2023-24 Premier League Title Contenders and Battle for Golden Boot
Arsenal and Manchester City raised the curtains on the 2023-24 English Premier League season on Sunday with a 1-1 draw in the Community Shield which was eventually decided on penalties in favor of the Gunners as Kevin de Bruyne and Rodri failed to score from the spot.
Now, the 2023-24 PL season will kick off this weekend with the defending champions facing Vincent Kompany’s Burnley followed by 379 more matches that will decide the fate of the esteemed football clubs across the United Kingdom.
With Burnley and Sheffield United back in the mix and Luton Town set to make its PL debut, it is going to be an exhilarating season with several clubs hoping to qualify for European football while many would be hoping to survive the drop to the second-tier of English football.
Defending champions Manchester City became the second English side to complete the infamous treble and Pep Guardiola will now be turning his attention to becoming the first manager to win the PL title four seasons in a row after the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson won three consecutive PL titles twice in his career.
With Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan departing the club and the likes of Kyle Walker, Joao Cancelo, and Bernardo Silva linked with exits, Guardiola has his work cut out if he wants to lift the PL trophy once again. By sealing the signings of Josko Gvardiol and Mateo Kovacic, the Spaniard has ensured squad depth but more work would be needed soon if any of Walker, Cancelo, or Silva put pen to paper with some other club.
On the other hand, Arsenal has started the new season on a high and Mikel Arteta has reasons to be upbeat after the arrivals of Declan Rice, Kai Havertz, and Jurien Timber but another injury to Gabriel Jesus has shown the lack of depth in the striker’s position.
Towards the end of the 2022-23 PL season, William Saliba’s absence hurt Arsenal as Man City ran away with the title and Arteta’s men would be hoping to make amends this season with Aaron Ramsdale, Bukayo Saka, Ben White, Martin Odegaard, and Gabriel Martinelli forming a strong and young core within the side.
Manchester United has grown leaps and bounds under Erik ten Hag as the Dutch manager ended the club’s six-year trophy drought and more things would be expected from him in the upcoming season with Mason Mount, Andre Onana, and Rasmus Hojlund joining the club in an outlay of more than 170 million pounds.
Bruno Fernandes will be the new skipper of the Red Devils and the Portuguese would be hoping to lead the club to its first PL title since the 2012-13 PL season. Marcus Rashford, Casemiro, Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw, and Raphael Varane would also be key cogs in the new season.
Newcastle United had a great league season last year which helped bring UEFA Champions League football back to the Tyneside and Eddie Howe will now be turning his attention to juggling his best starting XI between the two competitions.
The arrivals of Sandro Tonali, Harvey Barnes, and Tino Livramento coupled with the departure of Allan Saint-Maximin and Chris Wood have strengthened the squad’s depth in midfield and defense but Howe would ideally like another forward who can give him 20 goals in the upcoming season.
Chelsea has hired ex-Tottenham Hotspur head coach Mauricio Pochettino to lead a revival and bring the Londoners back to the top half of the table. A lowly 12th-place finish in the 2022-23 PL season led Todd Boehly to some rethinking and Pochettino has now seen another busy summer at Stamford Bridge but outgoings have been more than incomings this time around.
The departures of Havertz, Mount, Kovacic, Kalidou Koulibaly, Christian Pulisic, Edouard Mendy, Ngolo Kante, Cezar Azpilicueta, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has certainly trimmed a bloated squad. The additions of Christopher Nkunku and Nicolas Jackson have been made to prepare for life without Romelu Lukaku who is also looking for a permanent move away from the club.
Liverpool had a strange season and Jurgen Klopp has overhauled his midfield with the departures of club captain Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Naby Keita, James Milner, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain along with a loan move for Fabio Carvalho.
Curtis Jones, Thiago, and new signings Alexis Mac Allister and Dominic Szoboszlai will be taking on the midfield duties behind Mohammed Salah, Luis Diaz, Cody Gakpo, Darwin Nunez, and Diogo Jota but Klopp would ideally like to add Romeo Lavia to the club before the end of the transfer window.
Tottenham Hotspur also has a new manager as Daniel Levy appointed Ange Postecoglou and the 57-year old has issues to deal with straightaway with club captain Harry Kane linked to Bayern Munich. Elsewhere, Heung-min Son is coming on the back of a personally disappointing season while the likes of Giovani Lo Celso and Tanguy Ndombele will have to be reintegrated into the squad as well.
After the departure of club captain Hugo Lloros, the North London-based club has acquired several players in the form of Guglielmo Vicario, James Maddison, Manor Solomon, Mickey van de Ven, and Alejo Veliz to kickstart a new era at the club.
Golden Boot & Golden Glove Race
The 2022-23 Golden Glove winner David de Gea is no longer a part of the league and that opens the doors to Allison, Ederson, and Aaron Ramsdale to fight for the top prize with Andre Onana also staking a claim in a much-improved side.
Tottenham goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario would be facing stern competition in his first season in the league with Emiliano Martinez, Nick Pope, and Bernd Leno also outside contenders to win the Golden Glove in the 2023-24 PL season.
Erling Haaland broke umpteen records in the league despite being in his first season at the club and the Norweigian would be hoping to take his game to the next level after acclimatizing to the league last season.
The reigning Golden Boot holder could be challenged by Harry Kane if the 30-year old remains in England and chooses to continue chasing Alan Shearer’s record for most goals in Premier League.
Mohammed Salah, Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka, and Alexander Isak will also be in the running for the prestigious award with new boys Christopher Nkunku and Moussa Diaby also in the running.
We are in for a big season of English Premier League football which will shape the memories of fans of the teams involved at either end of the table.