Predicting the Premier League: Pep’s men to take the division by storm
We’re days away from the start of the new Premier League campaign and with transfer records being broken left, right and centre, it’s safe to say this will be up there as one of the most drama-filled, action-packed seasons of all time.
So moving on to the question on everyone’s lips – who will lift the trophy?
We’ve taken a look at the best squads the top tier of English football has to offer and have created what we think will be the top four come next May…
Champions: Manchester City (12/5)
New manager Pep Guardiola has won the league in his first season in charge at his last two clubs, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, and he did it in style on both occasions – beating Real Madrid to the La Liga title by nine points in 2008-09 and Borussia Dortmund to the Bundesliga by a staggering 19 points.
And if his activity in this summer’s transfer market is anything to go by, you can expect City to go all out from day one.
Having spent just over £161m already on new players, Pep is also keen to get rid of any deadwood at the Etihad, and he’s made it clear to his players on what he expects from them this campaign.
With Joe Hart in goal, John Stones and Vincent Kompany at the back, Yaya Toure dominating the midfield and the likes of David Silva, Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Nolito, Leroy Sane, Sergio Aguero and Kelechi Iheanacho in the final third, it’s frightening to think what this squad can achieve under the guidance of arguably the best manager in world football.
There’s an argument for several teams for a second-place finish this season, but on consistency alone we have to go with the Gunners to grab this spot.
It’s a big ask for a new manager to come in and instantly bring success, and it takes a lot more than one pre-season for new bosses to implement their philosophy throughout the club – and this is something Arsene Wenger’s men should take advantage of, given that City, Manchester United and Chelsea have all changed their managers since last year.
While Gunners fans still anticipate the arrival of a marquee centre-forward, they will be confident that the quality in the rest of their squad should see them mount a genuine title challenge this time out.
But the quality oozing throughout Guardiola’s squad should prove to be too much for Arsenal to contend with in the long run.
Third-Place: Manchester United
There’s a growing feeling around the red half of Manchester that instant success is coming their way – but there’s an argument as to what constitutes to that success this season.
Winning the league is a big ask given the problems the Red Devils have faced in maintaining a top four spot since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure, and a third-place finish would certainly qualify as progress, regardless of the amount of money new manager Jose Mourinho has spent this summer.
Liverpool are perhaps the surprise package of our predictions for the upcoming season, but there’s a lot to suggest Jurgen Klopp can push on with a squad he is slowly making his own.
Klopp’s men were just six points off a fourth-placed finish last campaign.
However, the German manager took over at Anfield eight games into the season and one wonders what the German boss may have achieved with this side had he been in charge throughout the whole campaign.
Keeping Daniel Sturridge fit and firing will be a top priority for the Merseyside outfit, and should they do that – his presence up-front alongside Saido Mane should have defences up and down the country worrying.
No European football for the Reds may also be a blessing in disguise as Klopp prepares for his first full season in charge at Anfield.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.