The English Premier League will make a triumphant return sooner rather than later. With the off-season behind us, many of you will be wondering who will be where in May next year? Here’s how it could potentially shape up for the clubs competing in the EPL this season.
Champions – Manchester United: The team to beat last season despite their dismal away form. An improvement on the road along with a flurry of new signings should see the Red Devils reign supreme in England again.
Last season: Champions
2nd – Manchester City: The Blue half of Manchester will be looking to improve yet again this season and all eyes will be on new signing Sergio Aguero, who will be hoping to make an instant impact.
Last season: 3rd
3rd – Chelsea: Missed out on the title last year, while possessing an ageing squad and a misfiring Fernando Torres. New coach Andre Villas-Boas has plenty of potential and could revitalise the club, bringing in silverware along the way – if Roman Abramovic lets him.
Last season: 2nd
4th – Arsenal: Slipped to fourth despite looking promising at times early during last season. Keeping Robin van Persie fit will be key to the Gunners success, as well as keeping Cesc Fabregas away from the clutches of Barcelona.
Last season: 4th
5th – Tottenham: Pipped Liverpool to a European place and will definitely be looking to break into the top four. A lot depends on whether they can keep Luka Modric, and keep him happy.
Last season: 5th
6th – Liverpool: The Reds could be in for another disappointing season despite securing the services of Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam. If the new signings gel, they could be a surprise package.
Last season: 6th
7th – Everton: Always right in the mix with the top teams, and a side that can beat anyone on their day. David Moyes will be looking to weave a little more of his magic and keep developing his squad.
Last season: 7th
8th – Sunderland: Despite losing Jordan Henderson, the Black Cats have signed Connor Wickham, who along with Manchester United old boys John O’Shea and Wes Brown will make them a team to watch out for this season.
Last season: 10th
9th – Fulham: Martin Jol will be looking get the best out of Bobby Zamora and the rest of the squad which should see the Cottagers maintain a solid mid-table position.
Last season: 8th
10th – Newcastle: Should improve on their mid-table finish from last season, with new signing and former West Ham striker Demba Ba hoping to chip in with a few goals.
Last season: 12th
11th – Aston Villa: May struggle to reach the heights of seasons past, with key players Ashley Young and Stewart Downing leaving the club. Have signed a quality goalkeeper in Shay Given who will make his mark between the sticks.
Last season: 9th
12th – Stoke City: A team to be wary of and never to be taken lightly, they’re always a threat from a set piece, especially when Rory Delap is firing in long throws.
Last season: 13th
13th – Bolton Wanderers: Seem to have dropped off the pace in the last few seasons, and it’s hard to see anything special coming from the Reebok this season.
Last season: 14th
14th – West Bromwich Albion: Surprised everyone by surviving the drop, and doing so admirably last season, finishing in mid-table, although it’s hard to see any major improvements.
Last season: 11th
15th – Queens Park Rangers: Topped the Championship last season and will survive the drop after returning to the Premier League for the first time in 15 years.
Last season: 1st in Championship
16th – Blackburn Rovers: Continuing in their seeming tradition of mediocre seasons, don’t expect too much more from Rovers this season.
Last season: 15th
17th – Wigan Athletic: Won the fewest games in the top flight last season and will most likely be flirting with relegation again in the new campaign.
Last season: 16th
18th – Norwich City: Their return to Premier League football will most likely be short lived as they will probably not have enough to match it with the rest of the league.
Last season: 2nd in Championship
19th – Wolverhampton Wanderers: Hung on by the skin of their teeth, avoiding the drop by one point last season, but their time in the English top flight looks to be running out.
Last season: 17th
20th – Swansea City: Having won promotion, Swansea will be the first Welsh club to play in the English Premier League, although their stay may be short lived despite their best efforts.
Last season: 3rd in Championship
This article can be found in print in this weeks TNT Travel Down Under magazine.