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BY GUEST WRITER,15TH JULY,2019-It’s almost time for Europe’s domestic football leagues to start back up again, which means much of the world will soon be tuning back in for Premier League action. Per the <a href=”https://www.premierleague.com/news/1240976″>official EPL schedule</a>, the first matchweek begins on August 9th – less than a month from the time of this writing. So, with the action so close, we’re taking a look at the likely contenders for the 2019/20 campaign.
<h3>The Favorites</h3><strong>Manchester City</strong> – Manchester City held on for a closely-contested EPL title in 2018/19, and has only improved since, adding PSV Einhoven’s Angelino and Atlético Madrid’s Rodri. City won’t be the runaway favorite, but it does appear to be the consistent one. UK bookmakers and <a href=”https://www.gambling.com/ie/online-betting/top-sites”>Irish betting sites</a> are beginning to post their odds for the forthcoming season, and in the outrights, Man City is being given the best betting outlook almost on every site. It’s City’s season to lose.
<strong>Liverpool</strong> – Liverpool will likely be a popular pick to win the EPL, because it very nearly took down Man City last season, and won the Champions League for good measure. The Reds are indeed being given the only odds close to City on most betting platforms, but will have some challenges ahead as well. Most notably, they’ll need to figure out how to replace Daniel Sturridge’s production, with the longtime striker having left the team. Right now it appears that they’ll lean on internal replacements, and the brilliance of Mohamed Salah, to keep up their scoring output.
<h3>Alone On Tier 2</h3><strong>Tottenham Hotspur</strong> – Tottenham Hotspur, the Champions League runner-up, has put itself squarely among the EPL’s best of late. The Spurs, as a result, seem to have carved out a second tier unto themselves – not quite in line with Man City and Liverpool on the betting sites, but decidedly above the rest of the league. Up-and-coming midfielder Tanguy Ndombélé, newly acquired from Lyon, will certainly give the team a boost, and the front office may not be done bolstering the roster. Should anything go wrong with the two favorites, Tottenham will be ready to make a run at the title.
<h3>The Other Contenders</h3><strong>Manchester United</strong> – Manchester United is a fascinating club heading into this season. Perfectly capable of top-of-the-league offense, the club <em>allowed</em> more goals than any other top-10 finisher a season ago, save West Ham – so, to address the issue, it added Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace for a cool £50m fee. The former Crystal Palace standout should help shore up the United defense, and potentially push the Red Devils toward true contention.
<strong>Chelsea</strong> – Chelsea has been scrapping and clawing to get back to the top, and it’s hard to imagine the Blues staying out of championship contention much longer. However, the team has a monumental challenge ahead of itself as it attempts to replace Real Madrid-bound Eden Hazard. Hazard may still <a href=”http://www.sportbible.com/football/reactions-news-take-a-bow-real-madrids-eden-hazard-still-uses-a-chelsea-phone-case-20190711″>show allegiance to the Blues</a> (a story that’s been a sort of feel-good saga for Chelsea support online), but his production remains a major loss. It could be that Chelsea will need a year to adjust, but this team still has the talent to contend if things go right.
<strong>Arsenal</strong> – Maybe more than the rest of these teams, Arsenal feels as if it’s still in flux. Mesut Ozil’s rumored dissatisfaction, Petr Cech’s retirement, and a never-ending need for defensive reinforcement may yet lead the Gunners to make some late transfer moves. As things stand though, this team finished fifth in 2018/19 with a new manager, and should be a touch better this coming season. The goal for Arsenal will be to secure Champions League contention with a top-four finish, but if everything breaks right this team can contend.