The Premier League season has just started and has brought back the excitement of the beautiful game. Fans are also excited to contemplate their own club's signings and the signings of their rivals. The race for Champions League qualification is more arduous than ever with so many teams vying for the top four spots in the Premier League.
The competition in the Premier League is harder than ever and this makes it extremely compelling for fans. There will be an extreme amount of drama this season coupled with uncertainty as to what will happen.
Jose Mourinho has never lost on the opening day of the Premier League in his career, but Tottenham lost to Everton 1-0, indicating that records will be broken this season.
Let's look at 4 predictions for the 2020/21 Premier League season.
#1 Leeds are here to stay
Every year three teams are relegated from the Premier League and they are replaced by three teams from the Championship. This season, Leeds, one of the most historic clubs in England, celebrated their return to the Premier League. The architect of their comeback is the legendary Argentinian manager Marcelo Bielsa.
In his first game at Anfield, Bielsa gave a glimpse of what can be expected from his Leeds team. He has shown that their opponents can't take them lightly and they will punish teams which do not give them the respect they deserve. Liverpool could have been early victims of Leeds' campaign but they were lucky to win.
The way Leeds played against Liverpool shows that they will not take on Premier League teams timidly. It was not just a fluke that they managed to score three against Liverpool, it was a tactical masterclass. Leeds constantly looked to exploit Liverpool's high line and their attackers were not nervous to go on and attack the Red's defence.
Leeds looked comfortable on the ball and it is rare for players of a newly promoted team to show such equanimity. They have also spent money on good players, who can make a difference for them. It will take them some time to settle in the Premier League but the new players will help Leeds in the long run.
#2 Manchester City will be the champions
Jurgen Klopp's success at Liverpool seems to have eclipsed what Pep Guardiola has achieved at Manchester City. It is argued that Guardiola has the luxury to spend big, but spending big does not always lead to success. Though Guardiola's Manchester City may not seem as formidable as they used to be, they are still a force to reckon with.
It is very difficult to win the Premier League consecutively and Jurgen Klopp will realise that soon. For eg. in his first season, Antion Conte's 3-4-3 formation took everyone by surprise. In the next season, most teams were able to crack it and Chelsea found themselves in trouble.
By now, teams must have identified Liverpool's weaknesses as well. At Manchester City, Guardiola is always coming up with different tactics and strategies against different opposition in the Premier League. The transfer window is still open and they could bring in a few more players to strengthen their squad.
The Cityzens have some of the best players in the world in Aguero and De Bryune and this team know what it takes to win titles. They lifted the Premier League title in 2019 and many players from that title-winning team are still at the club. Other top teams like Chelsea, Arsenal, and United are not ready to compete for the title at this moment.
#3 Manchester United will finish outside the top four
At the start of last season, Ole Gunnar Solskjær was given the task of finishing in the top four. The former Cardiff city manager manged to achieve this, but the Red Devils were extremely lucky to do so. Perhaps this season they might not be as lucky.
Last season Arsenal and Tottenham were expected to be in the top four instead of Chelsea and United. Frank Lampard has considerably improved his squad and Arsenal look solid under Arteta. Jose Mourinho is still one of the best managers in world football and Everton, Wolves and Leicester City are also a threat.
United were also lucky last season given that Leicester City dropped points rapidly. So far, they haven't addressed the issues they had last season. Only Van de Beek has arrived and it seems unlikely that Jadon Sancho will follow. They still need another centre back, a left-back, a right-winger and a striker.
Given that there are less than two weeks left in the transfer window, it looks unlikely that United will be able to get their first-choice targets. It could affect them later in the campaign and they may end up paying the price for not making enough signings.
#4 Arsenal and Chelsea will finish in the top four
Mikel Arteta seems to be the right man to lead Arsenal as shown by the team's FA Cup and Community Shield victories. The Spaniard has shown tactical flexibility and his Arsenal team look very organised and tough to break. Aubameyang and Laccazatte committing to the club will also be a big boost for the Gunners.
Arteta's team has also made some good moves in the transfer market such as the signing of Willian on a free transfer. Arteta has experienced players and his tactics have been spot on for far. It is no fluke that he has managed to beat Pep Guardiola's and Jurgen Klopp's teams, and he has been able to get his tactics right against these top managers.
While Chelsea are playing fantastic football under Lampard, their $200m transfer spree has also got them some very good players. Eduardo Mendy is also likely to arrive, and he is seen as an upgrade on Kepa Arrizabalaga. Lampard has plenty of options in attack and Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell should also improve the defence of the team.
The Blues also have some experienced campaigners in Giroud, Kante, and César Azpilicueta as well. The experience of these combined with the quality of players like Ziyech, Werner, Pulisic, Havetz can push Chelsea into the top four.Published 16 Sep 2020, 19:05 IST