Premier League Preview (Part 3) – Can Manchester City be dethroned?

Premier League Preview (Part 3) – Can Manchester City be dethroned?

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After another offseason of wheeling and dealing in the transfer market, the Premier League is set to return for what proves to be another exhilarating campaign.

In this three-part series we break down the ins and outs, key players and everything in between for each of the 20 teams this season and what that all means for their final table position.

All eyes will again be on Liverpool and Manchester City at the top after the two sides engaged in arguably the greatest title race in Premier League history last season.

But contenders around them have spent big and spent well in the hope of chasing them down, creating a captivating prospect at the top of the table for the season ahead.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Last season finish: 7th

Ins: Patrick Cutrone (AC Milan); Raul Jimenez (Benfica); Leander Dendoncker (Anderlecht); Bruno Jordao (Braga); Pedro Neto (Braga); Jesus Vallejo (Real Madrid, loan); Renat Dadashov (Estoril).

Outs: Helder Costa (Leeds United, loan with obligation to buy); Ivan Cavaliero (Fulham, loan); Kortney Hause (Aston Villa); Ethan Ebanks-Landell (Shrewsbury); Kevin Berkoe (Oxford).

One to watch: Diogo Jota

Predicted finish: 8th

Arguably the most impressive side of last season, Wolves will come into the 2019-20 campaign looking to better their seventh-placed finish last term. Currently involved in Europa League qualifying, Nuno Espirito Santo’s side was fantastic in its first season back in the Premier League, taking points off every top six side except Liverpool. Raul Jimenez was incredible up front and his stay has subsequently been made permanent, while Portuguese stars Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho were entertaining to watch. Diogo Jota stuttered at the beginning of the season with just two goals and one assist in the first half of the campaign, but after returning from injury in January, the 22-year-old scored seven times and assisted four more goals in the final 17 games of the season. If he can find this form from the beginning of the season, complimenting Jimenez and new signing Patrick Cutrone up front, Wolves will be a very dangerous team once again.

Wolves star Ruben Neves

Manchester United

Last season finish: 6th

Ins: Harry Maguire (Leicester City); Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Crystal Palace); Daniel James (Swansea City).

Outs: Ander Herrera (Paris Saint-Germain); Antonio Valencia (LDU Quito); Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan); Dean Henderson (Sheffield United, loan).

One to watch: Anthony Martial

Predicted finish: 4th

RELATED: Premier League season 2019-20 ladder predictions

Another tumultuous 12 months has played out for Manchester United, with issues on and off the pitch ultimately resulting in them having to settle for Europa League football next season. Jose Mourinho was replaced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in December who seemed to have steered the ship back on course but results quickly went south again. The Red Devils ultimately finished five points out of the top four and had the second-worst defence in the top half. Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire have come in to fix that issue, instantly becoming two of the top 10 most expensive defenders in history, with Maguire eclipsing Virgil van Dijk’s previously record-holding move to Liverpool. With Romelu Lukaku off to Inter, an opportunity presents itself to Anthony Martial to realise his potential at centre-forward. The Frenchman has shown glimpses of his quality but could be set to stamp his authority on the team if faith is shown in him by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. With key areas attended to but still more improvements to be made, United should have enough to return to the top four for the time being.

Arsenal

Last season finish: 5th

Ins: Nicolas Pepe (Lille); Dani Ceballos (Real Madrid, loan); William Saliba (Saint-Etienne); Gabriel Martinelli (Itano Futebol Club); David Luiz (Chelsea); Kieran Tierney (Celtic).

Outs: Aaron Ramsey (Juventus); Petr Cech (retired); Danny Welbeck (released); Stephan Lichtsteiner (released), David Ospina (Napoli); William Saliba (Saint-Etienne, loan); Krystian Bielik (Derby County); Laurent Koscielny (Bordeaux); Carl Jenkinson (Nottingham Forest); Alex Iwobi (Everton).

One to watch: Nicolas Pepe

Predicted finish: 5th

The Gunners missed out on the top four for the third successive season and lost the Europa League final last campaign in Unai Emery’s first season in charge. Nicolas Pepe has smashed the club’s transfer record after arriving from Lille where he scored 22 goals and made 11 assists in Ligue 1 last season. As impressive as this signing is, what the Londoners really needed to break back into the top four was an improved defence. A deadline day rush saw David Luiz join from Chelsea and Kieran Tierney arrive from Celtic as the most expensive Scotsman of all time. Still far from perfection at the back, Emery has pieced together something to build upon and a lineup that will help his side challenge for the top four again. Arsenal will play some of the most eye-catching football in the league with Pepe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette linking-up in front of goal and being fed by Mesut Ozil and Dani Ceballos and will be involved in a heated contest for Champions League football again this season.

Kieran Tierney has become the most expensive Scottish player ever

Tottenham Hotspur

Last season finish: 4th

Ins: Tanguy Ndombele (Lyon); Jack Clarke (Leeds United), Kion Etete (Notts County); Giovanni Lo Celso (Real Betis); Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham).

Outs: Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid); Vincent Janssen (CF Monterrey); Michel Vorm (released); Fernando Llorente (released); Jack Clarke (Leeds United, loan); Josh Onomah (Fulham).

One to watch: Tanguy Ndombele

Predicted finish: 3rd

Tottenham are stuck in quite an unfortunate position in that they are bettered only by two generational teams in Liverpool and Manchester City. The Champions League runners-up finally made a first team signing this summer, luring highly-rated Frenchman Tanguy Ndombele from Lyon for a club-record fee, before a busy deadline day saw them miss out on Paulo Dybala but secure the signatures of Giovanni Lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon. Ndombele will instantly improve a midfield that has been desperate for a revamp. Spurs still lack dependable back up to Harry Kane at the centre-forward position and continue to roll with an effective yet ageing defence. Mauricio Pochettino’s side will be in the top four again and should cut the gap between themselves and the top two, but they are perhaps not quite ready to wrestle their way into Liverpool and Manchester City territory.

Chelsea

Last season finish: 3rd

Ins: Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid); Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund).

Outs: Eden Hazard (Real Madrid); Alvaro Morata (Atletico Madrid); Ethan Ampadu (Red Bull Leipzig, loan); Ola Aina (Torino); Tomas Kalas (Bristol City); Charly Musonda (Vitesse, loan); Lewis Baker (Fortuna Dusseldorf, loan); Danny Drinkwater (Burnley, loan); David Luiz (Arsenal).

One to watch: Mason Mount

Predicted finish: 7th

An offseason full of challenges has come to an end for the Blues as they look ahead to a return to the Champions League. Club legend Frank Lampard has replaced Maurizio Sarri as manager after just one season in management with Derby County and will be forced to work with what he has with the club banned from making transfers this summer. Mateo Kovacic joined permanently from Real Madrid as a completion of his loan move last season, but Eden Hazard going the other way is the thing that will hurt the club most. Mason Mount has enjoyed a productive preseason after breaking through at Derby under Lampard last season and Christian Pulisic officially arrives from Borussia Dortmund after the deal was completed in January. Luiz’s departure to rivals Arsenal means Chelsea’s centre-back stocks are quite thin, with Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen backed up only by Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori, the latter never having played in the Premier League. Slightly lacking in depth, deprived of a reliable No.9 and now without a superstar in their ranks, a difficult season looms for Chelsea.

Can Frank Lampard get Chelsea into the top four?

Liverpool

Last season finish: 2nd

Ins: Harvey Elliott (Fulham), Sepp van den Berg (PEC Zwolle); Adrian (free).

Outs: Rafael Camacho (Sporting Lisbon); Simon Mignolet (Club Brugge); Sheyi Ojo (Rangers, loan); Marko Grujic (Hertha Berlin, loan); Harry Wilson (Bournemouth, loan); Daniel Sturridge (released); Alberto Moreno (released).

One to watch: Naby Keita

Predicted finish: 1st

Coming agonisingly close to a first ever Premier League title before lifting a sixth Champions League title, Liverpool will look to go one better domestically this season. Jurgen Klopp opted to stick with what he has in this transfer window rather than spending big, indicating that a number of ‘new signings’ are in the team already, with the likes of Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain, Adam Lallana and Rhian Brewster returning to the side injury-free. Naby Keita endured a season of ups and downs in his debut Liverpool campaign but was just starting to find his feet before his own injury in April. The Guinean has adapted to life in England and could be a key performer for the Reds. Everybody knows about the front three, about the full-backs and about Virgil van Dijk, and if Klopp can get another world-class season out of these players, they could well be the ones lifting the trophy at the end of it all.

Liverpool and their monolithic centre-half are desperate to add a Premier League title to their Champions League success

Manchester City

Last season finish: 1st

Ins: Rodri (Atletico Madrid); Angelino (PSV Eindhoven); Joao Cancelo (Juventus).

Outs: Vincent Kompany (Anderlecht); Fabian Delph (Everton); Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa); Danilo (Juventus); Patrick Roberts (Norwich, loan); Tosin Adarabioyo (Blackburn Rovers, loan).

One to watch: Kevin De Bruyne

Predicted finish: 2nd

Pep Guardiola and his Manchester City team continue to break record after record in the English game. The current holders of all four domestic honours, City will aim to write more history by achieving a three-peat in the Premier League this season. Rodri has become the club’s record signing as he comes in as the successor to Fernandinho in midfield, but much like Liverpool, one of their big additions is already in the squad. Kevin De Bruyne was plagued by injury last season and was unable to have the impact fans have become accustomed to him having. If the Belgian can stay fit for the majority of this campaign, then the rest of the league had best watch out. City will go toe-to-toe with the Reds at the top of the table once again in a title race that could rival the one the two sides embarked on last season.

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