The 2017/18 Premier League closed with Manchester City claiming the title. But right behind the team are 4 more contenders that aim to take this year’s title from the Citizens, which includes Manchester United, Tottenham, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Arsenal who respectively placed second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth last season. More than that, these clubs continuously seek to hone their strategy not just to find the back of the net, but also to lift the 2018/19 Premier League trophy. Before you start placing bets, we look at the notable strengths and weaknesses each team should address.
It’s hard to grasp what City achieved last season. The club broke all manner of records while getting a hold of the Premier League title with 100 points–19 points ahead of second place, Manchester United. They won the top-six mini table, collecting 24 points by winning eight and losing two against the remaining five teams. Should they continue this form, there’s no question that the trophy remains at the Etihad.
By contrast, Manchester City does have an Achilles heel in the form of a goalpost. The champions scored a record 106 goals in the previous season, but they could have scored more if it weren’t for the woodwork. Not only did they miss the most opportunities at 63, but also hit the post 23 times–seven more than the Gunners in second.
Spanish international David de Gea gathered the Golden Glove award for the first time last season after securing 18 of United’s 19 clean sheets. His ability to shut out their opponents in every other game helped the Red Devils get hold of second place and the second-best defense, with only 28 goals conceded.
Manchester United’s weakness lies beneath the team’s offensive efforts. Manager Jose Mourinho will surely want his side to build up in front of goal this 2018/19 season. It’s difficult to measure up the statistics against City’s count of 106 goals, but United’s 68 goals scored last season was also fewer than Liverpool, Tottenham, and Arsenal.
Tottenham is among the teams that can defend a lead well. They were one of the teams who won after taking the lead, together with Manchester United and Liverpool. The North London club led on 25 matches and went on to win 23, drawing the other two. This is one trait the team has to maintain this upcoming season for a shot at the title.
With 10 goal scorers last season, it seems like Tottenham has trouble sharing the workload. Variety was not the Spurs’ best attribute, and this should change in order to introduce the team to diversity in front of goal. This tally of 10 was fewer than the teams on this list, and while Heung-Min Son, Christian Eriksen, and Dele Alli proved instrumental to Harry Kane up front, Mauricio Pochettino will be in search of more involvement from the rest of the team.
The Reds were simply relentless on the counter last season, with forwards Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Roberto Firmino in the forefront. They are a tricky trio to handle and are guaranteed to punish any mistakes. Liverpool found the back of the net from fast breaks nine times last season.
On the other hand, no team ended up drawing more time after taking the lead than Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp’s squad were just one of three not to lose after taking the lead, but seven draws mean 14 points down the drain–a clear area Liverpool can look to work on in the upcoming season.
The Blues are notorious in the air, and Alvaro Morata’s seven headed goals cement that statement. Chelsea’s threat in the air last season managed 17 goals in total. Marcos Alonso and Antonio Rudiger contributed two headers.
As Chelsea try to pave a path to Premier League glory once again, they could well look to trim down the number of times they stray offside, having caught on 108 occasions last season, more than any other club in the league.
Arsenal is excellent at sharing the task of goalscoring. Last season, 17 gunners found the net in the Premier League. This season, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang is expected to lead the team, but new head coach Unai Emery is sure to make the most of his squad and unleash more supporting roles to continue to pose a threat up front. The Gunners hope to make their way back to the Champions League.
Costly mistakes were no stranger to Arsenal last season, with 15 errors leading to goals in the Premier League. This will have to greatly reduce if they are to challenge for a place in the top four.