The new Premier League season is less than a month away and with the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Chelsea growing in stature in recent years, it’s quite impossible to predict what’s in store for this year.
There are several factors influencing the title race this year, but the top four will likely feature the Premier League’s usual suspects. Without further ado, here are the favorites for the Premier League top four and the newbies this season.
Manchester United have a strong squad and will be in the reckoning for the title this season. The Jadon Sancho factor is undeniably massive. He didn’t get the minutes he needed at the Euros, but that’s largely down to Gareth Southgate’s system with the England national team. When he did come on, he was certainly a handful and showcased his qualities admirably. The goalkeeping situation at the club is interesting, and Dean Henderson is set to be Ole’s top choice in the Premier League. A change in between the sticks would cause a ripple effect, however, and the rest of the team could potentially need some time to adjust to the change.
The biggest ace up Chelsea’s sleeve this season is Thomas Tuchel. The German manager has been given a full pre-season to work with his squad. Chelsea have some players coming back from loan and it will be up to Tuchel to decide whether replacements are the need of the hour. Thomas Tuchel is the improver, not the purchaser. He’s more than just a manager, he’s a fantastic coach. Tuchel improves players instead of just buying them, and he now has the time he needs to assess his options and work wonders with what he has. Tuchel has an uninterrupted coaching schedule to work on his team and will likely be intent on improving the players he already has at Chelsea.
Liverpool have pulled off only one big signing in Ibrahima Konate this summer, and it’s not bad business by any stretch of the imagination. They could even look to sell some of their players and ease the burden on their wage bill. Virgil van Dijk’s return is a huge plus for Liverpool and can even be seen as a new signing. Liverpool and their medical staff have taken their time with Van Dijk’s recovery and with the defender now back in training, they could become a formidable force in the Premier League. It will be interesting to witness a fully-fit Liverpool squad going up against the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea.
It’s surprising that people still see Manchester City as big spenders – they’re £35 million in the green in this summer transfer window. It will be interesting to see where and how they’ll spend this money, given that they have a few players back from loan spells. Manchester City have been linked with the likes of Grealish and Kane, but players of their caliber are going to cost quite a lot of money. These transfers also work against Pep Guardiola’s model – he often signs players most people don’t think about and turns them into champions. I don’t see Manchester City spending big this summer, but I’m well aware that they could prove me wrong in an instant.
A familiar face is back in the Premier League, after storming to the Championship title under Daniel Farke last season. Norwich return to the top flight after a year’s absence and are expected to be much better equipped for Premier League football this time around. Teemu Pukki, Norwich’s talismanic forward, continues to lead the line and can score goals at any level. Todd Cantwell is an exciting young talent providing the creative spark for the Canaries, although they have already lost the services of Emi Buendia who recently moved to Aston Villa for around £30m.
A short trip to Hertfordshire is back on the menu for the coming season, following the Hornets’ promotion back to the Premier League at the first time of asking. Watford finished as runners-up in the Championship last season, holding off pressure from the likes of Bournemouth, Brentford, Swansea and Barnsley to clinch the second automatic promotion spot. They were guided back to the Premier League by Xisco, the former Valencia, Real Betis and Levante winger, who took over at Vicarage Road from Vladimir Ivic in December and securing promotion in late April, with two games remaining. The Hornets have already set about shaping their squad for the new season, with Danny Rose arriving on a free transfer from Tottenham Hotspur to follow the recent additions of Mattie Pollock and Ashley Fletcher from Grimsby and Middlesbrough respectively.
Brentford’s historic journey up the divisions embarks on a new chapter this season, with Premier League football arriving for the first time in their history to coincide with a first full campaign at their impressive new Brentford Community Stadium. Thomas Frank led the Bees to the Premier League via the Play-Offs, defeating Swansea in the final, with Ivan Toney’s 33 league goals proving the catalyst for their success. Brentford have gathered a number of plaudits for the swashbuckling style of play they have implemented, and it will be interesting to see how the adapt to the Premier League.