Somehow, that time has come again. Turn on the dramatic music, turn on the content creator and get ready to absorb the most exciting action: the Premier League season is upon us once again.
Of course, it is not clear what form this version of the great footballing series will take. This, after all, is the fun thing.
With the 20 teams in the world’s richest league returning to the field this weekend, though, there are many questions that remain on the whole. How they are answered will go a long way to determining how things go.
Will Manchester City beat Manchester City?
The obvious question before the start of every new Premier League season is which team is most likely to win the title in the end. Unfortunately, in the current incarnation of The League, it’s not a particularly interesting query. It will be won by Manchester City, having fought in four of the past five, and will likely do so by taking on a racy but fruitless challenge from Liverpool. Although there is only one small caveat this time.
The idea that Erling Haaland’s presence would somehow disrupt City’s rhythm enough to affect the team is exaggerated; It might be an awkward marriage for a few months, but both are more than good enough to thrive though.
More important is the fact that Haaland is currently only one of the 16 top players on the field at Pep Guardiola’s disposal. That would be a risk in the regular season. This game has a large world cup in the middle, which makes it seem like a massive gamble.
It sounds like anathema to Arsenal with faint praise for suggesting that Mikel Arteta’s side won pre-season – because it is – but, amid all the hype and exaggeration, the past few weeks have produced some truly encouraging signs for the Spaniard and his teammates. Documentary stars.
Gabriel Jesus certainly has the potential to be a transformative signing, and his former Manchester City team-mate Oleksandr Zinchenko may not be far behind. Arsenal look like a much more complete team than they did a year ago. Someone may not be ready to challenge City or Liverpool, but it could end the club’s long spell of banishment from the Champions League.
Is Tottenham’s impatience paying off?
The biggest obstacle to Arsenal’s resurrection lies on the road. Not at Chelsea, where the chaotic transfer window is likely to end with a stronger but somewhat less cohesive squad, but at Spurs it is Antonio Conte, the supernova coach who comes, pushes his players to the limit and then collapses. . The concern, when he arrived at Tottenham, was that the club had an almost opposing approach.
This, apparently, was not a problem. Tottenham are in winning mode now. Ivan Perisic, Richarlison and Yves Bisuma were brought in to turn a team good enough to get into last year’s Champions League into one that could push for the title. Given the eccentricity of the season, that doesn’t seem impossible. Spurs have effectively one chance under Conte. I did everything I could to take it.
Manchester United: Discuss
In what may be the purest distillation of modern football imaginable, Cristiano Ronaldo received a standing ovation upon his return to Old Trafford last weekend. Manchester United fans clearly wanted him to know how much he meant to them, although he’s made it clear he doesn’t want to stay at the club.
Roughly 45 minutes later, after being substituted, Ronaldo was leaving the field at the end of the first half, against the wishes of his manager, Erik ten Hag, seemingly convinced he did not need to stay.
Believe it or not, there has been progress at Manchester United this summer. Tin Hag is a smart date. The club has made some smart signings. But it’s an intriguing progression, tempered by the fact that United don’t seem to have a recruiting roster other than the ten players the Hague has known, loved and weakest from Ronaldo’s saga. As things stand, he may be forced to stay simply because no one else wants to sign with him. How Tin Hag deals with that will determine the first months of his reign.
Can anyone break the seal?
In one view, this season should be the best chance since 2016 for a team outside the traditional Big Six to secure a place in the Champions League. The entire campaign will be affected by the World Cup, and it’s not absurd to suggest that the superpowers – as stockpiled by players bound for Qatar – may be more vulnerable to fatigue in the aftermath.
However, the possibility of any team leaving the group is a different matter. Newcastle finished last season on top with Saudi funding, but were quieter than LIV Series golf this summer. Leicester Wolves appears to be in the doldrums. That leaves, most likely, West Ham – backed by some clever additions – as the only viable candidate. Most likely, of course, is that David Moyes’ team can’t hold the same pace either and that at the end of a season unlike any other, everything will be the same as before.