Premier League Preview: Can anybody problem Liverpool, Manchester City?

By Doug McIntyre
FOX Sports activities Soccer Author

The brand new Premier League season kicks off Friday, when Arsenal travels throughout London to satisfy Crystal Palace, and there are many storylines to control throughout England’s vaunted prime flight on because the motion will get underway.

Listed below are 5 burning questions heading into the 2022-23 marketing campaign.

Can Erling Haaland, Manchester City attain new heights? 

The wealthy received richer this summer time as two-time defending Premier League champ City added Haaland, the 22-year-old Norwegian aim machine who was essentially the most coveted participant accessible in 2022.

Haaland scored virtually at will throughout his 2.5 seasons with Borussia Dortmund, averaging practically a aim per recreation within the German Bundesliga. His numbers within the UEFA Champions League have been much more obscene, with 23 targets in simply 19 appearances in. (Haaland has additionally scored 20 instances in 21 appearances for Norway’s nationwide group.)

City is trying to win their fifth English title in six years this season, however they’re actually hoping Haaland’s nostril for the online carries all of them the way in which to an much more coveted prize: the first-ever Champions League crown for the Emirates-backed membership. 

However Haaland shall be challenged like he by no means has earlier than within the rough-and-tumble Premier League, the place his bodily benefits shall be minimized and the place his solely weak spot — his skill within the air — could possibly be magnified.

He might simply as simply set the Prem on hearth, although, and set up himself as each a bona fide world celebrity and essentially the most feared striker within the recreation alongside the way in which. In spite of everything, it took Haaland simply 12 minutes of preseason play to web his first aim for City:

How will Liverpool fare with out Sadio Mane?

In principle not less than, the Reds should not miss Mane a lot. The 30-year-old Senegalese striker wished to depart Liverpool — who he helped to their first English title in three a long time in 2020 — after virtually 200 Premier League video games for a brand new journey with Bayern. Liverpool duly spent $100 million to interchange him Darwin Núñez, a prolific 23-year-old Uruguayan.

Drawback solved, proper? We’ll see.

Núñez is a unique kind of ahead than the fleet-footed Mane, who developed an virtually telepathic understanding with proper winger Mohamed Salah on Merseyside. There isn’t any assure that the identical kind of chemistry will develop between Núñez, who’s extra of a field striker than one who excels on the counterattack, Salah and the remainder of his teammates.

There may be hope, although: After struggling in his first few preseason outings, Núñez scored because the Reds topped Man City in final weekend’s Neighborhood Protect. He then credited Salah for serving to him settle in.

Liverpool have come excruciatingly near including one other league title during the last two years, solely to fall simply shy every time. If Núñez can prime the 16 targets Mane scored final season, it could possibly be sufficient to place the Reds again on prime.

Will Cristiano Ronaldo keep at Manchester United?

Some degree of drama is anticipated inside any membership that employs Ronaldo, however the Portuguese celebrity has taken his act to telenovela ranges within the lead-up to the brand new marketing campaign. Only a yr after returning for his second stint with the Pink Devils, Ronaldo desires out.

United completed sixth final Might and failed qualify for this season’s Champions League regardless of Ronaldo’s 18 targets, the third-most within the league. It is comprehensible {that a} participant who will flip 38 in February desires to compete in Europe’s prime membership competitors. However for the second time in two years, the late timing of Ronaldo’s switch request has put his bosses in a tricky spot.

Juventus was in a position to transfer Ronaldo on the ultimate day of final summer time’s switch window, however there is not as a lot curiosity in him this yr. Champions League mainstays Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, Bayern and Paris Saint-Germain do not appear to need him. Meantime, Man United cannot actually change him at this stage and could also be pressured to maintain him. Ronaldo is not completely happy; he left Outdated Trafford earlier than the top of Sunday’s last tune-up in opposition to Spain’s Rayo Vallecano, a lot to the chagrin of recent United manger Erik ten Hag.

How or when the standoff ends is anybody’s guess. However for a membership determined to return to the Premier League’s elite — one which that has been completely rudderless since Sir Alex Ferguson retired a decade in the past — it is a circus they do not want on the eve of a brand new marketing campaign.

Can Gabriel Jesus assist Arsenal return to the Prime 4?

After ending between fifth and eighth in every of the final six seasons, the Gunners are a far cry from the membership that earlier than that had certified for the Champions League 20 years in a row.

This could possibly be the season they get again there. Arsenal has fallen behind North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in recent times, however their acquisition of winger Gabriel Jesus from Manchester City this summer time signaled their ambition to enhance. The Brazilian is not a world-beater, it is true. However he is ok to make a distinction for Mikel Arteta’s squad, and he is received loads to show after instigating the switch searching for extra taking part in time than he acquired beneath City boss Pep Guardiola.

The best way Arteta sees it, Arsenal added a confirmed winner.

“He’s an enormous talent, a player with mentality that is so contagious,” the third-year coach and former Gunners midfielder mentioned earlier this week. “He is going to give us a lot.”

Has Chelsea improved sufficient for a title problem?

If any group can compete for the title with Liverpool or Man City, it is Chelsea. The Blues’ new American-lead possession group has proven a willingness to spend cash towards that finish this summer time, too.

Thomas Tuchel’s group added Raheem Sterling from City. Like Jesus at Arsenal, Sterling’s expertise and championship pedigree ought to match proper in on a squad that claimed each the Champions League and FIFA Membership World Cup titles throughout the final 18 months.

Tuchel additionally landed prized Napoli middle again Kalidou Koulibaly, and he made an addition by subtraction by transport Romelu Lukaku again to Inter Milan on mortgage following the striker’s disastrous return to Stamford Bridge.

On Thursday, the Blues introduced the signing of 18-year-old prodigy Carney Chukwuemeka from Aston Villa.

Will or not it’s sufficient to upset the facility construction atop the Prem, although? That is powerful to say. Chelsea additionally misplaced two vital veterans in Antonio Rüdiger (Actual Madrid) and Andreas Christensen (Barcelona) on free transfers this summer time.

One of many main soccer journalists in North America, Doug McIntyre has coated United States males’s and ladies’s nationwide groups at a number of FIFA World Cups. Earlier than becoming a member of FOX Sports activities in 2021, he was a workers author with ESPN and Yahoo Sports activities. Observe him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.

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