After the wait of three grueling months, the speculations of new transfers, preparations for the new season, the pre-season games and the unveiling of new kits, English Premier League is finally back. English Premier League is widely regarded as the most watched and most competitive league in the world. La Liga fans might disagree but they don’t really matter now do they? I’m only kidding, of course they do. But not as much as the EPL fans because let’s face it, it actually is the most competitive league in the world by a fair margin. La Liga might have two of the best teams in the world but EPL takes the cake when it comes to the competitiveness of the league. You know what, let’s move on and discuss the top teams and their preparations before I hog up all of my allotted space in an EPL vs La Liga debate. It’s a useless debate anyway since EPL is the bomb. There, I said it!
Considering the kind of transfer window we have seen, it won’t be wrong to suggest that a gripping season is about to begin. Where some of the teams have done great business, others have been left wanting. The transfer window remains open until the end of August so it remains to be seen what the last few weeks have in store for EPL fans.
The defending champions Chelsea will be looking to retain their title but all is not well in the camp. Chelsea is considered one of the toughest jobs for any manager in the world of Football and one can see why it is so. Chelsea’s board have a big say in the business that the club conducts and where this strategy has worked to the club’s benefit, it has had its drawbacks too, especially the relationship with the manager. It is reported that Conte wasn’t in favor of Matic leaving the club and signing for rivals Manchester United and it was a decision made by the board. Similarly, the board’s failure to land Lukaku hasn’t set well with Conte. Suffice it to say that things are not great between the manager and the board. Having said that, Chelsea have made some quality additions to their squad withAntonio Rudiger, TiemoueBakayoko and Alvaro Morata brought in. NemanjaMatic, Nathaniel Chalobah, Nathan Ake and Bertrand Traorehave been sold while striker Diego Costa looks set to be on his way out as well. In the absence of Costa, Morata and MichyBatshuayi will be fighting for a spot up top and Michy looks all set to take up the challenge. Chelsea’s transfer window didn’t go ideally well for them so far but things aren’t all gloomy either and they seem well in shape to put up a fight in the defense of their EPL title.
Manchester City have been bullish in the transfer window. They have already spent over £200m and have acquired Bernardo Silva, Kyle Walker, Danilo and Benjamin Mendy along with the goalkeeper Ederson. City wanted to acquire the services of Dani Alves as well but PSG came and lured the Brazilian away to the French Capital. With the old guard at the flanks (BacaraySagna, Kolarov, Clichy and Zabaleta) gone, City look like a revamped model at the back on the flanks. Both Walker and Mendy are excellent, agile full backs while Danilo is a versatile addition to the defense as well. Ederson is a huge upgrade on the disappointing Bravo. Vincent Kompany looked sharp in the pre-season and it would be great for Manchester City if he can stay fit and prove that he still has a big role to play for them in the defense. Bernardo Silva is tipped to take over the mantel from David Silva and pair up with Kevin De Bruyne in the midfield. In the attack, this can be the breakout season for Gabriel Jesus. The Brazilian looks like a thrilling prospect and would give Aguero some great competition. City are still linked with Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez and might try and tempt the Columbian with some last-ditch efforts, albeit Arsenal look like they’re adamant on keeping their star player (for a change). So, all in all, Manchester City look like the team to beat with Pep Guardiola having a full season in the EPL under his belt and a great team to take the EPL on with. Guardiola won’t be looking for anything less than an EPL title after the huge splurge in the transfer market and no excuses left to hide behind.
Manchester United have had a great transfer window so far. Taking Lukaku from right under Chelsea’s nose, securing the services of a much needed NemanjaMatic to give Pogba the freedom to shine and the addition of Lindelof to replace the shaky Smalling and injury prone Phil Jones. Lukaku is a proven EPL striker and should help Mourinho’s team in ending their frustration in front of the goal. Matic is an excellent signing for United. Pogba is tipped to shine this season and Matic was exactly what he would have wanted for support in the midfield. With David De Gea, Eric Bailly and Lindelof, the defense looks in great shape once again. Herera and Valencia would be looking to maintain their great run of form and with Pogba getting the free role and multiple attacking options available to him in front and the addition of a proven goal scorer in Lukaku to end their misery in front of the goal, United look in a very promising shape. Jose Mourinho needs to find the right balance for his team now as he’d be pushing for his first EPL title with the Manchester club.
Arsenal have had a rather quiet transfer window as compared to their aforementioned competitors. They have made only two signings so far but both of them have been quality additions. Alexandre Lacazette has been signed for a club record £46.5 million. Many think that he is the kind of prolific goal scorer Arsenal have been missing for long now. It remains to be seen whether the Frenchman lives up to the hype in his first season with the Gunners. On the other hand, Sead Kolasinac looks like the bargain of the season so far. The free transfer of the left back to the Gunners seems like a stroke of genius by Wenger as he looks like the real deal. This would also be a huge season for Xhaka who looked in great touch at the end of last season and in the pre-season as well. Much has been said about Alexis Sanchez. He hasn’t signed the contract extension with the Gunners and is in his last year of contract. He looked all set to join PSG but the Neymar to PSG signing have all but ended the chances of Sanchez going to PSG. Manchester City’s interest hasn’t completely died down but Arsene Wenger doesn’t look like he’s going to let the Chilean leave this summer. If Arsenal can keep Sanchez, this would mean a great deal for the club’s chances in the EPL given their exit from Champions League and with only EPL to focus on. Pundits are still reluctant in giving Arsenal any real chance though, given their abysmal run for the title in the last decade or so. Arsenal seem to have lost their spot as serious title contenders.
Liverpool’s frustrations grow as I pen down this article. Just a few hours ago, Coutinho seems to have handed in his transfer request. The midfielder is being chased by Barcelona in an attempt to fill the void left by Neymar, who joined PSG on a world record transfer worth 222m euros. Coutinho’s departure would be a huge dent for Liverpool’s chances this season. The Merseyside club have already had a disappointing transfer window. They failed to secure Virgil Van Dijk’s signatures so far and even had to apologize to Southampton when the player’s club filed a complaint against Liverpool for illegally approaching the player, albeit it’s likely that they might end up signing him eventually given that he also handed in his transfer request to Southampton. Liverpool’s attempts to sign Naby Keita have also failed and it doesn’t look like they have a backup plan. The only arrivals at Liverpool so far are Dominic Solanke, Mohamed Salah and Andy Robertson. Salah looks like a great player now after his successful stint with Roma. His finishing has improved and he can be a great asset for Liverpool going forward along with Sadio Mane. If Liverpool can strengthen themselves at the back and keep hold of Coutinho, they can be a force to be reckoned with under the influential Jurgen Klopp.
Tottenham Hotspurs have had the most disappointing transfer window so far. They are the only Premier League club yet to sign a single first team player while they have sold Kyle Walker to Manchester City as well. Kieran Trippier would have to shine for them and Moussa Sissoko would need to justify his hefty price tag after failing miserably last season. They have also the Wembley issue to deal with as they haven’t had a great time at their new home ground so far. The likes of Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane would have to deliver yet again big time if Spurs are to have any chance at the title.
All in all, the race for the top looks exciting as ever. Let’s see who comes out on top come May next year.
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