Chelsea’s Conte in crosshairs for England’s mighty managers
LONDON vulnerable, notably in one-sided defeats at outgoing champions Leicester City (4-2) and Everton (4-0).
Guardiola seems content with his attacking set-up, particularly since the January arrival of Gabriel Jesus, but in defence and in goal, where Claudio Bravo vanished after arriving to replace Joe Hart, work is needed.
United won the League Cup, defeating Southampton in the final, and are favourites to beat Ajax in tomorrow’s Europa League final, which will yield a berth in the Champions League.
But while Mourinho has brought a bit of belief back to Old Trafford, United have looked desperately short in attack, their failure to secure a top-four place the legacy of a league-high 15 drawn games.
Wenger has endured his most difficult season at Arsenal, one which divided the cub’s support and ended without the promise of Champions League football for the first time in 20 years.
Victory in the FA Cup final against Chelsea would restore some credit, but Wenger must address the lingering uncertainty about his future before Arsenal can hope to move forward.
Liverpool looked set for a title tilt after surging to the top of the table in November, but a run of one win in seven early in the year robbed them of momentum they never rediscovered.
While Klopp’s team were often magnificent against the division’s heavyweights, finishing the season unbeaten against the other members of the top six, they were too easily frustrated by the smaller teams.
Spurs seduced neutrals with their dashing challenge to Chelsea, only to run out of steam, and now face the wrench of playing a season at Wembley while their White Hart Lane home is demolished and rebuilt.
With Europe’s elite clubs already eyeing up Pochettino and players like Harry Kane and Dele Alli, Spurs’ biggest challenge is keeping the train on the rails.
“You don’t sit back and wait for this team to become champions because that might not happen,” said former Liverpool captain Graeme Souness, who began his career at Tottenham.
“You’ve got to add to the squad and have a right go because they are not very far away.”
Everton, who finished seventh, look the only club capable of muscling in on the top-six cartel, particularly with majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri expected to splash the cash in the closeseason transfer window.
With Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Hull City going down, the northeast has lost three clubs, but the regional superpowers, Newcastle United, return under Rafael Benitez.
Brighton and Hove Albion will sample Premier League football for the first time, as could Huddersfield Town, who face Reading in the Championship play-off final on Monday. AFP