The weekend saw the Premier League begin, and there may now be an insight into which team may lift the trophy in May. At the season’s conclusion, the top four teams will qualify for the inaugural European competition, the Champions League, while the fifth and sixth placed teams are also guaranteed European football for the resulting season. This season’s Premier League may be close, and with four different clubs finishing top of the table in the last four seasons, there seems to be multiple teams possessing enough quality to claim the trophy.
Reigning champions Leicester City began their title defence at the King Power stadium, playing promoted Hull City in the weekend’s early kick off. With PFA Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez, along with record signing Ahmed Musa both starting the match, many may have expected Leicester to win the game, especially considering they were unbeaten in 35 of their games last season. Hull seemed to be the better side, with goals from Diomande and Snodgrass earning them three points. They seemed to continue the form that enabled them to earn promotion, perhaps due to caretaker manager Mike Phelan seeming to use tactics similar to former manager Steve Bruce, which may have acted as a catalyst in driving his team to victory.
Two-time champions Manchester City were led by Pep Guardiola, a manager who seems to win trophies with whatever club he manages, winning 22 trophies overall. His Manchester City side were victorious over Sunderland, with Sergio Aguero converting a penalty early on, before new Sunderland signing Paddy McNair converted into his own net. The sky blues started with two of their new signings, including £47.5 million buy John Stones, and the team seems to contain a vast array of expensive talent. This, along with Guardiola seeming to possess tactical nouse, seems to be contributing factors as to why they may be favourites for the title.
Chelsea won their match with London rivals West Ham 2-1, with striker Diego Costa scoring the winner from 20 yards to seal victory. His 89th minute strike seemed to be deserved; Chelsea had 16 shots compared to West Ham’s 7, and also recorded 62% possession. Conte’s competitive debut as manager thus seemed to be a success, with his team seeming to showcase enough talent to compete at the top, and they may add to past titles. West Ham manager Slaven Bilic provided debuts for four players, and they seemed to play at a high standard; with West Ham now at their new stadium in Stratford, fans may be aiming for these players to contribute to a successful season.
Last season’s runners up Arsenal were edged out 4-3 by Liverpool, with Phillipe Coutinho getting on the scoresheet twice. Liverpool manager Klopp gave new signings Mané, Klaven and Wijnaldum starts, with the former scoring the winning Liverpool goal. Last season’s Championship winners Burnley marked their return to the top flight at home to Swansea, with the Welsh club emerging victorious, and other promoted side Middlesbrough shared a point with Stoke. Manchester United, in Mourinho’s first Premier League game in charge, won at Bournemouth, without world-record signing Paul Pogba. Their fans may be aiming for Mourinho to steer the club to their first title since 2013.
The first weekend of fixtures may offer an insight into how the season may unfold, and ultimately conclude, as talent seemed to be showcased on the pitch from the majority of clubs. Debutants such as Musa, Masuaku and Ibrahimovic seemed to perform at a high standard, with the latter scoring a goal, and new managers recorded victories in their competitive debuts. Perhaps the reason the Premier League draws in 3 billion viewers is because of the quality the league seems to possess; with the top tier containing the most expensive player of all time, seemingly some of the most successful managers of this generation, and with six clubs under 12/1 to be champions, viewers seem to be intrigued as to whether Leicester may retain their crown, or if another accomplished club may take the title.
What team may win the Premier League title this season?