The wait is almost over for football fans, as Saturday 6th of August sees the 2022/23 Premier League season kick into gear. Whilst this hasn’t been an entirely blank summer thanks to the excellent exploits of the Lionesses, it will soon be the world’s finest league competition which is dominating the sports news headlines once more.
As ever at the beginning of a new season, the question on everyone’s lips – from fans to those assessing the latest list of football betting offers – is, who will be lifting that famous trophy in May 2023? Let’s take a look at the main contenders.
- 20/21 Finish – Champions
- Key Arrivals – Erling Haaland, Kalvin Phillips, Stefan Ortega
- Key Departures – Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Fernandinho
Hot favourites to defend the title are Pep Guardiola’s men from the Etihad. Haaland in for Jesus, and Kalvin Philipps to fill the midfield holding role in Fernandinho’s absence, certainly make sense. The replacement for Raheem Sterling however doesn’t look quite so obvious. It is of course the addition of the Norwegian goal machine which is the most intriguing. Should Haaland click quickly into the Guardiola system, City rate to be even more of a potent threat than in recent seasons – in which case they may prove mightily tough to beat.
- Heading – Second
- Heading – Darwin Nunez, Fabio Carvalho
- Heading – Sadio Mané, Takumi Minamino, Neco Williams
Changes to the frontline at Anfield too, with the Reds set to line up without one of their most potent threats following Sadio Mané’s departure to Bayern Munich. The club have certainly made a big effort to replace him though in bringing in Darwin Nunez from Benfica for £85million. One of the most coveted forwards in the global game is just the type of athletic striker to thrive in Jurgen Klopp’s “Heavy Metal” system and adds an interesting dimension to one of the league’s most formidable attacks. Solid through the spine of the side, Liverpool likely won’t be far away.
- Heading – Fourth
- Heading – Richarlison, Ivan Perisic, Yves Bissouma, Clement Lenglet, Djed Spence
- Heading – Steven Bergwijn, Cameron Carter-Vickers
If there is to be a side to shake up the top two it may well be Spurs, as the exceptional Antonio Conté continues to make his mark on the side. Conté has managed a total of three top-flight clubs in Juventus, Inter Milan, and Chelsea, and has led all three to the title. With no really big departures, the squad certainly looks stronger this time around. Bissouma gets his chance to show he can do it at a big club, Perisic brings creativity from the flanks, and Richarlison adds real bite to the front line. 22 points off the pace in 2021/22, expect the North London side to finish closer this time around.
- Heading – Third
- Heading – Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly
- Heading – Antonio Rudiger, Andeas Christensen, Romelu Lukaku
It was difficult to know what to expect from Chelsea following the change in ownership, and things haven’t become all that much clearer following the summer’s transfer dealings. Kalidou Koulibaly is a quality operator at the back, but much needed with both Rudiger and Christensen heading for pastures new. The capture of Raheem Sterling is however a real coup. A reliable source of both goals and assists, and thoroughly proven in the league, he’s about as reliable as you can get. Thomas Tuchel is also a major plus. One of the shrewdest managers in the game is however going to need to find a way to win without a recognised striker in the squad – unless Armando Broja is given his chance. The suspicion is that the boys from Stamford Bridge may come up short.
- Heading – Sixth
- Heading – Christian Eriksen, Lisandro Martinez, Tyrell Malacia
- Heading – Paul Pogba, Edinson Cavani, Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata
It has now been nine years since Manchester United lifted the Premier League trophy. For the 13-time title winners, a sixth-place finish, and no Champion’s League football simply won’t do. Big improvements are expected in 2022/23. Former Ajax coach Erik ten Haag is the latest man to be assigned the task and, should he replicate the free-flowing attacking football which served him so well in the Netherlands, he may just bring the good times back to Old Trafford. 35 points is surely too much to make up on City in the space of a single season, but fans of the Red Devils will be disappointed if they aren’t at least in the top four mix.