Soccer fans across the globe are ecstatic to see the world’s most competitive top-tier soccer league begin again this week.
Sleeping in on weekends is overrated anyway, right?
After runaway champions Manchester City obliterated the competition and a few Premier League records, the question on everyone’s minds is whether anyone can challenge Pep Guardiola’s talented squad.
Liverpool spent the money and are hoping their new additions can close the gap, while Manchester United have heard nothing but negativity from their manager Jose Mourinho.
Chelsea have a new manager in Maurizio Sarri and he brought along a world-class midfield talent with him in Jorginho. Will any of it matter or will the money spent prove futile?
Oddshark has the former champions’ odds of repeating at -150, with Liverpool at +400, Manchester United at +750, Chelsea at +1200 and Tottenham at +1600.
We will take a look at the favorites, highlight a few underdogs, and even cover the squads who may be relegated at the end of the Premier League season.
Manchester City -150
It was a season to remember for the Blues, as Pep Guardiola’s pass-heavy attacking style finally clicked with his squad and they waltzed their way to a Premier League title.
The addition of former Leicester star Riyad Mahrez should help an attack that wasn’t lacking in talent and the return of left-back Benjamin Mendy from injury should scare opposing squads. Mendy has the ability to turn defense into offense quickly and may allow Guardiola to organize three defenders at the back and throw more of his world-class midfielders forward.
Injuries look to be the biggest obstacle standing in the way of a repeat, but this squad’s depth looks unparalleled.
Manchester City made waves last off-season with their signings, but Jurgen Klopp took that title when he spent over $200 million this offseason on a new goalkeeper, Alisson Becker, and a bevy of attacking prospects in midfielders Fabinho and Naby Keita and winger Xerdan Shaquiri.
Liverpool was the only side that could match City’s speed and quickness on the ball last season and they will hope the new signings can help them close the gap on the reigning champs. After losing in the Champions League final, this squad will be hungry to prove they are a contender on the world stage. They’ve already got the Premier League’s top scorer in Mohamed Salah and if his preseason was any indication, he could easily retain his scoring title.
If they stay healthy, they could be the only squad to give Manchester City a real scare this season.
Manchester United +750
Jose Mourinho has never been considered an optimistic manager, but his offseason has been highlighted by absences on the pitch and groans regarding a lack of new talent at the podium. His star midfielder Paul Pogba even tried to leave for Spain, despite the move being denied.
The Red Devils will need something positive from their manager if they wish to reach their full potential, but the squad has enough talent to compete week in and week out. They should qualify for Champions League on talent alone, but they will need a real culture change to make a splash this season.
Chelsea released manager Antonio Conte despite his winning a title just one year prior and proceeded to take their time in picking a replacement.
They finally landed on former Napoli manager Maurizio Sari, but only a few weeks before the opening fixture. Sari should prove a successful manager in the Premier League, but will simply need more time to implement his pressing defensive style and bring in talent that fit his system. He brought along a world-class midfielder in Jorginho (who looked Manchester City-bound) and could surprise some people this season once his team adjusts.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see this squad overtake Manchester United for the third spot if they can figure things out in time.
All in all, Chelsea needs to be patient and give Sarri a chance to replicate his success in Serie A.
A quiet offseason saw Tottenham resign many of their featured players but not add a single new prospect—making them the first squad to do this since the summer transfer window began.
The organization simply didn’t have much buying power but should feel confident that they didn’t lose any of their premier talent to bigger spenders. They’ve still got Harry Kane, a perennial Golden Boot contender, and manager Mauricio Pochettino should feel confident with his solid squad of young talent.
They should continue to qualify for Champions League, especially with Manchester United and Chelsea dealing with some uncertainty. Apart from qualification, it doesn’t seem they have all the pieces to compete for a Premier League title. However, consistency could be the key for this team’s improvement.
Will any of it matter or will the money spent prove futile?
Premier League fans aren’t used to considering Arsenal an underdog, but the talent of the teams listed above proved too much for the Gunners in years past.
The addition of new manager Unai Emery will have fans excited about a regime change and striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should be fully adjusted to the speed and competition of the Premier League after a half-season with the squad last year. The addition of defensive midfielder Lucas Torreira should help this squad find a new identity and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this squad crack the top four and surprise the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United.
With a full offseason to gel, this squad could find some momentum under their new manager and be a team to watch going forward.
Everton made a splash on Deadline Day by signing three big names: Yerry Mina, Bernard, and Andre Gomes.
New manager Marco Silva will hope to carry this team into contention and this looks the first year in recent memory that Everton could be a truly dangerous squad.
A lot remains to be seen, but Goodison Park has been yearning for good football and may finally have their wishes granted. Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford looks to be the leader of the club and new signing Richarlison will aim to score some goals and justify his £40 million transfer fee.
The resigning of Jamie Vardy, the retention of Harry MaGuire and the addition of Johnny Evans are all positive signs for a squad looking to replace the loss of their best midfielder Riyad Mahrez.
The Foxes will hope that the injury bug leaves them be and that manager Claude Puel can find a way to organize his squad and contend as one of the middle-of-the-road squads in the Premier League.
Jamie Vardy can always score goals and this team can upset just about anyone they face, but it will take another surprise season (like their upset-of-the-century title run) for them to crack the top four.
It’s not often that a newly-promoted team are a contender for one of the Premier League’s top spots. But the Wolves look a formidable opponent already, and manager Nuno Espirito Santo will hope that his exciting side can continue their positive momentum from last season and compete with the best.
Portugese midfielder Joao Moutinho could be a steal signing for the club and goalkeeper Rui Patricio should be a force between the posts. This side will sit back and defend before unleashing a wicked counterattack with Diogo Jota and company.
There’s a lot of excitement around this squad, as evidenced by the waitlist for season tickets this offseason. They more than likely won’t win the title, but they could upset quite a few squads this season.
This squad was unexpectedly promoted and the move surprised many fans and bettors. Cardiff didn’t sign any top talent and we expect the Premier League competition to swallow them up and spit them out.
Southampton didn’t seem to address any of their notable flaws in the offseason. It will depend on the success of teams like Huddersfield and Bournemouth whether this team can retain their Premier League status.
This team only managed 28 goals last campaign and will need to improve if they wish to outgun some of the up-and-coming squads promoted to the Premier League this season.
Losing their star Richarlison won’t help this squad that battled to stay above the relegation line last season. Their competition is improving and this squad feels a tad stagnant.
It just doesn’t seem likely that anyone will compete with Manchester City. Even if injuries plague them, their second-string squad is formidable and can compete with anyone. If Mo Salah’s scoring slows down even the slightest bit, Liverpool will struggle to take care of business against opponents consistently. I expect Man City to repeat their title run and even make a deeper run in the Champions League.
Do you disagree? Let us know in the comments!