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With transfer window closing in 18 days, how are EPL’s Big Six shaping up ahead of the new season?

  London, Sunday

The World Cup that caught the imagination of a nation already seems a distant memory.

Now, with less than two weeks until the Premier League starts, Manchester United, provide the curtain-raiser with a Friday night game at home to Leicester.

However, the question remains, are the Big Six ready?

Man City

Pep Guardiola seems far calmer than in the previous two summers. It’s a measure of how calm that he has been watching The Open. On the pitch he wants to see how City’s youngsters cope in their three friendlies.

Seven of their squad made the last four and don’t have to be back until a week before the season starts. That is likely to place the onus on players such as Aymeric Laporte and Riyad Mahrez in the opening games.

The most important thing for Guardiola is his main men keeping themselves fit and raring to go when back from the post-World Cup break.

Man United

Jose Mourinho has wasted no time getting his excuses in early: too many World Cup players unavailable and his Friday night start to the season has left him “worried.”

United have been without 12 World Cup stars on tour and Alexis Sanchez’s arrival was delayed. That is bound to disrupt their preparations. However, there needs to be more positivity around the place.

Tottenham Hotspur

Mauricio Pochettino is said to be relaxed about the lack of transfer activity: he wants to move surplus players out before making major signings. He has high hopes for a rejuvenated Erik Lamela and Kyle Walker-Peters. Harry Winks, when fit, will feature.

No club had more players (nine) involved in the final World Cup games. That is almost the entire first team not back until a week before the start of the season, with others such as Davinson Sanchez and Christian Eriksen having reached the last 16.

Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp has been in very good spirits and it is not difficult to see why. He has all the signings he believes he needs so there will be no mad scramble in the final few days of the window.

Liverpool had eight players in Russia and Klopp has ruled Jordan Henderson and Dejan Lovren out of the opening weekend. He will not rush them back to fitness.

Chelsea

Maurizio Sarri is certainly getting down to work. Chelsea arrived in Perth for the start of pre-season on Thursday night and their new manager scheduled double training sessions for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

They will hold another session on Monday morning before playing local side Perth Glory in the evening. A hectic workload.

The 25-man squad who have travelled to Australia are decent but a few big names are missing. Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois, N’Golo Kante, Willian and Olivier Giroud are among those absent until August.

Arsenal

It’s all change after 22 years and the initial signs are good. Unai Emery has shaken up training with more tactical work and is spending a lot of time on defensive shape.

The players are happy so far and flew to Singapore Sunday for pre-season friendlies against Atletico Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain. The real test of Emery’s methods will be formidable opening fixtures against Manchester City and Chelsea.

Mesut Ozil has had plenty of rest, unusually for a German. New signing Uruguay midfielder Lucas Torreira and England’s Danny Welbeck will be excused initial tour matches having reached the latter stages in Russia.

Arsenal effectively did the new manager’s major recruitment in January by giving Ozil a huge deal and signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

-DAILYMAIL

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