Crunch Time! 2017/2018 EPL Season Preview
It is about that time of the year again. No more boring weekends. No more pretending to enjoy cricket and tennis. The most competitive football league is making a return on the 11th of August and everybody is already buzzing about how and where the big guns will be seating at the end of the season. Antonio Conte’s Chelsea side emerged Champions last season in a competitive season that saw a meek Arsenal miss out on the Top 4. The 2017/2018 season promises to be twice as competitive!
Here is a little insight on what to expect from last season’s top 6 in the league.
Manchester City are the safest pick to lead the pack in the new season. Pep Guardiola lacked a few things last season and one of them was a solid defense. As we come into the new season, Manchester City have acquired the most expensive defense in the world. Eyebrows were raised all over the when Manchester City made Kyle Walker the world’s most expensive defender.
While Kyle Walker may not appear worth £50 million, the Premier League has once again redefined the market values of European football. That Walker has been one of the best fullbacks in England for the last couple of seasons was never up for debate. And when his fee was eclipsed to capture Benjamin Mendy from Monaco, Pep Guardiola’s desire to address what had been the glaring problem positions of his first season in England was clear.
Danilo, who had endured a wretched couple of years at Real Madrid, was added as cover for both, in a move that took Man City’s outlay on full-backs to a stunning £130 million.
Keeping both Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus fit will mean Manchester city have the strongest strike-force in the Premier League.
Manchester United should finish at position 2 this season. The Red Devils have had a brilliant transfer period.Jose Mourinho’s teams do the best in his second season. However, the fact is that the Premier League has become tougher over the years.
Jose Mourinho started his summer business early like his neighbors, and has made a fine signing in Victor Lindelof , Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic.
It is a big season for Paul Pogba, who struggled to make a huge impact during the Premier League last season. Pogba will be key this season and how he works with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Romelu Lukaku is likely to determine how the Reds perform this season. Romelu Lukaku has had barren periods in the Premier League and the blue side of Manchester has more promise when it comes to leading the pack.
Chelsea will have a difficult time trying to defend their title. However, they will only suffer as far as position 3.
While they have acquired Alvaro Morata, the young forward may not be ready to lead the Chelsea front line. Infact, Chelsea’s chances of defending their title could have been much higher if they stuck to having Diego Costa as their main man. As it is, his future is still undecided with constant claims of his return to his old club Atletico Madrid.
Chelsea have also lost one of their main midfielders in Nemanja Matic. Cesc Fabregas will be key to the Blues this season and the partnership of new signing Bakayoko and the Premier League’s favourite short man N’Golo Kante will be something to watch out for.
They may not have as much depth as most squads but they have a brilliant manager in Antonio Conte who has proved himself as a master tactician.
Liverpool’s fate will lie in the partnership of new signing Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane. Already, the team has an incredible team going forward. While the transfer window is still open, Liverpool investing in their defense could save them a lot of trouble.
Based on the assumption that they will indeed pump up their defense, Liverpool could retain 4th position largely owing to their pacey and clinical forwards.
Arsenal should finish 4th. They might also finish 5th. All this depends on one single person. Alexis Sanchez.
Alexis Sanchez has proven that he can single handedly carry Arsenal for an entire season. However, Alexis Sanchez is a winner. Arsenal’s failure to qualify for the Champions League last season for the first time in 20 years prompted his dream for a move from the Emirates. A move to greener pastures. Better pay, more potential of winning titles. We all want the good things in life right?
Disaster looms for Arsenal if Alexis Sanchez leaves (to Manchester City). The signing of Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac will ofcourse be a major boost for the team which is why they will definitely not go as far as below position 5. However, leaving the top 4 is an easy task. Going back to the top 4 is the difficult part. Ask Manchester United and Liverpool. The top 4 was so difficult even for the great Jose Mourinho last season that he had to place all his weight on the Europa League for a Champions League return to be possible.
The only great achievement that Arsenal will celebrate this coming season (whether Sanchez stays or leaves) is that they will finish above North London rivals, Tottenham Hotspur. They might even beat them both home and away.
Tottenham will finish either at 6th or 7th.
First and most importantly, they will have the Wembley Factor to contain. Since the Spurs are renovating their stadium, all their home games will be played at the one Stadium they never seem to have a good record at. The Wembley Stadium.
Secondly, they have made no signings so far. This could probably have a thing to do with the fact that they are placing all their monies into the Stadium’s renovation. The loss of Kyle Walker to Manchester City may not breed any harsh implications because of the availability of Tripier but making signings would largely lift the team.
Unfortunately, some teams will not survive the harsh conditions of the Premier League and will get relegated. Here are the teams that are likely to go down with a fight.
Swansea City have gotten away with a lot last season. They were not average. They were below average. With the very likely exit of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Llorente, Swansea could be looking at time finally catching up with them as it did with poor old Sunderland. The constant sacking and hiring of managers has been preventing the team from stabilizing as it should.
Major determinant, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Llorente.
Burnley who won the Championship in the 2015/2016 season are the next favourites to be relegated from the premier league. They simply do not have a convincing team to stay up in the league and they might not be able to keep up with their defensive tactics this season.
Huddersfield will play in the top flight for the first time in 45 years after a penalty shootout victory over Reading in the Championship play-off final at Wembley earlier this year. But newly promoted Huddersfield are also favourites to be relegated from the Premier League in 2017/18. The Premier League is the Premier League and things might change, but Huddersfield still do not look ready to take up the challenge that is the English Premier League and come out successfully.
So just how will the Premier League table look like at the end of the season? Well, here’s our prediction.
West Bromwich and Albion
Brighton and Hove
That said, may the odds be in every team’s favor!