It is still early in the season with only three games played in the Premier League. There are five teams capable of mounting a serious challenge for the title this season. Here I will assess each of the five clubs chances.
Last season’s champions certainly have the players and experience to regain their crown. They were many people’s favourites for the title when the season started. But with no wins in their first two games, Chelsea’s title credentials are being scrutinised more closely.
On paper, Chelsea perhaps have the strongest starting 11. They are solid in every department. They possess some of the greatest players, not just in the premier league, but in world football. So what went wrong in their opening two games of the season? One point out of a possible six is not the sign of potential champions.
We all know about Jose Mourinho’s antics over the past few weeks. Has this contributed to Chelsea’s poor start? Or is it a clever tactic, used to divert the attention away from his under-performing team? Whatever the answer, Mourinho’s men need to improve their performances on the pitch, and soon if they are to stay in the title race. The arrival of Pedro from Barcelona should help their cause.
Last season was a huge disappointment for the blue half of Manchester. Some of their star players were inconsistent, or just didn’t perform at all. Victories in their opening three games have now seen them installed as title favourites – especially after humbling Chelsea 3-0 at the Etihad.
If their top players, such as Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero, can perform at the top of their game, then Manchester City will stand a great chance of wrestling the title back from Chelsea. On their day, City are the best team in England. They can win big games, by playing exciting, attacking football.
The arrival of Raheem Sterling has added much-needed pace to Manchester City’s attack. The attacking options at their disposal make them almost unstoppable on their day. It is defensively where the problem lies. But with two clean sheets in their opening games, added to that the arrival of Nicolas Otamendi, City now look much stronger in that area. If they can keep their key players fit, and on form, then they will have a fantastic chance of winning the title.
The season began full of optimism surrounding Arsenal. A third place finish last season, along with retaining the FA Cup, had left many people believing that maybe this could be the year that Arsenal challenge for the title.
The signing of Petr Cech was seen as a major boost. But Arsenals opening game was disappointing. A 2-0 defeat to West Ham United proved that questions still need to be addressed before we can call Arsenal genuine title contenders. Arsene Wenger will need to seriously considger adding reinforcements, if his team is to win their first title in 11 years.
Arsenal are without doubt the most entertaining team to watch when they are on form. When they don’t play at their best, they struggle to pick up points. This will need to change if they are to be champions come the end of the season. For me, they have enough in attack to finish top of the pile. It is in central midfield where they may need to add. Francis Coquelin is the only midfielder who has a physical presence in the Arsenal team. If he was to pick up an injury then the Gunners could find themselves in trouble.
Manchester United have recruited more players than any of the other top four from last season. So it may take time for them to gel. But in Louis Van Gaal I believe they have a top class manager, who can mold his team into serious title challenges.
With victories in their opening two games, United will be happy with their start to the season. But if they are going to win the title, they will need to improve. I think that they still lack in some key positions. They still don’t have a world class centre back. Also they may need a top class forward. Wayne Rooney is a great player, but I don’t see him scoring enough goals to get United to the top.
If they can get a quality centre back, plus a forward who will take some of the pressure of off Rooney, then I can see them coming close to winning the title. They have one of the biggest squads in the competition, with strength in depth in most areas. Whatever happens this season, Manchester United are on the rise, and it won’t be too long before they are once again challenging for the title on a consistent basis.
Liverpool have spent big once again this summer, and added considerable numbers to their squad. They will need to improve from last season if they are to challenge for the title. With the players they have, they have an outside chance of doing it.
Two wins and a draw from their opening three games is an excellent start to the season. But if they are to have a successful campaign, a lot of the responsibility will fall onto Christian Benteke. Can Liverpool’s new striker fire them to the title? It will be a tough ask, but maybe not an impossible one. If they can add more quality before the transfer window closes, then the task at hand may become more realistic.
Comparing Liverpool’s team to last season’s top four, I don’t believe they can finish top this coming season. They have some good players, just not enough world class ones. The way they play the game, however, does give them a slight chance. They have pace on the counter-attack, and can blow opponents off the park on their day. Although I think winning the title will prove to be a step too far this season.
All five teams have somewhat of a chance of lifting the title come the end of the season. I expect the battle to be more closely fought than last time around. In the end I think the champions will either be Chelsea or Manchester City. But I wouldn’t rule out Manchester United or Arsenal. There’s a lot of football to be played from now until the end of the season, with excitement and entertainment guaranteed.