Chelsea (Last season 2nd in Premier League)
The lowdown: Expectation will be enough on the shoulders of Andre Villas Boas (AVB) that if they aren’t on top by the end of September then he’ll be out of the door. Short of actually calling him Jose Mourinho Mk II, there’s not a lot else Chelsea fans can do. That taken into account he comes with some reputation and if he can keep the side fit all season then they could easily surprise us all and win the title.
A lot will be expected of £50m January signing Fernando Torres who has flickered at best so far. The rest of the side is solid. The Blues will miss Michael Essien as the oft-injured midfielder…is…injured.
Star man: Didier Drogba (Forward) – On form he is still unplayable and with a big season could win them the title.
One to watch: Josh McEachran (Midfield) – The natural heir to Frank Lampard will be given more of a chance this term.
Expected finish: With the strengthening done at City they may drop another place in the table. 3rd.
Line up (4-3-3): Cech; Bosingwa, Terry, Alex, Cole; Ramires, Essien, Lampard; Malouda, Drogba, Kalou.
The fan: Adam Hull, sports journalist
Expectations: Going into the start of last season, hopes were high for a second consecutive trophy-laden season, but as everyone knows, the campaign ended up being a damp squib rather than a heroic crusade.
But with a new manager, new staff, new tactics and new ideas, I can’t see anything other than a successful year at the Bridge.
Of course questions over AVB’s suitability for the role are still rife, but after his remarkable tenure at Porto, his credentials are clear to see.
And that’s why I’m predicting top spot in the league for the Blues this year. Call me biased (really, I don’t mind because, well, I am) but I believe Chelsea will only be stronger this season, and with a revitalized Fernando Torres (touch wood), the title is certainly within our reach.
Much rests on whether Nando can regain his early Liverpool form, but I have every faith in him becoming the devastating striker we know he can be. And with that rejuvenation, the title will be ours. Viva El Nino!
Unsung hero: This one’s easy for me – Ramires. A tireless worker who has improved with each start since his arrival last summer. After a couple of iffy games following his arrival, the Brazilian had been written off by some of the more skeptical Chelsea ‘fans’, but as everyone knows, it can take time for a player to get accustomed to life in the Premier League.
And get accustomed he has. As dangerous going forward as he is destructive in defence, Ramires has really grown into his centre-midfield place at the Bridge.
With Essien out for the forseeable future, much rests on whether Ramires can continue to impress and forge a dynamic partnership with Frank Lampard.
What position do you think you’ll end up in?
Top. Just ahead of United in second, City in third and Liverpool in fourth. Arsenal and Spurs fighting it out for the minor places.
Most looking forward to playing: Norwich, they’re really good.
Or not. No, the team I am most looking forward to seeing the Drog et al unleashed on is the Gooners.
Having dismantled them time and again over the past few seasons, It was a nasty shock to the system to see us humbled 3-1 at the Emirates in December. But that was at the height of our mid-season slump, and this year expect normal service to be resumed.
Victories home and away will be just lovely thanks, and what better way for AVB to prove his tactical genius by outmastering The Professor and consigning Arsenal to yet another trophy less campaign? In my opinion – and hailing from the Arsenal stronghold of St Albans – there could be nothing sweeter.
Click the links for season previews of Arsenal and Man City, Liverpool and Tottenham, Everton and Fulham, Sunderland and Aston Villa, West Brom and Newcastle, Stoke and Bolton, Blackburn and Wigan, Norwich and QPR and Swansea and Wolves.