Chelsea were the strongest team in England’s top flight by some way last season and nobody can argue with that. Antonio Conte’s men deserved to lift the Premier League title after a very impressive campaign and the Blues will be quietly confident of defending their crown in the 2017/18 season.
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However, it could be very different this time around. England’s elite clubs, including both Manchester sides, are likely to spend big in the transfer window this summer and the top flight picture could be set for a shakeup. We take a look at the six leading contenders and consider who might come out on top in the race for the Premier League crown.
Let’s start with the defending champions. Defensively, Chelsea are one of the best teams in England and Conte will look to keep things ticking over in that department. A summer move for one of Juventus’ reliable Italians, potentially Giorgio Chiellini, could be on the cards if the Chelsea boss is handed a decent sum of money to spend ahead of the new campaign.
Unfortunately, it looks like Spain striker Diego Costa will leave the club before the end of the transfer window. Despite questions over his aggressive temperament, losing Costa will be a negative blow for Chelsea as they look to retain their crown. In 89 Premier League games, he has scored 52 goals and Conte will need to replace him with an equally as effective striker if Chelsea are to keep pace at the top of the table.
According to reports, Chelsea are on the verge of re-signing Romelu Lukaku from Everton and he could make all the difference next season. At just 24 years old, the Belgium striker – who has 53 goals in 110 Everton appearances – has matured into an elite forward and he looks ready to lead the line at Stamford Bridge. With Lukaku heading Chelsea’s attack, the Blues could prosper once again.
For Spurs, it is simple: Keep everybody fit and Mauricio Pochettino’s men stand a decent chance of winning the title. After a couple of near-misses in recent years, Tottenham should be right in the mix once again and one or two signings this summer will help to keep Spurs competitive next season. Tottenham are prone to crumbling under pressure but it would be foolish to write them off just yet.
Defensively, Spurs are the best in the business. Kyle Walker’s imminent departure will hurt Tottenham in the long term but Kieran Trippier is more than capable of slotting in. In fact, the former Burnley man made the right-back role his own in the second half of the season, earning a spot in Pochettino’s starting line-up for the most part of the last two months.
If Harry Kane, winner of the Premier League’s Golden Boot award in each of the last two years, continues to score at his current rate, Spurs will be confident of securing silverware next season. The England international ended the domestic campaign with back-to-back hattricks against Leicester City and Hull City. Should Kane stay healthy, Tottenham could go one better.
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Pep Guardiola’s has been busy in the transfer window, signing Monaco’s Bernardo Silva and goalkeeper Ederson Moraes from Benfica. If City are serious about winning the crown, they must improve defensively. The Blues were sloppy at times last season and it would be hard to put too much faith in Guardiola’s back four at the present moment. However, one or two defensive signings will change the dynamics – especially as Spurs full-back Kyle Walker looks set to join in the coming months.
As of June 19th, punters looking to back City can get around 2/1 on Guardiola’s men to win the league. With the Premier League now more competitive than ever, it might be worth checking out Oddschecker’s free bets and promotions. Considering the vast array of talent in England’s top flight, City are a little short in the betting and punters might not necessarily want to risk their own funds.
On the other hand, you could argue that 2/1 represents decent value for a side that are built to win titles. With Guardiola at the helm, City are nearing a dynasty era and the Sky Blues will be difficult to beat this season. They dropped too many points on home soil last year and that is unlikely to happen again; if City eradicate those errors, Pep’s men could romp to the title.
In terms of attacking talent, Liverpool might be the strongest team in the top flight. With the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, Jurgen Klopp has a plethora of offensive options at his disposal and the German is likely to give his creative stars free rein as Liverpool look to overpower their rivals. Looking at fixtures involving the top six Premier League clubs, the Reds had the best record and it will come down to their efforts against England’s “lesser” sides.
Like City, they must significantly improve at the back in order to lay down a serious marker to the rest of the Premier League. The Reds have struggled to inspire confidence defensively for some time and Klopp must act effectively in the transfer window this summer. At the end of the day, defence wins championships and Liverpool need a complete defensive shakeup.
Whether you like him or not, Klopp’s impact and influence at Anfield has been clear for all to see. The German’s “heavy metal” style of football suits Liverpool down to the ground but he may have to rethink that approach slightly to give the Reds a better chance of winning the title. After a few close calls in recent years, this could be Liverpool’s time to shine.
Out of the six teams on this list, Arsenal are perhaps in the weakest position right now and Gunners fans will be wary of what the future holds. Will Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez be at the club come September? Only time will tell. If Arsene Wenger can somehow convince both men to stay, Arsenal’s title chances will receive a major boost. For now, it looks like Ozil is likely to stay but Sanchez’s future is still up in the air.
According to various sources, West Ham United are trying to sign Olivier Giroud and that might mean Arsenal are lining up a move for a world class forward. In years gone by, the Gunners have turned down the opportunity to bolster their attacking unit but Wenger cannot afford to do that anymore – Arsenal fans won’t stand for it. It is time for the Gunners board to sanction a heavy summer of spending…
Monaco youngster Kylian Mbappe, widely regarded as Europe’s hottest young talent right now, has been linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium and Wenger should pull out all the stops in a bid to sign the 18-year-old. Whether they sign Mbappe or not, bringing more talent into the squad and keeping Sanchez are Wenger’s top priorities this summer.
Last but not least we have Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United. Everybody thought that the Red Devils would compete this term but United finished a lowly sixth; a very disappointing effort considering their talented squad. However, the Reds did win the Europa League – a victory that guarantees Champions League football at Old Trafford next year.
Mourinho has been eyeing up a few potential transfer targets and it is now Ed Woodward’s responsibility to make these deals happen. Reports claimed that Antoine Griezmann would be United’s first signing of the summer but interest cooled and the Red Devils have turned attention away from the Frenchman – a familiar face could be set for a romantic return…
If you believe the papers, Cristiano Ronaldo may be set for an Old Trafford reunion and he would certainly give United the edge in the title race. Since Sir Alex Ferguson left the club in 2013, United have failed to inspire confidence in England’s top flight and Mourinho will be desperate to bring the fear factor and silverware back to the Theatre of Dreams.
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