Chasing pack look to close gap on Premier League duopoly

City have won four of the last five titles with the success of Liverpool’s 2020 lockdown the only break in Pep Guardiola’s side’s dominance. —Photo Reuters

Monday, August 01, 2022 10:44 AM MYT

MANCHESTER, Aug 1 – Despite all the global appeal and excitement the Premier League generates, there is a clear danger that the dominance of Manchester City and Liverpool will reach a level of repetitiveness that undermines the competitive appeal of the top flight. English.

The other members of the so-called “Big Six”, however, are determined that when the action returns on Friday they can at least close the gap and begin to restore the unpredictable element that has been at the heart of popularity. of the league.

City have won four of the last five titles with the success of Liverpool’s 2020 lockdown the only break in Pep Guardiola’s side’s dominance.

Since Chelsea’s triumph in 2017, a year after Leicester City’s totally unexpected title, the Premier League has not had a winner apart from the two North West clubs.

Chelsea’s success has been orchestrated by manager Antonio Conte and the Italian coach, now in north London with Tottenham Hotspur, hopes he can once again disrupt the dominance of Pep Guardiola and Juergen Klopp.

Spurs finished fourth last season, securing a return to the Champions League, but their improvement under Conte and smart moves in the market have created belief that they can improve further.

Brazilian striker Richarlison, bought from Everton, joins an impressive attack along with England captain Harry Kane and South Korea’s Son Heung-min – the league’s joint top scorer last season with 23 goals.

Croatian Ivan Perisic, who worked with Conte at Inter Milan, will bring extra quality and width while Brighton’s Yves Bissouma will add energy to central midfield.

Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea finished third last season but their bid to follow up their Champions League triumph in 2021 with a genuine push for the domestic title has fizzled amid penalties imposed on Russian owner Roman Abramovich.

A new ownership group, led by American Todd Boehly, is now in place at Stamford Bridge and Tuchel has decided to freshen up his squad.

Romelu Lukaku’s ill-fated return to the club was cut short with the Belgian striker on loan at Inter Milan and in his place Chelsea signed England striker Raheem Sterling from Manchester City.

Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen will be missing from the defence, although the signing of Senegalese centre-half Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli will go some way to remedying the losses.

Impressive moves

Arsenal have slowly progressed under Mikel Arteta, finishing fifth last year and they have made some impressive moves in the market as they push to get back into the top four.

Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus and Ukrainian Oleksandr Zinchenko were brought in from Manchester City and are both expected to improve Arteta’s squad.

Porto’s Fabio Vieira is only 22 but should offer another option in an exciting young midfielder.

It promised to be a summer of major change at Manchester United after their terrible campaign last season in which manager Ole Gunnar Solksjaer lost his job and caretaker manager Ralf Rangnick failed to turn the tide.

There is a major question as to whether Cristiano Ronaldo will stay with the club and the expected flurry of transfer activity hasn’t really materialized yet.

New manager Erik ten Hag brought in centre-back Lisandro Martinez from his former club Ajax and left-back Tyrell Malacia from Feyenoord while Denmark’s Christian Eriksen joined for free after his spell at Brentford showed he was of back to full health.

But the main target in this window, Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong, remains at Barcelona despite the best efforts of the United hierarchy to bring him to Old Trafford.

Saudi-backed Newcastle United are hoping to join West Ham United and Leicester City in the group of clubs pushing to enter the Big Six, although they have been less active in the market than one might have expected. wait there.

The three promoted clubs – Fulham, Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest – will all be happy to just survive another year in the top flight.

Forest are back after a 23-year exile and spent most of the new arrivals, with Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard the most eye-catching signing. —Reuters

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