The 2023-24 Premier League season is only three weeks away, with newly promoted Burnley taking on reigning champions Manchester City at their Turf Moor home. The game is the first of 380 fixtures taking place between August 11, 2023, and May 19, 2024, and sees Manchester City attempt to become the first English team to win the title for the fourth year in a row. Can they do it, or will one of the chasing pack prevent history from being rewritten?
GTBets has Manchester City as the clear favorite to win the Premier League title for the fifth time in six seasons and the fourth consecutive campaign. Pep Guardiola has the strongest squad of any of the 20 Premier League teams, with two or three players competing for each position in the starting XI. That squad will only become stronger before the transfer window slams shut on September 1.
The Citizens have agreed an £80 million fee with RB Leipzig for 21-year-old Croatian defender Josko Gvardiol. The Croat is not yet the finished article, but the tough-tackling central defender is one of the hottest prospects in Europe and will add some steel to an already rock-solid defense.
Guardiola is rumored to be keen on bringing Brazilian Raphinha to the Etihad Stadium if, as expected, Riyad Mahrez becomes the latest Premier League star to leave England for the mega-riches of Saudi Arabia. Raphinha, who currently plays in Spain for Barcelona, has Premier League experience, having played for Leeds United for two seasons.
City may have lost midfielder Ilkay Gundogan on a free transfer, but Mateo Kovacic joined the ranks from Chelsea. One must also consider that City has Erling Haaland up front. Haaland scored 36 goals and created eight more in 35 Premier League games during his debut season, and he will only be better this campaign.
Whoever finishes above Manchester City in the Premier League table will become the champions of England.
Having not finished higher than fifth for six seasons, Arsenal almost became Premier League champions in 2022-23. The Gunners sat atop the Premier League table from Week 3-23 and dropped to second place for one week before returning to the summit from Week 25-33. However, a loss of form coincided with Manchester City finding their stride, and Arsenal ultimately had to make do with a runner-up finish.
Arsenal has spent more than £200 million strengthening its squad over the summer, and more signings are expected. The Gunners lacked the strength in depth of the eventual champions, and head coach Mikel Arteta has set about rectifying that face.
Club captain Granit Xhaka was sold to German Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen. Still, Arsenal replaced the combative Swiss star with one of the best defensive midfielders in the world, Declan Rice. Rice will fit perfectly into the Arsenal midfield, where former Chelsea man Kai Havertz will likely join him alongside dangerous wide men Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli.
Arsenal has also bolstered its defense by signing 22-year-old Dutchman Jurrien Timber from Ajax. Timber had long been a target for Arteta, and he finally got his man. Last season’s drop in form coincided with an injury to William Saliba, who holds the central defense together.
A lack of striker options is the primary concern for Arsenal supporters. Gabriel Jesus is a more than capable number nine, but he missed 12 Premier League through injury last season. Eddie Nketiah is a capable backup, but one feels Arsenal needs a proven out-and-out striker if they are to mount a serious title challenge during this campaign.
It is challenging to imagine a title race not involving Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp’s men finished fifth last season, their lowest position since the 2014-15 campaign, following a dreadful start followed by uncharacteristic inconsistency.
Rival teams overran Liverpool’s aging midfield all too often last season, and Klopp has acted fast to prevent that from happening this year. Veteran utility man James Milner has left the club, as has Senegalese midfielder Naby Keita, who struggled to live up to the hype surrounding him. It also appears that captain Jordan Henderson is heading to Saudi Arabia alongside Brazilian defensive stalwart Fabinho.
Liverpool has already brought in World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister and Hungarian superstar Dominik Szoboszlai and is expected to make moves for two of Europe’s best midfielders should Henderson and Fabinho leave as expected. Inter Milan’s Italian midfield star Nicolo Barella is heavily linked with a move to Anfield, as is Barella’s fellow countryman Marco Veratti. That will be some midfield if Liverpool manages to get their chosen men.
Chelsea could be a dark horse for the 2023-24 Premier League season. Having endured a torrid league campaign that saw the Blues finish 12th – their worst finish since 1993-94 – Chelsea cannot be any worse. The London club needs some stability and looks to have that at the helm by appointing Mauricio Pochettino as the club’s manager.
Chelsea spent more than £600 million on new players, but the club’s transfer policy seemed to be a scattergun approach; they bought players they did not need while neglecting areas of the pitch that desperately required strengthening.
Pochettino has begun clearing out the so-called dead wood from his massive squad, with the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Kalidou Koulibaly, and Christian Pulisic heading to new pastures. Chelsea could rue allowing talented Englishman Mason Mount to join Premier League rivals Manchester United, but they had to balance the books somehow.
Scoring goals was an issue for the Blues last season, so the club has splashed the cash on a new forward line of Christopher Nkunku and Nicolas Jackson. Bizarrely, neither Nkunku nor Jackson is traditional number nines, so it remains to be seen if they improve the toothless Chelsea attack. Pochettino’s most challenging task will be to figure out what his best starting line-up is before reinstalling the famous Chelsea team spirit, which the squad has recently lacked. If, and it is a big if, the Argentinian can get things right early in the season, you could see Chelsea causing more than a few upsets.