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- Chelsea set to win Title at a Kante!
- Leicester face tough choices as losses compile
- The Year of the Roo-ster!
- Marvel at the latest Craven Cottage arrival: Fulham Sign Thanos!
- Wayne Rooney’s goalscoring record is a rare piece of Manchester United history. Take notice.
- MOTD: Ibrahimovic salvages United point against Liverpool
2016/17 Premier League Predictions: The Top Four
Vacations are over, the preseason tours done and dusted, the kits revealed and Manchester United were the first side to lift silverware this season by claiming the Community Shield at Wembley. As the games begin, Alex Morgan shares his predictions for the coming Premier League season (Alex’s views don’t necessarily mirror those of Football Every Day). In part one of the series, Alex looks at the battle for the title.
1st: Manchester United
Two months into his tenure at Old Trafford and Jose Mourinho has already put the Louis van Gaal era well into Manchester United’s rear-view mirror. The Portuguese boss had been out of work since December before finally taking the United job at the close of last season, giving him time to meticulously plan his summer deals.
“I was not working since December,” he said, per Sky Sports. “I watched Manchester United play many, many times. I had an idea about the squad and when I arrived I was ready to be objective.”
Through four massive and very pointed signings, Mourinho has quickly restored United’s sense of belief and direction and given them the added firepower to compete for a first league title since the era of Sir Alex Ferguson. He has inevitably ruffled a few feathers in the process of his takeover but United appear more than willing to make the tradeoff and look at the Community Shield victory over Leicester City as a potential taste of things to come.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is obviously the headline addition up front, but also important are the arrivals of Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Borussia Dortmund in the middle and Villarreal youngster Eric Bailly at center-back. Additionally, their blockbuster capture of Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba for a world record transfer fee could fuel their success for years to come.
Although Mourinho’s ego and combative temperament is always a cause for concern, his man-management skills and competitiveness have already revitalized the Red Devils.
One to Watch: Paul Pogba
Star Signing: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Free Agent)
2nd: Manchester City
The Pep Guardiola revolution has finally arrived in Manchester. Manchester City’s Abu Dhabi-based owners have poured hundreds upon hundreds of millions of dollars into City’s infrastructure since the mid-2000s and Guardiola’s job is to galvanize their star-studded squad towards European glory.
City were uninspiring last season under Manuel Pellegrini, slumping to a fourth-place finish in the league. Guardiola made the important additions of Nolito and Leroy Sane over the summer to inject some pace into their already formidable attacking force, but the Spanish manager’s most pressing task will be to get David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Kevin de Bruyne and Sergio Aguero firing on all cylinders up top once again.
The club also brought in John Stones from Everton as a long-term center-back replacement for Vincent Kompany, who spent the majority of last season on the sidelines, and young Belgian defender Jason Denayer has also returned from a year-long loan from Galatasaray.
We’ll have to see how much progress Guardiola can achieve tactically in his first year in charge (I predict not quite enough), but his persona alone embodies City’s ambitions and should give them the confidence to kickstart their title push.
One to Watch: Sergio Agüero
Star Signing: John Stones (Everton)
3rd: Tottenham Hotspur
This summer has been Tottenham Hotspur’s quietest in over five years but, in fact, their absence of big-name signings is a statement of their intent heading into the Premier League season. Coach Mauricio Pochettino has placed trust in his promising group of young stars headlined by Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Eric Dier, the youngest squad in the league.
Last season, they led the club to their joint-highest finish in the English football pyramid in over fifty years despite being nipped to second place by London rivals Arsenal on the last day of the season. They are hungry for revenge this year and although they’ve only made two additions over the summer, Victor Wanyama and Vincent Janssen, they have the potential to make an important difference.
Young stars Josh Onomah and Erik Lamela are also hoping to have a bigger impact this year on the wings, providing service for Kane in the middle. The English striker was the Premier League’s top scorer last season with twenty-five goals and will now be looking to break the thirty mark for the first time in his career.
Whereas rivals Chelsea, Manchester City, and Manchester United all have new coaches and a brand new batch of star players heading into the next season, Pochettino hopes that the chemistry and youthful exuberance of his team can push for another title challenge. By my watch, they’ll be well in the mix.
One to Watch: Harry Kane
Star Signing: Vincent Janssen (AZ Alkmaar)
Jürgen Klopp has had nine months to put his distinctive spin on Liverpool’s squad and they’re entering the season with much higher hopes than last year when Brendan Rodgers was still in charge. The German manager had the tail half of last season to experiment with the Reds squad and will have an upper hand on his nearest rivals having gotten this out of the way.
They have invested in center-backs Joel Matip and Ragnar Klavan to solidify their leaky back-line ahead of the upcoming season and the arrivals of Newcastle United midfielder Georgina Wijnaldum and Southampton star Sadio Mané will give them the steel to operate Klopp’s high pressing game in the middle.
Daniel Sturridge will lead their line up front if he can avoid injury this season and they have a bright, young attacking midfield in Roberto Firmino, Adam Lallana, and Divock Origi.
Although Liverpool’s preseason has been somewhat inconsistent, the Reds having lost to Chelsea and Mainz but roundly defeated AC Milan and Barcelona, they will be able to crack the top four this year if they can find some consistency.
One to Watch: Divock Origi
Star Signing: Sadio Mane
Keep your eyes peeled for our the predictions for rest of the best!