No, not VAR. I meant the English Premier League.
Come tomorrow, the greatest league (arguably) in Europe kicks off with no Arsene Wenger or Thibaut Courtois in sight. I believe it will be a season of epic proportions and absolute madness, considering most things such as Manchester United signing Lee Grant.
Sit back and relax as I shoot my shots for the 2018/2019 season:
Champions – Manchester City
Ah, Pep on his way to his zillionth trophy.
While it would be nice to see another Leicester City-like fairytale this season, say with Cardiff City or Huddersfield or Brighton, let’s be real for once. The Cityzens are perched nicely atop and will be extremely difficult to topple, unless Zeus and the Gods of Olympus decide otherwise.
The addition of Riyad Mahrez – a hero in Leicester’s title-winning season – has bolstered their firepower. Not that it needed much bolstering anyway. Kevin De Bruyne can only grow from strength to strength, as with Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling, and Gabriel Jesus.
Having already dismantled Chelsea in the Community Shield, I cower in fear as to what these ruthless Mancunians might just do to every other team in the league – rip them apart.
I am praying Arsenal survive the Pep-induced onslaught of beautiful football on Sunday at the Emirates.
2nd – Liverpool
If there’s any team that can drive the title fight with City down to the very wire, it’s Liverpool. I am still of the view that Pep will trump Klopp, however.
The Reds have signed some very effective (and expensive) players in Alisson, Fabinho, Xherdan Shaqiri and Naby Keita. They could spell trouble for opponents once settled nicely in their new environment of Premier League ball.
Once again, you’re talking about the team that defied every odd to march into the Champions League final, where they stumbled to the three-peat kings AKA Real Madrid.
Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mane will not let up this season, trust me. They’ll continue terrorising defences all over the country and smashing goals from all angles, at all speeds, and at all costs.
Plus, Liverpool have got Dejan Lovren. What could possibly go wrong? This man has proclaimed himself to be up there with the very best defenders. This man has made it to both a CL and World Cup final. This man has lost both finals. This man is a little delusional and this man will definitely feature in a few YouTube #fail compilations.
Oh, Liverpool, you’re so lucky to be in Dejan’s safe hands.
3rd – Arsenal
Just me predicting the best possible scenario for my club.
In all seriousness, I do think Arsenal has what it takes to make third this upcoming season. Call me foolish, call me biased. I am sticking with this prediction and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Unai Emery has shown a lot of progress ever since he took the reigns from Wenger and if the Gunners’ pre-season games provide any sort of indication, we are in for a rather decent season. The Spaniard looks to have implemented interval pressing and sharp off-the-ball movement, which was what his dear predecessor failed to do.
Additions to the squad include Lucas Torreira, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Bernd Leno and Matteo Guendouzi and they could be the very people that help Arsenal lay claim to a Champions League place again.
Now, if our Gabonese marksman in Pierre-Emerick Aubamayeng can hit ’em nice and early, we are going to be okay. I am worried about Lacazette, though. I’ve not been very convinced by him since he walked through the doors. His touch eludes him eight out of 10 times every single game.
How can we forget our dear Mesut Ozil? Fingers crossed his magic combines exquisitely with Henrikh Mkhitaryan this upcoming season and not backfire and POOF! The German disappears again…
I just need Aaron Ramsey to sign a new deal ASAP and for Gazidis to maybe throw in Ousmane Dembele as a sweet surprise. Then my heart will be settled.
Well, not really. Because they bloody shipped Calum Chambers off to Fulham on loan?!
4th – Manchester United/Tottenham Hotspur
Spare me, I couldn’t decide who belongs here.
Neither club has been exactly active in the transfer window. In Jose’s defense, United brought in three players more than Spurs’ big fat zero.
You could not have imagined my reaction to the announcement of United’s marquee signing Lee Grant. “Is he a washed up 35-year-old goalkeeper from York?”
I was spot on about everything except for the fact that Grant is from Hemel Hempstead, not York. Close enough.
Fred, on the other hand, might help light up the increasingly dull atmosphere at Old Trafford or he might just be shackled by another one of Mou’s anti-football rhetorics. As a footballing purist (did I really just call myself that?), I would hate to see The Special One last another season, destroying the joy of watching a spherical object being chased down by 22 grown men.
Diogo Dalot, a young and promising Portuguese full-back, might very well become Luke Shaw 2.0. Paul Pogba could still sign for Barcelona and Alexis Sanchez might regret a teensy bit that he chose the red half of Manchester. All in the life of a United player, no?
Let’s now turn our attention to White Hart Lane, where, if I may reiterate, no new signings have been spotted. Zero, nada, zilch.
Because Harry Kane is enough, innit?
While I have no doubt that he will still run riot with Dele Alli and Son Heung Min in tow, they could be a bit predictable because once again, they signed nobody to shake things up.
Mauricio Pochettino did partially blame Brexit on their lack of summer transfers and declared that it was “brave” to be inactive in the transfer window. They also have the honour (?) of becoming the only Premier League club that has failed to make a summer signing.
Oh for crying out loud, at least make up some better excuses and not blame Brexit.
North London is Arsenal’s for the taking. Sorry, Lilywhites.
5th – Chelsea
Something’s telling me that this is not going to be Chelsea’s season. Maurizio Sarri’s appointment came pretty late, as did the signings of Jorginho, Kepa, and Mateo Kovacic.
I don’t deny Sarri doing great things at Napoli but managing Chelsea is a whole other ball game altogether. At Stamford Bridge, you’ve got a highly-involved owner in Roman Abramovich, who loves playing managerial merry-go-round, and you have to reunite a dressing room almost torn apart by transfer rumours.
The Community Shield loss to Manchester City could be a foreshadowing of their season’s fate. It was painful to watch the Blues comically try and defend the relentless attacks from City. Jorginho was simply not impressive on his debut, giving the ball away several times. They do have Caballero to thank for keeping the score at 2-0.
Sarri will probably be puffing on 10 more packs per day when he watches his side chase the tails of United, Spurs, and Liverpool. Bless his little Italian heart.
Relegated Teams – Cardiff City, Huddersfield Town and Brighton
Just a gut feeling I cannot shake. Newly-promoted clubs Fulham and Wolves look too strong to be going straight back down to the Championship. They have done some amazing transfer business, bringing in Andre Schurrle, Jean Michael Seri, Adama Traore and Joao Moutinho.