Team-by-team guide to the Premiership

COUNTDOWN TO THE 1997-98 FOOTBALL SEASON
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ARSENAL

Optimism abounds at Highbury, but Arsene Wenger could find this season more demanding than last. Then he was able to delay rebuilding as the old guard, liberated by his expansive philosophy, raised themselves for one last tilt at the title.

Having successfully introduced new habits he is now looking integrate new players and has bought extensively from abroad, with Marc Overmars the summer's most exciting signing. Ian Wright may be replaced soon but, with supporters still mourning Paul Merson's exit, Wenger will first allow him time to break Cliff Bastin's record.

With Bergkamp in prime form Arsenal will be entertaining to watch, which is an achievement in itself. More tangible success may follow in the cups.

Manager: Arsene Wenger

Coach: Pat Rice

Reserves: George Armstrong

Youth: Liam Brady

Captain: Tony Adams

In: Marc Overmars (Ajax) pounds 5m, Emmanuel Petit (Monaco) pounds 3.5m, Matthew Upson (Luton) pounds 2m, Luis Boa Morte (Sporting Lisbon) pounds 1.75m, Gilles Grimandi Monaco) pounds 1.5m, Alberto Mendez Rodriguez (FC Feucht, Ger) pounds 250,000

Out: Paul Merson (Middlesbrough) pounds 5m, Matthew Rose (QPR) pounds 500,000, Lee Harper (QPR) pounds 250,000, Adrian Clark (Southend) free

Capacity: 38,500

Ticket prices for home supporters: pounds 13.50-pounds 31 (adults); pounds 7.50-pounds 8.50 (members' concessions)

Tickets and prices for away supporters: 3,000 available at pounds 14.50

Season ticket prices: N/A

Ticket enquiries: 0171 704 4040

Credit card bookings: 0171 413 370

Last season: 3rd

Prediction: 3rd

1 Seaman

2 Dixon

3 Winterburn

4 Vieira

5 Bould

6 Adams

7 Platt

8 Wright

9 Anelka

10 Bergkamp

11 Overmars

13 Manninger

14 Keown

15 Parlour

17 Petit

18 Grimandi

19 Garde

20 Upson

21 Boa Morte

22 Selley

23 Mendez

24 Lukic

25 Marshall

26 Bartram

27 Shaw

28 Hughes

29 Helder

30 McGowan

31 Kiwomya

ASTON VILLA

Consolidated their position as one of the Premiership's better sides last season without ever looking like making the step up to championship challengers. Like Liverpool before them, Villa have thus decided Stan Collymore will make the difference.

With Collymore, Savo Milosevic and Dwight Yorke apparently destined to play in harness they will be less predictable, but how well will the trio gel? And what of Julian Joachim, whose career has stagnated? Goalscoring was a weakness last season, but the fault was in midfield rather than further forward, and there has been no investment there.

In goal Mark Bosnich needs a better season, and not just between the sticks. Villa will hope to do better in Europe, but domestic cups may be their best bet.

Manager: Brian Little

Assistant manager: Allan Evans

Coach: Kevin McDonald

Reserves: Malcolm Beard

Youth: Tony McAndrew

Captain: Andy Townsend

In: Stan Collymore (Liverpool) pounds 7m, Simon Grayson (Leicester) pounds 1.35m

Out: Gareth Farrelly (Everton) pounds 700, 000

Capacity: 39,399

Ticket prices for home supporters: pounds 14-pounds 18 (adults); pounds 7-9.50 (concessions)

Tickets and prices for away supporters: 3,000 available at pounds 16.50

Season ticket prices: pounds 238-306 (adults); pounds 119-pounds 161.50 (concessions)

Ticket enquiries: 0121 327 5353

Credit card bookings: 0121 607 8000

Last season: 5th

Prediction: 6th

1 Bosnich

2 Charles

3 Staunton

4 Southgate

5 Ehiogu

6 Townsend

7 Taylor

8 Draper

9 Milosevic

10 Yorke

11 Collymore

12 Joachim

13 Oakes

14 Wright

15 Nelson

16 Grayson

17 Hendrie

18 Curcic

19 Hughes

20 Scimeca

23 Davis

24 Murray

30 Rachel

BARNSLEY

In the Premiership on merit having played neat, intelligent football with plenty of spirit - just like their manager did. Even so, one fears their season will mirror that of Swindon's, with their ambition being betrayed by their ability to realise it.

There are reasons for optimism. Unlike Swindon, they have retained their manager and best players. The British players are an interesting mix of youthful promise and hard-earned experience but there could now be too many foreigners to instill the team spirit which did so much for Leicester. Then again, the likes of Clint Marcelle and Arjan de Zeeuw were key figures last season and Eric Tinkler is no dilettante.

Neutrals will be behind them, but it may not be enough.

Manager: Danny Wilson

Coaches: Eric Winstanley, Peter Shirtliff

Reserves: Malcolm Shotton

Youth: Colin Walker

In: Georgi Hristov (Partizan Belgrade) pounds 1.5m, Darren Barnard (Bristol City) pounds 750,000, Eric Tinkler (Cagliari, It) pounds 650,000, Ales Krizan (Maribor, Sloven) pounds 500,000, Lars Leese (Bayer Leverkusen) pounds 250,000, Tony Bullock (Leek) nominal fee

Out: None

Capacity: 18,750

Ticket prices for home supporters: All season ticket holders

Ticket prices for away supporters: pounds 20 (adults), pounds 15 (concessions)

Season ticket prices: pounds 200-pounds 250 (adults), pounds 80-pounds 145 (concessions)

Ticket enquiries: 0122 211211

Credit card bookings: None

Last season: 2nd (First Division)

Prediction: 18th

1 Watson

2 Eaden

3 Appleby

4 Sheridan

5 Moses

6 De Zeeuw

7 Hendrie

8 Redfearn

9 Wilkinson

10 Marcelle

11 Thompson

12 Liddell

13 Leese

14 Bullock

15 Bosancic

16 Davis

17 Ten Heuvel

18 Jones

19 Shirtliff

20 Regis

21 Tinkler

22 Hristov

23 Krizan

26 Bullock

Barnard

BLACKBURN ROVERS

The days of King Kenny and the title are a fading memory but Roy of the Rovers could turn the spotlight back to East Lancashire. After forging an impressive managerial career overseas, Roy Hodgson has returned to England eager to erase the memory of a brief, ill-fated spell at Bristol City.

He arrives at a club which has stood still. There remains money aplenty but it is harder to attract big names to Blackburn now that every club offers ludicrous wages. They have landed good rather than outstanding names.

A surprising number of Dalglish's side remain and they form the basis for a decent side - but championship dreams will have to wait awhile.

Manager: Roy Hodgson

Assistant manager: Tony Parkes

Coach: Derek Fazackerley

Reserves: Terry Darracott

Youth: Bobby Downes

Captain: Tim Sherwood

In: Stephane Henchoz (Hamburg) pounds 3m, Martin Dahlin (Roma) pounds 2.5m, Anders Andersson (Malmo) pounds 500,000, John Filan (Coventry) pounds 700,000, Patrick Valery (Bastia) Free

Out: Shay Given (Newcastle) pounds 1.5m, Niklas Gudmundsson (Malmo) nominal fee, Paul Warhurst (Crystal Palace) pounds 1.25m, Matt Holmes (Charlton) pounds 250,000

Capacity: 31,367

Ticket prices for home supporters: A games: pounds 19-23 (adults), pounds 10 (concessions); B games: pounds 16-20 (adults), pounds 10 (concessions)

Tickets prices for away supporters: A games: pounds 19 (adults), pounds 10 (children); B games: pounds 16 (adults), pounds 10 (children)

Season ticket prices: pounds 273-pounds 345 (adults), pounds 147-pounds 165 (concessions)

Ticket enquiries: 01254 671666

Credit card bookings: 01254 671666

Last season: 13th

Prediction: 10th

1 Flowers

2 Berg

3 Kenna

4 Sherwood

5 Hendry

6 Le Saux

7 Ripley

8 Gallacher

9 Sutton

10 Dahlin

11 Wilcox

12 Bohinen

13 Filan

14 Andersson

15 Flitcroft

16 Pedersen

17 McKinlay

18 Pearce

19 Coleman

20 Croft

21 Donis

22 Valery

23 Fenton

24 Henchoz

25 Duff

26 Broomes

BOLTON

Clearly the best in their division, but that applied two years ago and they went straight down. They do seem better prepared and will be lifted by the new stadium.

They will regret being denied Peter Beardsley, he may be ageing but he has never lacked enthusiasm or football intelligence. He would also have had plenty of Scandinavian energy alongside him as well as two other skilful former Magpies, Scott Sellars and Alan Thompson.

One problem is that the Reebok Stadium will not be ready until September. It will be very impressive when it opens, but the delay means the Wanderers start with three away games and a blank. By the time they return home they could be struggling for points and confidence.

Manager: Colin Todd

Coach: Phil Brown

Reserves: Steve Carroll

Youth: Dean Crombie

Captain: Gudni Bergsson

In: Robbie Elliott (Newcastle) pounds 2.5m, Neil Cox (Middlesbrough) pounds 1.5m, Arnar Gunnlaugsson (Akranes, Ice) pounds 100,000

Out: Scott Green (Wigan) pounds 300,000, David Lee (Wigan) pounds 250,000, Mixu Paatelainen (Wolves) pounds 250,000

Capacity: 25,000

Ticket prices: pounds 13, pounds 16, pounds 18

Season ticket prices: N/A

Ticket enquiries: 01204 389200

Credit card bookings: 01204 521101

Last season: 1st (First Division)

Prediction: 16th

1 Branagan

2 Cox

3 Elliott

4 Frandsen

5 Taggart

6 Fairclough

7 Pollock

8 Sellars

9 Blake

10 McGinlay

11 Thompson

12 Bergsson

14 Johansen

15 Sheridan

16 Ward

17 Todd

18 Phillips

19 Small

20 Coleman

24 McAnespie

25 Taylor

26 Strong

27 Whitehead

28 Aljofree

29 Spooner

30 Gunnlaugsson

38 Potter

39 Doherty

40 Glennon

CHELSEA

Stamford Bridge's embrace of such a multi- cultural squad is worth celebration, given the one-time terrace mood, but there is also cause for concern in Chelsea's concentration on foreign talent. One hopes the progress of Jody Morris, Neil Clement, Paul Hughes and Mike Duberry continue to survive the influx.

There are also doubts, as with Arsenal, about team spirit and how deeply supporters can identify with a team containing so many foreigners.

For now the fans are happy, Chelsea are glamorous and attractive to watch. More silverware is probable and Ruud Gullit's progress in Europe will be fascinating, yet it is hard to see his polyglot collection achieving the consistency required to win a first title in 43 years.

Manager: Ruud Gullit

Assistant manager: Gwyn Williams

Coach: Graham Rix

Reserves: Mick McGiven

Youth: Ted Dale

Captain: Dennis Wise

In: Celestine Babayaro (Anderlecht) pounds 2.25m, Ed de Goey (Feyenoord) pounds 2.25m, Bernard Lambourde (Bordeaux) pounds 1.5m, Tore Andre Flo (Brann Bergen) pounds 300,000, Gustavo Poyet (Real Zaragoza) free

Out: Craig Burley (Celtic) pounds 2.5m, Scott Minto (Benfica) free, Erland Johnsen (Rosenborg Trondheim) free, Chris McCann (Southend) free, Paul Parker (released)

Capacity: 33,000

Ticket prices for home supporters: A games pounds 21-pounds 50; B games pounds 16-pounds 50 (no concessions)

Ticket prices for away supporters: A games: pounds 21, B games: pounds 16

Season ticket pricess: pounds 370-pounds 887 (no concessions)

Ticket enquiries and credit card bookings: 0891 121011

Last season: 6th

Prediction: 5th

1 De Goey

2 Petrescu

3 Babayaro

4 Gullit

5 Leboeuf

6 Clarke

7 Lambourde

8 Poyet

9 Vialli

10 M Hughes

11 Wise

12 Duberry

13 Hitchcock

15 Lee

16 Di Matteo

17 Granville

18 Myers

19 Flo

20 Sinclair

21 P Hughes

22 Nicholls

24 Newton

25 Zola

28 Morris

29 Clement

COVENTRY CITY

It does not seem to matter how much they spend, nor who is manager, Coventry always end up in relegation trouble and always escape. A Sky Blue generation have grown up on this, but last season was close even by their standards.

Like everyone else, Gordon Strachan has bought foreign but, unlike his predecessors, he has signed the trusty Scandinavians, not exotic Brazilians, Ghanaians and Zimbabweans. Strachan badly needs Gary McAllister to produce his best form and must hope Steve Ogrizovic continues to defy the years.

Having gone against history and predicted they would avoid the relegation scramble last season, I won't be so rash again...

Manager: Gordon Strachan

Assistant manager: Alex Miller

Reserves: Garry Pendrey

Youth: Brian Roberts

Captain: Gary McAllister

In: Simon Haworth (Cardiff City) pounds 900,000, Trond Egil Soltvedt (Rosenborg Trondheim) pounds 500,000, Kyle Lightbourne (Walsall) pounds 500,000, Magnus Hedman (AIK Stockholm) pounds 60,000, Martin Johansen (FC Copenhagen) free

Out: Eoin Jess (Aberdeen) pounds 600,000, John Filan (Blackburn) pounds 700,000, Alex Yevtushok (released)

Capacity: 23,662

Ticket prices for home supporters: pounds 16-22 (adults); pounds 8-pounds 9.50 (concessions)

Ticket prices for away supporters: pounds 19 (adults), pounds 9.50 (concessions)

Season ticket prices: pounds 304-pounds 418 (adults), pounds 105-pounds 209 (concessions)

Ticket enquiries: 01203 234020

Credit card bookings: 01203 578000

Last season: 17th

Prediction: 19th

1 Ogrizovic

2 Shaw

3 Burrows

4 Williams

5 Daish

6 Breen

7 Huckerby

8 Whelan

9 Dublin

10 McAllister

11 Salako

12 Telfer

13 Hedman

14 Soltvedt

15 Lighthouse

16 Richardson

17 Boland

18 Hall

19 Johansen

20 O'Neill

21 Ducros

22 Haworth

23 Nilsson

28 Strachan

29 Goodwin

30 Eustace

31 Willis

32 Prenderville

33 Barnett

34 Quinn

35 Faulconbridge

36 Andrews

37 Shilton

CRYSTAL PALACE

Last May, chairman Ron Noades promised Palace would not be filling the team with foreigners. He wanted a team of Britons which would foster the sort of team spirit Leicester created. However, a few calls to Nationwide League clubs later, Steve Coppell was off to the airport.

Noades' fears about "foreign mercenaries" seemed justified by Attilio Lombardo's demands, but he and Palace eventually agreed. They have also signed an Icelander and, on trial, an Israeli but neither they, nor Paul Warhurst, are likely to replace David Hopkin, and they do look short of quality.

Manager: Steve Coppell

Assistant manager: Ray Lewington

Reserves: Steve Kember

Youth: Peter Nicholas

Captain: Andy Roberts

In: Attilio Lombardo (Juventus) pounds 1.6m, Kevin Miller (Watford) pounds 1.25m, Paul Warhurst (Blackburn) pounds 1m, Jamie Fullarton (Bastia) free, Herman Hreidarsson (IB Vestmannaeyjar, Ice) pounds 400,000

Out: David Hopkin (Leeds) pounds 3.25m, Chris Day (Watford) pounds 220,000, Ray Houghton (Reading) free

Capacity: 26,309

Ticket prices for home supporters: A games pounds 16-pounds 30 (adults), pounds 9-pounds 20 (concessions); B games pounds 14-pounds 28 (adults), pounds 8-pounds 18 (concessions)

Tickets and prices for away supporters: 2,500 available: A games pounds 20 (adults), pounds 12 (concessions); B games pounds 18 (adults) pounds 11 (concessions)

Season ticket prices: pounds 225-pounds 500 (adults), pounds 80-260 (concessions)

Ticket enquiries: 0181 771 8841

Credit card bookings: 0181 771 8841

Last season: 6th (First Division)

Prediction: 20th

1 Miller

2 Edworthy

3 Gordon

4 Roberts

5 Tuttle

6 Linighan

7 Muscat

8 Warhurst

9 Shipperley

10 Dyer

11 Freedman

12 Veart

13 Nash

14 Rodger

15 Davies

16 Quinn

17 Lombardo

18 Ndah

19 Pitcher

20 McKenzie

21 Burton

22 Hreidarsson

23 Mullins

24 Ginty

25 Ormshaw

26 Fullarton

27 Zohar

28 Thomson

29 Stevens

30 Graham

32 Boxall

33 Wordsworth

34 Scully

35 Morrison

36 Martin

37 Kennedy

38 Hibbert

39 Harris

40 Folan

41 Carlisle

42 Clarke

DERBY COUNTY

The bid for Roberto Baggio emphasised County's ambition and Stefano Eranio and Francesco Baiano represent a reasonable next best. The most important signing, however, was Dean Sturridge agreeing a new contract yesterday.

At least the Croatians, Igor Stimac and Aljosa Asanovic, appear to be satisfied with the club's direction both physically - to gleaming new Pride Park - and mentally - towards the upper reaches of the Premiership. They could make further strides towards that under Jim Smith's shrewd management now that Sturridge is staying.

Paulo Cesar Wanchope, who announced himself so dramatically at Old Trafford last April, could be worth watching. An outside bet for the FA Cup - but perhaps also for relegation.

Manager: Jim Smith

Coach: Steve McLaren

Youth: Steve Taylor

Reserves: Billy McEwan

Captain: Robin van der Laan

In: Francesco Baiano (Fiorentina) pounds 650,000; Jonathan Hunt (Birmingham) pounds 500,000, Stefano Eranio (Milan) free

Out: Darren Wassall (Birmingham) pounds 100,000, Martin Taylor (Wycombe) free

Capacity: 30,139

Ticket prices for home supporters: pounds 12-23

Ticket enquiries: 01332 667503

Credit card bookings: 01332 667540

Last season: 12th

Prediction: 14th

1 Hoult

2 Rowett

3 C Powell

4 D Powell

5 Yates

6 Stimac

7 Van der Laan

8 Sturridge

9 Wanchope

10 Asanovic

11 Willems

12 Ward

14 Simpson

15 Trollope

16 Laursen

17 Carbon

18 Carsley

19 Flynn

20 Eranio

21 Poom

22 Dailly

23 Solis

25 Kozluk

26 Hunt

27 Baiano

28 Sutton

29 Wright

EVERTON

A gruesome season, featuring a relegation battle and early cup exits to lower teams, has been followed by an equally unhappy summer. Rejected by putative managers and prospective players alike, Everton appear to have lost their lustre.

The support remains impressive but there is festering discontent about both the direction of the team and the club. Howard Kendall can tap into a deep residue of goodwill, but so could Joe Royle...

Slaven Bilic will provide much-needed solidity to a back four over-reliant on the ageing Dave Watson. There are some promising young players, notably Michael Branch, John Oster and Tony Grant, but a lack of quality.

It does not help that those players that have it, like Nick Barmby and Duncan Ferguson, rarely perform.

Manager: Howard Kendall

Assistant manager: Adrian Heath

Reserves: Colin Harvey

Youth: Ray Hall

Captain: Dave Watson

Ins: Slaven Bilic (West Ham) pounds 4.5m, John Oster (Grimsby) pounds 1.5m, Gareth Farrelly (Aston Villa) pounds 700,000, Tony Thomas (Tranmere) pounds 400,000

Outs: None

Capacity: 40,117

Ticket prices for home supporters: pounds 14-pounds 19 (adults), pounds 8-pounds 10 (concessions)

Tickets and prices for away supporters: 2-5,000 available at pounds 15-pounds 18

Season ticket prices: pounds 190-pounds 275 (adults), pounds 110-pounds 195 (concessions)

Ticket enquiries: 0891 121599

Credit card bookings: 0151 471 8000

Last season: 15th

Prediction: 13th

1 Southall

2 Barrett

3 Hinchcliffe

4 Unsworth

5 Watson

6 Phelan

7 Stuart

8 Barmby

9 Ferguson

10 Speed

12 Short

13 Gerrard

14 Grant

15 Thomsen

16 Branch

17 Farrelly

18 Parkinson

22 McCann

24 O'Connor

25 Ball

26 Allen

27 Dunne

28 Bilic

30 Jevons

32 Lane

33 O'Toole

35 Hill

Oster

LEEDS UNITED

Leeds are alleged to have scored six goals in one match while on tour in Norway, which is about as likely as someone receiving pounds 140,500 in used readies thinking: "What a Christmas present".

Having fulfilled his initial brief, bringing order to the defence, George Graham now has the more demanding task of gilding flair on to the discipline and producing goals. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Bruno Ribeiro have been brought in to do that, but it is midfield which looks significantly strengthened through David Hopkin and Alf Inge Haland.

Manager: George Graham

Assistant manager: David O'Leary

Coach: John Dungworth

Reserves: David Williams

Youth: Eddie Gray

Captain: TBC

In: Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (Boavista, Por) pounds 2m, David Robertson (Rangers) pounds 500,000, Bruno Ribeiro (Vitoria Setuba, Por) pounds 500,000, Alf Inge Haland (Nottingham Forest) pounds 2m, David Hopkin (Crystal Palace) pounds 3.25m

Outs: Brian Deane (Sheffield Utd) pounds 1m, Mark Ford (Burnley) pounds 275,000, Andy Couzens (Carlisle Utd) pounds 100,000, John Pemberton (Crewe) free

Capacity: 40,000

Ticket prices for home supporters: A games pounds 10-pounds 32, B games pounds 8-pounds 22

Tickets and prices for away supporters: 3,500 available at pounds 13-pounds 25

Season tickets: 14,500 available

Ticket enquiries: 0113 2716037

Credit card bookings: 0113 2716037

Last season: 11th

Prediction: 11th

1 Martyn

2 Kelly

3 Robertson

4 Haland

5 Radebe

6 Wetherall

7 Lee

8 Wallace

9 Hasselbaink

10 Ribeiro

11 Bowyer

12 Hopkin

14 Gray

15 Beeney

16 Jobson

17 Lilley

18 Halle

19 Kewell

20 Harte

21 Yeboah

22 Rush

24 Blunt

25 Laurent

26 Palmer

27 Maybury

28 Shepherd

29 Jackson

30 Molenaar

31 Foster

32 Wright

33 Boyle

35 Matthews

36 Brolin

37 McPhail

38 Lynch

39 Briggs

40 Butler

41 Dorigo

LEICESTER CITY

Leicester City showed what can be achieved through organisation and team spirit, but now they have to do it all again. It will more difficult now teams know what to expect and second-season motivation, so necessary for all that running, will require all Martin O'Neill's inspirational skills. He has begun by putting faith in his team, adding just Robbie Savage.

Should he emulate his fellow Crewe graduate Neil Lennon, Savage will have been a good purchase, but hanging on to Emile Heskey may have been the manager's best move. Given Leicester's strength, team unity, there may be a lesson in O'Neill's apparent reluctance to add foreign players to the mix.

Europe will be an interesting distraction, but it is hard to imagine them going far.

Manager: Martin O'Neill

Assistant manager: John Robertson

Reserves: Paul Franklin

Youth: David Nish

Captain: Steve Walsh

In: Robbie Savage (Crewe) pounds 400,000

Out: Simon Grayson (Aston Villa) pounds 1.35m, Jamie Lawrence (Bradford City) pounds 60,000

Capacity: 21,500

Ticket prices for home supporters: pounds 13.50-pounds 22 (adults), pounds 7-pounds 11 (concessions)

Tickets and prices for away supporters: 2,100 available, pounds 13.50-pounds 16.50 (adults), pounds 7-pounds 8.50 (concessions)

Season ticket pricess: 13,000 available: pounds 295-pounds 480 (adults), pounds 150-pounds 240 (concessions)

Ticket enquiries: 0116 291 5296

Credit card bookings: 0116 291 5232

Last season: 9th

Prediction: 15th

1 Poole

3 Whitlow

4 Watts

5 Walsh

6 Izzet

7 Lennon

8 Taylor

9 Claridge

10 Parker

11 Heskey

12 Robins

13 Keller

14 Savage

15 Kamark

17 Prior

18 Elliott

19 Ullathorne

20 Marshall

23 McMahon

24 Guppy

25 Wilson

26 Campbell

LIVERPOOL

This must be the season and Roy Evans knows it. The "Spice Boys" image has been cracked down upon and the midfield pussy-footing addressed. Steel and drive have been added in Paul Ince and Oyvind Leonhardsen and Stan Collymore's unsettling influence removed.

Karlheinz Riedle is another inspired signing. Like Ince he knows how to win a championship. Even Fowler's early injury is partially covered for by Michael Owen's promise. The concern is in defence where David James still looks vulnerable.

If they can improve their home form - 21 points dropped - they will push Manchester United all the way and if fortune favours them with injuries and other commitments they may surpass them.

Manager: Roy Evans

Assistant manager: Doug Livermore

Reserves: Steve Heighway

Youth: Sammy Lee

Captain: TBC

In: Oyvind Leonhardsen (Wimbledon) pounds 3.5m, Paul Ince (Internazionale) pounds 4.25m, Danny Murphy (Crewe) pounds 2.75m

Out: Stan Collymore (Aston Villa) pounds 7m, Lee Jones (Tranmere) pounds 100,000

Capacity: 35,000, rising to 45,000 after redevelopment of Anfield Road stand

Ticket prices for home supporters: pounds 16-pounds 18 (adults), pounds 8-pounds 18 (concessions)

Tickets for away supporters: No away fans allowed before Barnsley (22 Nov)

Season ticket prices: pounds 255-300 (adults), pounds 127.50 (concessions)

Ticket enquiries: 0151 260 8680

Credit card bookings: 0151 263 5727

Last season: 4th

Prediction: 2nd

1 James

2 Jones

3 Scales

4 McAteer

5 Wright

6 Babb

7 McManaman

9 Fowler

10 Barnes

11 Redknapp

12 Harkness

13 Warner

14 Ruddock

16 Thomas

18 Charnock

19 Kennedy

20 Bjornebye

21 Matteo

22 Stensgaard

25 Thompson

Berger

Ince

Leonhardsen

Murphy

* Numbers TBC

MANCHESTER UNITED

Favourites again and deservedly so. Last year was the fourth Premiership title in five and not even a roller-coaster ride to the semi-final of the European Cup could distract them.

Their rivals look stronger this year, but so do United despite the failure, so far, to sign central defensive cover. Teddy Sheringham is a fair replacement for Eric Cantona, the young players are a year older and Jordi Cruyff and Karel Poborsky are better prepared for the Premiership.

Liverpool will push them close domestically but, assuming they avoid serious injury to Roy Keane and Peter Schmeichel, United have the resilience to hold them off. Close to the best in Europe, but will need luck to surpass last season's run.

Manager: Alex Ferguson

Assistant manager: Brian Kidd

Reserves: Jim Ryan

Youth: Eric Harrison, Neil Bailey

Captain: Roy Keane

In: Teddy Sheringham (Tottenham) pounds 3.5m, Erik Nevland (Viking Stavanager, Nor) nominal fee

Out: Eric Cantona (retired), Patrick McGibbon (Wigan) pounds 250,000, Jonathan Macken (Preston) pounds 250,000, Simon Davies (Luton) pounds 150,000

Capacity: 55,330

Ticket prices for home supporters: pounds 12-18 (adults), pounds 8 (children)

Tickets and prices for away supporters: 3,000 available at pounds 18

Season ticket prices: pounds 228-pounds 342

Ticket enquiries: 0161 872 0199

Last season: 1st

Prediction: 1st

1 Schmeichel

2 G Neville

3 Irwin

4 May

5 Johnsen

6 Pallister

7 Beckham

8 Butt

9 Cole

10 Sheringham

11 Giggs

12 P Neville

13 McClair

14 Cruyff

15 Porborsky

16 Keane

17 Van der Gouw

18 Scholes

20 Solskjaer

23 Thornley

24 O'Kane

25 Pilkington

26 Casper

30 Cooke

29 Appleton

30 Wallwork

31 Curtis

32 Clegg

These are the squad numbers as issued for the Charity Shield, but will not necessarily be followed in the Premiership

NEWCASTLE UNITED

Alan Shearer's injury cast a pall over Tyneside and, with Les Ferdinand also departing, it is hard to see Kenny Dalglish coming any closer to landing that elusive title than Kevin Keegan did.

Before Shearer went down at Goodison, Dalglish looked to be building an promising side with several interesting signings. They will still be on the fringe but are more likely to be a threat in the FA Cup, in which Shearer may yet play a part, than the championship.

Dalglish will be hoping to improve on his European record as manager, while spectators will be hoping he produces a team more like his old Liverpool ones than the side he created at Blackburn Rovers.

Manager: Kenny Dalglish

Assistant manager: Terry McDermott

Reserves: Alan Irvine

Youth: John Carver

Captain: TBC

In: Alessandro Pistone (Internazionale) pounds 4.3m, Jon Dahl Tomasson (Heerenveen, Neth) pounds 2.2m, Bjarni Gudjonsson (Akranes, Ice) pounds 500,000, Temur Ketsbaia (AEK Athens) free, Shay Given (Blackburn) pounds 1.5m, Stuart Pearce (Nottingham Forest) free

Out: Les Ferdinand (Tottenham) pounds 6m, Lee Clark (Sunderland) pounds 2.5m, Robbie Elliott (Bolton) pounds 2.5m, David Ginola (Tottenham) pounds 2m

Capacity: 36,610

Ticket prices for home supporters: None (all season ticket holders)

Tickets and prices for away supporters: 1,800 available at pounds 18

Season ticket prices: pounds 265-pounds 441 (adults), pounds 125-pounds 278 (concessions)

Ticket information and credit card bookings: 0191 261 1571

Last season: 2nd

Prediction: 4th

1 Given

2 Barton

3 Beresford

4 Batty

5 Peacock

6 Howey

7 Lee

8 Beardsley

9 Shearer

11 Asprilla

12 Pearce

14 Ketsbaia

15 Hislop

16 Tomasson

17 Crawford

18 Gillespie

19 Watson

20 Gudjonsson

21 Srnicek

22 Hamilton

23 Pistone

24 Pinas

25 Brayson

26 Burt

27 Albert

28 Hughes

29 Harper

30 Kelly

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY

The signing of Paolo di Canio underlines the growing ambition at Hillsborough. David Pleat has crafted a useful side who were unlucky to miss out on Europe last season, and will be pushing again for a place this time.

Some tangible success may lift the image of a club which, despite recent Wembley appearances, a magnificent stadium and media-friendly manager continues to be regarded as unfashionable.

This meant Benito Carbone's impressive contribution to the overseas influx was not appreciated more widely. He should be even better this year as should young Richie Humphreys. If David Hirst stays free of injury - a big ask - and Des Walker's legs keep moving, Wednesday will again be a threat to anyone.

Manager: David Pleat

Assistant manager: Peter Shreeves

Coach: Bobby Smith

Reserves: Albert Phelan

Youth: Ricky Hill

Captain: Peter Atherton

In: Paolo di Canio (Celtic) pounds 3m, Patrick Blondeau (Monaco) pounds 1.8m

Out: Regi Blinker (Celtic) pounds 1.5m, (Orlando Trustfull (Vitesse Arnhem, Neth) pounds 800,000, Michael Williams (Burnley) free, Brian Linighan (released)

Capacity: 40,000

Ticket prices for home supporters: A games: pounds 14-pounds 21 (adults), pounds 9-pounds 12 (concessions). B games: pounds 12-pounds 18 (adults), pounds 7-pounds 10 (concessions). C games: pounds 10-pounds 14 (adults), pounds 7-pounds 9 (concessions)

Tickets and prices for away supporters: 4,000 available at pounds 13-pounds 18

Season ticket prices: pounds 237-pounds 330 (adults), pounds 163-pounds 192 (concessions)

Ticket enquiries and credit card bookings: 0114 221 2400

Last season: 7th

Prediction: 7th

1 Pressman

2 Atherton

3 Nolan

4 Pembridge

5 Newsome

6 Walker

7 Whittingham

8 Carbone

9 Hirst

10 Booth

12 Hyde

13 Clarke

14 Nicol

15 Blondeau

16 Humphreys

17 Briscoe

18 Stefanovic

19 Oakes

20 Collins

21 Poric

22 Donaldson

Di Canio

SOUTHAMPTON

More upheaval down at The Dell with their fifth manager in as many seasons. David Jones could not be more of a contrast to Graeme Souness but a modest playing career and painstaking managerial apprentice may be just what Southampton need.

Souness's asset for Southampton was his overseas contacts and, although they have lost Eyal Berkovitch he bequeaths Egil Ostenstad and several other useful foreigners. Jones has looked to the lower leagues to further strengthen the mix.

As usual much will depend on the mercurial Matt Le Tissier who will be missed as he recovers from a broken arm in the early weeks. Much, also, may depend on the boardroom where Rupert Lowe is yet to convince supporters he has the club's interests at heart.

Manager: David Jones

Assistant manager: John Sainty

Coach: Terry Cooper

Reserves: Stuart Gray

Youth: Stewart Henderson

Captain: Matthew Le Tissier

In: Kevin Davies (Chesterfield) pounds 750,000, Paul Jones (Stockport) pounds 800,000, Stig Johansen (Bodo-Glimt, Nor) pounds 600,000, Lee Todd (Stockport) pounds 400,000

Out: Eyal Berkovitch (West Ham) pounds 1.75m paid to Maccabi Haifa, Paul Tisdale (Bristol City) free

Capacity: 15,221

Ticket prices for home supporters: pounds 18-pounds 20 (adults), pounds 6 (concessions)

Tickets and prices for away supporters: 2,000 available at pounds 15-pounds 20

Season ticket prices: pounds 280-pounds 360 (adults), pounds 150 (concessions)

Ticket enquiries: 01705 228575

Credit card bookings: 01703 337171

Last season: 16th

Prediction: 17th

1 Jones

2 Dodd

3 Todd

4 Magilton

5 Monkou

6 Lundekvam

7 Le Tissier

8 Oakley

9 Evans

10 Ostenstad

11 Slater

12 Dryden

13 Taylor

14 Maddison

15 Benali

16 Davies

17 Charlton

18 Van Gobbel

19 Neilson

20 Beasant

21 Williams

22 Robinson

23 Spedding

24 Basham

Johansen

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

Plenty of fine players, if only they were not so often injured. David Ginola may give Tottenham a season, as he did Newcastle, and Les Ferdinand is sure to prosper under Gerry Francis. Add Steffen Iversen and Chris Armstrong and there should be plenty of goal threat.

Much, however, depends on whether Darren Anderton is fit to add guile to a prosaic midfield. If he is, Spurs could produce the attacking football they are associated with and results to match. If not, it could be another season of drudgery though at least the defence is looking more secure.

Another club with an interesting opening, with Teddy Sheringham and Manchester United coming to the Lane on Sunday...

Manager: Gerry Francis

Assistant manager: Roger Cross

Reserves: Chris Hughton

Youth: Des Bulpin

Captain: TBC

In: Les Ferdinand (Newcastle) pounds 6m, David Ginola (Newcastle) pounds 2m

Out: Teddy Sheringham (Manchester Utd) pounds 3.5m, Ronny Rosenthal (released)

Capacity: 26,000 (reduced this season)

Ticket prices for home supporters: A games: pounds 21-pounds 35 (adults), pounds 21-pounds 24 (adult members), pounds 10.50-pounds 12 (junior members). B games: pounds 18-pounds 30 (adults), pounds 18-pounds 21 (adult members), pounds 9-pounds 10-50 (junior members)

Tickets and prices for away supporters: Limited due to redevelopment: pounds 18-pounds 21

Season ticket prices: pounds 360-pounds 600 (adults), pounds 175-pounds 225 (concessions)

Ticket enquiries: 0171 365 5000

Credit card bookings: Non-members: 0171 420 0234. Members: 0181 365 5100.

Last season: 10th

Prediction: 8th

1 Walker

2 Austin

3 Edinburgh

4 Howells

5 Calderwood

6 Mabbutt

7 Fox

8 Nielsen

9 Anderton

10 Ferdinand

11 Armstrong

12 Carr

13 Bardsen

14 Ginola

15 Vega

16 Wilson

17 Scales

18 Iversen

19 Nethercott

20 Dozzell

22 Sinton

23 Campbell

30 Brown

WEST HAM UNITED

Has Harry Redknapp finally got the blend right, or will they struggle again? Paul Kitson and John Hartson turned them around last year and, with Eyal Berkovitch behind them, will continue to score goals.

Midfield, too, looks well balanced, with the under-rated John Moncur supported by the busy new signing Andy Impey and the driving Steve Lomas.

Problems, however, at the back with Slaven Bilic gone and Julian Dicks and Tim Breacker injured. Richard Hall needs to settle well and Marc Rieper rediscover his best form.

Manager: Harry Redknapp

Assistant manager: Frank Lampard

Reserves: Frank Burrows

Youth: Tony Carr

Captain: Julian Dicks

In: Eyal Berkovitch (Southampton) pounds 1.5m (paid to Maccabi Haifa), David Terrier (Metz) pounds 1m, Craig Forrest (Ipswich) pounds 500,000, Andrew Impey (QPR) pounds 1.2m

Out: Slaven Bilic (Everton) pounds 4.5m

Capacity: 25,985

Ticket prices for home supporters: A games: pounds 18-pounds 27 (adults), pounds 11-pounds 14 (concessions). B games: pounds 22-31 (adults), pounds 11-pounds 14 (concessions)

Tickets and prices for away supporters: A games: pounds 20. B games: pounds 24. A/B games: pounds 11 (concessions)

Season ticket prices: pounds 290-pounds 440 (adults), pounds 175-pounds 265 (concessions)

Ticket enquiries: 0181 548 2700

Credit card bookings: 0181 548 2700

Last season: 14th

Prediction: 12th

1 Miklosko

2 Breacker

3 Dicks

4 Potts

5 Hall

6 Williamson

7 Bishop

8 Rieper

9 Kitson

10 Hartson

11 Lomas

12 Rowland

11 Terrier

14 Dowie

15 Ferdinand

16 Moncur

17 Lazaridis

18 Lampard

20 Impey

21 Sealey

23 Mean

24 Hughes

25 Hodges

27 Omoyinmi

29 Berkovitch

31 Finn

33 Boylan

WIMBLEDON

Undercut by Barnsley as the Premiership's minnows, and not before time. If they can retain their unique spirit while absorbing new Norwegian investment, they could make last year's fine season a platform rather than a peak.

Oyvind Leonhardsen, inevitably, has gone, with Ceri Hughes billed as the replacement. While midfield may be weaker, the defence, where Chris Perry, Dean Blackwell and Neil Sullivan should continue to mature, looks solid. Ben Thatcher, having been injured last season, is like a new signing.

Europe possible, but the best result would be Merton Council agreeing to a deal for a new home for the club.

Manager: Joe Kinnear

Coaches: Lawrie Sanchez, David Kemp

Reserves: Mick Harford

Youth: Ernie Tippet

Captain: Vinnie Jones

In: Ceri Hughes (Luton) pounds 400,000

Out: Oyvind Leonhardsen (Liverpool) pounds 3.5m, Aidan Newhouse (Fulham) pounds 150,000, Scott Fitzgerald (Millwall) pounds 80,000

Capacity: 26,309

Ticket prices for home supporters: pounds 12-pounds 20 (adults), pounds 7-pounds 10 (concessions)

Tickets and prices for away supporters: 2-9,000 available at pounds 18

Season ticket prices: pounds 160-pounds 280 (adults), pounds 80-pounds 140 (concessions)

Ticket enquiries: 0181 771 8841

Credit card bookings: 0891 771 884

Last season: 8th

Prediction: 9th

1 Sullivan

2 Cunningham

3 Kimble

4 Jones

5 Blackwell

6 Thatcher

7 Hughes

8 Earle

9 Ekoku

10 Holdsworth

11 Gayle

12 Perry

13 Heald

14 Goodman

15 Reeves

16 Thorn

17 McAllister

18 Ardley

19 Castledine

20 Harford

21 Jupp

22 Clarke

23 Euell

24 Fear

25 Pearce

Analysis by Glenn Moore

Team research by Daniel Ross and Robert Peake

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