Manchester City finished as runners up last year, but made a halfhearted attempt to defend their title won in 2014. Despite the uncertainty over the long-term job security of manager, Manuel Pellegrini, City’s board has spent big and put together a team to win back the title. With no African Cup of Nations to distract some of its star players, City may just be the team to beat this year.
Brendan Rodgers is one of the favorites to be the first manager fired this season and deservedly so. He was a great coach at Swansea City and Chelsea, but his own arrogance and ego has got in the way of his football brain, and Liverpool are suffering because of it. Rodgers doesn’t represent the traditions of the club in the manner of former managers Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley and Kenny Dalglish. Therefore, nothing short of a top four finish will be acceptable to the clubs loyal and increasingly long suffering fans.
Jose Mourinho was a breath of fresh air when he first took over at Chelsea in 2004. He was suave, sophisticated, well dressed and provided a good quote for an adoring English media. Eleven years later he looks old, haggard, tired, and is increasingly testy with that same media. His team is now becoming a reflection of his current personality and less than 12 months after winning the title, all is not well at Stamford Bridge. Whisper it, but could this be the final act for Mourinho in West London?
Tottenham Hotspur are one of the most well run clubs in Europe, let alone England. Despite this, chairman, Daniel Levy has come under more criticism than usual this transfer window. He cleared the squad of a number of highly paid and infrequently used players, but failed to sign a much needed striker as cover or support for Harry Kane. Spurs did add quality early in the window and recalled some loan players, so they look stronger on paper. Levy will demand improvement from manager Mauricio Pochettino with a top five finish the minimum requirement.