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English Premier League 2015-2016 Early Preview

English Premier League 2015-2016 Early Preview

The (self-proclaimed) “best league in the world,” the English Premier League, is creeping closer toward kick off for another exciting season on August 8. Chelsea reigned supreme in Jose Mourinho’s return to English football, and are once again looking like the team to beat for this year’s title ahead of rivals Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United.

Of course, the course of the upcoming season is still subject to change as clubs continue to conduct their transfer dealings during the summer window. Nevertheless, let’s take an early look at where the top contenders stand at the moment, and find out who has the best shot to get their hands on the title.

For those who prefer that other type of “football,” we’ve got you covered as well with our preview of the 2015-2016 college football contenders.

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Early 2015-2016 Premier League Season Preview

Favorites – Chelsea and Manchester City

It’s been a good six years since a Premier League champion has successfully defended the title, but reigning champs Chelsea are big +145 favorites to end that drought this year.

[sc:Soccer240banner ]The Blues were head and shoulders above the competition last season, finishing eight points clear of second-place Man City. Their championship-winning team remains almost completely for their title defense this year, with top scorer Diego Costa (20 league goals) and PFA Player of the Year Eden Hazard leading the charge.

Chelsea have remained relatively quiet in the transfer market, with their loan signing of striker Falcao the only incoming piece of business thus far. But expect the Blues to get busy sooner rather than later as they target a replacement for Arsenal-bound goalkeeper Petr Cech, and some added depth to their bench.

Manchester City also haven’t made much noise this summer, but they will at some point after publicly proclaiming that they’ll be going on a 100 million-pound shopping spree this summer. After losing James Milner to Liverpool on a free transfer, they’re setting their sights on the Reds’ disgruntled Raheem Sterling as one of their marquee acquisitions. They’re also closing in on England midfielder Fabian Delph.

City, who are priced at +275 to reclaim their third league title in five years, haven’t had much success with their more recent big-money buys – Stevan Jovetic, Eliaquim Mangala, Fernando – who have failed to deliver the goods. But as long as they’ve got star striker Sergio Aguero, the league’s top scorer with 26 goals last season, City are still a major threat to challenge for that championship.

Sleepers – Arsenal and Manchester United

Aston Villa v Arsenal - FA Cup Final

It’s been 12 long years since Arsenal were last champions of England. But after back-to-back FA Cups, the Gunners will be gunning to end that long overdue Premier League crown this year.

Arsenal’s team this year will be arguably their most complete one since those mighty Invincibles in 2004. That’s after their signing of the aforementioned Cech, who basically fell into their lap to turn their long-standing weak link at goalkeeper into a strength.

With a wealth of quality up front in Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla et al. banging in the goals and Cech marshaling a resurgent backline, the Gunners are certainly an intriguing bet at +450 to win it all this year.

While Arsenal are looking more and more like the finished article, Manchester United remain a work in progress. They were wildly inconsistent last season, their first under manager Louis van Gaal, but they did show some flashes of promise later in the year.

There’s still quite a bit of uncertainty as to what van Gaal’s squad will actually look like to start the season with the long-standing David de Gea-Sergio Ramos transfer saga yet to fully unfold. There’s also much speculation regarding midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin shortly joining Memphis Depay in the list of United’s summer signings.

But the squad as currently constructed remains a +500 contender for the championship. Wayne Rooney had a stellar season despite playing several positions, while Angel Di Maria, Ander Herrera and Daley Blind are expected to follow Marouane Felliani’s lead and have a much better second season at Old Trafford.

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Long Shots – Liverpool and Tottenham

Last season’s disappointing sixth-place finish was a sign that Liverpool still have a long way to go in their quest to return to the top of English football.

After losing Luis Suarez last summer, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will almost surely lose another star in Sterling, but he does have big-money Brazilian signing Roberto Firmino to take that spot. The Reds also splashed out some cash on another Southampton player in right back Nathaniel Clyne, and made some shrewd free transfer signings with Milner and Danny Ings.

However, none of those moves have lifted Liverpool considerably closer to the title. The Reds remain +1,700 long shots to claim their first ever Premier League crown, but Champions League qualification remains a realistic goal.

Finally, Tottenham round out the six teams with any realistic chance of winning the title. Spurs are priced at +6,600 to claim the crown this year; the other 14 teams have odds of +20,000 or higher.

Spurs finished fifth last year, which is in large part due to young Harry Kane’s brilliance during his incredible debut season. The 21-year old scored 21 goals last year (second in the entire league) as the only competent striker in Spurs’ squad.

Tottenham have some very promising young talent behind Kane with Christian Eriksen, Nacer Chadli and Erik Lamela, but Spurs won’t come anywhere close to the championship – or even the Champions League places – without more reinforcements to their squad.

Writer’s Prediction

Chelsea (+145) are given a much stiffer challenge from their rivals, but the Blues still successfully defend the Premier League title.

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Brad
Written by Brad

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