This post contains affiliate links. “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”
Manchester City almost kept out of Liverpool’s challenge as they retained their Premier League title in 2021-22.
Pep Guardiola’s team has been a relentless machine for most of the last half decade of English football, and honestly, there does not seem to be any sign that it is stopping.
City won 29 games last season, drawing six and losing just three on their way to 93 points, with 99 goals scored in the league and low goals in the joint league of 26.
So what do you do if you are the best? Of course, they are strengthening further, and City have certainly done that by picking up Erling Haaland at the Etihad Stadium ahead of next season.
The Norwegian striker scored 86 goals in 89 matches in all competitions in two and a half years in Borussia Dortmund, where only Robert Lewandowski (123 in 108 matches) and Kylian Mbappe (93 in 111 matches) in Europe’s five best leagues scored more in that. time.
What will create increased fear in an already intimidated Premier League is the theoretical increase in productivity ahead of goals, with City scoring 150 goals in all competitions last season from 1,062 shots, or one goal every 7.1 attempts, while only finishing off with 45.4 per. cents of their great chances (a chance by which a goal is more often than not expected).
Haaland scored 29 goals in 30 games in all competitions with a goal in every 3.6 attempts and put away 65.8 percent of his big chances, so it will probably only add further to City’s already high goal totals, although his presence will mean a fewer attacking midfielders for last year.
Rumors of further additions are likely to still come where Marc Cucurella and Kalvin Phillips are strongly connected, so can anyone realistically stop City?
With the announced matches, the countdown is underway for the new campaign, and Stats Perform has taken a look at the rest of the so-called “big six” to see what their prospects look like at the moment.
Reds must learn to win the big one
Without Jurgen Klopp’s team, the Premier League would have largely become another Bundesliga in recent years, with one team winning by distance each time.
Liverpool have only been able to stop City from taking the title once in the last five seasons, but often at least get Guardiola’s team to work for their success and you would not bet they do it again.
Klopp has acquired his own big striker with Darwin Nunez, who comes from Benfica. If the Uruguayan can get even closer to the 34 goals he managed in all the tournaments last season for Benfica, he will be a firm favorite at Anfield.
One thing that will give Reds fans hope ahead of the new campaign is how well they finished the last one, losing only six points in the second half of the season (W16, D3, L0).
Their two all-season league defeats came at West Ham and Leicester City, while also playing draws with Brentford and Brighton and Hove Albion, all in the first half of the campaign.
In fact, it was the inability to beat their main rivals that cost them, pulling home and out with the rest of the top four (City, Chelsea and Tottenham). Turn even just a few of these draws into victories and Liverpool will be in a fantastic position to seriously worry the champions again.
New start for Chelsea, but can they close the gaps?
What a strange season it was for Chelsea, who started with so much promise and just ended up happy that the club still existed.
Of course, there was no way of knowing what would happen around the ownership situation, but now that everything is sorted out, how can the Blues get back to being challengers?
There is little doubt that Thomas Tuchel has done a good job since arriving in January 2021, but last season there was justified talk of a title promotion, especially after winning the Champions League and signing Romelu Lukaku for only 100 million pounds.
It started well enough to win eight of their first 10 games, but then draws began, a total of 11 at the end of the season, with Chelsea finishing a full 19 points behind champions City.
Reports suggest Lukaku is on his way back to Inter on loan and therefore Tuchel will have to decide whether to try another striker, one who at least fits his system better, or return to play Kai Havertz there, which worked well enough in his first half. years at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea comfortably had the third best defensive record in the league (33 conceded), but must be careful given the need for a potentially hefty overtaking at the back, where Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen are already gone, and rumors that Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso could keep up.
Whether the new owners back Tuchel as much as has been reported may be the key to whether Chelsea can enjoy a better season next year, but one can imagine they will be more concerned about keeping others under them. instead of pulling the neck up in the City.
Speech can spur Tottenham
The Spurs actually won their first three league games under Nuno Espirito Santo last season, including a win on opening day against City, but losing five of their next seven meant early curtains for the former Wolves man and the start of the Antonio Conte era.
There were some matches with consistency, with an incredible run of 14 matches in all tournaments between the beginning of January and the end of March, where they won six and lost eight, only once with the same result in consecutive matches (back-to-back defeat at home to Southampton and Wolves).
But eight wins and just one defeat in their last 11 rivals overtook Arsenal to a much-needed top-four finish and Champions League football.
Conte expressed a desire to be backed up in the transfer market, as usual, and so far has been rewarded, with Ivan Perisic and Fraser Forster already through the door, and Yves Bissouma reportedly not far behind.
If he can hold momentum from the end of last season while still getting plenty from last year’s joint gold boot winner Son Heung-min, Conte can still bring the Spurs even further up the table next season, especially if Harry Kane can start the campaign well. .
The England captain scored only once in his first 13 Premier League matches, but then reached 16 out of 24.
Young Gunners can not be shot down again
Mikel Arteta’s young team always seemed to be in good shape or in crisis last season, with very little in between.
They had worked their way into pole position in the race for the top four, but eventually slipped away, allowing the Spurs to take the lead.
In reality, it hardly seemed like a season worthy of Champions League qualification when you consider that Arsenal suffered 13 losses in the league, but that’s the great thing about having a young team they can learn and grow.
Arteta will certainly hope that is the case and it is rumored to be trying to add yet another talented young player in Porto’s Fabio Vieira. If he is half as good as the last Vieira who played for the Gunners, he will do well.
Arsenal, however, will still look to a striker, having lost Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and now Alexandre Lacazette for nothing, and have been linked with City’s Gabriel Jesus, although Eddie Nketiah could still go up after scoring five in his last eight league games, and reportedly being offered a new deal at the Emirates Stadium.
Constantly improving the name of the game for Erik
Fair play for Erik ten Hag, the man clearly likes a challenge.
And some of the challenge it promises to be at Manchester United, with a huge amount of ground to take up to even get close to the thought of a title challenge.
United ended the season with a dismal 58 points, despite coming in second place the season before and signing Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo.
However, ‘winning’ the transfer window does not count much if it is not translated on the pitch, and finishing the campaign in sixth place and 35 points from the top spot shows how much Ten Hag has to do.
The Red Devils also failed to end a league campaign with a positive goal difference (zero) for the first time since the 1989-90 season.
United have been linked with Frenkie de Jong and Christian Eriksen among many others, but as last season showed, names coming in do not automatically equate to improvement.
If Ten Hag wants to turn the ship around, he will have to solve it on the training ground, and challenging the title feels realistic more than a year away.