Before Christmas 2020, it was difficult to predict who would come out on top of the 2020/21 Premier League, with constant fluctuations in which team was sat on the top of the throne – it was essentially anyone’s game, with Leicester, Liverpool, and Manchester United putting in some good performances and dipping in and out of the top 4 teams.
There was even the odd occasion that one of the more mid-table teams managed to elbow their way into the top 4, albeit it briefly, before they were once again pushed back down the table!
Nevertheless, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City were once again victorious, managing to secure their third title in four seasons. Although this was no record-breaking run, unlike Liverpool’s multi-record-breaking win last season, they no doubt put in an excellent performance, winning 20 out of 22 performances between December 19th and May 8th and finishing with a 42-goal difference.
So, what are the predictions for the 2021/22 season looking like – will Pep’s team succeed once more? Or will they be pipped to the post by the likes of injury-prone Liverpool or splashing-the-cash Chelsea? Or maybe Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Man Utd overcome their Europa League final loss and close the 12-point gap that opened up between themselves and their derby rivals, Man City?
So far, predictions seem to be heavily favoring Man City to win the 2021/22 Premier League, particularly after such a blistering performance this season. Pep Guardiola is continually making changes to his team, preferring to rotate players to prevent there being a prominent striker coming forward, demonstrating a confidence and equality in quality of the players. This fluidity in the team is what allowed the team to cruise to success this season and, with rumors suggesting that Sergio Aguero’s departure to Barcelona could lead to the champions looking to land the likes of Harry Kane, Jack Grealish, or Erling Haaland, it’s easy to see why current predictions hold City’s chances of success in high favor.
Upping the Ante
For any other team to pose as challengers to City, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done. Currently, 3rd place Liverpool stand on equal footing with 4th place Chelsea, but for either team to be threatening challengers to City’s crown, they may need to make some changes.
2019/20 winners by a record-breaking margin, Liverpool struggled with numerous injuries this season, with Jurgen Klopp’s team floundering without the likes of Jordan Henderson, Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, and Joel Matip being on consistent form. Defensively, Liverpool were all over the place, making constant changes to the line-up as a result of injury, so a steadier, much stronger line-up in defense is going to be essential if they want to surpass City.
Last season, Chelsea spent a lot of money building their team up in the hopes of regaining their former glory, but fell short of the mark despite putting in some strong performances over the season, making it to the FA Cup and Champions’ League finals (albeit without winning either game). It’s clear that, if Chelsea want to be serious challengers for the title and return to their former title-winning ways, they’ll need to invest heavily in their midfield and find an outstanding striker.
Derby rivals, Man Utd, sat behind both Chelsea and Liverpool on goal difference this season, despite finishing second in the league. Could next season be the one where they show the same level of skill and talent as was once witnessed under the legendary Alex Ferguson? It would seem that the jury’s still out on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for now – maybe he’ll surprise us all next season and pull out a title or two for the other team in Manchester!
It might be dull to suggest that Manchester City are likely favorites to win the 2021/22 Premier League title but, without some surprise signings and changes to defensive line-ups, it’s looking likely that the other three teams in the top four will fail to represent a significant challenge.