In part three of our 2017/18 Premier League preview we assess the chances of Leicester City, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United.
Three of these four will have aspirations of lifting the Premier League title this season, but can one of Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United actually go and do it?
A disappointing start to the 2016/17 season saw the mastermind behind their league triumph, Claudio Ranieri, sacked. The second half of the season, under Craig Shakespeare, was a much better showing.
The squad has room to grow and if they can sustain the kind of form that saw them fight their way out of a relegation battle they will be very tough to beat.
They are losing ground on the bigger teams and their star players may begin to get restless should the gap continue to grow.
Algeria international, Riyad Mahrez is still a key part of the Leicester machine and their fate could be dependent on whether he decides to stay or moves elsewhere.
Young striker Kelechi Iheanacho is a deadly finisher and his strike rate is astonishing, a very good addition to an already strong attacking division.
Leicester could do a lot better than they were last season but that widening gap away from the big teams is ever-growing.
Last Season: 12th
Liverpool had a poor patch mid-season but it seemed as though Jurgen Klopp’s influence was finally taking hold at Anfield for the club as they finished fourth.
They are looking good going forward and seem to have found their stars in the likes of Brazilian duo Roberto Firmino and Phillipe Coutinho. Liverpool will de deadly in attack.
Still huge concerns for the defensive capabilities of Liverpool with their backs being exposed more than once last season. Also, they can be prone to lapses in concentration which can lead to losing close games.
It has to be attacking midfielder Coutinho, who has attracted interest from Barcelona – and it’s clear to see why. He opens space in front of him and his ability to open the field and score goals make him a valuable player.
Mohammed Salah comes in to add to Liverpool’s embarrassment riches in attack. Salah is electrically quick and can use his pace to break in behind defences to cause havoc. Expect to see him play a key part for Liverpool.
If they can be a bit more consistent and sure up some of the defensive issues there is no reason they can’t challenge for the title.
Last Season: 4th
Pep Guardiola is building a squad that can be successful not just in England, but also in Europe. They looked dangerous all season though and they should be up and challenging again.
A very good set of players, excitement is the only thing you can feel when looking at a potential XI for the blue half of Manchester.
Lack of first-class replacements in key positions, bar up front Manchester City have a depth problem something which their forays into the transfer market show.
There are so many to choose from, one man though above all else is key – Vincent Kompany, The Belgian is the star centre back and without him Manchester City are a very different prospect easier to break down. His leadership alone is massive for the club.
Kyle Walker and Bernardo Silva are big names but after the troubles suffered by Claudio Bravo lats season, the capture of Ederson is key. He will be first choice and hopefully he will be able to keep City from conceding cheap goals this season.
A year for Guardiola to show what he is capable of and make this squad into the best. Unfortunately this is doesn’t look to be the case.
Last Season: 3rd
Last season, Jose Mourinho did give the team a shape and style and it took hold as they managed to win the Europa League and the Capital One Cup.
The squad finally looks like Mourinho wants it to and confidence is growing, Manchester United look they have recovered from the nightmare that was David Moyes’ tenure.
They finished outside the top four and they’ve lost inspirational striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Goalkeeper David de Gea is among the best in the world he’ll keep Manchester United safe with his monumental performances. The Spanish man staying is a massive plus for his Portuguese manager not many goalkeepers could replace de Gea.
All the media circus may have been about Romelu Lukaku and rightly so as he is a proven Premier League striker. He will be key to replacing Swedish veteran Ibrahimovic. Lukaku’s strength will make him a nightmare for the less powerful defending teams.
Becoming a really interesting team with some depth now they are not a team to be underestimated and they will cause teams some headaches.
Last Season: 5th
Check out the latest episode of The Mixer where we spoke with former Bray Wanderers media officer Jillian Godsil.