The waiting is over, after a summer of wheeling and dealing the rollercoaster of the Premier League is ready to ignite once again. For the football fanatics normality will have resumed and the weekends will finally have reclaimed their purpose. After setting the benchmark last season, Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea will be eager to reclaim their title, a feat which hasn’t been replicated since the days of Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United back in 2008/09. Chelsea’s main rivals have significantly improved this summer and the chasing pack will be aiming to dethrone Mourinho’s men and lift the illustrious Barclays Premier League trophy next May. Could the signing of Petr Cech galvanize Arsenal and embed a winning mentality which could result in launching a serious assault on their fierce rival’s trophy. After another disappointing defence of their trophy, Manchester City will be looking to lay down an early marker, the mouth-watering clash in game week two against current champions Chelsea presents the perfect opportunity. Can Louis Van Gaal turn Manchester United into serious contenders after a summer of comings and goings? Brendan Rodgers will want to put a turbulent season behind him and what better place to start then the Britannia, Liverpool were pummelled 6-1 on the final day away at Stoke last season. The fairy-tale arrival of Bournemouth in the Premier League will captivate the imagination of all football fans in England, Eddie Howe has worked wonders at Dean Court and will be targeting survival this season. Here is a preview and predicted finish for all the teams ahead of the new season:
The capture of Petr Cech is colossal for Arsenal and his presence will instil a wealth of confidence to the dressing room. Cech’s experience and match winning pedigree will bolster an Arsenal squad bagged with talent. After a phenomenal end to last season, Arsene Wenger will fancy his chances of getting his hands on the Premier League trophy once again. Arsenal fans will no doubt be questioning why Wenger hasn’t gone out and spent big on a world class striker and a defensive midfielder. The emergence of Francis Coquellin improved Arsenal but surely signing someone of the magnitude of Morgan Schneiderlin would have made Arsenal a more robust outfit. Alexis Sanchez will no doubt be Arsenal’s talisman once again and after an incredible debut season can the Chilean replicate last year’s heroics. After overcoming the mental barrier of Jose Mourinho in the Community Shield, Arsenal are arguably stronger than ever. However the pressure on Oliver Giroud to provide big goals in big games could well prove to be the stumbling block in Arsenal’s quest for glory.
Star men: Cech, Koscielny and Sanchez
Aston Villa- Predicted 16th
After guiding Villa to safety and an FA Cup final, Tim Sherwood has had to endure a torrid summer. Sherwood has seen his entire spine fall beneath him, Ron Vlaar, Fabian Delph and star striker Christian Benteke have all left Villa Park this summer. After finishing just three points above the relegation zone last season, Benteke’s goals were instrumental in the Villains keeping their top flight status. The Villa faithful could face another nerve wracking season and will no doubt be targeting survival after a summer of transition. New £10m signing Jordan Ayew will be integral to Villa’s chances this season and will have to fill the big void Benteke has left behind.
Star men: Richards, Grealish and Ayew
What a fairy-tale rise to prominence it’s been for Bournemouth and Eddie Howe, Howe defied the odds and unexpectedly guided the Cherries to the Championship title last season. Bournemouth will no doubt relish the underdog status in the Premier League and will most probably undertake a no fear approach. Will Howe continue to adopt a free flowing attacking philosophy, if he is so daring then there may be some exciting games in store this season? Bournemouth’s home form will be vital in their bid for survival.
Star men: Mings, Gradel and Wilson
Jose Mourinho will be well aware that the chasing pack will be gunning for his Chelsea side this season. After guiding his beloved Chelsea to Premier League glory for the first time in his second tenure in charge, Mourinho will want his side to hit the ground running. The acquisition of Radamel Falcao will intrigue many, can Mourinho revitalise the faded Columbian? Falcao who faltered during his time at Manchester United may play an integral role if star striker Diego Costa continues to suffer injury setbacks. If Mourinho does rekindle the Falcao of old then Chelsea will be a formidable side. Eden Hazard will again be the vocal point of the Chelsea side, Chelsea’s reliance on the brilliant Belgium towards the end of last season was well documented. With John Terry’s leadership and organisation, Chelsea will again be a very tough outfit to dislodge and few can bet against them reclaiming the Premier League come next May.
Star men: Terry, Hazard and Diego Costa
Crystal Palace-Predicted 11th
After a busy summer, Crystal Palace are being labelled as a possible surprise package next season. Alan Pardew has reunited himself with French midfielder Yohan Cabaye, after a dismal time at Paris Saint Germain, Cabaye has returned to the Premier League and jumped at the chance to work with Pardew once again. With Cabaye’s craft and grit, the Frenchman will be relishing the prospect of linking up with the dazzling duo of Bolasie and Zaha. Pardew now possesses a wealth of attacking options and will no doubt be targeting a top ten finish. Patrick Bamford could be shrewd loan signing as the Chelsea youngster looks to prove himself in the top flight.
Star men: Dann, Cabaye and Bolasie
With no Europa League football this season, Roberto Martinez will be keen to replicate the league form of two years ago. Martinez isn’t blessed with a huge squad and the rigours of Europe had too much of a strain on the Toffees last year. There has been a lot of noise surrounding John Stones’s future, Martinez will hope the young English starlet will resist the lucrative offer from Chelsea and continue to develop as an integral part of the Everton side. Ross Barkley will be eager to bounce back after a disappointing season, keeping key players fit will be a pivotal factor in Everton’s season.
Star men: Stones, Barkley and Lukaku
Leicester City-Predicted 19th
After performing the great escape, Nigel Pearson’s ruthless nature and off the field shenanigans proved too much for the Leicester hierarchy to contain. The appointment of Claudio Ranieri will aim to bring stability back to the King Power Stadium. Ranieri’s last job proved to be a complete mismatch, the Italian turned the Greece national team into a laughing stock. The jury will be out for Ranieri and after losing the influential Esteban Cambiasso, Leicester could be in for a tough season.
Star men: Schmeichel, Mahrez, Okazaki
Liverpool- Predicted 5th
Brendan Rodgers has brought in a host of new players this summer in a bid to overcome a unsettled season last year. With the Raheem Sterling saga resolved and club legend Steven Gerrard embarking on a new adventure, Rodgers will hope that new leaders come to the fore. With injury concerns continuing to surround Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool have added some much needed firepower in Benteke, Ings, Firmino and Milner. If Liverpool’s new recruits manage to gel quickly then they have all the capabilities to launch an assault on a top four finish.
Star men: Henderson, Coutinho and Benteke
Manchester City-Predicted 3rd
Manuel Pellegrini will be eager to prove the doubters wrong after a meagre season, with speculation continuing to mount over Pep Guardiola’s long term future at Bayern Munich, Pellegrini will be well aware that he can ill afford any slip ups with such illustrious coaches potentially being available. The purchase of Raheem Sterling will add some much needed pace to City’s play, Sterling could potentially conjure up a lethal partnership and understanding with Sergio Aguero and David Silva. After a disappointing season, influential duo Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure will be pivotal in City’s renaissance.
Star men: Kompany, Silva and Aguero
Manchester United-Predicted 2nd
After a chaotic first season under Louis Van Gaal, Manchester United will be expected to push on after a transitional year which resulted in a fourth place finish. United have made some shrewd signings this summer, the additions of Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger will add some much needed midfield steel. Memphis Depay will add pace, creativity and goals to an attacking outfit which has partied ways with their club record signing Angel Di Maria. After losing high profile forwards, Van Persie and Falcao this summer, the pressure on Wayne Rooney to reproduce his best goal scoring form is monumental. United fans will be concerned that a defensive leader in the mould of Sergio Ramos has not been acquired. But with Louis Van Gaal having another pre-season to implement his methods and continue to stamp his own imprint on the United side, Manchester United fans will be believing that they can challenge for major honours once again.
Star men: De Gea, Schneiderlin and Rooney
Newcastle United- Predicted 12th
After another torrid season for the Geordies, the climax of last season couldn’t have come quicker for Newcastle United. The experiment of John Carver nearly cost them their Premier League status. Steve McClaren is the man prized with the task of pleasing the Gallagate faithful, Mike Ashley has kept his word and delved into his pockets and brought in some promising additions. Newcastle will enter this season as an unknown quantity, McClaren could well reinvigorate Newcastle and upset the monopoly for European places. However, McClaren will be well aware of the pressure that comes on Tyneside, failure to kick the club on and the former Derby manager’s welcome could be short lived.
Star men: Sissoko, Wijnaldum and Mitrovic
Norwich City-Predicted 18th
After securing an immediate return to the Premier League, Norwich have thrived under Alex Neil’s brief stewardship. Norwich’s current crop will have learnt from the devastation of relegation and will be keen to establish themselves in the top flight. A potential worry for Norwich will be on the goals front, the Canaries aren’t blessed with a wealth of goal scoring talent and that could prove to be their undoing this season.
Star men: Ruddy, Brady and Redmond
Southampton defied the odds last season, after being heavily written off due the mass exodus of their prized assets, the Saints went on to finish seventh in what was a brilliant season under Ronald Koeman. With Nathaniel Clyne and Morgan Schneiderlin moving on this summer, Koeman will be eager to prove that last season’s finish was not a one off. Southampton will be delighted to be bringing European Football to the St Mary’s this season and with England striker Jay Rodriguez returning from a long term knee injury, Koeman will believe his Saints side can continue to improve.
Star men: Fonte, Clasie and Rodriguez
Stoke City-Predicted 10th
Mark Hughes has inaudibly gone about his business at the Britannia, after taking over from the influential Tony Pulis, Hughes has revamped and elevated Stoke’s status. Hughes has completely changed the clubs ethos and has started to attract former Barcelona ‘La Masia’ academy graduates. The capture of Ibrahim Afellay will intrigue the Stoke faithful and with the return of Bojan looming large, Stoke could be a force to be reckoned with his season. With Asmir Begovic moving on to Chelsea, Jack Butland will look to grasp the opportunity of being Stoke’s number one.
Star men: Butland, Shawcross and Afellay
Sunderland were a sinking ship under Gus Poyet, the Uruguayan was relieved of his duties and in stepped Dick Advocaat who performed a remarkable rescue mission. After performing a U-Turn on his Black cat’s future, Advocaat will be keen to avoid another relegation dog fight. Unfortunately for the Dutchman, probability is that the Black cats will be engaged in a nerve wracking race for survival. Jermaine Defoe’s eye for goal will be crucial in ensuring that Sunderland maintain their Premier League status.
Star men: Van Aanholt, Lens and Defoe
Swansea City-Predicted 8th
After guiding Swansea to an impressive eight place finish, Garry Monk’s stock continues to rise after another impressive campaign in charge. Monk will be targeting further improvements and will believe that the Swans can challenge for European places. The signing of former Marseille forward, Andre Ayew indicates that Swansea’s stature continues to elevate and they are able to attract big names.
Star men: Williams, Sigurdsson and Ayew
Tottenham Hotspur-Predicted 6th
Keeping prized assets Harry Kane and Hugo Lloris represents a good summer for Tottenham, Toby Alderweireld will bolster their backline and could potentially conjure up a dominating partnership with fellow Belgian Jan Vertonghen. Pochettino will be targeting a top four finish but the strength in depth of the teams vying for a top four berth, Spurs will most probably fall short in their quest for Champions League football. Harry Kane will be eager to push on after a tremendous breakthrough season, Tottenham’s success this season will be pinned on England’s latest star.
Star men: Lloris, Alderweireld and Kane
Quique Sanchez Flores has taken the reigns at Vicarage Road despite Slavisa Jokanovic’s promotion exploits. There has been wholesale changes within Watford’s ranks and the Hornets have brought in eleven new faces. Flores has brought in a host of new European faces this summer and the big question will be whether the glut of foreign signings can adapt to the unforgiving pace and tempo of the English game. Troy Deeney was instrumental in Watford’s return to the Premier League and will look to establish himself as a star in the Premier League.
Star men: Holebas, Ighalo and Deeney
West Bromich Albion-Predicted 14th
West Brom were the latest side that Tony Pulis has successfully guided to safety, Pulis will now look to push on at the Hawthorns. Rickie Lambert will no doubt relish first team football and after fending off interest thus far for star striker Saido Berahino, Baggies fans will feel that the team possesses a wealth of goals within their ranks. The rumoured pursuit of Salomón Rondón could however have some ramifications on Berahino’s future. New signing James Chester will bolster Pulis’s backline and the former Crystal Palace manager will be targeting more reinforcements in the coming weeks.
Star men: Fletcher, Lambert and Berahino
West Ham United-Predicted 13th
A host of changes at West Ham this summer as the Hammers prepare for their final season at the Boleyn Ground before the lucrative move to the Olympic stadium. Appointment of Slaven Bilic will instil passion and a different style of football which predecessor Sam Allardyce was unable to provide. The signing of Dimitri Payet could inject some creative flair, Bilic will be looking to improve the squad further. After a successful loan spell last season, Alex Song has been rumoured with a permanent switch this summer.
Star men: Ogbonna, Obiang and Payet