Leicester City shocked the world when they won the 2015/16 English Premiere League, facing 1/5000 odds. To give a perspective to how low those odds were, the Philadelphia 76ers had a 1/400 chance of winning the NBA championship that same year and finished the season with a record of 10-72. They pretty much pulled off the impossible: an incredible Cinderella story. Leicester finished the season with 81 points, and Arsenal second with 71. These numbers are abnormally low, which could help explain why Leicester was able to not only win the league with just 81 points, but with little competition.
The top teams took notes as they all failed to place as high as they wanted, and answered with a massive transfer window. It’s no surprise that the EPL is the most competitive league, and an attractive league to play in by big name players. Huge signings like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba by Manchester United, David Luiz and N’Golo Kanté by Chelsea, Sadio Mané by Liverpool, Victor Wanyama by Tottenham, and Shkodran Mustafi by Arsenal (just to name a few) made the difference between the 15/16 season and the 16/17 season. The season started out with stellar competition as the title race was between six teams even after a few months into the season.
Chelsea finished the 16/17 season in first place with 93 points, 12 more points than Leicester the previous year. Manchester United finished in sixth place with 69 points, only trailing Arsenal’s 71 points by two from the previous season. After such a successful transfer window of summer ’16, the top six teams (Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, and Manchester United) will all be looking for the best players around the world to give them a shot for the Premiere League title. The question is: who needs the signings the most?
As any soccer fan knows, Arsenal has struggled the last 15 years in winning pretty much anything besides the FA cup. The team to always come in fourth (insert any pun related to the number 4 and how Arsenal sucks). The team that lost to the 1/5000 odds Leicester city. Arsenal is on the verge of losing their best player Alexis Sanchez to super club Bayern Munich, which puts the team at high risk. Sanchez has been a top scorer for Arsenal as long as he’s been on the team, and his recent frustration is an obvious sign of his dislike for the team/players/coaching staff. If Sanchez leaves the team, in addition to many other possible summer exits, Arsenal is the #1 team in need of big signings. They’ll be out searching for a superstar striker and possibly more depth in their midfield.
Liverpool suffered a few injuries through the season that had a big impact in their season, but since injuries are for the most part unpredictable, we can ignore that for this upcoming season. Liverpool has plenty of depth in their midfield with players like Mané, Phillippe Coutinho, Emre Can, Adam Lallana, and Georginio Wijnaldum. Unfortunately, they struggle with defenders and attackers. The only team with more goals against in the top six was Arsenal. In addition, Liverpool’s top scorer, Coutinho, only had 13 goals, less than half as many goalsas the top scorer that season. If Liverpool can gain a solid striker able to produce 20-25 goals per season and strengthen their defense, they’ll have a shot at the title.
3. Manchester United
You would think Man U would be lower on the list, yet with all their signings it still seems like they need more. The team is starting to settle in as star coach Jose Mourinho tries to lead the team to a title after being so dominant for so many years but struggling in the past five. After winning the Europa League and securing a spot in the Champions League, it’s clear Man U will be a top team next year, but not without a few signings to boost them up. Ibrahimovic got released this summer, which leaves them with the young 19 year old Marcus Rashford, or an old washed up 31 year old Wayne Rooney. Both good strikers but not capable of carrying Man U to a title win. They’ll be looking to find strikers from top clubs to match up with their superstar Pogba, but failure in finding one could end in big trouble for the club and their season.
4. Manchester City
What is the one solution to fixing Manchester City’s season? Spend more money! Man City has never shown any remorse when it comes to spending money on players, and has already spent more than $100 million this transfer window. Man City always shows promise in the beginning of the season with a start striker Sergio Aguero leading the team in goals, and Kevin de Bruyne leading the midfield. They are definitely in better shape than most teams but would definitely be strengthened with a little more depth in the attacking/midfield to open up space from De Bruyne and Aguero. I’m sure if the keep throwing money at players and teams they’ll eventually end up with a team able to make a good run at the title race.
Chelsea dominated the EPL this season, but defending their title will be extremely hard. One key problem in the Chelsea team going into next season is the exit of Diego Costa. Although disliked by many, he offers strength, height, and a powerful while accurate shot that led Chelsea to the premiere league title. Chelsea for the most part have a very strong squad, but their striker problem needs to be fixed. There aren’t a lot of strikers alike Costa available currently for sale, but manager Antonio Conte will undoubtedly find a solution. His unique 3 defender squad proved to be successful and will be working hard to find a replacement for Costa. Other than that, it’s clear the team doesn’t need much change.
Tottenham has suddenly gotten good in the past few years, and finished above their rivals Arsenal for the first time in ~20 years. What seemed like could be a fluke at first, Harry Kane has proven himself as a reliable striker, finishing the season with a league high 29 goals, 7 assists, and shooting nearly 2/3 of his shots on target. They have also shown good depth in midfield with Christin Erikson leading them who had 15 assist last season (2nd most in the EPL). Their defense and goalie also haven’t shown any threats, considering the let in the least goals of any premiere league team last season. As long as they can keep up their top level soccer, they have a serious chance at taking the title.