Man City, Liverpool favorites as everyone else plays catch-up

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, August 9, 2019
Adjust font size:
Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk (L) vies with Manchester City's Raheem Sterling during the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal second leg soccer match between Manchester City and Liverpool in Manchester, Britain, on April 10, 2018. Liverpool won 5-1 on aggregate and advanced to the semifinal. (Xinhua)

The 2019-20 English Premier League (EPL) season kicks off on Friday and teams have a lot to live up to after supplying all four European finalists last season. But Europe aside, most clubs will focus on the daily "bread and butter" of the EPL, with some aiming to survive and others focused on glory.

Manchester City are again the side to beat as Pep Guardiola's men look for a third consecutive league title. City's only major summer signing is Rodrigo Hernandez from Atletico Madrid, but the Spanish international will give much-needed cover in central midfield.

Meanwhile, Benjamin Mendy's recovery from injury will give Guardiola more options at left back, and Phil Foden's continued development promises to be one of the most exciting things about the coming season.

Liverpool have also been quiet in the transfer market with Jurgen Klopp insisting there is no need to sign just for the sake of it and his side's performance against Manchester City (especially in the second half) in the Community Shield shows that the European champions will push the league title holders all the way.

Everyone else in the EPL is playing "catch-up" and there is a lot of catching up to do considering that Chelsea finished third last season a massive 25 points behind Liverpool.

Chelsea's cause has not been helped by a FIFA transfer ban and the departure of Eden Hazard to Real Madrid means their squad looks weaker on paper.

The club was able to bring in Christian Pulisic, who was signed in January, and the arrival of Frank Lampard as coach as well as the return of young players Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham from loans spells has brought a certain optimism to the club, although it remains to be seen how Lampard will perform in only his second season as a coach.

Tottenham have signed midfielder Tanguy Ndombele to add more fire to midfield, although their season will probably depend on Harry Kane scoring goals and in keeping Christian Erikson, who is linked with a move to Real Madrid.

Last season saw Spurs tire in the run at the end of the season as the commitments of juggling European and domestic games took their toll and the squad doesn't look much deeper this time around.

Arsenal, with Unai Emery in his second campaign, broke the club record to sign Nicolas Pepe, while the addition of Dani Ceballos from Real Madrid looks to be a smart move if the Spaniard can adapt to live in England. However, Arsenal's season will depend on their improving in defense and in strikers Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette continuing their prolific attacking form.

The pressure is on at Old Trafford where Manchester United have no option other than improve on last season, which ended with a run of eight defeats in 12 matches.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer keeps his job and has had pre-season to work with his team which has been strengthened by the world record signing of central defender Harry Maguire, as well as winger David James and right back Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Midfield could still be an issue for United, after Ander Herrera's departure and with Paul Pogba still apparently suffering itchy feet. A tricky start to the season which sees United kick off the campaign at home to Chelsea before visiting Wolves could set the tone for what lies ahead.

Elsewhere, Wolves will look to build on their excellent return to the top flight, while Everton will hope that Marco Silva's second season will see them continue to push towards the top-six.

Brenden Rodgers' Leicester City promise to be entertaining, although they may miss Maguire's influence in defense, while West Ham United could also push into the top half under the experienced guidance of Manuel Pellegrini.

The battle to avoid relegation will probably include the newly-promoted sides, although Aston Villa have spent big in an effort to try to make their return last more than a year and Sheffield United and Norwich played sharp and tidy football last season in the Championship.

Newcastle United fans must also be worried after Rafael Benitez departed and Steve Bruce took the post. Bruce has a fine record in the Championship, but his record in the EPL is average to say the least. As a local boy Bruce will have the fans on his side, but the animosity towards club owner Mike Ashley could poison the atmosphere at St James' Park if Newcastle get off to a slow start.

Elsewhere, Brighton and Hove Albion will need to put the second half of last season behind them, while Crystal Palace could struggle if they lose Wilfred Zaha as well as Wan-Bissaka. 

Follow on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from