Man City have been installed as the odds-on favourites to win the Premier League for the third time in a row next season. Pep Guardiola’s finished the 2018/19 campaign with 14 consecutive victories and that saw them pip Liverpool to the post by a single point. They have put forward a compelling case to be named the greatest team in Premier League history by securing the two highest-ever points tallies and playing some scintillating football along the way. Now they will bid to cement their dominance with a third consecutive title triumph, a feat that would match Man Utd’s record.
Yet Liverpool are expected to put up another ferocious challenge. Jurgen Klopp’s men earned more Premier League points than Chelsea, Man Utd or Arsenal have ever mustered last season, and still fell short due to Man City’s brilliance. Yet they went on to win the Champions League with a 2-0 victory over Tottenham, and they head into the 2019/20 season as kings of Europe. The bookmakers expect another two-horsed race between those clubs next season: the top rated sportsbooks make Man City 4/6 favourites, with Liverpool priced at 9/4, and then Spurs all the way out at 16/1, Chelsea and Man Utd at 25/1 and Arsenal at 40/1.
That makes a great deal of sense. Chelsea were third last season, but well off the pace set by Man City and Liverpool. They have lost star player Eden Hazard to Real Madrid, and they cannot bring in quality reinforcements due to a transfer ban. They will surely regress.
Man Utd were dire in the final weeks of last season and new manager Ole Gunnar Solksjaer is yet to convince anyone of his credentials, while Paul Pogba wants out. Arsenal were abject in losing 4-1 to the Blues in the Europa League final, and they are strapped for cash, so it is hard to see them improving upon last season’s fifth placed finish.
Tottenham are the one team that could muscle their way into the title race, provided they keep hold of their best players. Christian Eriksen has been linked with a move away from the club, and that will worry fans, as he is their best creative force. Yet they have finally opened the chequebook, signing highly rated central midfielder Tanguy Ndombele from Lyon, and he should be a good replacement for Mousa Dembele.
However, it does look like a two-horsed race, and it will be fascinating to see who prevails. Liverpool’s players are in their prime, they are fit as fiddles and they have totally bought into Klopp’s relentless, hard-pressing style. Man City have a few more concerns, as Sergio Aguero and David Silva are seemingly on their last legs and club captain Vincent Kompany has retired, while Fernandinho is now 34. Those four have been the backbone of the team for years, and Man City will need a new spine.
They have brought in Rodri from Atletico Madrid and he looks like a fine holding midfielder, while Bernardo Silva continues to grow in stature as a creative talent. Yet they need a commanding centre-back, and it will be interesting to see if they sign a striker or place faith in Gabriel Jesus to compete with Aguero for a place in the team.
Liverpool look more settled than Man City and fans will dare to dream that 2020 could finally be the year in which they seize a first ever Premier League title. The one thing these Man City players lack is the Champions League, and if they really go for it in Europe then it could pave the way for Liverpool to seize domestic glory. It promises to be another fascinating season and fans will keep a close eye on the transfer market in the coming weeks as these giants of the English game strengthen their squads ahead of the titanic battle.