MANCHESTER: Chelsea’s interim manager Frank Lampard described Manchester City as an outstanding side and said they have set the benchmark for excellence in the Premier League under Pep Guardiola. Five titles in six seasons underlines City’s dominance and while Guardiola insists every season gets harder, it is difficult to see who is ready to knock them off the summit. A look at the clubs amost likely to give City a run for their money next season. ARSENAL: Mikel Arteta’s young side ultimately crumbled under City’s relentless charge in the latter months of this season, but should be applauded for how they set the pace for so long and threatened to win their first title since 2004. Arteta, a disciple of Guardiola’s methods, restored Arsenal’s identity this season with a vibrant style of football and a squad packed with exciting young players will have learned valuable lessons from this campaign. The question now is whether Arsenal can add sufficient strength in depth to cover the demands of Premier League and Champions League football. West Ham’s Declan Rice is a chief target and signing him would be a big statement. LIVERPOOL: Juergen Klopp’s side have had some epic title battles with Manchester City in recent years, winning the trophy in 2020 and twice coming second with more than 90 points. They were off the pace this time, however, after failing to adequately replace forward Sadio Mane and seeing several key members of the Klopp golden era lose form. The likes of James Milner, Roberto Firmino and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are all moving on so the emphasis over the summer will be on freshening up the squad. Some marquee signings could see Liverpool re-ignite their rivalry with City. MANCHESTER UNITED: United’s first season under Erik ten Hag has been an encouraging one with a top-four finish all but guaranteed and the League Cup trophy in the bag. There is still a huge gap in quality between United and City and fans will hope that should new owners replace the Glazers, they will deliver some big signings. Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane is one target who could elevate United from a side scrapping to get into the top-four to one capable of making a sustained title run. CHELSEA: Chelsea’s season has been appalling, despite spending around 600 million pounds ($757 million) on players since co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali took charge of the club. It is quite hard to see how they will go from a bottom-half finish to challenging near the top next season. But they are blessed with some highly-gifted young players such as Reece James, Noni Madueke and Mykhaylo Mudryk and in Mauricio Pochettino, who will almost certainly be taking charge, they will have the perfect manger to begin a new project. NEWCASTLE UNITED: A year ago Newcastle fans were just happy to still be supporting a Premier League club. But after a superb season under Eddie Howe they are set to return to the Champions League for the first time in two decades and are likely to spend heavily in the summer. That level of improvement might be hard to maintain but anyone expecting Newcastle to be a one-season wonder will probably be wide of the mark. With some astute business in the market it is not hard to see Newcastle consolidating their new top-four status and perhaps even going higher.