A new Premier League season is upon us!
Adrenaline levels will start reaching new heights as another race for the Premier League title resumes this weekend.
We speak to three pundits on their views of the new league season, title talk, relegation battles, breakthrough stars amongst others.
Que: Who are the Premier League title candidates?
FJ: Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea and Man United.
City look unstoppable right now. The community shield only served to strengthen that. Pep is taking the team to new levels and the target this season would be to complement that league win with Champions League success.
Liverpool on the other hand have their best spine in years. However, they are one world class player from winning the league. Should they convert the draws to win, they are City’s strongest challengers.
Chelsea and United have just enough to challenge and will be up there to run both favorites close. Never will a contrast of styles be more significant in a title race.
Papi the Great: Manchester City, Liverpool
Surprisingly, I’ve left out Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United. I think the Portuguese has unsettled his squad with his high-grade drama and petulant messages during the club’s involvement in the ICC tour.
That has paved the way for a two-horse race for the Premier League title: a race between the Ceturions managed by a Philosopher (who is also a modern day Oliver Twist) and the Reds managed by the German Genius (whose additions this summer underline his ambitions).
Babatunde Kolawole: Even though the transfer activities might look to have a heavy influence on the league, City still look better fit for the run in than any other team. A team with at least two personnel for each position and has so much quality that you imagine how the manager never gets a headache. The acquisition of Riyad Mahrez further cements the claim.
Liverpool are an exciting project that come in close second going by the careful recruitment of talented players for the positions they lack quality.
United have internal problems that might deter them as much as I’d like to point out their experience.
Chelsea and Arsenal are definitely exciting projects we can’t wait to see get started.
Que: Who are your relegation candidates?
FJ: Cardiff, Fulham and Watford
The Bluebirds just don’t look like a Premier League team. The team just oozes championship class. Championship manager, Championship players, Championship style. They have punched above their weight. This unforgiving league is a step too far for them.
Fulham have signed alot of players… It would be fascinating to see how well they gel. However, the last time three promoted teams stayed up, the following season, at least one went down. This time I am confident two will. The Cottagers don’t just have the time they will need.
Watford have been playing with fire in recent years. The goals have dried up and they can’t stop conceding. Recipe for disaster that
Papi the Great: Southampton, Cardiff City, Brighton & Hove
The Saints could only manage 36 points throughout their 38-game campaign. On the average they scored less than one goal per game and conceded 3 per game. They finished 17th last season and I think that’s as far as their luck will carry them this season.
For all the noise about Neil’s team winning the English Championship, they’re one of the names I think will return to the 24-team league as quickly as they gained their promotion.
I’m tempted to mention Watford but I think they have enough firepower to finish just above Brighton & Hove this season. Doucoure, Foster and Capoue should be enough to stay afloat unlike Brighton, a side that won’t be as lucky this season.
Babatunde Kolawole: Southampton, Huddersfield, Cardiff
Southampton and Huddersfield barely stayed up last season. We could say mother luck had a huge play as Huddersfield got to secure their top flight spot against the almighty Chelsea in a tie that reeked of good fortunes for them. The Premier League is a league of few chances, combine that with how their direct rivals have strengthened. It doesn’t look good for them.
Southampton looked flattering on paper but never got on the field of play. They need to step up and bring back the old times if they are to stay up.
Cardiff look like a team that’s unprepared to match the big boys. Transfers, style and preparation all points towards an underwhelming campaign.
Que: Which team(s) are you excited mostly by?
FJ: I would say Liverpool, but then that would be obvious… I’ll go for Chelsea and it’s for one sole reason… They have been freed from the shackles of defensive football. The Sarriball, the arrival of Kovacic and all those things… It’d be fascinating to see how well they get on. I really hope it works for them
Papi the Great: For obvious reasons, Liverpool. The Reds went unbeaten at home in the 17/18 campaign and with their recruits this summer that seems like a trend that will continue. Add to their firepower upfront a midfield that has Keita and Fabinho and then a defense with Alisson in it and you can understand my excitement about Klopp’s red army. Did I mention Shaqiri?
It’ll be interesting to see how the new owners of the world’s most expensive goalkeeper will set up. May take a few MatchDays to get used to his name but it will take even longer to get tired of watching the Blues play “Sarri Ball.” Now that Chelsea’s midfield has so many exciting prospects, it should be too hard for Morata to miss too many chances, right?
The Citizens appear on my list again because of one reason: should be exciting to watch Manchester City try to go one better than their 17/18 feats.
Unai Emery and Arsenal? Who else won’t be excited about a new-look Arsenal, one which, for a first time in over two decades, won’t feature Arsene in a red tie on the touch-line.
Babatunde Kolawole: Definitely has to be Liverpool!
I think anyone would be excited about the prospect of seeing a Jurgen Klopp’s team without obviously loopholes. Addressing the underwhelming departments in the team has got me suddenly tipping them for a tight run in with City. The prospect of seeing energetic midfield runs from Keita, world class save and distribution from Allison, spectacular play from Shaqiri all looks finger licking. Gen gen pressing with an orchestrator from deep in Fabinho with the trio of the boys to men upfront continuing from last season is tantalising.
For obvious reasons, the prospect of an Arsenal under Emery is something to look forward to.
Did I hear Sarri ball?
Bring on the season!
Que: Which player do you think will finally breakthrough this season?
FJ: Bernardo Silva and I want to think this could be Sheyi Ojo and Phil Foden’s year, if they play.
However the prospect of Silva coming into his element this season is terrifying. Think of him and De Bruyne(be afraid)… His fleeting appearances last season saw City finish champions with 100pts..maybe they’d hit 106 now 😂. Talk about a potential PFA Player of the year candidate.. That’s him
Papi the Great: Ryan Sessegnon had a breakthrough season in the Championship. Fulham held onto the teenager and it’s only a matter of time before the English youngster adapts and finally breaks forth.
Bernardo Silva got some Pep plaudits during the ICC. He has all of a sudden become an “important player” in City’s ranks. When he starts, he will give teams more headaches than they can handle. If he comes off as a sub, you can be sure he will be making the most of it. Definitely one to watch out for this season.
Babatunde Kolawole: Bernardo Silva.
The accolades he got from Pep will go a long way in making him believe in himself and stepping up to the responsibility. The words used by Pep, calling the most important and number one name on the list at the moment are words you don’t joke with when it comes from someone like Pep.
Combine that with his sleek play ,vision and how he cuts open a defense – the Premier League should be afraid.
Mhkitaryan has flattered to impress in different spells since he came to England but the different thing about this season is the potential partnership with Aubameyang, I think this is the season he finally comes to life fully in England.
Que: Which team gives you much cause for concern?
FJ: I fear for Newcastle, Southampton, Huddersfield and Brighton.
Newcastle because they have done bad business really… Rondon and Muto may not solve their scoring problems even though both are good buys. The ownership are setting the team up for failure.
Southampton have really lost their way. They have sold Dusan Tadic and have bought a replacement that isn’t as good. They seemingly have no transfer strategy. It says alot. They were the darlings of purists not long ago.
Huddersfield and Brighton on the other hand may finally get to taste the ruthless nature of the league. Both have done good business and early at that. However, they haven’t got players who could elevate them from last season. That second season syndrome really hangs over one of this two.
Babatunde Kolawole: Manchester United and Burnley.
There’s a myth about Jose Mourinho and his third season syndrome. From all indications, the myth is about to strike again.
From handling of fan favorite, Martial’s issue to the obvious problems in center back, it’s all looking ugly. Desperate search for a centre back (all been unfruitful) from a team that possess nine, speaks volume. There was a report of a Pogba improved contract demand, one which clearly has been written in the scripts since the arrival of Alexis. Injuries, fatigue, lack of belief and failure in the transfer market all points to uncertainty at the club.
Burnley put up a sizzling show last season, one which got them an Europa spot. As exciting as the adventure looks, one has to look at the available personnel for this journey and analyse if they truly have the energy and squad strength to keep up on both front. The pressure of playing within 3 days is high and one which needs careful examination for a team like the Clarets.
Sean Dyche, work your magic.
Papi the Great: Everton appears top of this list. Marco Silva has made boss moves, including adding Richarlison and Yeri Mina to his squad, a move for which he will be praised if it gels and he will be hugely criticized for if it all falls apart.
Another club who case calls for great concern is is Manchester United. It sounds like the house is divided, with Jose having thrown too many spanners in the works. With so many harsh words being thrown around, there’s certainly a cause for alarm in the red half of Manchester.
What do you think? Share your thoughts with us by leaving us your comments. We’d love to hear from you.
Author: For The Goal
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