Despite the huge resources of Qatar Sports Investment Authority behind him, Pep Guardiola hasn’t resorted to any big spending this season. In fact, with the wealth of talent he already has at his disposal, he needn’t do so. With the likes of Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane leading the attack and mid-fielders like the incredible Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City look indestructible at the moment. City put up an exemplary show of both offense and defence in the 2017-18 season, banging in as many as 106 goals (which is a record of sorts) and conceding just 27. They racked up 100 points on the Premier League table, way ahead of 2nd placed Manchester United’s 81. City have begun their title defense with a bang in the ongoing 2018-19 season winning both their opening games in style beating Arsenal away at the Emirates Stadium 0-2 and then thumping Huddersfield Town 6-1 at home. Manchester City look adept to perform an encore.
With perhaps the most feared attacking trio in the Premier League, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool look a side that could make it to the Top Four quite easily. Mohammed Salah, Roberto Firminio and Sadio Mane scored an astonishing 91 goals between them last season in all forms of competition. Klopp’s policy of just plain attacking cost him a few goals in the 2017-18, though, given that the Reds conceded the maximum number of goals among teams in the Top 10 of the Premier League. The German coach is taking no chances this season, plugging in a weak area in the defense – goalkeeping. The acquisition of Alisson Becker from Roma for a record £70 million was made to address this weakness at the back. Both regular custodians of the 2017-18 season, Loris Kariius and Simon Mignolet are on their way out. Liverpool look the only side in sight capable of challenging the might of Manchester City. The thrashing of the near invincible City in the UEFA Champions League last season is a pointer to that. Jurgen Klopp’s men have begun the 2018-19 season in expected fashion beating West Ham and Crystal Palace 4-0 and 0-2.
Manchester United, last year’s Premier League runners-up, look good on paper with a midfield that boasts the likes of Paul Pogba, Andreas Pereira, Marouane Fellaini and Nemanja Matic and an attack spearheaded by Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez, Juan Mata and young talent Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford. In David De Gea, they have one of the best goalkeepers in the world. All this combined make up champion material, but somehow coach Jose Mourinho hasn’t been able to exploit the inherent strengths of the Red Devils. Unlike the previous season, where they probably had one of the best starts ever, United have begun the current Premier League season on a mixed note, beating Leicester City 2-1 in the opener and succumbing to a shock 2-3 defeat to not-so-formidable Brighton City. The Red Devils do look a side that could be in the Top Four, but given their inconsistency over the past seasons, there’s always a danger that some side like Tottenham Hotspur or Arsenal could upstage them to that spot.
Chelsea have been a side performing in extremes – Premier League champions for seasons 2014–15 and 2016–17 and 10th and 5th places in 2015–16 and 2017–18. Given the trend, the Blues are expected to perform much better this year and they have the firepower to do that. New manager Maurizio Sarri has inherited an outfit from ousted fellow countryman Antonio Conte that boasts one of the best mid-fields in the business – Cesc Fabregas, N’Golo Kante, Willian and the brilliant Eden Hazard being some of the names that populate that space. Jorginho is one more mid-filed addition snapped up from Napoli for £50 million. The defense has the likes of Antonio Rudiger, Marcos Alonso, Cesar Azpilicueta and David Luiz, all capable of taking attacking roles as and when needed. Chelsea will, of course, miss the services of the outstanding Thibaut Courtois between the posts, sold to Real Madrid for a surprisingly low price of £31.5 million. Inexplicable, though, was the move to bring in 23-year old Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga for a staggering £72 million in place of Courtois. Nevertheless, Chelsea fans can surely expect their team to finish in the Top Four this season. Their 2 impressive wins over Huddersfield (0-3) and Arsenal (3-2) seem to be giving supporters of the club hope going ahead.
Recommended Tip: Tottenham
Best Odds 8/13