The start of the Premier League season is just a fortnight away and it’s time to take a look at the main contenders for the 2018/19 title.
1. Manchester City
Where else to start but with the current champions? Pep Guardiola has yet again steamrolled his way to a domestic title, playing wonderful football, making great teams look average and breaking countless records in the process.
In two years since his appointment, he has transformed Manchester City from a team that scraped fourth place on goal difference in 2016, to winning the Premier League by a whopping 19 points in 2018.
Players such as Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva have put in consistently magical performances from midfield, while Sergio Agüero was his usual self up front after some confusion in regards to the trust Guardiola had in him during his first season.
With the already star-studded squad only being improved, with signings such as Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City, there is no reason to suspect that Pep Guardiola will not retain his Premier League crown this forthcoming season.
2. Manchester United
Perhaps the side with the best chance of knocking Manchester City off of their perch at the top of the league, José Mourinho’s Manchester United side were inconsistent at best last season, but still finished best of the rest.
New signings Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sánchez were lacklustre at times, but expect a better showing in their second season as they acclimatise to their new coach, while Mourinho has further strengthened his sides depth with the signing of Brazilian midfield maestro Fred and promising young Portuguese full-back Diogo Dalot.
This, coupled with the fact that the dead wood is seemingly being moved on (Daley Blind was shipped back to Ajax while Matteo Darmian looks set to return to Italy) means that José could be one more marquee signing away from a serious title push.
There is a certain buzz around Anfield for this coming season for the first time in quite a while, and rightfully so.
Coach Jürgen Klopp has stamped his own mark on the first team, spending over 380 million pounds on new transfers since his appointment in 2015 and because of this, Liverpool look like genuine title challengers again.
Lead by the brilliance of Mohamed Salah, Klopp has beefed up his poor midfield with the signings of defensive minded Fabinho and the Guinean born Naby Keita, while rectifying the goalkeeping issue with the purchase of Brazilian shot-stopper Alisson from Roma.
Dejan Lovren is still a big question mark at the heart of defence, but if that issue can be set right the optimism and hope on Merseyside may, for once, be merited.
4. Tottenham Hotspur
Having guided his side to three top three finishes in succession, this is surely the season for Mauricio Pochettino to make a legitimate title push with Spurs.
A Bielsaista true and true, Pochettino has instilled an attractive brand of possession based high press football at the North London club filling the fans with excitement the likes of which they would not have felt before.
With arguably the best centre-forward in England leading the line, Spurs certainly have the firepower needed to mount a challenge, while the likes of Jan Vertonghen and Davinson Sánchez provide ample cover for world cup winner Hugo Lloris between the sticks.
If Pochettino can get his side performing consistently against the bigger sides, particularly on the road, they are in with as good a chance as any of lifting the title next May.
Were Arsène Wenger still at the club Arsenal would not be on this list, but new coach Unai Emery is more than deserving of a spot.
A tactically astute, hardworking coach born in the Basque region of Northern Spain, with an enviable CV, Emery has won a total of ten major honours as a manager with both Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain, while consistently racking up respectable performances with Valencia despite the club’s selling policy, guiding them to three third place finishes consecutively.
With Arsenal’s forward line and midfield of the requisite quality, Emery has shored up his defence with the signings of full-back Stephan Lichtsteiner from Juventus and centre-half Sokratis Papastathopoulos from Borussia Dortmund, while goalkeeper Petr Čech – who has not been himself for the past two seasons – has been replaced by German Bernd Leno.
If Emery can get them playing with some cohesion, expect at least a top four finish in his debut Premier League campaign.
If the transfer window had already ended Chelsea would rank a lot higher, however, with only two weeks to go in the English window, important first team players such as Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois are still being heavily linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge.
If they leave, new coach Maurizio Sarri will be under pressure to find suitable replacements in the time that remains.
Since his appointment, Sarri has brought Brazilian-born Italian midfielder Jorginho with him from Napoli to South-West London and, with Barcelona signing winger Malcolm, looks set to keep hold of Willian, but the potential departure of arguably Chelsea’s two best players can not be ignored.
If Chelsea retain said players, they will certainly be within reach of Manchester City at the top, but lose them, and they could be in for a disastrous season.