We thought, at last, Manchester City’s dominance could be over. We were fooled into thinking it was all going badly wrong and their strangle-hold on the Premier League was coming to an end.
Pep Guardiola wasn’t. He found a new system that seemed to solve all of City’s issues and the championship chase turned into a gallop. By the end it was a one horse race, part one of the historic treble was in the bag many weeks before the final furlong.
Did they win it or did Arsenal lose it? A fifth title in the last six seasons was painful for the red half of north London, but waving goodbye to those precious six points at Liverpool, West Ham and at home to Southampton ,they made a bad habit of giving out gifts. There’s just no credit in the bank when it comes to the business end of the season.
Turning Arsenal into mentality monsters is ambition number one for Mikel Arteta if they are to go even closer this time. Declan Rice should help that, but still crying out for a number nine, fans know they’re a little short and will be frantically refreshing twitter for the next few weeks. However, City’s failure to keep hold of some key players keeps the door wide open.
Fact is, the Gunners prevented it being a total white-wash season last time and a challenge from elsewhere already looks difficult to see. Liverpool have attacking talent but their midfield is still a mess with a backline in real need of a fresh coat of pain.
Manchester United’s summer form shows that their new faces must settle instantly if they’re going to be in the mix. Their fans will demand a serious and sustained title fight but with Tottenham and Arsenal away early, it won’t be long until we find out if they’re stronger this time.
Chelsea could have their youngest ever squad and just returning to the Champions League will be a priority to new manager Mauricio Pochettino, who will know that surely whatever happens things can’t possibly be as bad as last season. Newcastle are a more realistic tip for some, but can they balance a title shot and the return of European football?
It all starts on Friday night under the Turf Moor lights, but will champions Manchester City set the standard as the curtain comes up on a brand new season.
|Manchester City||8/11 Bet365|
|Manchester United||10/1 William Hill|
You just wonder now if Arsenal, motivated by their Community Shield win, can take the next step. Manchester City, with doubt still over the future of Kyle Walker and Bernarndo Silva, certainly don’t look stronger this season. Is it someone else’s turn?
Our punters.pub bet of the day is Arsenal to win the Premier League at 5/1
Have the Gunners matured? Better luck on the injury front could see things swing their way, and with most expecting more City dominance, Arsenal will feel they are ready to take the next step nearly two decades on from their last title triumph.