Manchester City the team to beat in 2017/18? – EPL Preview

It’s enviable than a tedious off-season filled with an underwhelming Confederation’s Cup and absurd transfer rumours will leave you thirsty for the return of the Premier League. But never fear – it’s almost here and to get y’all in the mood, here’s an analysis of who we think will take out the Premier League this season.

We see this year as (the standard) six-horse race; Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham, all have the chance to stand-up and challenge for the Premier League title.

Chelsea are still flying high on the back of their second Premier League title in three years. Their consistency away from home last season was their saving grace, dropping points just 3 games from a possible 17 fixtures away from home last season. The off-season sees the arrival of Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid, an act which will add additional firepower to Stamford Bridge. Antonio Conte’s strategy and leadership will be more important than ever this season, as a resurgent City will leave little space for points to be dropped. Can they back it up? We think the Blues first five games, which features Spurs, Arsenal, Everton and Leicester, will say a lot about Chelsea’s ability to challenge this year.

Statistically speaking, Tottenham should have won last year’s Premier League. Harry Kane, Deli Alli and Heung-Min Son proved lethal in-front of goal, and the same should be expected this season. The Spur’s scored more goals, conceded less games and held a better attacking and defensive averages then Chelsea. However, their ‘month of draws’ in October 2016 came back to bite them as there simply weren’t enough points available for them to grab on the back half of the season. Kyle Walker’s transfer to Manchester City leaves a gap in Tottenham’s defence, which will need filling. And with the Champions League calling once more, a trip deeper into the final stages should be expected. Tottenham played exciting football last season; and the same should be expected this season. Don’t be surprised if the Spurs take out 17/18.

Arsenal still hits you as a club that isn’t necessarily going anywhere. Wenger’s signing of Lacazette has created a lot of hype around the Gunner’s prospects. However, it was down to their loose defence which caused them grief; conceding 1.16 goals per game. Sead Kolasinac from Schalke has been Arsenal’s only defensive addition thus far, and a good pick-up at that. But it seems that there’s still more questions than answers at Arsenal just a few weeks before kick-off. Alexis Sanchez’s future looks very, very uncertain, whilst Oliver Giroud, Theo Wallcott and even Jack Wilshere, still have question marks looming overhead. It’ll be interesting to see how the final weeks of the pre-season unfold at the Emirates, and to some extent will strongly set the tone of their season. If Sanchez to PSG doesn’t come to fruition, it’s extremely unlikely Arsenal will allow him to head to another Premier League club, so Wenger may be stuck with a disgruntled striker on his hands.

Prior to last season you could have been forgiven for thinking that Manchester United was a one-man, Paul Pogba show. And United’s on-field performances seemed to reflect that, to an extent. All the focus on Pogba’s arrival and the high expectations placed upon him; only set up United fans for a sense of underwhelming disappointment. At times their attack looked dis-jointed and their Rojo-Smalling-Jones-Bailly defence, seemed completely out of pace with their competition. The departure of Rooney and Ibrahimovic leaves a big hole for Romelu Lukaku to fill up-front, whilst it’s hoped Victor Lindelof’s will add more depth for United down back. And with return to the Champions League this year, depth will be increasingly important for Mourinho’s men. Anything bar a top four finish will be a failure for United.

Manchester City have seen the biggest transfer traffic this off-season. The departures of Navas, Clichy, Zabaleta, Sagna have been offset strongly by the arrivals of Bernardo Silva, Ederson and Kyle Walker. CrownBet’s EPL odds placed Pep’s men as favourites to take out the Championship, and rightly so. City’s squad looks excellent on paper; the depth of their squad is arguably the best in England right now. The addition of Real Madrid defender Danilo, should they beat Chelsea for his signature, would only further bolster City’s impressive back four. The pressure will well and truly be on Pep Guardiola to produce a trophy this year and define his legacy at Manchester. All being said, it’s hard to argue from the outset that City aren’t the safe bet to take home the chocolates this season.

Liverpool’s squad looks solid. The addition of Mohammed Salah into the attacking arsenal is an impressive pick-up, but we’re not convinced it’ll be the single addition which will change a whole lot for Liverpool. Most of the Reds goals come from midfields last season, and to improve on their efforts it’ll likely require more heavy lifting from Origi, Sturridge and hopefully for Anfield regulars, Salah. Fifth for Liverpool.

This post is a paid partnership with CrownBet.

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