By IBUKUN OGUNTOLA
With the transfer market now behind us and the season ready to kick start in full after the international break, here is an analysis of what the top 6 teams of last season has brought to the fold and what is expected of them.
See the teams below:
Oh Arsenal, some things never change. Like winning a thriller at home against leceister and losing away at Stoke. They had a pretty good preseason barring the Chelsea match and Manager Arsene Wenger has finally listened to the fans who have been calling out for the signing of a top striker since the man called Robin Van Persie left for united a few years back.
He signed Alexandre Lacazette for £55m. Coupled with the free transfer of the Bosnian beast Kolasinac from Schalke 04, Arsenal have actually had a pretty good window. Arsenal looked pretty good as an attacking force in the opening match of the season despite missing
the like of Alexis Sanchez in attack.
Even though Arsene Wenger looks to have set up his team modelling the 3-4- 3 formation made popular by Chelsea last season, arsenal fans will be happy with the way they adapted and changed to what looked like a back 2 with Hector Bellerin and Chamberlain as full backs and they were able to call upon the firepower of Oliver Giroud from the bench.
A lot of arsenal fans and I alike was absolutely shocked when Wenger decided to switch the wingbacks in their loss to Stoke not to talk of their demolition at Anfield. A lot has to be said about this Arsenal team.
In conclusion, If arsenal without Alexis Sanchez is to be stopped, Xhaka is the key.Stop Xhaka Stop Arsenal. At least till Alexis Sanchez is back fully and committed to the team if he ever will be.
It looked like the curse of the champions had struck again after the 3-2 loss at home to Burnley. In a match that should have been won comfortably, all the noise coming from within the club lead to the players losing their heads and finishing the match with 9 men. Even though the players showed a lot of spirit to fight back after going 3 goals down in the first half yet there was still a crisis like feeling going into the second match at Wembley against Tottenham.
Personally, I do not understand how they went about their transfer business. Chelsea looked really strong as they romped to a second premier league title in three years. What all Chelsea fans expected was that the squad of the league champions was going to be built upon to challenge for the Champions league this year. Instead the team was stripped down and key players and squad players alike were either
sold or loaned out.
With the likes of Danny drinkwater and Zappacosta added to the squad i guess the fans will be at ease and just watch how the season will pan out again.
Liverpool is the fastest team in the EPL at the moment which makes them dangerous as Arsenal would confirm. The fact that they ended last season on a high making the coveted champions league spot ahead of arsenal was a big boost going
into the preseason and season proper.
They have managed to strengthen some problem positions like left back where they signed Andy Robertson from Hull city rather cheaply I might add and also adding pace and power to their attack in form of Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, Dominic Solanke and Mohammed Salah.
They have also been boosted by the emergence of Trent Alexander-Arnold as cover for Nathaniel Clyne at right back. The downside for Liverpool though was their inability to strengthen their center back position which could come back to hurt them as the season progresses.
In my opinion, Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United are overwhelming favourites for me simply because of the work they have done in the transfer market. They have been really decisive in strengthening the positions where they suffered last season. When Real Madrid
were dilly dallying with the transfer of Alvaro Morata, they quickly switched their attention to
Romelu Lukaku which I think better fits their style of play than Morata.
They also signed Nemanja Matic from Chelsea to play as the deep lying destroyer in the midfield thereby setting Paul Pogba, the most expensive player in premier league free to wreck damage at the offensive end of the pitch.
They also added cover for the defence in the form of Victor Lindelof. What else to expect from a Jose Mourinho team especially in his second season which happens to be his title winning season. Anything other than the EPL title will be a big disappointment aside maybe the UCL.
The onus is on Pep Guardiola to win something this season and he can’t say he has not been backed enough to do it this season. He was allowed to clear the deadwood in the squad namely the likes of Clichy, kolarov, Sagna and the rest of the players that do not fit his football
In my own opinion, the defence was too weak and old and pep did well to add world class full backs in walker, mendy and danilo. A lot of fans might have been worried about danilo from his time at Real Madrid but pep values his versatility as he can play right back, left back and defensive midfield.
Further forward, no other team is as packed with attacking talent as Manchester city. They can boast of world class attacking players in David Silva, Kevin Debruyne, Sane, Sterling, Bernado Silva, (Gundogan, if he manages to stay fit) and finally Gabriel Jesus and Aguero leading the line.
All that is left is for pep to decide how to rotate and fit these players in the team for the long season.
Pep, all eyes are on you.
Even though am a Chelsea supporter, Tottenham is my favourite team to watch in terms
of their bright attacking brand of football. Daniel Levy and Tottenham fans around the world have
truly been blessed with a gift called Mauricio Pochettino.
This man has taken the team and firmly placed them as one of the best teams in the land over the past three years. Despite being on a tight budget, this man has brought up some of the best young players in the world in the form of Harry Kane and Dele Alli and even turned average players into world class players in Kyle walker, Danny
Rose and Victor Wanyama.
With the transfer market now concluded, Spurs have made considerable additions making it easier for them to compete in all the competitions they would be facing this season. The likes of Sergie Aurier, Fernando Llorente and Sanches gives them the much needed squad depth.
After coming really close to the title for the past two seasons, dare I say Tottenham will win the
league this season…well….ehrmm….unless the Wembley curse strikes.
Have your say. Who will be victorious this seaon???