With the 2015/16 Barclays Premier League season set to resume this weekend, top flight clubs will be battling to win the prestigious trophy.
Here, we analyse the top flit clubs and their chances of winning the title.
Arsenal begin the 2015-2016 season with plenty of hope that they can put their past troubles behind them and win their first league title since their undefeated season in 2003-2004. Arsene Wenger’s side finished third place with12 points behind champions Chelsea and four points behind second-place Manchester City last season.
This season, Arsenal brings back mainly the same collection of notable players from 2014-2015, but with experience and dependable ex-Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech.
There is justified optimism at the Emirates. The components are there for Arsenal to make a serious run at the title. They should squeak out ugly wins, as they did against Chelsea in the Community Shield. Arsenal attacks need to be healthy and clinical, the central defense should be properly coordinated.
Arsenal have enough squad to challenge for the Premier League title. The Gunners may be poised for a memorable season.
After the shame of finishing seventh two seasons ago, Man United regained respect and, crucially, a place in the playoff round for the Champions League with a fourth placed finish. But in his second season in charge, veteran Dutch coach Louis van Gaal knows that nothing short of a Premier League title is good enough for the club.
The Red Devils enter the season with Chelsea, Arsenal, and local rival Manchester City standing in the way of their first Premier League title since 2012-2013.
United have done some fine business in reshaping a squad that had been allowed to deteriorate in Ferguson’s final years and subsequently under Moyes. Yet Van Gaal will surely have wanted to get further key players in before the end of the transfer window, notably in defense and attack. He has also given the impression that he is less than pleased that the transfer saga involving his goalkeeper.
This season promises to be fierce among the top four, but United need to resolve their goalkeeping dilemma, get a top-level center-back, add another quality striking option then United could be a force to be reckoned with once again.
The reigning champions strolled to the title last season and are favourites to retain their crown. It is hard to find a football pundit who is not backing the Blues to become the first side since Manchester United in 2009 to defend the title.
And after a near-procession of last season’s title race, Chelsea’s challengers have strengthened over the summer to promise a more intense fight for the championship.
Haven showed last season they could be both entertaining and then the most resilient tam, Chelsea begin the new season as favorites to retain their crown. While they haven’t added to their squad as much as Jose Mourinho surely would have liked, and there is a risk of lack of depth, they still have the best coach in the Premier League and an elite playmaker in Eden Hazard to guide them to the title.
Terrifying up front, particularly after the arrival of Raheem Sterling from Liverpool, City’s real problem remains their defence, where manager Manuel Pellegrini failed to find a settled centre-back pairing.
Opinion seems split on whether City will regroup or fail to convince once again after a weak title defence last time out.
“Once again it appears City will need an extraordinary season from Sergio Aguero to challenge for major prizes,” says The Guardian.
“City should be good for a top-four place next season. They do not appear to be gearing up for a fully committed title challenge.”
The most expensive English player in history will be under intense scrutiny and pressure. Some will hope to see him languishing on the bench after the way he conducted his Liverpool exit, but he should be a key component of Pellegrini’s side.
This is a make or break season for Brendan Rodgers. The Liverpool boss was lucky to keep his job this summer, but the club’s owners, Fenway Sports Group, backed him and gave him the funds to rebuild his squad for the second summer running.
“This season there will be no room for excuses. Rodgers has the tools he asked for. Now he has to deliver,” says the Liverpool Echo.
But will the likes of Christian Benteke and Roberto Firmino fill the holes left by Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling?
Liverpool’s propensity for remarkable runs and deep slumps mean that it is hard to know what to expect of them in 2015-16.
Will the Brazilian form a fine partnership with fellow-countryman Philippe Coutinho or will he be this season’s Mario Balotelli?