Can Man City win a fifth straight title? A way-too-early look at the 2024-25 Premier League season

The 2023-24 Premier League season is over — Manchester City have won a record fourth successive title, Jürgen Klopp has vacated the stage as Liverpool manager and Manchester United have recorded their worst-ever finish in the Premier League.

Arsenal nearly won the league, Tottenham fans angered manager Ange Postecoglou for wanting Spurs to lose against City and Aston Villa surprised everyone by qualifying for the Champions League.

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But before the focus turns to a summer of international football with Euro 2024 and Copa América, it’s time to look ahead to the 2024-25 Premier League season. Yes, it’s a little early — the dust is still settling on the campaign just finished — but what better time to predict what will happen next term than with the last one still fresh in the memory?

So here is the ESPN “Way Too Early Look” at next season.

Manchester City have won six of the past seven Premier League titles — Liverpool broke that sequence in 2019-20 — and have become the first team in English football history to win four successive league crowns.

If they beat Manchester United in the FA Cup final on Saturday (9:55 a.m. ET, stream live on ESPN+), City will create more history by becoming the first club to achieve a back-to-back league and cup doubles. Pep Guardiola has steamrollered the record books since taking charge as manager in July 2016 and it’s difficult to predict anything other than more success next season.

Can City make it five in a row? Well, they have the strongest team, the deepest squad, the best manager and financial resources unmatched by their rivals, so they will start next season as overwhelming favourites to emerge as champions again.

Arsenal will probably be their closest rivals again, having finished runners-up for two successive seasons, but Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea are all in a state of flux due to managerial change or uncertainty in that department. So barring an unexpected turn of events, City will win the league again.

An unexpected turn of events, did you say? Well, here is one huge cloud hovering above City in the shape of 115 charges of financial irregularity imposed by the Premier League — charges that City deny.

Ever since the Premier League issued the charge sheet in February 2023, which covers the period between the 2009-10 and 2017-18 seasons, the football world has been waiting for City’s case to be heard and it is expected to begin in the autumn, with a final resolution likely to come three to four months later.

Nobody knows how it will turn out, but both Everton and Nottingham Forest suffered points deductions during the 2023-24 season (Everton eight points, Forest four points) for breaching the Premier League’s financial regulations, and their wrongdoing was limited to single charges (two single charges over two seasons in Everton’s case) of breaching Profit and Sustainability Rules.

All options are on the table for the Premier League should City be found guilty of some or all of the charges, so penalties could range from fines to points deductions or even expulsion from the league itself.

So it’s a big year ahead for City. We should know their fate long before the end of next season, and if they lose their case, relegation due to a points deduction could become a shocking reality.

Nobody has a bigger challenge in the Premier League next season than Arne Slot. The new Liverpool manager not only has to deliver success on the pitch, he must also somehow fill the void left by Klopp at Anfield.

Slot arrives at Liverpool with a reputation for producing exciting teams that out-perform their financial budget, having done so in the Netherlands with AZ Alkmaar and Feyenoord, but the Premier League is a much tougher environment than the Eredivisie and Dutch coaches have struggled to succeed in English football.

Louis van Gaal, Frank de Boer, Ruud Gullit and Ronald Koeman have all been and gone without challenging for a league title, while Erik ten Hag is struggling to survive at Manchester United after two years in the job at Old Trafford.

Spanish, Italian, German and Portuguese coaches have won the Premier League, so can Slot can buck the trend with Liverpool?

To do that, he must quickly convince big players like Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk that he can build on Klopp’s legacy and also match up to rivals such as Guardiola and Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta. Slot has the personality to pull it off, but he needs to start well.

It’s now 11 years and counting since Manchester United last won the Premier League, and they haven’t even challenged for the title during that time. But with the football side of the club now controlled by minority shareholder Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his INEOS group, changes behind the scenes point to a brighter future at Old Trafford.

Yet the reality is that, regardless of whether Ten Hag continues as manager, the overhaul required to make United competitive again will take more than one transfer window to complete.

United have so many issues to address in the team that it will be a painstaking process and next season will be another year of disappointment.

The rebuild has to start somewhere and it is likely to begin this summer, but United have a mediocre squad and, right now, a mediocre manager, so don’t expect them to challenge for the top four.

The 2024-25 season promises to be a breakthrough year for some of the brightest young players in the Premier League.

Adam Wharton has been a revelation for Crystal Palace since arriving at Selhurst Park in an £18 million transfer from Blackburn in January, and the 20-year-old midfielder will only build on his progress next season. Liverpool’s Jarell Quansah, 21, has shown enough in recent months to suggest he can nail down a role as Van Dijk’s defensive partner.

Oscar Bobb is another one to watch at Manchester City, where the 20-year-old attacking midfielder is slowly establishing himself in Guardiola’s squad. Bobb could become a more regular performer next season.

And after some impressive displays for Newcastle United early last season, 18-year-old Lewis Miley can become a first-team regular in Eddie Howe’s team at St James’ Park, despite his young age.

Arsenal have now finished runners-up for two successive seasons, but they don’t have the look of being a “nearly team.”

This Arsenal side under Arteta is developing fast and they could make it third time lucky in the league next season, depending on their summer recruitment.

But Arsenal look set to be City’s most likely challengers again, and the heartbreak of going so close this time around will make a difference next season.

The past two years have seemed like an exciting ride for the Gunners’ young squad, but there is a sense now that they are developing a harder edge through disappointments and it could lead to a greater focus on winning next year.

So no more cameras and selfies on the pitch next season, just a determination to go one better. They can do, but they have to do it from day one.

How do you predict the year ahead for Chelsea when those in charge seem to have an aversion to sticking to a long-term plan?

The Stamford Bridge side are now looking for their fifth manager since the Todd Boehly/Clearlake Capital consortium bought the club in May 2022, having parted company with Mauricio Pochettino following the end of the season, despite the former Tottenham coach guiding the team to sixth place and European qualification.

So with so much upheaval over the past two years, it appears inevitable that next season will see more of the same. It will be chaos rather than calm as yet another new manager attempts to succeed with a talented, but way too inexperienced, squad.

Chelsea want a coach who will march in step with the owners’ tune, but the best coaches are those who challenge their bosses when they need to and command the respect of their players for being strong enough to do so.

Right now, what’s best for the team is incompatible with what is best for the owners, so just as Chelsea looked to be getting it right under Pochettino, expect another season of drama next year.

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