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Premier League Preview 2018-19


Published on: 08/08/2018

Premier League Preview 2018/19

With England`s World Cup exploits now a fading memory, club football makes a welcome return this weekend as the 2018/19 Premier League campaign gets underway.

The action begins on Friday August 10 as Manchester United host Leicester City in an evening kick-off at Old Trafford before a full programme of matches over the weekend.

There has been plenty of transfer activity to keep fans speculating and some significant funds have been spent. But who has done the best business? And who will lift the trophy come May?

We look at the key contenders for the 2018/19 Premier League crown.

Manchester City

Few teams in the history of the Premier League have won the title at such a stroll as Pep Guardiola`s Manchester City. After a season of transition in 2016/17 and a bold recruitment process last summer, the Spanish boss guided the Sky Blues to the title with plenty of room to spare.

After enjoying such supremacy, it is no surprise City were content just to tweak what they have already got resulting in less summer transfer activity than some other clubs.

Riyad Mahrez finally arrived for a £60m fee and represents the main addition to their match day squad. The arrival of 18-year-old midfielder Claudio Gomes from PSG and 21-year-old defender Philippe Sandler from PEC Zwolle suggest the Citizens also have one eye on the future. The return from injury of French international Benjamin Mendy will also give the club a boost.

Liverpool

Liverpool finished a massive 25 points behind Manchester City last term, but still made the top four and went all the way to the Champions League final were they fell to Real Madrid.

Two mistakes from Loris Karius in that game sparked a hunt for a new keeper with Brazilian No. 1 Allison eventually recruited from Roma for a world record fee (since broken by Chelsea). Their Brazilian quota was boosted further by the arrival of midfielder Fabinho from AS Monaco while Naby Kieta arrived from RB Leipzig in a deal that was agreed last summer. The addition of Xherdan Shaqiri from Stoke City and the resurgent pre-season form of Daniel Sturridge means Liverpool look to have more strength in depth than they’ve had in years.

As a result, of their transfer dealings, Liverpool have been installed as second favourites for the Premier League crown.

Manchester United

Looking from the outside, it appears all is not well at Old Trafford. Jose Mourinho was very downbeat during pre-season and publically questioned the quality of some of his fringe players. Reports also suggest the Portuguese boss’s relationship with chief executive Edward Woodward is at an all-time low, and his continued residence at a city centre hotel has prompted questions about his long-term commitment to the club.

The Red Devil`s boss has also bemoaned the lack of transfer activity although the club has spent in excess of £70m this summer with Fred arriving from Shakhtar for £52 and Diogo Dalot making the £19m switch from Porto.

The former Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid coach has rarely made it beyond three seasons at a club prompting bookies to install him as one of the favourites to be sacked first with Zinedine Zidane favourite to step in.

With all things considered, United`s chances of competing for the title appear slim.

Chelsea

Chelsea have a new boss at the helm with Italian Maurizio Sarri replacing compatriot Antonio Conte who left after falling out with the club. Conte won the league title in his first season in England and also added an FA Cup to his haul last term.

Former Napoli boss Sarri will be tasked with bringing his exciting brand of football to the club while keeping them in the hunt for trophies. However, a transition period can be expected as he adapts to the league and the players adapt to his system.

Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham finished third last season, their third top four finish in a row. However, few are predicting they will take the Premier League crown this season. The club will be moving into their new stadium and may need a period of adjustment just as they did when they took up temporary residence at Wembley.

They have also remained inactive in the transfer market with no new recruits added indicating stadium costs have restricted their spending power.

Arsenal

Arsenal have suffered the biggest upheaval of any of the top contenders with Arsene Wenger quitting the club after 22 years in charge. As Manchester United found out, replacing a long-serving gaffer is not always easy.

However, new boss Unai Emery has elite experience in multiple leagues and a decent trophy haul to his name. What`s more, he is still only 46 years old.

Emery has been backed in the transfer market with five players arriving including midfielder Lucas Torreira who arrived from Sampdoria in a £26m deal, goalkeeper Bernd Leno who made the £19m switch from Bayer Leverkusen and Greek defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos who cost the club £17m to prize from Borussia Dortmund.

Predictions

With all things considered, Manchester City and Liverpool look best placed to challenge for the top spot. And while Jurgen Klopp`s men are likely to close the gap on the reigning champions, expecting them to overturn a 25 point deficit may be a stretch.

As a result, Pep Guardiola`s men should be expected to retain their title with the Reds picking up second spot ahead of Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea.

You can back City to claim the title at a price of 4/6.

By Neil Morris

Published on: 08/08/2018

Any odds displayed within this preview were correct at the time of publishing (08/08/2018 16:50:37) but are subject to change.