TWG's bumper EPL club-by-club guide 2015-2016

It's another massive year in the EPL, but which teams will be celebrating and which will be commiserating at season's end? (SBS/Getty) Source: SBS/Getty

Once again the team at The World Game has consulted the tea leaves, spent hours sifting through form guides, tweaked our Fantasy teams dozens of times and read countless transfer gossip columns, to bring you our comprehensive guide to the 2015-2016 English Premier League season. With everything you need to know about your club, plus our fearless, head-on-chopping-block-type predictions, this is the perfect accompaniment on those long, cold winter's nights rugged up on the couch.


With more new faces than a game of 'Guess Who' the 2015-2016 edition of the Premier League is set to be one of the most intriguing in years.

The TWG team has attempted the fraught task of sorting the pretenders from the contenders, with a fresh batch of humble pie for the end of the season being ordered as we type.

Here goes:


Manager: Arsene Wenger

Position last season: Third

Nickname: The Gunners

Ground: Emirates Stadium

Capacity: 60,338

Players in: Petr Cech (Chelsea, $21.2 million)

Players out: Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Ipswich Town, loan), Lukas Podolski (Galatasaray, $3.8m), Carl Jenkinson (West Ham, loan), Yaya Sanogo (Ajax, loan), Wojciech Szczesny (Roma, loan),  Jon Toral (Birmingham City, loan), Dan Crowley (Barnsley, loan), Isaac Hayden (Hull City, loan), Chuba Akpom (Hull City, loan)

Key man: Alexis Sanchez – The Chilean will hit the season on a high having piloted his nation to the 2015 Copa America title during the summer. That's bad news for rival defences. Sanchez bagged 37 goals in all competitions last season – 14 more than any other Gunner. But he'll need support if his team is to take out the whole thing.

Keep an eye on: Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain – Will this be the season 'Ox laid' to rest doubts about his ability? His winning goal for the Gunners against Chelsea in the Community Shield would suggest so, but he needs to go on with it now.

Why they'll win: At 33 years-of-age, Cech is still young in 'goalkeeper years' and knows exactly what it takes to win the Premier League. His arrival, combined with the emergence of holding midfielder Francis Coquelin – who made more interceptions than and other premier league player since he returned to the side last December - has, like an over-cooked ribeye, added a tough edge to the Gunners that will make the difference in the clutch games.

Why they'll struggle: Injuries have never been Arsenal's friend and the (at time of publication) lack of transfer-season reinforcements to the attack means the likes of Aaron Ramsay, Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez all need to stay fit... and put down the selfie sticks according to Roy Keane. 

TWG tips: Second – Like a mullet haricut, Arsenal is solid down back, but light on up front. It still seems a gun striker – and we don't mean Gonzalo Higuain - short of going the distance with Chelsea in the race to the title.


Manager: Eddie Howe

Position last season: Promoted

Nickname: The Cherries

Ground: Dean Court

Capacity: 11,464

Players in: Adam Federici, (unattached), Christian Atsu (Chelsea, loan), Filippo Costa (Chievo, loan), Tyrone Mings (Ipswich Town, undisclosed), Lee Tomlin (Middlesbrough, $7.4m), Max Gradel (Saint-Etienne, undisclosed), Sylvain Distin (unattached)

Players out: Miles Addison (Blackpool, loan), Ryan Fraser (Ipswich Town, loan), Brett Pitman (Ipswich Town, undisclosed), Mohamed Coulibaly (Port Vale, loan), Jayden Stockley (Portsmouth, loan), Josh O'Hanlon (York City, loan)  

Key man: Callum Wilson – A beast in one-on-one situations, Wilson scored 23 goals for the Cherries last season and will be keen to celebrate his new four-year deal with the club by yielding a similar return in the big league, albeit against a different class of defender.

Keep an eye on: Tyrone Mings - the ex-Ipswich defender has more wraps than a pass-the-parcel game and should slot straight into the Cherries starting side. If you're after a familiar face, look for Australian goal-keeper Adam Federici on the bench.   

Why they'll win: An attack-minded team that likes to pass its way through opponents – think Swansea under Brendan Rodgers crossed with Swansea under Gary Monk – the Cherries will shock some teams. It's what they do. Last season Bournemouth defied expectations to romp to the Championship title, with manager Eddie Howe stamping himself as a future Liverpool gaffer.

Why they'll struggle: The element of surprise will only get Bournemouth so far. The Cherries were vulnerable to rapid counter-attacks last season and that fragility will be brutally exposed in the top flight. Howe has added pace and experience to his team, but will it be enough to ensure the Cherries go round next season?

TWG tips: 17th – Bournemouth needs to rack up the points while the excitement of top flight football is still fresh. Once the grind sets in, the Cherries will be ripe for the picking.


Manager: Tim Sherwood

Position last season: 17th

Nickname: The Villans

Ground: Villa Park

Capacity: 42,788

Players in: Rusy Gestede (Blackburn Rovers, undisclosed), Jose Angel Crespo (Cordoba, undisclosed), Jordan Ayew (Lorient, undisclosed), Idrissa Gueye (Lille, undisclosed), Scott Sinclair (Manchester City, undisclosed), Jordan Veretout (Nantes, undisclosed), Jordan Amavi (Nice, undisclosed), Micah Richards (unattached, free), Mark Burn (unattached, free) 

Players out: Matthew Lowton (Burnley, undisclosed), Andreas Weimann (Derby County, undisclosed), Christian Benteke (Liverpool, $70 million), Lewis Kinsella (Luton Town, loan), Fabian Delph (Manchester City, $17 million), Graham Burke (Notts County, loan), Aly Cissokho (FC Porto, loan), Yacouba Sylla (Rennes, undisclosed), Shay Given (Stoke City, free)

Key man: Jordan Ayew – The Ghana international is one of four Villans to leave France's Ligue 1 for the riches of the Premier League. He scored 12 from 29 for Lorient last season but will need to step it up in the faster, rougher Premier League if Villa is to dodge relegation.

Keep an eye on: Idrissa Gueye – A veteran of more than 130 matches for Lille, the Senegalese holding midfielder is highly rated by Sherwood and will add much-needed starch to the engine room.

Why they'll win: With nine new players arriving during the transfer window, the winds of change have blown through Villa park like a cool breeze on a hot Summer transfer window's day. And with the club labouring to its worst top flight finish since 1994-1995 season last year, that can only be a good thing right?

Why they'll struggle: With the loss of Benteke and Delph, Sherwood is left with a huge hole in an attack that, even with them, only produced 31 league goals last season – Villa's lowest total since 1969-1970. The manager has quite the job integrating the nine new faces into the team and if his stint at the steering wheel of Spurs is any guide, he may not be up to it.

TWG tips: 15th – this season has 'rebuilding' written all over it.



Manager: Jose Mourinho

Position last season: Champion

Nickname: The Blues

Ground: Stamford Bridge

Capacity: 41,837

Players in: Nathan (Atletico Paranaense), Kennedy (Fluminense, $13.4 million), Radamel Falcao (Monaco, loan), Asmir Begovic (Stoke City, $17 million), Danilo Pantic (Partizan, $2.7 million)

Players out: Petr Cech (Arsenal, $21.2 million), Nathan (Vitesse, loan), Lewis Baker (Vitesse, loan), Christian Atsu (Bournemouth, loan), Gael Kakuta (Sevilla) ($11 million), Mario Pasalic (Monaco, loan), Josh McEachran (Brentford, $1.6 million), Marco Van Ginkel (Stoke City, loan), Tomas Kalas (Middlesbrough, loan), Jordan Houghton (Gillingham, loan), Kenneth Omeruo (Kasimpasa, loan), Patrick Bamford (Crystal Palace, loan), Danilo Pantic (Vitesse Arnhem, loan), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid, $23.6 million), Wallace (Carpi, loan), Andreas Christensen (Borussia Monchengladbach, loan)

Key man: Eden Hazard - the Belgian is the best player in England's top flight (sorry Kun Aguero) and at 24 the Belgium superstar is only getting better - with his shy and retiring club manager saying he was better than a certain Portuguese last season. When he is on song the Blues don't lose. He's also a pleasure to watch when he is terrorising opposition defences.

Keep an eye on: The past two seasons have been awful for Radamel Falcao, who was scoring for fun for FC Porto and Atletico Madrid between 2009 and 2013, yet Jose Mourinho believes he can help the Colombia striker reach his lofty standard again. That could well be the case if Diego Costa's hamstring troubles continue to flare up.

Why they'll win: Because it's what Chelsea does under Mourinho. Five campaigns have resulted in three EPL titles, a runner-up finish and a third. A settled squad with quality across the park is a recipe for another successful season. The trophy is Chelsea's to lose.

Why they'll struggle: A relatively quiet off-season in the transfer market looks to have merely covered the loss of some seasoned veterans while other contenders have bolstered their playing stocks.

TWG tips: Champion – Hard to tip against a side that does the basics so well and has that extra gear to click into when needed.


Manager: Alan Pardew

Position last season: 10th

Nickname: The Eagles

Home Ground: Selhurst Park

Capacity: 26,309

Players in: Patrick Bamford (Chelsea, loan), Yohan Cabaye (PSG, $27.85 million), Connor Wickham (Sunderland, $19.28 million), Alex McCarthy (QPR, $7.5 million)

Players out: Jack Hunt (Sheffield Wednesday, loan), Shola Ameobi (Released), Lewis Price (Sheffield Wednesday, free), Owen Garvan (Released), Peter Ramage (Released), Stephen Dobbie (Released), Jerome Thomas (Released), Kyle De Silva (Notts County, free), Hiram Boateng (Plymouth Argyle, loan), Ryan Inniss (Port Vale, loan), Jerome Binnom-Williams (Burton Albion, loan).

Key man: Yohan Cabaye - Arguably the signing of the summer in the Premier League, leaving the glitz and glamour of Paris Saint-Germain behind to join his old mate Pardew in the hard-edged hoods of south east London. Cabaye has shown he is all class, and will direct Palace's midfield like few before him.

Keep an eye on: The fans - The Selhurst Park faithful has become the most passionate fan base in the Premier League since its return to the top flight of English football, with a host of quirky songs, big flags, and dancing that lasts from before the first whistle until long after the last – win, lose or draw.

Why they'll win: After its best finish in the Premier League, Palace has every right to feel optimistic. Winning the league is overly optimistic, but a UEFA Europa League spot can't feel that far away. But Palace would be wise not to look too far ahead. The stability that appears to have come under Pardew must be sustained as a first priority.

Why they'll struggle: Injuries remain the biggest risk to Palace's hopes of a good season. A lack of goals has also held the club back in the past. Connor Wickham might address that drought, but the likes of Yannick Bolasie, Wilfried Zaha and others need to be more prolific than they have been of late.

TWG tips: 10th - with experience and guile in midfield and searing pace out wide, Palace should improve and consolidate on last season. Anything less would be a huge disappointment.


Manager: Roberto Martinez

Position last season: 11th

Nickname: The Toffees

Position last season: 11th

Home Ground: Goodison Park

Capacity: 40,221

Players in: Gerard Deulofeu (Barcelona, $9.1 million), Tom Cleverley (Manchester United, free), David Henen (Olympiacos, $428,000)

Players out: Sylvain Distin (Bournemouth, free), Luke Garbutt (Fulham, loan), Chris Long (Burnley, undisclosed), Francisco Junior (Wigan Athletic, loan), Jonjoe Kenny (Wigan Athletic, loan), Antolin Alcaraz (Released), George Green (Oldham Athletic, free)

Key man: Leighton Baines - Tottenham fans once shouted at him: 'you're just a s**t Bradley Wiggins', at which Baines laughed, gave the thumbs up and took his corner. While the central defender does look comically like the famous British cyclist, he is anything but 's**t', marshalling the Toffees' left edge with aplomb and racking up fantasy points in the process. Will be hoping he has John Stones among the three players next to him.

Keep an eye on: Seamus Coleman - The Irishman was on the transfer wishlist of Manchester United at the opening of the window, but interest seems to have cooled, with the Red Devils preferring to sign multiple central defensive midfielders instead. That's a good thing for Everton fans, he's a star on the rise.

Why they'll win: The distraction of European football is not something Everton has to worry about this season and that could be to its advantage. An opportunity to work on some consistent domestic form and an upturn in the form of Romelu Lukaku could make everything that happened last year seem like a very long time ago.

Why they'll struggle: Martinez has not hit the headlines with any of his signings, but Everton players have been in the media as possible transfer targets. Losing the likes of Seamus Coleman could hurt the Toffees badly, and with Tim Howard in goal, often strange things can happen – and not in a good way.

TWG tips: 9th – a slight improvement, but Martinez's ability to hang on to his stars will be tested when the transfer windows are open. Only success will keep his best stars in place.


Manager: Claudio Ranieri

Position last season: 14th

Nickname: The Foxes

Home Ground: King Power Stadium

Capacity: 32,500

Players in: Robert Huth (Stoke City, $6.43 million), Shinji Okazaki (Mainz, $16.07 million), Christian Fuchs (Schalke, free), Yohan Benalouane (Atalanta, undisclosed), N'Golo Kante (Caen, undisclosed)

Players out: Ben Hamer (Nottingham Forest, loan), Paul Gallagher (Preston North End, free), Matthew Upson (MK Dons, free), Chris Wood (Leeds United, undisclosed), Tom Hopper (Scunthorpe United, free), Adam Smith (Northampton Town, free), Kieran Kennedy (Motherwell, free)

Key man: Robert Huth - Guessing the age of Robert Huth should be a trivia question, it feels like the guy has been around for decades. Maybe that's just because he's never quite kicked on after playing for Chelsea as an 18 year-old. That said, he did the job for Leicester last season, after being brought in on loan for the survival dogfight. He's been signed on for a cool $6 million and might just be the defensive plank the Foxes need to avoid a repeat effort this season. 

Keep an eye on: Jamie Vardy - Celebrateed a purple patch of form last season with an England call-up. Will be hoping to kick on this year and his team is relying on it.

Why they'll win: With Ranieri at the helm, a new era beckons for Leicester. His experience is unquestionable, but it will be the reaction of his new charges that makes or breaks Leicester's season. There is talent in there, and if he can draw it out, good things might happen.

Why they'll struggle: The departed Esteban Cambiasso is a huge loss to the club, and thus far a worthy replacement is nowhere to be seen. While the defence has been strengthened by Huth's permanent signing, the big guns will all enjoy hunting these Foxes.

TWG tips: 18th – Ranieri has struggled to get success at a host of cashed-up clubs over the past few years and was at the helm of the Greece national team when it lost at home to Faroe Islands. So how is he going to keep Leicester up? He won't.


Manager: Brendan Rodgers

Position last season: Sixth

Nickname: The Reds

Ground: Anfield

Capacity: 45,276

Players in: James Milner (Manchester City, free), Danny Ings (Burnley, free transfer + development fee), Adam Bogdan, (Bolton, free), Joe Gomez (Charlton, $7.5 million), Roberto Firmino (Hoffenheim, $62 million), Nathan Clyne (Southampton, $27 million), Christian Benteke (Aston Vila, $70 million)

Players out: Steven Gerrard (LA Galaxy, free), Danny Ward (Aberdeen, loan), Lloyd Jones (Blackpool, loan), Jordan Lussey (Bolton, loan), Jack Dunn (Burton Albion, loan), Kevin Stewart (Burton Albion, loan), Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo, $11 million), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City, $105 million), Danny Ward (Morecambe, loan), Andre Wisdom (Norwich, loan), Jordan Williams (Swindon Town, loan), Sebastian Coates (Sunderland, undisclosed), Kevin Stewart (Swindon Town, loan), Rickie Lambert (West Brom, $6 million)

Key man: Christian Benteke - Liverpool was like an apathetic teenager last season – severely lacking goals. It scored 52 in 2014-2015 compared to the season before where a Luis Suarez-led attack racked up 101. At $70 million, Benteke is nearly as expensive as a house in Sydney and the Reds will need the Belgium international to fire on all cylinders.

Keep an eye on: Mario Balotelli - he has a tendency to throw darts at younger players and let off fireworks if you don't. If he spends most of his time on the bench like last season, it maybe better to watch Jordon Ibe, the 19 year-old winger who impressed in pre-season, or Roberto Firmino, who should lighten the creative load of Phillipe Coutinho.

Why they'll win: Because if, and this is a big if, Coutinho and Firmino combine well and create plenty of chances for a clinical Benteke, we should see the goals return for Liverpool.

Why they'll struggle: Because player-for-player Liverpool does not have the quality to break back into the top four. Because there is huge pressure on Rodgers and when the pressure has been on, like it was against Chelsea in 2014, and like it was in the Champions League, the Northern Irishman has failed. And because Luis Suarez is still in Barcelona.

TWG prediction: Fifth. Not good enough to break into the top four but better than Spurs and Southampton.


Manager Manuel Pellegrini

Position last season: Second

Nickname: The Citizens, The Sky Blues, A rich-man's Melbourne City

Ground: City of Manchester Stadium/ Etihad Stadium

Capacity: 47,405

Players In: Enes Unal (Bursaspor, undisclosed), David Faupala (Lens, free), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City, $105 million), Fabian Delph (Aston Villa, $17 million), Patrick Roberts (Fulham, undisclosed).

Players Out: Scott Sinclair (Aston Villa, undisclosed), Seko Fofana (Bastia, loan), Dedryck Boyata (Celtic, $3 million), Enes Unal (Genk, loan), Olivier Ntcham (Genoa, loan), Jordy Hiwula (Huddersfield Town, undisclosed), Stevan Jovetic (Inter Milan, loan) James Milner (Liverpool, free), Karim Rekik (Marseille, $8 million), Thomas Agyepong (Twente, loan), Alvaro Negredo (Valencia, $47 million)

Key Man: Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan - the Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE is really what makes City tick. In terms of the fact that he pays for the tick, the clocks, the walls the clocks go on, the stadium and training ground that houses those walls and the multi-millionaire players that kick the ball and stuff. It will be key for City that Sheikh Mansour pays Sergio Aguero well, as when the Argentine is fit there is no striker better in the Premier League.

Keep an eye on: David Silva – jeez he's good to watch. Keep two eyes on him in fact, as he drifts effortlessly into space to create chance after chance. Also the price of oil, City's long term future could be dramatically affected by the rise of renewable energy.

Why they'll win: Because the strike force of Sterling, Aguero, Silva and Yaya Toure is the best in the league. The squad has the experience needed and after missing out last year no doubt the hunger as well.

Why they'll struggle: For a team with seemingly endless money, the defence has serious question marks around it. City conceded the most goals in the top four last season. Vincent Kompany had his worst season in the six years he's been at the club. It's a dangerous trend for the Citizens, combined with the fact that Joe Hart's inconsistency means he can be as awful as he can be brilliant.

TWG prediction: Third. City will challenge for the title but, like an inadequately-bordered house, defence could prove its undoing.


Manager Louis van Gaal

Position last season: Fourth

Nickname: The Red Devils

Ground: Old Trafford

Capacity: 76,100

Players in: Memphis Depay (PSV, $65.9 million), Matteo Darmian (Torino, $27 million), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich ($30.6 million), Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton, $53 million), Sergio Romero (Sampdoria)

Players out: Tom Cleverley (Everton), Ángelo Henríquez (Dinamo Zagreb), Saidy Janko(Celtic), Ben Amos (Bolton), Tom Thorpe (Rotherham), Nani (Fenerbahce ($9 million), Will Keane (Preston — on loan), Robin van Persie (Fenerbahce, ($8.9 million), Reece James (Wigan), Angel Di Maria (PSG, $93.7m)

Key man: With RVP gone in search of Turkish delights, England skipper Wayne Rooney is back in his preferred position in the centre of the forward line and his goals – or lack thereof – will go a long way to determining where United finishes up.

Keep an eye on: Memphis Depay - Big money. Big expectations. Big hopes. Will be fascinating to see if the Netherlands international is as good as he thinks and says he is.

Why they'll win: A second season in charge for Van Gaal should result in a more cohesive unit while another truckload of cash has strengthened the squad across the park... for now. Plus more newcomers are expected before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.

Why they'll struggle: The rumour mill just never ends at Old Trafford with the futures of two-times club player of the year David de Gea an unwanted circus that rumbles on. At least the Di Maria saga is over, cue increased Pedro speculation. Since Fergie retired it just hasn't been the same.

TWG tips: Fourth – Another European qualification appears a mere formality but Manchester United still appears to be way off its best and a return to its place at the head of the table.


Manager Steve McLaren

Position last season: 15th

Nickname: The Magpies

Ground: St James' Park

Capacity: 52,405

Players In: Aleksandar Mitrovic (Anderlecht, $27 million), Chancel Mbemba (Anderlecht, undisclosed), Georginio Wijnaldum (PSV Eindhoven, $30 million).

Players Out: Jak Alnwick (Bradford City, loan), Sammy Ameobi (Cardiff City, loan), Adam Armstrong (Coventry City, loan), Freddie Woodman (Crawley Town, loan), Davide Santon (Inter Milan, $7 million).

Key Man: Aleksander Mitrovic - Newcastle's top scorer last season was Papis Cisse with 11. The Magpies desperately needed more options up front. The Serbia striker gives them one, having scored 28 goals in 51 games last season for Anderlecht. His work-ethic is renowned as well as his commitment to team performance. He once told a fellow team-mate, "If you don't follow your full-back again I'll come and beat you up, understand?"

Keep an eye on: Jack Colback - he's been described as the 'ginger Pirlo' and his range of passing will need to go to the next level to elevate Newcastle to the Europe places.

Why they'll win: The Magpies appear to have completed very good transfer business. Along with Mitrovic, Wijnaldum was the Dutch footballer of the year last season and Chancel Mbemba is highly-rated in Belgium where he has been playing. Should Siem de Jong play a whole season, Newcastle could be a tough team to deal with.

Why they'll struggle: Owner Mike Ashley. There was a toxic atmosphere around the club at the end of last season, with some fans even hoping Newcastle would be relegated to force Ashley out. The loosening of the purse-strings should alleviate some of the tension but there's still a good chance things could turn sour quickly.

TWG prediction: 13th. If the new signings are as good as they promise to be and Steve McLaren doesn't have too many injuries it should do enough to stay away from the drop zone.


Manager Alex Neil

Position last season: Promoted (via play-offs)

Nickname: The Canaries

Ground: Carrow Road

Capacity: 27,244

Players in: Robbie Brady (Hull City, $14.8 million), Graham Dorrans (West Bromwich Albion, $6.4 million), Andre Wisdom (Liverpool, loan), Youssouf Mulumbu (West Bromwich Albion, free transfer), Jake Kean (Blackburn Rovers, free transfer).

Players out: Luciano Becchio (Belgrano, free transfer), Mark Bunn (Aston Villa, free transfer), Cameron McGeehan (Luton Town, undisclosed), Remi Matthews (Burton Albion, loan), Kyle Callan-McFadden (released), Carlos Cuellar (released), Javier Garrido (released), Sam Kelly (released), Ignasi Miquel (mutual consent).

Key man: Cameron Jerome – The lanky striker found the back of the net 18 times in the Championship last season and will again be the Canaries' talisman up front.

Keep an eye on: Robbie Brady – Norwich City's marquee signing should bring stability at the back. The young Irish defender, who has also scored in three of his 13 international caps, was one of Hull City's best last season.

Why they'll win: The Canaries were resolute to gain promotion to the Premier League via the strenuous Championship play-off format. Alex Neil's men will cause a few surprises this season.

Why they'll struggle: Norwich yo-yo'd straight back out of the Championship a season after being relegated, but its lean movement in the transfer market suggests it may not have learnt any lessons from its last stint at the top.

TWG tips: 19th - Jerome is good, but he's not enough to put these Canaries down a goal mine. Erm, they will go down a division, though.


Manager Ronald Koeman

Position last season: Seventh

Nickname: The Saints

Ground: St Mary's Stadium

Capacity: 32,689

Players in: Jordy Clasie (Feyenoord, $17.1 million), Juanmi (Malaga, $10.9 million), Cedric Soares (Sporting Lisbon, $7.5 million), Cuco Martina (FC Twente, $2.1 million), Maarten Stekelenburg (Fulham, loan), Steven Caulker (Queens Park Rangers, loan).

Players out: Morgan Schneiderlin (Manchester United, $53.4 million), Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool, $26.7 million), Lloyd Isgrove (Sheffield Wednesday, loan), Artur Boruc (AFC Bournemouth, free transfer), Sam Gallagher (Milton Keynes Dons, loan), Dani Osvaldo (released), Jos Hooiveld (released), Cody Cropper (released), Omar Rowe (released), Chris Johns (released).

Key man: Jay Rodriguez – After spending 15 months on the sidelines through injury, the talented striker will be looking to reproduce his form of the 2013-2014 season, which saw him net 15 goals in the Premier League.

Keep an eye on: Juanmi – The young Spanish attacker comes to the Saints with big wraps and he will provide vital support to Rodriguez.

Why they'll win: Although Southampton has lost a couple of stars, Ronald Koeman's side dealt with similar blows last season and still managed to snare an elusive Europa League spot.

Why they'll struggle: That said, the losses of Schneiderlin and Clyne cannot be discounted and the addition of the Europa League to the Saints' schedule will be another hurdle.

TWG tips: 7th - The Saints have had more turnover than a French patisserie, but with Ronald Koeman at the helm it didn't matter last season and it won't this year either.


Manager Mark Hughes

Position last season: Ninth

Nickname: The Potters

Ground: Britannia Stadium

Capacity: 27,743

Players in: Joselu (Hannover, $12.3 million), Marco van Ginkel (Chelsea, loan), Philipp Wollscheid (Bayer Leverkusen, $5.9 million), Glen Johnson (Liverpool, free transfer), Shay Given (Aston Villa, free transfer), Jakob Haugaard (Midtjylland, $1.3 million), Dom Telford (Blackpool, compensation - $214,000), Mark Waddington (Blackpool, compensation - $214,000), Moha El Ouriachi (Barcelona, undisclosed), Ibrahim Afellay (Barcelona, free transfer).

Players out: Alex Grant (Perth Glory, free transfer), Asmir Begovic (Chelsea, $17.1 million), Steven N'Zonzi (Sevilla, $15 million), Jamie Ness (Scunthorpe United, free transfer), Robert Huth (Leicester City, $5.3 million), Daniel Bachmann (Ross County, loan), Mason Watkins-Clark (Wrexham, loan), Andy Wilkinson (released), Thomas Sorensen (released), Wilson Palacios (released), Elliot Wheeler (released), Charlie Ward (released), Adam Thomas (released), Nathan Ricketts-Hopkinson (released), James Alabi (released), Tomi Adeloye (released), Sam Coulson (retired).

Key man: Mame Biram Diouf - The Senegal attacker lead the way up-front for Stoke last season and his combination with the wily duo, Charlie Adam and Peter Crouch will be key for the Potters.

Keep an eye on: Jack Butland – The lanky shot-stopper will finally get his chance at regular first-team football after Asmir Begovic's transfer to Chelsea. Butland will look to re-discover the form that saw him earn his solitary England cap in 2012.

Why they'll win: After some fine summer acquisitions, Stoke have compiled a well-rounded squad that will certainly give teams headaches.

Why they'll struggle: Stoke had the habit last season of losing home games to lower-placed teams. Concentration, particularly at the back, will be vital for the Potters.

TWG tips: 11th – Those 'cold, wet nights at the Britannia' are a thing of the past, but does 'Stoke-alona' and its swag of Barcelona B graduates have the maturity to improve on ninth?  


Manager Dick Advocaat

Position last season: 16th

Nickname: The Black Cats

Ground: Stadium of Light

Capacity: 49,000

Players in: Sebastian Coates (Liverpool, undisclosed), Adam Matthews (Celtic, $4 million), Jermain Lens (Dynamo Kiev, $17 million), Younes Kaboul (Tottenham Hotspur, $6 million)

Players out: El-Hadji Ba (Charlton Athletic, undisclosed), Santiago Vergini (Getafe, loan), Jack Pickford (Preston North End, loan)

Key man: Jermain Defoe - scored four goals in 17 games after signing on in January this year. If he hits double figures, Sunderland should avoid a relegation tangle.

Keep an eye on: Jack Rodwell - the towering midfielder moved to Sunderland after his career (and those of many others) stalled at Manchester City. A fully fit Rodwell will be a major asset.

Why they'll win: Dick Advocaat performed a miracle keeping Sunderland up last season and after deciding to leave, he upset his wife and performed a U-turn which will see him take charge for the full season. If things go well. Advocaat has the experience to make things happen.

Why they'll struggle: An unhealthy reliance on the creaking limbs of Defoe, Wes Brown, and John O'Shea. One would question whether Sunderland has the depth of cover if the warhorses go down during the season. And what if Advocaat has one eye on his retirement?

TWG tips: 16th - The Black Cats may not have the quality to supply Defoe with the bullets he needs, but don't write off a team coached by Dick Advocaat.


Manager Garry Monk

Position last season: 8th

Nickname: The Swans

Ground: Liberty Stadium

Capacity: 20,827

Players in: Andre Ayew (Marseille, free), Franck Tabanou (Saint-Etienne, undisclosed), Kristoffer Nordfeldt (Heerenveen, undisclosed), Eder (Braga, undisclosed), Oliver McBurnie (Bradford City, undisclosed)

Players out: Jazz Richards (Fulham, undisclosed), Adam King (Crewe Alexandra, loan), Kenji Gorre (ADO Den Haag, loan)

Key man: Andre Ayew. Not many swap the south of France for idyllic Swansea. Ayew has, and he boasts pedigree, after scoring 44 goals in 160 games for Marseille. 62 caps for Ghana is nothing to be sneezed at either.

Keep an eye on: Kyle Naughton. The flying fullback broke through at Tottenham and via spells on loan at Middlesbrough, Leicester City, and Norwich, he found a home at Swansea in January. Injury curtailed his progress, but if he plays well this season, a seat on the plane to Euro 2016 could be his.

Why they'll win: Garry Monk has continued the good work of Michael Laudrup and Swansea plays easy on the eye, and at times swashbuckling, attacking football. It is full of pace and purpose and its eighth-place finish last season was its highest ever in the Premier League.

Why they'll struggle: Wilfried Bony scored 25 goals in 54 league games for Swansea before moving to Manchester City in January and was a perfect fit for the Premier League. Ayew and Eder might need time to adjust, which will hurt Swansea in attack.

TWG tips: 8th – Good enough to be at the top of the mid-table quagmire.


Manager The Poch

Position Last Season: 5th

Ground: The Lane

Capacity: 36,237

Players in: Kevin Wimmer (FC Koln) 4.3m, Kieran Trippier (Burnley) 3.5m, Toby Alderweireld (Atletico Madrid) 11.5m

Players Out: Paulinho (Guangzhou Evergrande) 9.9m, Lewis Holtby (Hamburg) 4.6m. Etienne Capoue (Watford) 6.3m, Younes Kaboul (Sunderland) 3m, Benjamin Stambouli (PSG) 6m, Vlad Chiriches (Napoli) 4.5m

Key Man: Danny Rose. Ok, ok, it's probably Harry Kane. If Spurs are to achieve anything with this squad of versatile defenders and midfield plodders, Harry has to fire again. If he does Spurs will go close to the top four and he'll then be sold to Real Madrid. If not, they'll drift down the table and then he'll be sold to Real Madrid.

Keep an eye on: Dele Ali. Expect plenty of "The Real Dele" headlines when this outrageously talented 19 year-old gets his EPL chance. Goal scoring, ball playing, ball winning midfield dynamo who has a big future ahead of him. Either that or he's John Bostock 2.0.

Why They'll Win: Kane, Eriksen, Lamela and *insert deadline day panic striker buy* carve up defences time after time, while the Belgian bedrock of Jan and Toby protect the best keeper in the league as Spurs bring the title back to The Lane for the first time since people wrote season previews with quills.

Why They'll struggle: After a season-ending broken leg for Kane sustained getting off the bus at Old Trafford, The Poch foregoes any attacking instinct and sets up in a revolutionary 6-4-0 formation, involving double full backs, Mason and Bentaleb in a constant shuffle of sideways domination, and gives Lamela licence to practice Rabona's as goal kicks. Spurs finish 11th, Poch is sacked, Kane and Eriksen sold, Soldado stays on the bench, and Adebayor pledges to "give his all" for the new coach. Harry Redknapp.

TWG Tips: 6th. OR as the Spurs fans among us like to call it, 4th + 2.


Manager Quique Flores

Position last season: Promoted

Nickname: The Hornets

Ground: Vicarage Road

Capacity: 21,577

Players in: Sebastian Prodl (Werder Bremen, free), Giedrius Arlauskis (Steaua Bucharest, free), Juanfran (Real Betis, $3 million), Matej Vydra (Udinese, undisclosed), Jose Holebas (AS Roma, $4 million), Etienne Capoue (Tottenham Hotspur, undisclosed), Valon Behrami (Hamburg, undisclosed), Allan Nyom (Udinese, undisclosed), Miguel Britos (Napoli, free), Jose Jurado (Spartak Moscow, undisclosed), Steven Berghuis (AZ, $10 million)

Players out: Uche Ikpeazu (Port Vale, loan), Jonathan Bond (Reading, undisclosed), Juanfran (Deportivo La Coruna, loan), Lewis McGugan (Sheffield Wednesday, undisclosed), Diego Fabbrini (Middlesbrough, loan)

Key man: Matej Vydra - The Czech Republic international has spent two seasons on loan at Watford. He scored 20 goals in 2012-2013 and also won Championship player of the year. Vydra scored 16 goals last season as Watford finished second and earned automatic promotion to the Premier League.

Keep an eye on: Steven Berghuis - Amid the usual glut of freebies any promoted club signs, Watford signed off on a $10 million deal to take the talented Dutch winger to Vicarage Road. Scored 19 goals in 70 appearances as he built his career at AZ and at age 23, he is ready to cause opposing fullbacks some serious headaches.

Why they'll win: Watford has recruited well for life in the Premier League. Sebastian Prodl, Jose Holebas, Etienne Capoue, Valon Behrami, Vydra and Berguis are all decent players who should make the grade in the top division.

Why they'll struggle: Don't go breakin' my heart, but Watford have undergone some serious upheaval since the Elton John era, not least since the club was taken over by the Pozzo family. Gianfranco Zola, Beppe Sannino, Oscar Garcia, Billy McKinlay, and Slavisa Jokanovic have all been hired and most of them fired by the Pozzos in the past three years. Jokanovic and Watford couldn't agree an extension to his one year contract, even after automatic promotion, which has led to former Spain international Quique Flores becoming Watford's fifth manager in the past year.

TWG tips: 20th – We reckon Watford will go down, but there's all likelihood Quique Flores will be gone before then, knowing what this club's ownership is like... Watch this space, if you can be bothered. 


Manager Tony Pullis

Position Last Season: 13th

Ground: The Hawthorns

Capacity: 26,850

Players in: James McClean (Wigan) 1.5m, James Chester (Hull) 8m, Rickie Lambert (Liverpool) 3m

Players Out: Chris Baird (Derby) Free, Jason Davidson (Huddersfield) Free, Graham Dorrans (Norwich) 3m, Youssuf Mulumbu (Norwich) Free, Georgios Samaras Released to a Solarium near Dudley

Key Man: Saido Berahino - ok, we've not exactly gone out on a limb here. If he stays (which looks likely now) can the boy from Burundi back up a remarkable breakthrough year?

Keep an eye on: James McClean - the new signing from Wigan has a habit of attracting a little bit of controversy. Takes away from the fact he's a handy player.

Why They'll Win: With the fortress of The Hawthorns terrifying all visitors, Lambert removes the Anfield splinters from his derriere to form a potent 50 goal partnership with Berahino that propels the Baggies to the Europa League and relegates Kane and Rooney to Roy Hodgson's bench for Euro 2016.

Why They'll struggle: Tony Pullis loses his baseball cap, and like Samson and his flowing locks, the power is gone...forever. Levy swoops in with 7million pounds, one hardly-used Spanish striker, and a silver Panini West Brom badge sticker for Berahino at 11.59 on 31 August.

TWG Tips: 14th. They'll be hard to beat at home.


Manager Slaven Bilic

Position last season: 12th

Nickname: The Hammers

Ground: Boleyn Ground (Olympic Stadium from 2016)

Capacity: 35,333

Players in: Darren Randolph (Birmingham), Pedro Obiang (Sampdoria, Undisclosed), Dimitri Payet (Marseille, Undisclosed), Angelo Ogbonna (Juventus, $21.3 million), Carl Jenkinson (Arsenal, loan), Manuel Lanzini (Al Jazira, loan)

Players out: Dan Potts (Luton), Paul McCallum (Leyton Orient), Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough, $11.7 million)

Key man: Throw a dart at the West Ham squad list and you wouldn't be too far off here. Your guess is as good as ours.

Keep an eye on: Dimitri Payet is a fully-fledged France international who proved at Marseille that he has what it takes to compete at Europe's highest level. So just what is the 28 year-old doing at The Hammers we hear you ask? That's a great question.

Why they'll win: Because when West Ham is written off it hits back to finish well clear of the drop zone.
Why they'll struggle: Bilic could well find managing The Hammers in the Premier League a tougher assignment than managing at Besiktas. Andre Vilas Boas anyone?

TWG tips: 12th – A few astute signings should see the Hammers survive the transition period under Bilic but it's definitely more a long-term prospect than a short-term one.

Written by:

Tom Findlay

Toby Forage

Theo Katsaros

Stuart Randall

Patrick Nugent

Nick Stoll

Matthew Connellan 

Source SBS