For all the global appeal and excitement that the Premier League generates, there is a clear danger of Manchester City and Liverpool’s dominance reaching a point of repetition that undermines the competitive appeal of England’s top flight.
Other members of the so-called “Big Six”, however, are determined that when action returns on Friday, when Arsenal take on Crystal Palace, they can at least close the gap and begin to recapture the elusive element that is at the heart of the league’s popularity.
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City have won the last five titles, with Liverpool’s lockdown success in 2020, the only interruption to the dominance of Pep Guardiola’s side.
Not since Chelsea won in 2017, a year after Leicester City’s completely unexpected title triumph, have two North West clubs won away from home in the Premier League.
Key to Chelsea’s success was manager Antonio Conte and the Italian coach, now in north London with Tottenham Hotspur, hopes he can once again disrupt the dominance of Pep Guardiola and Juergen Klopp.
Spurs ended the term in fourth having secured a return to the Champions League, but their improvement under Conte and smart moves in the market have given rise to belief that they can improve further.
Premier League clubs splashed out an estimated £1 billion ($1.2 billion) in an arms race for new talent ahead of the start of the 2022-23 season on Friday, but champions City remain favorites to beat.
After winning four league titles in five years, Pep Guardiola has bolstered his squad with the arrival of Arling Haaland, the biggest name of the summer.
The Norwegian was a favorite among Europe’s top clubs after scoring 85 goals in 88 games for Borussia Dortmund and followed in the footsteps of his father Alf Inge — a former City captain — to the blue end of Manchester.
Haaland may have had a debut to forget after missing a glaring chance late in City’s 3-1 Community Shield defeat to Liverpool on Saturday, but Guardiola warned his side’s pretenders to the throne that “the goals will come”.
Haaland has also warned title contenders Manchester City that he will only thrive in the competitive environment of English football as the Norwegian prepares for his Premier League debut against West Ham on Sunday.
Haaland is the marquee arrival in the Premier League from the £1 billion ($1.2 billion) spent by 20 top-flight English clubs so far this summer.
The 22-year-old picked one of his top clubs after scoring 86 goals in 89 games for Borussia Dortmund, but said the demands of playing under Pep Guardiola were the reason he chose City.
“As a young player, playing for Pep Guardiola, playing for the best club in England, I have to improve a lot and get better,” Haaland told Sky Sports.
“That’s what I love about football, you can always develop, you can always do better in the game.”