Football fans are eagerly awaiting the return of the Premier League this weekend, with venues operating at full capacity, and for the Racing Post Sport team, defending champions Manchester City are the stand-out favourite.
For Mark Langdon, Racing Post Sport Journalist, Manchester City were the ‘easy’ choice for Premier League winner, noting that ‘they were well clear last year and I can’t see any reason for them to start going backwards’.
“They’re strong at the back, they dominate in midfield and they have so many forward options. They haven’t got Kane at the moment, so you maybe, could say they lack that 25-goal a season person, but they have a lot of people who can get 10 or 12 goals, and I just think that they control the game.
“I think Chelsea are going to be their closest challenges,” he continued, and when asked about Liverpool’s chances as title containers and the Cityzen’s main rivals, added: “I just wonder with Liverpool, they have their defenders back – which is obviously a big part for them – but their midfield looks a bit thin.
“It’s quality but it’s a bit thin, and at the front they have four options, two of which will be off to the Africa Cup of Nations – Mane and Salah – for a little while, it won’t overly impact. But we saw last season that that squad, once we got past the initial 11, they struggled. I think there will be a similar story this year again.”
Agreeing with Langdon, fellow Racing Post Sport journalist Joe Casey argued that it is ‘hard to see past City,’ noting that the team ‘won the league last year without a striker’.
He continued: “I think the whole top four in general, aside from City, you have two of the last three Champions League winners, and then you have Man United who have brought in Jadon Sancho on top of an already very strong team. For me the top four are very far clear of the rest, but City are at the head.”
Moving on to discuss the contenders for the UEFA Champions League, Manchester City are also the favourite for the tournament at 7/2.
“English teams are strong and you could make a case for all of them,” Langdon observed, but instead decided to back the ‘fallen giant’ of Barcelona to have an impressive run
“They’ve taken a real tumble in terms of the odds, they’re out to 16/1 or 18/1 now, but I’m looking at their team and it wouldn’t amaze me if they were in the Champions League quarter-finals,” he detailed.
Casey, meanwhile, chose multiple-time European conquerors Bayern Munich, at 7/1, as his choice to lift the European Cup in 2022.
“They got some great young players coming through – Musiala, Davies – then you’ve got that core of Noya, Kimmich, Levandowski up top, they have a very solid team, and have proved time and time again that they can’t be written off,” he explained.
Addressing the pre-season rumour-mill, Langon commented on England Captain Harry Kane’s supposed move to Manchester City, sharing his view that the 2019/20 Premier League champions would have to pay ‘proper money’ for Tottenham Hotspur’s star striker.
“He’s got the guts to do it, but I’m not sure if it’s the wisest move,” he detailed. “If he wants to get a transfer I wouldn’t have thought annoying Daniel Levy was the way to go about that. He may feel that was his only move, I tend to disagree – he now risks ruining his relationship and that legacy he has with Spurs fans, which has been a very strong bond.”
“Unless Man City pay proper money for him, Tottenham can’t sell him even if they have got this agreement in place. If we’re in a summer where Ben White is £50 million and Grealish is £100 million, then Harry Kane has to be in excess of £120, because he’s a three time Golden Boot winner, he was the top assist maker last year, he’s won a world cup golden boot, and he’s the England captain.
“Man City have paid £50 million for full-backs and not blinked, so it’s really up to City to come up with an offer that matches the level that Kane is playing at.”
Earlier this month, the Racing Post Sport team also outlined their predictions for the three divisions of the English Football League (EFL), offering some surprising opinions on potential promotion contenders.
Source – Racing Post YouTube Channel