Welcome back to the Weekend Six Pack, in this edition we give you six thoughts about the upcoming 2022/2023 Premier League campaign.
- Manchester City and Liverpool are still the favorites — For the past five seasons, the league winner has come from this duo (4-1 in City’s favor), and it’d be a very safe bet that one of the two will win again this season. City added goal-scoring wonder Erling Haaland from Dortmund, giving Pep a world class number 9 to front his death machine. Liverpool replaced Sadio Mane with Darwin Nunez to keep their relentless attack going. The biggest rivalry of the past half decade figures to burn just as hot this season.
- Can anyone challenge them? — The usual names will be tossed into the ring — Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester United — when discussing the race to challenge City and Liverpool. Whether they’ve done enough to close the gap is the real question. Chelsea went through the turbulence of an ownership change, and manager Thomas Tuchel hasn’t had great things to say about the squad’s preseason performance, so that’s something to pay attention to. Tottenham finished last season strongly, qualifying for the Champions League on the final day of the season. Antonio Conte should have Spurs flying high once again. Arsenal made a bevy of acquisitions in the transfer window in an attempt to make the leap back into the top four (more on that below). Man United has a new manager, but there’s still uncertainty surrounding the status of Cristiano Ronaldo at the club.
- The Artetassance is here — Arsenal ownership has stayed true to manager Mikel Arteta through some rocky periods, but now is the time for him to reward their faith. The Gunners added striker Gabriel Jesus in an attempt to improve their scoring — something drastically needed if they’re to truly challenge for the Champions League. They’ve also added versatile defender/midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko, and are rumored to add one or two more players before the transfer window closes at the end of the month. They have an exciting young core with players like Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Martinelli, and Aaron Ramsdale, among others. They have a gaffer who studied under Pep Guardiola for years. There’s a buzz amongst the fan base for the first time since Arsene Wenger was patrolling the sideline. Can they deliver?
- Who’s gonna make noise outside of the ‘Big 6’? — Newcastle made the most off-season noise after they were acquired by a Saudi-backed ownership group. West Ham & Wolves both had spells in the top 4 race last season, but have they done enough to keep pace? Leicester City is always a club to watch, but they had an awfully quiet transfer window.
- Who has the best kit (uniform) this season? — As an Arsenal fan, I’m always keen on the Gunners’ classic red home kit (especially since the club signed with adidas a few seasons ago). The red and blue stripes of Crystal Palace are always a good look, and City added a tinge of maroon to their sky blue kits that works nicely. Liverpool, Chelsea and Man United all has slight updates on their classic looks, as well.
- The big World Cup sized elephant in the room — This season will present one, big, unusual hitch: there will be a break in play starting after the November 12th round of matches, and play won’t begin again until Boxing Day (December 26th). This will certainly be something to pay attention to in how it affects squad rotation and early season momentum.