August has arrived and everyone's excited for the Premier League kick off. It was a good and intense summer with the World Cup 2018, and, now, with the start of the season, fans are excited to see their clubs getting into the matches, and hopefully delivering great performances.
Between the top 6, I believe the season will be tight. Mourinho and Guardiola are leading for the 3rd season, with both trying to be assertive in the transfer market. Guardiola comes with the Champion Shield and Mahrez - his top quality signing who will build more vertical power in the wings. Manchester United tried to be competitive in the market and got Fred who will bring more consistency to the midfield area; however, Mourinho asked for more because the squad needs more depth in the back of 4 and the channels.
This season is going to get positively challenging for Tottenham Hotspur because they kept a top quality football idea developed by Pochettino and the squad, that has depth and is more mature now, allowing the natural coordination between players to bind with the coach to get the results that they expect.
Liverpool made some interesting signings too, bringing Fabinho and Keita to increase the solutions in the midfield. They also have more depth in the wings because Shaqiri has the quality and the experience to perform in the Premier League and internationally. For Klopp’s side, the most interesting signing was Alisson, which has the potential to bring consistency in the goalkeeper role. Besides the effort to balance the squad, Liverpool has to improve their defensive process to get closer to the title. Can they do it? Time will tell.
Arsenal also made some interesting signings, but I think that Emery needs this season to settle his squad and to build a philosophy that can deliver results in the Premier League long-term, rather than focusing on the cup. His experience in PSG doesn’t compare to the challenges he faces in The Premiership, where every match is competitive so it will take some getting used to.
In contast, Chelsea is an interesting case. New Manager Sarri is the one coach who may bring a different flair this season. His philosophy is all rounded, and the team is creative in possession, but also able to proactively work to regain possession after losing the ball. Bringing Kovacic and Jorginho will also allow more pace in that area of the pitch so they do have advantages; however the loss of Courtois and gain of Kepa means they'll need time to adapt. Just because Kepa is an £80M transfer, it doesn't mean that he will do well from the start. Remember the De Gea case... Really though, like Emery, Sarri will need time to adapt to the Premier League.
So, who will win the Premier League title this season? Manchester City appears to be the top candidate because of their consistency, their activity in the market and a game philosophy that brought results. Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham will come next in my opinion, with Arsenal and especially Chelsea surprising everybody if they make it into the Top 3.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE CANDIDATES
Speaking about Champions League favorites will always bring up the main names in the European football. Real Madrid, as title owner, experienced a massive loss with Ronaldo's transfer. Let’s see how their changes effect their game. Juventus also made some changes, but they clearly have big expectations regarding the Champions League, otherwise signing CR7 didn’t make sense.
Barcelona, Liverpool and Manchester United are chronical candidates, but we need to see the season start to feel how the changes to their squads will effect international games. Bayern Munich and PSG are in transitional periods too, which may effect international performances more than the domestic ones.
To me, Manchester City seems to be the most interesting candidate, and they've clearly put their cards on the table. They'll be making every effort to close 18/19 winning internal and external competitions. They have a squad with depth, from the goalie to the striker, the team is more coordinated and they can cope with the toughness of the Premier League and the Champions League, making rotation with the top quality players and technical staff who they have involved.
However, in football, it’s more important how the season ends than when it starts. Will some peak too early, and will some surprise us? Who knows, but one thing's for sure. It's not going to be predictable. The top teams - even those predicted to win - aren't sitting back. Taking control, they're already they're pushing their teams to progress and adapt - good moves or bad moves? - but that's what makes it exciting.