Manchester City 2019-20 season preview

Established: 1880
Stadium: The Etihad Stadium
Location: Manchester
Head Coach: Pep Guardiola
Nickname: The Citizens, the Sky Blues
Rival: Manchester United
Top-Division Titles: Six (1936–37, 1967–68, 2011–12, 2013–14, 2017–18, 2018–19)

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Best possible XI:

Ederson
Mendy
Laporte
Stones
Walker
Rodri
Bernardo
De Bruyne
Sterling
Sane
Aguero

Key arrivals: Rodri (Atletico Madrid), Angelino (PSV Eindhoven), Joao Cancelo (Juventus)

Key departures: Vincent Kompany (Anderlecht), Fabian Delph (Everton), Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa), Arijanet Muric (loan, Nottingham Forest), Philippe Sandler (loan, Anderlecht), Tosin Adarabioyo (loan, Blackburn Rovers), Danilo (Juventus)

Ranking their offseason: Rodri is a huge addition, but Guardiola would’ve like to have seen an addition to his center back corps before the window slams shut until January. That didn’t happen but they did add Cancelo at right back. 7/10.

Star player: Raheem Sterling — For everything we expected of the English youngster when he blossomed at Liverpool and exploded under Pep Guardiola’s guidance, who expected such an ethereal attacking threat to find his place amongst the best attackers in the game?

Coaches’ Corner: Pep Guardiola — Maybe you’ve heard of him? The world’s best manager returns for, perhaps, a final run in Manchester?

PST predicts: A three-peat? Injuries and a wayward eye from the UEFA Champions League seem the only things that can stop the blue side of Manchester from becoming the first three-time defending champion since United turned the trick in 2006-07, 2007-08, and 2008-09.

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    Liverpool 2019-20 season preview

    Established: 1892
    Stadium: Anfield
    Location: Liverpool
    Head Coach: Jurgen Klopp
    Nickname: The Reds
    Rival(s): Everton, Manchester United
    Top-Division Titles: 18 (1900–01, 1905–06, 1921–22, 1922–23, 1946–47, 1963–64, 1965–66, 1972–73, 1975–76, 1976–77, 1978–79, 1979–80, 1981–82, 1982–83, 1983–84, 1985–86, 1987–88, 1989–90)

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    Best possible XI:

    Alisson
    Alexander-Arnold
    Matip
    Van Dijk
    Robertson
    Fabinho
    Wijnaldum
    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
    Salah
    Firmino
    Mane

    Key arrivals: Sepp van den Berg (PEC Zwolle), Harvey Elliott (Fulham), Adrian (West Ham)

    Key departures: Daniel Sturridge (released), Alberto Moreno (Villarreal).

    Ranking their offseason: This is a risky one, isn’t it? So far, the Reds have only added pieces for the future. Their attacking trident of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Roberto Firmino have had consecutive busy summers to go with long Premier League and Champions League campaigns. The Reds are fortunate to have a deep youth system and some key players returning to health, but there’s not a lot to love here. 3/10.

    Star player: Virgil van Dijk — The towering Dutchman may well be a Ballon d’Or winner by the end of the calendar year.

    Coaches’ Corner: Jurgen Klopp — His gift of keeping his players happy may be tested a bit more this season, as Liverpool will need to get more time and production out of key young players.

    PST predicts: A righteous fight for their first league title of the Premier League era. Will they again come up just short, adding no one big before the window slams shut while Man City addressed its only weakness?

    Leicester City 2019-20 season preview

    Established: 1884
    Stadium: King Power Stadium
    Location: Leicester (east Midlands of England)
    Head Coach: Brendan Rodgers
    Nickname: The Foxes
    Rival(s): Nottingham Forest, Derby County
    Top-Division Titles: 1 (2015-16)

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    Best possible XI:

    Schmeichel
    Pereira
    Morgan
    Evans
    Chilwell
    Ndidi
    Tielemans
    Gray
    Maddison
    Barnes
    Vardy

    Key arrivals: Youri Tielemans (AS Monaco), Ayoze Perez (Newcastle United), James Justin (Luton Town), Dennis Praet (Sampdoria)

    Key departures: Harry Maguire (Man United), Shinji Okazaki (Free, Malaga), Danny Simpson (Released)

    Ranking their offseason: Leicester’s offseason has been dominated by one question: Will Harry Maguire stay? The England international has become the most-expensive defender in the world with Man United paying $100 million for him, leaving a huge hole in Leicester’s defense. But, even though Brendan Rodgers will lose Maguire it’s not the end of the world. They have the likes of Benkovic and others ready to step in to compete with Evans and Morgan. Rodgers had a huge impact in the final months of last season after he arrived and the addition of Tielemans and Perez strengthens their already deep squad. Jamie Vardy will be their main man but the likes of Harvey Barnes, Tielemans and Demarai Gray will all play key roles this season. Leicester are a young team which has put aside the uncertainty around Maguire to focus on getting ready for a season where they hope to finish in the top six. 6/10

    Star player: With Maguire leaving, top goalscorer Jamie Vardy has to be the main man. His goals have been instrumental for the Foxes and although many thought Rodgers’ arrival would see him pushed out of the team, Vardy, now 32, shows no signs of slowing down. Tielemans will be very important this season, so too will Jonny Evans in defense, but Vardy’s 15-20 goals a season will see the Foxes threaten the established top six.

    Coaches’ Corner: Rodgers gets plenty of criticism for some of things he says, but on the pitch you cannot deny that every team he coaches is good to watch. Leicester were superb in the second half of last season and Rodgers has had an entire preseason to drill home his ideology. It was a wrench for him to leave Celtic and he wouldn’t have done so unless he thought the Foxes could push into the top six. This young squad has the potential to do just that, and with Rodgers in charge they would do it in style.

    PST predicts: Massive season for the Foxes, as Vardy probably has one more big campaign left in the tank. The midfielders and attacker behind him, plus full backs Ricardo Pereira and Ben Chilwell, will provide plenty of chances to score. With the rebuilding going on with some of the PL giants, this feels like the year that Leicester can get back into the top six. A big FA Cup and League Cup run alongside that would do very nicely for Rodgers.

    Everton 2019-20 season preview

    Established: 1878
    Stadium: Goodison Park
    Location: Walton, Liverpool
    Head Coach: Marco Silva
    Nickname: The Toffees
    Rival(s): Liverpool
    Top-Division Titles: Nine (1890–91, 1914–15, 1927–28, 1931–32, 1938–39, 1962–63, 1969–70, 1984–85, 1986–87)

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    Best possible XI:

    Pickford
    Coleman
    Keane
    Mina
    Digne
    Gbamin
    Gomes
    Sigurdsson
    Iwobi
    Bernard
    Richarlison

    Key arrivals: Andre Gomes (Barcelona), Jonas Lossl (Huddersfield Town), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Jean-Philippe Gbamin (Mainz), Alex Iwobi (Arsenal), Djibril Sidibe (Loan, Monaco)

    Key departures: Jonjoe Kenny (loan, Schalke), Phil Jagielka (Sheffield United), Ashley Williams (released), Nikola Vlasic (CSKA Moscow), Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic), Ademola Lookman (RB Leipzig), Idrissa Gana Gueye (PSG), Sandro (loan, Real Valladolid).

    Ranking their offseason: The quality of their arrivals isn’t to be doubted, and Lossl could see himself as a starter if Jordan Pickford doesn’t get his act together, but there are a lot of good talents skipping town. Silva’s judgment may be questioned in the cases of Lookman and Vlasic in particular but adding Iwobi and Gbamin late in the window boosted their squad. 7/10.

    Star player: Gylfi Sigurdsson — Richarlison is a stud and last year’s MVP was definitely Lucas Digne, but don’t sleep on the Icelandic star’s ability to change a game on so many levels.

    Coaches’ Corner: Marco Silva — He’ll be tested this season more than any other, as Everton is expected to show its on the level with Wolves, West Ham, and any other contender for the Top Seven.

    PST predicts: The Toffees face two promoted teams, Palace, Bournemouth, and both Watford and Wolves in their first six matches. Of all the Top Six sides, Everton only meets Man City and Spurs before December (when they then meet Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United, and Arsenal in a 17-day span). Seventh is a realistic target, as is a Cup. Get to Europe in some way is the goal.

    Crystal Palace 2019-20 season preview

    Established: 1905
    Stadium: Selhurst Park
    Location: London (south)
    Head Coach: Roy Hodgson
    Nickname: The Eagles
    Rival(s): Brighton & Hove Albion
    Top-Division Titles: Zero

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    Best possible XI:

    Guaita
    Ward
    Tomkins
    Sakho
    Van Aanholt
    Milivojevic
    McArthur
    Zaha
    Ayew
    Townsend
    Benteke

    Key arrivals: Jordan Ayew (Swansea City),

    Key departures: Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Man United), Jason Puncheon, Julian Speroni, Pape Souare (All released)

    Ranking their offseason: It has not been a great offseason for Palace, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka sold, Roy Hodgson has lost his second best player and Wilfried Zaha is not happy about staying put. Not ideal for Roy Hodgson. On the pitch they’ve had some strange results during preseason and it’s safe to say that only one key addition, turning Ayew’s loan into a permanent deal, is quite poor given Palace’s lack of squad depth. If they can keep hold of Zaha in the final days of the window then all is not lost. If they do lose their star forward, it has been an awful summer for the Eagles. 3/10

    Star player: If he can keep his focus it is Wilfried Zaha but it seems like he is very unhappy about having his move away blocked because Palace wanted $100 million for him. Mamadou Sakho is a huge part of this team at the other end of the pitch. The central defender has been a rock since arriving from Liverpool and although injuries have hit him hard, Sakho is so influential to Palace’s entire defense. They play on the counter with Zaha, Andros Townsend and others flying forward and that means they have to soak up plenty of pressure defensively. Sakho is the leader of their defense and he could be very busy this season.

    Coaches’ Corner: An experienced manager who does exactly what it says on the tin. Hodgson provides reliability and calms everything down. Losing AWB and having to deal with Zaha’s ‘beef’ would rile most managers, but he will shrug his shoulders and get on with things. This season will not be easy for Palace but they know their limitations in the transfer market and Hodgson has worked wonders in the past few seasons to keep them away from a proper relegation scrap.

    PST predicts: This could be a lot tougher season than most expect for Palace. It all hinges on Zaha being ready to go between now and January when he may move on. Often labelled a one-man team, Palace will need plenty of others to stand tall and score goals if they’re going to push for a top 10 finish. They can’t rely on Luka Milivojevic’s penalties and set piece goals to bail them out this season.