The Business Standard takes a look at how the Premier League might pan out, who will come out as champions, who will manage to book a place in the top four and who might be the surprise package.
After less than a month after the 2019-20 season came to a close, the next one is on the way. Well, this is the 'new normal' and we will have to deal with the rush and packed schedules.
The French Ligue 1 had started on time in August and the Spanish La Liga also kicks off on Saturday; so does the Premier League. And with all teams in England strengthening themselves, this year's Premier League is set to be fascinating.
So, The Business Standard (TBS) takes a look at how the Premier League might pan out, who will come out as champions, who will manage to book a place in the top four and who might be the surprise package.
Tug-of-war for top four
The Premier League has the toughest competition for a top-four spot, unlike any other top-five leagues. Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspurs and Arsenal - all will be in the search for a top-four finish, with the first two battling for the Championship. Alongside them, Leicester City and Everton might be a surprise inclusion for the top-four spot fight.
With the signings of Ferran Torres and Nathan Ake, City have already bolstered their team and will try to reclaim their throne from Liverpool. Liverpool have not made any big signings till date but they are pursuing Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich and if they get him, the defending champions will only be better.
Chelsea have had the best transfer window by far as they have secured the services of Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech, Thiago Silva, Timo Werner and Ben Chilwell. Their team is very strong on paper but with all those new signings coming into the first-team, they might take time to gel and lead to inconsistent performances till January.
Arsenal have shown promise under their new manager Mikel Arteta, clinching the FA Cup and Community Shield. But they still require reinforcement and without that, it will be an uphill battle for the Spanish manager to secure a top-four spot for the Gunners.
Manchester United are still in pursuit for wonderkid Jadon Sancho. With the recruitment of Donny Van de Beek, if they can get their hands on Sancho too, the Red Devils will be big favourites to bag a top-four spot and might even battle for their 21st league title.
The most unlikely to make the top-four are Tottenham Hotspurs. With no other signing but Matt Doherty and Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Spurs lag behind the other five and without a Jose Mourinho special, it looks unlikely that they will finish within the first four.
City most likely Champions
Chelsea might look strong on the paper and Liverpool may be the defending Champions. But Pep Guardiola managed Manchester City will go into the 2020-21 Premier League season as favourites. They have already acquired Torres and Ake and talks with Napoli for Kalidu Koulibaly is ongoing. Yes, they missed out on Lionel Messi for the time being but even without him, Pep has the strongest squad in the league at his disposal.
Liverpool will give them a tough time but without quality backup in defence and attack, Jurgen Klopp might end up struggling with a couple of injuries to their key players.
Leeds United, managed by Argentine genius Marcelo Bielsa, are likely to be this year's surprise package in this season's Premier League. They had shown a unique brand of passing football in their way to clinching the Championship title and they are likely to take the Premier League by storm. They might end up with another fairy tale like Leicester, who knows?
Manchester City are likely to be crowned Champions and with them, Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea will most likely fill up the top four.
Leeds United might qualify for European football and so might Wolves. And despite surviving in the last season, Aston Villa might go down along with Brighton and newcomers Fulham.