By Amy Samberg
Manchester City’s unprecedented, record-breaking 2018-19 season set new standards of quality and tactical dominance in the Premier League.
In the history of the English top flight there has never been a team that reached a century of points – but Pep Guardiola’s men achieved their 100 points after their 1-0 win against Southampton on the last day of the campaign.
In the process, City also set a league record for the most goals scored and most games won.
After such an incredible season, which set an extremely high benchmark, what’s next for the Premier League?
City’s achievement has elevated the sport to a near art form, and unless the high standard set last season continues, subsequent campaigns will seem somewhat anti-climactic.
Especially when no other team even came close to threatening their dominance; there was a substantial 19-point deficit between the champions and their rivals Manchester United in second place.
Even the achievements of United’s incredible 1998/99 season or Arsenal’s “Invincibles” campaign of 2003/04 could arguably pale in comparison, despite City not winning any other major competitions.
Can anyone challenge Guardiola’s side this season?
Despite United’s second place finish last season, they underperformed with such a talented squad.
Their last title was back in 2013 and to make matters worse they have not done much during the summer transfer window.
Young right-back Diogo Dalot could potentially improve United’s chances this season. However, with little experience under his belt it will be up to Brazilian midfielder Fred to help the side’s midfield and provide defensive as well as attacking support.
Liverpool on the other hand have made it clear that they intend to challenge City and Jurgen Klopp is certainly building a team capable of challenging the titleholders.
With new signings like Alisson Becker in goal and Guinean international Naby Keita to bolster their midfield, Liverpool have started the season well and look set to be City’s main challengers.
Meanwhile, at Stamford Bridge, former powerhouse Chelsea finished fifth with 70 points last season and sacked manager Antonio Conte during a series of dramatic events this summer
Defensively, the Blues have been very inconsistent, with a goal difference of only 24 last season – their centre-half partnership of Antonio Rudiger and David Luiz looks susceptible.
If Chelsea are to challenge for the title they will need to solidify their defence and take to Maurizio Sarri’s style of playing.
City are certainly the favourites to win the Premier League again this season, despite key man Kevin De Bruyne’s injury.
Going by their opening two performances, 100 points is not off the table in 2018-19 – and United, Liverpool and Chelsea will need to be almost perfect to outdo them.