With less than a week to go before the 17/18 season starts, it’s hard to see the Premier League trophy ending up anywhere other than back up north. Though as a born and bred southerner, anything past the Watford Gap service station I classify as north. Which gives me a good chance of being right, as half of the clubs in the Premier League reside up north. So perhaps I should be more specific. In my opinion; the title will be heading to Manchester, now whether that be the blue half or the red, that’s harder to say.
With Manchester City having already spent over £200 million and Manchester United a close second, spending around £160 million, they lead the way in the transfer market this summer. They’ve sent out a clear message to the other title contenders, with only the Champions, Chelsea trying to keep up. Of course the title race will involve six teams, but personally I think the two Manchester clubs will be the ones sitting in the two top spots come May.
Both Manchester clubs have spent big, but more importantly they’ve spent well. More so City. It was only time before City had a clear out, and who better to do it then good old Pep Guardiola. City’s problem last season was undoubtedly their back four. With their full backs ageing (you have to remember City’s full back’s were at their prime 5 years ago), they were leaking goals. This has been rectified by releasing and selling all four full backs at the club, and replacing them with high profile young, athletic, what I like to call, ‘Pep’s sort of players’. Combined with 50 million pound John Stones now settled in, City should be defensively very strong this season, as well as the addition of a new goalkeeper. (The most expensive goalkeeper of all time I believe). Gabriel Jesus showed glimpses of his world class talent during the second half of last season, and will also feel like a new signing. City will be a force to reckon with. With the abundance of creativity they have in the middle of the park, as well as quick wingers, players like Sergio Aguero and Jesus will have a field day. Just writing this I’ve made my mind up. Manchester City will win the league. PREDICTION… WINNERS
Having said that I still want to mention the other title contenders. Starting with Manchester United. They had a strange season last year. Many say they underperformed, and for a club like United you could say that’s true. But they still went on to lift the League cup and the UEFA cup, and in classic Jose Mourinho style, let’s not forget the Charity Shield. I think it was the perfect debut season for Mourinho. He’s managed to install a winning mentality within the squad, and got them hungry for bigger and better trophies. Losing Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be big. Bigger than United supporters or even Mourinho himself realises, but the addition of Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic are solid signings. Why Chelsea sold Matic to United is mind-boggling. I still don’t understand that! But Chelsea’s loss is United’s gain. Matic will improve United, and make them a better team without doubt. As well as throwing in a proven goal scorer in the Premier League you give yourself a chance of winning the League. United have held on to David De Gea which is massive, and I think this year could possibly be their best year since Sir Alex Ferguson left the helm. PREDICTION… RUNNERS UP
Like I said before, Chelsea have spent nearly £150 million this summer, but it hurts me to say this being a Chelsea supporter, I don’t think they’ve brought in better then they’ve let go. Chelsea will begin this campaign with a smaller squad, as 7 players from last year’s 16 have left (not including Diego Costa, which is only a matter of time), and have only been replaced with 4. That worries me. Chelsea were fortunate last year to have a relative injury free, no Champions League, season. This year will be different and if let’s says Eden Hazard, N’Golo Kante, and Gary Cahill all get injured during the same period, Chelsea will be in all sorts of trouble. PREDICTION… 5th (possibly Antonio Conte could get the sack by January.)
On to Arsenal. Good old Arsenal. I think they could surprise a lot of people this year. Especially by not playing in the Champions League this season. I mean, every Arsenal supporter around this time of year says this, but I think they might have a shout if they can keep their squad fit and don’t collapse around November for five weeks, struggling to win a game. Again I’m surprised Arsene Wenger hasn’t splashed the cash and bought a few more players. Same old Wenger. But keeping Alexis Sanchez is like a new signing, it’s just sad that next year he’ll leave, and Arsenal won’t get a penny. If Alexandre Lacazette can bang in 20 goals, and they don’t try to walk the ball into the goal, and actually finish off teams…Arsenal could push for the title this season. PREDICTION… 3rd
Then there’s Tottenham and Liverpool. Two teams I enjoy watching, and who I believe have the best managers in the league. I’d love to see one of these clubs win their first Premier League title but I just can’t see it happening. Liverpool have made strange purchases and Tottenham…well they haven’t bought anyone. They don’t necessarily need to buy players every season, but it is good to strengthen the team. If anything just to give the squad the sense of competition for places. Last year I felt the reason both teams fell away from the title race was merely down to the lack of quality in their squads. Both these teams don’t have a great subs bench. They have great starting elevens, but not much to change the game if things aren’t going to plan. Tottenham’s second striker Vincent Janssen only scored 2 goals all season. Why hasn’t Mauricio Pochettino strengthened his attacking options? PREDICTION… Tottenham 4th, Liverpool 6th
With all this said, and my mystic meg predictions made, it will be the tightest Premier League title race for years. Who knows, Huddersfield (I was going to write Newcastle, but we all know they will be fighting relegation) might surprise us all and lift the 17/18 Premier League trophy. But unfortunately I can only see one outcome; and that’s either Manchester City or Manchester United winning the League. Since the last time a Manchester club won the League (back in the 13/14 season), both clubs combined have spent over a billion pounds on transfers. I believe this is the year that such a mind-blowing amount of money comes into fruition, and we see the results.