September 08, 2020 3 min read
While although the start is a little later than usual and a handful of clubs will not be in action over the opening weekend, the anticipation for the Premier League’s return is once again building to a crescendo.
As always, the biggest sub-plot of the season will be written regarding the quest to be crowned champions and with Liverpool finally reaching the promised land just two months ago, the hunter has now become the hunted.
They say that the Premier League is a difficult competition to win and as true as that may be, it is even more difficult to defend it and with the Merseyside outfit now ending their 30-year wait to be crowned English champions, one wonders if they can perform their efforts from last season.
Efforts that can only be described as herculean and although it meant that they won the competition at an absolute canter, there is perhaps a sense that not all is perfect at Anfield and as always, it comes down to all things transfers.
With Jurgen Klopp being relatively quiet in the transfer market over the off-season, there is a suggestion that the club have rested on their laurels and if this is to be the case, then Manchester City will be ready to pounce.
Pep Guardiola may have led the blue half of Manchester to second in the table last season, but when you couple that with a disappointing return in the Champions League and failure to defend their F.A. Cup success of 2019, you get the feeling that he and his players have a point to prove.
A point that could be reinforced by the arrivals of both Nathan Ake from Bournemouth and Ferran Torres from Valencia, as these two arrivals to the Etihad suggest that the squad is going through a phase of evolution rather revolution.
Across Manchester, their crosstown rivals have been active in the market and with the arrival of Donny Van Der Beek from Dutch side Ajax, it has presented manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a problem – albeit a nice one.
Because now it seems as if United have overloaded themselves with quality midfielders and when you look at who they already have within the confines of Old Trafford, the addition of Van Der Beek either becomes one too many or offers the club the ability to compete on multiple fronts.
If it is the latter, then United will be well poised to finish in the top four and book another season in the Champions League 12 months down the line, something that could have been said for Chelsea just a few weeks ago.
However, with defensive reinforcements being drafted into Stamford Bridge and of high quality it must be said, the presence of both Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva will allow the likes of Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech to terrorise the opposition with added confidence.
While it also means that Chelsea may not just settle for finishing in the top four and with manager Frank Lampard now believing that his squad has the perfect balance, they could be the outside choice to be crowned champions.
Both outfits will be looking to return to the top four of the table at the end of the season and if either club manage to achieve their target, it will be nothing more than a job that has been incredibly well done.
A job that could be even harder when you consider the likes of Leicester, Wolves and Everton will want to be a part of the European conversation and that’s before we mention promoted Leeds and their legendary coach Marcelo Bielsa.
It is fair to say that the world around us is experiencing some pretty weird times and although the sport was put on the backburner for a lengthy amount of time, the Premier League does act as a great constant. One that we all are looking forward to seeing over the next eight months or so.