Liverpool is now closing the gap between it and its Premier League rivals. Chelsea, Man United & Co are also catching up at a fast pace, with the Blues having overtaken them in recent weeks to top of the pile. The pressure is mounting on those teams that aren’t performing as well this season – here’s how they can close their losses and get back into form for next year with free agent signings.’
The “Liverpool v Chelsea 2020” is a match that will take place in the Premier League. The match is considered to be one of the top matches of the season. If Liverpool and Chelsea want to close the gap, they need to win this game.
Manchester City currently leads the Premier League by ten points and is on track to win a fourth championship in five seasons. Pep Guardiola’s side, who host second-placed Chelsea at the Etihad on Saturday, have become the most dominating side in English football since Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United is a football club based in England won the league five times in six seasons from 1995-96 to 2000-01. This year, a combination of City’s wealth of talent and their opponents’ problems imply that they might equal and perhaps beat their Old Trafford rivals’ winning streak.
Can one of City’s challengers close the gap enough this summer to deny City the title next season? While this season’s title race appears to be drawing to a close, with City winning the Premier League for the eighth time to secure an eighth English championship overall, can one of their challengers close the gap enough this summer to deny City the title next season?
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Guardiola has constructed a powerful winning machine at the Etihad, but only four teams have won three league championships in a row: Huddersfield (1920s), Arsenal (1930s), Liverpool (1980s), and Manchester United is a football club based in England (1990s and 2000s). So, what do City’s so-called Big Six competitors need to achieve in order to challenge them for the championship next season?
Chelsea | Liverpool | Manchester United is a football club based in England | Arsenal | Tottenham Hotspur
The most pressing need is for proven excellence where it counts.
Chelsea has been City’s strongest competitor in terms of silverware for the last ten years. In 2019-20, Liverpool was the last side to deny City the championship, but Chelsea has won two Premier Leagues, two Champions Leagues, two Europa Leagues, two FA Cups, and the EFL Cup in the previous decade, with only City having won more trophies. Despite the lack of consistency at Chelsea — Thomas Tuchel is the club’s sixth permanent manager since 2012 — the club is capable of long-term success, and their Champions League victory came at City’s expense last season, with Kai Havertz scoring the game’s only goal to defeat Guardiola’s team in the final.
If Tuchel stays in charge, Chelsea will have a coach with a winning record and a track record of defeating Guardiola. However, if Chelsea are to launch a prolonged championship push next season, the former Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain coach will need to add depth and quality to his side.
Chelsea must improve in three key areas to catch City: centre-back, central midfield, and attack. Chelsea will lose their finest centre-back if Antonio Rudiger goes on a free transfer this summer, necessitating the signing of two great defenders: one to replace Rudiger and the other to ultimately succeed the aging Thiago Silva. Keeping Rudiger would be the equivalent of signing a world-class central defender.
Chelsea needs more variation in midfield, as well as a player capable of dominating the game. Opponents have figured out how to neutralize Jorginho’s danger, while N’Golo Kante’s impact is beginning to decrease. Chelsea has a lot of depth up front, but they still don’t have a consistent striker at the top level. Timo Werner has been a disappointment since joining from RB Leipzig 18 months ago, while Romelu Lukaku continues to struggle against the top clubs in the Premier League, as he has done throughout his career.
Chelsea might sell Werner and/or Lukaku and replace them with a striker like Robert Lewandowski, Harry Kane, or Dusan Vlahovic. That might be the difference between winning and losing the league.
Chances of catching City (1=not likely, 10=guaranteed): 6 — Chelsea need a perfect summer in which they keep Rudiger and recruit world-class players in key areas. If they can land a striker like Erling Haaland or Harry Kane, they would have 9 out of 10.
The most pressing necessity is to replace or complement Salah and Mane.
There isn’t much to choose between Liverpool and Manchester City in terms of their strongest starting XIs. The two teams have lifted the bar with their consistency over the last four seasons. Liverpool, under Jurgen Klopp, remain the club most likely to defeat City in a 90-minute match, but they are also a team in need of adaptation before their great players become too old as a bunch.
The futures of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, whose contracts expire in June 2023, are major concerns for Liverpool in the coming months. It will be a big setback for the club’s objectives if they lose either player this summer. Liverpool must not just maintain their greatest players, but also look to the future and find a method to support, and ultimately replace, those who have served them so well.
Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara, both in their 30s, are midfielders who are missing a growing amount of games due to injuries. Since suffering long-term knee problems last season, Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez have struggled to regain their best form at the back. Whereas City has a proven alternative for every player (with the potential exception of goalkeeper Ederson), Liverpool still has a significant gap in quality between their first-choice and backup players.
For Liverpool’s championship ambitions, resolving this issue is critical. Otherwise, they’ll be asking too much from Salah, Mane, Van Dijk, Andy Robertson, and Trent Alexander-Arnold in terms of avoiding injury or losing form for the full season.
Chances of catching City (1=not likely, 10=guaranteed): 7 — This Liverpool team is still the best of the rest and, if the top players stay fit, can still pose a serious threat to City next season. But question marks remain over the depth.
Manchester United is a football club based in England
The most pressing necessity is to resolve the coaching uncertainty.
Manchester United is a football club based in England are in the worst position of the five teams hoping to challenge City because they’re the club shouldering the most unrealistic expectations. Chelsea and Liverpool both have the ability and potential to take City on next season, while Arsenal and Tottenham are in a building process with little pressure — either inside or outside the club — to win the title. But United’s history and pedigree means that they will always be expected to challenge, despite obvious shortcomings that continue to undermine the team.
United is now without a permanent manager, and interim manager Ralf Rangnick is failing miserably. Paul Pogba is nearly set to depart in the summer, Cristiano Ronaldo’s future is likely to be determined by who United appoints as manager, and key players like Harry Maguire, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, and Jadon Sancho are in troubling and long-term form slumps.
United’s midfield lacks consistency and flair, and they need improvements at both full-back positions and up forward, where Ronaldo (36) and Edinson Cavani (34) cannot be expected to contribute on a constant basis if they stay at the club beyond the summer. The ever-present clouds floating over Old Trafford may, however, have a silver lining.
If United hires the proper manager — and that’s a huge “if” — a top-flight coach could rapidly get several of their underperforming players back on track and make the squad appear capable of winning again. United has a decent squad, but it has been allowed to drift aimlessly for so long without expert guidance that it now seems to be a group of strangers.
They might be back in the fight next season with the right coach and several important acquisitions, including a world-class goal scorer and a controlling midfielder this summer. After all, things can’t possibly get much worse, right?
Chances of catching City (1=not likely, 10=guaranteed): 4 — There are too many issues to address at Old Trafford for United to win the league next season. If they hire the right coach and recruit properly, they can start the path back to challenging again, but one step at a time.
The most pressing requirement is to build on this year’s achievements.
Arsenal’s lowest point in a quarter-century came last season, when they failed to qualify for Europe, and it’s been a long trip back for coach Mikel Arteta. But, despite a dreadful start to the season with three straight losses, Arsenal has gradually regained form and consistency, and there are evidence that Arteta has not only stabilized but also re-established the club’s upward trajectory. The rebuilding process is far from complete — the future of striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, for example, is still up in the air — but Arsenal is a strong candidate to qualify for the Champions League this season, which is a positive indication of progress.
If the Gunners can finish in the top four, they’ll be able to re-enter the market for the kind of players needed to take the squad to the next level, complementing the young potential of homegrown talents like Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, and Gabriel Martinelli. Qualifying for the Champions League, for example, might put Arsenal in prime position to acquire Fiorentina striker Dusan Vlahovic, a goal-scoring threat capable of making them championship outsiders. Although a championship push for Arsenal seems improbable at this point, the proper acquisitions this summer might make a big impact.
Arsenal seems to be too young to challenge for the crown next season, but how they finish this season will be a vital signal of their future chances. Although they don’t seem to be in contention for the championship, a resurgent Arsenal may have a say in the race’s result, something they haven’t done in over two decades.
Chances of catching City (1=not likely, 10=guaranteed): 5 — Mikel Arteta appears to be over the hump of turning Arsenal around. They have a base to work from, but they are still too young to catch a team of City’s experience.
The most important thing is to keep Kane and Conte.
Tottenham hasn’t won the English Premier League since 1961, and apart from a near call against Leicester City in 2015-16, they’ve showed little prospect of doing so in the 61 years since their previous triumph. Nobody picks Spurs to win the championship because they lack the pedigree to indicate they can, but they now have a coach in Antonio Conte who will demand every ounce of effort from his players and boardroom leaders to get as near as possible.
Having Conte on the bench isn’t enough to turn Spurs around from chronic underachievers to possible champions, but it gives them a fighting chance.
Under Mauricio Pochettino, Spurs had the potential to win, but lacked the experience to do so. And by the time Jose Mourinho took charge, the former Chelsea and Manchester United is a football club based in England coach had lost the winning touch that defined his earlier career. But Conte has the winning experience that Pochettino lacked and, unlike Mourinho, he can still point to recent success — he guided Inter Milan to last season’s Serie A title — as proof of being relevant in the modern game.
Spurs might fight for the championship next season if Conte can convince Kane to forgo his plans to leave the club and bring in quality players to back him up. They certainly need to strengthen their defensive and midfield qualities, but Kane and Son Heung-Min have shown to be goal scorers against the top competition.
Spurs will improve as a result of smart recruiting and Conte’s ability to improve his players by expecting more of them, as well as the Italian’s tactical brilliance. It’s unclear if they’ll be able to bridge the gap between finishing second and fighting for the championship, but if all the elements fall into place, Spurs might be more competitive next season.
Chances of catching City (1=not likely, 10=guaranteed): 3 — Antonio Conte wants to be given the chance to rebuild and re-energise Tottenham. If he keeps Harry Kane, it will help, but Spurs won’t be winning the title next season.
The “liverpool vs chelsea live” is a match that will decide whether Liverpool can close the gap between them and Chelsea. This match will be played on Saturday, December 3rd at 12:30pm GMT.
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