Mike Lundin’s Pick to win the English Premier League 2017/2018
The top six teams in the English top flight were pretty much in a league of their own last season, and I expect that to be the case again this time around.
Let’s go through the teams one by one, starting with the side I think will finish at 6th place and wrap it up with my pick to win the English Premier League 2017/2018.
Last season’s position 4th
The Reds have failed to sign anyone that makes you go “wow” during the summer. They’re not that attractive for top players anymore with their biggest signing being winger Mohamed Salah who joined for a club record $48m from AS Roma. I think this will be a very tough season for Liverpool. Manager Jurgen Klopp likes to put on a show during the games, both with his antics and his tactics, but Liverpool’s squad lacks depth.
We can also note that Brazilian Phillipe Coutinho would like nothing more than be sold to Barcelona. At the moment it looks like he’ll be forced to stay at the club, but will his head be there?
Last season’s position: 5th
The Gunners are pretty much in the same situation as Liverpool, with their star forward Alexis Sanchez looking to leave the club with Manchester City and Paris St. Germain keen to sign the Chilean.
Manager Arsene Wenger seems to have overstayed his welcome and I get the feeling that he’s lost the dressing room. The purchase of striker Alexandre Lacazette is a good one, but the Gunners have always had a solid offense. Wenger has once again refused to do anything about the defense, and that’s what will cost Arsenal a top 4 spot.
Last season’s position 1st
That’s right, I think last season’s Premier League champions will be in for a rather tough season in the domestic league. It’s extremely hard to defend the title in this highly competitive league, and I would not be surprised to see manager Antonio Conte put his focus on the Champions League this year with a Premier League title on his resume already.
The Diego Costa situation is still unsolved as they’re trying to unload the unhappy striker, and his replacement Alvaro Morata looked pretty harmless in the Community Shield defeat to Arsenal.
Eden Hazard and new signing Tiemoué Bakayoko will miss the start of the season, and that could put Chelsea in a tough spot playing catch up with the other top teams.
Last season’s position 2nd
I said two season’s ago that Tottenham will win the league within a five-year period. They finished second last year, but were never really close to threaten Chelsea. I don’t think this will be Spurs’ year either. They’ve made no signings during the summer and have lost right-back Kyle Walker to Manchester City.
Spurs have a young and very talented team with players like Harry Kane and Dele Alli, but they need one more season to mature.That being said, I think we’ll get plenty of opportunities to back Tottenham at a good price in individual games this season.
2. Manchester City
Last season’s position 3rd
Manager Pep Guardiola had an underwhelming first season with the Citizens. Some would say he could be excused by the fact there was no way for him to know how competitive the Premier League is, but come on, it’s his job to know. This is not a league where you go to the bottom dwellers of the table and cash in an easy 3-0 victory as in Germany and Spain where he’s coached before.
Guardiola will surely be better prepared for the 2017/2018 campaign, and he has tried to address the team’s defensive woes with signings of goalkeeper Ederson from Benfica and defenders Kyle Walker from Tottenham and Benjamin Mendy from Monaco. Man City still look pretty weak at the center back positions though, and that’s why I think they’ll come up short in the end.
1. Manchester United
Last season’s position 6th
The Red Devils won three titles in Jose Mourinho’s first season as the manager, the Community Shield, The EFL Cup and the Europa League. They struggled in the domestic league, but I think this will be Mourinho’s main focus for the upcoming season.
He has brought in a pair of top notch players in Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic. If there’s a player out there able to replace the charismatic Zlatan Ibrahimovic at the club’s striker position it’s Lukaku who has banged in goals at will at Everton the last couple of seasons, and let’s not forget young Marcus Rashford who is a world class talent.
Signing central midfielder Matic from Chelsea is a genius move from Mourinho as it will allow last season’s record signing Paul Pogba to get more freedom offensively, allowing him to play up to his potential.
Manchester United have a proven winner as a manager, they have good squad depth and they’re desperate for a league title, their first since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.
Potential Sleeper Club
The Hammers finished last season at 11th place, but they’ve made some really interesting signings during the summer.
Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City)
Joe Hart (Manchester City)
Marko Arnautovic (Stoke)
Javier Hernandez (Bayer Leverkusen)
I particularly like Hernandez who is a proven goalscorer in Premier League since his time at Manchester United. I don’t think West Ham will be a “Cinderella Story” and win the league like Leicester did a couple of seasons ago, but they might be able to break into the top 6 at the expense of Liverpool or Arsenal.