Can anyone topple Manchester City this season?

Will this be the sight fans see come next May? We certainly think so. (AFP)
Updated 10 August 2018

Can anyone topple Manchester City this season?

  • We give your verdict on what we think is going to take place in the Premier League this season.
  • Who will lift the trophy and who is for the dreaded drop?

This weekend the most-watched league in the world kicks off for another nine months of goals, red cards, spats and controversy. The Premier League claims to be the most exciting on the planet, but in terms of predictability does it live up to the hype? Here we predict which teams will be smiling and which will be sad come the end of the campaign.

CHAMPIONS Manchester City:

It is probably no shock we have gone for Pep Guardiola’s men to retain the title. They were so far ahead of the pack last season and the addition of Riyadh Mahrez will only add to their superiority. There may be some worry that their World Cup stars — Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, John Stones, to name only three — will start the campaign slowly, but the squad has such strength in depth that City will cope with any early-season fatigue. Expect more fireworks from Pep’s players.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SPOTS Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham:

Again you can accuse us of lacking originality, picking the same top four as last season, but we cannot see either Chelsea — under a new manager, Maurizio Sarri, the Blues could lose Eden Hazard to Real Madrid, and suffer from a lack of a potent goal threat — or Arsenal — the Gunners have a lot of rebuilding to do under new boss Unai Emery — breaking into the European places.
Liverpool are the most likely to challenge City for the title. They have done well to keep Mohamed Salah and, with the addition of Naby Keita, will once again have an attack to worry any side. The purchase of Alison in goal strengthens their only glaring weak spot and they will finish second as a result.
For all the doom and gloom hanging over United, who got their season underway last night, the fact remains they have a great squad with plenty of options. Alexis Sanchez did not go to the World Cup and will be fresh. His form could well determine how soon the mood changes at Old Trafford. If they can keep Paul Pogba, and Jose Mourinho gives him freedom, the Reds will do better than their manager seems to believe.
Spurs are the only side in Europe’s top five leagues not to make a single signing this summer, and the only professional side in England not to bolster their squad ahead of the new season. The saying is that you always buy when in a position of strength, bolster competition for places and in doing so go up a gear. That tends to be true, but what the North London club does have is a strong squad and a belief and understanding of Mauricio Pochettino’s system. If Harry Kane can pick up where he left off from the World Cup, they should pip the other two London powerhouses for fourth spot.

THE DREADED DROP Newcastle United, Cardiff City, Huddersfield Town:

Every summer Rafael Benitez can be heard to moan about lack of transfer activity hindering the chances of whatever side he is in charge of achieving success.
This year he actually has a point. The Spaniard worked wonders last season and deserved money in the window to ensure Newcastle could challenge for Europe. Instead
the despondency is understandable and they are destined for the trap door.
Huddersfield, likewise, produced wonders to stay up last season. They have bought in eight players, but focused on youth rather than experience and will struggle as
a result.
Of the promoted sides, Wolverhampton and Fulham have the star quality and squads to stay up. The same cannot be said of Cardiff, who have bought in little quality and will end up last.

Saudi Arabia women's team out to use bowling championship debut as springboard to success

Updated 7 min 31 sec ago

Saudi Arabia women's team out to use bowling championship debut as springboard to success

  • Bowlers determined to use experience as a positive.
  • “It was an amazing experience" declares Mashael Abdulwahid.

LONDON: The Saudi Arabia women’s team have vowed they will only get better after their first appearance at the Arab Bowling Championship.
The team of four finished in fifth spot in the team event but are hopeful that the experience will prove to be a springboard to future success and greater participation of Saudi women.
The competition was won by the hosts Egypt, with Oman claiming silver and Bahrain the bronze. But even though they ended their first participation in the tournament out of medal contention, the team were happy with how it went and hopeful for the future.
“It was an amazing experience everyone was very supportive,” Mashael Abdulwahid, who has been playing since her childhood, said.
“I was overwhelmed on the first day because of the attendance of many high officials and many professional athletes. it was the first time to be in such an atmosphere but I got over it now.
“I learned a lot and will work on my mistakes to make it better next time.” 
Dana Alfaraj, the youngest team member said they never knew how good the other competitors are.
“We are happy we got this chance and happy the Saudi federation is very supportive. We will work hard to make our country proud, it’s a huge responsibility and we are up to it,” she said.