With the start of the Barclays Premier League drawing near, teams are finalising their preparations and the thought in everyones mind is who is going to win it?
This time last year nobody could have predicted that Leicester would go on to shock the footballing world after they cruised to the title, eventually winning by a margin of 10 points. Leicester taking the title wasn’t the only surprise as reigning champions, Chelsea struggled their way to a 10th place finish, costing Jose Mourinho his job. Liverpool missed out on a European spot and both Aston Villa and Newcastle were relegated. If last season is to be used as a benchmark then we are in for an absolute treat this season.
Last years champions have a massive task on their hands this season and will have to pull off another miraculous performance if they are going to defend their title. Looking at their squad now, with N’Golo Kante moving to Chelsea and Riyad Mahrez looking likely to leave, the Foxes will be losing two of their most influential players. This will really put Claudio Ranieri’s managerial skills to the test. With the departure of these players it look unlikely that Leicester will win the league again, unless the recruitment team can find even more hidden gems.
The loss of 2 extremely influential players and the additional Champions league games will seriously hinder Leicester’s chances
My prediction: 9th
The appointment of Pep Guardiola has caused a massive buzz around the country and maybe even a bit of worry in the red side of Manchester. City seem to be the favourites to lift the trophy and the manager has been given the financial backing that should see them all the way. With the transfers of Ilkay Gundogan and Spanish winger Nolito already secured and rumours of various multi-million pound signings on the way, City look like they are going to be the team to beat this season. However, the focus for City may be on the champions league and the higher number of games that they hoping to play may have a negative effect on their league form. Also, with Pep’s playing style, they are going to be wide open at the back and with the likes of Martin Demichelis and Eliaquim Mangala in the side, a mistake is never too far away.
City will improve from last season however a change in focus and their defensive frailties may be a problem
My prediction: 3rd
Now on to Manchester United, the most Successful club in England have found it difficult in the past few seasons to achieve the heights that Fergie took them to. With Jose Mourinho now in charge, United have a manager who has experience in leading a side to a premier league title. It will be interesting to see if Mourinho’s famous mind games will take full effect when he comes up against his old foe Guardiola. Big signings are beginning to appear; Eric Bailly has been brought in to bring some much needed height into the defence and Armenian playmaker Henrik Mkhitaryan has been added to the squad, looking to supply the attacking powerhouse Zlatan Ibrahimovic with the service to provide the goals that United were lacking last season. This season is looking very promising for United and they could go all the way with the squad that is being constructed under Jose Mourinho.
United will definitely improve with the standard of signings, I’m not quite sure they are ready to take the crown back
My prediction: 2nd
Chelsea will be looking to improve dramatically on their abysmal performance last season. 10th position isn’t good enough for a club of Chelsea’s prowess and the appointment of Antonio Conte has given a real sign of intent. Last season they were lacking any structure whatsoever. Conte is well known for his discipline and Italy’s performance at the Euros has highlighted his ability to build a structured, clinical side. If Eden Hazard can continue his form from the Euros into this season then he will be virtually unplayable. The addition of N’Golo Kante and Michy Batshuayi will provide some grit in midfield as well as pace and power up front. If the Blues manage to secure the signing of a world class central defender then they will be a tough team to beat.
They had a bad season last year. No European competition whatsoever, one major focus and a manager who will keep them organised.
My prediction: 1st (I’m not biased, honest)
With the amount of money being thrown around by teams this season, the quality of players that are being attracted to England is astounding. Even the so called small teams are spending huge amounts of money and the total spend for the transfer window is expected to break the £1 billion mark for the first time ever. It is very possible that we could be in for another shock this season.
What do you think? Will it be one of the favourites or will it be a club who hasn’t been mentioned? Let me know.
By Fraser Campbell – Marketing and Content Executive 360 Sports Consultancy