Thee Red Devils are entering into the great unknown… When the champions walk out to defend their crown under new manager David Moyes, the shadow of Sir Alex Ferguson will definitely loom large on them. How will life be without Ferguson?
United have so far failed to rope in Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona . Young attacking players like Javier Hernandez, Wilfried Zaha, Shinji Kagawa and Danny Welbeck might give Moyes a lot of choice, but there appears to be none to give the assurance of a top-notch striker to play alongside Dutch Robin van Persie (in pic).
Still, United are the team to beat this season, thanks to their immense talent pool, especially in the midfield.
The tireless Paul Scholes and the ageless Ryan Giggs along with the crafty Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverly do give the United half-line good balance, solidity and variety. Add to that the sharp runs of Nani and Rafael de Silva.
But, United’s rivals have grown stronger. The defending champions will desperately want a reluctant Wayne Rooney to stay and give his best. Even Ferguson may agree with that.
Manager: David Moyes
Captain: Nemanja Vidic
EPL titles: 13
Champions of 2011-12, City have already gone on record that the last season has been disappointing.
They finished runners-up to United by a considerable margin. And the first thing they did at the end of 2012-13 was to sack Roberto Mancini and bring in Manuel Pellegrini as the new manager.
The Chilean has had an instant impact, bringing in the likes of Stevan Jovetic and Alvaro Negredo, who have definitely shown some promise in the pre-season friendlies, especially Negredo.
Regulars like Sergio Aguero and David Silva will definitely be depended upon once again, but their fresh additions this season, like Fernandinho (in pic), have been quite clever and should serve Pellegrini well.
For good reasons, they have offloaded players like Carlos Tevez, Kolo Toure and a few others. Investing mostly in young players, City have already spent almost £100 million this summer, and they do look hungry to get back the title.
Pellegrini might not be able to implement his “new style” in the first season itself, but with so much talent in their ranks, make no mistake, City are serious title-contenders.
Captain: Vincent Kompany
EPL titles: 1
Anew transfer season always witnesses a mad rush by the big EPL clubs to secure the services of the best ones to add to the strength of their squads. So did the Blues.
And unlike others, who are still busy in dangling the carrot, Chelsea have already made their marquee signing… Only, he is not a player.
The self-proclaimed Special One-turned-Happy One, manager Jose Mourinho, is the biggest star on the Blues’ roster.
Back at Stamford Bridge, where he feels at home, Mourinho’s second coming might just be the anecdote English football needs to succeed in Europe. A master tactician, Mourinho knows what it takes to win.
German Andre Schurlle and Dutch Marco van Ginkel have been the only summer signings for the Blues so far. With the likes of David Luiz, Eden Hazard, Oscar and Juan Mata (in pic), the youthful squad looks fully prepared to win back the EPL trophy.Individually, it is going to be a make or break season for Fernando Torres. Mourinho can be the one to bring out the best in him.
Manager: Jose Mourinho
Captain: John Terry
EPL titles: 3
Arsenal have missed out on Gonzalo Higuain and they may also have to do without Luis Suarez. But their biggest constant has been Arsene Wenger, their inspirational manager.
However, anyone who follows the Gunners will know that for a club like Arsenal, who are not big spenders in the market, there has to be a Wenger as the manager.
Wenger sought to calm frustration among the club’s fans over a lack of new signings saying: “I don’t disagree that we are a bit light at the moment, but there are 18 days to go until the end of the transfer market and we are of course looking to strengthen our squad.”
The Gunners will definitely rely on Jack Wilshere, Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott (in pic) to deliver the goods for them. The 21-year-old Wilshere has been the fulcrum of the squad last season and British media has often compared him to English legend Paul Gascoigne.
Manager: Arsene Wenger
Captain: Thomas Vermaelen
EPL titles: 3
Despite their top-five finish last season, they had really struggled to sustain the tempo till the very last rounds of the league.
It’s needless to mention that Gareth Bale will be key to their fortunes this season, whether he stays or not.
Spurs need Bale to realise their Champions League dreams, but the latter wants to realise that dream this year with Real Madrid.
Then there have been the signings. Twice the club's transfer record has been broken, first for the £17m midfielder Paulinho (in pic) from Corinthians and, more recently, for the £26m striker Roberto Soldado from Valencia.
The club have also taken the winger Nacer Chadli from FC Twente for £7m.
Andre Villas-Boas had a solid first season and will be looking for better results this time. Tottenham could at last be the destination club, as opposed to a stepping stone.
Manager: Andre Villa-Boas
Captain: Michael Dawson
lEPL titles: Nil