United’s top rivals for Premier League standing are: Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs. All have made additions to their squads this summer but who’s team is looking the best so far? Below shows each teams transfers, team weaknesses and a rating out of 10 based on their new squads.
Chelsea – 9/10
Premier League Champions last season, with a nearly faultless squad. They had two world class keepers in Courtois and Cech; a solid defense, with great replacements if needed; one of the best midfield line ups in the world hosting the like of Matic, Hazard and Fabregas; all topped off by a brutish goalscorer Diego Costa.
Mourinho let Cech go to Arsenal but replaced him with Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic so that issue was well filled. They have also loaned in Radamel Falcao, who had a pretty poor season at United, with Chris Smalling matching him on goals, but is still an incredible striker who could flourish under Mourinho’s guidance. Plus he fills the void that Drogba has left following his departure.
The only weak spot in the Chelsea XI last season was Willian, he’s just not as good as the rest of the team. January signing Juan Cuadrado could be a great replacement but, with Chelsea’s spending power they should go for someone like Koke, from Atletico Madrid. With Hazard on one side and Koke on the other, Chelsea would have no weaknesses and a full world class team.
Manchester City 9/10
City had a pretty poor season from a defensive perspective, averaging a goal conceded each game, which is the most they’ve let in since the 2009/10 season. This wasn’t helped by club captain missing many games through injury and then having some very uncharacteristically poor performances. However, assuming he avoids serious injury, Kompany should be back to his world class self next season.
The Blue Half of Manchester have made a huge summer signing in the form of Raheem Sterling, who will likely take the place of recent departure James Milner, who went the other way to Liverpool. A necessary signing given that Milner played so many games for them last season. Also it is an epic step up in ability for City, whilst keeping tabs on their home grown players. The Jamaican-born English international has incredible pace and finishing and greatly improves the caliber of City’s already strong offence.
City have also just added Fabian Delph to their ranks, no doubt just to add another home grown player to their ranks. There was so much hope for Delph given the talent he displayed at Leeds United, but at Aston Villa he kind of faded away for a while. This season he made his England debut and played 28 Premier League games for Aston Villa who just managed to avoid relegation. Fabian Delph does not have the ability or record that would normally be associated with City’s other players and will most likely be a benchwarmer for the majority of the season.
Arsenal – 8/10
Arsenal have a good, young squad with very few weaknesses. There was a lack of goals from some midfielders but the other, more forward players, made up for it. Defenders like Mertesacker could be accused of being too slow but the defense as a whole was solid, managing to keep 13 clean sheets and only conceeding 36. The only part of Arsenal’s game that held doubt last season was the goalkeeping. Ospina, Szczesny and, for four games, Martinez, shared the net. Ospina proved to be the superior keeper in shutting out the oposition 8 times and only conceding 11 in his 18 appearances.
Arsenal have made one signing this summer, Petr Cech. He will certainly sure up the goalkeeping position, not to say that Ospina wouldn’t make a good Premier League as he’s already proved that he can be, but Cech would bring far more assurance if Wenger wishes to continue rotate his goalkeepers.
Liverpool – 6/10
Since the loss of Luis Suarez last summer Liverpool have not lost their Champions League and fallen back to competing for the Europa League. Now this season Liverpool have lost their other two best players. Gerrard has moved on to America and wonder kid, Raheem Sterling has been sold to Champions League place rivals Manchester City, smart move.
Liverpool have made 6 signings this summer. Adam Bogdan from Bolton, presumably to cover for the loss of Brad Jones; Danny Ings from Burnley who definatly has talent but is likely to flop at Anfield as so many other Englishmen they’ve signed have: Charlie Adam, Stewart Downing and Andy Carroll to name a few.
Rodgers has hailed new signing Firmino as a very flexible player who can play all across the midfield, hinting at him being a replacement for Sterling on the wing. He may be disappointed. At Hoffenheim last season Firmino played 36 games. 30 of which were in an attacking midfield role; in 4 he adopted a central striking role and; for only 2 games he was on the left wing, in which his team lost 3:1 and drew 1:1. All 10 of Firmino’s goals were when he played attacking midfield.
Liverpool have also signed 29 year old James Milner from Manchester City, who isn’t a great player but does work hard, and Nathaniel Clyne from Southampton. Now, Clyne adresses a very important need in the Liverpool starting XI which was how poor their right back was last season. Clyne is young, strong and very talented and will become a great player. Plus his signing helps to continue to make Liverpool into a Southampton testimonial team.
Manchester United – 8/10
At the end of last season, the clubs needs were pretty clear: keep De Gea; get a natural right back, Valencia did well but looked out of place at times when defensive duties were required of him; sign an experienced central defender; buy a holding midfielder, to replace the injured and ageing Carrick and; bring in a top class striker. They could also do with selling off some of their poorer players.
So far, United have kept De Gea, filled in the need for a right back with Matteo Darmian, and got a new holding midfielder in the form of Morgan Schneiderlin. On top of this they’ve added dutch talent Depay to bolster the wings and World Cup winner Bastian Schweinsteiger as another great midfield option. They’ve played the market very well, especially in signing Schneiderlin who for years now has seemed destined for Arsenal.
However two crucial roles still need to be occupied at United. A top, 20+ goals a season, striker and an experienced and commanding center back. Despite how well the Reds have done this summer these two spaces need to filled well in order for the club to be successful next season.