Big debate: Will anyone stop Manchester City from winning the Premier League title again next season?
Manchester City have been confirmed as Premier League champions following second-placed Manchester United’s loss to West Brom.
Pep Guardiola’s side put themselves on the brink of title glory with Saturday’s 3-1 victory at Tottenham and United’s failure to take points off the bottom side on Sunday left City beyond mathematical reach.
City skipper Vincent Kompany and triumphant boss Guardiola have set their sights on winning back-to-back titles at the Etihad.
But can the likes of United, Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea mount a challenge next campaign?
Our reporters have their say:
No. City will build from a frightening position of strength this summer. Most likely in midfield where they have already tried to buy Fred from Shakhtar.
Maybe out wide where they have already tried to buy Riyad Mahrez. Or even in defence where they have targeted Sao Paolo’s rising star Eder Militao.
They have a clearly-defined style of play. It is all about ‘we’ with Guardiola rather than ‘me’ with Jose Mourinho at Manchester United. Chelsea have way too much political in-fighting to make their way back to the top.
Spurs have consistency and a fine squad but they also have their limitations and, for me, losing Alderweireld this summer will be a huge mistake. Arsenal are no longer title contenders under Arsene Wenger.
Liverpool have improved hugely during the second half of the season and will strengthen further in the summer. Naby Keita will improve their midfield ten-fold. Another defender and more depth up front and – despite arguably the greater depth at United – you’d back Liverpool to launch the most realistic challenge. All that said, City are rightly favourites to do it again.
Whether anyone will stop Manchester City, I don’t know. But I would at least hope someone will push them all the way next season.
United will start strongly. But they do not have the character in there current squad to go the distance.
Liverpool arguably do, however. They have straightened their defence and will bring in a quality midfielder in Naby Keita.
And surely Mo Salah is going nowhere.
So, at this rate, if anyone can take on Pep Guardiola next year it’s Jurgen Klopp. Not Jose Mourinho.
No. It would be a big surprise if City did not go back-to-back but one or two variables could make it less straightforward.
Manchester United will strengthen and Jose Mourinho will be more motivated than ever, feeling – as he clearly does – that he has not been given any credit for a rebuilding job at Old Trafford.
Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp will take heart from their head-to-head mastery of City this season and would expect to get closer to City.
Perhaps more crucial will be Pep Guardiola’s contract situation.
Next season will be the final one of his three-year deal and if the squad suspects he is running it down and will then be taking another break, it could have a psychological effect.
All the vibes suggest Guardiola will soon sign an extension to his contract and the Etihad hierarchy seem quite relaxed about the situation.
But all fans and players will be hoping he puts pen it paper soon.
Once he does, they can relax look forward to another spectacular, title-winning season.
All the talk is of dynasties, legacies, a Blue Moon rising, the dawn of a blue era in English football.
Fair enough – Manchester City have been the most consistent team, by miles, in the Premier League this season and it was inevitable that they should be installed as early favourites to retain the title in 2019.
But every time I envisage Pep Guardiola nipping out for around of golf, and coming into the 19th hole for a snifter to find City have bagged another trophy, a red mist descends.
Who have been the only team to score four against City this season?
Who have been the only team to beat them twice?
Who is going to deny outstanding City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne the popular vote when the Footballer of the Year ballot papers have all been cast?
Liverpool, Liverpool, Liverpool.
Make no mistake, Jurgen Klopp will be on the road to nowhere in the title race again in 2018-19 if his team tosses away points needlessly at the likes of Swansea and Watford.
But I suspect the biggest threat to Pep landing back-to-back titles will be in red… but this time, it will be the Reds of Merseyside, not the neighbours along the Mancunian Way, who will be their major rivals.
City have proved head and shoulders above the rest of the Premier League this season, as evidenced by the huge points gulf between them and the chasing pack.
They have a core of young players in Ederson, Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus, John Stones, Aymeric Laporte and Bernardo Silva who are only going to get better, as well as left-back Benjamin Mendy, who spent most of the season sidelined by injury, while established stars like Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Sergio Aguero are unlikely to drop off.
City are also going to strengthen in three or four key positions this summer, making it even harder for the rest to close the gap on them. Pep Guardiola is adamant City won’t enjoy such a huge points advantage next season, but it is hard to see anyone overtaking them.
Of the chasing pack, Liverpool are perhaps the most likely to mount a serious challenge to City, with Manchester United beset by inconsistency, while Tottenham and Chelsea have question marks over key players and do not appear to be in a position to make that step up to becoming champions.
Quite possibly. It’s actually a decade since Manchester United became the last team to retain the title, when it appeared they were establishing a monopoly on the Premier League with their third win in as many years.
Since then though, nine seasons, nine changes of the ribbons on the silverware. What does that tell us? Well, for a start it’s bloody tough to win, but even tougher to retain. Maintaining the focus, the energy and personnel to become Champions is difficult.
City of course have the quality, will buy in the summer and ran away with it this year, so if anyone can do it, it’s them. But when United won the title in 2000-01 with five games to spare on April 14 – still a record as the earliest Premier League title win, by the way – guess what? They didn’t retain their crown the next season. United were only third in 01-02, in fact.
If it is to be a different name on the trophy next season, then who? Well, Liverpool are looking like a team now and already have Naby Keita signed as the first of several big money summer signings, it seems. Mourinho will spend big too, don’t doubt that.
Chelsea will obviously recruit a new manager, and they seem to win it every other year these days, so it is hardly a given City are unstoppable, especially if Pep does what he should, which is concentrate on addressing what is actually a shocking Champions’ League record outside his time at Barca.
No. One thing the Premier League’s more recent champions have failed to do is build from their position of strength. Manchester City won’t make the same mistakes.
It won’t be easy to improve Pep Guardiola’s first choice side but by the big kick-off next season his squad will be even more star-studded.
They are already so far ahead of the rest and with City set to spend as much if not more than the chasing pack, if anything, the gap is more likely to get bigger with perfectionist Pep in charge.
His drive and relentlessness should also ensure complacency doesn’t creep in during their title defence too.
Yes. They are not invincible as Liverpool have proved this season and the Premier League title is notoriously hard to defend as history has proved.
I can see both Manchester United and Liverpool being closer to them next season and Chelsea too assuming Antonio Conte gets the pay-off and new job he is clearly angling for.
No club has retained the Premier League since Manchester United in 2009. But Manchester City will continue to spend this summer – especially after failing to win the Champions League – and most of the squad have yet to reach the peaks of their career.
Their domination will not last forever and Liverpool and Manchester United will close the gap. The future of Sergio Aguero will be in a fascinating soap opera this summer – and he could leave to further entrench Pep Guardiola’s power. But City will not be stopped next season and will retain the title.
I think Liverpool will push Man City closest next season but, ultimately, that Pep Guardiola’s men will retain the title.
That is a target burning brightly for City – to win back to back titles.
I’m sure they will strengthen their squad again this summer, come back better next year and be a harder force to stop.
It’s very difficult to dominate for years as Liverpool and Man United have done in the past.
City have raised the bar this season, I think they’ll win it next year but Guardiola’s wish is to win it year after year and write a new chapter of history.
Generally, when one team sets a new standard, the Premier League is so competitive that others follow suit. Liverpool are showing a determination to keep up – and overtake. But there’s a great opportunity for Pep and his players to leave a legacy and make a mark in English football.
Tottenham look set to seal their third consecutive top four finish this season, no mean feat considering they’ve played all their games outside of N17. But with Mauricio Pochettino’s men returning to their spiritual home next season, Spurs will be right in the mix at the top of the table again.
The Lilywhites’ unbeaten record at home last time out meant they pushed Chelsea nearly all the way in the title race, and if Spurs, a year older and wiser, can make their new stadium a fortress too, they’ll be right in the mix come May next year.
But if Tottenham are to surpass Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City juggernaut, they’ll need a marquee signing or two to take them into their new home, a return for a certain wing wizard from Cardiff, perhaps?
This is a Liverpool side that has evolved over the course of the season, so much so that we’re now talking about the second favourites to win the Champions League after they dispatched City 5-1 on aggregate.
Obviously there is always the stigma that comes with the Reds and Premier League title challenges, but Jurgen Klopp has created a happy, healthy working environment in which his players are thriving.
Mo Salah is obviously the best example of this, but there are so many other stars who are shining and playing the best football of their careers. Roberto Firmino scored his 25th goal of the season on Saturday, which has virtually gone unnoticed, while Sadio Mane is a dynamic presence and Virgil van Dijk is only going to improve once he’s got a full Klopp pre-season under his belt, because everyone else has.
There might be question marks over a couple of positions, and the squad certainly needs to be fleshed out with 2-3 more bodies, but a full season of this Liverpool promises to be quite a sight to behold.
Will Manchester City win the title NEXT season?
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