While Manchester City are likely to retain the EPL title, the battle is fierce for the Champions League spots – here are the predictions from Vieri Capretta
Winner: Manchester City
The reigning champions have all the ingredients necessary to win the title for a successive season: quality, squad depth, killer instinct, winning mentality. And Pep Guardiola’s style. It’s banal to say, but on paper they are virtually unplayable, and will want to break even more records to make sure they’ll be remembered as the best Premier League side of all time, ahead of the great Manchester United treble-winning team or the Arsenal ‘Invincibles’.
Guardiola needs to cement the incredible past season, whilst also performing on a similar level in Europe. Doable, despite the only addition being Riyad Mahrez. The squad was already amazing in both quantity and quality, and it will be tough for everyone to even get close.
Bit tired after the game, but happy with our first trophy ??? pic.twitter.com/sIbfRRJ2oS
— Kevin De Bruyne (@DeBruyneKev) August 6, 2018
Champions League: Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham
Liverpool after the transfer window seem a step ahead of United and Spurs, but the bottom line is that all three of these teams are in much better shape than Arsenal and Chelsea, which are objectively the only real challengers to snatch a Champions League spot.
Despite the new coaches, Unai Emery and Maurizio Sarri, and some additions – Jorginho and Lucas Torreira – the Gunners and the Blues don’t seem strong enough to be able to improve on last season, i.e. a Europa League spot for each.
Liverpool will be City’s main challengers for the title if Jurgen Klopp can get his team to replicate the European level from the past season. The additions in midfield are heavy, just like Alisson in goal. If Mohamed Salah continues his form, the Reds will get to that second spot almost certainly.
Tottenham have done little transfer business, and even if it is true that confirming the squad will be an added value under Mauricio Pochettino, it was also evident that something in the middle and at the back was needed from the transfer window. Doing better than last season will be tough.
Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils’ reign is at an all-time low, and it doesn’t seem like the final week of transfer business can make any difference. Truth is, the team is roughly the same as last season, and if Jose can’t get them to do better, they simply won’t get a better final position.
Relegation: Watford, Huddersfield, Cardiff
Some of the newly promoted sides have come up with a lot of ambition: take Fulham, for example. There’s is definitely a revamp in the competition at the bottom, and the battle will be a long one. Cardiff are already a surprise purely for the fact they are in the Premier League, so confirming this will be a real challenge.
— Cardiff City FC (@CardiffCityFC) May 6, 2018
Huddersfield have changed very little, but might be caught up in what is a truly unpredictable relegation battle. Not changing much is both good and bad, with the team that could have definitely done with more quality. Watford have lost Richarlison, whilst confirming Gerard Deulofeu on a permanent basis: is this enough to confirm their place in next year’s Premier League?