With the English Premier Leagues’ return looming large upon us, we try and take a look at how many of the contenders are positioned and some of what we should expect from them going forward. It hasn’t been the usual preseason preparations with clubs not having to adhere to their pre-planned off-season calendar’s because of the Coronavirus pandemic. But even with the bottleneck that the Coronavirus avails to football, take nothing away from the excitement around the return of the EPL as throngs of fans will be rubbing their palms with overly enthusiastic anticipation.
There hasn’t been too much activity from Melwood as regards player transfers. Save for Kostas Tsimikas who brings much needed competition to Andy Robertson, there’s not much to write home about from the red half of Merseyside; bar the Georginio Wijnaldum transfer conundrum. Many Liverpool fans will be hoping they can again turn the title run-in into a procession like they did but will certainly be wary of the burn amidst their players. They have played high octane football for the best part of four years and this is starting to catch up with them. Matters are not helped by the fact that Liverpool have only ever defended the title five times before; this is bound to raise many eyebrows amidst the Kop ultras.
With that said, many will be keen to question the preparedness of Liverpool as they seek to defend their title. Manchester City on their part look amped ahead of the new season as they have replaced the departed and aged David Silva with young and exciting Ferran Torres, coincidentally, also coming in from Valencia just like Silva did a decade ago. Pep Guardiola and his Cityzen outfit still feel they have a lot to offer and should hit the ground hard this time round.
The lengthy injury to French international, Aymeric Laporte was an achilles heel to City last campaign but with all guns fully fit, City should be in position to resume normal service. And with Silva now out of the equation, this is should be Phil Foden’s moment of truth as he dares to stamp his authority over an already tantalizingly scintillating side.
But it’s almost certain without doubt that there’ll be many prying eyes keep close tabs at the transpirations happening in West London. Frank Lampard had his maiden season which was pretty much a learning curve for him at the big stage but he seems set to turn this campaign into one of hooray for the boys from the capital. There’s been a flurry of activity at Stamford Bridge with almost five established players like Ziyech, Werner, Kai Havertz among others being brought in and this is bound to change the teams shape and give them that extra impetus they lacked last season.
The most instrumental signing should be the free transfer of Brazilian international, Thiago Silvo who comes with bucket loads of experience which should come handy for Lampard as he vies to bring tranquility to a back four that was in sixes and sevens more often last season. The leadership qualities Silva comes with alongside a track record of winning should help elevate the quality and mentality of those around him thus bolstering Chelsea.
At the Colney training complex, Mikel Arteta will be buoyed by his appreciation by the club after being elevated from team coach to team manager giving him an extra ounce of power. This ranks him on the similar level as ex-manager, Arsene Wenger. But it’s imperative to note that with such a promotion comes an added baggage of responsibility to lie on his rather tender managerial shoulders. But on the other hand, it’s a testimony of the good work he’s orchestrated at the club since taking over the helms in December and this is the season where his credentials shall really be put to test.
A bit of shrewd business in there with the capture of Gabriel Magalhaes, Pablo Mari, Cedric Soares bar Willian Borges da Silva are not quite your typical Arsenal player but the lack of fuss about it is testimony to the level of faith the Arsenal hopefuls have in Arteta. Throw in the small matter of their Adidas manufactured kit and it’s feeling of déjà vu over there at the Emirates. The big news coming from Emirates is Aubameyang penning a new deal.
Tottenham Hotspur for all their mishaps and hullabaloos will hope Jose Mourinho can ascertain his firm grip on the team this season and establish the winning mentality that he’s always had on his previous managerial posts. They have massively invested in a new state of the art stadium that guarantees them just over 60,000 fans and have made some marquee signings while hoping that Mourinho’s Midas touch can come to the fore.
There’ll definitely be so much expectation on Steven Bergwijn as the Hotspur faithful will expect him to come to the party this Premier League campaign and brandish the kind of football that lured Spurs to splash the money on him. Furthermore, he’ll be expected to fill the void left by Christian Eriksen’s. In so doing this, he’ll massively lessen the pressure from established stalwarts such as Harry Kane, Bamidele Alli and Hueng-Min Son. To many, this season will be seen as Mourinho’s last toss of the dice in a bid to show what he’s made of.
United on their part are not to be taken lightly. They have shipped in young Dutch midfielder Donny van De Beek to a midfield already oozing with quality with the likes of Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes already at home in there. And with a back four and front three that pretty much picks itself, the million dollar question will be which three does Ole Gunnar Solskjaer pick as part of his starting IX.
This sort of enigma is where Solkjaer will earn his moneys worth, but only if he gets United’s midfield to gel with all that talent in there.
We cannot just wait to embark on another roller coaster of emotional mangle as the new season kicks off. It won’t be entirely bizarre seeing the stands empty as we’ve seen that already but the gradual return of fans to the stand should be a breathe of fresh air in these rather destitute times. Seat back and enjoy what’s about to unfold. Cheers.
Article by Edward Komagum
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Author: Moses Echodu
Moses is an avid Sports and Tech enthusiast. He loves to keep up to date with all the latest information and research on some of the most compelling stories.