Who will win the EPL this season?
As the new English Premier League season begins today, mid-day analyses the top contenders for the coveted title
Manager: Jose Mourinho
Position last season: Champs
Ground: Stamford Bridge
Players in: Radamel Falcao (Monaco, loan), Asmir Begovic (Stoke, undisclosed), Nathan (Atletico Paranaense, undisclosed)
Players out: Petr Cech (Arsenal, £10m), Gael Kakuta (Sevilla, undisclosed), Marco van Ginkel (Stoke, loan), Josh McEachran (Brentford, £500,000), Christian Atsu (Bournemouth, loan), Mario Pasalic (Monaco, loan), Lewis Baker (Vitesse Arnhem, loan), Izzy Brown (Vitesse Arnhem, loan)
Key men: Diego Costa, Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas, John Terry
Eden Hazard. Pics/Getty Images. AFP
Chances: Jose Mourinho's side had their style critics last season, but you could not argue with results as consistency was rewarded with the title to add to the League Cup. The decision to allow Cech to join Arsenal was made reluctantly, amid concerns it could come back to haunt them in May. Mourinho, though, is confident he can get the best out of Manchester United misfit Radamel Falcao as the Blues begin life without Didier Drogba (again). Much will depend on what realistic challenge Chelsea face from their domestic rivals, and how much the quest for Champions League success takes out Mourinho's squad.
Winger Eden Hazard played in every Chelsea match in the EPL last season
Manager: Arsene Wenger
Position last season: Third
Nickname: The Gunners
Ground: Emirates Stadium
Players in: Petr Cech (Chelsea, £10m)
Players out: Lukas Podolski (Galatasaray, £1.8m), Ryo Miyaichi (St Pauli, undisclosed), Semi Ajayi (Cardiff, undisclosed), Abou Diaby (released), Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Ipswich, loan), Carl Jenkinson (West Ham, loan)
Key men: Mesut Özil, Alexis Sanchez, Petr Cech, Santi Cazorla
Chances: Arsene Wenger's side may have failed to close the gap on Chelsea and Manchester City, but their form over the run-in was impressive and culminated in the FA Cup final demolition of Aston Villa to retain the trophy at Wembley. The addition of an established goalkeeper in Petr Cech from Chelsea has renewed belief 2015/2016 will see the Gunners finally mount a long overdue sustained title challenge.
The success rate (in per cent) of Mesut Özil's passes last season
Manager: Louis van Gaal
Position last season: Fourth
Nickname: Red Devils
Ground: Old Trafford
Players in: Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich, undisclosed), Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton, undisclosed), Memphis Depay (PSV Eindhoven, £25million), Matteo Darmian (Torino, undisclosed)
Players out: Angel di Maria (PSG, £44m), Robin van Persie (Fenerbahce, undisclosed), Tom Cleverley (Everton, free), Nani (Fenerbahce, undisclosed), Will Keane (Preston, loan), Saidy Janko (Celtic, undisclosed), Ben Amos (Bolton, free)
Key men: Wayne Rooney, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Juan Mata, Marouane Fellaini
Chances: United fans will be hoping this season will see Louis van Gaal's impact following some inconsistencies after they eventually returned into the top four last season. What remains to be seen is the impact of the Champions League qualifier at the start of the campaign, but the squad has been boosted by some high-calibre players who need to hit the ground running to aid the rebuilding programme at Old Trafford.
No of goals Wayne Rooney scored last season - making him the top goalscorer for United
Manager: Manuel Pellegrini
Position last season: Second
Ground: Etihad Stadium
Players in: Raheem Sterling (Manchester City, £49m), Enes Unal (Bursaspor, undisclosed)
Players out: Matija Nastastic (Schalke, undisclosed), Alvaro Negredo (Valencia, undisclosed), Frank Lampard (New York City FC, free), Dedryck Boyata (Celtic, £1.5m), Scott Sinclair (Aston Villa, undisclosed), James Milner (Liverpool, free), Micah Richards (Aston Villa, free), Karim Rekik (Marseille, undisclosed), John Guidetti (Celta Vigo, free)
Key men: Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, David Silva, Yaya Toure
Chances: While last season's runners-up spot and shortcomings in Europe may have been viewed as a backward step, manager Manuel Pellegrini shows no signs of hitting the panic button despite knowing the pressure of expectation. More astute summer signings — including finally landing Raheem Sterling, albeit paying a hefty price for the England frontman — signalled the intent at the Etihad Stadium to remain very much in the title race once again.
Percentage of Manchester City's goals (83) in the EPL last season scored by Sergio Aguero (26)
Manager: Brendan Rodgers
Position last season: Sixth
Nickname: The Reds
Players in: Roberto Firmino (Hoffenheim, £22m), Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton, £12m), James Milner (Manchester City, free), Danny Ings (Burnley, tribunal), Adam Bogdan (Bolton, free), Joe Gomez (Charlton, undisclosed)
Players out: Raheem Sterling (Manchester City, £49m), Steven Gerrard (LA Galaxy, free), Glen Johnson (released), Danny Ward (Aberdeen, loan), Sebastian Coates (Sunderland, undisclosed), Javier Manquillo (Atletico Madrid, early termination of loan), Brad Jones (released), Jordan Williams (Swindown Town, loan)
Key men: Daniel Sturridge, Jordan Henderson, Philippe Coutinho, Christian Benteke
Chances: Beleaguered Reds boss Brendan Rodgers will be hoping his squad can put their inconsistencies of last season behind them — not to mention the Raheem Sterling transfer saga. Liverpool did a lot of their business early, with some sound additions, and if Daniel Sturridge can find a run of fitness to hit the goal trail then that should keep them moving back towards the top four again as the Reds begin life without Steven Gerrard.
No of starting appearances Daniel Sturridge made last season. His absence hurt Liverpool dearly as they finished sixth