The Premier League’s hailed as one of the most competitive elite-level football leagues in the world, with the title race always being a race between multiple teams, and almost any team capable of an upset. This season, it might just be more competitive than ever at the top end.
Manchester City won the title last year by a good 12 points, greatly helped by almost Liverpool’s entire starting XI being injured at some point. Now, Liverpool appears to be back in top form, but so too are a refined Chelsea, as well as an upstart Manchester United.
Through the opening set of matches, only goal difference separated the leaders of the Premier League, with the reigning champions three points back in fifth. So, how have these four teams created such a hotly-contested race for the title?
Chelsea and Liverpool Looking to Add Another Trophy
In the big-money league, teams are all but expected to spend copious amounts of their income on improving their squads. This summer, however, Liverpool decided to essentially come back with the side that won the league in 2019/2020, only adding Ibrahima Konate to challenge for a starting spot along the backline.
In the season before Liverpool won their first-ever Premier League title, they snagged the Champions League by defeating fellow English side Tottenham Hotspur. This season, Chelsea are the defending European champions, having defeated Manchester City in the final. Now, they’re even stronger.
Once Thomas Tuchel took charge, he quickly identified the need to lean on the team’s defence, with much of the attack being fairly new and lacking an out-and-out striker. So, they went out and signed the new and improved former striker of the Blues, Romelu Lukaku, whose goalscoring ability instantly made them title contenders.
Manchester Hosts Both The Favourites and The Dark Horses
Manchester City continues to strive to win the Champions League, which is why it came as a surprise that they essentially forewent signing a striker after losing Sergio Agüero. Even so, they did splash the cash on Jack Grealish and are currently favourites in the outright betting markets to reclaim the Premier League title as well as win the Champions League, at 15/8 and 7/2, respectively.
As it stands, City’s main competition within the Premier League standings is shaking up to be Chelsea, at 2/1, with Liverpool just behind at 7/2. The dark horse contender, however, is certainly in with a shot as well. Out at 11/2 despite placing second last season, Manchester United have forced their way back into the picture.
The Red Devils finally did what’s been needed for years: signed players who fill needs. The main addition in this regard was Raphaël Varane, who’s the perfect elite-tier pairing to Harry Maguire. The team also needed a striker who was guaranteed to play almost every game and score 20 or more goals. For this, they turned to a club legend and one of the two best players in the world: Cristiano Ronaldo.
Not as much of a speedy trickster down the flank as he was when developing as a player at Old Trafford, Ronaldo has since refined himself into an opportunistic striker, with his fitness levels being as impeccable as ever. Even 12 years removed from his first United stint, he can return to be an incredibly useful part of the starting XI.
Of the four, Chelsea looks the best equipped to go all the way this season and are out at 2/1 in the odds. However, it would be foolish to write off this United side, even at 11/2, seeing as Ronaldo hit the ground running.