How the Top 6 are shaping up heading into the new Premier League season
After Leicester's fairytale run, last season saw the heavyweights of the Premier League flex their muscles at the top. The Premier League threw its fair share of surprises with Chelsea coming out on top after having suffered a tumultuous previous season under José Mourinho. Whilst Chelsea pulled away from the pack, the other top five sides had their own demons to tame.
Spurs, under a fervent Pochettino, proved their detractors wrong by staying in the race but falling short, again! With Guardiola at the helm, Manchester City found out just how hard the rigours of life in the Premier League can be. Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool flashed their attack in style only to be found out defensively while old guards Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho had to settle for a place outside the top 4.
The Gunners still deliberating a change in guard while Arsene Wenger remains defiant and the Red Devils seeking to restore past glory much like their Portuguese manager. Here's how the top six are shaping up ahead of the new PL season.
A tactical shift to a three-man defence after going down by three goals to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, early on into last season, saw Chelsea ramp up their title charge. Antonio Conte seemed no stranger to the top tier of English football as he rallied the Stamford Bridge faithful to the Premier League title in his first season.
Astute usage of the likes of Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso with N'golo Kante and Nemanja Matic shoring up the back three meant Chelsea's forwards could flourish up top. But the new season has brought more than its fair share of challenges for the Italian manager.
After losing Matic to rivals Manchester United and talisman Diego Costa unlikely to don the blue jersey again, Conte needs to reinvent last season's magic with the help of new recruits - Alvaro Morata and Tiémoué Bakayoko.
Chelsea's biggest challenge will be to continue the good work that Diego Costa had provided over the past few years. For all his problems, the Spaniard has been a menace for defences and will be a tough act to follow. His compatriot Morata is no stranger to the big occasion but it remains to be seen whether he can do it on a cold night in Stoke!
A second option in Michy Batshuayi offers Chelsea a different dynamic but Stamford Bridge will again turn to their Belgian wizard Eden Hazard to engineer their new look attack as they look to retain the crown. Here's hoping Conte doesn't lose too much hair over the course of the new season!