The wait for fans is over – Premier League soccer is just a couple days away. But the question still stands; Who will finish in the top four?
There are six solid contenders in my book: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City, Man United, and Tottenham. Most of these teams have made good acquisitions this Summer and all make a strong case for the coveted Champions League spots. However, only four teams will fill those spots.
1. Manchester City
I think the Citizens will lift the trophy once again. They didn’t lose anyone significant and picked up a talented Raheem Sterling. With Sterling replacing Jesus Navas, they now add a youngster who can provide a spark when they need one. Also, Sterling is coming off of a season where he scored 11 goals in all competitions. Navas had a grand total of 0.
That’s not the only good signing City made. Fabian Delph (controversially) signed last week and is a great players with experience in the Premier League. He can be huge in the middle and set up loads of goals for their lethal attacking front.
They have great players in each position, and now have depth – which is major when it comes to the final stretch of the season. The only question I have is: Will Agüero stay healthy, or will he miss a few key games which cost City the title last season? If City keeps their key players healthy I think they finish on top.
2. Chelsea FC
Mourinho’s men come up just short. While they come off of a season where they won the title without much doubt, their title rivals got stronger this transfer window while Chelsea hasn’t made that much noise.
It’s a bit concerning that their biggest attacking signing is Radamel Falcao, who scored 4 goals in 26 appearances awhile on loan at Manchester United last season. Although linked heavily with Everton’s John Stones, no progress has been made ever since the Blues saw a £25 Million bid rejected. Mourinho admitted no interest in Pedro, who would fill the right midfielder hole quite nicely for Chelsea.
But they haven’t been totally quiet. All signs are pointing to Baba Rahman, the Ghanian ringot back who currently plays for FC Augsburg, to join Chelsea. The Blues also signed Brazilian winger Kenedy (pending his work permit), who featured in their preseason game against Barcelona.
Chelsea’s biggest enemy will be Diego Costa’s hamstring. Why? Because Remy isn’t always available when Costa is injured. That leaves them with Falcao, who has been dubbed “Torres 2.0”.
If Costa remains healthy, they may be able to snatch the title away from City. But Costa is already having trouble as he may miss their opening game against Swansea City.
3. Arsenal FC
Arsneal enter the season with one of three holes I think needed to be filled. They were able to steal a role class goalkeeper from a direct title rival, which boosts their already good defense. A key thing about their defense is chemistry. Koscielny is world class, and Hector Bellerin is set to have a breakout year at right back.
But it isn’t all about the defense at the Emirates. Alexis Sanchez is coming off of a season where he scored 16 goals in the Premier League, finishing fifth highest in the goal scoring column. Mesut Özil provides great skill in the midfield as he usually is the one to set up goals.
However, Arsenal have failed to fill their two other holes and in my opinion the most important positions: Central defensive midfielder and striker. While Flamini and Ramsey are great midfielders, they needed a world class defensive midfielder such as Sami Khedira. While Chelsea have Fabregas and Matic, and City have YaYa Toure and Fernandinho, Arsenal don’t match up well in the deep lying midfield.
The Gunners haven’t filled their striker question either, and rumors of them getting Karim Benzema have been shot down. While Olivier Giroud is good, he goes through spells where he is nowhere to be found. The experiment with Walcott as striker has been going well so far, eventually he will slow down as it isn’t his natural position and teams will find ways to stop him.
4. Manchester United
In a team that has a lot of potential, it is also a team with gaps in key positions. I like Memphis Depay and Morgan Schneiderlin, but they lost key pieces to their attack in Angel Di Maria and Robin van Persie. Javier Hernandez is rumored to be leaving Old Trafford, which could mean their best option for striker is Wayne Rooney.
Their lack of depth at the striker position is a concern, but they also face not having a world class center back. Their pursuit of Hummels failed, and the flirting with Ramos and Nicolas Otamendi has rapidly died down.
They did sign Darmian from Torino who has shown this pre season he is very talented. They have two young fullbacks that will build experience and improve each season. Again, the central defenders are the main concern I have for the Red Devils.
Old Trafford also welcomes Bastian Schweinsteiger, who is a good, physical player. He is burdened with injuries and is known to have ankles that are prone to snap. This could be key as he will be in a very physical Premier League and a European competition.
It is also good to note they seem to have kept David De Gea for at least one more year. Although rumors are still floating, the Spaniard is a huge player for them. If he keeps his form, they may push for a higher position. If he leaves, however, it’ll be up to Sergio Romero to steady the ship. But, again, if he departs I don’t think they have the talent in key areas to break the top three.
Liverpool and Tottenham make great cases for the top four, but I think they have too many questions around them. Liverpool have made good signings on paper. Key words: On paper. We learned last season with Liverpool that signings that are great on paper don’t always bring them into the top four (Balotelli, Lallana, Lovren), and saw the same thing two seasons ago with Tottenham (Lamela, Soldado, Paulinho).
While Liverpool have strengthened their attack with Benteke and Firmino, we don’t know if they’ll end up as a Sturridge esque signing or have the same fate as Mario Balotelli. And with Spurs, we don’t know if Kane will be a one season wonder or not (although signs point to him being able to have another good season).
This year is extremely hard to predict. If you put Arsenal, City, Chelsea, and United in a hat and pick them, you could make a strong case no matter the result.
As always, it will be a great season to watch. Our job is to sit back and enjoy the beautiful game.
Disagree with what I said? Comment below what you think! I would love to discuss and hear what you think!
Featured Image via Independent UK
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