Manchester City will be looking to make it three years in a row as the kings of England, but not without competition from Liverpool, who they beat by just a single point last season. And what about the rest of the ‘Big Six’? Tottenham will finally be looking to add a trophy to their cabinet after a series of good seasons, while their north London rivals, Arsenal, will be looking to reclaim the Champions League football they have missed out on for the last two years. Elsewhere, will Ole Gunnar Solskjaer finally be able to steer the Manchester United ship on the right course, not to mention competition from a new-look Chelsea side.
We go in with an early shout to predict the top 4 for the 2019-20 Premier League season, and who misses out:
1) Manchester City:
Pep Guardiola’s record-breaking side seems unbeatable domestically right now. Liverpool mounted a challenge to City's supremacy but ultimately fell short, although by just a single point.
This summer, Pep has finally added some strength in midfield with Atletico’s Rodri, who is seen as the long term successor to the brilliant Fernandinho. The team could do with another center-back after the departure of club legend Vincent Kompany. But despite the small issues, City’s depth in terms of the squad as well the experience of winning domestically will make them the favorites yet again. However, Sterling and co will surely be looking at the bigger picture, and finally bringing the elusive the Champions League trophy home.
Even without any major signings this window, Liverpool possesses one of the best teams in the world. Jurgen Klopp’s brilliance and aggression have turned this side back to the world-beaters they were. Despite all the success and plaudits, Liverpool are still without a Premier League title in almost 30 years, missing out to City by just one point last year.
They are still the only side in England who are capable of standing up to City, but will this finally be the year the likes of Van Dijk and Mo Salah can inspire them to get over the hump and finally be kings of the country again.
3) Tottenham Hotspurs:
Last summer, Mauricio Pochettino, and Tottenham did not spend a single penny on a new player, and their move to the new stadium was delayed repeatedly, until April. Despite all those issues, Spurs were still able to finish fourth in the Premier League and as runners-up in the UEFA Champions League, the latter to the surprise of the entire footballing world.
This season, Tottenham will be distracted by none of those burdens, and it's full steam ahead. Although Pochettino has asked the fanbase to be cautious and not to expect too much, they are rightfully excited by the signing of Tanguy Ndombele for a club-record £65 million. They still have the talismanic services of Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen, and although Spurs aren’t on the level of Manchester City or Liverpool, they are the best situated of the remaining teams in England's Big 6.
Bringing up the 4th and final spot of our predicted top 4, are Spurs’ north London rivals, Arsenal. The Gunners were one of the most exciting teams in the Premier League for stretches, and despite plenty of defensive lapses, the first season under Unai Emery looked destined to be a resounding success. Then came April. Arsenal lost three consecutive Premier League matches and saw their top-four hopes dashed, before losing the UEFA Europa League final to cross-London rivals Chelsea, in a disastrous ending to the season.
But fresh hope springs again this season, especially with the addition of explosive £72m winger Nicolas Pepe, to their already mercurial striking duo of Lacazette and Aubameyang. Unai Emery has also brought in talented Spanish midfielder Dani Ceballos from Real Madrid. If the Gunners can sort out their defensive issues with maybe a couple of signings before the transfer deadline, they are certainly a strong contender for the top 4, maybe even in for a shout for 3rd.
United were an absolute mess last season until Solskjaer came in and steadied the ship somewhat. He certainly has his work cut out for him, with nothing less than a top 4 finish acceptable. Young Welsh winger Daniel James and exciting Aaron wan Bissaka were smart signings, adding energy into a stale and tired squad. Harry Maguire, now the most expensive defender ever at £80m, has also been snapped up. If the wantaway Paul Pogba is persuaded to stay, and the Lukaku issue resolved, United under Solskjaer might just sneak back into the Champions League places. However, the turmoil and rebuilding at Old Trafford might just prevent that yet.
Last season, Maurizio Sarri and Chelsea had a mixed season. Despite being far from the best, they managed to finish 3rd in the league, as well as win the Europa. He has since departed, as has the mercurial Eden Hazard, their best and the most important player in recent seasons. However, with Chelsea legend Frank Lampard in charge of the club now, they will be looking to put the charge at the top of the table. Despite exciting additions like Christian Pulisic and Mateo Kovacic(permanent), this Chelsea team lacks the experience or depth to finish in the top 4 this season.