The Premier League is back this weekend, and with some huge transfers completed by the top clubs, we are set for an enthralling season. Can Liverpool get back to their best with a healthy Virgil van Dijk back? Can Manchester United finally deliver on the potential they’ve shown over the past few seasons? Can anyone stop this star studded Manchester City outfit from winning a fourth title in five seasons? There’s plenty to be excited about this season, and we’ve got you covered with a full preview.
Liverpool were ravaged by injuries in their attempt to defend their title last season, but after taking 26 of a possible 30 points to end the season, the Reds still found a way to finish top four. With central defenders Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joël Matip all back from injury, plus the signing of Ibrahima Konaté from RB Leipzig, Liverpool will be rock solid in defence this season. The front three of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firminho will generate enough goals if they’re given the right service.
The big question that surrounds Liverpool is their midfield. Jordan Henderson was forced to play a lot in defence last season to cover injuries, while Thiago struggled in his first season at Liverpool. With Gini Wijnaldum leaving to PSG, the Reds don’t have the depth and quality in midfield that the other top four sides from last season possess. The lack of spending during the transfer window in comparison to their other top four rivals is a huge concern, and as was shown last season, the chasing pack can go past in the blink of an eye if you don't continue to bolster your squad. With Anfield not being the fortress in once was last season, and the vulnerability of the squad if there are injuries to key players, the Reds haven't done enough to make up the gap between themselves and Manchester City.
Season 2020-21 was a step in the right direction for Manchester United, however with their crosstown rivals finishing twelve points ahead of them, they needed to improve to bridge the gap towards the defending champs. They finally secured the services of Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, who will add some much needed quality going forward. With the signing of Raphael Varane from Real Madrid, Harry Magurie finally has a quality centre back alongside him. The defence of Maguire, Varane, Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka is one of the best back fours in the Premier League.
Paul Pogba is coming off an outstanding Euro 2020 campaign where he was the standout player of the tournament up to the point where France were knocked out. Bruno Fernandes has been one of the best players in the Premier League since he joined United, and he looms as the ultimate catalyst to the Red Devils hopes of ending their eight year drought. Despite making some quality signings, Marcus Rashford’s injury means there is going to be an unhealthy reliance on 34 year old striker Edison Cavani in the opening months of the season. The Red Devils have edged closer towards City, but their depth and consistency is a big question, as it has been for the entirety of the post Sir Alex Ferguson era at Old Trafford.
Chelsea upset Manchester City in the Champions League final, to round a successful back half of the year for the Blues. Thomas Tuchel took over after Frank Lampard was sacked in January, and under Tuchel Chelsea became one of the best defensive outfits in the Premier League. With much maligned signings Kai Havertz and Timo Werner starting to hit form at the end of last season, there’s plenty for Chelsea fans to be optimistic about. Especially with the impending signing of Romelu Lukaku, this Chelsea side looks very good.
The challenge for Chelsea, as is every side, is finding a way to match Manchester City’s consistency across 38 games. In a similar vein to United, Chelsea possess an abundance of talent and depth in midfield and defence. The key factor to Chelsea making a genuine title challenge is if they can score enough goals. With the form they produced after the turn of the calendar year, as well as the additions of Lukaku and Jules Kounde, Chelsea are going to be Manchester City’s biggest threat to the title this season.
Manchester City were dominant en route to the 2020-21 Premier League title, winning the title by twelve points. City were elite at both ends of the pitch with the number one ranked attack, scoring ten more goals than any other team. As well as the number one ranked defence, concededing four less goals than the nearest best defence. The $188 million (AUD) signing of Jack Grealish bolsters an already stacked team that has an abundance of attacking options. City will have to choose from Sterling, De Bruyne, Foden, Grealish, Silva, Torres, Jesus and Mahrez in their front three. With Ruben Dias and John Stones forming the best centre back partnership in club football, the defending champs have the best roster in the league and arguably the entirety of Europe.
City had a stacked squad last season in a campaign where they won the Premier League, won the EFL Cup, were runners up in the Champions League and made the semi finals of the FA Cup. With the addition of Jack Grealish, and the very likely possibility of adding Harry Kane to that side soon, this City side stacks up as one of the best ever seen in the Premier League. The defending Champions only dropped four points between December and March last season, and they’ve got the quality to repeat that level of consistency once again. After falling short in the Champions League final, this team will be hungry to take all that is in front of them this season, we could be witnessing something special from Manchester City this season.
Mo Salah finished just one goal behind Harry Kane as the runner up in the Golden Boot last season, in a season where Liverpool had an awful two month stretch. With the Euro and Copa America tournaments taking place after a jam packed season, Salah should be primed for a big season given he will have had a lot more time to rest and recover in comparison to his counterparts. Salah has been ultra consistent since his arrival at Liverpool back in 2017, and has produced plenty of goals even through injury and when Liverpool haven't been at their best. The Egyptian star has had goal tallies of 22, 19, 22 and 32 in the past four seasons and if Liverpool can be more consistent across the entirety of the season, with a fully healthy squad, Salah will be well positioned to have a big season in front of goal.
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