It’s not often mid-April when fans get to begin the annual rite of predicting next season’s Premier League champions. While Manchester City galloped out of the gates, they somewhat limped to the finish line.
Will Manchester City pick up where they left off earlier this season steam rolling the competition? Or, will another side wrestle the trophy from the blue side of Manchester?
Here are my predictions of the most likely title contenders:
This season’s title winners.
Without a doubt, Guardiola’s team will be odds-on favorites to lift the title again next season. They have a deep, well-balanced squad and the best manager in the world. In the Premier League era only Manchester United and Chelsea have managed to repeat as title winners.
Manchester City may very well focus more energy on lifting European silverware. With their attention diverted, it will be challenging to keep a group of thoroughbred talent satisfied and motivated. These combined factors make it look less likely they are repeat champions.
Manchester United were my favorite to win the title this season.
I watched some of their early games and thought they looked disciplined and powerful. With De Gea in goal, Smalling and Jones in defense, Matic and Pogba in midfield and Lukaku up front, they had a strong spine. A quality necessary to grind out results and a bevy of attacking talent in reserve.
Ultimately, it didn’t come together for the Red Devils. Mourinho hasn’t gone this long without a league title many times in his career. It’s taken a few seasons to acquire his players and stamp his brand on United. They should not be counted out in the title hunt next season.
With a talent-filled squad and an enthusiastic manager, Liverpool are my favorites next year. The starting eleven are good enough to compete with any squad in the world. As they’ve proven in recent matches against Manchester City.
Bringing in Naby Keita will add a dynamic, box-to-box midfielder to their ranks. Questions remain whether they can turn their classy European performances into week-in, week-out results in the Premier League.
Spurs ability to compete for the title rests on their ability to hold on to top players and build on the young English core.
Are they finally willing to rebuff big money offers for the likes of Kane, Dier and Alli? If they want to compete for a title, Pochettino will need to not only hold on to key players but also add depth and ability to the squad. Still, a lack of title winning experience and depth probably means only a Top-4 race at the new stadium in North London next season.
I group these teams together because they both seem to be in need of significant investment and change before they’ll compete for the title again.
Neither squad looks to have the ability to challenge for a title based on current form and squad composition. While Lacazette and Aubameyang could yet form a title-winning front line for Arsenal. They are in desparate need of quality defenders and a midfielder who can dictate the game.
Chelsea, on the other hand, haven’t been able to replace the guile and goal-scoring ability of Diego Costa. A player who rescued more than a handful of points for them in all competitions. Managerial uncertainty at both clubs only adds to the lack of title winning credentials.
What do you think? Are Liverpool the favorites? Will the Manchester clubs swap the title between them? Let us know in the comments below.