Who Will Win the English Premier League this Season?
August is progressing by smoothly and that means one thing: the major European leagues are set to begin play again, and that beckons the return of our favorite show, the English Premier League! High paced, physical, and full of entertaining action, the EPL is the world’s most popular soccer league and for good reason. Each season 20 powerful teams battle it out for glory and Premier League survival. But while 20 teams participate each year, there are really 5 that will be able to contend for the title. Which of these English superpowers do we believe will win the EPL crown this season? Read on to find out.
The first team to look at is Liverpool, who’ve returned from 5 years of mediocrity to a 2nd place finish last year. While their season was tremendous, they benefited from playing no European matches and being able to entirely focus on English matches. They had an opportunity to win it all but slumped right at the end. My worry for them is replicating the goal-scoring ways of Luis Suarez, who was their best player and departed for Barcelona. Daniel Sturridge and Rickie Lambert are good, but the team lacks real depth up top and I cannot fathom the team being as good without their top striker, and with a full schedule once again.
Manchester City are defending champions, and boast the deepest, most talented squad in England, but as shown by their poor 3-0 loss to Arsenal in the FA Community Shield match last weekend, they simply don’t seem to care. On their day they can be the world’s best, but I sense a real issue with inconsistency coming to this team. Also, they have won the EPL title several times and their real goal is now the UEFA Champions League. With their focus elsewhere I suspect Man City won’t have the best showings in league play.
Crosstown rivals Manchester United may benefit as Liverpool did last year without play in European competition. New manager Louis van Gaal is an absolute wizard of the game, and I suspect Man U to make a roaring charge at the title. Their stars of Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, and Juan Mata are world class and will be very strong. Their weakness is at the back where they had quite a bit of player switches, and at the heart of the midfield where they lack real ball controllers. With a new coach I think there will be some growing pains early in the year that will prevent them from winning the title, but I see them finishing 2nd.
Chelsea are always a potent bunch and have brought in several key players, including striker Diego Costa and midfielder Cesc Fabregas. They also re-introduce club legend Didier Drogba. However, they lost several key players like David Luiz and Frank Lampard. Super Frank was the heart and soul of this club, and his loss will be their undoing. Young attackers like Oscar and Eden Hazard will certainly delight, but I think defensive weakness and a generally old squad will hamper their title hopes.
And this leaves us with next season’s EPL champions, Arsenal! Yes, I can hear the laughter and dismay already. Arsenal haven’t won the league in over a full decade, and their inability to perform in big matches has been their scourge all along those lean years. But the team won the FA Cup last season, and they have looked very good in preseason fixtures. Big money buys like Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez have proven that the Gunners mean business. Additionally, none of their returning stars have been quitting for better opportunities. This consistent lineup has grown up together, meaning guys like Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, and goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny know one another’s games inside and out. I predict a big year for their main man up top, Olivier Giroud. Their depth has finally grown to the level of their competitors this season while their ability to win a trophy will revitalize their confidence. Manager Arsene Wenger has finally completed his rebuilding proves, and I expect Arsenal to finish the year as EPL winners!