The 2019-20 English Premier League (EPL) kicked off last weekend. Can Manchester City – which pipped runner-up Liverpool by a solitary point last season – make it a ‘three-peat’ hat-trick this year? The Liverpudlians then went on to beat Tottenham in the UEFA Champions League Final. Can Manchester United come back? Can Arsenal avenge its loss to cross-London rival Chelsea in the UEFA Europa League final last year? We take a look at the six top teams to watch this year.
Pep Guardiola’s two-time reigning champions Manchester City set the record for most (100) and second-most (98) points scored in a campaign over the last two seasons. Liverpool played its greatest ever Premier League season with 97 points, but still fell short.
City has boosted its midfield with the signing of Spain’s Rodri. While Angelino has returned from PSV Eindhoven. But can City replace Vincent Kompany in central defence? Still, the City-zens will probably reign supreme, and try to bag that more elusive prize, the UEFA Champions League. With the bookies, they are 5-8 favorites.
Jürgen Klopp's Champion of Europe, Liverpool, hasn’t won an English Premier League title since 1990. That’s going to be their main focus this year – it’s possibly the only club that has what it takes to overcome Manchester City.
The problem is, Jurgen Klopp's side has no first-team additions. Plus, key players Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino have been away playing international tournaments and could take some time to find their old fluency. The bookies have them firmly in second place at 9-4.
Last season, Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur squad was short-handed in the pre-season owing to the World Cup. It's move to a new stadium was delayed till April. But it still finished fourth in the EPL and runner-up in the UEFA Champions League.
Pochettino has cautioned fans not to expect too much this season, but the signing of Tanguy Ndombele for a club-record £65 million has generated expectations. Harry Kane, who missed a quarter of last season’s matches due to injuries, and Dele Alli are still there though. But they are getting stiff competition from youngsters who are looking for a place in the first team. Tottenham is third in the books, at 14-1.
The bookies have the Gunners in sixth place at 30-1, but Arsenal under Unai Emery looks very good. Last year, three consecutive late losses saw its top-four hopes destroyed. It then lost the UEFA Europa League final to London rival Chelsea. A bleak end to the season but...
Arsenal has brought in midfielder Dani Cabellos and winger Nicolas Pépé. With golden boot-winning forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang alongside Alexandre Lacazette, we could see lots of goals. Emery has signed Celtic full-back Kieran Tierney to sort out its dodgy defence. Arsenal finished just a point behind Tottenham. If it avoids inexplicable collapses, it can return to the Champions League.
Manchester United was a mess last season. After Jose Mourinho was sacked in December, Ole Gunnar Solskjær stepped in as caretaker manager and stopped the bleeding, resulting in a sixth-place finish. Solskjær was appointed to the job permanently in March.
United has signed young forward Daniel James, right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka and, most recently, paid £80 million for central defender Harry Maguire. Romelu Lukaku has moved to Inter Milan, but the wantaway Paul Pogba is staying. At 20-1 odds, the Red Devils can finish top four this season, but everything needs to be perfect for that.
Mercurial Italian manager Maurizio Sarri led the Blues to the UEFA Europa League title and a third-place finish in the English Premier League. But now he has left for Juventus. His replacement is Chelsea legend and fan favourite Frank Lampard, who led Derby to a spot in the Championship promotion final last season. His first Blues season is going to be difficult.
Eden Hazard, Chelsea's best player for years, has moved to Real Madrid. The club is in the middle of a two-window FIFA transfer ban and can’t sign new players. Can their €58 million American sensation Christian Pulisic revive a Hazard-less Chelsea attack? Lampard has to rely on youngsters like Callum Hudson-Odoi, Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount. This may benefit them in the future, but can Chelsea live up to its 20-1 odds this season?