The Premier League title has been won by Manchester City and Liverpool almost exclusively over the last few years. However, a group of other teams has been trying to find a way to compete against the two clubs.
Last season’s third and fourth place finishers, Chelsea and Tottenham, will hope to compete for this year’s title. The final part of a five-part series previewing the Premier League takes a look at those two teams, along with Liverpool and title-winners Manchester City.
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Tottenham Hotspur F.C.
Tottenham was one of the most interesting teams of the season last year. The club had an uncharacteristically rough start to the season, but at the end of the year played well to eventually finish fourth and qualify for the Champions League.
Antonio Conte now begins his first full season in charge of the club after a summer spent building it to secure its position in the top four race and compete for the title. Tottenham may not be title favorites this year, but it is hard to argue the team hasn’t improved in the last few months.
$112.09 million spent in transfer fees and a few free transfers will help build the squad’s depth ahead of next season. Conte and Tottenham will hope that results in qualification for the Champions League for the second year in a row, and in title contention.
Richarlison is the main story of this summer’s transfer window for Tottenham. The 25-year-old forward already has experience at one of the Premier League’s biggest teams, Everton, and joins Tottenham as an established goalscorer in the league. He scored 10 goals with five assists last season and will combine with Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min to create one of the most exciting groups of forwards in the league.
Midfielder Yves Bissouma, whose signing didn’t gain as much recognition, could be just as important, or more important, for the team. He has extensive experience as a Premier League midfielder and will help Conte continue to establish his system as he finishes his first full pre-season in charge of the team.
Djed Spence also joins the team from Middlesborough. The right-back will provide important depth in defense for Tottenham and will be a player who should develop over the course of the season and find an important role for the team.
Ivan Perisic, who joins the team on a free transfer, will provide another option in Conte’s group of forwards. He has several years of experience in the Champions League, which will be vital as Tottenham returns to the competition, and will allow flexibility in how Conte develops the team’s younger forwards.
Fellow free transfer signing Fraser Forster, who spent last season at Southampton, will provide important goalkeeper depth. His role could become even more important as Tottenham will play more games this season in several important competitions.
The most important development of the last few transfer windows is the team keeping Harry Kane at the club. Kane had been linked with a move to Manchester City over the last few years but will remain at Tottenham.
He is one of the best center-forwards in the Premier League, not only for his goal-scoring ability but also for his passing, which is a vital attribute in the way Conte organizes the team on the field.
Son, who has been a mainstay in the Tottenham group of forwards alongside Kane, is the other player in one of the best forward combinations in the league. He should be set for another fantastic season this year, and both he and Kane will benefit from the increased attacking depth Tottenham has added this summer.
Overall, Tottenham doesn’t begin the season as title favorites, but the squad should be significantly improved next season. The club has improved every position this summer, and should have the depth to have good seasons in both the Premier League and the Champions League.
Heading into last season Chelsea was expected to join Manchester City and Liverpool in the competition to win the Premier League. However, the season did not go as expected, and the club finished third, 19 points behind title winners Manchester City.
The result was a summer that saw Thomas Tuchel try to reorganize his squad heading into this season. Romelu Lukaku, Andreas Christensen, and Antonio Rudiger all depart the team this summer.
Chelsea has been aggressive on the transfer market in reorganizing the roster. Raheem Sterling, who joins the team from Manchester City, will add one of the best forwards in the Premier League to the squad. Sterling has had consistently excellent seasons for the last several years and will benefit Chelsea’s offense, which scored 23 fewer goals than Manchester City last season.
Marc Cucurella, who recently joined the team from Brighton, will provide the perfect full-back or wing-back for Tuchel’s system. He was excellent for Brighton last season and was a key reason why the club finished the year in ninth place. He should help Chelsea in defense and will add another aspect to the team’s attack with his ability to contribute offensively from his position.
Kalidou Koulibaly could be the most important signing the team makes this summer after the departure of Rudiger. Koulibaly was one of the best center-backs in Serie A during his career and will be another excellent defender in the Chelsea squad. He should help Tuchel ensure he once again has one of the best defensive teams in the Premier League.
Midfielder Carney Chukwuemeka joins the team from Aston Villa, and will add another talented, young midfielder to the team. He has played 14 Premier League games in his career so far, and his development this season will be vital not only to this year’s success for Chelsea but future seasons as well.
Chelsea also added their potential goalkeeper of the future when American Gabriel Slonina was signed by the club from the Chicago Fire. Slonina will finish the MLS season with Chicago on loan but will be an important player moving forward for Chelsea once his loan ends.
Mason Mount and Kai Havertz will continue to be vital players for the team this season. Both have established themselves as excellent players in the Premier League, and the Chelsea offense should continue to improve as they develop and gain more experience playing alongside Sterling.
Reece James continues to be excellent as part of the Chelsea defense and should combine to form an excellent pairing with Cucurella in the wing-back positions. The quality of the team in defense is one of the club’s main strengths, and that should only improve this season.
Just like last year, Chelsea will begin this season with expectations to compete with Liverpool and Manchester City to win the Premier League title. Tuchel has improved the team significantly, but the key to the season will be improving the offense enough to compete with both Manchester City and Liverpool.
On the final day of last season, Liverpool was in a position to win the title. The final games didn’t go the team’s way, and the club finished one point behind Manchester City. Liverpool also reached the Champions League final, losing 1-0 to Real Madrid.
As a result, the main focus for this summer for Jurgen Klopp was ensuring the club continued to have success into the future, and that transfer strategy resulted in Liverpool focusing on adding youth at key positions.
Forward Sadio Mane, who enters this season at 30 years old, left the team to join Bayern Munich this summer. He, along with Takumi Minamino, Neco Williams, Marko Grujic, Divock Origi, Ben Davies, and Sheyi Ojo will all continue their careers at new teams.
The most significant summer signing for the team was Darwin Nunez, who signed with Liverpool after developing into one of the best young forwards in the world at Benfica. He and Manchester City signing Erling Haaland will be compared all season, and probably for the rest of their careers in the Premier League, but both are among the best young players in the world at any position.
Fabio Carvalho, who joins the team from Fulham, will continue to develop this season. The 19-year-old attacking midfielder has reportedly been excellent all preseason in both training and in matches, and he could be set to have an important role for Liverpool this season as his development continues.
Meanwhile, Calvin Ramsay joins the team from Aberdeen, and the fullback will also be an important member of the squad in the future.
Despite the departure of Mane, Liverpool still has one of the best groups of forwards in the league, led by Mohamed Salah. Salah, who was thought to be a player who could leave the club in the near future as his contract was about to expire, signed an extension to stay with Liverpool this summer.
He, along with Nunez, Roberto Firmino, and Diogo Jota will form what should be an excellent offense this year.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andrew Robertson, and Virgil Van-Dijk help form an excellent group of defenders. Although Ibrahima Konate, who was set to be an important member of that defensive group for Klopp this year, suffered an injury in the preseason.
Fabinho, Carvalho, Thiago, Naby Keita, Jordan Henderson, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will lead what should be one of the Premier League’s best midfields. Although Oxlade-Chamberlain is also dealing with an injury.
Liverpool has been one of the best teams in the world over the last few seasons, and there is no reason to expect that will be any different this year. The club should be able to compete for the Premier League title and will be a favorite in the Champions League.
Manchester City F.C.
Pep Guardiola has made Manchester City one of the best club teams in the world. That should continue this season, as the club is set to again be the favorite in the Premier League and one of the best teams in the Champions League.
The club’s transfer window so far has been highlighted by the arrival of Erling Haaland. However, several key players have also left the team. Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, Oleksander Zinchenko, and Fernandinho, among several others, have all left Manchester City this summer.
Haaland joins the team as one of the best center-forwards in the world at just 22 years old. Manchester City, who already scored the most goals in the Premier League last season, will be even better this year due to the addition of Haaland, who follows in his father’s footsteps by joining the club.
Manchester City made another important addition to the team with the signing of Kalvin Phillips this summer. Phillips was vital to the success of Leeds United over the past several years and has become a key member of the English national team. He will help improve Manchester City’s midfield this season.
Elsewhere, the club continues to have some of the best players in the world at every position. Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden are set to have excellent seasons yet again, and will also benefit from the addition of Haaland. Jack Grealish and Benardo Silva will also help contribute to the team’s offense.
Overall, Manchester City should again be one of the best teams in the Premier League at every position. They are favored to win the Premier League for the third time in a row this season, and could be even better than they were last season this year.