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The Sack Race Previews: The Big Six's Premier League Chances, Plus A Potential Outsider

Pep and Jurgen will no doubt be battling it out again this season
Pep and Jurgen will no doubt be battling it out again this season

We’re fast approaching the start of the domestic season, with things getting underway in the Championship on Friday 29th July. But, today, we’re going to take a dive into the Premier League, specifically looking at the traditional ‘Big Six’: their managers, signings, potential approaches and goals, and what we think they’ll achieve. Just to mix things up, we’ll also throw in an outsider, who may ruffle a few feathers over the course of the campaign.

Premier League Winner Odds...

Manchester City
WIN PROB: 65%
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Liverpool
WIN PROB: 23%
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Tottenham
WIN PROB: 7%
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Chelsea
WIN PROB: 6%
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Arsenal
WIN PROB: 4%
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Manchester United
WIN PROB: 1%
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Leicester
WIN PROB: 0%
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Each Way Terms
Odds correct as of 2022-08-10 07:43 Odds subject to change.

Manchester City

The manager:

He needs no introduction does he? Pep Guardiola, the head honcho, the obsessive perfectionist. Won league titles wherever he’s been, playing his very recognisable methodical style of football. He’s still the man to beat in this league, and despite a clearout of players this year - and a general refresh of his side - with the likes of De Bruyne and co., you have to think that any team who is able to finish above Pep’s men will be Champions.

The signings:

We all know that despite their great form over the last few seasons, Man City have been crying out for a focal point up top. And they’ve delivered with not just one, but two of the world’s most highly rated young forwards. Haaland and Alvarez should bag goals for fun in this team, and the addition of Phillips, Ortega and possibly Cucurella will only add to the team’s overall quality.

Approaches and goals:

Nothing will ever change with a Pep side. They may tinker here and there, but the ultimate goal is to win, by playing attractive football. They’ve scored buckets of goals in seasons gone by, and you can’t help but think it’s going to be more of the same this campaign. Winning every trophy is always the goal these days at City, but if they still can’t manage the Champions League, don’t be surprised if you see a clean sweep of domestic trophies.

What they’ll achieve:

As previously alluded to, I imagine they’ll go far in every competition, and the addition of Haaland may help them get ever closer to the UCL. It’s always hard to tell what the outcome will be in the European knockout rounds, but I expect them to be at the top of the league yet again.

Liverpool

The Manager:

Jurgen Norbert Klopp, Mr. Heavy Metal football himself. The passion from the touchline, the iconic celebrations, the connection with the Liverpool fans, you know what you’re going to get from Klopp, and expect that to only increase this campaign.

The signings: 

Liverpool, like City, went and got their business done early. Star signing Darwin Nunez was brought in to replace Sadio Mane after a fantastic season with Benfica. Elsewhere, the highly rated Fabio Carvalho joined from Fulham, with full-back Calvin Ramsay being brought in too.

Approaches and goals:

What more can you expect from a Jurgen Klopp side than ‘Heavy Metal football’? It’s going to be fast breaks, with a high line of pressure, although the addition of Thiago two seasons back has sometimes led to a more methodical approach around the final third. Liverpool will be looking to win the league this season, after their victorious campaign in 2019/20, and as ever, they’ll have their eye on European glory.

What they’ll achieve:

Personally I believe that the league and Champions League may be a stretch too far, but with those famous Anfield nights in the UCL, you never know what could happen. Expect a similar outcome to this season just gone, with possible domestic cup glory.

Jurgen Klopp will be hoping for more success this season
Jurgen Klopp will be hoping for more success this season

Chelsea

The manager:

Thomas Tuchel has achieved remarkable things since taking over at Chelsea. A Champions League winner in his first season, he’s remained a calm, focused head in charge given the recent turmoil around the club’s ownership. With things finally going his way at boardroom level, expect a more consistent Chelsea this time round.

The signings: 

The big money has been spent on Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly, two well-known names across the game. Sterling will provide proven PL experience and plenty of goals/chances. Koulibaly can be a monster at the back, and should replace Rudiger easily in the team. Look out for the returning Conor Gallagher making an impression as well.

Approaches and goals:

You’d have to think a genuine title challenge will be one of the goals. Chelsea finished 19 points behind City in the league, so closing that gap will be of high priority. Elsewhere, trophies are always a welcome addition to any side’s morale, and having come so close in the League and FA Cup, securing the first silverware of the Boehly era will be important as well.

What they’ll achieve:

I think pretty much what is stated in the previous paragraph. I don’t think they’ll have enough to win the league, but could realistically cut the difference to within 10 points. Fighting on all fronts will be a key for the season, so don’t be surprised to see one of the domestic trophies adorned with the royal blue ribbons this season.

Tottenham Hotspur

The manager:

Antonio Conte. Il Comandante. The mad man with a plan. The passion, the aggressiveness, the sheer desire to win. Kicks every ball, celebrates every goal as if he scored it. He seems to have the owners on side, and could be setting Spurs up for a very fun season.

The signings:

Spurs have been busier than ever in this window. For the first time in a long time, it seems like Daniel Levy is fully behind the manager, with Perisic, Spence and Richarlison brought in, just to name a few. With the Champions League looming this season, Spurs have addressed the lack of depth in their squad, and improved their starting XI. 

Approaches and goals:

I think Spurs could be the surprise package this season, and dare I say, a title challenge may be on the cards for the first time since the 2015/16 campaign. The front three of Richarlison, Kane and Son will no doubt do damage throughout the league this year, and the severity of Conte’s pre-season training methods will have the squad quietly believing in success.

What they’ll achieve:

Despite their quality, I think the league title may be a stretch too far, but expect Conte and the squad to make a real effort to end their trophy drought. Another UCL finish along with a domestic trophy could be what many Spurs fans are looking towards this season.

It's looking promising for Antonio Conte this season
It's looking promising for Antonio Conte this season

Manchester United

The manager:

The highly revered Erik Ten Hag has made the anticipated switch over from Ajax to Old Trafford. Throughout his time in Amsterdam, Ten Hag led his squad to the Eredivisie title, as well as some highly impressive runs in the Champions League. Big things are expected from the United faithful, and if their pre-season performances are anything to go by, they could be in for a good campaign.

The signings:

At the time of writing, United have made three signings, in the form of left-back Tyrell Malacia, Ajax centre-half Lisandro Martinez, and the universally loved Christian Eriksen. Malacia has been impressive in pre-season, and looks to occupy the at left-wing back, after Luke Shaw’s inconsistent time in Old Trafford. Eriksen will provide a bit more creative spark, as well as an ingrained work rate, with Martinez looking likely to partner Varane at the back when fit.

Approaches and goals:

Some United fans have been ridiculously giddy during pre-season, but I think the more level-headed fans will be looking to make sure they get back into Europe’s elite competition, as well as some hard work and deep runs in the likes of the Europa League. Their approach seems to be a relatively simple one, hard work. Something which United have at times lacked in recent years.

What they’ll achieve:

I think it’s going to be a tough one to finish in the top four, and it’ll be an interesting watch to see how they fare against the other big clubs in the league. Overall, I expect the Europa League may be a priority, with a domestic trophy always a welcome boost to any club.

Arsenal

The manager:

Mikel Arteta, not a new boy anymore. He’s got the passion, he’s got the ideas, but as it has been for Arsenal in recent years, there seems to be just something lacking. The pressure is well and truly on this season, and if he can’t deliver a top four place or silverware, he may be walking the proverbial tightrope by the end of the campaign.

 The signings:

Gabriel Jesus is the new star forward, which seems to be a very welcomed move by all parties. Jesus, despite his many attributes, was on the periphery at Man City. He’s set to be joined by his former team-mate at City in Zinchenko, with Arsenal clearly focusing on strengthening their starting XI.

Approaches and goals:

Arteta seems to have taken after Pep Guardiola, with Arsenal looking to deploy a high press, with possession being the key. After just missing out on the Champions League, getting back into Europe’s elite will be a priority. Elsewhere, a domestic trophy will surely be on the cards, where Arsenal’s love affair with the FA Cup could continue.

What they’ll achieve:

With the strength of the Premier League continuing to grow, I don’t think Arsenal will have enough to break into the top four this season. In my eyes, prioritising the Europa League would be the best way to get back into the UCL, but their young stars seem to be developing at a rapid rate, so nothing can be off the cards.

Outsider: Leicester

The manager:

The man, the myth, the legend, the Brodge. Loves a bit of character, surprisingly dapper at times. If Leicester can keep Tielemans, they could have a chance at a good run in the league, especially without any European distractions this time round.

The signings:

There’s surprisingly been no incomings or outgoings at the club except for end of loan deals. As previously alluded to however, keeping Tielemans amid interest from bigger clubs could have a major impact on their season.

Approaches and goals:

I think those at the King Power will be quietly confident this season. Maddison had a very strong end to the season, with Vardy always looking likely to score goals. Expect them to go through the season like a silent assassin, where they’ll be looking hopefully to break into the top six. 

What they’ll achieve:

I think a cup run will be achievable this season, and the fact that they have no European football, matched with not too many players heading to the World Cup, could see them worry some of the bigger clubs in the league in terms of final position.

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