Who can challenge Manchester City and Liverpool for the Premier League title this season?

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It’s fair to say that Manchester City and Liverpool have been a cut above their challengers over the last few seasons. City’s spell of dominance began in the 2017-18 season, where they amassed a record points total of 100, and Liverpool joined them on a similarly high level the following campaign, finishing second to Pep Guardiola’s side on 97 points. The Reds did get their moment in the sun in the season just gone though, as their total of 99 points sealed a comfortable title win.

The question is, who can ascend to such a high level and dislodge the top two that have set such high standards in recent years? Although Man City finished 18 points behind Liverpool last season, they were still 15 points clear of third-placed Manchester United – evidence of the gulf which exists between the top two and the rest of the chasing pack. It’s anyone’s guess whether or not City and Liverpool can be challenged in the English Premier League odds this season.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to an interesting transfer window ahead of the 2020-21 campaign. Some clubs, notably Liverpool, have decided to be stringent in their spending, to avoid splashing out at a time when revenues have been hit by the loss of supporters from home matches. Other clubs have seen this period of uncertainty as an opportunity to get ahead by spending big. Chelsea are one club who have been splashing the cash this summer, bringing in an army of new signings to try and improve on last season’s fourth-place finish.

But question marks will arise over Chelsea’s methods this summer, and it will be a challenge for coach Frank Lampard to get all these new signings to gel in such a shortened pre-season. The games will come thick and fast in the new campaign, which means there’ll be little time for easing players in to training methods and Lampard’s preferred way to go. Such a high-risk strategy could be devastating, but it could also yield big rewards on the pitch.

Manchester United will also be hoping to push Liverpool and City closer this season after their strong end to the 2019-20 campaign. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer oversaw a massive upturn in fortunes after the restart, and in the end helped the club secure Champions League qualification for the upcoming season. United have been quiet on the transfer front so far, but with murmurings that a major move for Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho may be on the cards, United could have that extra bit of firepower in the forward areas.

Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal go into the season a bit further back in most people’s estimations, but two such huge clubs cannot be ignored, and both will be hoping to put last season’s disappointment behind them and push on towards a return to the title conversation. Tottenham boss José Mourinho is gearing up for his first full season in charge, as is Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta, and with that bedding-in process complete both may feel like this is the time to make a play for those top spots in the Premier League table.

Arsenal have made some shrewd signings, bringing in Willian on a free transfer from Chelsea, along with Spanish defender Pablo Mari, and there is expected to be more movement in the market before the window shuts. Spurs look set to complete the signing of Wolves’ right-back Matt Doherty, which would address a problem area of the field at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Whatever happens, you would expect this season’s title race to be an awful lot closer. Liverpool’s totals of 99 and 97 points in their last two campaigns could surely not be replicated for a third successive season, and you can bet that there will be several clubs hot on their tails to try and claim that Premier League title.

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