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 By Ian Darke

Premier League season preview from Arsenal to West Ham

Until the transfer window shuts, it is hard to get too dogmatic about how the Premier League season will unfold. But right now Chelsea look solid bets to retain their title. Manchester City are always more dangerous when fighting to regain the crown, but is their defence good enough? Arsenal should get closer with their array of creators. Yet somehow they always hit a bad patch and fail to sustain a challenge. Signing Petr Cech in goal will not on its own change that. Manchester United have splashed the cash and if the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay all prove instant Old Trafford hits, they might make an argument of it.

Here's what we can expect from each club this season:

Arsenal: Not finished the season in the top two for 10 years and reportedly have £200 million in bank. They should spend some of it on a top central defender and striker. Top four again.

Aston Villa: Have lost Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph. That makes them relegation contenders again.

Bournemouth: Will play with zest and without fear and could surprise some. Defence a worry at this level.

Chelsea: Jose Mourinho has hardly touched his title-winning squad. They were far too good for their rivals last year and might be again.

Crystal Palace: Yohan Cabaye is a fabulous signing for a fast-improving team. Manager Alan Pardew might even better last season's 10th-place finish.

Everton: Six places and 28 points worse off last season and Chelsea trying to sign their top young defender John Stones. Might be another tricky year for Roberto Martinez & Co.

Leicester: It's 11 years since Claudio Ranieri's "Tinkerman" days at Chelsea and he seems a left field choice for a battling bottom-half outfit. Plus, they've lost inspirational Esteban Cambiasso, which could spell trouble.

Liverpool: Brendan Rodgers needs a trophy. James Milner might prove a great signing, but they need their other key new arrivals, Christian Benteke and Roberto Firmino, to click. And they need Daniel Sturridge to rebound from his injury-hit 2014-15 campaign. I think Liverpool may do better than some imagine.

Manchester City: Raheem Sterling's pace and Fabian Delph's energy might provide missing ingredients. Bound to go close to winning the title if they can keep Sergio Aguero fit, but defence can be suspect.

Manchester United: Hard to predict. Still look a little short. Now if they sign Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo it might be different. Fans will expect title challenge from Louis van Gaal's men this time around.

Newcastle: Steve McClaren might bring sanity to the Toon madhouse but do not bet on it. Mid-table at best.

Norwich: Still have nucleus of the team that went down two years ago. So expect bright young boss Alex Neil to make more signings soon.

Southampton: Can't keep selling stars and thriving, can they? Europa League will be exciting but distracting.

Stoke: Two signings from Barcelona show that manager Mark Hughes remains intent on transforming this once long-ball, rather one-dimensional side into something slicker and more entertaining. But losing midfield cog Steven Nzonzi to Sevilla is a blow.

Sunderland: Manager Dick Advocaat is desperate to produce a team that will avoid the usual struggle, but no signings of much note yet to make that happen.

Swansea: Andre Ayew, the Ghana star, is a great addition. Finished eighth last year, easy on the eye , and could have another good year.

Tottenham: Quiet this summer but eyeing Saido Berahino of West Brom. Can Harry Kane, now a marked man, repeat last season's heroics? Hard to see Spurs gate crashing the top four.

Watford: Ten signings so far and a new boss in Quique Flores. How quickly will they all settle for a club which has always found the Premier League too tough?

West Brom: Tony Pulis has never been relegated as a manager. Expect a flurry of activity near deadline day but can't afford to lose Berahino.

West Ham: Took a punt in getting rid of Sam Allardyce and appointing Slaven Bilic. Dimitri Payet is a class signing and they have enough to avoid trouble in their final year at the Boleyn Ground.

Ian Darke, who called games for the network during the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, is ESPN's lead soccer voice in the U.S. Reach him on Twitter @IanDarke.


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