While the soccer world loses its mind over Neymar’s move to Paris Saint-Germain and FC Barcelona’s subsequent scramble to replace him, the most competitive league in the game opens its season Friday. Some of the world’s top teams may reside outside England, but the Premier League is still the sport’s marquee league for both its rich history and accessibility.

An insane amount of spending across the board has marked this offseason, and the teams in play for the coveted league title have each shaken up their rosters. That said, a looming set of questions remains as the soccer season finally returns.

 

Can Chelsea repeat?

After one of the greatest seasons in league history — one that saw Chelsea win a record 30 games and post a blistering 30-3-5 record — Chelsea have retooled in some ways and lost strength in others. In short, no, they cannot and will not repeat.

Not only do the Blues lack the depth and firepower to compete in both the Premier League and Champions League, their talent has not gotten any younger — or more plentiful, for that matter. Sure, Chelsea has added Álvaro Morata, Bakayoko and Antonio Rudiger, but they also lost Diego Costa, Nemanja Matić, John Terry, Bertrand Traore and Nathan Ake.

While Morata is a flashy, big-name signing, he is unproven and lacks the clout that Costa previously boasted. In fact, much of the soccer Twitterverse roared with laughter as Morata put forth an atrocious penalty attempt in Sunday’s community shield loss against Arsenal.

While Chelsea is still a good team and will undoubtedly be a contender, down the stretch, they have neither the pieces nor the depth to clinch the title.

 

Will Manchester City’s spending spree pay off?

 Manager Pep Guardiola has spent a total of £123.5 million this transfer window on three players alone, and despite my predisposition toward (Sheikh) Man(sour) City, they have done a first-class job this summer. Signing three quality defenders in Kyle Walker, Danilo and Benjamin Mendy, City has bolstered their weakest area of the pitch.

Now, sporting a potentially world-class defense, City has much more breathing room to play the ball forward to an attacking force that features Sergio Aguero, Wilfried Bony, Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Raheem Sterling as well as wonder kids Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sané.

After having a down year, at least according to pundits and fans, City still finished third in the league with the third most goals scored. Expect more of the same — and probably even better — this season.

Can Tottenham keep growing?

 Yes, yes and yes. A thousand times yes. Tottenham Hotspur posted the best goal differential in the entire league last year while scoring the most goals and allowing the fewest. While Spurs lost Kyle Walker to Manchester City, they retain a world-class defense and one of the most threatening forward pairings in the game today: Harry Kane and Dele Alli.

Kane took home the Golden Boot after scoring an EPL-high 29 goals, and Dele Alli — just 21 years of age — put back 18 himself.

Moreover, all of their major midfielders are hitting their primes, meaning only more cohesive build-up play and excellent passes to Kane and Alli.

While pundits and fans alike have slotted Tottenham away in the third or fourth spot, I believe they will win the Premier League outright.

 

Predictions

Any team that finishes in the top seven is either guaranteed a European competition the following season or earns a chance to make one. This system makes the top seven crucial — with a top-four finish earning a Champions League berth — and I truly foresee quite the shakeup this season up top. As with most of my sports predictions, I will most likely be egregiously wrong. But on the off chance I am proven right, here are the predictions that will earn me bragging rights.

 

  1. Tottenham
  2. Manchester City
  3. Manchester United
  4. Liverpool
  5. Chelsea
  6. Arsenal
  7. Leicester City

 

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*