Teamwork makes the dream work

How prepared are Man Metropolis, Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal and Man United?

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The 2022-23 Premier League season kicks off on Friday when Arsenal journey to Crystal Palace, and it already seems as if the highest six within the desk will as soon as once more be contested by the so-called Massive Six of Manchester Metropolis, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester United and the Gunners.

Defending champions Metropolis begin the season as title favourites — and to develop into solely the fifth membership in English soccer historical past to win three in succession — with Liverpool more likely to be their closest challengers. Spurs, Chelsea, United and Arsenal will seemingly then battle it out for the remaining two Champions League qualification spots.

However how prepared are the highest groups for the beginning of the season? Can anybody get off to a flyer following their preseason campaigns? Or are they unprepared after beginning late and struggling to seek out consistency and health?

Now their preseason preparations have been accomplished, ESPN assesses which of the Massive Six are prepared and that are going into the marketing campaign with points nonetheless to handle.

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Metropolis have taken a distinct method to their rivals in preseason, with Pep Guardiola’s facet taking part in simply three video games forward of the Premier League opener towards West Ham this Sunday. The squad additionally began coaching later than anybody else by reporting again on July 11 — three days after Arsenal performed their first pleasant towards Nurnberg in Germany.

Though Metropolis secured two victories in friendlies towards Membership America and Bayern Munich within the United States, they have been overwhelmed 3-1 by Liverpool within the Neighborhood Protect and there gave the impression to be an apparent gulf within the health and readiness of the 2 groups on the King Energy Stadium.

Sources have informed ESPN that Metropolis’s late begin to preseason and diminished workload when it comes to friendlies was a strategic determination based mostly on the size of the marketing campaign forward, which runs till the Champions League remaining on June 10 due to the impression of the scheduling of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar between Nov. 21 and Dec. 18.

The view throughout the Etihad is that the advantages will repay in the direction of the top of the season, when the gamers will likely be brisker than their rivals. The draw back is the danger of a gradual begin within the Premier League, so Metropolis could possibly be weak after they journey to West Ham this weekend.

VERDICT: Metropolis have actually taken a raffle with their shortened preseason, but when they’ll keep away from early defeats, they could possibly be stronger than the remaining in the direction of the top.



Steve Nicol praises the efforts of each groups for the Neighborhood Protect, however calls Liverpool’s attacking recreation far superior than Manchester Metropolis’s.


Liverpool performed six video games in preseason, however supervisor Jurgen Klopp is so involved by what he believes to be his facet’s lack of preparation time that he has instructed the membership to rearrange one other pleasant 24 hours after the Premier League opener towards Fulham on Saturday.

Having overwhelmed champions Metropolis so impressively within the Neighborhood Protect, Klopp’s worries in regards to the form of his squad appear to be unfounded. However Liverpool have had combined outcomes since beginning preseason coaching on July 4 — per week sooner than Metropolis — profitable three and dropping three of their video games.

Liverpool misplaced 4-0 to Manchester United in Bangkok, have been overwhelmed 1-0 by FC Salzburg in Austria and suffered a 3-0 defeat towards Strasbourg at Anfield on July 31, lower than 24 hours after beating Metropolis within the Neighborhood Protect, albeit with a largely second-string facet.

However wins towards RB Leipzig (5-0), Crystal Palace (2-0) and Metropolis (3-1) have been the positives from a interval that has additionally seen Liverpool clock up the air miles with video games in Thailand, Singapore, Germany and Austria.

VERDICT: Liverpool’s Neighborhood Protect win towards Metropolis ought to have allayed a few of Klopp’s considerations about his group’s preparations. Nevertheless, a troublesome opening spherical of fixtures consists of journeys to Manchester United and Everton earlier than the September worldwide break, so Liverpool might want to make a robust begin.


Coach Antonio Conte has all the time made it clear that he wants a full preseason to claim his authority and persona on a squad, and the previous Chelsea and Inter Milan boss has taken full benefit of his first summer season at Spurs.

The primary-team squad reported again for obligation on July 4 earlier than flying to South Korea for a two-game event towards a Ok-League XI and Sevilla. A 6-3 win towards the Ok-League and 1-1 draw towards Sevilla have been optimistic outcomes, however probably the most eye-catching consequence of the journey to Seoul was video footage of Conte’s demanding coaching regime which noticed the gamers doing endurance-sapping runs up and down the pitch in searing warmth and humidity.

Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min have been each pictured combating the calls for of Conte’s bodily exertions, however at his earlier golf equipment, excessive ranges of health banked in preseason have led to Conte’s groups difficult for titles, so he will likely be hoping to repeat that course of at Spurs.

A 2-1 win towards Rangers in Glasgow, adopted by a 1-0 defeat towards Jose Mourinho’s Roma in Israel, accomplished Tottenham’s four-game warm-up marketing campaign.

VERDICT: 4 video games is a below-average variety of preseason friendlies, however Conte has all the time favoured exhausting work on the coaching floor over accumulation of minutes on the pitch, so he’s sticking to a tried-and-tested technique. Spurs will likely be match and powerful when the season begins, however the massive query will likely be whether or not they can maintain it till the top of the marketing campaign.



Shaka Hislop is worried about Chelsea’s lack of great signings in the summertime switch window compared to Arsenal and Tottenham.


It has been a troublesome preseason marketing campaign for Chelsea, with coach Thomas Tuchel complaining of a worrying lack of progress and cohesion following a 4-0 defeat towards Arsenal in Orlando, Florida, on July 24.

Some senior gamers — together with Antonio Rudiger, Romelu Lukaku and Andreas Christensen — have left Stamford Bridge this summer season, with Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly arriving through the tour of the US.

Coaching started on July 2 for these not concerned within the June worldwide break, with others returning on July 8 forward of the three-game journey to the U.S., which noticed a 2-1 win towards Membership America in Las Vegas and 1-1 draw towards Charlotte FC in North Carolina previous to the defeat towards Arsenal.

A 3-1 win towards Udinese in Italy on July 29 accomplished the preseason schedule and helped regular the ship forward of the Premier League opener at Everton on Saturday, however an ongoing seek for reinforcements and Tuchel’s considerations recommend a bumpy trip forward for Chelsea.

VERDICT: It’s uncommon for a high coach to make such outspoken feedback in regards to the readiness and angle of his gamers throughout preseason, so all will not be properly at Chelsea. An excellent begin will banish a lot of the negativity, however the flipside is that if they’re gradual out of the block, then it’ll solely exacerbate the tensions of the summer season.


Arsenal have loved a flawless preseason, profitable all 5 video games in Germany, the U.S. and on the Emirates. For a membership that has endured a listing of troubled summers in recent times, the worth of merely profitable and injecting positivity forward of the brand new season can’t be overstated.

A staggered return, beginning for some gamers on June 27 and ending with the internationals on July 11, has labored in Arsenal’s favour, judging by their performances on the pitch. The Gunners beat Nurnberg 5-3 in Germany on July 8, earlier than wins towards Everton (2-0), Orlando Metropolis (3-1) and Chelsea (4-0) on the tour of the U.S. A 6-0 win towards Sevilla on the Emirates on July 30 accomplished the warm-up programme.

New £45m signing Gabriel Jesus scored seven targets in 5 video games, whereas three clear sheets in these 5 wins can even be a lift for Mikel Arteta, whose group missed out on a Champions League spot final season after failing to maintain a clear sheet in any of their final 10 league video games.

VERDICT: Preseason is never a dependable information to what lies forward, however Arsenal have aced their summer season marketing campaign. That may give Arteta and his squad enormous confidence going into the opener towards Crystal Palace. Arsenal look match and sharp, so that they have given themselves the right launchpad.



Steve Nicol, Frank Leboeuf and Gab Marcotti talk about Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo leaving the stadium earlier than the ultimate whistle in a recreation vs. Rayo Vallecano.


New supervisor Erik ten Hag began preseason coaching with nearly all of the United squad reporting again as early as June 27. With United recording their worst-ever Premier League season in 2021-22, the previous Ajax coach wished extra time to introduce his strategies and enhance the squad’s health following the dismal final marketing campaign.

Performances in preseason have pointed to an early upturn and it has been a busy summer season, with United taking part in six video games on three totally different continents, together with a 10-day coaching camp in Australia.

United opened up with a 4-0 win towards Liverpool in Bangkok, earlier than victories towards Melbourne Victory (4-1) and Crystal Palace (3-1) in Melbourne. A 2-2 draw towards Aston Villa in Perth was adopted by a 1-0 loss to Atletico Madrid in Oslo and a 1-1 draw towards Rayo Vallecano at Outdated Trafford on July 31, so there was one thing of a actuality verify forward of the Premier League opener at residence to Brighton on Sunday.

Ten Hag and his squad have travelled additional than any of their Massive Six rivals and no one has performed extra video games, so there will be no strategies of an absence of preparation time. However on-field points, together with the way forward for Cristiano Ronaldo — who performed simply 45 minutes in preseason and left at half-time of the Rayo recreation — and the failure to signal Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, proceed to forged a shadow over the brand new marketing campaign.

VERDICT: All managers wish to work on issues forward of a brand new season, so Ten Hag will profit from the run of three video games with no win when it comes to with the ability to level to work nonetheless needing to be executed. The brand new supervisor has been capable of finding an attacking mix with Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Jadon Sancho, and United seems a happier surroundings, so preseason has been largely optimistic at Outdated Trafford.

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