What is more likely? That United get much better or that City and Liverpool get worse?

fastwalker

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All things considered, the end of last season was a genuine success for United. From New Year onwards, the team played some excellent football, we went on a terrific unbeaten run, we conceded fewer goals, Bruno has been a revelation and we qualified for the Champions League. It may yet get even better if we win the Europa League!

Yet in a few weeks a new campaign will be upon us again and with new signings to come (Jadon Sancho and maybe Jack Grealish); surely we can start thinking about closing the gap on Liverpool and City and (hopefully) being in the conversation for the title again can't we? Or is that overly optimistic?

As optimistic as I am about what we might achieve next season I am also realistic enough to know that winning the title may still be out of United's reach for a while to come. Whilst I can definitely see us improving on the 66 points from the past two seasons, the fact is that the evidence of the last three seasons is that City and Liverpool have set a completely new benchmark for title winners. Even with the massive improvement from the pre-Lockdown to the end of last season, I cannot see United achieving a 33+ point swing in one season, which is what it would take to overhaul the gap to Liverpool (if Liverpool achieved a similar level of performance next season).

Realistically, I think next season, the best we can hope for is a gap narrowing campaign which is absolutely achievable (eg: 80+ points). Competing for a possible title shot, will in my view require Liverpool and or City to get significantly worse. City showed this season that it can happen, but even a comparatively poor City still managed to achieve 81 points, which would have been good enough to win the title in six of the previous 28 Premier League seasons. I cannot see City performing worse next season. It is just not going to happen. As for Liverpool I can only see a collapse if they lose Van Dijk and other key players to injury for extended periods. All things being equal City and Liverpool will achieve 90+ points next season.

But what do you think? Is a punt for the title next season realistic or not?
 

Irrational.

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I can't see Liverpool emulating last season (though I said that the season before too :D), but if the post-lockdown form is anything to go by I think there will be a drop in the level of performance from Liverpool. There are a lot of games that they scraped 3 points by a single goal in, and I'd be surprised if they manage to go so long again before being defeated.

City, on the other hand I can see improving. Considering they went a whole season without a decent central defence they're going to invest hard now that the FFP monkeys are off their backs too.

Chelsea are another that will be a force to be reckoned with next season.

It is up to us to rise to the challenge and I'm sure we'll improve but I think talks of the title next season would be a little premature. We have a young, vibrant squad that is coming along very nicely so I think the next few seasons will hopefully be very positive for us.

One thing is for sure for me: the top four will be the same next season - in what order I'm not sure.
 

Valencia Shin Crosses

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Probably us getting better, although what does that mean? Better than how we were playing after the new year, or just a better overall campaign? The latter is very likely, but the former might be tough to do considering we basically had the best points tally in the league after Bruno came.
 

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Agree with the OP. I'd expect United to carry on with their 2020 form and gain a lot more points, but not 90+. I do think that's required for the title though, as I would expect Pep to get City back on song. Not sure about Liverpool. If they click into action again, they'll have 90+ points again, as they just never drop points. But I could imagine the mentality and hence the intensity dropping off now the title's been won, which would mean a lot of their late wins from this season will become draws.
 
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It’s both.

We will improve, as will other clubs like spurs and Chelsea which will mean Liverpool and City won’t get as many points as they have over the last couple of years.
 

KirkDuyt

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Liverpool will not get as many points as last season. No fecking way. City will still be dominant. I'd say a better United is most likely. Consistency is by far the biggest factor there.
 

EwanI Ted

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City could stay at the same level next season (80ish points) or could improve, but I don’t see them going backwards again. Liverpool i dont think will stay at the same level. Theyve been at the high 90 points mark two seasons in a row, not many teams manage three seasons in a row at a consistently high level, especially when you look at the frankly incredible run of appearances by their senior players. Mane, Salah, Firmino and VVD have barely had a meaningful injury between them in three years.

As for United, 80 points or thereabouts should be achievable if we stay injury free. Maybe 85 with a fair wind. That could be enough to be in title race if the other teams start taking points off Liverpool, but personally i think next season is likely to be a year too soon, especially if 95+ points is the target again.
 

cyberman

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City and Liverpool to get worse. This league finds you out if you stand still and they both have over the last few seasons. Itll catch up on them.
 

RUCK4444

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City and Liverpool to get worse. This league finds you out if you stand still and they both have over the last few seasons. Itll catch up on them.
Yeah it’s what I love about the league, it’s feckin ruthlessly relentless and the quality you need and the ability to rebuild and go again is paramount.

Which is what I, and most people, perhaps most respect Sir Alex for. The man could rebuild a squad better than any of his peers and spot the changes needed coming down the road in order to keep one step ahead.
 

fastwalker

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86 points will win the league next season
I really do think those days are long gone. I think 90+ is probably the minimum now for any side looking to win the EPL. If it was just one side that hit those heights over the past few years, I could well imagine that the standard would eventually drop. However, Liverpool and City are using each other as a benchmark. They are spurring each other on. This is not going to end anytime soon.
 

caid

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City are always liable to rack up 90+ points atm, they managed 80 in a season most regard as underwhelming for them. If / when guardiola moves on it might be a different matter.
Liverpool is different, they dont have the limitless resources in terms of squad or spending that city have. Its hard to see so many things staying in their favour in the medium term. Its hard to see their transfers continuing to work out as well as they have.
We have a way to go to catch up with what City can manage in a good season and i wouldn't want to rely on them being a bit shit to be in with a shout. Pick up 2 or 3 new first team players, fill out the bench a bit and with luck in injuries we might keep up.
 

sammsky1

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I can't see Liverpool emulating last season (though I said that the season before too :D), but if the post-lockdown form is anything to go by I think there will be a drop in the level of performance from Liverpool. There are a lot of games that they scraped 3 points by a single goal in, and I'd be surprised if they manage to go so long again before being defeated.

City, on the other hand I can see improving. Considering they went a whole season without a decent central defence they're going to invest hard now that the FFP monkeys are off their backs too.

Chelsea are another that will be a force to be reckoned with next season.

It is up to us to rise to the challenge and I'm sure we'll improve but I think talks of the title next season would be a little premature. We have a young, vibrant squad that is coming along very nicely so I think the next few seasons will hopefully be very positive for us.

One thing is for sure for me: the top four will be the same next season - in what order I'm not sure.
It’s all relative. Liverpool have hit 99 and 97 points in last 2 years. A 10% drop off is still 88-90 points, and I can’t see United or Chelsea getting close to that next season.

I think our objective next season should be 80 points. And make sure we hit that. Anything on top is a bonus.
 

SinNombre

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It’s all relative. Liverpool have hit 99 and 97 points in last 2 years. A 10% drop off is still 88-90 points, and I can’t see United or Chelsea getting close to that next season.

I think our objective next season should be 80 points. And make sure we hit that. Anything on top is a bonus.
If you believe in statistics and in regression to the mean, Liverpool had a once-in-a-generation overperformance in results to xG.

Their expected points tally was 75.

It is very likely that they will fall off to <90 points next season. Problem is City will get to 90 points in any normal season for them.

I think our target should be 88 points, essentially maintain our Bruno average over an entire season with 81 points the bare minimum (Mourinho's team got there 2 seasons, and we should be stronger).
 

Sandikan

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We came 3rd, having had some really dreadful spells in the first half of the season - so we definitely have room to improve into as our squad stands now - let alone with reinforcements.

Liverpool surely can't hope to have such a magical near perfect season again. Like City they'll drop. But it depends how much of a drop. 3 draws instead of 3 wins is still a drop, but it'd still see them win it.
 

jesperjaap

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I say both. Getting close to 100points season in and season out is highly unlikely, that is domination like the Scottish league. The consistency Liverpool have had over the last season and a half is incredible, but liek CIty faltered from this, no way they can keep it up either.

Even so, they are so far ahead of the rest of the league that even faltering we have to improve a lot to get to them having average seasons
 

Infordin

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If you believe in statistics and in regression to the mean, Liverpool had a once-in-a-generation overperformance in results to xG.

Their expected points tally was 75.
FYI, Juventus have been significantly outperforming their xPoints tally for almost a decade now. The ability to win while playing badly is an art.
 

Wednesday at Stoke

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I doubt Liverpool can get better than they are right now, they have some quality forwards but no generational talent like Messi or Ronaldo to keep that winning run going while changes happen around them.
 

RedCurry

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For us to win the league, those two have to get much worse and we will probably get better.
 

Fussball13251

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I doubt Liverpool can get better than they are right now, they have some quality forwards but no generational talent like Messi or Ronaldo to keep that winning run going while changes happen around them.
If klopp stays 80+ points next season and CL semi or final. I just don't see them slipping whilst he is manager unless he loses a few players in the window.
 

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City is going to get a lot worse, and soon, as soon as Pep leaves, to be exact, and the whole FFP thing was a nice reminder that the powers-that-be are watching them.

They will become just what they were in 12-16.

Liverpool will sink like a stone as soon as Klopp leaves.
 

SinNombre

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FYI, Juventus have been significantly outperforming their xPoints tally for almost a decade now. The ability to win while playing badly is an art.
Good point, thanks for bringing them up.

Juventus' median outperformance of xPts is around 12 and the max has been 21. 25 from Liverpool is a statistical anomaly.

Even if they were as good as Juventus in winning while playing badly, they would revert to a 87 point tally with the same performance.

Liverpool's lack of injuries is another statistical anomaly, do you think that will persist as well?
 
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Valar Morghulis

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It's more likely we get a lot better. Our record against the top 6 is good, a bit more firepower and assuredness injected into our team to consistently beat the rest of the teams is what we need.
 

Vernon Philander

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Liverpool have yet to take a long-term dent to their first XI from injury. Only a matter of time and they'll drop a level or two. Look how much City missed Laporte.
 

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A it stands, we're 4 elite players away from challenging. We won't get all of them in one window. We'll be lucky to get 2.

I think we'll be 15-20 pts behind the winners, but that if we can lay the building blocks from those '2' and make it a '3' or the hallowed 4, we'll have no excuse not to be challenging directly.

Liverpool are more likely to drop off the pace given the age of their key players and the kind of football they play. City are far from done, and will be the bar we've to match if we want to lift the title anytime soon (the next 2-3 seasons).
 

Paul_Scholes18

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Good point, thanks for bringing them up.

Juventus' median outperformance of xPts is around 12 and the max has been 21. 25 from Liverpool is a statistical anomaly.

Even if they were as good as Juventus in winning while playing badly, they would revert to a 87 point tally with the same performance.

Liverpool's lack of injuries is another statistical anomaly, do you think that will persist as well?
I don't think the lack of injuries is down to luck. They just have a very good medical team.
I don't think they will get as many points, but I hold them as favorites to win it unless we see City spend well in the market.
They could certainly do that though, but Pep has not always been the best at getting the right players in. He is better at improving what he got.
We could challenge with the right signings too.
 

sparx99

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When is the Africa cup of nations? I seem to remember it moving to summer but with what’s happened I guess it has moved? Salah and Mane would be a big loss if it was mid-season.
 

Witchking

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To be honest, all this falling off, dropping off the pace etc was all said about United during the Fergie era.

We have to be honest to know that Liverpool have a great manager and till the time he is there and Liverpool do not screw around in the transfer market, they are set to be at the top floor the next couple of years at the very least.

We need to look at ourselves. We had a decent season and we have to assume that Liverpool and city will not fall of the cliff.

We have to perform to reach at a minimum 80 points which is not a big ask for a club like United.

The season after next should be ideally the first proper title race.

But United have to get better. City and Liverpool are not going to drop the pace.
 

Shiva87

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We'll win the league!

Nah.

Let's evaluate at the end of the transfer window. If we get Sancho, a CDM and a pacey CB. I do see us coming along much better. Top 4 will be secured.

If the board dithers again, a golden opportunity would have passed us by.
 

SadlerMUFC

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Considering how young our squad is, we are only going to get better. Liverpool on the other hand isn't getting any younger and don't seem to want to spend money considering they passed on Werner for 50m. They are one injury away from being in trouble. City on the other hand will spend big seeing as their is no punishment regardless of how much they spend...
 

Snuffkin

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We get better, City get better - Liverpool get worse
Yeah this, a tighter battle between pool and shitty, and us much closer. Don't fancy Chelsea. Long term Klopp will take off and City will suffer with the desire to wi the CL. If we buy well this summer its not beyond the imagination that we can challenge fir the PL. But we only seem to be able to bring in one player a window.
 

wolvored

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I think we will go up to 80-85 points, as we have improved since January and with another 2-3 top class additions this summer, we should be a comfortable 3rd at least. Spurs will improve as its Mourinhos 2nd year there. Arsenal will be better as well. City and Liverpool will be around the 90 point mark again. I predict in order: City Liverpool Utd Spurs top 4. Arsenal and Chelsea to make up the top 6.
 

Hound Dog

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I think that Liverpool are done at the very top in all honesty. This season was a perfect storm, with a key thing over the last two years for them being the obssession to end their infamous drought.

Now, with that out of the way, Klopp will almost certanly struggle to maintain the motivation of the players and, given how demanding their style is, I could see something akin to his final Dortmund season unfolding. Probably not as drastic but I do think that they will be battling for second, with title out of the question.

Now, City are a completely different animal, with the quality and depth they have unmatched in the country and arguably Europe, which is hardly a surprise, given how much money they have.

The fact is, for nearly a decade, they won the title every time they had their act together. I am firmly in the Pep is a fraud camp so I dont anticipate any change when he leaves. They will score less goals per game but their ability to challenge for titles will still be unmatched.
 

Mindhunter

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I think that Liverpool are done at the very top in all honesty. This season was a perfect storm, with a key thing over the last two years for them being the obssession to end their infamous drought.

Now, with that out of the way, Klopp will almost certanly struggle to maintain the motivation of the players and, given how demanding their style is, I could see something akin to his final Dortmund season unfolding. Probably not as drastic but I do think that they will be battling for second, with title out of the question.

Now, City are a completely different animal, with the quality and depth they have unmatched in the country and arguably Europe, which is hardly a surprise, given how much money they have.

The fact is, for nearly a decade, they won the title every time they had their act together. I am firmly in the Pep is a fraud camp so I dont anticipate any change when he leaves. They will score less goals per game but their ability to challenge for titles will still be unmatched.
He won the league multiple times with Dortmund. What you are describing is a likely scenario but not plausible. They have a great team and the players look hungry for more.

Don't go by their end of the league form. Obviously there was a drop off once they won the league mathematically. It won't happen next season though. My prediction is that Liverpool and Man City will again get the first two spots but the points difference between them will be less than 6.

Man Utd and Chelsea will fight for the 3rd and 4th positions and we will get 3rd comfortably.