What have they done this summer? Not a lot in truth. After promises of a big spending summer from Arsene Wenger back in May, Arsenal are still yet to add any notable strength to the trophy-less squad of last season. With the Gunner’s main rivals significantly bolstering their squads over the summer, the onus is now on Wenger avoid the last minute deadline day trolley dash and add some quality to a side that if not strengthen, could struggle to make the top 4 this year.
Key player: Jack Wilshere
Prediction: 5th (tak) / 5th (ash)
After getting caught up with the relegation battle last season, Paul Lambert will be hoping for a much improved season. Villa have brought in some good quality players from Europe but many of them do lack premier league experience. Either way it adds much needed depth and quality to what was an average young squad. Benteke’s performances will be key this season.
Key player: Christian Benteke
Prediction: 11th (Tak) / 11th (Ash)
After walking away with the Championship title last season, ‘the bluebirds’ will be looking forward to finally testing their metal against the big boys of English football. Southampton and West Ham before them will provide Cardiff with a perfect example on just what it takes to survive a first season in one of toughest leagues in the world, but they will also be looking to the expereince of Craig Bellamy and club recording signing Steven Caulker to try and steer them clear of the drop.
Key player: Steven Caulker
Prediction: 18th (Tak) / 19th (Ash)
Chelsea’s biggest signing this summer has to be the return of the ‘special one’ Jose Mourinho. The fan favourite manager has made an emotional return to the Premier league and his hungry for success. Chelsea have spent money on youth and bright talents from across Europe this includes Andre Schurrle and Marco Van Ginkel, adding much needed youth and energy. Chelsea will be favourites this year as they try to bring back the Premier League to West London. Big season ahead at Stamford Bridge.
Key player: Juan Mata
Prediction: 1st (Tak) / 2nd (Ash)
After narrowly avoiding relegation from the Championship just three seasons ago, the revitalisation of Crystal Palace is a surprise to the many that thought they may slip down the trap door which has taken many ex Premiership clubs into lower league obscurity. Now, rejuvenated under the guidance of the flamboyant Ian Holloway, Palace will be hoping good home form can help them once again keep their heads above water – this time in England’s top division.
Key player: Mile Jedinak
Prediction: 20th (Tak) / 20th (Ash)
After loosing long-serving manager David Moyes to Manchester United. Everton brought in former Wigan manager Roberto Martinez to lead the Toffes. Martinez has inherited a very decent squad and has made a few additions including 3 former Wigan players Arouna Kone, Antolín Alcaraz and Joel Robles. Considering they hold on to key players Leighton Baines and Marouane Felliaini Everton can make a push for European football. It will be interesting to see how Martinez handles his first season.
Key player: Marouane Fellaini
Prediction: 7th (Tak) / 7th (Ash)
A disappointing end to last season saw Fulham end their campaign flirting dangerously close to the league’s bottom three. This season however, the Cottagers have made some astute signings, adding experienced Premier League players such as Scott Parker and Darren Bent, along with some international experience in the form of Maarten Stekelenburg and Derek Boateng to their ranks. Martin Jol will be looking to improve the teams away form this year if they are going achieve a top half finish; the goals of a certain Dimitar Berbatov will be equally as vital to the West London club’s success this season.
Key player: Dimitar Berbatov
Prediction: 13th (Tak) / 14th (Ash)
After spending a number of years out of the Premier League, Hull City have made a return with manager Steve Bruce. After finishing 2nd in the Championship, Hull have been the busiest of the newly promoted teams in the transfer window. Bringing in no more than 10 new faces to the team.Tom Huddlestone, Yannick Sagbo, Allen McGregor and Maynor Figueroa will prove vital to ensuring Premier League safety. Hull are one of the favourites to go down but they may surprise many.
Key player: Tom Huddlestone
Prediction: 19th (Tak) / 18th (Ash)
A frustrating summer for Brendan Rodgers and his Liverpool team has seen them miss out on many of their top transfer targets, although they have managed to add experienced defender Kolo Toure, Spanish pair Luis Alberto and Iago Aspas and former Sunderland keeper Simon Mignolet to their squad. The retention of Luis Suarez and performance of some of their top players such as Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho will be vital for the Merseyside clubs Champions League push this year.
Key player: Philippe Coutinho
Prediction: 6th (Tak) / 6th (Ash)
The departure of Roberto Mancini ended a spell but a new era has began under Manuel Pellegrini. City have spent heavily this summer, with a total bill of about £95 Million spent on new players. Fernandinho, Jesus Navas, Stevan Jovetic and Alvaro Negredo. Man City have strengthened and look like title contenders this season. With strength and depth in all area’s this season will be an exciting watch. With such attacking flair up for show City will be a dangerous team.
Key player: Vincent Kompany
Prediction: 2nd (Tak) / 1st (Ash)
For the first time in 27 years, United are about to embark upon a top flight campaign with a new man at the helm – that man, David Moyes. The former Everton manager has taken over from fellow Scot Sir Alex Ferguson and is seen as the man with the ability to continue United’s dominance in the Premier League. Although he has his critics as to his suitability for what some describe as ‘an impossible job’, Moyes will look to last years title winning side and star man Robin Van Persie to make the impossible task just a little bit easier, and ensure the Premier League crown stays at Old Trafford for a least another season.
Key player: Robin Van Persie
Prediction: 3rd (Tak) / 3rd (Ash)
Last season was a major disappoint for Newcastle, after flirting with relegation they managed to survive the scare. This summer Newcastle have not done enough to add depth to what looks like a stretched squad. The only signing has been Loic Remy who has joined on loan. They have been linked with a number of names but nothing has come of it. This season will be a testing one for Alan Pardew and his team and could struggle if they don’t spend before the end of the transfer window.
Key player: Hatem Ben Arfa
Prediction: 14th (Tak) / 16th (Ash)
Chris Houghton has made his intentions clear for Norwich’s upcoming season, making some exciting signings under the noses of some of the bigger teams in the league. One of the most goal shy teams last season, Houghton has added some much needed fire-power to the Canaries front line, replacing target man Grant Holt with Dutch ace Ricky Van Wolfswinkel and Celtic front-man Gary Hooper. They also managed to poach Leroy Fer under the noses of Everton and will hope he – along with the other new recruits – will lead them towards mid table safety and a decent cup-run this term.
Key player: Ricky Van Wolfswinkel
Prediction: 12th (Tak) / 13th (Ash)
Southampton did well last season as they survived the relegation battle and finished in a respectable mid table position. This summer Southampton have spent big money on big players, adding quality to all areas of their squad. They have signed Vincent Wanyama a defensive midfielder, Dejan Lovern a centre back and Pablo Osvaldo a target man striker. These signings show an intent of ambition, with plenty of youth coming through the ranks such as Luke Shaw, James Ward-Prowse and Calum Chambers .Southampton will be a team to watch.
Key player: Rickie Lambert
Prediction: 9th (Tak) / 9th (Ash)
A new man at the helm and a quiet summer from Stoke may not have been what the fans had expected from a team who were dragged into a relegation battle last season. Erik Pieters will add international quality to a reasonably strong stoke defence this season, however, the main problem for the Potters is their misfiring strikers. If they don’t add some goalscoring quality before the window shuts on September 2nd expect another long season for Mark Hughes and his team.
Key player: Erik Pieters
Prediction: 17th (Tak) / 17th (Ash)
Last season was a roller-coaster ride as Sunderland scraped survival finishing in a disappointing 17th position. Paulo Di Canio has not wasted any time this summer and has been busy in the transfer window brining in 11 new faces. The most exciting has to be Italian Winger Emanuele Giachherini who will be looking to impress. Sunderland lacked goals last season and much weight and pressure will be on Jozy Altidore to provide them with goals. Bringing in so many new faces in such a short period will require time for the squad to gel. This season will be a testing one for the team and for their erratic manager.
Key player: Jozy Altidore
Prediction: 16th (Tak) / 15th (Ash)
After an excellent season under Michael Laudrup last year, The Swans have found themselves competing amongst Europe’s elite for the Europa League this season after they secured the Carling Cup earlier this year. With the addition of Eredivisie top scorer, Wilfied Bony, Spanish midfielder Jose Canas and England under-21 international Jonjo Shelvey, the Welsh team will be looking to further improve on last seasons league form and try and put together a challenge in Europe. The biggest test however will be keeping hold of star man Michu, who will be under the watchful eye of a number of Premier League teams up until the transfer window shuts.
Key player: Michu
Prediction: 8th (tak) / 8th (Ash)
Tottenham have been one of the most active teams this summer. They have broken their record transfer fee twice! After missing out on a top 4 position last season, AVB and Daniel Levy have brought in some serious talents from around the World spending just under £60 Million in total. Paulinho, Roberto Soldado, Nacer Chadli and Étienne Capoue have all joined. The Gareth Bale saga has dragged on all summer and has been reported that he will join Real Madrid before the end of the window. Spurs have already made moves in replacing the unsettled Welsh man. This season Tottenham will have one of the strongest teams on paper and have a chance of pushing their North London rivals Arsenal out of the top 4 race. Big season ahead for the Hotspurs.
Key player: Roberto Soldado
Prediction: 4th (tak) / 4th (Ash)
A low-key summer so far for Steve Clarke’s side, the Baggies’ most notable additions are journeyman striker Nicholas Anelka and former PSG defender Diego Lugano. Whilst the West Brom faithful will be hoping Anelka can fill the huge six foot two void left by loanee Romelu Lukaku, Diego Lugano could represent some of the smartest business done this summer – arriving on a free transfer. Steve Clarke will be hoping to add more quality to his side before the window shuts but with the current squad, West Brom are not a team likely to be in trouble come May, nor a team likely to be ruffling a few feathers at the top either. A solid mid-table finish and a strong cup run are the most realistic targets for the Baggies this term.
Key player: Diego Lugano
Prediction: 15th (Tak) / 12th (Ash)
West Ham United
After an impressive return to the Premier League last season, finishing in the top half of the table. West Ham have spent wisely in the transfer window. Signing Andy Carroll after a good loan spell at the club, English winger Stewart Downing, Spanish goalkeeper Adrian and left back Razvan Rat. The types of players brought in all link in with West Ham’s style of play which proved effective last season. West Ham will have a solid season and will be looking to reach the same heights as last season.
Key player: Andy Carroll
Prediction: 10th (tak) / 10th (Ash)