SA fans buoy­ish over EPL clubs’ for­tunes

Agree ti­tle prospects are good… but con­sis­tency the key

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - SAMEER NAIK

CAN CHELSEA win back-to­back English Premier League ti­tles? That’s the ques­tion on the minds of mil­lions of soc­cer fans as the 2017/18 English Premier League kicked off last night. Here are the views of a few pas­sion­ate Premier League fans:

Vi­vian Casaletti – Chelsea “Win­ning back- to- back ti­tles is al­ways a dif­fi­cult task. We haven’t strength­ened our team enough to com­pete for the cham­pi­onship and for the Cham­pi­ons League… how­ever (man­ager) An­to­nio Conte has brought a great new en­ergy, spirit, un­der­stand­ing of the game and pas­sion into the team.

“… Con­sid­er­ing we haven’t changed the squad much, this is still a ti­tle-win­ning team and with a few re­in­force­ments, we’ll be ti­tle chal­lengers again this sea­son.”

Oliver King – Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur

“Peo­ple say we bot­tled the ti­tle last sea­son, but we were never even top of the league at any stage. This will be the most chal­leng­ing sea­son yet un­der (coach) Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino’s reign, what with play­ing our home games at Wem­b­ley, and how our ‘ri­vals’ are spend­ing huge amounts on trans­fers to strengthen their squads.” Nathan Ven­ter – Manch­ester City “City will def­i­nitely of­fer the most en­ter­tain­ment, given the new play­ers and the for­ma­tion used in pre-sea­son. I hope that with the mam­moth in­vest­ment in de­fence we’ll be less por­ous, but I fear we’re a bit thin in de­fen­sive mid­field and cen­tral de­fence. Sell­ing Fer­nando was a bit short-sighted as he of­fered some cover to Fer­nand­inho and Yaya Toure. I also be­lieve we could strug­gle with con­sis­tency con­sid­er­ing the age of the start­ing line-up. City should be top this sea­son, with Chelsea and Man United of­fer­ing the great­est com­pe­ti­tion to the ti­tle.” Brett Rogers – Liverpool “This sea­son will be re­ally tricky. With­out a new cen­tral de­fender, we’ve got big prob­lems. There are too many high pro­file games we need to play.

"The de­fence was ex­tremely weak last year and it’s not look­ing any bet­ter now. I worry our spec­tac­u­lar at­tack won’t be able to outscore our de­fen­sive frail­ties. I’m hop­ing we can fin­ish in the top three.”

Si­mon West – Ar­se­nal “We have no doubts we can win the league, the Europa and the FA Cup. There are, how­ever, huge con­cerns about the League Cup due to the squad we put out… the whole (Arsene) Wenger in/out de­bate was un­set­tling plus we played poorly against the other top five teams that does our cause no good. This sea­son, we hope to do bet­ter.”

Jeetesh Rav­jee – Manch­ester United

“All the teams have great qual­ity and have strength­ened. United have brought in some new faces but I don’t think that they will win the Premier League. (Coach) Jose Mour­inho has shaped the club in a pos­i­tive di­rec­tion. He has a win­ning men­tal­ity which he is in­still­ing into the play­ers.”

PICTURE: EPA

De­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Chelsea have bought new play­ers, but have lost key ones as well.

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