England: City and Liverpool, the inseparable duo

England: City and Liverpool, the inseparable duo

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London (AFP) – Liverpool and Manchester City, the two most successful English clubs of the past five years, remain the big favorites for this new season of the English championship, which begins Friday with Crystal Palace-Arsenal (9:00 p.m.).

The Reds travel to Fulham on Saturday (1.30pm) while the Citizens travel to the London Stadium on Sunday to face West Ham (5.30pm).

As defending champions, and with the expected contribution of Erling Haaland, Manchester City keep a narrow lead according to observers.

In November 2020, after a rocky start to the league, Manchester City began a string of performances that saw them get the better of defending champions Liverpool at the turn of winter and then soar to the title.

This return to form coincided with the signing of Pep Guardiola’s contract extension. The Catalan manager is now linked to the Citizens until the summer of 2023, for what will be his seventh season at the Etihad Stadium. And he indicated that he would not renew his contract before this deadline, even if it meant leaving room for doubt.

This season could be different from previous ones at Manchester City, in spirit as well as in the game, with the arrival of Erling Haaland, who has just celebrated his 22nd birthday.

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Author of 85 goals in 88 matches in Germany with Borussia Dortmund, the Norwegian striker’s mission is to bring power in front of goal, in this opposing area where the Citizens have been able to settle so well in recent years, to the point to be the best attack in the five major European championships.

But also without knowing how to be decisive in certain crucial matches, especially those of the Champions League, a competition that Guardiola has never won without Messi.

Liverpool’s attack will probably not have much to envy to that of City this season, having scored only five goals less in the last exercise in the Premier League (94 against 99). It will benefit in particular from the arrival of Darwin Nunez, who will have to make people forget Sadio Mané, who left for Bayern Munich.

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The first duel between the two formations, after the Community Shield won last Saturday by Liverpool (3-1) will take place on the weekend of October 15, at Anfield Road.

What next for Ronaldo?

A priori, the gap has widened between these two teams and their pursuers, compared to recent seasons. The third most successful team of the last ten years, Chelsea, have to rebuild after a nightmarish first half, as a result of the war in Ukraine and the forced departure of owner Roman Abramovich.

This summer is still the summer of transition, with general manager Marina Granovskaia only due to leave her post at the end of the transfer period.

German coach Thomas Tuchel is still in office, and can count on the reinforcements of Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly. Above all, he will have to ensure that his aging midfielders (Kanté and Jorginho) can return to their best level.

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Antonio Conte’s Tottenham is expected, but has so far been relatively discreet on the transfer market with the arrival of the very expensive center forward Richarlison (52 million pounds, or 62 million euros, for just 17 goals in 64 appearances in Everton’s last two seasons) and midfielders Yves Bissouma and Ivan Perisic.

The effect of the arrival of former Ajax Amsterdam coach Erik ten Hag will be scrutinized at Manchester United, as will the future of Ronaldo, who is determined to leave the club despite opposition from its leaders.

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For its part, Arsenal will aim for its first qualification in the Premier League for six years, counting in particular on the arrival of Gabriel Jesus from Manchester City.

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