Premier League 2015-16: Who will finish where?

By Phil McNultyChief football writer
Petr Cech, Raheem Sterling, John Terry, Brendan Rodgers
Arsenal beat Chelsea in the Community Shield but the real business of the Premier League begins on Saturday

The phoney wars of pre-season friendlies and the Community Shield are over and the real business of the Premier League begins this weekend.

So it is once again time to dust off the crystal ball and take a guess on how the top flight will unfold over the next nine months.

Can Jose Mourinho and Chelsea's grip on the crown be released? Can Arsenal finally turn promise into a Premier League title? Can Brendan Rodgers rebuild Liverpool from the wreckage of that 6-1 humiliation at Stoke City on the final day of last season?

The safety net is, of course, that clubs still have plenty of time to alter the odds by making a landmark signing before the window closes, but here goes...

Transfers up to date as of 20:00 BST on 5 August.


Last season: Champions

The team to beat. The manager to beat. And Jose Mourinho already looks in the mood to take on all challengers, including Rafael Benitez's wife Montse.external-link

Tim Sherwood: genius or gilet model?

The signings of Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas transformed Chelsea into champions last season and, on current evidence, it is tough to say with real confidence who will unseat them.

They have made no big moves in the market as yet and it will be a measure of Mourinho's restorative powers if he can uncover the missing magic in loan signing Radamel Falcao that eluded Manchester United last season.

Chelsea may yet produce a marquee signing but even if they do not they look immensely strong in all departments. The slight unknowns are just how long the ageless John Terry can turn back the hands of time and how often Costa is fully fit, but they will be champions again.

Players in:Players out:
Radamel Falcao (Monaco) Loan; Asmir Begovic (Stoke) £8m; Nathan (Atletico Paranaense) £4.5m; Danilo Pantic (Partizan Belgrade) £1.25mPetr Cech (Arsenal) £10m; Patrick Bamford (Crystal Palace) Loan; Didier Drogba(Montreal Impact) Free; Marco van Ginkel (Stoke) Loan; Danilo Pantic (Vitesse Arnhem) Loan; Christian Atsu (Bournemouth) Loan; Josh McEachran (Brentford) £750,000; Tomas Kalas (Middlesbrough) Loan; Gael Kakuta (Sevilla) Undisclosed; Mario Pasalic (Monaco) Loan; Kenneth Omeruo (Kasimpasa) Loan; Andreas Christensen (Borussia Monchengladbach) Loan; Isaiah Brown (Vitesse Arnhem) Loan; Lewis Baker (Vitesse Arnhem) Loan; Nathan (Vitesse Arnhem) Loan; Jordan Houghton (Gillingham) Loan


Last season: 3rd

Petr Cech
Diego Costa thinks Petr Cech's signing means Arsenal "have a good enough side to be in with a shout" for the title

It has been many years since Arsenal were as optimistic as this entering a new season - but all upbeat bulletins must add the rider that we have heard all this before only for the title challenge to fail to materialise.

They have made one major capture and I think this could be the coup that makes a big difference. It seems an act of rare benevolence to a rival for Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to extend favours, but that is what he seems to have done by allowing goalkeeper Petr Cech to join the Gunners.

In one fell swoop, manager Arsene Wenger has solved a serious problem and added a figure of authority, respect and success into his dressing room.

Arsenal still need a world-class striker as an embellishment to the superb Alexis Sanchez and could pay the price if they fail - but let's back the Gunners to go the distance and at least give Chelsea a run for Abramovich's money.

Players in:Players out:
Petr Cech (Chelsea) £10mCarl Jenkinson (West Ham) Loan; Wojciech Szczesny (Roma) Loan; Abou Diaby (Marseille) Free; Lukas Podolski (Galatasaray) £1.8m; Ainsley Maitland-Niles(Ipswich) Loan; Brandon Ormond-Ottewill (Swindon) Free; Ryo Miyaichi (St Pauli) Undisclosed; Semi Ajayi (Cardiff) Undisclosed; Yaya Sanogo (Ajax) Loan; Chuba Akpom (Hull) Loan


Last season: 2nd

These are strange times at City with some mixed pre-season results and the increasing sense that manager Manuel Pellegrini is merely keeping the seat warm for Pep Guardiola's arrival from Bayern Munich next summer.

The wild card here, however, is City's ability to make the sort of world-class signings that give them an added dimension between now and the close of the transfer window. It could change the title landscape in an instant.

Raheem Sterling is a superb young English addition from Liverpool, albeit at an excessive £49m - and do not bet against more exciting business that could send spirits soaring at Etihad Stadium.

Too often in a limp title defence last season, a squad of lavish talent looked short of inspiration and drive. They are too good to be like that again But if they are, the speculation swirling around Pellegrini will become more turbulent.

Players in:Players out:
Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) £49m; Patrick Roberts (Fulham) Undisclosed;Fabian Delph (Aston Villa) £8m; Enes Unal (Bursaspor) £2m; David Faupala (Lens) FreeJames Milner (Liverpool) Free; Scott Sinclair (Aston Villa) £2.5m; Micah Richards (Aston Villa) Free; John Guidetti (Celta Vigo) Free; Dedryck Boyata (Celtic) Undisclosed; Seko Fofana (Bastia) Loan; Angelino (New York City) Loan;Jordy Hiwula (Huddersfield) Undisclosed


Last season: 4th

Louis van Gaal's job last season was to put the pieces back together in the wake of David Moyes's dreadful reign and get Manchester United back in the Champions League. Mission accomplished.

However, United will not be satisfied by such comparatively limited ambition this time around. With expensive outlay on the likes of Memphis Depay,Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin - and every chance of another huge signing to come - Van Gaal needs to be challenging for the title. No excuses.

But how will they cope if world-class keeper David De Gea leaves? United's defence still fails to give off complete reassurance - and until Van Gaal buys a central defender of real authority the Premier League title may remain out of reach.

Not convinced they will be near a title unless more stellar signings are made but every chance of a cup success.

Players in:Players out:
Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton) £25m; Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich) £14.4m; Memphis Depay (PSV Eindhoven) £31m; Matteo Darmian (Torino) £12.7m; Sergio Romero (Sampdoria) FreeRobin van Persie (Fenerbahce) Undisclosed; Nani (Fenerbahce) £4.5m; Tom Cleverley (Everton) Free; Reece James (Wigan) Undisclosed; Saidy Janko (Celtic) Compensation; Ben Amos (Bolton) Free; Tom Thorpe (Rotherham) Free; Will Keane (Preston) Loan; Angelo Henriquez (Dinamo Zagreb) Undisclosed; Ben Pearson (Barnsley) Loan; Joe Rothwell (Barnsley) Loan


Last season: 6th

Christian Benteke
Christian Benteke scored his first goal for Liverpool with a stunning volley against Swindon Town

Brendan Rodgers was backed by Liverpool's owners Fenway Sports Group at the end of last season despite their form falling off a cliff as they lost timidly to Aston Villa in the FA Cup semi-final and failed to reach the Champions League - after not making it out of the group stage of that competition.

FSG has supported Rodgers totally in the transfer market, armed with the £49m from Raheem Sterling's sale to Manchester City, and he must now deliver.

Rodgers cannot afford a poor start, especially with the coveted Jurgen Klopp available, and he will need to settle in a selection of new faces.

Nathaniel Clyne is an upgrade on Glen Johnson but the real measure will come with the success of Brazil international forward Roberto Firmino, signed for £29m from Hoffenheim, and particularly Christian Benteke.

It may be over-simplistic but much of Rodgers's fate could hinge on the success of 24-year-old striker Benteke after he paid £32.5m to Aston Villa. If he succeeds then it will look rosy, but if the Belgian fails then his manager will be under even more pressure.

Liverpool could find it difficult initially to adapt to life without the iconic presence of Steven Gerrard, their comfort blanket for so long.

I do not see Liverpool anywhere near the title and they will have to battle to make the top four. A cup is not out of the question but Rodgers and his players need to hit the ground running.

Bottom line for Rodgers, though, is top four and/or a cup, otherwise he will know the consequences.

Players in:Players out:
Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) £32.5m; James Milner (Man City) Free; Danny Ings (Burnley) TBC; Roberto Firmino (Hoffenheim) £29m; Nathaniel Clyne(Southampton) £12.5m; Joe Gomez (Charlton) £3.5m, Adam Bogdan (Bolton) FreeRaheem Sterling (Man City) £49m; Glen Johnson (Stoke) Free; Steven Gerrard (LA Galaxy) Free; Andre Wisdom (Norwich) Loan; Lloyd Jones (Blackpool) Loan;Jordan Williams (Swindon) Loan; Kevin Stewart (Swindon) Loan; Sebastian Coates (Sunderland) Undisclosed; Brad Jones (Released); Danny Ward (Aberdeen) Loan; Sheyi Ojo (Wolves) Loan; Lawrence Vigouroux (Swindon) Loan


Last season: 5th

It was almost a holding season for Mauricio Pochettino in his first year at Spurs, illuminated by the brilliance of Harry Kane and a run to the Capital One Cup final, where they lost to Chelsea.

Pochettino could not get Spurs to play his intense pressing game with consistency, but this fine coach should get a better response this time around, although it may not necessarily lead to an improvement in league placing.

Toby Alderweireld will prove an addition of significance in defence but if Spurs are to inflict any blows on those they hope to challenge for the top four then more quality additions are needed to supplement Kane in attack - and any approaches from Manchester United for goalkeeper Hugo Lloris must be resisted.

Players in:Players out:
Toby Alderweireld (Atletico Madrid) Undisclosed; Kevin Wimmer (Cologne) Undisclosed; Kieran Trippier (Burnley) UndisclosedPaulinho (Guangzhou Evergrande) £9.9m; Benjamin Stambouli (PSG) £6m;Etienne Capoue (Watford) Undisclosed; Younes Kaboul (Sunderland) Undisclosed;Lewis Holtby (Hamburg) Undisclosed; Jordan Archer (Millwall) Free; Cristian Ceballos (Charlton) Free; Bongani Khumalo (SuperSport) Free; Grant Ward (Rotherham) Loan; Alexander McQueen (Carlisle) Free


Last season: 11th

This is a big season for Everton manager Roberto Martinez. Will it be the sparkling brilliance of his first season when he almost fulfilled his promise to get Everton into the Champions League - or the tedium of last season when his studied passing style occasionally led to open revolt in the stands and growing discontent with his management?

Investment of just over £4m so far this summer (the Premier League's lowest at the time of writing) to bring in former loan star Gerard Deulofeu and Tom Cleverley on a free hardly hints at grand ambition - or big backing for their manager - from Everton's board and with speculation surrounding the futures of John Stonesexternal-link and James McCarthy, Martinez needs to make a statement of intent.

Early indications are that Everton will rely heavily on Romelu Lukaku. The Toffees need a central defender, another striker and a playmaker - but they needed them all summer so why wait so long to act?

I do not see Everton going anywhere near the top four. Top 10 is realistic given the talent in Martinez's first XI and there is potential for a cup tilt - but they have a lot to prove and rivals have strengthened more.

Players in:Players out:
Gerard Deulofeu (Barcelona) £4.25m; Tom Cleverley (Manchester United) Free;David Henen (Olympiakos) £200,000Sylvain Distin (Bournemouth) Free; Luke Garbutt (Fulham) Loan; Francisco Junior (Wigan) Loan; Jonjoe Kenny (Wigan) Loan; Antolin Alcaraz (Las Palmas) Free; George Green (Oldham) Free


Last season: 9th

Quietly and without fuss Mark Hughes has done an outstanding job at Stoke City, building on what Tony Pulis left behind and piecing together his own reputation, which had been so damaged by his spell at QPR.

They finished in the top 10 last season and I have no reason to feel any different this time around, especially when home form will always be formidable at the Britannia Stadium, where the support is magnificently hostile.

Hughes will hope Bojan returns restored from a serious knee injury and another Barcelona outcast, Ibrahim Afellay, can recapture the form that once made him so admired.

The loss of Steven Nzonzi to Sevilla is a blow but Jack Butland will compensate for the loss of goalkeeper Asmir Begovic to Chelsea.Glen Johnson adds experience while Hughes will hope for big things from Joselu, the striker brought in from Hannover 96 for £5.75m.

Another good season ahead.

Players in:Players out:
Glen Johnson (Liverpool) Free; Philipp Wollscheid (Bayer Leverkusen) £2.75m;Joselu (Hannover) £5.75m; Shay Given (Aston Villa) Free; Marko van Ginkel(Chelsea) Loan; Jakob Haugaard (Midtjylland) £600,000; Moha El Ouriachi(Barcelona) Undisclosed; Ibrahim Afellay (Barcelona) FreeAsmir Begovic (Chelsea) £8m (reported); Steven Nzonzi (Sevilla) £7m; Robert Huth (Leicester) Undisclosed; Jamie Ness (Scunthorpe) Free; Thomas Sorensen (Retired); Wilson Palacios (Released); Andy Wilkinson (Released)


Last season: 7th

Jordy Clasie
Jordy Clasie said "if the Manchester United interest had become concrete I think I still would have preferred Southampton"

Not quite the exodus of last summer, which also included the manager Mauricio Pochettino, but Southampton have lost two key figures in England right-back Nathaniel Clyne to Liverpool and midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin to Manchester United.

How can we underestimate this superbly run club after last season? And manager Ronald Koeman looks to have made shrewd additions with Jordy Clasie from Feyenoord,Juanmi from Malaga and Cedric Soares from Sporting Lisbon.

The basis of the team that performed so well last season remains and guided by the shrewd Koeman, there should be plenty to admire again at St Mary's this season.

Players in:Players out:
Jordy Clasie (Feyenoord) £8m; Juanmi (Malaga) £5m; Cuco Martina (Twente) £1m; Cedric Soares (Sporting Lisbon) £4.7m; Maarten Stekelenburg (Fulham) Loan; Steven Caulker (QPR) LoanMorgan Schneiderlin (Manchester United) £25m; Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool) £12.5m; Artur Boruc (Bournemouth) Free; Jos Hooiveld (AIK) Free; Cody Cropper(MK Dons) Free; Omar Rowe (Released); Jake Sinclair (Released) Dani Osvaldo (Porto) Free; Jordan Turnbull (Swindon) Loan


Last season: 8th

Garry Monk will look to make further inroads into the top 10 and key to his hopes will be how Andre Ayew, who could be a real coup on a free transfer from Marseille, settles to his task.

He could form a productive link with Bafetimbi Gomis, if he stays, and elsewhere this Swansea side looks a good mix of all the qualities needed to be in the top half again, led by one of the Premier League's emerging young managers.

Players in:Players out:
Andre Ayew (Marseille) Free; Franck Tabanou (St Etienne) £3.5m; Eder (Braga) £5.2m; Kristoffer Nordfeldt (Heerenveen) £600,000; Oliver McBurnie (Bradford) £250,000Jazz Richards (Fulham) Undisclosed; David Cornell (Oldham) Free; Alan Tate(Released); Gerhard Tremmel (Released); Kenji Gorre (ADO Den Haag) loan


Last season: 12th

The unknown quantity here is West Ham's new manager. Is the combustible Slaven Bilic simply an over-sentimental nod to the past or has he actually got the qualities to be a success in the Premier League?

A complicated and hot-headed Europa League campaign so far has not provided too many indicators and the Croat has a lot to prove as he has yet to flourish as a club manager.

He is being backed by West Ham co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold, with £10m spent on Juventus defender Angelo Ogbonna and £10.7m on highly rated France international Dimitri Payet.

They will expect a good season ahead of the move to the Olympic Stadium - but this is a prediction made with an air of trepidation as I remain to be convinced by Bilic.

Players in:Players out:
Angelo Ogbonna (Juventus) £10m (reported); Dimitri Payet (Marseille) £10.7m; Carl Jenkinson (Arsenal) Loan; Pedro Obiang (Sampdoria) Undisclosed; Manuel Lanzini (Al Jazira) Loan; Darren Randolph (Birmingham) FreeStewart Downing (Middlesbrough) £5.5m; Dan Potts (Luton) Free; Paul McCallum (Leyton Orient) Free; Carlton Cole (Released); Guy Demel (Released);Jussi Jaaskelainen (Released); Nene (Released)


Last season: 10th

Yohan Cabaye
Crystal Palace acquired Yohan Cabaye from PSG in a club record deal despite interest from Roma

Alan Pardew did a magnificent job to get Palace to 10th last season and this ambitious manager will hope for as good again this season.

The signing of France international midfielder Yohan Cabaye from PSG is both a statement of intent and something of a gamble at £13m. He needs to come off but it was a move that sent optimism and hope soaring.

With Patrick Bamford in from Chelsea and Connor Wickham (a player who really starts to need fulfilling his potential) signed at a slightly pricey £7m from Sunderland there may be firepower to add to the maverick gifts of the powerful Yannick Bolasie, who can be unstoppable on his day.

Scott Dann's new deal gives solidity at the back and Selhurst Park remains one of the Premier League's most atmospheric arenas.

Palace will not be in trouble but maybe just go a little easy on too much expectation.

Players in:Players out:
Patrick Bamford (Chelsea) Loan; Yohan Cabaye (PSG) £13m; Alex McCarthy (QPR) £3.5m; Connor Wickham (Sunderland) £7m; Bakary Sako (Wolves) FreeJack Hunt (Sheff Wed) Loan; Shola Ameobi (Released); Lewis Price (Sheff Wed) Free; Owen Garvan (Released); Peter Ramage (Released);Stephen Dobbie (Bolton) Free; Jerome Thomas (Released); Kyle De Silva (Notts County) Free; Hiram Boateng (Plymouth) Loan; Ryan Inniss (Port Vale) Loan;Jerome Binnom-Williams (Burton) Loan


Last season: 15th

Predicting events at Newcastle United is one of life's great pointless exercises - but let us assume (dangerously) that things cannot be as bad as last season when a combination of poor players, poor leadership from the top and poor management almost ended in relegation.

There is plenty on the line on Tyneside. Steve McClaren is back in the Premier League as head coach but hardly in a blaze of glory after somehow engineering Derby County's failure to reach the Championship play-offs. He will need a good start to ensure cynicism about his appointment does not grow.

At least owner Mike Ashley has invested in the side and in Georginio Wijnaldum, signed for £14.5m from PSV Eindhoven, he has a Netherlands international of real midfield pedigree. Aleksandar Mitrovic will carry much attacking weight at £13m from Anderlecht.

Newcastle's defence, however, may be their Achilles heel and while top eight and a cup is the aim, mid-table or a little lower is the realism.

Players in:Players out:
Chancel Mbemba (Anderlecht) £8.5m; Aleksandar Mitrovic (Anderlecht) £13m;Georginio Wijnaldum (PSV) £14.5mSammy Ameobi (Cardiff) Loan; Jonas Gutierrez (Released); Ryan Taylor (Hull) Free; Adam Campbell (Notts County) Free; Remie Streete (Port Vale) Free


Last season: 13th

Tony Pulis, so underrated, did what he had to do last season and guided the Baggies to comfortable safety. Now he will want to consolidate.

So much will depend on whether he can keep Saido Berahino this transfer window, with both Manchester City and Spurs linked with a playerexternal-link who provides genuine goal threat.

Pulis has been busy, though, and Rickie Lambert - who looked so out of place at Liverpool - may prove a shrewd buy in the environment and style Pulis provides while James Chester, albeit expensive at £8m, may prove a signing of defensive importance.

Expect a solid season with no relegation alarms under an excellent manager.

Players in:Players out:
James McClean (Wigan) £1.5m; James Chester (Hull) £8m, Rickie Lambert (Liverpool) £3m.Graham Dorrans (Norwich) Undisclosed; Youssouf Mulumbu (Norwich) Free;Chris Baird (Derby) Free; Alex Jones (Birmingham) Free; Kemar Roofe (Oxford) Undisclosed; Jason Davidson (Huddersfield) Free; Bradley Garmston (Gillingham) Free; Donervon Daniels (Wigan) Free; Wesley Atkinson (Notts County) Free


Last season: 17th

Reality has bitten for manager Tim Sherwood after the drama of last season when he not only kept Villa in the Premier League but reached the FA Cup final, albeit where they were thrashed by Arsenal.

Three of his big players from that spell, Tom Cleverley, captain Fabian Delph and the big danger Christian Benteke have all gone, leaving Sherwood with rebuilding to do.

Sherwood has been allowed to reinvest and has done so heavily. It may not be a glory season but do not expect another relegation struggle.

The big question is can Villa cope without Benteke's goals? Sherwood has set great store in Jordan Ayew at £10m from Lorient while Rudy Gestede will provide serious physical presence. As for Emmanuel Adebayor, Sherwood got the best out of him at Spurs - but who knows what he might get these days if a deal goes through?

After lots of ins and out, I expect them to finish lower mid-table, which is about par for the course for Villa these days. Under the lively Sherwood, though, it will not be dull or negative.

Players in:Players out:
Scott Sinclair (Man City) £2.5m; Micah Richards (Man City) Free; Jordan Amavi(Nice) £7m; Idrissa Gueye (Lille) £9m; Mark Bunn (Norwich) Free; Jordan Ayew(Lorient) £10m; Jose Angel Crespo (Cordoba) Undisclosed; Rudy Gestede (Blackburn) Undisclosed; Jordan Veretout (Nantes) UndisclosedChristian Benteke (Liverpool) £32.5m; Fabian Delph (Man City) £8m; Shay Given(Stoke) Free; Darren Bent (Derby) Free; Enda Stevens (Portsmouth) Free; Andreas Weimann (Derby) Undisclosed; Matthew Lowton (Burnley) Undisclosed; Graham Burke (Notts County) Free; Yacouba Sylla (Rennes) Undisclosed; Antonio Luna (Eibar) Undisclosed; Aly Cissokho (Porto) Loan


Last season: Promoted

Tyrone Mings
Bournemouth broke their transfer record to sign Tyrone Mings from Ipswich Town

Again a prediction perhaps made with a question mark but Bournemouth played so well in the Championship in a style that might just suit the Premier League under outstanding young manager Eddie Howe.

Howe has grown into his role and has been playing the markets this summer, paying £8m for Ipswich Town left-back Tyrone Mings. This is a lot of money for the Cherries but a show of financial ambition.

Josh King, brought from Blackburn Rovers, is a real flyer while Sylvain Distin, at 37, has been brought in to add central defensive experience on a free transfer from Everton. Whether Distin, so outstanding for so long, remains up to the physical rigours of the Premier League will play a big part in shaping how Bournemouth do this season.

A team to watch - and one that might just stay up.

Players in:Players out:
Tyrone Mings (Ipswich) £8m; Sylvain Distin (Everton) Free; Artur Boruc(Southampton) Free; Adam Federici (Reading) Free; Joshua King (Blackburn) Free; Christian Atsu (Chelsea) Loan; Filippo Costa (Chievo) Loan; Lee Tomlin (Middlesbrough) £3m; Max Gradel (St Etienne) UndisclosedIan Harte (Released); Josh McQuoid (Luton) Free; Darryl Flahavan (Released); Mohamed Coulibaly (Racing Santander) Free; Joe Partington (Eastleigh) Free; Miles Addison (Released); Ryan Fraser (Ipswich) Loan; Brett Pitman (Ipswich) Undisclosed; Jayden Stockley (Portsmouth) Loan


Last season: 16th

Was Dick Advocaat just the perfect quick fix for a team in trouble or can the veteran Dutch coach really shape a brighter future on Wearside? We are about to find out.

He was in tears when they survived last season. He will hope not to be reduced to tears again but it is shaping up as another season of stress at the Stadium of Light.

Jeremain Lens, an £8.5m signing from Dynamo Kiev will add danger but Younes Kaboul may do little to settle Advocaat's nerves. The former Spurs defender has talent - but also a lot of mistakes.

Advocaat still needs further attacking reinforcements, especially with Connor Wickham leaving for Crystal Palace.

They should avoid relegation but I am not expecting too much excitement.

Players in:Players out:
Jeremain Lens (Dynamo Kiev) £8.5m; Younes Kaboul (Tottenham) £3m;Adam Matthews (Celtic) £2m; Sebastian Coates (Liverpool) UndisclosedEl-Hadji Ba (Charlton) Undisclosed; Santiago Vergini (Getafe) Loan; Connor Wickham (Crystal Palace) £7m


Last season: Promoted

Norwich City produced one of the appointments of last season when 34-year-old manager Alex Neil came from Hamilton - guiding the Canaries to promotion brilliantly via a play-off final win against Middlesbrough.

This remains such a well-run club and the sell-out notices will be out all season at Carrow Road. This may be a relegation tip but Norwich City could just gather enough momentum under a fiercely driven and ambitious manager to avoid the drop.

Some shrewd summer signings such as Graham Dorrans and Youssouf Mulumbu from West Bromwich Albion will add experience while Robbie Brady impressed in a relegated Hull City side last season.

Survival will be the aim and if they prove this prediction wrong I will be delighted for all at Carrow Road.

Players in:Players out:
Graham Dorrans (West Brom) £3m; Youssuf Mulumbu (West Brom) Free; Andre Wisdom (Liverpool) Loan; Robbie Brady (Hull) £7m; Jake Kean (Blackburn) FreeMark Bunn (Aston Villa) Free; Carlton Morris (Hamilton) Loan; Cameron McGeehan (Luton) Undisclosed; Sam Kelly (Port Vale) Free;Remi Matthews (Burton) Loan


Last season: 14th

Shinji Okazaki
Shinji Okazaki has international pedigree having scored 43 goals in 93 games for Japan

Had Leicester City kept manager Nigel Pearson - who for all his bizarre behaviour did brilliantly as the Foxes won seven and drew one of their last 10 games to stay up - we would not be in this relegation territory.

But his sacking, with Leicester's board saying their working relationship was "no longer viable", and the appointment of Claudio Ranieri means I fear the worst.

Ranieri's appointment is, at best, left field and at worst uninspiring and unwise. A charming man but perhaps one out of time with the Premier League having last worked there with Chelsea in 2004 and having had a chequered career since.

The Italian known as "The Tinkerman" for his constant team changes was sacked last year as manager of Greece, an infamous four-month reign notorious for a home defeat by the Faroe Islands.

Time will tell - but this one does not quite sit right and it is to be hoped Leicester are not plunged back into the danger zone they occupied for so long last season.

Players in:Players out:
Robert Huth (Stoke) £3m; Shinji Okazaki (Mainz) £7.5m; Christian Fuchs (Schalke) Free; Yohan Benalouane (Atalanta) Undisclosed; N'Golo Kante (Caen) UndisclosedBen Hamer (Nottingham Forest) Loan; Paul Gallagher (Preston) Free;Chris Wood (Leeds) Undisclosed; Tom Hopper (Scunthorpe) Free; Adam Smith(Northampton) Free; Kieran Kennedy (Motherwell) Free


Last season: Promoted

Quique Sanchez Flores is Watford's fifth manager in a year, replacing the man who got them promoted, Slavisa Jokanovic. The new man comes with a reputation forged at Atletico Madrid as a progressive coach.

He will relish the challenge ahead but it is a daunting one. He has been given serious backing from the Watford board to bring in a whole raft of new faces such as Etienne Capoue from Spurs and Valon Behrami from Hamburg - while Matej Vydra is back on a permanent deal and will be expected to provide a fair goal return.

It is just tough to see Watford surviving I'm afraid. It would have been tough anyway but there has been so much change to incorporate.

Players in:Players out:
Etienne Capoue (Tottenham) Undisclosed; Valon Behrami (Hamburg) Undisclosed; Jose Holebas (Roma) £1.8m; Miguel Britos (Napoli) Undisclosed; Jose Jurado (Spartak Moscow) Undisclosed; Matej Vydra (Udinese) Undisclosed;Allan Nyom (Udinese) Undisclosed; Sebastian Prodl (Werder Bremen) Free;Giedrius Arlauskis (Steaua Bucharest) Free; Steven Berghuis (AZ Alkmaar) £4.6mJonathan Bond (Reading) Undisclosed; Lewis McGugan (Sheff Wed) Undisclosed; Juanfran (Deportivo La Coruna) Loan; Uche Ikpeazu (Port Vale) Loan


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