Scoreboard

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Neighbours set to dominate league

Pogba had a mediocre season by his standards last time out and will be looking to shine in the new campaign.

Pogba had a mediocre season by his standards last time out and will be looking to shine in the new campaign.

It is that time of the year again. The English Premier League is back. Another 10 months of action-packed football. I am delighted that my weekends will once again be lively and merry.

With the World Cup in Russia coming up next June, players will be going all out to impress and with most of the top managers plying their trade in the EPL, this season looks to be a tight affair and promises lots of excitement.

The Manchester clubs look strong with City, who already boast a fantastic attack, having bolstered their defence with very good buys. Pep Guardiola’s side look a strong bet to win the title and he knows that anything less than that, and a sustained challenge in the Champions League, then fingers will pointed at him.

New goalkeeper Ederson has replaced the inconsistent Claudio Bravo, the arrival of England’s right-back Kyle Walker from Tottenham and Monaco’s Benjamin Mendy on the left and Real Madrid’s Danilo will add defensive versatility and ability to the squad. In attack, new buy Bernardo Silva will surely add creativity, while Kevin de Bruyne, Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero make the Citizens a frightening team to play against.

My team Manchester United will surely improve on their dismal sixth place finish last season. United and Jose Mourinho will be under pressure to offer a serious title challenge this season and I expect them to do so. The track record of new arrival Romelu Lukaku suggest that he will deliver the goals. Victor Lindelof will add more steel to the centre of defence while I am excited with the purchase of Nemanja Matic as he is a solid and reliable defensive midfielder. Paul Pogba will be expected to take the league by storm, while Armenian Henrikh Mkhitaryan must stamp his class after a rather quiet start to the previous season.

I am expecting Man Utd to give it a good go and push City all the way but I somehow feel that the blue half of Manchester will be smiling next May.

Defending champions Chelsea will have Champions League to cope with so unlike last season, when all their focus was on the league, this season looks a real challenge for Antonio Conte’s side. Losing Diego Costa will certainly not help their cause as Alavro Morata will surely take time to settle in the physical nature of the English game.

Liverpool looks like an exciting prospect with the addition of Mo Salah, who has already shown he has the quality to be a hit second time around in the EPL. If they hold on to Philippe Coutinho, bring in a quality midfielder and finally get Southampton’s want-away defender Virgil van Dijk, then they will certainly be a force to be reckoned with this season. Sorry Liverpool fans, your wait for that elusive league title will continue though.

Arsenal look like they will struggle in the league this season with the challenge of playing Europa League games on Thursday and domestic matches on Sunday. Sead Kolasinac and record buy Alexandre Lacazette look promising signings but I see Arsene Wenger’s side falling short and set to miss out on the top four spots.

Tottenham have been quiet in the transfer market so far but according to manager Mauricio Pochettino, they will be buying three or four players before the transfer window shuts. Spurs have been the model of consistency over the last two seasons and if they can recruit well and give their star players keen competition for starting berths then the Lilywhites will be the team to watch this season.

Tags / Keywords: Central Region , Footnotes column English Premier League football

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