The 2019/20 Premier League is upon us and is well on course to be one of the most entertaining seasons in recent years.
While we’ve had a glimpse of what to expect in the curtain-raiser between Man City and Liverpool; we can expect more fireworks when the season beings proper.
On Friday, Liverpool will take on Norwich in what will be the first match of the 2019/20 season.
As usual, the traditional “top six” will battle it out once again in the race for supremacy.
With more than £400m invested by last season’s top six in new signings alone; the intent for this season is clear: a fight to the finish.
Manchester City will face stern competition from a resilient Liverpool in a quest to defend their Champion status.
To that effect, both sides have been tipped as clear favourites in the top two spot for the EPL glory.
Although we all know the Premier League does not follow scripts and never fails to give us a fair share of upsets, fall from grace and emergence of dark horses as well.
Just how much improvement has been made by the contenders and how ready are they for the season?
Pep Guardiola will surely want to add his name to such an elite group having become only the third manager to defend a Premier League title by winning the league again in 2019.
The City squad still look to be in proper shape with adequate depth in all major positions.
The addition of Rodri into their midfield leaves the Citizens with midfield options many can only dream of. The midfield, being a focal point of their gameplay makes the 20-year-old a proper Pep Guardiola City signing.
With no major departures bar the exit of Vincent Kompany, City still look well on course to retain their title and only unseen circumstances, yet, can stop Pep Guardiola and his men from retaining the title.
Liverpool are the obvious team to try and stop the aforementioned after finishing only a point behind the winners and lifting the Champions League ahead of Tottenham Hotspur, who will also be on the campaign trail to finally win a trophy under Mauricio Pochettino.
Just like City, the Reds have seen no major departures and we can expect the same swift attacking football we saw from Klopp’s men last season.
Mohamed Salah, from what we saw in the Community Shield, looks like he’s going to pick up from where he left of last season. Last season’s golden boot winner alongside teammate Sadio Mane looks like he’s set for another good campaign yet again.
The North London outfit have seen themselves rise as dark horses in the course of the past few months.
Their surprise progression to the Champions League finals had heads rolling on whether it was a fluke or if the club are really now a force to contend with.
For a club with a new stadium, one would expect them to be prudent with signings but they’ve been anything but that.
Spurs broke their club transfer record with the signature of £65m rated Tanguy Dembele and looked like they were not satisfied yet.
Latest reports over the past day have seen Tottenham emerge as favourite candidates for Juventus’ Paulo Dybala as well as Barcelona’s Phillipe Coutinho. They are also in advanced talks with Real Betis for the signature of Giovani Le Celso.
Not to take anything away, Pochettino still has a decent squad at his disposal even without the addition of these mentioned players.
But one can imagine that if they get one, two or all of their targets they would obviously be the next team in wait behind the unstoppable City and Liverpool.
If they do get their targets as well and any club is to upset one of City and/or Liverpool from the top two spot, it’s likely Pochettino’s side.
Arsenal have had an unbelievable transfer window, by their standards.
The Gunners also smashed their club transfer record in the acquisition of Nicolas Pepe from Lille.
It may come as a surplus in options as the Gunners attack has not been one caught napping even in previous “disappointing” campaigns.
Emery’s attack is spearheaded by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, last season’s joint golden boot winner and supported by Alexandre Lacazette who can chip in with 15-20 goals a season as well.
The missing piece for the Spaniard though, is in the heart of defence.
Arsenal were second from bottom in most goals conceded by last season’s top six and the departure of Laurent Koscielny only adds more worry to their defensive woes.
The Gunners are currently in a race against time to sign some quality centres backs and their latest targets are Dayot Upamecano and Daniele Rugani.
Now it looks like the signing of David Luiz will go ahead.
With the additions of Dani Ceballos and Nicolas Pepe, Arsenal are an even more potent team going forward.
Although you get the feeling that with no defensive acquisitions, they could be set for another déjà vu campaign. But, if Luiz comes in we could be talking top four.
The Red Devils may have splashed £135m on defensive acquisitions alone. But they don’t still look like a team ready to challenge for the title and regain their “elite” status.
The additions of Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan Bisaka might be brilliant moves for the club but unlike Arsenal they are heavily plagued with attacking options up front.
Lukaku’s future looks uncertain and he could still be on his way out of the club. Anthony Martial has struggled for game time and failed to impress. Jessie Lingard is way too inconsistent to be depended on and Alexis Sanchez’s best performance for United has been on the piano.
For further emphasis, United’s highest goalscorer last season was a certain Paul Pogba with 16 goals. Added to the weird fact that the tag was held by a midfielder; 7 of his goals were from the penalty spot.
United may be more organized at the back but if a few of their players don’t step up upfront, we might be set for scrappy wins and a lot of draws from Solskjaer’s men.
Perhaps the club out of the top six with little transfer activity to report. Understandable as the club was hit with a transfer ban that sees them unable to sign players.
Unlike the pile of the list, the Blues have the most herculean task ahead as they saw a major departure.
Eden Hazard, after 12 years at the club, made his long-awaited move to Madrid.
For someone who has been the backbone of the Chelsea squad for a large period, it’s unlikely they can replace him adequately; for now at least.
Chelsea’s attack line will be led by the host of Willian, Pedro and possibly an unproven Tammy Abraham/inconsistent Oliver Giroud.
Compared to other teams, the Blues seem like the weakest(on paper) with no cutting edge and a player with abilities to conjure moments of magic consistently like Eden Hazard did while at the club.
Also players like Marcos Alonso, Caesar Azpilicueta also seem to be running out of steam and leaving Chelsea with no diligent squad depth members.
Coupled with the fact they are now led by a young and untested Frank Lampard in the Premier League, it could indeed be a telling season for the club.
Premier League 2019/20 predictions
Manchester City will be strongly tipped to make it a hat trick of title wins, although Liverpool will run them close again.
Top six (in order):
Man City, Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea.