So, we are all set again for yet another season of English Premier League. This season comes with an even graver sense of disbelief that it’s back a little too soon. In a few weeks we’ll get back into the same routine of figuring who is in a crisis situation this week. However, as of now it seems that EPL will just swim through under the FIFA World Cup hangover. Thinking about how players who were a part of such a gruelling global event recently, it might be quite a task for them to realign their priorities and show up with their A game for their club sides. Players are still in the process of making lazy comebacks from the holidays and no one has had the time to settle down. However, given the fact that the fitness levels and peak age of athletes have risen considerably over the years, many are expected to continue their good form in the EPL. Furthermore, the transfer window barely opened and is already about to close.
Considering all these factors, it means that the race for the title is even more unpredictable this time. Although it would be misleading to state that an EPL season after FIFA World Cup often throws up surprise winners, it is indeed true that the winners normally take the crown with lesser number of points than usual. It hasn’t happened since Manchester United’s title win in 1998-99, after the World Cup, that they won the championship with more number of points than the average number of points’ margin in the previous three seasons. Many consider the 98-99 title race to be one of the best ever.
If we talk about Manchester city this time around, it isn’t that they broke all the records to lift the title in May last year. Even though they have all the resources to buy the right players they require and need plenty of reassurances in the midfield, they’re nevertheless in an enviable position because of having a balanced squad which is growing stronger together day by day. Although many people question their defensive abilities considering how Liverpool exposed them twice in the 2017-18 season, it doesn’t mean that everyone was able to do so.
Manchester United seems to be the only primary challenger for Manchester city this season. Although Juergen Klopp has a fairly good record against Pep Guardiola, it would be absurd to suggest that Liverpool has the depth required to come out on top, and go all the way this time. Coming to Jose Mourinho, he already sees the battle this season to come second behind Man City. The mood in Manchester United camp this summer is much flatter compared to last season.
None of the other teams, Spurs, Chelsea, Arsenal etc. seem to be in the fray, as all of them are struggling with their own issues. If you study carefully, you’d realise that it’s most likely to be Manchester City in the end. Overall, as the World Cup hangover fades with time and the US fans ponder if the US can ever win the coveted tournament, an overwhelming sense of disbelief that the working day has already begun will start creeping in. And how well and how quickly everyone wakes up will determine the winner in the end.
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