My Premier League prediction No change at the top

My Premier League prediction No change at the top

And in this of all seasons, as that World Cup semi-final casts a rosy glow on the Premier League.

Sorry, but let’s debunk some of that.

A day or three before the start of the season, some of the League’s (and the world’s) top managers had a private chat. Guardiola, Mourinho, Klopp, Benitez.

I’m told by someone who was there that they were very sanguine, to put it kindly, about the quality at the World Cup.

Way below the Premier League was the verdict. Understandably, in a sense. How can players who see so little of each other combine in a way that rivals what Pep Guardiola, for example, can achieve at Manchester City with some of the most talented men money can buy?

And England? Gareth Southgate made the very best of limited resources, believe the top managers – squeezing crucial goals from free-kicks and corners.

There will still be a feelgood factor in the stands, but the reality is that Guardiola is odds-on once more to win not only the battle of Manchester but also the title itself come May. Indeed, for a league that markets its competitiveness, if the title race gets as far as May it will be an improvement on last season, when City finished 19 points clear.

Across the city at United, grumbly Jose Mourinho seems to have a huge battle on his hands to raise a smile, let alone a challenge.

If United had a frustrating transfer window, Tottenham had a blank one. Not one single arrival, the club keeping the wallet closed in the absence of perceived value.

The wisdom of that will be measured against Liverpool’s contrasting approach, Jurgen Klopp spending uncharacteristically uninhibitedly in a concerted attempt to win their first title of the Premier League era.

The record they smashed for a goalkeeper (£67m on Brazilian Allisson) was overhauled by the £71.6m Chelsea lashed out on 23 year old Spaniard Kepa Arrizabalaga – the usual transfer madness in no way curtailed by the League´s unilateral decision to close the window before the start of the season.

Other big European leagues are open for business for three more weeks, and if big Premier League names are enticed abroad in that time, don’t be shocked if the deadline shifts back next year.

Other questions to be answered will new managers Maurizio Sarri and Unai Emery bring harmony and solidity respectively to Chelsea and Arsenal?

Who will lay down the biggest challenge to City’s crown? Logic says Liverpool. City to be champions again though.

Will the top clubs – like Southgate and England – give youth a chance? Don’t hold your breath.

But – a related question – what of Brexit? Soon-to-depart Premier League boss Richard Scudamore says no one in government has been able to reassure him about permits for top imports after next March.

The great leap into the unknown is as scary for football’s bosses as everyone else.

News Source SkyNews

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