The 2018/19 Premier League season kicks off on Friday, 10 August and it sure promises to consolidate on the record-breaking season from the last term which saw Manchester City effortlessly cruise to the title.
Get247 Previews the big six teams over the next four days, ahead of what promises to be yet another exciting season, with changes already effected in managerial and playing personnel at the big clubs.
Manchester City: The champions will remain favourites to retain their title under the managerial stewardship of Pep Guardiola. Despite just one major addition in Riyad Mahrez, the Citizens have kept the bulk of the title-winning squad and we don’t expect any high-profile departures before the close of the transfer window.
Ederson looked assured in his first season in England and can only build on that in between the sticks. If fully fit, captain Vincent Kompany remains one of the most natural central defenders and leaders in the league, his availability likely tempting Guardiola into a back three.
In midfield Yaya Toure has departed, though the team still have more than enough quality. However, it can be expected that Guardiola makes a signing in that area to make up the numerical disadvantage and quality ahead of an even more challenging season.
The addition of Mahrez further improves excellent options in the wide areas added to the availability of Leroy Sane, Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling. The pair of Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus will lead the goal hunt in an attacking line that should paint the leaguered with goals!
Who are the new boys? Riyad Mahrez is the headline acquisition at £60 million for Manchester City. The record signing, a Premier League winner in 2016 with Leicester City is a willing runner, has a deft touch, very direct, who attacks at the pace at the opposition full-back and weighs in with his own fair share of quality goals and assists.
Who is the manager? Pep Guardiola is in his third season in England with Manchester City and should be in confident mood of winning another league title on the bounce, even if he remains modest in his admission. Based on the selection of players available and an increasing number of natural wide players, Guardiola will likely favour a 4-2-3-1 tactical formation, though has he displayed last season, he could tweak things on account of the opposition.
Get247! verdict: While we expect Manchester City to put up yet another strong display this season, we don’t envisage another dominant, one-way traffic like the case was last season. While not ruling out the Citizens from retaining the title –which is impossible based on their squad- we expect a tougher battle, which could see them lose more matches, just like the case with the Jose Mourinho led Chelsea side of 2005/06 who struggled to replicate with ease the title-winning campaign of the previous year.