The 2015-2016 EPL season is underway and the teams have already made their mark after the first game itself. Although it is a little too early to predict who is going to take home the silverware, their pre-season and opening game could help in assessing the outcome of each of these teams. For generations, it has consistently been the top 4 teams that reign supreme but with the newer clubs spending more money and importing class acts from around the world, these teams are slowly building their way into the big leagues.
Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea have dominated the league for years and rightly so but for the past couple of seasons, these top four have come up against formidable competition from the younger, newer teams. Manchester City and Tottenham are among the top six teams now that have been giving the big boys a run for their money. So, let’s take a look at these six English Premier League teams and see what exactly it is that they are doing so right.
The defending Champions are the favorite to take the cup again this season despite having a poor pre-season tour. Club manager Jose Mourinho feels confident in his teams capability is putting any team in the shade. As far as the players are concerned, Chelsea have not made any big changes in this transfer window and so it could be said that they feel that their last season’s team is more than enough of pulling through again.
Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois remains the number one choice for Jose. Asmir Begovic was one of the new signings but still has a lot to learn under Courtois. Radamel Falcao from Manchester United is the other signing and could add a certain amount of attack to their team. Terry, Cahill, Zouma, Ivanovic and Azpilicueta still remain the best defense in the league and there seems no need to change it.
Matic and Fagregas will remain in midfield and just behind Oscar, Hazard and Willian who combine to dazzle the defense of any team. Either Remy or temporarily injured Costa will play striker. On paper, the team cannot get any better but with a draw in their opening game, could Chelsea be chasing their title this season again?
The Champions in the 2014-2015 season, Manchester City are one of the new teams but one of the richest in the world. Owned by a group in Abu-Dhabi, this club has lured in some of the biggest names in football. Manchester City are a team known for an all out attack on opponents and that is what they strive to maintain every season. Where some teams would be happy with a 1 or 2 goal win, Manchester City will go for an onslaught and try to get the biggest margin of victory possible. And it all works down to their players.
In goal, they have one of the finest English keepers, Joe Hart who has literally saved his team from loss on quite a few occasions. Their defense might not be as strong as Chelsea’s but with a goalkeeper as good as hart, they don’t really need it. Their defense consists of Kompany (who is not in the best of form), Mangala (who has not yet set into the team), Zabeleta, Clichy and Demichelis. But as we move higher up the field, the team just gets stronger.
Fernandinho, Delph and Yaya Toure push up for that second wave of attacking players. Up front, manager Pellegrini has a tough choice to make between players like Dzeko, Bony and Aguero while Navas, Silva, Nasri and Sterling can play on the wings. With the best goal difference in the opening day, Manchester City have taken a step in the right direction.
Arsene Wenger’s biggest signing this season was goalkeeper Petr Cech from rivals Chelsea and so far it seems to have been a blessing for the team. Arsenal beat Chelsea in the Community Shield at the start of this season and seems to be ready to make an impressive impact like they did last season finishing third behind Manchester City. Maybe that is the reason that Wenger chose to stick with almost the exact same team this season.
With power defenders like Mertersacker, Monreal and Koscielny, any attacking team would find it difficult to get through. Cazorla, Ramsey and Sanchez have teamed up in midfield to assist Ozil and Walcott who play up front. Although the teams seems set, Wenger feels like he needs another good striker and he is in pursuit of Real Madrid giant Benzema. But the question remains, can Arsenal come back after a 2-0 defeat to West Ham United in their opening Premier League Game?
One of the biggest clubs in the world, Manchester United has been in the hearts of supporters for decades together. Even though they have not been in top form for the past few seasons, they have always finished within the top 4 teams in the league and qualified for Europe. This season, under Louis van Gaal, the team has taken on a brand new look.
Most Manchester United fans will still be in shock after the signing of Bayern Munich and German giant, Bastian Schweinsteiger. He brings a certain stability that was lacking in the United midfield. With De Gea in-goal and Smalling, Blind, Darmian and Shaw in defense, Manchester United have a back line that can stop a battering ram in its tracks.
Schweinsteiger joins new comer Schneiderlin or Carrick in midfield and play behind Mata, Memphis and Young. Rooney finally takes his place as striker. With a win in their opening game against Tottenham, United could be considered as title chasers this season.
When it comes to underdogs, no one does it like Tottenham. They have taken down the biggest of teams in the toughest of competitions around the world. Their team might not comprise of the biggest names in the sport but what they lack in fame, they more than make up in skill. Hugo Lloris in-goal means that they have a secure post. Rose, Walker, Vertonghen and Alderweireld make up a pretty strong defense.
Bentaleb and Mason play behind attacking midfielders Chadli, Eriksen and Dembele. Their star player without a doubt for the past season has been none other than Harry Kane and if he continues to play the way he did, Tottenham can be rest assured to finish in the top 4 and have a good chance to contend for the title. As said earlier, their first game against Manchester United ended in a loss but they did fight hard and could have taken the lead twice in the first 15 minutes.
The biggest news for the team this season is the loss of Sterling to Manchester City. After Gerrard’s retirement, the team was on the lookout for someone to replace his stability in midfield. Although Henderson has been given the role for now, Liverpool needed some more options. Rogers decided to bring in James Milner, Nathaniel Clyne, Danny Ings and Christian Benteke to make up for the hole that was left after Gerrard’s and Sterling’s departure.
Whether or not they can fill the void is yet to be seen but so far, the team looks solid on paper. Mignolet has proved himself in-goal time and again. Clyne, Skrtel, Gomez and Lovren make up the back line and play behind Milner, Henderson, Ibe and Firmino in midfield.
Coutinho plays behind Benteke as an attacking pair that can take apart any team. Coutinho’s late winner against Stoke in their first game this season means that they are one of the few teams who ended up with a win in the opening week.
Do you think that any other English Premier League teams will fight against these top six sides for the 2015-16 EPL title?