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The Premier League has returned

 

The league season beginning 12 September might be an odd one due to the pandemic. Followers nonetheless received’t be allowed into stadiums, although golf equipment are attempting to determine methods to have a minimum of a few of them again within the stands earlier than lengthy. Usually, the season begins in mid-August, so the season might be extremely compressed this time, with each membership dealing with a gruelling schedule of league ties and Cup video games. The bio-secure bubble when the Premier League resumed in June isn’t so safe any extra, with many gamers testing constructive for the novel coronavirus.

However worries apart, soccer is again, and listed here are 5 issues to sit up for.

Will defending champions Liverpool retain the title this season? (Photo by Laurence Griffiths / POOL / AFP)

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Will defending champions Liverpool retain the title this season? (Picture by Laurence Griffiths / POOL / AFP) (AFP)

Can Liverpool retain the title?

Such was Liverpool’s momentum and dominance final season that the title was all however received even earlier than the pandemic introduced the league to a halt on 13 March. At that time, there was a yawning chasm of 25 factors between Liverpool and second-placed Manchester Metropolis. Regardless of shedding a lot of their depth as soon as the title was received with seven video games to spare, Liverpool nonetheless completed 18 factors forward. This season, it is going to be a query of whether or not the Reds can retain the title. Supervisor Jürgen Klopp has promised that his workforce is not going to search to defend the title, however assault it. And Liverpool is definitely greatest positioned to complete first once more.

It’s going to, nonetheless, rely upon a number of components. For starters, after the cathartic launch of getting received the membership’s first championship in 30 years, the workforce must discover sufficient motivation to exit and do it once more. Bear in mind, Liverpool has been in an unrelenting, intense type for over two seasons now, racking up an astonishing 196 factors and just about profitable all the main honours. The squad will stay largely unchanged and Klopp must guarantee the main focus doesn’t waver, proper from the league’s meanest defence, anchored by Virgil van Dijk, to the free-scoring entrance three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino.

Will Pep Guardiola be able to inspire Manchester City to win the title? (Photo: Pool via REUTERS/Peter Powell)

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Will Pep Guardiola be capable of encourage Manchester Metropolis to win the title? (Picture: Pool by way of REUTERS/Peter Powell) (Pool by way of REUTERS)

Can Manchester Metropolis shut the hole?

After creating an unrelenting profitable machine that hoovered up two back-to-back Premier League titles, 2019-20 was a yr to neglect for Pep Guardiola’s workforce. On music, Metropolis stays as deadly and efficient as ever, blowing groups out of the water with some fashionable, intricate soccer. However what the earlier season revealed was that Metropolis has a glass jaw—its defence. Far too many instances, counter-attacking sides discovered ample area behind the again 4, and Metropolis’s run of shock defeats had successfully handed the title to Liverpool by December final yr. Regardless of scoring an eye-watering 105 objectives within the league final season, Metropolis nonetheless managed to lose 9 instances.

If Metropolis’s drawback space was in defence, the workforce nonetheless hasn’t addressed the pressing want to bolster. Though the switch window is open until eight October, Metropolis must be excellent in its opening few fixtures in order to not give up the initiative to Liverpool. As at all times, Guardiola will look to the continued brilliance of Kevin De Bruyne in midfield and the efficiency of Raheem Sterling and Sergio Agüero in assault. And after Messi opted to stay at Barcelona, we are able to’t hope to see the world’s greatest participant within the sky-blue jersey of Metropolis. Clawing again a deficit of 18 factors from Liverpool is a troublesome ask however Guardiola’s workforce will definitely attempt.

Frank Lampard will be under pressure to get Chelsea to fight for the title after the club spent big in the transfer window. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / POOL / AFP)

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Frank Lampard might be underneath stress to get Chelsea to struggle for the title after the membership spent massive within the switch window. (Picture by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / POOL / AFP) (AFP)

The struggle for prime 4

Three rookies and one grizzled previous fox. José Mourinho will chafe at being referred to as previous however he could be blissful to be referred to as a fox. And he’ll want all his nous and expertise to discover a approach to get Tottenham again into the highest 4, in direct competitors with Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal. Tottenham has fallen away since ending recurrently among the many prime 4 between 2015 and 2019. It’s a drained squad that wants refreshing and Mourinho may discover it powerful to interrupt into the highest 4.

Frank Lampard did higher than anticipated to steer Chelsea into fourth place final season, and the London membership definitely splashed the money within the closed season, spending massive bucks to usher in thrilling attacking gamers like Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech. Regardless of the signings, nonetheless, Chelsea stays a workforce in transition. Whereas Lampard has managed to stiffen up his facet’s resolve, it stays susceptible in defence and is but to kind out its goal-keeping drawback. A tilt on the title could appear outlandish this season however a prime Four end definitely seems potential.

Arsenal too is a membership in transition. Supervisor Mikel Arteta has made the Gunners a steelier facet by specializing in tightening the defence. In assault, nonetheless, the facet stays all too reliant on the brilliance of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The FA Cup winners have loads of younger and thrilling gamers however similar to Chelsea, one of the best Arteta can hope for is a prime Four end this season. Manchester United, however, can hope for one thing extra. Having defied expectations to complete third final season, supervisor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has managed to style United into an usually thrilling counter-attacking facet. Donny van de Beek is a wonderful signing in midfield however United nonetheless must get a striker and bolster its defence to problem the duopoly of Metropolis and Liverpool.

Manager Marcelo Bielsa is already a legend at Leeds after returning the club to the Premier League. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)

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Supervisor Marcelo Bielsa is already a legend at Leeds after returning the membership to the Premier League. (Picture by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (AFP)

The return of Leeds

Premier League followers of a sure era would bear in mind the thrilling, high-flying Leeds sides from 20 years in the past. A younger and vibrant attacking workforce, between 1998-2001 Leeds was ever current within the prime 4. In 1999-2000 season, it got here third and the next season, it stormed into the semi-final of the Champions League. Inside the subsequent six seasons, the membership had plummeted two league tiers, to League One. It has been a protracted, onerous street again to the Premier League elite however the Yorkshire workforce ought to present loads of leisure this season.

The principle purpose for that’s supervisor Marcelo “El Loco” Bielsa. The mad one is likely one of the most revered coaches on this planet—Guardiola considers him his guru—and underneath his tutelage, Leeds has remodeled right into a hard-pressing, slick-passing and free-scoring facet that’s a pleasure to observe. The Premier League will show to be a special degree altogether but when Bielsa’s close-knit workforce clicks, it would give lots of the greater groups a bloody nostril this season. We’ll discover out quickly sufficient, because the Championship winners journey to satisfy the defending Premier League champions Liverpool on the primary day of the season. Anticipate fireworks.

Will Kevin de Bruyne have another fantastic season? (Photo: Franck Fife/Pool via REUTERS)

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Will Kevin de Bruyne have one other implausible season? (Picture: Franck Fife/Pool by way of REUTERS) (REUTERS)

Gamers to be careful for

Chelsea has made essentially the most eye-catching new signings up to now, and anybody amongst Havertz, Werner and Ziyech may hit the bottom operating and have a implausible season. Salah, Mané, Aubameyang, Sterling and Agüero will be counted upon to proceed to be one of the best strikers and playmakers within the league, with United’s Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood hoping to hitch them. Amongst midfielders, De Bruyne stays supreme, whereas his teammate Phil Foden, and Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes, ought to proceed the place they left off final yr. Amongst defenders, Liverpool’s Rolls-Royce of a centre again, Virgil van Dijk, might be key to his membership’s hopes, as will the electrifying attacking full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson.

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