English Premier League football is back as Crystal Palace kick off against Arsenal this evening 10pm (Kenya time). Yuri Mutei, the Kenya Forum’s football correspondent, considers the prospects of the top six EPL teams for the season 2022-23.
Who will be the winners and losers? Who’s going to shock us? Who’s going to completely let down their fans? It’s why we love this beautiful game after all.
MANCHESTER CITY (champions)
Odds to win 4/7
After winning the last Premier League season the citizens are obviously wanting to get back to their winning ways. They wasted no time in acquiring big signings such as Erling Haaland and Kalvin Phillips from Leeds United respectively. Filled with experience and youth the citizens are favourites to retain the trophy. With seasoned winners such as De Bruyne and Co they also have newbies in the team who will be inspired with the same drive and hunger to go for glory. If its anything to go by. But the first taste of defeat to Liverpool, in the curtain-raising Charity shield match should be a wake-up call to Manchester City that it’s a new season and that everyone is gunning for them.
After having a decent pre-season, the reds are definitely raring to go, having lost out to Manchester City for the league trophy. Their transfer business has been decent if we look at them from a technical point of view. Liverpool’s only misstep was letting African Player of the Year Sadio Mane go on a free transfer to Bayen Munich. Other than that they have a team full of winners and will be hoping to nab the EPL title this time round. Injuries and suspensions are what they will look out for if they are to be taken serious by the citizens. After handing Peps’ side the first loss of the season in the community shield, Klopps’ men look ready to go.
Having ended up third last season the blues would like to make a statement and be considered title challengers. After Todd Boehly acquired the team from Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich it’s a new era at Stamford Bridge. The new owner has quickly gotten to work by signing great talent in Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly. Chelsea’s pre-season has been decent like their premier league counterparts, winning 3 and losing 2,one of those loses to their city rivals Arsenal. With incomings still pending Tuchel will want to start firing on all cylinders when the campaign starts.
Having ended fourth in the 2021/2022 Spurs had a good campaign. Their shining light and big performer was Son Heung-Min. The South Korean is on par with Mo Salah for goals scored in the 21/22 season. Spurs had a good preseason winning 3 and losing 1 game to their former manager Jose Mourinho (what are the odds?). Antonio Conte has been backed by Spurs and already has six signings in the door. That being said he has started to push the lads through their paces. We can’t forget the trending video of the squad almost fainting from the intense workout he had for them. One thing’s for sure, he wants results, and not just set sights on a top four finish like the previous campaign.
The gunners were disappointing last season. With a roller-coaster of performances their fans had no idea what to expect each match day. With the signing of Gabriel Jesus, and getting rid of dead wood in the likes of Bernd Leno, Arteta has made a statement by going for a number 9 who will play to his style of football, especially since Jesus was mentored by his former boss Pep Guardiola. The gunners had a very hot pre-season having lost 1 out of 7 games which says something, with Jesus being the main topic of discussion during these games. With fans hopeful of more signings, Arsenal could surprise this coming campaign.
With their “first signing” being a new manager, the red devils have a lot to prove. The Erik ten Hag era at Manchester United begins in 2022-23 and the Dutch coach had a full pre-season campaign to bring his players up to speed for the new season. 3 wins, 2 draws and a loss to Athletico Madrid can be considered decent especially since the philosophy has changed.
Make no mistake, it will take time for United to be a well-oiled machine but they are slowly going in the right direction. United fans have to be patient again (sigh). With the Cristiano Ronaldo debacle about him wanting to leave for a champions league club it’s looking gloomy to some United supporters. While to others there is a sense of hope with three signings already through the door and more still being negotiated before the deadline. It’s fair to say they should be entertaining with their high pressing football as we saw already in pre-season.
Fixtures coming up on the opening weekend:
5th Aug 10:00 PM
Crystal Palace vs Arsenal
Fulham vs Liverpool
Bournemouth vs Aston Villa
Leeds vs Wolverhampton
Newcastle vs Nottingham
Tottenham vs Southampton
Everton vs Chelsea
Leicester vs Brentford
Man Utd vs Brighton
West Ham vs Man City