The new Premier League season is just around the corner and it still feels like the paint hasn’t dried on the 2019-20 campaign. Liverpool are the reigning champions and will be eager to show the world that the title win wasn’t a flash in the pan. The usual cast of characters will be hot on their tails as the 2020-21 title chase begins. In this preview we will look at the serious title chasers, the teams who might cause some trouble at the top and the clubs who might have an outside chance of making the European places.
Battle for The Top
Liverpool did such an incredible job on their way to winning the league that it will be tough to look past them as the favourites to retain their crown. The Reds haven’t spent much in the shortened off-season, only bringing left-back cover in the form of Kostas Tsimikas from Olympiakos. They’ve also let a couple of players go, Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana being the biggest names. However Jurgen Klopp as managed to keep his band of brothers together and that is a major bonus on Merseyside. Liverpool will be sure that they have enough in their squad to do it all over again, but with the short turnaround between seasons, there might be a toll on the legs. It would take a strong person to bet against the Reds this season as they have high odds to win the Premier League in 2021.
Manchester City were the closest challengers to the eventual Kings of England and the season that promised so much ended up with only the Carabao Cup to show for their efforts. There have also been some changes at the Etihad with Leroy Sane having left for Bayern Munich and David Silva having returned back to Spain with Real Sociedad on a free transfer. Pep Guardiola has brought in centre back Nathan Ake and winger Ferran Torres to bolster defence and attack. There are likely to be more players joining the Cityzens and they will be up for the challenge of regaining their title. With Kevin de Bruyne still pulling the strings, Raheem Sterling marauding down the flanks and the likes of Sergio Aguero leading the line, City will again be a force to be reckoned with.
Manchester United did so well to get the all-important UEFA Champions League spot by finishing in third place ending ahead of Chelsea on goal difference. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has built an exciting team with Bruno Fernando proving to have been a shrewd acquisition in the January transfer window. The emergence of Mason Greenwood gives the Red Devils another homegrown attacking option, the likes of which the fans have loved seeing come through over the years. The major signing of Donny van de Beek from Ajax will give them another attacking threat, but they will be eager to add more firepower in order to really put pressure on City and Liverpool. It isn’t outside the realms of possibility that United bring in more reinforcements to make them more menacing. They will be keen to make the most of the campaign in Europe as well as delivering domestically. The main issue for Solskjaer will be cutting out the defensive lapses and also putting away the smaller teams more regularly. His project is taking shape and with star players like David de Gea, Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford all looking to impress it could be a happy season for United.
Chelsea have been the biggest spenders in the lead-up to the new campaign and they have set the transfer market alight with the signings of Ben Chilwell, Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Thiago Silva. Every one of those players will be great additions to the first team that already boasts some impressive attacking players in the form of Christian Pulisic, Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Callum Hudson-Odoi. They now have a real bevy of stars that has fans of the Blues excited for the new season. Making it to the Champions League was the main target for Frank Lampard in his first season in top flight management and he accomplished that, as well as having gotten his team to the FA Cup Final. Now, having brought in so many attacking players, bolstered the defensive ranks and solidified the team in general, more will be expected from his side. A fourth placed finish last season was mission accomplished; it won’t be in 2020/21. Chelsea could be one of the outstanding teams to watch this season but there is a lot for them to learn as the campaign wears on and the learning curve can be steep.
Arsenal have been an enigma over the past few years, producing some impressive results and some dismal displays in batches of matches, the proverbial ‘sublime to ridiculous’ scenario. They finished the previous campaign in eighth place, way below what they were expected to produce. With Mikel Arteta at the helm the Gunners are looking like something approaching their best again, despite the poor showing in the league. The FA Cup winners were too good for Chelsea on the day of the cup final and they then won the curtain-raising Community Shield against Liverpool to kick this new season off in style. Gunners fans will be happy to see their team back to winning silverware in any way shape or form. They seem to have finally tied down Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to a new deal and have also secured Dani Ceballos on another loan from Real Madrid. Equally as important has been that Arsenal have also brought in Brazilians Willian and Gabriel Magalhaes to give them options up front and at the back. Arteta has assembled a squad that can beat any team on their day, he’ll be keen to see his side have more good days consistently.
The Chasing Pack
Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Everton will be the teams that will also have a say on where the title ends up and who makes up the top four in the Premier League. It might be a little tough on Leicester to include such a strong team in the list of pretenders to the crown, because of their ability to beat the best when they are on song. However, their capitulation at the end of the past season gave enough reason to think that they don’t have enough in reserve to remain consistent. The Foxes have only brought in a fullback in Timothy Castagne from Atalanta who ‘replaces’ the departed Chilwell.
Tottenham are also a side that flatters to deceive. They have some remarkable talent in their squad but that very same talent has let them down when it’s mattered most. Jose Mourinho hasn’t been able to get the team to rise above their present station and despite finishing above their North London rivals Arsenal they had nothing to show for an up-and-down season. Much like Leicester, Spurs have been relatively circumspect in the transfer market, only bringing in Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Matt Doherty and Joe Hart. Those signing might not make them the all-round threat they need to be. But, they do have brilliant players in their ranks, like Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Son Heung-min Son and Steven Bergwijn and they could win many a match for Spurs.
Wolves have been punching above their weight for a while now and it seems as if they are eager to push on and get to the next level. A seventh placed finish saw them end the season three points better than Arsenal and tied with Spurs on points. They have retained their key players, barring the loss of Doherty, and have made a club record signing in Fabio Silva from Porto. This could be another season where Nuno Espirito Santo’s troops shock some of the big guns and gain some ground on the leaders.
Everton are a club also making a wave in this transfer window having signed James Rodriguez, Allan and Niels Nkounkou. Carlo Ancelotti is looking to work his magic on this squad and make them more attacking and far more consistent, to help them to dominate the games they should be winning. The likes of Richarlison, Andre Gomes and Dominic Calvert-Lewin will form the backbone of the Toffees team and if they perform anywhere close to what their manager expects of them they will be party spoilers on many occasions.