Former Arsenal forward Thierry Henry believes English Premier League champions Chelsea will face fierce competition from threatening rivals when they start their title defence next month.
Henry, who is Arsenal’s all-time record goalscorer with 175 goals, is convinced the race for top spot will be far less predictable this time round, after Jose Mourinho’s Blues won the title after establishing a dominant position having got off to a flying start to the campaign.
“Have a look at the competition now to win the league,” Henry told Sky Sports.
“It is very, very, very difficult, so I expect everyone is going to challenge them, everyone is going to try to make sure they can win the title.
“Chelsea win it [last season] and we are all like: ‘United are going to come back for sure, Manchester City are going to come back for sure and Arsenal are going to come back for sure.’ What about Liverpool? You think they are going to stay out?
“City cannot have the same season again, Arsenal cannot stay another year without winning the league, United won’t accept not winning the league two years in a row – that does not go down too well over there. What about Liverpool? So I expect everyone to challenge.”
While Henry suggested Liverpool will be striving to reclaim a place in the UEFA Champions League qualification spots, he suspects last season’s top four of Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United will be challengers once again.
“You would like to think it will be the same kind of top four, but who would have said Liverpool a year ago would have nearly won the league? No one saw that coming,” the two-time Premier League winner continued.
“You would point at the usual subjects — United, Arsenal and City, but you always have a surprise and you don’t know when that is going to happen.”
Henry was part of Arsenal ‘Invincibles’ team that went unbeaten through the whole 2003/04 Premier League season and while that level of domination seems unlikely to be repeated in an increasingly competitive league, the former France international believes the achievement will be bettered in years to come.
He added: “Yes I think it will happen again.
“A team can do it in a better way: less draws, more goals, less goals conceded.
“I know we didn’t win the league eight, nine times, but it will go down in the history of the league as an achievement and something really special.”