The 2021-22 season in the Premier League was the first time the league had witnessed a proper title race in some time. Manchester City and Liverpool, two fantastic squads in their own ways, battled until the final day of the season before Manchester City secured a dramatic 3-2 victory over Aston Villa, clinching their fourth league title in six seasons under manager Pep Guardiola. The rest of the league, however, was far behind these two outstanding teams. Chelsea, who finished in third, finished 18 points behind Liverpool. Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, who finished fourth and fifth, respectively, both struggled to find consistency throughout the season and were clearly a tier below the three teams that finished above them. Manchester United suffered through a season in which they fired their manager and finished 11 points behind Arsenal, in sixth. However, through the start of the new season, the Premier League looks poised to be a much more exciting product. Numerous squads have made serious improvements up and down the table, and there are many teams with enough talent to have excellent seasons.
Arsenal and Tottenham appear to be the new teams with the best chance of challenging the duopoly of Manchester City and Liverpool in the race for the Premier League title. Arsenal made several strong summer signings, most notably signing left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko and center-forward Gabriel Jesus from Manchester City for 38.5 million and 57.4 million dollars, respectively. Jesus, an already-proven Premier League player, has found a new level to his game at Arsenal. Arsenal desperately lacked a talented center-forward through much of the previous campaign, and the addition of Jesus has added a cutting edge to their attacking play. Zinchenko has also slotted in seamlessly into Arsenal’s back line despite missing the last two contests through injury, and his knowledge of Mikel Arteta’s coaching from his time at Manchester City has been evident during his appearances. Tottenham also improved the depth of their squad as they signed wingers in Richarlison de Andrade and Ivan Perisic, while also bolstering their midfield through the signing of Yves Bissouma. Tottenham thrived in the second half of the previous season under manager Antonio Conte, especially as the team grew into his counter-attacking system. Main man and striker Harry Kane has enjoyed a productive start to the new season, and he has already bagged a Premier League tally of five goals through Tottenham Hotspur’s first six games. While Manchester City remains the favorite to win the Premier League, Arsenal and Tottenham look much better suited to give Guardiola’s side a stiffer challenge this season.
Many mid-table teams in the Premier League also improved massively during the summer. Brentford, led by star striker Ivan Toney, defeated Manchester United 4-0 in the second game of the season in what will surely be one of the most surprising results achieved by any team at the end of the season. Fulham, although newly promoted from the Championship this season, boast second-top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic leading their line. He has already scored six times in six games and has terrorized opposition defenses with his physicality and aerial prowess. Newcastle United have also made a strong start to the season and recently signed the dynamic Alexander Isak, who scored in his first game away at Liverpool, a difficult atmosphere to make one’s Premier League debut in. Eddie Howe’s side also gave Manchester City a serious scare, fighting to a wildly entertaining 3-3 draw. All of these sides and multiple others will surely continue to be successful against the top teams in the league as the season progresses.
Although they are not at the top of the league after the first six games, the Premier League title does still seem to be Manchester City’s to lose. New signing Erling Haaland has scored an absurd 10 goals through his first six games and shows no signs of slowing down. It seems inevitable that the rest of the squad will find their level and Manchester City will begin winning games consistently. It speaks to the standard that manager Guardiola has established that Manchester City are currently unbeaten and in second place at the time of writing, but there is still a sense that they can improve their play. If they do not, hungry squads like Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool will give them a serious run for the Premier League title this season. Many mid-table squads improved with their summer signings and have already given title contenders serious contests. Whatever happens by May, it will surely be wildly entertaining for fans. The Premier League always is, but this season feels particularly charged to produce something special.
Theodore Brita is a junior majoring in political science.