The big kick-off is fast approaching. And even the fans of the smaller Premier League sides will be dreaming of their very own Leicester City 2015/16 fairytales. In reality, only a handful of teams boast genuine title aspirations for 2018/19.
Let’s take a look at the contenders now.
Favourites: Manchester City
Pep Guardiola has faced minor criticisms for a lack of signings over the summer. Meanwhile, everyone knows that Sir Alex Ferguson always maintained that defending the title is far harder than the first. Those sentiments are echoed by the fact that nobody has retained the crown since Manchester United in 2008/09.
Nevertheless, following a record-breaking season last term, the Citizens will be heavily fancied by most. In Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva, they boast the two best technicians in the country. This is complemented by the pace of Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus. As such, it’s difficult to envisage any scenario in which they won’t at least be challenging for the title come May.
It might be a little tighter this term, especially as a big Champions League campaign will be on the agenda. Still, nobody would be surprised if the title remains at the Etihad.
The Big Challengers: Liverpool
No trophy. Three final losses. The loss of Philippe Coutinho and Emre Can this calendar year. Those three things might not sound like the perfect two-and-a-half years at the helm for Jurgen Klopp. Yet, the Anfield club can enter 2018/19 in bullish mood as the German bids to be the man that finally end the club’s wait for a Premier League title.
The Reds have added well while Daniel Sturridge may feel like a new addition. Experts at Thatsagoal have predicted them to go close, stating that they should better last year’s fourth-placed finish. If they can start well, there’s nothing to suggest they won’t do well.
The Rest: Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal
Chelsea capitulated under Antonio Conte last term. But they will expect to have a much better time of things under new boss Maurizio Sarri, who is still trying to add quality to his side. Assuming the Blues land their targets and keep hold of star players Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante, they should improve on last year’s record. Finishing 30 points off the pace was very underwhelming indeed.
Jose Mourinho’s pessimism is starting to get a little tiresome now, even if it is probably all a ploy to encourage further backing from the owners. Still, there is optimism at Old Trafford as Fred may be the man to finally help get the best out of World Cup-winner Paul Pogba. If the Red Devils can achieve this while getting a better return from Alexis Sanchez, a title challenge could surface.
Even an incredible new stadium will not stop Spurs from spending according to the Sun. However, Mauricio Pochettino’s men enter the first season in the new home under immense pressure. The 2018/19 feels like a crossroads and Spurs will need to win something if this era of progress is to continue. Unfortunately, the likes of Harry Kane and co. may have to look elsewhere in summer 2019.
There’s no denying that Arsene Wenger’s tenure at the Emirates ended with a whimper. However, Unai Emery has inherited one of the best strike partnerships while his own training methods should spark a significant upgrade on 2017/18. While they aren’t ready for the title, a top-four push is certainly possible.