The 26th edition of intense drama the Barclays Premier League has become renowned for, returns for the second round this weekend after a barnstorming start last weekend. With so much at stake and astronomical fees being spent on new recruits, this promises to be another unpredictable if challenging season.
The season started off with a bang in week 1 as a total of 28 goals were registered, in which the highest scoring game transpired between Arsenal and 2015/2016 League Champions, Leicester City, at the Emirates – ending in a 4-3 win for the Gunners.
With less than two weeks to go into the final day of the Transfer Window being almost shut, this is a massive platform for some to keep strengthening their squads.
Some of the foes in the Premier League such as Wayne Rooney and John Terry have all left to join their boyhood clubs Everton and Aston Villa respectively.
Certainly, the honeymoon for the top 6 teams is over. Antonio Conte, Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp, Mauricio Pochettino, Pep Guardiola and Arsene Wenger. These managers have got one job that they need to deliver – that’s winning the Premier League title and qualifying for the Champions League at the end of the season.
However, looking currently at the investments being done by the clubs, money says the title could be heading to Manchester – but which half of it exactly? The Red or the Sky Blue? Only time will tell as the season unfolds.
United under Mourinho look like the hot favourites on paper. Mourinho has an interesting record of teams he has managed. He has won a league in very second season in charge of the teams. With the signings of Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and Victor Lindelof, he has a spine that he usually seeks, finds, and then uses to make a strong charge for the title. After an under-par campaign last season, albeit hard to beat hard to beat, this season looks more promising of success for them. With their new signings, they’re certainly one of the contenders to lift the title for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson.
Another Manchester club that could be interesting to watch is definitely City. They have spent a lot of money, particularly on a new defensive line. Acquisitions of Danilo, Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy will give City much needed protection at the back, and offensively, the signing of Bernando Silva bodes well for their already dangerous forward line.
For Spurs, their summer has been rather quiet. With no new signings yet, fans have been fuming, with left back, Danny Rose, also voicing out his frustrations in the media at the lack of transfer activity by the club. Under Pochettino, they have been increasingly outstanding, but the final hurdle seems quite difficult for them to finish first. Playing in the famous Wembley Stadium this season – a ground they’ve usually struggled to adapt to, new reinforcements are needed to finally push another gear in winning their first League title in almost three decades.
The defending Champions, Chelsea, could say they have just added new signings – but not signings that could win the League title. Names of Alvaro Morata, Teimoue Bakayoko and Antonio Rudiger are some of the signings the Blues have concluded. They certainly need more signings if they want to defend their title especially away from the two Manchester clubs.
Liverpool will be also challenging at the top, but they are still work in progress. With only one marquee signing in Mohamed Salah, certainly, they could use with some more marquee signings to at least challenge the two Manchester clubs. As for Arsenal, they look like a team that desperately needs quality as per usual. With Sead Kolosinac and striker Alexandre Lacazette as the only two signings thus far and with no Champions League this season, that’s probably their best bet for a top four finish this season.
The battle for the relegation zone will be so interesting to watch this season. The spending on new reinforcements from the likes of West Ham, Bournemouth, and Newcastle United clearly shows they want to do better than last season. However, that is extra pressure, as owners will want them to do well, otherwise they might just end up being axed.
The possible relegation candidates have to be Stoke City, Crystal Palace, Huddersfield Town, Brighton, Newcastle, Burnley and Swansea. These teams will have to do well especially at home – with their fans behind them to push in doing well at home.
Although some may say Huddersfield and Newcastle could challenge and remain in the Premier League, we will just have to wait and gauge whether if they will survive the 38 games.
With almost two weeks left til the transfer shuts down, Crystal Palace is the only team that is worrisome. New manager, Frank de Boer, will oversee a team that just lacks quality and if they don’t sign any new players, they’re doomed for disaster. Brighton too, just look like a team that will be relegated, but with a good home record last season at the Championship, they can fight all the way.
If you are a massive football fan and absolutely love the Premier League, then all you have to do is follow the Premier League this season, because it certainly looks like it will be even more interesting.
Author: Takalani Lufhugu