When predicting who will win the upcoming Premier League title, a significant case can be made for each of the top six clubs in last season’s standings. While every team has their own specific strength that could propel themselves to the top of the table, lets instead look at where each team needs to improve heading into the 2017/18 season.
Arsenal – Ozil/Sanchez Contracts
The Gunners have so far made improvements at left wingback and center forward this summer. These were the two biggest areas of concern coming off of a disappointing 2016/17 season. Arsenal finished the campaign in fifth place, consequently missing out on a Champions League spot for the first time in over two decades. Although manager Arsene Wenger has improved his team with the signings of Sead Kolasinac and Alexandre Lacazette, the biggest concern is undoubtedly the futures of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.
Both superstars are out of contract at the end of the 2017/18 campaign, and as seen with Wenger’s own contract issues last season, these uncertainties can negatively affect the team’s dressing room. The club needs to do whatever it takes to tie down the two players past the upcoming season. Arsenal have a talented roster, but they need to stick together and avoid the negativity (that goes for the atmosphere at Emirates Stadium as well) to make a run at the league title.
Chelsea – Wingbacks
It’s a little difficult to name a significant weakness in the reigning Premier League champions. Chelsea are obviously a wonderful team, led by Antonio Conte. The Blues have departed with John Terry, Nathan Ake, and Nemanja Matic, but they certainly brought in competent replacements. Another potential (or probable) exit is Diego Costa. Although Alvaro Morata will fill Costa’s shoes, it is tough replacing your leading scorer from a season ago.
Along with replacing Costa, perhaps Chelsea’s concern in the team is at the wing back position. On the left side of defense, Marcos Alonso performed fairly well during his first season in London. Victor Moses, the team’s starting right wing back, wasn’t necessarily bad during the 2016/17 campaign, but was perhaps the ‘weak link’ in the team. Chelsea are reportedly interested in Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and a £35 million bid for the England international may be in the cards. The Ox would be an upgrade on the right side, but it remains to be seen if the Gunners would part ways with the 23-year-old player.