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10 interesting things to note ahead of EPL season

10 things to watch for as 2018/19 Premier League season starts

August 9, 2018 By Michelle Bonsu
Ahead of the upcomning Premier League season, LiveSoccerTV takes a look at ten things to look out for as the 2018/2019 campaign prepares to get underway this Friday.

The Premier League season is just around the corner with Manchester United taking on Leicester City set to mark the opening game for the 2018/2019 edition of the world's most watched football tournament. And just like previous editions, this latest installment will surely be another one not to miss. So, without further ado, here are ten interesting facts and stats which fans ought to look out for as the season prepares to get underway this Friday.

1. Manchester City hoping to avoid a very curious hoodoo

The Sky Blues are currently the reigning champions and started off the current campaign well by beating Chelsea 2-0 in the annual curtain-raiser - the Community Shield.

However, winning this trophy has come at a cost for past victors, as this stat indicates:

It goes without saying that Pep Guardiola's men will be looking to avoid becoming the latest victims of that interesting hoodoo.

2. Battle of the pricey shot-stoppers

My goalkeeper is more expensive than yours! First, Liverpool had the most expensive shot-stopper. Ever. That record, which long belonged to Juventus who had signed Gianluigi Buffon back at the turn of this century, was broken when the Reds splashed out a reported £67m ($86m) to sign Brazilian star Alisson from Roma in a bid to strengthen that position after losing faith Loris Karius.

However, that record didn't last long after Chelsea then apparently spent £72m ($93m) on 23-year-old Spanish international Kepa, who plied his trade with Athletic Bilbao as a replacement for the outgoing Thibaut Courtois.

Who will have the more impressive debut season in the Premier League? All eyes will certainly be on how these two new very expensive acquisitions will perform with their respective clubs!

3. Another Italian job for Chelsea

The Antonio Conte experiment has run its course, and now Chelsea have again turned to another Italian tactician as the Blues hope to get back on track after a disappointing season. Conte managed to turn things around, steering the London giants to the Premier League title in his first term, but failed to replicate this during his sophomore campaign as they ended up finishing in a disappointing fifth and thus missed out on the Champions League.

Enter Maurizio Sarri. The chain-smoking, tough-talking former bank manager hasn't actually won any silverware so far, but did help Napoli pose a serious threat to Juve's Scudetto aspirations last season. However, the fact that he became so obsessed with winning the league title that he opted to forgo any other competition and ended up winning nothing with the Partenopei is a black mark against him, and Chelsea fans will hope he will not adopt that same kind of single-minded approach now that he has arrived in the Premier League.

That being said, he does play really exciting football - Serie A fans can attest to this - and if he can help stamp his playing style at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea will surely keep fans and neutrals entertained and make some major waves this season.

4. Sarri's protege hopes to make his mentor proud

On the topic of Sarri, he has brought along one of his proteges from Napoli to Stamford Bridge: Jorginho. The Brazilian-born Italian international has been quite solid for Chelsea so far in pre-season, but now the real work begins in the faster pace of the Premier League. A standout performer with Napoli in Serie A, he cost the Blues a pretty penny, but fans are already looking forward to seeing how he will sparkle in the middle of the park alongside midfield warrior N'Golo Kante.

5. Who will break the assists record?

20 still stands as the magical number, set by...Thierry Henry during the 2002/2003 season. So far, the players who have come the closest are Mesut Ozil and Kevin De Bruyne, who racked up 19 and 18 respectively during the 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 terms.

Will 2018/2019 be the year we finally see someone at least match, or possibly break Henry's long-standing record? Or will it live to survive another campaign?

6. It will be really odd watching Arsenal without Wenger on the bench

Unless if one is a much older Premier League fan, it will be really odd seeing Arsenal without a familiar face on the bench this season: Arsene Wenger. Most Premier League fans who were born in the late '80s and '90s grew up watching the league with seeing Le Prof in charge, but after over two decades on the bench, he has now departed with Unai Emery taking over, and certainly Gunners supporters will hope that the former Sevilla and PSG boss can usher in a time of change and revival at the Emirates as Arsenal hope to close the gap this term.

7. Who's going to clinch the coveted Golden Boot?

Last season, it was Mohamed Salah - who, with 32 goals, has netted the most ever in a 38 game season. The two seasons prior to that belonged to Harry Kane. This time around, there will certainly be many who will be competing for it, including the aforementioned Kane and Salah, and others, including Romelu Lukaku, Sergio Aguero, and many more. 

8. Will he stay or will he go?

Will Jose Mourinho survive the entire season? The Red Devils' pre-season tour of the USA was full of outbursts and other complaints from the outspoken manager, and already, there are rumblings that the "Special One" could possibly be on his way out midway through the campaign - just like what happened to him when he was at Chelsea.

Keep your eyes on this space. Manchester United did finish in the top four last term, but there are reports of players being disgruntled, with one notably being star man Paul Pogba, who has been linked with a move away to Barcelona.

9. Can Guardiola break record once again?

Last season, Pep Guardiola's side became the first Premier League team to reach 100 points in a season en route to winning the title by a whopping 19 points. No team had ever achieved that, and all eyes will be on the Sky Blues to see if they can do it once again this time around.

10. And will Harry Kane FINALLY break his August drought?

Harry Kane certainly has no problem in scoring goals. That is, as long as it's not in August. For some odd reason, the Tottenham ace, who has scored over 100 Premier League goals and counting, cannot find the back of the net in August!

Will that finally change this season?





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