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Football is back on Showmax Pro! Here’s the Showmax Pro Premier League preview

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The Showmax Pro Premier League Preview Cover

The opening day of the Premier League is nearly upon us, and the importance of hitting the ground running seems more important as the standard of the Premier League keeps rising.

When you look at the off-season activity of all the big clubs in preparation for the season, what they all have in common is that they have all made big changes to their attack.

Hindsight will end up proving who made the most effective changes, and when it comes to the battle for the title and UEFA Champions League qualification, it’ll all come down to which new attack was the one that adapted to the demands of the Premier League the best.

As the first matchweek draws near where all these teams get to show off their new goalscoring toys, here’s a look at what to look out for on the opening weekend, with all matches live on Showmax Pro, courtesy of SuperSport.

Manchester City

The defending team are the team that’s made the biggest attacking change – both literally and physically.

With the transfer of the giant Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund, City have brought in a more typical striker after playing a full season without an outright, classic number nine.

The signing was probably made with a view to Haaland being the missing piece in the jigsaw in the UEFA Champions League specifically. It will be fascinating to see how he adapts to the Premier League and how his team adapts to him.

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It’s often difficult for strikers to find the net from the start in this division, and it could be a big adjustment for Manchester City as a whole. After a season of creating goal opportunities through flooding the midfield, how Pep Guardiola adapts their tactics to suit a target man up front will determine whether they can win a third consecutive title or not.

Their season starts with a litmus test away to West Ham, which was one of the few fixtures where City dropped points last season.

Liverpool

With the sale of Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich, it’s officially the end of a legendary Liverpool attacking era of Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino as front three.

While the trio might have broken up, there’s been plenty of new reinforcements coming in that all look like good fits as Liverpool players.

Darwin Nunez is the latest addition, and if the Community Shield is anything to go by, he looks ready to threaten Premier League defences from the get-go.

To go along with January’s addition of Luis Diaz (who was arguably the signing of the season) plus the always-improving Diogo Jota, it becomes clear that even without Mane, Jurgen Klopp has built strength in depth.

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For the last five years at Liverpool, it’s been a case of a clear first-choice front three with all other attackers acting as backup. Now there’s a debate at who the first-choice attackers are.

Many would say that it’s a nice problem for Klopp to have, but if his attack doesn’t gel immediately and consistently, it could be a period of dropped points in a league where you can’t afford to drop many.

Their campaign starts with a trip to newly-promoted Fulham, where an early goal could be important if they are to silence a crowd that’s excited to be back in the top tier.

Chelsea

Amidst all the behind-the-scenes changes at Chelsea, the change in attack can be defined by one big departure and one big exit.

Goodbye, Romelu Lukaku. Hello, Raheem Sterling.

The two are hardly like-for-like players, with Lukaku more of a classic target man and Sterling a linking forward who can play out wide.

Chelsea’s problem last season was that despite their riches in personnel, they never could find attacking combinations that gelled. While Sterling brings proven pedigree, it will be fascinating how Thomas Tuchel chooses how to use him and who to use him with.

Pessimists will point out that they are missing a classic number nine. Optimists will point out that both Manchester City and Liverpool have led the way without one.

Fans will get a first competitive look at the new Chelsea side when they play Everton away, where a certain Frank Lampard could have some points to prove in that reunion.

Tottenham

A major criticism of Tottenham has been an over-reliance on the duo of Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min.

Antonio Conte addressed this issue by bringing Dejan Kulusevski into the mix in January and has continued in this vein by bringing in Richarlison from Everton.

Spurs were clearly a team on the up under the Italian manager, and how he tinkers his attacking resources will be the key that determines just how high Spurs can finish this season.

If Richarlison can make good contributions immediately, they can realistically target third. If he struggles, they could battle to retain their top four status.

Their season starts at home to Southampton – a team that ended the season with a calamitous defence. On paper at least, it looks like an ideal situation for the Spurs attack to make a powerful opening statement.

Arsenal

With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leaving under a cloud and Alexandre Lacazette moving back to France, Arsenal were in need of a new hero to pin their goal-scoring hopes on.

Enter Gabriel Jesus, who comes with a point to prove.

Jesus has played a telling role in the titles that Manchester City have won under Guardiola, but he hasn’t quite graduated into the total Sergio Aguero replacement like he hoped and it was becoming clear that he wasn’t going to get the opportunity to do so.

He comes to the Gunners where he will be trusted as their main man up front where he joins Mikel Arteta who worked with the player when he was Guardiola’s assistant at City.

Arsenal made a valiant challenge in the battle for fourth but eventually fell short as a little lack of proven quality became apparent. Jesus will relish the opportunity to fill that void and be the key that helps them step up into the UEFA Champiopns League.

It’s a tricky test for them first up with a trip to Crystal Palace on the opening Friday night. Selhurst Park is renowned for its loud, unwelcoming atmosphere where many top teams drop points. Three points from that trip will be a great signal of intent for Arteta’s team.

Manchester United

At Old Trafford, it’s not so much the change in players that’s the main cause of change to their attack, but rather the change in coaching staff that will affect their goalscoring.

Erik Ten Hag is the only new manager amongst last season’s top six teams and he’s come with his new ideas on how to play and a new set of assistants, including South African legend Benni McCarthy as an attack coach.

The biggest question at the club is what to do with Cristiano Ronaldo, who at the age of 37 doesn’t seem to have the natural game or work rate to fit in with how modern successful teams play.

Christian Eriksen is a new attacking signing, and a seriously promising one at that. It does raise tactical questions though. Will he play alongside Bruno Fernandes or is there only room for one of those playmakers at a time?

After a disastrous season for the Red Devils, this one must surely be pre-defined as a rebuilding job where the expectations change according to how the players are adapting.

Their first game is against Brighton – a team that humiliated them with a 4-0 scoreline near the end of last season. Compared to that meeting, any positive outcome for United on Sunday could seem like a forward step for the new regime.

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