Premier League 2019-20: Who will finish in the top 4?
The new season of the English Premier League began this weekend; we've already got an idea of where each team is placed in the race for the title. And while the end of the season seems far away with just one game played, it is always fun to predict where each team will finish in the 20 team table.
The Premier League is probably the most competitive in the world, and judging by the quality of the top six teams, it's hard to argue otherwise. Manchester City's successful title defence last season was the first time a team had done so in a decade.
So who will finish in the top four this season? Here are some early predictions:
Fourth place - Arsenal
Now that the duo of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have had time to work with each other, Arsenal boast one of the best attacks in the league. Furthermore, with the purchase of David Luiz from Chelsea, the Gunners are getting an experienced player who knows what it takes to win a title in England.
Arsenal also seem like a more stable team than either Chelsea or Manchester United, who are both in transition phases and have gotten new managers in the last 10 months.
Nevertheless, it seems too ambitious to say they'll win the league. Fourth place is a likely finish, and one they should be happy with this season.
Third place - Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur have grown a lot over the last decade; they have gone from being a top 10 team in England, to one of the best teams in the league. With a strong group of players, Tottenham always pose a threat to the very best teams.
They started off their campaign with intent, overturning a 1-0 deficit against Aston Villa to win 3-1, with Harry Kane scoring a late-match brace. While it was expected that they'd comfortably defeat newly promoted Villa, the team looks good. And with Kane nearly at his peak powers again, they'll definitely pose as real contenders.
Tottenham boast a well rounded team, and as mentioned above, a renewed Kane will likely bring them a lot of goals this season. However, Christian Eriksen is still doubtful for the North London club as talks with Real Madrid continue, with the possibility of the Dane leaving still very possible.
Although they are better than Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea, they still don't possess the aura that either Liverpool or Manchester City have. Therefore, it feels fair to put them as contenders to finish third.
With the potential loss of Eriksen in the closing stages of the transfer window, their chances of really contending for the title could be significantly reduced.
Second place - Liverpool FC
In at number two are Liverpool FC, who won a 6th Champions League last season by beating Tottenham in the final. Although they triumphed in Europe, they narrowly missed out on a maiden Premier League title by one excruciating point after leading the table for very long.
Liverpool's season was one of epic triumph, but also of painful defeat by the narrowest margin. Nevertheless, the Merseyside Reds showed that they are a team capable of winning the league.
Last season it looked at one stage that they would comfortably win the league over City, before City stole a march over them. For this to change Liverpool cannot afford a dip in form from their top players, which arguably happened to Mohamed Salah in early spring last season.
However, they are certainly not a one-man team, and with the best defender in the world, one of the best keepers, and arguably the best attacking trident, they are a force to be reckoned with and will no doubt fight till the death for the title.
Whilst missing out on the title last year may spur Liverpool on with greater determination this season, it still seems difficult to predict them as the ones who will eventually win the title. This admission by no means cancels them out as true contenders, but as a safe bet, it seems better to place them as runners-up than champions.
First place - Manchester City
Manchester City have begun their season just as they finished their last one, by trouncing West Ham United 5-0. Where some big clubs take a few games to get back into the rhythm, Manchester City seem to have kept their foot on the pedal all summer.
They still look like the team to beat in English domestic football, and with Raheem Sterling and Co. firing on all cylinders it will be difficult for teams to outscore them. Manchester City have adopted Pep Guardiola's total football style seamlessly, and they look like they'll be a force in both domestic and European football.
While it is Manchester City's attackers that get the most praise, their newly appointed Captain David Silva will be a key element to their season this year. Having been at the club for nearly a decade now, he brings the perfect balance of legacy, experience, fan support and talent that the club had with Vincent Kompany.
It is worth mentioning that they will miss key player Leroy Sane for what seems to be months. But their squad depth is so immense that they will no doubt compensate for this blow to their season.
While any of the teams listed could theoretically win the league, Manchester City are still the team to beat. And if they can handle the stress of all of the other tournaments they're in, as they did last season almost perfectly, they are the favourites to win the league for a third successive time.