Saturday 25 October 2014

Team by team guide to the new Premier League season

Published 11/08/2014 | 19:32

Manchester City's Vincent Kompany lifts the Premier League Trophy
Manchester City's Vincent Kompany lifts the Premier League Trophy

The Premier League kicks off on Saturday and with new faces at all the big clubs, it promises to be another edge-of-the-seat thriller. Here are all the ins and outs.

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ARSENAL

Manager: Arsene Wenger

Position last season: 4th

Nickname: The Gunners

Ground: Emirates Stadium

Capacity: 60,361

Players in: Alexis Sanchez (Barcelona, £30m), Mathieu Debuchy (Newcastle, £12m), Callum Chambers (Southamton £16m),  Adil Chichi (FC Cologne, free)

Players out: Bacary Sagna (Manchester City, free), Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City, free), Nicklas Bendtner (released), Park Ju-young (released), Thomas Eisfeld (Fulham, undisclosed), Carl Jenkinson (West Ham, loan)

Key man: Mesut Ozil

Chances: Arsene Wenger's side finally delivered a long overdue trophy when lifting the FA Cup at Wembley after extra-time against Hull. Wenger hopes his squad, bolstered by the summer addition of Sanchez and with record-signing Mesut Ozil finally up to speed, can now kick on and last the distance in the Premier League title race, but the Gunners will again find the going tough against their big-spending rivals.

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ASTON VILLA

Manager: Paul Lambert

Position last season: 15th

Nickname: The Villans

Ground: Villa Park

Capacity: 42,788

Players in: Joe Cole (West Ham, free), Philippe Senderos (Valencia, free), Kieran Richardson (Fulham, undisclosed), Aly  Cissokho

Players out: Nathan Delfouneso (released), Marc Albrighton (Leicester, free), Antonio Luna (Verona, loan), Jed Steer (Doncaster, loan), Reece Wabara (Doncaster Rovers, loan)

Key man: Christian Benteke

Chances: Villa have failed to kick on under Lambert, who has been hamstrung by lack of investment from wantaway owner Randy Lerner and troubled by backroom issues. However, the former Norwich boss has the nucleus of a promising side, and once things are settled off the field, expect some more solid performances boosted by Villa's lightning front line which should see them steer clear of another relegation scrap and start to look up the table again.

 

BURNLEY

Manager: Sean Dyche

Position last season: Promoted from Championship as runners-up

Nickname: The Clarets

Ground: Turf Moor

Capacity: 22,546

Players in: Michael Kightly (Stoke, undisclosed), Steven Reid (West Brom, free), Marvin Sordell (Bolton, undisclosed), Matt Gilks (Blackpool, free), Matt Taylor (West Ham, free), Lucas Jutkiewicz (Middlesbrough, £1.5m)

Players out: Junior Stanislas (Bournemouth, free), David Edgar (Birmingham, free), Chris Baird (West Brom, free)

Key man: Danny Ings

Chances: Sean Dyche's men drew a lot of plaudits for the manner in which they secured promotion alongside Leicester to return the Lancashire club to the Premier League after five years, but staying there will be a whole new ball game. Team spirit can only take the Clarets so far, and it remains to be seen whether Championship marksmen Danny Ings  and Sam Vokes can cut it in the top flight. Could be a long battle, but expect Dyche's well-drilled side to put up more than a few good fights along the way.

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CHELSEA

Manager: Jose Mourinho

Position last season: 3rd

Nickname: The Blues

Ground: Stamford Bridge

Capacity: 41,837

Players in: Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona, £27m), Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid, £32m), Mario Pasalic (Hajduk Split, £2.4m), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid, undisclosed), Didier Drogba

Players out: David Luiz (Paris St Germain, £40m), Ashley Cole (Roma, free), Samuel Eto'o, Henrique Hilario, Frank Lampard (all released), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Monchengladbach, loan), Demba Ba (Besiktas, £4.7m), Oriol Romeu (Stuttgart, loan), Patrick van Aanhol (Sunderland, undisclosed)

Key man: Diego Costa

Chances: Despite all of his rhetoric about little horses, Mourinho knows Chelsea would have won the Premier League last season but for slip-ups against teams they really should have put away. Chelsea have addressed their striker issue with the purchase of Costa while former Arsenal captain Fabregas will bring some dynamism to midfield. Expect the Blues to push City close again, and Mourinho not to make the same costly mistakes.

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CRYSTAL PALACE

Manager: Tony Pulis

Position last season: 11th

Nickname: The Eagles

Ground: Selhurst Park

Capacity: 26,309

Players in: Chris Kettings (Blackpool, free), Breda Hangeland (Fulham, free), Frazier Campbell (Cardiff, £900k)

Players out: Kagisho Dikgacoi (Cardiff City, free), Danny Gabbidon & Aaron Wilbraham (released), Neil Alexander (Hearts, free), Jose Campana (Sampdoria, undisclosed), Jack Hunt (Nottingham Forest, loan)

Key man: Mile Jedinak

Chances: LMA Manager of the Year Pulis performed a minor miracle to keep Palace up and in the end with plenty to spare. However, his second season is likely to be even more of a challenge, but one you expect the former Stoke boss to meet head on. The Eagles, though, will certainly be well organised again and with some added goal threat, could cause teams plenty of problems to secure another mid-table finish.

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EVERTON

Manager: Roberto Martinez

Position last season: Fifth

Nickname: The Toffees

Ground: Goodison Park

Capacity: 40,569

Players in: Gareth Barry (Manchester City, £1m), Muhamed Besic (Ferencvaros, £4m), Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea, £28m), Brandon Gallaway (MK Dons, undisclosed)

Players out: Gerard Deulofeu (Barcelona, loan deal ended)

Key man: Ross Barkley

Chances: Former Wigan boss Martinez showed he could make the step up when taking over from David Moyes at the start of last season, although was unable to eventually get Everton back in the top four despite the best efforts of on-loan Chelsea forward Romelu Lukaku. While they may well come up short in the league again, the cup competitions are a genuine prospect for success. Oh, and watch out for a certain young Mr Barkley.

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HULL

Manager: Steve Bruce

Position last season: 16th

Nickname: The Tigers

Ground: KC Stadium

Capacity: 25,404

Players in: Jake Livermore (Tottenham, £8m), Robert Snodgrass (Norwich, £7m), Tom Ince (Blackpool, undisclosed), Karim Rossi (Stoke, free), Andrew Robertson (Dundee Utd, £2.85m), Harry Maguire (Sheffield Utd, £2.5m)

Players out: Matty Fryatt (Nottingham Forest, free), Abdoulaye Faye (released), Robert Koren (released)

Key man: Tom Huddlestone

Chances: Despite some off-field issues over the club's name, Hull delivered on the pitch as Steve Bruce's side not only maintained their top-flight status but also came within touching distance of beating Arsenal in the FA Cup final. New challenges lie ahead in the Europa League, and Bruce knows his squad will have to dig deep to sustain their own high standards to avoid being dragged into the relegation scrap.

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LEICESTER

Manager: Nigel Pearson

Position last season: Promoted as Championship winners

Nickname: The Foxes

Ground: King Power Stadium

Capacity: 32,500

Players in: Matt Upson (Brighton, free), Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa, free), Leonardo Ulloa (Brighton, undisclosed)

Players out: Zak Whitbread (Derby, free); Lloyd Dyer (Watford, free), Sean St Ledger (released)

Key man:  David Nugent

Chances: The Foxes might have swept all before them in the Championship last season, but a long-awaited return to the elite will prove a different battle altogether. Pearson, though, will have his side organised and the addition of Upson will bring some experience, with much again depending on whether Nugent can take his goals to the highest level. Fail to do so, added with some flaky defending, and Leicester will be in trouble.

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LIVERPOOL

Manager: Brendan Rodgers

Position last season: 2nd

Nickname: The Reds

Ground: Anfield

Capacity: 45,362

Players in: Rickie Lambert (Southampton, £4m); Emre Can (Bayer Leverkusen, £9.75m), Adam Lallana (£25m, Southampton), Lazar Markovic (Benfica, undisclosed), Dejan Lovren (£20m, Southampton), Javier Manquilolo (loan, Atletico Madrid), Divock Origi (Lille, £10m)

Players out: Luis Suarez (Barcelona, £75m), Iago Aspas (Sevilla, loan)

Key man: Steven Gerrard

Chances: Despite the big hole being left by Suarez's move to Barcelona, Liverpool have been quick to bolster a squad which just failed to last the distance last season. Expect more attacking flair again from Rodgers' men, but with Champions League football thrown into the mix, another sustained title assault may just be beyond the Reds. You can bet, though, that captain Gerrard will be determined not to let this one slip, again.

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MANCHESTER CITY

Manager: Manuel Pellegrini

Position last season: Champions

Nickname: The Blues

Ground: Etihad Stadium

Capacity: 48,000

Players in: Fernando (Porto, £12m), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal, free), Willy Caballero (Malaga, undisclosed) Eliaquin Mangalla (£32m, Porto)

Players out: Joleon Lescott (West Brom, free); Costel Pantilimon (Sunderland, free), Gareth Barry (Everton, £1m), Jack Rodwell (Sunderland, £10m)

Key man: Yaya Toure

Chances: After finally proving themselves the big horse in the final furlong of the title race, Pellegrini has continued his quiet building programme with some solid summer purchases which will again make City the team to beat. While Manchester United's new boss will be determined to keep the noisy neighbours quiet, driven on by Toure and the goals of Sergio Aguero, don't be surprised to hear the Blues singing 'We are the champions' loudly again come May 2015.

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MANCHESTER UNITED

Manager: Louis van Gaal

Position last season: 7th

Nickname: The Red Devils

Ground: Old Trafford

Capacity: 76,100

Players in: Luke Shaw (Southampton, £30m), Ander Herrera (Athletic Bilbao, £28.8m), Vanja Milinkovic (FK Vojvodina, undisclosed).

Players out: Rio Ferdinand (QPR, free), Nemanja Vidic (Inter Milan, free), Ryan Giggs (retired),  Alexander Buttner (Dynamo Moscow, £4.4m), Federico Macheda (Cardiff, free), Vanja Milinkovic (FK Vojvodina, loan), Patrice Evra (Juventus, initial £1.2m)

Key man: Wayne Rooney

Chances: United fans will be hoping Van Gaal can prove an instant success in the Premier League, having shown great confidence in taking Holland to the semi-finals of the World Cup. The Dutchman, though, will need all of his experience for what will be a completely new ball game, but following some decent summer additions, should be able to get the Red Devils firing again and turn Old Trafford back into a fortress as they chase down Champions League qualification.

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NEWCASTLE

Manager: Alan Pardew

Position last season: 10th

Nickname: The Magpies

Ground: St James' Park

Capacity: 52,401

Players in: Remy Cabella (Montpellier, £12m), Siem de Jong (Ajax, £6m), Jack Colback (Sunderland, free), Ayoze Perez (Tenerife, £1.5m), Daryl Janmaat (Feyenoord, £5m), Emmanuel Riviere (Monaco, undisclosed), Facundo Ferreya (Shaktar Donetsk, loan)

Players out: Mathieu Debuchy (Arsenal, £12m), Shola Ameobi (released), Dan Gosling (Bournemouth, free), Slyvian Marveaux (Guingamp, free)

Key man: Remy Cabella

Chances: Pardew made as many headlines himself as his team did last season, so everyone on Tyneside will be hoping for a much smoother campaign. In the end, a top-half finish was secured and if the summer recruits settle quickly and Pardew can let the football be the focus again, then there could be better times ahead at St James' Park. But if things don't go to plan, they could spiral downwards very quickly. Mike Ashley will be watching.

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QPR

Manager: Harry Redknapp

Position last season: Promoted via Championship play-offs

Nickname: The Rs

Ground: Loftus Road

Capacity: 18,360

Players in: Rio Ferdinand (Man Utd, free), Steven Caulker (Cardiff, £8m)

Players out: Yossi Benayoun (Maccabi Haifa, £750,000), Aaron Hughes (Brighton), Andrew Johnson, Stephane Mbia (released)

Key man: Rio Ferdinand

Chances: Redknapp returned QPR to the top flight at the first time of asking, just via a dramatic late winner over Derby at Wembley, which probably safeguarded the club's finances. Much will depend on how quickly the squad can adapt again to the hustle and bustle of the Premier League having been battling in the Championship. Ferdinand's experience will be key and expect more wheeling and dealing in the January transfer window to help keep the Hoops out of danger.

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SOUTHAMPTON

Manager: Ronald Koeman

Position last season: 8th

Nickname: Saints

Ground: St Mary's Stadium

Capacity: 32,689

Players in: Dusan Tadic (FC Twente, £10.9m), Graziano Pelle (Feyenoord, £9m) Patrick van Aanhol (Chelsea, undisclosed)

Players out: Luke Shaw (Manchester United, £25m), Adam Lallana (£25million, Liverpool), Rickie Lambert (Liverpool, £4million), Jonathan Forte (released), Dejan Lovren (Liverpool, £20m), Ignacio Scoco ) Newell's Old Boys, £2.1m), Calum Chambers (Arsenal, £16m)

Key man: Jay Rodriguez

Chances: Saints will need to adjust to life after Mauricio Pochettino very quickly to avoid Koeman's reign turning into a survival battle. Despite the mass summer exodus, the Saints still have a decent squad and one which with the additions of Tadic and Pelle should be able to continue the development of the south coast club - although maybe another top-10 finish is out of reach this season.

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STOKE

Manager: Mark Hughes

Position last season: 9th

Nickname: The Potters

Ground: Britannia Stadium

Capacity: 28,383

Players in: Bojan Krkic (Barcelona, undisclosed), Steve Sidwell (Fulham, free), Phil Bardsley (Sunderland, free),  Mame Biram Diouf (Hannover, free), Dionatan Teixeira (Banska Bystrica, undisclosed),

Players out: Michael Kightly (Burnley, undisclosed), Matthew Etherington (released),

Key man: Bojan Krkic

Chances: Many expected Stoke to struggle last season following the departure of Tony Pulis, but Hughes' new-look side eventually found their way to a deserved top-half finish. Continued development, though, will be a harder job following a transition season, but with some promising summer additions, Stoke should again stay out of trouble.

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SUNDERLAND

Manager: Gus Poyet

Position last season: 14th

Nickname: The Black Cats

Ground: Stadium of Light

Capacity: 49,000

Players in:  Billy Jones (West Brom, free), Costel Pantilimon (Man City, free), Jordi Gomez (Wigan, free), Jack Rodwell (Man City, £10m)

Players out:  Phil Bardsley (Stoke, free), Craig Gardner (West Brom, free), Jack Colback (Newcastle, free), Carlos Cuellar (released)

Key man: Connor Wickham

Chances: Sunderland fans are probably still trying to work out just how Poyet managed to keep them up last season, but after having come good with such a late escape, no one at the Stadium of Light will want to go through such nerve-shredding drama again. Much will depend on how the players bond and whether Wickham can find his goals touch again, but Poyet will be determined to get more consistency and so start to look up the table.

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SWANSEA

Manager: Garry Monk

Position last season: 12th

Nickname: The Swans

Ground: Liberty Stadium

Capacity: 20,700

Players in: Lukasz Fabianski (Arsenal, free), Bafetimbi Gomis (Lyon, undisclosed), Stephen Kingsley (Falkirk, undisclosed), Marvin Emnes (Middlesbrough, £1.5m), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Tottenham, undisclosed), Jefferson Montero (Morelia, undisclosed)

Players out: Michu (Napoli, loan), Leroy Lita, Jernade Meade, David Ngog, Darnel Situ (all released), Ben Davies and Michel Vorm (Tottenham, undisclosed), Alejandro Pozuelo (Rayo Vallecano, undisclosed).

Key man: Ashley Williams

Chances: Monk's appointment to succeed Michael Laudrup was vindicated as the Swans found some end-of-season form to pull clear of trouble. However, despite a couple of decent summer additions, the new campaign could prove to be severely testing for the Welsh club and fans' favourite Monk may well find his position under scrutiny should results prove difficult to come by.

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TOTTENHAM

Manager: Mauricio Pochettino

Position last season: 6th

Nickname: Spurs

Ground: White Hart Lane

Capacity: 36,274

Players in: Ben Davies and Michel Vorm (Swansea, undisclosed), Eric Dier (Sporting Lisbon, £8m)

Players out: Jake Livermore (Hull, £8m), Heurelho Gomes (Watford, free), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea, undisclosed

Key man: Andros Townsend

Chances: Spurs fans will be hoping Pochettino can bring the type of football he installed at Southampton following his arrival to replace Tim Sherwood. The target is to first break back into the top four and then close down north London rivals Arsenal. The nucleus of a strong squad is there, one which will be stretched by the Europa League. Pochettino's biggest job will be in keeping everyone happy if things don't go as planned, especially hard-to-please chairman Daniel Levy.

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WEST BROM

Manager: Alan Irvine

Position last season: 17th

Nickname: The Baggies

Ground: The Hawthorns

Capacity: 26,500

Players in: Joleon Lescott (Man City, free), Brown Ideye (Dynamo Kiev, £10m), Craig Gardner (Sunderland, free), Chris Baird (Burnley, free), Andre Wisdom (Liverpool, season loan), Sebastien Pocognoli (Hannover, undisclosed fee), Jason Davidson (Heracles Almelo, undisclosed) Christian Gamboa (Rosenborg, undisclosed)

Players out: Billy Jones (Sunderland, free) Liam Ridgewell (Portland Timbers, free), Steven Reid (Burnley, free), Zoltan Gera (released)

Key man: Stephane Sessegnon

Chances: Irvine is determined to make the most of his opportunity and prove he was not second choice after Sherwood. A couple of promising summer signings may struggle to improve on what was a poor campaign and only just avoided the drop. May well be a long season ahead at The Hawthorns, but the Baggies have bounced back from tougher times before to prove the doubters wrong.

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WEST HAM

Manager: Sam Allardyce

Position last season: 13th

Nickname: The Hammers

Ground: Boleyn Ground, Upton Park

Capacity: 35,333

Players in: Enner Valencia (Pachuca, £12m), Cheikhou Kouyate (Anderlecht, undisclosed), Mauro Zarate (Velez Sarsfield, undisclosed), Aaron Cresswell (Ipswich, £3.75m), Diego Poyet (Charlton, compensation fee), Carl Jenksinson (Arsenal, loan)

Players out: Joe Cole (Aston Villa, free), Jack Collison, Alou Diarra, George McCartney & Jordan Spence (released)

Key man: Ener Valencia

 

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