Sports

X-raying 2018/19 English Premier League Season

by Anthony Nlebem

August 10, 2018 | 9:18 am
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Jurgen Klopp says despite Liverpool's big spending this summer, competing for the Premier League title will be "difficult" for the Reds.

The much-anticipated 2018-19 English Premier League season kicks off today  Friday August 10th as Manchester United battle Leicester City.

Defending champion Manchester City enters the season as favorite to win the Premier League title with Liverpool looking to be the dark horse.

A total of £1.26 billion have been spent so far and it could exceed the amount, as last minute deadline transfers are imminent and could exceed the record fee of £1.47 billion during the 2017 summer transfer window.

Some of the big questions seeking for answers as the most prestigious and entertaining football league gets underway: Will City defend their title? Can Liverpool claim their first premier league title since 1992? Can Arsenal break back into the top four? And will Sari transform the fortunes of Chelsea?

Here, in no particular order, we look are the top five potential teams likely to win this seasons premier league.

 Liverpool

One big surprise could be in Liverpool, the Reds boast of the second-best Premier League side to win it the title.

Jurgen Klopp have made some huge signings in the transfer window and Loris Karius bad form  has been addressed with Liverpool breaking the world transfer record for a goalkeeper to sign Brazil No. 1 Alisson for £67m. Naby Keita (£54m) and Fabinho (£40m) have also reinforced the midfield with Xherdan Shaqiri (£13m) adding to Jurgen Klopp’s attacking options. Still, the main driving force of this exceptional team is the trident of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah. If they all stay fit then Liverpool might even manage to push City close.

Liverpool made it to the Champions League final last year behind an explosive offense that featured Mohamed Salah, who scored 43 goals in all competitions. The Reds has never won the Premier League title since its inception in 1992 and could break the jinx this season.

With the new arrivals at Anfield this season, the Reds could be on their way to claiming the first Premier League title since its inception in 1992.

Manchester City

Looking at their historic performance last season and the scintillating results in pre-season, Pep Guardiola’s team could be the first side to retain the Premier League trophy since Manchester United in 2008/09, but will have to battle it with an impressive and ambitious Liverpool side.

Guardiola inspired City to a record 100 points last season and while replicating that feat, and winning 32 of 38 games again, might be tricky, they showed in the Community Shield win over Chelsea that they will again be the team to beat.

Pep boosted the team with the arrival of Riyad Mahrez for  £60m but City are level ahead of team and players like Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden will be looking to have more of an impact this time around. The major concern will be to get a backup for Fernandinho in the holding midfield role. But unless something huge happens, City should retain their title. They have too much class in all areas of the pitch.

Again, Guardiola might want to focus more on the Champions League title after losing to Liverpool in last year’s quarterfinal.

Arsenal

The Gunners will be hoping to get back to top four with the arrival of Spanish tactician Unai Emery in charge of activities at the Emirates.

The 46-year-old coach could be the man to return Arsenal to Champions League football.  Arsenal have been active in the summer transfer market with arrivals of ; Matteo Guendouzi from Lorient , Bernd Leno from Bayer Leverkusen, Stephan Lichtsteiner from Juventus, Sokratis Papastathopoulos from Borussia Dortmund, Lucas Torreira from Sampdoria.

The Gunners ended their 2017/2018 campaign on a bad note finishing 6th on the log with a disappointing Europa campaign.

Arsenal players have said that Emery is implementing a more rigorous approach on the training ground, with a renewed focus on pressing, tactics and off-the-ball work – all areas, which fell into disrepair under Arsene Wenger.

Returning Arsenal to the Champions League would be a significant achievement for the former PSG boss.

Chelsea

The 2017/18 season saw sacked Antonio Conte prioritise Cup competitions over the Premier League. An FA Cup win, the EFL Cup semi-finals saw a reasonable campaign for Conte.

But horrifying heavy defeats against the likes of Watford, Bournemouth and Newcastle United ensured that Chelsea would have to settle for a UEFA Europa League spot.

With the arrival of Maurizio Sarri in the hot seat at Stamford coming with a back of two second-placed finishes in Serie A with Napoli, Chelsea fans are hopeful the Italian tactician return Chelsea to a title winning club, but will need time to adjust to the English brand of football.

The 59-year-old would be aiming to revolutionise their front three, making use of the sheer speed of Eden Hazard and Willian with Alvaro Morata as a central striker.

Chelsea have not been active in the transfer market except for the arrival of Real Madrid midfielder, Mateo Kovacic on a season-long loan,

Chelsea also sign Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga on a seven-year contract worth around £72 million making him the world’s most expensive goalkeeper.

Eden Hazard is also linked with an exit.  Sarri’s appointment was bold but might face an uphill season, as the new manager will need a season to study and master the tactical and technical style of the English Premier League.

Manchester United

Man United finished 19 points behind league winners and local rivals Manchester City last season, but will have to make change to improve the strength and depth of the team. After being knocked out in the Champions League in the Round of 16 against Sevilla, Mourinho’s men will be hoping for a better UCL campaign too.

The arrival of Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk could be a boost to the Red Devils’ cause as the midfield area now looks more composed and solid with Pogba, Herrera and Matic already there.

United already have a great attacking threat up-front with likes of Sanchez, Lukaku, Martial and Rashford, all of whom can score at any point in the game and change the complexion of the match. However, United still need defensive reinforcements to round-up their squad strength.

Jose Mourinho looks to have missed out on a new centre back with no positive transfer news coming from Manchester United today. Tottenham have also missed out on bringing any additional players to White Hart Lane this summer.

ANTHONY NLEBEM

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by Anthony Nlebem

August 10, 2018 | 9:18 am
  |     |     |   Start Conversation

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