The 2023-2024 Premier League campaign started on August 11 and has thrown up a couple of surprises in terms of the performances of some clubs who were expected to contend for the title based on their activities in the summer transfer window.
But since the summer transfer window closed on September 1 to date, not much differences have been witnessed in some of the teams that were the busiest in the transfer market.
In this piece, we shall identify the contenders and pretenders of the 2023-2024 Premier League campaign alongside the club that is most likely to win the league title at the end of the season on 19 May 2024.
Below are the three major contenders for the 2023-2024 Premier League title based on their current form and their activities in the last summer transfer window:
1. Manchester City
Manchester City are the reigning Premier League winners. Last season, they didn’t only win the Premier League, they won the UEFA Champions League, and the FA Cup to end the season as the first English club after Manchester United in 1999 to win the treble.
It is however worth noting that some of the players who made their treble-winning season possible have left the club. These players include Riyad Mahrez who left the club for Saudi Pro League club Al-Ahli this summer, and Ilkay Gündogan who left the club for FC Barcelona.
As expected, Manchester City have also made some brilliant recruitment to not only replace the lost players but to also strengthen the squad. Some of the huge additions the club made in the last transfer window include Josko Gvardiol, Matheus Nunes, Jérémy Doku, and Mateo Kovacic.
Interestingly, most of the new signings, if not all, have started to play a major role in coach Pep Guardiola’s squad. For instance, Doku who is just a 21-year-old Belgian right-winger has already scored a goal in two Premier League games, Nunes has made three appearances in five games, Gvardiol has made four EPL appearances, and Kovacic has made four EPL appearances in five games for City.
The fresh input of these new signings has helped Manchester City to record five wins in five games so far in the 2023-2024 Premier League season which left them on top of the league table with 15 points.
Liverpool have always shown that they are a strong contender for the Premier League title except in the last two seasons when they struggled to survive in the league. Last season, things went so bad for them that they failed to finish in the top four, hence, they managed to qualify for only the Europa League.
However, the 2023-2024 Premier League season looks a bit promising for coach Jurgen Klopp and his boys as they have started on a good note so far. They are greatly reaping from their success in keeping Mohamed Salah at the club this summer despite fierce temptation from Saudi Pro League club Al Hilal.
When Liverpool lost 12 players in last summer’s transfer window including star players like Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, and Roberto Firmino, most football enthusiasts felt it would be difficult for Liverpool to cope this season. But they have brought in five exciting talents to replace some of the major departures which include Dominik Szoboszlai, Alexis Mac Allister, Ryan Gravenberch, and Wataru Endo.
The arrival of these players and the fact that Liverpool were able to keep Salah who has already scored two goals and provided four assists in five Premier League games so far this season, have yielded a huge positive outcome for coach Jurgen Klopp and his team.
So far this season, the Premier League giants have won four Premier League matches and drawn once in five games which left them in 3rd spot with 13 points.
Since the beginning of this season, Arsenal have proven that their last season’s performance in which they contended for the Premier League title until three to two games to the end of the season, was not a fluke.
Ahead of this season, coach Mikel Arteta ensured that the club spent like a club who are ready to contend for the Premier League title. They brought in big-money signings like Declan Rice, Kai Havertz, Jurrien Timber, and David Raya who are now a big part of Arteta’s team.
These arrivals made the departure of big-name players like Granit Xhaka, Nicolas Pépé, Folarin Balogun, Matt Turner, and Kieran Tierney (on loan), not to be felt by both the club and even the fans.
In their absence so far this season, Arsenal have won four Premier League games and drawn once in five games, a performance that has left them in the 4th spot on the league table with 13 points.
2023-2024 Premier League pretenders
Now that we have talked about the three genuine contenders for the 2023-2024 Premier League title, let us look at the major pretenders for this season.
1. Tottenham Hotspur
2. Manchester United
Though Tottenham Hotspur started very well under their new coach Ange Postecoglou, this momentum is expected to drop from January because the club don’t have the kind of firepower to sustain the fight for the Premier League title in the remaining 33 games.
Recall that the club lost their all-time top scorer, Harry Kane to Bayern Munich for a transfer fee worth over €100 million this summer. When that happened, many expected the club to struggle for goals this season but Son Heung-min who is the club’s new captain, and James Maddison, the club’s summer signing have stepped up to cover up for that.
Aside from Maddison, the club added seven more players in the last summer transfer window aside from a series of interesting talents that recently returned to the club after the expiration of their loan deals, especially 20-year-old Nigerian-born French left-back Destiny Udogie who has provided two assists in five Premier League games this season.
Their input in the team has helped them to win four games and draw once which left them in the second spot with a superior goal difference from third-placed Liverpool and fourth-placed Arsenal. However, this form might not last beyond the first half of the season and might only earn them a top-four finish at the end of the season.
After Manchester United finished in the top four last season under coach Erik ten Hag, the club’s fans began to hope that the Red Devils would contend neck to neck with their domestic rivals, Manchester City for the Premier League title this season.
The fact that the club added five new signings in the last summer transfer window and didn’t lose any important player in the window aside from probably Fred, Alex Telles, and Anthony Elanga who were not even regulars in Ten Hag’s squad, meant that the side were aiming to push for the title.
However, the new signings like goalkeeper André Onana and unfit Sofyan Amrabat have not been able to hit the ground running as much as expected especially the Cameroonian goalkeeper who has conceded 10 goals and kept just one clean sheet in just five Premier League games.
This has forced Manchester United to lose three games and manage to win two games which have left them in the 13th spot with 6 points despite being the most expensive squad in the world.
Based on their current form, United’s aim this season would have changed from contending for the Premier League title to least finishing in the top 6 spots and grabbing a ticket to play European football ahead of next season.
So far this season, Chelsea have continued with the terrible form they ended last season with despite spending over €1 billion in signing new players in the last three transfer windows.
The 12 new arrivals at the club via last summer’s transfer window including big-money signings like Moisés Caicedo, injured Christopher Nkunku, Cole Palmer, Nicolas Jackson, Axel Disasi, and Roméo Lavia who arrived at the club with fitness issues, have not been able to make any difference so far.
This has made it look like a big mistake for coach Mauricio Pochettino to allow the club’s first-team players like Kai Havertz, Mason Mount, Mateo Kovacic, Kalidou Koulibaly, Christian Pulisic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, César Azpilicueta, N’Golo Kanté, Kepa, and Edouard Mendy to leave the club this summer.
In their absence, coach Pochettino has managed to win just one Premier League game, draw twice, and lose twice in five games. This performance has left them in the 14th spot with five points. Hence, they are not looking like a side that will contend for the top four or the Premier League title itself.
Who will win the Premier League title in the 2023-2024 season?
Now that we have identified the Premier League title contenders and pretenders in the 2023-2024 season, let us look at the side that could win the title at the end of the campaign.
Initially, it was expected to be the most difficult season of all time based on the high rate of recruitment across all the clubs in the league. However, that has proven not to be true as the major suspects have continued to dominate this season.
Based on the state of play, squad deep, form management, and antecedent, Manchester City are expected to be the frontrunner yet again for the Premier League title. They have already won five in five league games, scoring 14 goals and conceding just three which goes to show how determined they are in their quest to win their third Premier League title in a row.
Currently, only Liverpool and Arsenal have the compactness to give Manchester City a run for their money at least until other giants like Manchester United and Chelsea wake up, and Tottenham Hotspur maintains their current form in at least 20 Premier League games. If that doesn’t happen, the city of Manchester will be painted blue again in May.