EPL: Can anyone top the Manchester clubs this season?

The long awaited Premier League fixtures were released yesterday (June 18th). Once announced, the usual suspects were being tipped for the title. 


Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and even Tottenham fans were dreaming of what might be, but the main question was – Can anyone top the Manchester clubs? Manchester City and Manchester United finished an incredible 19 points in front of 3rd last season and each team will be looking to close the gap.




Arsenal

Taken from Soccerplay



Arsenal fans were hoping for a kind start to the season after the beginning of last season was arguably their downfall. The Gunners were given a tricky first six fixtures with Liverpool, Man City and Chelsea all included. 


However, Arsenal fans have reasons to be optimistic for the upcoming season. Arsene Wenger seems to have learnt from his mistakes by spending money on proven players and early on in the transfer market. 


After securing German international Lukas Podolski for £11million before the season ended, Arsenal fans expected a busy summer from the Frenchman. They were correct, Arsenal have now reportedly agreed a deal with Montpellier HSC for Ligue 1 top goal scorer Olivier Giroud and it also seems FC Stade Rennes midfielder Yann M’Vila could soon be on his way to the Emirates.

Taken from The Sun



With these signings, young talents such as the impressive Oxlade-Chamberlain, Benik Afobe, Francis Coquelin and the return of key players such as Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna – Arsenal will be a force to be reckoned with. 


One of the main points of this summer will be if Arsenal can convince their skipper Robin van Persie to sign a new deal. If so, good times might be on their way back to the red half of North London again.




Chelsea

Taken from the Daily Mail

Chelsea have had a bizarre past season. For half of the season, they were unrecognisable to the title winning team just a few years before. Struggling teams like Aston Villa and West Brom were taking points from Chelsea. 


However, Roberto Di Matteo took over reigns. RdM already knew Chelsea inside out having previously played for the club. He not only changed Chelsea’s form but also against all the odds led them to Champions League glory. Chelsea have recently announced that Di Matteo will be at the Bridge for another two years and quite rightly so. 


Chelsea’s owner has already splashed the cash this summer on Belgian international Eden Hazard, who is tipped for big things and Werder Bremen winger Marko Marin. There are also rumours that Chelsea might be adding FC Porto forward Hulk and Poland full back Lukasz Piszczek to an already strong squad.

Taken from The Telegraph

With the departure of players such as Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou and Jose Bosingwa – Chelsea was obviously going to strengthen once again and with their Russian billionaire owner any player is a possible target. 


You can’t help but think that Chelsea had an off season in the Premier League and that this season they will be right up there scrapping with the two Manchester clubs.




Liverpool

Taken from 1000 Goals



It has to be said even with the Carling cup victory, Liverpool had a poor season. Finishing 8th just 5 points ahead of newly promoted Swansea City and Norwich is not good enough for a club of Liverpool’s stature. 


It’s sad to say but they were somewhat the laughing stock of the Premier League last season with £30million striker Andy Carroll only notching six goals and neither Stewart Downing nor Jordan Henderson impressing. 


At the beginning of this season, there will be no more King Kenny after being sacked by Liverpool. The new man in charge at Liverpool is former Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers. Rodgers was praised by a number of pundits and fans for the passing style football he blessed us with at Swansea, but this is a big step up. Liverpool are haven’t played in Europe since 2010/2011 season.

Taken from First Post

Rodgers admitted that this will be their first step but can they really challenge for the title?  Gylfi Sigurdsson seems set to join Liverpool after an impressive season on loan at Swansea but this alone will not be enough, in my opinion. 


Liverpool have a strong squad but they just don’t seem to be up to the standards of either Manchester club and with a new manager who might need time to settle at such a big club I think the best Liverpool can hope for is a top four finish but who knows. 


If Liverpool can keep a fully fit squad and their star players perform, they might just be able to put in a title challenge.




Tottenham Hotspur

Taken from Soccerviews

It hasn’t been a pleasant start to the summer for Spurs with the surprise sacking of manager Harry Redknapp recently and despite finishing 4th being cruelly eliminated from next seasons Champions League. 


There’s not much optimism from Tottenham fans for the upcoming season with reports of a mass exodus of big name players such as Luka Modric, Gareth Bale and Rafael Van der Vaart. However, it was reported today that current French coach Laurent Blanc, whose contract ends after the Euros, is in talks with Tottenham to take over their vacant manager spot. 

Taken from the Daily Mirror





At least then, Tottenham have somebody who can plan for next season and going forward. Harry Redknapp said he believed Tottenham could have been champions within the next two years and he might just have a point. Spurs have a strong squad but the key this summer will be to keep that squad together.


Champions League football is a must for players such as Modric, Bale and VdV so it will be tough to hang on to them. Tottenham were the two Manchester clubs closest rival for half of last season until their downfall allowed arch-rivals Arsenal overtake them at the final hurdle. 


If Tottenham really do want to challenge, not only will they have to keep the squad together but also strengthen and convince their players that they are a good enough team to win trophies. It will be a big test for Spurs this season and whoever takes over must be prepared.




Written by Otis Maloney
Follow me on Twitter @InAFCWeTrust


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