay – Martial, Rashford, Lingard
Forecast: No forecast can be accurate as everyone expected scores of new players to arrive and if that doesn’t happen it is pretty much clear that Manchester United will not be able to race for the title. They perhaps hope that with Solskjaer from the beginning the things will be different and that will not be forced to chase the backlog, however, the finish of the previous season has revealed that it wasn’t entirely up to Mourinho. We believe that Manchester United can reach the Champions League this year but after a great fight with several other teams.
What happened to Manchester United last year has been happening to Arsenal for years. If we take into consideration only the previous season we can see that the team from London again failed to qualify for the Champions League. Arsenal played instead in the Europa League and it seemed that the competition can save the situation. They reached the final and if they won the title everything would be better as they would qualify for the Champions League. Since they lost to Chelsea in the final everything went down the tube and the season was totally unsuccessful, unless we count the final as a good result. Unai Emery had led the team, who had an honour to succeed legendary Arsen Wenger but he also didn’t make a name for himself if we judge looking at the team’s results. We should add that injures very much affected Arsenal’s performances and again this team had huge problems with them.
If we look individual quality of the Gunners they don’t seem bad at all and that is why question arises what is wrong at the Emirates? They had brought several interesting reinforcements last year with whom they wanted to play a more prominent role in the Premiership. It didn’t work that way and they dropped early from the title race. They did have chance to win the fourth place but they blew it in the final, but despite all these problems the Gunners didn’t bring too many new players. They borrowed midfielder Ceballos from Real Madrid, while forward Pepa from Lille should be a good addition to their attack. They have brought young stopper Salib from St. Etienne and they returned him right away for get more experience. There are also young Martinelli and returnee from loan Nelson. Goalkeeper Ospina and midfielder Ramsey left, while goalkeeper Cech has finished his career. Welbeck, D. Suarez and Lichtsteiner departed as well. It is possible that the Gunners bring more new names in the meantime.
Probable lineups Arsenal: Leno – Bellerin, Sokratis, Koscielny, Kolasinac – Torreira, G. Xhaka – Pepe, Ceballos, Iwobi – Aubameyang
Forecast: Arsenal hasn’t been racing for the title for some time now and this season won’t be any different. The team is not strong enough and doesn’t have a system that could keep him high in the standings throughout the whole season. The Gunners will surely have good periods, just as bad ones, and in the end they should be satisfied if they qualify for the Champions League at all.