Predicting the next Premier League record-breaker
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This week, the NBA’s Golden State Warriors equalled what many thought was an untouchable NBA record, the 1995-6 Chicago Bulls regular season record of 72-10. On Wednesday night, a victory will see them break the record with their 73rd win of the season. That got me thinking, which Premier League team has the best chance to do the same next season? Chelsea set the record in 2004-5 with a 95 point season, but who has the best chance next year to beat it? My choice might just surprise you.
Honourable mention – West Ham United
Any team still legitimately competing for a Champions League place this late in the season deserves at least a passing mention, but in reality the Hammers are punching above their weight in this list. This summer should see decent investment, as they enter the Olympic stadium and potentially a European challenge. They could take another leap next year but all the way to a historic team is too much to ask, even for a West Ham fan.
Dis-honourable mention – Liverpool & Chelsea
Two teams that have majorly disappointed this season, based on the quality and value of their squads. Based on this season, they have no right to be on this list. However in reality, they should in all likelihood turn it around next season. Both have plenty of resources and existing talent on the books already. Chelsea have a proven winner in Antonio Conte coming in next season, and Jurgen Klopp seems to have retained his reputation throughout a first season that certainly hasn’t been all positive, so in reality both have a clean slate going into next year. With talented managers and decent squads, both could turn it around, but making it all the way to record-breaking performance is more than either fan base can hope for.
On the outside looking in –
Now I love this Leicester City season as much as the next person. I also genuinely think that this isn't a flash in the pan, that they can compete for a top six place year-on-year. However, if they do pull off the wonderful feat of winning the title this year it will be with a relatively low point total. They very well could compete for a title next year, but the record seems a step too far.
A team that needs plenty of work to become a challenger to Chelsea’s record, but United are here because they have the resources to do it. Louis Van Gaal looks on his last legs, but with a new manager and significant investment, they could legitimately transform their fortunes next season.
Seasons change, years change, some things never do. Another year, another example of Arsenal letting it slip at the end of the season. Theoretically they have a good chance; they have a good squad and they challenged for the title this year. However, every year they manage to find a way to derail their own season. Arsenal are a contender to have that kind of dominant season, it has happened before, but with the way they are set up currently, it just doesn’t seem likely.
Probably the most intriguing option of all of the genuine contenders to pull off this record. Over the last few months, Tottenham have played the best football in the Premier League, bar none. It’s only been Leicester’s dogged determination that has kept them ahead of a Tottenham team that are hungry and exciting. Young, talented, if Tottenham can keep hold of Mauricio Pochettino and retain their squad, or even build on it, the sky genuinely is the limit for this team. Next season may be a bit early, but this team, if it stays together as it grows, could become genuinely special.
The winner is…
However, the team with the best chance of beating Chelsea’s record next season is currently not in the title race and is barely hanging on to a fourth place spot, Manchester City. Their season has been mightily disappointing, but City are partly the architects of their own failings, having announced mid-season that they would be appointing Pep Guardiola, a move that could lead to them failing to win a trophy this season. That man Guardiola should make City a force to be reckoned with next year. Even with Pep, the squad as it currently sits doesn’t have enough about it to win a title, let alone make history. But this is City, and whenever they’ve had a disappointing season, the antidote is there in the form of further financial investment. They’ve already been linked with a big money move for Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, and more investment is likely to follow. You would expect it would take some time for a new team to adjust, but Guardiola is a great manager, so this team could be seriously dangerous next season. Record breaking seasons obviously don’t come around that often, but if a team is to do it next season, this is the most likely.
Disagree with my selecton? Think your team has a better chance at breaking the record next season? Get in touch by tweeting @hksports.