The start of the 2023/24 Premier League season is looming large so this is a good time to offer our thoughts on the upcoming campaign.
Last season’s title race was a two-horse affair, with Manchester City overpowering Arsenal on the run-in to claim top spot for the third year in a row.
Read on as we assess this season’s title race before looking at some of the other key talking points before the big kick-off this weekend.
Will Man City make it four in a row?
Arsenal’s excellent start to the previous campaign sparked talk amongst the club’s fanbase that they were set to end their recent title drought.
However, the realists in the football community predicted the Gunners would fail to maintain their form and Man City would overhaul them.
Pep Guardiola’s side lived up to expectations, powering past Arsenal with contemptuous ease to continue their dominance of the Premier League.
They are odds-on to make it four in a row this season, and it would be a brave move to back any of their rivals to topple them.
Arsenal will expect to mount a sterner challenge this term after spending £200 million to sign Declan Rice, Kai Havertz and Jurrien Timber.
While Timber has looked a solid acquisition during pre-season, there are massive question marks hanging over the other pair.
Rice will need to eradicate his tendency of going missing in big games if he is to justify the record fee Arsenal paid to West Ham United to sign him.
Havertz is another gamble following his underwhelming spell with Chelsea, and it will be intriguing to see how he performs in a deeper role under Mikel Arteta.
With doubts over Arsenal’s summer transfer business and the mentality of their squad, Manchester United are the team most likely to challenge Man City for the title this term.
Andre Onana, Mason Mount and Rasmus Hojlund should all prove to be excellent acquisitions, giving United’s squad a boost in some much-needed areas.
Liverpool and Chelsea will also expect to be in the mix after missing out on the top four last term, but neither appeal as likely title contenders.
However, they are both fancied to put pressure on Newcastle United, who took full advantage to nab an unlikely fourth-place finish in 2022/23.
Aston Villa could force their way into the top six if they continue the improvement they showed under Unai Emery, but Champions League qualification will probably be beyond them.
Haaland set for another stellar season
Man City striker Erling Braut Haaland enjoyed a stunning first season in the Premier League, setting a new record for goals scored during a single campaign.
The Norwegian’s impressive tally of 36 goals eclipsed the previous record of 34 set by Andrew Cole (1993/94) and Alan Shearer (1994/95).
With that experience under his belt, it would be no surprise to see Haaland edge closer to the 40-goal mark this season.
His ability to score goals in batches sets him apart from everyone else in the English top flight and only injury can prevent him from winning another Golden Boot.
Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane will likely be his closest pursuer if he is still with the club when the summer transfer window closes.
The England captain has been strongly linked with a move to Bayern Munich but seems to be edging towards seeing out the final year of his Tottenham contract.
Mohamed Salah will also expect to be in the mix having claimed the top goalscorer prize in 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2021/22.
However, he may face stiffer competition at club level, with Darwin Nunez expected to improve massively on a disappointing first season with Liverpool.
Man United’s Marcus Rashford and Rasmus Hojlund are other players who could be near the top of the charts, but neither are expected to topple Haaland.
The Man City star goalscoring machine is guaranteed to give Premier League defences a torrid time during the upcoming campaign.
Villa impress with their summer transfer business
Having clinched the treble last season, Man City have followed the tried and trusted method of immediately refreshing their squad.
Ilkay Guardiola and Riyad Mahrez have exited the club, while Josko Gvardiol has been signed from RB Leipzig to bolster their defensive options.
The 21-year-old undoubtedly has the potential to establish himself as one of the world’s best defenders and his signing is a significant coup for City.
As mentioned earlier, United’s acquisitions of Onana, Mount and Hojlund should help them build on the improvement they showed last season.
Liverpool have revamped their midfield this summer, bringing in Dominik Szoboszlai from Leipzig and Alexis Mac Allister from Brighton & Hove Albion.
Both players look to be positive additions to Jurgen Klopp’s side, but you would still be hard-pushed to back the Reds to topple Man City this season.
Chelsea have also been extremely active in the summer transfer window, shipping out a ton of underperformers from their bloated squad.
They have made several promising signings including defender Alex Disasi and attacker Christophe Nkunku, although the latter has sustained a long-term injury.
Tottenham Hotspur have boosted their squad with some useful signings including playmaker James Maddison and defender Micky van de Ven.
Villa have arguably done the most impressive business this summer as they strive to build on Emery’s excellent work last term.
They finished seventh to qualify for the Europa Conference League and have set their sights on climbing into the top six this time around.
Their hopes have been boosted by the arrivals of Moussa Diaby, Pau Torres and Youri Tielemans – all of whom will improve Villa’s squad.
Premier League 2023/24 Predictions
- Champions: Manchester City.
- Top Four: Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal.
- Relegation: Luton Town, Sheffield United, Nottingham Forest.
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