Manchester City broke all kinds of records last season on their march to the Premier League title. Pep Guardiola’s side finished on 100 points, 19 ahead of their nearest rivals Manchester United and 30 points ahead of the previous season’s champions Chelsea.
By the time the New Year came around, it was already a forgone conclusion that Manchester City had won the league, following their incredible 18-match winning run. So who on earth can catch them this season, if anyone? In this article we take a look at the Premier League hopes of the rest of the top six.
Manchester United: The Red Devils finished second last season and were runners-up in the FA Cup. On the face of it, you’d expect a season of improvement from Manchester’s former top-dogs, but that doesn’t seem very likely.
The season started poorly for United, despite winning their first game 2-1 against Leicester, they went on to be beaten by Brighton away and slaughtered 3-0 at home by Spurs. Jose Mourinho looks to be on his sabotage mission and by the time you read this article, he may not even be the man in charge at Old Trafford.
Tottenham: The North London outfit were City’s closest contenders last season, but came up short in both of their league games against the champions. Much has been made of their lack of additions over the summer and their mental fragility worked against them in both the Champions League and FA Cup last season.
Liverpool: Perhaps the closest thing that City will have to a contender this season. Jurgen Klopp seems to be the only manager in the world with a plan to defeat a Pep Guardiola side, making them second favourites for the title. The summer addition of Brazilian ‘keeper Allison looks to have added stability to the Liverpool backline.
However, the lack of championship winning experience in the squad and a thin defensive back-up line could hinder them in their Premier League pursuit.
Chelsea: As is often the case with Chelsea, last season was a write-off for the men from Stamford Bridge. Following a title winning campaign, the Blues slumped to fifth as managerial instability affected the squad.
Sarri has started well so far at Chelsea with three wins in three, but it remains to be seen whether his style and methods can last the course in the Premier League.
Arsenal: The Gunners finished 37 points behind City in Arsene Wenger’s final season in charge at the Emirates and pushing for the title this season will be a step too far for new manager Unai Emery.
Instilling his players with a defensive stability will be a big enough task for the Spaniard, never mind winning the club’s first league title since 2004.
Who can catch City this season? No-one. Liverpool are the main contenders to the champions crown but they lack the depth and experience to go toe-to-toe with Guardiola’s men. The best that the chasing pack can hope for is that City get distracted by a long run in the Champions League. Otherwise, City will be lifting the trophy again in May.