The wait is finally over! The 2016/17 edition of the English Premier League began today amid much fanfare and excitement. Surprise champions Leicester City aim to defend their title against some of the biggest heavyweights of the English game.
Since the large influx of TV money into the Premier League, the English shores have witnessed the arrival of some of the brightest talents in the world football. However, it is the managers who have caught the eye this season.
Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp, Antonio Conte, Mauricio Pochettino and Arsene Wenger are all currently plying their trade in the Premier League as managers of Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal respectively. It would be silly on my part to not include another man on this list: Claudio Ranieri, who’s Leicester City side scripted a fairy tale story of epic proportions to win the league by a mammoth 10 points last season.
With so many great managers and players gracing the Premier League with their presence this season, it has become virtually impossible to make any kind of predictions about how the next 9 months are going to unfold. However, I sure will give it a go.
1. Manchester City
The arrival of the Pep Guardiola at the helm of Manchester City has the potential to revolutionize the football club. The Catalan has added Leroy Sane, John Stones and Nolito to an already stellar mix of names at the Etihad. The managerial genius of Guardiola coupled with the quality of players at his disposal will be too much to handle for other clubs in the league over the course of the season.
Antonio Conte is another quality managerial addition to the Premier League roster. He won three consecutive Italian Serie A titles with Juventus from 2011-14. Conte’s Italy were perhaps the most impressive team in the recently concluded European championships in France. They have also added Premier League winner N’Golo Kanté and Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi to their squad. After a disastrous league campaign last season, Chelsea are well placed to have a strong finish this time around.
3. Manchester United
Jose Mourinho. Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Paul Pogba. Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Need more be said? Manchester United have splashed big money in the summer on a superstar manager and world class players. With a Mourinho at the helm and and several new players in their roster, Manchester United will be a major force to contend with in the coming seasons. This season, however, might have come a bit too soon for Mourinho and company.
4. Tottenham Hotspur
Although they finished third in the league owing to a shock 5-1 defeat at the hands of a relegated Newcastle United side in the final game of the season, Tottenham were easily the second best team in the Premier League last season. Led by a dynamic young manager in the form of Mauricio Pochettino, Spurs will be strong contenders for a top 4 finish. Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen, Toby Alderweireld and Eric Dier will all be looking forward to replicate their form of last season and steer Tottenham to a Champions League place come the end of the season.
Teams to be relegated: Bournemouth, Hull City, Burnley.
What do you think Ankit? Will Arsenal manage to sneak into the top 4 with their current squad? Or will Wenger’s rigidness in his beliefs cost Arsenal a place in the Champions League next season?