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Who Can Threaten Manchester City’s Dominance?

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One word seems to crop up over and over again when people discuss Manchester City’s domestic performances over the past couple of seasons – dominance. Considering the stranglehold they established over the country last season – taking the Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup – it’s also entirely justified. Coming off the back of that clean sweep, it’s a little hard to imagine City going anywhere in 2019/20. After all, they battled against an incredible Liverpool team for almost the entirety of 2018/19 and still managed to beat them, albeit with a tight finish to last season

With that said, all dominant runs in football – whether it be AC Milan of the early nineties or Barcelona of the late noughties – come to a close eventually. In this case, for all the money that’s been spent, Pep Guardiola has indisputably been the catalyst behind this run of success for City, and he’s now been at the club for three years. His previous longest spell – which was even more successful than his current one – was at Barcelona, and that only lasted four years. His time at Bayern Munich was up after three seasons. In short, the seemingly unstoppable Pep locomotive might well be due to run out of steam.


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If that does start to happen… who will be the team to step up, and threaten Manchester City’s recent dominance? Let’s take a look at the main contenders, and assess their chances of success. 


Liverpool are by far and away the most obvious – and strongest – contenders to dethrone Manchester City. They achieved the third-highest points total in Premier League history in 2018/19 – trailing only the last two City seasons – and still only managed to finish second. 


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The higher-ups have done an incredible job of assembling an extremely talented first team, with enough depth behind them to sustain a major European campaign too, as they showed last season. They’re easily the second-favourites for the 2019/20 Premier League already on all the major football betting sites, and – even if they didn’t make a single significant addition to their first team squad this summer – they’d almost certainly remain so heading into next season. 


Having won the Premier League as recently as 2016/17, and with the extremely highly-regarded Maurizio Sarri, Chelsea entered 2018/19 as genuine contenders for the title (as outlined in last year’s prediction article). What unfolded was an utterly bizarre season, in which Sarri chafed with both players (*cough Kepa cough*) and fans, with seemingly nobody being happy with the situation… whilst still winning the Europa League, reaching the League Cup final, and pipping a solid Spurs team to third place. 


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Mutiny? @kepaarrizabalaga WHAT DO YOU THINK?

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Unfortunately, the waters look choppier than ever for Chelsea. They have a two window transfer ban to contend with, and have already lost both Eden Hazard and Sarri. The latter looks set to be replaced by Frank Lampard, who – though a club legend, with a reasonably successful first season at Derby under his belt – is still massively inexperienced as a manager. 

With a young coach and a bevy of extremely talented prospects, Chelsea might well be building towards something. They certainly don’t seem like serious contenders to take on the likes of Manchester City as soon as 2019/20, though. 


Tottenham would seem to pose a far greater threat to Pep & Co than their aforementioned London rivals. In fact, of all the teams who might challenge City in 2019/20, Spurs have by far the most intriguing summer in front of them. 


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1⃣ more sleep

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Their famed reluctance to splash out and strengthen their squad in recent years has arguably been the main factor behind their regular late season disappointments. Now that era of frugality looks to finally be coming to a close, with powerhouse Tanguy Ndombele – an impending record arrival from Lyon – set to both smash Spurs’ transfer record and provide a much-needed reinforcement to their midfield. 

In addition to improving their actual team by making these kinds of investments, Tottenham are also sending signals to the likes of Mauricio Pochettino and Christian Eriksen that their ambitions can be met. If they can not only retain the squad that’s qualified for the Champions League for four seasons in a row, but significantly strengthen it too, Spurs might finally realise their tantalising potential and kick on to the next level. 

Fallen Giants

Arguably the last great rivalry in Premier League history was fought between Arsenal and Manchester United, through the late nineties and early noughties. The supporters of both clubs would give just about anything to reach those heady heights again. Not only did both fail to even remotely challenge the top two last season; neither even qualified for the Champions League, which was previously a formality. 


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This is how the cookie crumbles? ?

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Of the two, Arsenal are closer to making the jump and (theoretically) troubling the likes of Man City. They have a considerably more successful manager in place, and a genuinely world class attacking partnership in Aubameyang and Lacazette. Man United might have vastly more spending power, but have showed no evidence in recent years that they can actually put it to good use. 


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In truth, though, neither of these clubs look remotely likely to threaten City’s superteam in 2019/20. 

The Outsiders

The Leicester City fairytale in 2015/16 mandates that any and all Premier League previews must include mention of outsiders… however unlikely their chances of repeating that miracle! 

Outside of the ‘Big Six’, Everton would seem the most serious contender. They’ve got a tricky and speedy attack, reinvigorated midfield maestro Andre Gomes’s permanent transfer has been sealed, and Marco Silva has previously won two titles in his young career: the Segunda Liga in Portugal, and the Greek Superleague. 

Looking a little further south, Wolves are also worth a mention. They’ve already got a solid first team, possess the financial power to strengthen it, and – in Nuno Espirito Santo – have one of the league’s most tactically astute managers too. 

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