PEP GUARDIOLA can look forward to his first title in English football.
But I believe the most exciting side will not be Manchester City. It will be Tottenham.
Problem is, they will be playing at Wembley this season and I am convinced that their temporary home will do for them.
In fact, I worry that the club I enjoyed managing so much for four years might only JUST scrape into fourth place.
That is how much of a disadvantage I think they will be under while their new stadium is being completed.
Not that I would begrudge Pep his moment of glory.
He is unquestionably one of the great coaches of our time, as we saw at Barcelona and then at Bayern Munich.
And he has sorted out the problems that confronted him in his first season at the Etihad.
He’s spent over £200million in doing that, mind, by bringing in Ederson, Bernardo Silva, Kyle Walker, Danilo, Benjamin Mendy and Douglas Luiz.
Pep has shown he is not too proud or too big to realise that maybe he didn’t get things quite right after he got over here.
In fact, I am sure he would not argue that for all the money he spent last summer City had a poor season.
Certainly I was surprised at some of his selections. I reckon he made some strange decisions for a while.
But he is beyond that now, he has bought wisely and City are going to become a much bigger force than they have been over the past few seasons.
Yet I would have said they would still have come second had Tottenham not been forced to spend the forthcoming campaign at Wembley.
They would have been my first pick for sure because in Harry Kane and Dele Alli they have a wonderful pair, they have two great centre-backs and the goalie is top rate.
They haven’t bought anybody yet because they don’t really have to.
But Wembley, I fear, will be a major downer for them.
Look what happened in last season’s Champions League when they played under the Arches.
They didn’t win a game and even when they dropped down to the Europa League it was the same story.
It’s a different ball game when the opposition go to White Hart Lane.
The crowd is on them, the atmosphere hurts them and it lifts the Spurs boys. But Wembley is all about wide open spaces and incredible though Kane and Dele are, being away from the Lane is going to be a big loss for them.
Not that this year’s battle for the title is going to be a two-horse race.
Far from it. In fact I reckon it is going to be the most competitive and the most exciting of any title race since the Premier League began.
You could put your money on any of my top seven – City, Spurs, Chelsea, Arsenal, Everton, Liverpool and Manchester United – and get a real run for your money.
Ronald Koeman, I believe, will rattle a few cages with his new-look Everton team and if any club is going to bust into the top-four cartel then it is going to be them.
Jurgen Klopp will believe that he can take Liverpool further and higher than last season’s fourth-place finish and with that crowd at Anfield behind them, it could just happen for them.
But Chelsea will not be going away, that is for sure. Antonio Conte has proved himself to be a fine manager.
Even the expected loss of star striker Diego Costa should not deflect the Italian too much – not when he has Eden Hazard running midfield.
So would it be a major surprise if he won the title back to back? Not really.
And Jose Mourinho will be fancying his chances too at Old Trafford.
Providing he gets the right stuff from Romelu Lukaku up front – and I have to say the big lad doesn’t always produce when you really want him to, United will be contenders.
Arsenal, I’m not so sure about. I think Arsene has some defensive issues to sort out although Alexandre Lacazette is a striker who might just light things up at the Emirates.
All in all, the battle is going to be fascinating and I don’t think anyone will run away with it.
But if I were putting money down it would be on City – and Pep winning the seventh league title of his career.
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