Arsenal have beaten Manchester City 3-0 in order to win the Community Shield. Although the fixture is pretty meaningless, it shows that the upcoming EPL season will be more unpredictable than the last few seasons. Before a ball was kicked Manchester City were seen as the favorites to win the game, but they played poorly and were beaten easily by Arsenal. This season there are several teams that will be vying for the EPL title and Arsenal’s win illustrates that this season is impossible to predict before the games are underway.
When the EPL season kicks off there will be several teams that expect to compete for the title. Preseason favorites are Manchester City and Chelsea, but Arsenal’s win over an admittedly lack-luster City, shows how open this season will be. Of course the Community Shield isn’t always a good barometer of seasonal performance, Manchester United won it last year, but it is a good demonstration of how improved the sides competing for the title are this season. Arsenal have bought Alexis Sanchez, Chelsea have signed Cesc Fabregas, and Manchester United finally have a competent manager again. These changes mean that the league title is not a forlorn conclusion, and that this season is one of the most exciting in recent history.
Arsenal’s performance illustrates how far they have come from last season. Last December they were beaten 6-3 by City and they were beaten to the title because of their results against the bigger sides. Clearly Arsene Wenger has looked at last season and seen areas that need to be strengthened. All of their summer signings played well so it will give Wenger optimism before the season starts. However, Arsenal are not the only team to have bought well considering the fact that Chelsea have probably made the best preseason signings, so Jose Mourinho will be confident about his side’s potential.
By signing Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa, Mourinho has given his side that extra bit of star quality. Costa could be the final piece of the puzzle for Chelsea because they finally have a striker who can score goals. Last season Chelsea’s weakness was upfront, now they have signed Costa and Didier Drogba. Drogba is admittedly past his prime, but he can still score important goals. Going into the season Mourinho will be very confident because he has added strength, and been able to get rid of his most unpredictable defender, David Luiz, for a massive fee. Given how well they have strengthened, it is possible Chelsea have the most complete squad, which means they are early candidates for the EPL title.
When the season ends I hope to see Louis van Gaal’s influence take effect so that Manchester United top the EPL table. Unfortunately van Gaal is the main strength that United have added. They have made good signings, but they are still a couple signings away from being favorites. Having said that, United are certainly a dark horse because of the effect a new manager can have on a club, so it is possible to see van Gaal turning United into a competitive side.
The first trophy of the season has been won by Arsenal. Wenger will be delighted to get one over Manchester City after they pipped his side to the EPL title last season. His side’s performance will give him confidence before the season kicks off next week, and this result shows just how difficult it is to predict the league winners this year.