The pursuit of the premier league title came to a borderline after Manchester City were announced Champions of the 2017/2018 with for league games left thanks to Manchester loss to West Brom, now awaiting next season. The top four contenders and relegation victims already known. Let’s look at the preview of the 2017/2018 season of the most popular league in the world for the top six.
Pep Guardiola’s men have been the team to watch this season with their thrilling high pressing attacking football that most people thought had no place in the Premier League. The Catalan legend spent heavily in his first season but struggled to impress his philosophy on a band of largely inherited players. English press was quick to criticize him and labeled him tactically arrogant for refusing to adapt to English football. Most couldn’t believe that Pep could dominate his opponents with his Barcelona ethos but in truth, his arrival marked the start of something special in premier league, a new football philosophy never seen on England shores.
The desire to score goals was greater than the desire to concede goals which was the secret behind Manchester City dominance this season. Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Leroy sane were the three creative players who helped City to swat aside opponents with ease. The citizen’s had a formidable attack with seasoned lethal striker in Aguero. Scoring more than two goals in a single match helped Man City to cope with the unpredictability of the Premier league.
However, their defense was very exposed more so when it came to counter attacks since most of their ball recovery was done upfront.
For Manchester City to continue bossing the premier league they must first of all seal their leaking defense and they should prepare a perfect medication for the second season syndrome malady that awaits each defending champions in order to achieve consistency.
Before the season kicked off, football pundits led by Paul Merson named Man Utd the favorites to win the title based on Jose Mourinho’s previous record of winning the title on his second season in charge. It’s not entirely their fault considering Pep’s tiki taka ideology was bound to fail in England placed Mourinho in a better position to win his first league title for United. Little did pundits observe that Mourinho’s long term tormentor in La Liga was in the Premier League? Arguably, were it not for Man City Guardiola’s drilling Manchester United could be the Champions this season.
Unlike Pep Guardiola, Mourinho opted for his old mathematical winning ways. Counter attack football is efficient only with lethal strikers who take their chances well upon arrival. However Manchester United attack line was quite wasteful this season costing them decisive matches. With the arrival of Nemanja Matic, he could provide depth in the midfield alongside Herrera and it was a perfect moment for Mourinho to use the 4-2-3-1 formation that saw Pogba creating chances upfront. Unfortunately Herrera ran out of form as a consequence Man Utd lacked depth in the midfield. Their defense was exposed to be shaky after Eric Baily and Marcos Rojo suffered long term injuries. However De Gea’s heroics were enough to prevent goals from flying in at will.
The only thing Mourinho needs to do is to strengthen his midfield for them to challenge the premier league next season
Liverpool have been outstanding this season in-front of goal thanks to their front three Sane- Firmino- Salah. The ‘god’ of Egyptian football has been a revelation since his summer arrival, winning the champions league will definately make him the 2018 Ballon d’Or winner.Their high pressing football was too hard to be contained by their opponents both in the premier league and at the continental stage, this has made them reach the champion’s league final. However, Liverpool lacked ambition. At one moment one wonders what are The Reds playing for: fun or title?
Defensively, Liverpool have been weak. They are so focused in attacking that they fail to realize when there is a leak in their defense. As a result, they are vulnerable to counter attack. Improving their defense will be very decisive for their next season campaign. Moreover, they need to get a world class goalkeeper with the ability to make extraordinary saves not the gambling duo of Loris Karius and Simon Mignolet.
A classic example of doing things the same way expecting different results. Spurs have never been different from their previous three seasons. Most would agree that you cannot attain a different result by using the same methods. Mauricio Pochetino has done a brilliant job in turning Spurs into a top four team from an ordinary mid table team in the Premier League, despite his managerial prowess Pochetino has failed to win any domestic trophy leave alone the premier league.
Winning the Premier league needs quality and class which spurs lack. Breaking the bank and signing at least three world class players would be of help in their search for their first trophy. Most importantly, the manager must be tactical and calculative as being a champion is more than the ability to score goals on the pitch.
Being the defending champions, it was very difficult for Chelsea to retain the title notably the last time they tried to do so, they finished halfway the table after sacking The Special One. At the beginning of the season, The Blues seemed to be on the right course to defend their title by maintaining the third position. The rains started beating Conte’s men when Chelsea experienced congestion of fixtures that saw most of their players get tired without rotation.
Chelsea’s defense this season has been the opposite of their title winning season. With David Luiz out for the whole season thanks to a long term injury, an aging Cahill, young-inexpirienced Andreas Christensen and confused Rudiger opened the goals galore flood gates exposing Courtois. That aside, Chelsea’s midfield has deteriorated due to lack of a linker to link the defense and the offense. Bakayoko lacked consistency, Drinkwater failed to live up to expectations as Hazard played as he wanted. Claims of player sabotage have also been rife with bad blood between Conte and Willian providing fodder for newspapers.
For Chelsea to bounce back, they need to improve their defense as it has always been the fundamental key to winning the title.
Despite Arsene Wenger being the most experienced manager in the Premier League, he seem not to have any clue on how to make Arsenal come back to its title winning ways and the players are adamant that freshness is all they need. With the appointment of Unai Emery a new lease of freshness is expected within the player ranks, the big question however,remains can Arsenal break the bank by buying new world class players since those academy graduates can’t win anything.
Does Unai Emery have the grindstone to instill confidence into Arsenal players?That aside, some few changes in their defense and goalkeeping will be productive.