The English Premier League season kicks-off on Friday with Manchester United hosting Leicester City at Old Trafford. The 2018/19 EPL season will offer a number of intriguing plots starting with whether Manchester City will repeat as champions, how will Man United cope with the mounting pressure on Jose Mourinho to deliver one of the big trophies (League or Champions League) and more.
Mourinho’s relationship with French midfielder Paul Pogba will be one to keep an eye on, but on a more positive note Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah was the star player last season. He finished as top scorer in the Premier League and in doing so helped Liverpool finish in the top 4 to qualify for the Champions League. It will be interesting to see whether Salah can duplicate his great form from last season, or at least come close to those remarkable numbers, including a record-breaking tally of 32 league goals.
Beyond Man City,fueled by coach Pep Guardiola’s philosophy & his desire to win more trophies, and United or Liverpool, there will be other interesting story-lines to follow. Will new Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri outdo his fired compatriot Antonio Conte? Conte and the previous Italian manager at Chelsea- Carlo Ancelotti- suffered a similar fate. Both were let go after the end of their season season despite winning the Premier League crown in their first year in charge. Will Sarri share the same fate? Can he even challenge for the league title? Chelsea lost Thibaut Courtois but immediately replaced him with the most expensive goalkeeper in the world Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Will the pressure of the massive transfer fee get to Kepa? Chelsea did get Real Madrid’s midfielder Mateo Kovacic on loan for the season as part of the deal which saw Courtois head to Spain. Will a midfield of summer signing Jorginho, Kovacic and France’s N’Golo Kanté prove enough to carry the London side to the EPL title? Chelsea also still have Eden Hazard on the books.
Tottenham did not sign anyone but still have Harry Kane and the likes of Christian Eriksen. It is likely difficult for Spurs to compete on multiple fronts and the European commitment may take its toll on the relatively smaller squad when compared to the likes of City.
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