In just over a weeks’ time the excitement and anticipation will be over when the 23rd season of the Premier League kicks off and here’s Jake Sanders with a full preview for nine months ahead.
The three new entrants to the league are Leicester City, Burnley and Queens Park Rangers, replacing Norwich City Fulham and Cardiff City who were all relegated at the back end of last season. The two strongest contenders for the title are Manchester City (the holders) and Chelsea the big spenders having already spent over £70m. They have already secured the services of Diego Costa and Filipe Luis from Atletico Madrid, Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona, and fans favourite Didier Drogba on a free transfer from Galatasaray. The aforementioned transfers were facilitated through the sales of David Luiz and Romelu Lukaku who were bought for £50m and £28m respectively. As for Manchester City, they’ve spent the least of the favourites, with the only notable signing being Fernando from Porto for around £12m. They however, will be more than quietly confident with the power the current squad possesses, and of course the fact that they start the season as champions.
Just ahead of Chelsea in terms of money spent this summer is Liverpool, on the back of an outstanding season last year it will be crucial for the reds to attempt to overcome the loss of top scorer Luis Suarez after the Uruguayan was sold to Barcelona for around £75m. This money has been reinvested on Dejan Lovren, Ricki Lambert and Adam Lallana bought for a combined total of £50m all of which came from Southampton, Lazar Marković who cost £20 from Benfica, and Emre Can from Bayer Leverkusen who cost £10. The reds will be hoping for a repeat of the 2013-2014 campaign but many have raised questions as to whether they will follow in Tottenham hotspur’s footsteps of last season, signing too many players and struggling to achieve chemistry within the team.
Debatably the most extraordinary signing of the summer so far has come from the red side of North London, on the 10th July Alexis Sanchez was bought by Arsenal from Barcelona for £30m. A magnificent signing for the Gunners. There is vast anticipation around the Emirates this summer, Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers being the other main introductions so far to Arsene Wenger’s side.
The third favourites for the title this season and fancied by many to come back strong following last season’s dismal showing are Manchester United. The red devils are now managed by former Dutch boss Louis Van Gaal, who acted early in the window signing teenage sensation Luke Shaw from Southampton and Ander Herrera from Bilbao for a combined total of more than £55m. Confidence is high at Old Trafford after an extremely successful tour of the USA which included 5 wins from 5, scoring 15 goals.
The main underachievers from last year were Tottenham Hotspur, who are now under a new regime under Mauricio Pochettino , who will propose quick fire attacking football potentially yielding plenty of goals. This already been displayed in pre-season scoring 14 goals in four games, with three goals of those goals coming from record signing Erik Lamela which is a huge positive for the club.
At Everton, the blue side of Merseyside broke their record transfer fee signing former Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku for a reported £28 million and will hope that the Belgium can help them push for another top seven finish. Southampton, whose enticing opener at Anfield against Liverpool who have bought three of Southampton’s five star players that have departed this summer are now under the management of Dutchman Ronald Koeman. Saints fans will see survival as a successful season after losing the majority of the big names from their side.
Towards the bottom end of the table, Newcastle and Stoke will be looking to at minimum maintain their 9th and 10th place finishes respectively. Stoke will be encouraged by the signing of once Catalonian wonder kid Bojan who made the move to the midlands for a snip at just £3m. Crystal Palace have made two key signings bringing in former Fulham captain Brede Hangeland and Cardiff striker Frazier Campbell, palace will be looking to match their bullish 11th place finish of last season. Swansea head into the new campaign with the aim of improving on their unsatisfactory season in which most of it was spent towards the lower end of the bottom half, the only major transfer out was Ben Davies who was sold to Tottenham, Gyfil Sigurdsson was used as a make-weight in the deal and went the other way to the Liberty Stadium, the Icelandic International returning to South Wales after a successful loan spell two years ago. West Ham have recruited well making four credible signings in the form of Mauro Zarate, Cheikhou Kouyaté, Enner Valencia and Aaron Cresswell which will fill their fans with huge sense of optimism ahead of the new season despite their injury prone record signing Andy Carroll being ruled out till after Christmas. Elsewhere Aston Villa, West Brom, Sunderland and Hull City will all set their main goal as avoiding relegation and anything else a bonus with all four flirting with the drop majorly last season. The three favourites to go down are the promoted teams. Leicester City, back in the Premier League after an 11 year absence, Queens Park Rangers who made a dramatic return after their ten men sensationally beat Derby thanks to an injury time winner from Bobby Zamora at Wembley in May and Burnley, who will hope their time in the top division will last longer than their previous stay of one season during the 2009/2010 season, all three promoted clubs will most likely be right in a dog fight to stay up however.
Champions – Chelsea 7/4
2nd – Manchester City 9/4
3rd – Manchester United 5/1
4th – Arsenal 13/2
Relegation – Burnley/Aston Villa/Leicester City
All odds are with Bet Victor, click here to join and claim up to £25 in free bets for all new customers.