Premier League contenders preview: Manchester City remain ahead

Will any team take the Manchester City crown?

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The best football league in the world is back this weekend and Manchester City begin their quest for their fourth consecutive championship and sixth in seven years. While the Sky Blues have established a dynasty, there is no shortage of clubs evolving and capable of a shot at the crown.

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Manchester City

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2022-23: 89 points, first place.

The skinny one: Pep Guardiola finally got the only prize he eluded at Manchester City – a Champions League title. And a treble to boot, which also included the Championship and the FA Cup. The final ingredient proved to be Norwegian striker Erling Haaland, who scored 52 goals in all competitions and won the EPL Golden Boot with 36 goals in league play.

Big newcomers: Josko Gvardiol, Mateo Kovacic.

Big losses: Ilkay Gundogan, Riyad Mahrez.

Big question: after finally getting over the hill, will City maintain their motivation to do it again?

Prognosis: First place


2022-23: 84 points, second place.

The Skinny: The young Gunners made a huge step forward last season and actually led the Premier League for most of the season before losing momentum over time. Mikel Arteta’s long-running development project appears to be finally bearing fruit as attackers Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli have emerged as the stars of this young Gunners side.

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Big signings: Declan Rice, Kai Havertz, Jurrien Timber.

Big Losses: Granit Xhaka.

Big question: Can the Gunners take the next, final step and finish the job and win the league?

Prognosis: Second place


2022-23: 67 points, fifth place.

The skinny: Since the Reds won the Premier League for the first time in 2020/21, they have taken a step backwards as their squad has aged. While Liverpool are ramping up with some young talent, key players like Virgil van Dijk – who was just made captain after Jordan Henderson left for Saudi Arabia – and Mohamed Salah are both on the wrong side of 30.

Big signings: Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai.

Big losses: Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Roberto Firmino.

Big question: If the Reds can’t return to the Champions League, how secure will Jurgen Klopp’s job be?

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Prognosis: Third place

Manchester United

2022-23: 75 points, third place.

The Skinny: Even if the Red Devils have fallen behind rivals City in recent years, there is reason for optimism. Coach Erik Ten Hag led the team to the FA Cup final (where they lost to City) and saw England attacker Marcus Rashford take a huge step forward after the World Cup in Qatar.

Big signings: Mason Mount, Andre Onana, Rasmus Hojlund.

Big Losses: David De Gea.

Big question: How will new signing Andre Onana fare after 12 years with David De Gea between the posts?

Prognosis: fourth place

Newcastle United

2022-23: 71 points, fourth place.

The Skinny: The Magpies have been on the rise since being bought by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund in 2021 and last season was their biggest move yet as the team qualified for the Champions League. But Newcastle haven’t exactly wasted their money on big names and have managed with a rock-solid defense that conceded 33 goals, making it the best league in the league.

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Big signings: Harvey Barnes, Sandro Tonali.

Big Losses: Allan Saint-Maximin.

Big question: can Newcastle continue to build on their recent successes despite the pressure of the Champions League?

Prognosis: Fifth place


2022-23: 44 points, 12thth Location.

The skinny: To say Chelsea’s 2022-23 season was tumultuous would be like saying tornadoes are a little windy. The Blues, under new ownership Todd Boehly, spent around $1 billion on 17 players and through three managers over the two transfer windows. Needless to say, the team wasn’t exactly thrilled, finishing in an embarrassing 12th place.

Big signings: Nicolas Jackson, Christopher Nkuku, Axel Disasi.

Big Losses: Kalidou Koulibaly, Kai Havertz, N’Golo Kante, Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic, Cesar Azpilicueta.

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Big question: Can new manager Mauricio Pochettino bring some stability to a troubled Blues team?

Prognosis: sixth place


2022-23: 61 points, seventh place.

The Skinny: Given Villa’s slow start under coach Steven Gerrard, one has to wonder how much higher it could have gone had Unai Emery been in charge all season. After some big signings in the off-season, the Midlands club are a good choice in the fight for a place in the Champions League.

Big signings: Youri Tielemans, Pau Torres, Moussa Diaby.

Big Losses: None yet.

Big question: will the Villans find a taker for Philippe Coutinho, a former star who has waned in form?

Prognosis: seventh place

Tottenham Hotspur

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2022-23: 60 points, eighth place.

The weak: After going unbeaten in their first seven games at the start of the season, Spurs’ disappointment was slowly eluding and coach Antonio Conte left the team in March, leaving them struggling down the stretch. The defense was particularly appalling, allowing for the sixth-most goals scored in the league. One bright spot was Harry Kane, who finished second of his career in the Golden Boot race with 30 league goals.

Big signings: James Maddison, Manor Solomon.

Big Losses: Harry Winks. Hugo Lloris is also about to leave.

Big question: With his contract only running for one year as rumored, will the Spurs sell Kane to Bayern Munich?

Prognosis: Eighth place

Brighton and Hove Albion

2022-23: 62 points, sixth place.

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The skinny: The Seagulls were last season’s surprise team, even surviving a mid-season managerial change when Chelsea poached Graham Potter. The team under Roberto De Zerbi was undeterred, with outstanding performances from the likes of rising stars Kaoru Mitoma, Moses Caicedo and Pervis Estupian.

Big signings: Joao Pedro, Mahmoud Dahoud, Bart Verbruggen.

Big Losses: Alexis Mac Allister, Robert Sanchez.

Big question: Can Brighton continue their success after selling some top players like Mac Allister?

Prognosis: ninth place

West Ham United

2022-23: 40 points, 14thth Location.

The Skinny: Although the Irons spent most of the season in the bottom half of the table, they would certainly call the 2022-23 season a success. After all, they won the European Conference League and qualified for this year’s Europa League. The task now is to find a balance between the two competitions.

Major Additions: None yet.

Big Losses: Declan Rice, Gianluca Scamacca.

Big question: how will the club reinvest the $180m raised from the sale of Declan Rice?

Prediction: 10thth Location

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