With the onset of the 2015-16 Premier League campaign imminent, there has much transfer activity over the past few weeks as the 20 football club overhaul or strengthen their squads with the title, Champions League qualification places and the preservation of top flight status’ all at stake in the coming months. Chelsea are the team to beat at the top of the table but what are their prospects and those of the remaining teams for the forthcoming season.
Chelsea won the Premier League title by an eight point margin last season but fitness doubts regarding leading striker Diego Costa still exist while summer loan signing Radamel Falcao has yet to confirm his full recovery from a serious knee incurred when playing for Monaco. The Blues will still be a difficult team to beat and conceded more than one goal in just two games from February onwards last term.
Meanwhile Manchester City will be seeking to regain their Premier League crown and have signed Raheem Sterling to bolster their already formidable attacking strength. However, defensive issues are more of a concern with Vincent Kompany affected by injury several times last season. Across the city, Manchester United have invested considerable amounts of money in Memphis Depay, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin among others but can Louis Van Gaal blend his players into an effective unit to be considered as title winners.
Arsenal will also have thoughts on winning a first title in more than 10 seasons. Goalkeeper Petr Cech has been signed from neighbouring Chelsea but one of the more unsung players, Francis Coquelin, has added some extra steel to the Gunners midfield after gaining experience with several loan moves and Arsenal should not be discounted.
There have been few other additions to the Arsenal squad unlike with Liverpool where James Milner, Danny Ings, Christian Benteke, Nathaniel Clyne and Roberto Firmino have arrived with Sterling departing. Manager Brendan Rodgers will be expected to create a winning formula from his strengthened squad but problem may be similar to that of Van Gaal at Manchester United with time needed for the new arrivals to harmonise with the existing players.
As for other teams aiming for a top four placing, Tottenham may be relying too heavily on Harry Kane in attack although Christian Eriksen and Nacer Chadli have provided able support from midfield while Southampton could be distracted by their efforts in the Europa League.
Swansea may be worth a wager for claiming a top six berth especially after the astute signing of Andre Ayew from Marseille while Bournemouth could surprise a few people with their adventurous approach which will be aided by the recruitment of Max Gradel from Saint Etienne.
At the foot of the table, Watford have hired Enrique Flores to replace the successful Slavisa Jokanovic as head coach and there will be question marks regarding that decision and its effect on the playing staff while Norwich have struggled to attract players to the club after their promotion with Youssouf Mulumbu already injured after signing from West Brom.
It will also be interesting to view the fortunes of Leicester after Nigel Pearson was sacked upon successfully preserving the Foxes’ Premier League status last term with Claudio Ranieri replacing him in the hot seat, while Aston Villa will be required to cope without both Fabian Delph and Benteke despite reinforcements arriving.
The forthcoming months will answer many of these questions and may also produce some unexpected outcomes.
Latest posts by John Welsh (see all)
- The Premier League title destination remains uncertain in an unpredictable season to date - December 31, 2015
- England win opening test as South African batting frailties are exposed - December 30, 2015
- Cue Card and Sprinter Sacre erase the nightmares of their miserable 2013 Christmas - December 29, 2015