Five talking points ahead of an exciting new Premier League season
Published 22/07/2016 | 08:36
The new Premier League season gets under way on August 13 with the big guns looking to right the wrongs of the previous campaign by unseating shock champions Leicester.
Here is a look at some of the talking points as the protagonists prepare to renew hostilities.
FOXES ON THE RUN?
Leicester's surge to last season's title was as unexpected as it was glorious and bookmakers stung by their success - with Claudio Ranieri's men quoted at odds of 5,000-1 - are not about to make the same mistake again.
However, while the Foxes are 25-1 shots to repeat their remarkable feat with most bookies, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool are all rated as better bets.
Manchester City invested in proven success when they managed to lure Pep Guardiola to the Etihad Stadium in a bid to revive their flagging project. The 45-year-old won a staggering 21 trophies, including two Champions League titles, during his seven seasons with Barcelona and Bayern Munich, and the club's fans are eager to see if he can work his magic once again in England's top flight.
MOUR SUCCESS FOR JOSE?
The third coming of Jose Mourinho to the Premier League is sure to be eventful if nothing else as he attempts to rekindle his career at Manchester United.
But will it be the Mourinho who established Chelsea as the dominant force in England during his first trophy-laden spell, or the Mourinho who was shown the Stamford Bridge door in December after a spectacular fall from grace, who turns up at Old Trafford?
For promoted trio Burnley, Middlesbrough and Hull, the primary aim is simply to remain in the Premier League. The Clarets and the Tigers both bounced back at the first attempt, while it has taken Boro seven long years to regain their top-flight status. But a word of warning - only twice this century have all three top-flight newcomers managed to avoid an instant return to the Football League.
The riches of the Premier League have funded another hugely expensive recruitment drive fuelled by the latest television deal, but few arrivals have captured the imagination quite as much as that of Manchester United's new forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The much-travelled 34-year-old Sweden international has a particularly high opinion of himself and has largely justified it in recent years, and whatever else he may be, he is certainly box office both on and off the pitch. Buckle up, it promises to be a wild ride.