The EPL is back
By Taofeek LAWAL
The most followed league in the world, the English Premier League (EPL) is back two months after the last games were decided to know which teams qualified for Europe and those that were relegated. Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea finished in that order to qualify for the prestigious UEFA Champions League while Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich bade farewell to the premier league.
Liverpool won their first league title in 30 years and Arsenal disappointedly finished in the 8th position but capped it up with FA Cup trophy in what was Mikel Arteta’s first silverware as a manager. The EPL has again lived up to the billings as top clubs have signed players to bolster their squads with the belief that such players will help them to lift the title and also do well in Europe.
The curtain raiser will be at Craven Cottage where newly-promoted Fulham will test their might against Arsenal. Chelsea through their signings of seven players as at the last count are ready for the ‘kill’. You don’t sign the likes of Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Kai Havertz, Thiago Silva for nothing but to win the league and anything short of this will be a failure for the Blues.
Frank Lampard as well could kiss the Stamford Bridge side goodbye if he does not make any impact this season. Liverpool are hopeful to retain the title but Jurgen Klopp and his boys know that it is not going to be business as usual for them as competition for the league diadem this season will be very tough and rough. The Anfield side will still rely on their deadly trio, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, one of the best frontlines in Europe to lead them to success again.
The Manchester clubs, United and City, are also not leaving any stone unturned as they want to consolidate their last positions to taste success again. Pep Guardiola has signed Nathan Ake from relegated Bournemouth and highly-rated Feran Torres from Valencia. Ole Gunnar Solksjaer in order not to be left out has signed Donny van de Beek to beef up the midfield which already has Nemanja Matic, Fred, Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandez, Scott Mc Tominay and others. Wolves and Sheffield United are expected to pick up from where they left last season and promoted teams like Leeds United (back in the EPL after 16 years), West Bromwich Albion and Fulham will want to prove that they are not back in the top flight to make the numbers but to make statement.
Everton is a team to look out for in the league. Coach Carlos Ancelloti obviously is targeting Europe as he brought in James Rodriguez from Real Madrid and Allan from Napoli to rub shoulders with the big boys. Will the ‘Special One’, Jose Mourinho and his Tottenham squad upset the applecart as we go into the season? Surely, it is going to be football at its best as the actors (players and coaches) will give their all to the fans. But will that be enough at the end of the season? Who will win the EPL? Only time will tell.