Over the last couple of years, Liverpool have joined Manchester City as being the outstanding team of the Premier League. Having won the title in 2017/18, when Liverpool finished fourth under Jurgen Klopp, The Reds put up a stern challenge to City the following year finishing on 97 points, just one behind the Citizens who landed a second successive title with 98. Both teams finished the season way ahead of the third placed team (Chelsea).
However, last season, the Reds stormed back to the top of the table for the first time in 30 years when they amassed 99 points to win the league by 18 points over Manchester City, with the chasing pack once again some way back of City and miles behind the top ranked Liverpool. With the new season gearing up to start this weekend, which are the teams that are going to have a genuine chance of challenging City and Liverpool for top honours in 2020/21?
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Let’s now take a look at the teams who we think will be challenging alongside Manchester City and Liverpool for the Premier League title this season.
Premier League Title Challengers
Liverpool (Champions) – 9/4 to retain the Premier League
Liverpool’s only signing so far this summer has been left back reinforcement Kostas Tsimikas and Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana have been their high profile departures. The Reds won the league at a canter last season and have been incredibly consistent over the past two years. However, I do feel that they lack a ‘plan b’ at times and a lack of creativity from midfield is the biggest difference between the Reds and their main rivals City.
Of course, Liverpool’s front three can win a game on their own and they will likely do so again this season but I do fear for the Reds as their performance levels do drop when key men are missing from the team and in a shortened season, I feel that will be key. They will go very close once again I am sure, but I am backing them to finish as runners up this season.
Manchester City – 4/5 favourites to win the Premier League
Having lost Leroy Sane to Bayern Munich and David Silva to Real Sociedad City have snapped up Nathan Ake from Bournemouth and Ferran Torres from Valencia to bolster an already expansive and hugely talented squad. Ake should help out defensively, especially for a City back line that does look extremely vulnerable when Aymeric Laporte does not play.
However, going forward there are no equals to the attacking riches that City possess in depth and I think during what will be a shorter than normal season, City’s ability to rotate players in and out of their team to keep them fresh and still pick up strong results will be the key factor here and as such, I do feel City have what it takes to be Champions next season, albeit not by such a big distance as has been the case in past years.
Manchester United – 16/1 to win the Premier League
Towards the end of last season, Manchester United were the form team in the Premier League but two cup semifinal defeats has blemished their end of season somewhat. Donny Van de Beek is a decent signing and adds another attacking option in midfield, but I would have wanted to see a bit more from United in the transfer window so far in order for them to close the gap on their rivals.
I see United as having the capability of beating any team on their day with their strongest team but I think the squad lacks the depth of their main rivals and as the toll of a shorter and more compact season takes its toll in terms of fitness and injuries, I fear that this may mean United don’t quite have the quality to last the distance as well as their rivals. I see United as fourth place finishers this season.
Chelsea – 10/1 to win the Premier League
Chelsea have spent very big on players this summer to close the gap on the top two. Defensive strength arrived in the form of Malang Sarr from Lille and Thiago Silva from Paris St Germain, both on free transfers and £45m Leicester left back Ben Chilwell. Kai Havertz £71m arrival from Bayer Leverkusen adds goals in midfield while Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner will add pace and quality in attack.
Pedro, Willian and Morata have left the club this summer for good but the new arrivals are a marked upgrade for Chelsea and add to that the quality in their squad and the number of talented young players Frank Lampard has at his disposal and it would be a massive shock if Chelsea are not much closer to City and Liverpool this season and their odds of 10/1 suggests the bookies feel that they have a good chance of doing precisely that. For me though, I think they will finish third in the Premier League.
Should be closer but not quite title-ready
Arsenal – 33/1 to win the Premier League
While I expect Arsenal to make big strides under Mikel Arteta this season, just as they did last when picking up the FA Cup, I still feel they are going to be a little short of the teams in the top four. Despite this, I can see that Arteta’s team is starting to be moulded into a unit more to his liking. Keeping Aubameyang in attack was a vital piece of business in the summer and was perhaps more important than any of the other signings Arteta and the team made.
However, I think the defence will improve with the signing of Gabriel Magelhaes and the return of William Saliba from St.Etienne and that has been Arsenal’s main problem. Willian’s free transfer from Chelsea is also another good piece of business.
I can see Arsenal making big strides towards the top four, but I still feel they will be a little short when it comes to the final shakedown at the end of the season.