|With the 2018 World Cup complete and France crowned champions, football fans are already looking forward to the new Premier League season.
The 2018/19 Premier League campaign will kick-off on the 10th August with a match between Manchester United and Leicester City at Old Trafford.
Despite the overall success of the Video Assistant Referee in Russia during the World Cup, VAR will not be in use during the Premier League season. It will be interesting to see how those who played in the World Cup cope having to return to domestic action without the aid of VAR, especially at set-pieces.
Manchester City did not require the use of VAR last season, as they romped home to win the Premier League in style.
Pep Guardiola’s team broke several records along the way, including the highest Premier League points total, biggest winning margin, most opponents beaten, most wins and most away points among others.
Every regular member of the triumphant squad has remained at the Etihad Stadium and Guardiola seems very happy with the players he has at his disposal. Riyad Mahrez has joined from Leicester City, which only adds to their wealth of attacking talent and even if Manchester City do not hit the heights of last season, they have what it takes to win the 2018/19 Premier League.
Manchester City will begin the new season as clear favourites.
Manchester United finished second last season, although they were same way off making a serious title challenge.
The Red Devils have made two additions to their squad, with the arrival of Brazilian midfielder Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk and Portuguese full-back, Digo Dalot. While Fred may improve the starting XI in the centre of midfield, there is not a great deal to suggest Manchester United are going to be hugely different than last season.
Alexis Sanchez has enjoyed a rest this summer and will come back a better player but Jose Mourinho must get the best out of Paul Pogba, if Manchester United are to make a serious title push.
While the two Manchester clubs have been fairly quiet in the transfer market, Liverpool have been very busy. Jurgen Klopp has added Naby Keita, Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri to his squad and appears to be ready to make a big move for a goalkeeper, with Alisson strongly linked to the club.
Despite reaching the Champions League final last season, Liverpool well off the pace in the Premier League title race. A stronger squad will help the Reds compete on both fronts this season and Liverpool could become Manchester City’s main rivals for the title.
Tottenham Hotspur will hope to keep their squad intact but they seemingly cannot compete with the spending power of the clubs around them. Mauricio Pochettino continues to do a great job but will be up against it this season.
Both Chelsea and Arsenal have new managers at the helm for the 2018/19 campaign. Unai Emery has replaced the long-serving Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, while Maurizio Sarri has joined Chelsea from Napoli.
Both men have their work cut out to catch Manchester City and while Chelsea seem the best placed to so, they could lose a couple of key players which will hurt them badly. If Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard move on, Chelsea will struggle to replace them.
The 2018/19 Premier League title is Manchester City’s to lose but expect a stronger challenge from Liverpool this season.