Premier League: Who can wrest crown from Chelsea?

Manchester United recruit Memphis Depay. Picture: Getty

Manchester United recruit Memphis Depay. Picture: Getty

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Jack Bezants previews this season’s English Premier League

ARSENAL

Goalkeeper Petr Cech’s arrival from Chelsea means Arsenal have a backline potentially as stubborn as their attacking trio of Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott is flamboyant. Could challenge for title.

Key player: Petr Cech

ASTON VILLA

Villa’s two best players, Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph, left in the close season. Tim Sherwood has made nine signings so far, including Ghana striker Jordan Ayew, but expect another relegation battle.

Key player: Jordan Ayew

BOURNEMOUTH

For the first time in their history Bournemouth are in the top flight. Eddie Howe has tactical acumen and, if Callum Wilson reproduces the form that got 20 goals last term, survival is possible.

Key player: Callum Wilson

CHELSEA

Last season’s champions have added Radamel Falcao, inset, on loan. Nothing less than more domestic success will suffice for Jose Mourinho’s side.

Key player: Eden Hazard

CRYSTAL PALACE

Galvanised since the appointment of Alan Pardew, and Yohan Cabaye’s arrival from Paris Saint-Germain is a coup.

Key player: Yohan Cabaye

EVERTON

Last season’s 11th-place finish was underwhelming. Striker Romelu Lukaku struggled last season but can transform Everton if he hits top form again.

Key player: Romelu Lukaku

LEICESTER CITY

Claudio Ranieri has replaced Nigel Pearson. Esteban Cambiasso has left and Ranieri is yet to fill the midfield void.

Key player: Jamie Vardy

LIVERPOOL

Failed to qualify for the Champions League this season but Christian Benteke’s arrival is one of six signings by Brendan Rodgers, who must mastermind a return to the top four.

Key player: Christian Benteke

MANCHESTER CITY

After surrendering the title to Chelsea, City signed Raheem Sterling from Liverpool for £49m. City will need him to hit form swiftly but Sergio Aguero’s fitness is key. When Aguero plays, he scores.

Key player: Sergio Aguero

MANCHESTER UNITED

A Champions League return made Louis van Gaal’s first season successful but United were often rescued by David de Gea who could depart for Real Madrid.

Key player: Wayne Rooney

NEWCASTLE UNITED

Steve McClaren has taken over the reins and the signings of midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum and striker Aleksandar Mitrovic could bring a top-10 finish.

Key player: Georginio Wijnaldum

NORWICH CITY

Survival is the priority for boss Alex Neil, who has largely kept last year’s side together. Lewis Grabban and Cameron Jerome will need to score regularly .

Key player: Lewis Grabban

SOUTHAMPTON

A highest-ever Premier League finish of seventh means Southampton must balance Europa League and domestic football with a thin squad.

Key player: Sadio Mane

STOKE CITY

Can expect another season of progress following eight astute signings, including Ibrahim Afellay from Barcelona.

Key player: Bojan Krkic

SUNDERLAND

Dick Advocaat guided Sunderland away from relegation last season and can improve their fortunes this term.

Key player: Jermain Defoe

SWANSEA CITY

Garry Monk took Swansea to a very respectable eighth last season but will struggle to improve on that finish.

Key player: Bafetimbi Gomis

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

Harry Kane fired in 31 goals last season as Spurs finished fifth. If he can replicate that form, they could challenge for a Champions League qualification place.

Key player: Harry Kane

WATFORD

After earning promotion, Watford took the strange step of parting company with manager Slavisa Jokanovic. Quique Sanchez Flores is now at the helm and has already made ten signings.

Key player: Troy Deeney

WEST BROMWICH ALBION

Saido Berahino will look to score regularly after netting an impressive 14 league goals last season. He will be partnered in attack by Rickie Lambert, who has joined from Liverpool.

Key player: Saido Berahino

WEST HAM UNITED

Former West Ham defender Slaven Bilic is back as manager. An improvement on last year’s 12th place under Sam Allardyce is a must.

Key player: Diafra Sakho

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