Fine line between triumph and agony: A closer look at the Premier League 2019/20 rat race

Image Courtesy: EuroSport

There are very few events that seek to bring ecstasy as the bejeweled spectacle known as the Premier League. Known for its sheer competitiveness, the league has seen four different winners in this decade alone, way higher than any of the other major league in Europe. The quality of the teams and the players it has brandished from the cauldron is only one of the few reasons why the Premier League has such cult following.

One of England’s most prestigious trophies, the Premier League is set for a showdown for the ages after a manic transfer window which is yet to reach its culmination. The last campaign, which was contested between Manchester City and Liverpool until the final whistle was an eye-opener for the rest.

Image Courtesy: EuroSport

Much like wounded kingdoms, England’s most elite clubs were shunted by the dominance put forward in seemingly effortless fashion by Liverpool and Manchester City last time around. The teams could not have asked for a better time for a break, as they have unshackled the chains and put in an effort to bolster their squad.

Despite the competition being up for grabs for all the 20 teams contesting it, there are a few teams that make the cut to put their hands on the elusive title which has so much of legacy and history to it.

While the heavyweights are expected to lay their hands on the trophy, but making into the top four is also just as important. The various sponsorships loopholes and the tantalizing prospect of playing along with Europe’s best in the Champions League makes it a top priority.

Let us have a look into the teams that are predicted to cut to the “elite” top-four spot.

#1 Manchester City

Having won two consecutive titles, the machine known as Pep Guardiola’s City is in no state to just give up their throne yet. The Citizens know how close they were around last time, with only one point that separated them and Liverpool.

The defending champions have been hit with the departures of club legend Vincent Kompany, Fabian Delph, and Danilo. While the major arrivals include Rodri and Joao Cancelo.

The incredible squad depth, the relentless intent throughout the ninety minutes, a winning mentality and a football genius to look it all over make City an unstoppable force in wait of a David to slay them.

The backline comprising of Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Stones, and Mendy is a shield any manager would desire. The club got the priority sorted, which was finding a replacement for the aging Fernandinho. With club legend, David Silva set for his departure after this season, the Blues will aim to bring Phil Foden into prominence.

Known for their knack of scoring goals, Manchester City have to thank their line up ahead. Aging like fine wine Aguero has been amongst the goals in his entire stint at Manchester, Sterling’s peak has no bounds and Bernardo Silva has been a surprise to behold.

The other teams will have to pull off something incredible if they were to topple this side which are on the lookout to march towards a third consecutive title.

#2 Liverpool

Having come agonizingly short last time around, the club from Merseyside will more or less play with the same side with no notable new entries.

The over-dependence on their star players and a weak bench are the two major reasons why it would be difficult for Liverpool to get the elusive title to their name.

While this could have been the right time to bolster their squad and challenge City for the title, Liverpool have surprisingly not opted for that. But the beauty of the side is that, it is very difficult to defeat them on their day.

The club have been hurt over a below-par pre-season and a defeat in the Community Shield to their newfound rivals. However, the European success that they have found over the last two years is a major confidence booster.

Liverpool have also been boosted with the return of the likes of Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain from injury. The midfield of the side has always been in question since the departure of Coutinho as it seems a tad less when compared to their arguably world-class defence and attack.

Statistically the best defence in the league, Liverpool have the arsenal to tackle any attack in the world and possess the attack that make it count.

Unless and until they stay injury-free and don’t rely on their thin bench which is now devoid of Alberto Moreno and Daniel Sturridge, it is unfortunately not looking like Liverpool’s year, just like the years before this.

#3 Tottenham Hotspur

Supervised by the mastermind that is Mauricio Pochettino, the club from London are in the midst of a phase which has brought them everything except a trophy, unfortunately.

The side’s mentality, hunger, and the intent were on another level as they managed to make it to the Champions League final, Carabao Cup semi-finals and claim a top-four spot in the league as well.

Albeit not possessing a squad like some of the clubs in the “top six”, Pochettino has made most of his resources and has only got so far. However, breaking their transfer silence after a long time, Spurs have made a huge statement after breaking their own record to bring in Tanguy N’Dombele, a much-needed necessity in the midfield which only comprises of Moussa Sissoko, Victor Wanyama, Eric Dier and Harry Winks. Moreover, the club is looking to bring more reinforcements as well as the deadline day nears.

Despite a number of questionable decisions such as the sale of Kieran Trippier, the club is definitely a notch above from last time around. Tottenham’s biggest bonus has always been the mentality of the players rather than the talent which has brought them here.

An experienced backline, a bolstered midfield and a front line that rarely disappoints, Tottenham are in a better space to get into the top four when compared to their other London compatriots.

#4 Manchester United

Arguably their most important season since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, the Red Devils are in a desperate attempt to reclaim their glorified past. Splashing money in the market to acclaim the services of Daniel James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire has more or less solved their backline and right-wing dilemma.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a huge task cut for him with the desire of the players being constantly questioned. A positive pre-season has, however, put a rest to all those talks for now.

Despite having a proficient squad, the current side has always struggled to be consistent. Although the club is expected to make a last gasp signing on deadline day, the playing XI seems more or less inevitable.

The first task for United will have to be figuring out the best playing XI. With a lot of options to choose from, especially in the attack with options like Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Romelu Lukaku, Jesse Lingard, Daniel James, Alexis Sanchez, and Juan Mata. The constant cuts and chops make it hard for a team to gel.

The three-time Champions League winners will have to be on their toes in order to make it back to the Champions League with Chelsea and Arsenal expected to give them a tough time.

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