With the league kicking off on Saturday we look at last season’ s top 5 teams and how they have been preparing.
BY STEVE NJUGUNA
For the defending champions it has been a seesaw affair in their pre-season games as they won against PSG and Barcelona but lost to LA galaxy and Fiorentina as well as a confidence shattering loss to Arsenal in the community shield. Nevertheless, they will still be the team to beat as they boosted their squad with Colombian striker Radamel Falcao as they let go of Didier Drogba who signed for Montreal Impact in Major League Soccer.
2. MANCHESTER CITY
The Citizens are preparing to regain the title they lost to Chelsea last season though their pre-season period has been full of exits. Strikers Edin Dzeko and Stefan Jovetic were shipped off to Roma and Inter Milan respectively as Manuel Pellegrini’s side is left with two recognized strikers in the form of Wilfried Bony and last season’s top scorer Sergio Aguero. Their pre –season fixtures have also been rather double sided with their lowest point being thrashings by Real Madrid and VFB Stuttgart by 5-1 and 4-2 margins respectively.
The Gunners astonished everyone when they secured the services of Ex-Chelsea keeper Petr Cech this pre-season much to the fans delight. The 33 year old has not disappointed, pulling off some amazing saves during the community shield against former club Chelsea. The gunners also have a 100 % pre-season winning streak including a 6-1 win over Lyon in the Emirates cup.
4. MANCHESTER UNITED
The Red Devils managed to re-establish their Champions league credentials with a 4th placed finish last season. However, the main headlines have been dominated by talk of exits as Angel Di Maria leaves Old Trafford barely a year after arriving. Also, Spanish goalkeeper David De Gea seems to be edging closer to a Real Madrid move.
However, sufficient backup has been provided in the form of forward Memphis Depay, midfielders Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin and Argentine goalkeeper Sergio Romero leaving the Red Devils in a good position to challenge for the title. They have also had a near perfect pre-season run only faltering against PSG in the International Champions cup.
Liverpool have had an eventful time in the run up to this season as they made a myriad of signings as Brendan Rodgers seeks to reinforce his side for a top 4 battle next season. Notable signings have been Belgian striker Christian Benteke, English defender Nathaniel Clyne, Brazilian Midfielder Roberto Firmino and English striker Danny Ings.
They have also had a solid preseason as they did not lose any game despite Brendan Rodgers preferring to give game time to some youngsters like Divock Origi and Alberto Texeira. Fans can believe a top four challenge is feasible though it remains to be seen whether a title challenge can be mounted.