Everyone against the cannibal “Manchester City” at the start of the Premier League

. City vs. Arsenal Act II

In honor of the champion, the Citizens open the curtain on Friday (1900 GMT) at the home of newly promoted Burnley with ambitions to win a fourth successive crown, unprecedented in the country that invented football.

The Abu Dhabi United Group-owned club, first proclaimed European champion in June, has become an almost invincible machine thanks to a checkbook and a patient and sensible sports policy.

Although Pep Guardiola lost his captain, Ilkay Gündogan (Barcelona), he was replaced by Mateo Kovacic (formerly of Real Madrid and Chelsea) and signed Josko Guardiol (Leipzig) as a luxury reinforcement for already fed defense.

He also maintains the backbone of a successful last season with Kyle Walker, John Stones, Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Erling Haaland, a striker who scored 36 goals in his first season in England.

After fighting for the title last season, with 84 points to their credit and 88 goals in favor of a second-place finish, Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal seem poised to aim for the top again.

Their American owners, usually more frugal, have spent their checkbooks this year to get winger Kai Havertz and linebacker Declan Rice in a club record.

French defender William Saliba, whose injury loss in the final stretch of last season cost him dearly, is back and the Gunners have already booked their first yellow card by beating Manchester City on penalties in the Community Shield.

. United, Newcastle and Liverpool in search

Manchester United, who finished third last year, have regained stability and ambition under Erik ten Hag. They won the League Cup, their first title in six years, reached the FA Cup final and are back in the Champions League this season.

The Red Devils kept their stars, and the Glazer family, despite the process of selling the club, invested in goalkeeper Andre Onan, midfielder Mason Mount and forward Rasmus Heilund.

Liverpool entered the market with less strength, which worries fans who have just endured a disappointing season (early relegation in domestic cups and the Champions League, and a fifth-place finish in the Premier League). In addition, Henderson, Fabinho, Milner, Keita, Oxlade Chamberlain, Firmino left. Only two sign-ups for the Anfield club: Dominic Soboslai and Alexis Mac Allister.

“I can understand that there are people with doubts,” admitted new captain Virgil van Dijk.

Newcastle and their Saudi owners, who finished fourth last year, are also looking to challenge for the podium. To keep up the pace and play a worthy role in the Champions League, the Magpies have chosen the talented midfielder Sandro Tonali from AC Milan.

. Chelsea and Tottenham, the expected step forward

Money does not always guarantee results. Chelsea’s American owners were able to see that last season’s high, their first in London, closed in a modest 12th place, the Blues’ worst finish since 1994, despite €600m (about $661m) spent on transfers.

By sacking three managers in record time (Tucel, Potter and Lampard), the Chesi put themselves in the hands of Mauricio Pochettino, who admires his success at neighboring Tottenham Hotspur (2014-2019) and despite the fact that he did not win in Parisian SG (2021). -2022).

The Argentine will have to form a group that suffered from the campaigns of Edouard Mendy, Kalidou Coulibaly and N’Golo Kante, all three in Saudi Arabia.

And he won’t be able to count on Christopher Nkunka, his star signer, who was injured on one knee in preseason for months.

A disappointing last season, however, offers an element to look forward to; Without European competition, Chelsea will be able to focus on domestic competition.

The same case with Tottenham, which for the first time since 2009 will not travel to Europe, although the final squad has not yet been fully determined, especially given the possible departure of his legend Harry Kane to Bayern Munich.

— Program of the first day of the Premier League (GMT):

– Friday

(19:00) Burnley – Manchester City

– Saturday

(11:30) Arsenal – Nottingham Forest

(14:00) Bournemouth – West Ham

Brighton – Luton Town

Everton – Fulham

Sheffield United – Crystal Palace

(16:30) Newcastle – Aston Villa

– Sunday

(13:00) Brentford – Tottenham

(15:30) Chelsea – Liverpool

– Monday

(19:00) Manchester United – Wolves

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