The Premier League Is A Two-Horse Race. Again.

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The Premier League has never been one for parity. For the majority of its existence, the league has been dominated by a small fraternity of very talented (and very wealthy) clubs. Only six teams have won the Premier League in its 27-year existence, and only four have won it more than once. And if last season is any indication, the stratification is becoming even more extreme. It’s Manchester City and Liverpool’s league to lose, and everyone else is playing for third place.
The rivals from the north of England had the second and third best seasons in Premier League history last year by points accrued. And if it weren’t for an astonishing goal line clearance and the small matter of 11.7 millimeters, Liverpool might have lifted its first-ever Premier League trophy last May. Instead, Manchester City claimed its second straight title and fourth this decade.
While domestic success might have eluded them, the Reds finished their 2018-19 campaign with a 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League final in Madrid. So while Manchester City may start the Premier League season as champions of England, Liverpool will start it as champions of Europe.
Both City and Liverpool boast impressive squads — so impressive that neither felt the need to dip their toes too deep into the transfer pool this summer. City starts the season where it left off in the Soccer Power Index (SPI), leading the league with a 94.2 team rating, while Liverpool is close behind at 92.9. As such, the FiveThirtyEight projection model suggests this season will be as imbalanced as the last, as it’s unlikely that any other team will win the Premier League: It gives City a 55 percent chance of winning and Liverpool a 32 percent chance. Meanwhile, the model gives Chelsea a 5 percent chance to win the title and Tottenham a 4 percent chance.
Perennial top-six teams Manchester United and Arsenal each begin the season with a 1 percent chance of winning the title; the remaining 14 teams each have a less than 1 percent chance of Premier League glory. Here’s a look at what to expect.
The big two
Manchester City and Liverpool didn’t make a lot of roster moves this summer because neither Pep Guardiola nor Jürgen Klopp believed doing so was necessary. City’s main piece of business was acquiring defensive midfielder Rodri from Atlético Madrid. The club splashed roughly $80 million for the Spaniard, who is likely the heir to City’s longtime linchpin midfielder, Fernandinho. City’s front line — consisting of any configuration of Leroy Sané, Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, Sergio Agüero, Riyad Mahrez and Bernardo Silva — won’t require much in the way of extra goal-scoring. But much of what City does has been enabled by Fernandinho’s ability to break up opposition possession and win the ball through midfield, so getting a younger, healthier version of him, in Rodri, makes a lot of sense.
And if Rodri’s performance last season is any indication of what’s to come, Guardiola and co. will be able to justify the hefty price tag: Among players who played at least 15 games, Rodri was the 10th-best central midfielder in La Liga in interceptions per 90 minutes in the middle third of the field, and he made the seventh-most tackles at his position in the middle third. His role in Madrid was to disrupt the opposition’s attack and advance the ball to Atlético forwards. Rodri finished the season as La Liga’s third-most successful central midfielder in terms of passing accuracy from the middle third to the final third, ahead of superstars like Toni Kroos, Ivan Rakitić, Luka Modrić, and Sergio Busquets.
City was already the best team in the Premier League at both holding possession and scoring, leading the league in share of possession (at nearly 68 percent) and total goals. Adding another wrecker in the center of the field who can also advance the ball into the attacking third with accuracy seems likely to make them even harder to stop. Bringing a healthy Kevin De Bruyne into the fold won’t hurt City’s chances at a three-peat, either.
Liverpool, meanwhile, might not have added star power this summer, but it will have more depth. It made three signings of note, though none is expect

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