Club-by-club guide to the new Premier League season, predictions and key signings

Glenn Moore runs the rule over the 20 top-flight clubs and determines who’s in shape to challenge for the title, who faces a season of making do in the middle and who will be scrapping for survival

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ARSENAL

A summer of stability, with key players signing contracts instead of leaving, the long-term goalkeeper problem settled in the sweetest manner possible and a victory over Jose Mourinho. Arsène Wenger’s summer could hardly have gone better. If he can land another stellar recruit, such as Karim Benzema, it may just be enough to win the title.

Last five seasons (2011-15) 4, 3, 4, 4, 3

Net spend £8m

Key signing Petr Cech

Prediction Champions

ASTON VILLA

Villa fans know better than to make swift judgements. They started last season so well that Paul Lambert was given a new contract and barely won another game. So the jury remains out on Tim Sherwood, with last season’s FA Cup run providing evidence for prosecution and defence. He certainly has potential, but replacing Benteke, Delph and maybe Vlaar too will be testing.

Last five seasons 9, 16, 15, 15, 17

Key signing Rudy Gestede

Net spend -£5m

Prediction 16th

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Tim Sherwood

 

BOURNEMOUTH

Eddie Howe has had the golden touch on the South Coast so far, but this will be a challenging season. He has invested shrewdly, in a mix of experience and promise, and retained the likes of Callum Wilson, Matt Ritchie and Harry Arter. Dean Court is hardly a fortress but its close quarters will make life uncomfortable for some visitors.

Last five seasons 6 (League One), 11 (League One), 2 (League One), 10 (Championship), 1 (Championship)

Net spend £8m

Key signing Tyrone Mings

Prediction 15th

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Eddie Howe sneaks a glance at the Premier League trophy at Southfields Academy in London

 

CHELSEA

It is seven seasons since the Premier League crown was retained and though Jose Mourinho did it in 2005-06 there is tougher competition now. There is also, however much he denies it, a burning desire finally to win the Champions League with Chelsea. A quiet summer so far in the market so maybe the talented kids will get a chance to step up, but do not bet on it.

Last five seasons 2, 6, 3, 3, 1

Net spend -£12m

Key signing Radamel Falcao

Prediction 2nd

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Radamel Falcao in pre-season action against Fiorentina

 

CRYSTAL PALACE

Many years ago Ron Noades predicted Crystal Palace could become a superclub, drawing on all south London from a new stadium. They are still at Selhurst Park, atmospheric, tarted up, but dated nonetheless, yet on the pitch huge strides are being made, symbolised by the Yohann Cabaye coup. Suddenly Alan Pardew has a squad that could be pushing for Europe.

Last five seasons 20, 17, 5 (all Championship), 11, 10

Net spend £26m

Key signing Yohan Cabaye

Prediction 7th

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Cabaye

 

EVERTON

A pivotal campaign for Roberto Martinez, whose team failed to match his rhetoric last season. Pretty football is all very well, but even the School of Science needs defenders and the probable departure of John Stones (albeit at a huge profit) will leave a hole. However, the absence of Europa League matches ought to ensure more consistency.

Last five seasons 7, 7, 6, 5, 11

Net spend £4m

Key signing Tom Cleverley

Prediction 9th

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Roberto Martinez

 

LEICESTER CITY

Relegated 11 times from the top flight in total, and already a 12th looks likely. Losing Nigel Pearson – not everyone’s favourite but he worked a miracle last season – was a blow, but not as much as losing Esteban Cambiasso. Claudio Ranieri was an odd choice as manager and he will need all his experience to keep the Foxes running.

Last five seasons 10, 9, 6, 1 (all Championship), 14

Net spend £20m

Key signing Robert Huth

Prediction 20th

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LIVERPOOL

It is possible, in the absence of Suarez, Sterling and Gerrard, others will step from the chorus line and shine as Henderson has done, but by no means certain. Brendan Rodgers (now the division’s second longest-serving manager) has a surfeit of attacking options, but doubts linger over the defence. James Milner is a good signing, so too Nathaniel Clyne, but at a combined £60m Roberto Firmino and Christian Benteke look expensive.

Last five seasons 6, 8, 7, 2, 6

Net spend £20m

Key signing Christian Benteke

Prediction 6th

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Christian Benteke’s goals have saved Aston Villa from relegation in the past three seasons

 

MANCHESTER CITY

Increasingly appears as if this will be a season of marking time at the Etihad as Manuel Pellegrini, with his customary quiet decency, holds the fort until Pep Guardiola arrives next summer. To that end Pellegrini’s contract extension is bizarre. English-accented recruitment campaign looks designed to meet quota conditions, and build for the long term, rather than regain the title this season.

Last five seasons 3, 1, 2, 1, 2

Net spend £65m

Key signing Raheem Sterling

Prediction 4th

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Manuel Pellegrini

 

MANCHESTER UNITED

A second successive summer of lavish spending – with more to follow – means Louis Van Gaal has run out of excuses. This is now largely his team – if he can work out which XI to play and how to deploy them. A title challenge is imperative, and possible, but it may be too much, too soon. The Dutchman still has goalkeeping issues, which he has strangely failed to address.

Last five seasons 1, 2, 1, 7, 4

Net spend £19m

Key signing Matteo Darmian

Prediction 3rd

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Matteo Darmian

 

NEWCASTLE UNITED

For once Mike Ashley has eschewed shopping in the French transfer market’s equivalent of Sports Direct for premium products from the Low Countries. But there remains a toxic odour at a club who have alienated media and public. Is Steve McClaren really the man to restore faith and joy?

Last five seasons 12, 5, 16, 10, 15

Net spend £37m

Key signing Georginio Wijnaldum

Prediction 12th

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The Sports Direct and Newcastle owner, Mike Ashley

 

NORWICH CITY

Alex Neil has made an extraordinary start to management but this will be a test. Transfer activity has been restrained and staying up depends on narrow margins. After three promotions and two relegations in seven seasons a nice quiet season of mid-table mediocrity would be welcome.

Last five seasons 2 (Championship), 12, 11, 18, 3 (Champ)

Net spend £10m

Key signing Robbie Brady

Prediction 17th

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Alex Neil

 

SOUTHAMPTON

After they coped with the 2014 exodus of talent, replacing Clyne and Morgan Schneiderlin should be easy but can they really do it again? There is a Dutch accent at St Mary’s (as there is at many other clubs) but also young native talent. Europa League involvement will cost them points, but they should not be in danger.

Last five seasons 2 (League One), 2 (Championship), 14, 8, 7

Net spend -£16m

Key signing Jordy Clasie

Prediction 11th

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Ronald Koeman must handle losses to his team again

 

STOKE CITY

Mark Hughes appears determined to test the old saw about whether Barcelona players could do it on a wet Tuesday at the Britannia by bringing as many as possible to the Potteries. The Catalanisation of Stoke has, though, been a success and another comfortable season should be in prospect, though the loss of Ryan Shawcross for the start of the campaign may stymie European ambitions.

Last five seasons 13, 14, 13, 9, 9

Net spend £-2m

Key signing Marco van Ginkel

Prediction 10th

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Stoke City manager Mark Hughes

 

SUNDERLAND

Will Dick Advocaat regret staying on for one more year? Wearside seems locked in a spiral of misplaced hope, leavened only by the tragicomedy on Tyneside. One top-10 finish in 14 seasons (10th in 2010-11) suggests there is no quick fix. Yann M’Vila is an interesting signing.

Last five seasons 10, 13, 17, 14, 16

Net spend £5m

Key signing Younes Kaboul

Prediction 19th

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Dick Advocaat masterminded a five-game unbeaten run which kept Sunderland up

 

SWANSEA CITY

Garry Monk has done an extraordinary job so far, but Swansea’s distance from the capital means it has been undervalued. André Ayew is a smart signing and the Swans will be good to watch going forward. A well-run, locally owned club who deserve to prosper, and should do so. Could edge out Liverpool or Spurs from  Europa League.

Last five seasons 3 (Championship), 11, 9, 12, 8

Net spend -£10m

Key signing Andre Ayew

Prediction 8th

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Andre Ayew

 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

A modest summer’s spending, but a good one. Harry Kane has been retained, the bulk of a new defence bought, and a lot of post-Bale dead wood cleared out. That should leave scope for a high quality new striker. But breaking into the top four still looks unlikely and Mauricio Pochettino’s desire to compete in Europe could be a problem.

Last five seasons 5, 4, 5, 6, 5

Net spend -£10m

Key signing Toby Alderweireld

Prediction 5th

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Harry Kane

 

WATFORD

Difficult to predict what will happen at Vicarage Road. Premier League wealth should make this the focus of the Pozzos’ club empire and heavy summer spending suggests it now is, whatever they are telling Udinese fans. But there is another new manager in the dugout who has no English experience and this is a hard league in which to recover from a bad start.

Last five seasons 14, 11, 3, 13, 2 (all Championship)

Net spend £25m

Key signing Etienne Capoue

Prediction 18th

 

WEST BROMWICH ALBION

Having steadied Albion’s sinking ship last season is Tony Pulis now expected just to keep them afloat in preparation for a sale, or to kick on and be more expansive? The signings so far are uninspiring, reflecting boardroom uncertainty. It may be another year of grinding out results with just enough to steer clear of the drop.

Last five seasons 11, 10, 8, 17, 13

Net spend £10m

Key signing Rickie Lambert

Prediction 14th

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Rickie Lambert

 

WEST HAM UNITED

Twelve months and counting until West Ham move into the Olympic Stadium. Growing confidence is illustrated by the Davids, Gold and Sullivan, replacing Sam Allardyce, who could have been expected to have kept them up this season, with Slaven Bilic, who is more likely to attract the fans needed to fill the venue. Can expect mid-table safety now Europa League is not a distraction.

Last five seasons 20, 3 (Championship), 10, 13, 12

Net spend £17m

Key signing Dimitri Payet

Prediction 13th

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