Reigning champions Manchester City have broken the English top-flight transfer record by splashing £100 million on Jack Grealish.
However, European champions Chelsea showed they were capable of beating City three times towards the end of last season and are not alone in harbouring ambitions of snatching the Premier League title away from Pep Guardiola’s men. But with Tottenham, Leicester, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool among their opening seven games of the season, the champions’ title defence could be quickly knocked off course. I still expect Manchester City to be the team to win the 2021/2022 English Premier League.
Manchester United have also spent over £100 million on Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane. Having finished 12 points clear of second-placed Manchester United last term and without a major trophy since 2017, United have loaded up for a sustained assault to end an eight-year wait to win the title. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men have proved to be more than a match for City on their day over the past two seasons but need to find the consistency of their local rivals over the long haul.
Liverpool look refreshed after an injury-ravaged 2020/2021 season with long-term injuries to Virgil van Dijk, Jordan Henderson, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, Liverpool surrendered their first English title in 30 years without a fight. Liverpool shrugged off their woes with a late surge that saw them qualify for the Champions League with a third-place finish. Most importantly, the returns of Van Dijk and Henderson will be like new signings for Klopp as the Reds boss aims to bounce back from a first trophyless season in three years.
Thomas Tuchel’s impact at Chelsea just five months after taking charge has been remarkable and culminated in Champions League final glory against favourites Manchester City. The German revitalised the previously lethargic Blues with his tactical nous, in-game strategy and motivational expertise. Tuchel must now build on that triumph and has been backed by Roman Abramovich with Romelu Lukaku set to return to Stamford Bridge for a club record £97 million from Inter Milan.
While Chelsea were rock solid at the back after Tuchel’s appointment, they were less impressive in attack where Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic all struggled for consistency. Lukaku’s goalscoring prowess could be the final piece of the puzzle in Tuchel’s transformation of the Londoners.
My EPL Top Four Prediction:
- Manchester City
- Manchester United