Here it comes… The brightest, shiniest and still the richest league in the world, and probably the best, kicking off this weekend. Another Chelsea title, back to the Alex Ferguson red machine rule or a change of guard, after six year with Chelsea and United sharing three league titles each – Can Arsenal finally win one? Can City become a true and dominant force in the Premiership? Can Tottenham keep their status as a top 4 club, and can Liverpool return to theirs after a seventh place finish last season?

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Champions. Chelsea finally broke the Mourinho drought and won their first Premiership title without the Portougese manager, despite hardly making any changes to the team during Carlo Ancelotti’s first year, who enjoyed career-best seasons from Didier Drogba (29 goals and 10 assists) and Frank Lampard (22 goals and 14 assists), and Cristiano Ronaldo leaving to Real Madrid. Not joking. United’s total dependence on the fantastic Wayne Rooney paved the way for Chelsea, with pretty much the same squad that hasn’t been able to muster up anything better than a runner up finish from 2007, to grab their fourth league championship. So how will it look this year?

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So far, not very promising, if we pay attention to the Charity shield match, the warm up games, and the fact that Manchester United have won the last three Premier League titles in seasons that have followed World Cups. And Chelsea haven’t really brought any new blood – Yossi Beanyoun is the only player added to the senior squad, while Joe Cole, Michael Ballack, Deco and Ricardo Carvalho have all been let go or sold. It will also be interesting to see the World Cup effect – Lampard, Terry, Drogba, Anelka – all had pretty horrible tournaments. Still, Chelsea have a very experienced and strong squad, which probably won’t be enough for that coveted Champions League title, but will be surprising to see finish out of the top two. And it’ll be very intriguing to see the development of Gael Kukuta who had a wonderful U-19 tournament with France earlier this month.

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Alex Ferguson will be beginning the 2010-2011 season against Newcastle with an unfamiliar feeling – not being a champion, after three straight league titles. Still Sir Alex hardly needs motivation to push his lads into another title race. With the squad pretty much remaining the same, except for the addition of Javier Hernandez, it’ll be pretty much up to Wayne Rooney to repeat his 2008-2009 form. He scored 26 league goals for United last season, falling short of the league title and the Premiership’s scoring title due to an injury he sustained late in the season. Will a healthy Rooney be enough? Not sure – United have problems with their aging or flair/creativity lacking midfield, a defense that trends from super solid to slow and shaky and a city rival which is gunning strong to becomes to cream of Manchester.

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Besides Rooney, hope lies on a young Mexican named Javier Hernandez, Chicarito, who just turned 22 this summer. Hernandez has been impressive in the warm up games with his scoring ability and overall play, but will life in the Premiership be suitable for the Mexican international, who also scored two goals in South Africa and 10 in his 17 caps for Mexico? Ferguson believes he can squeeze just a bit more from Giggs and Scholes while get more than expected, as usual, from the likes of Fletcher, Gibson, Smalling and others while secretly hoping that Berbatov starts showing his 30 million pound value. A healthy season for the defense, including a soon to be turning 40 Edwin Van Der Sar. Prediction? I don’t feel a title coming. Maybe if everyone stays healthy, meaning Rooney above all else.

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With all the problems Wenger had last season – Van Persie missing half the season, Fabregas spending time on the injured list and the ongoing goalkeeper problem, Arsenal weren’t too far away from grabbing the title. As usual, their softness and lack of grit made them look like their out of their league when facing United and Chelsea. And a new season brings new hope with it – the young squad is a tad more experienced, Van Pesrsie, despite a terrible World Cup, should be back as one of the Premiership’s better strikers and the new arrivals, Chamakh and Koscielny, look like rather successful signings from the early signs. But…

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Wenger doesn’t have a keeper. Yes, he has Almunia, and Fabianski and Mannone… but none of them are what Wenger wants, and he’s been pretty aggressive in chasing Schwarzer who has expressed his interest in joining the Gunners time and time again. Above all, is the Fabrges issue. Barcelona have done everything, ethical and non-ethical, using every player they have to create some media pressure and physiological and you name it to persuade Cesc and Arsenal to make the transfer. Well, it’s no secret Fabregas wants that, but Wenger was adamant he stays. Fabregas had another brilliant year with Arsenal, 15 goals and 13 assists and even if he wasn’t one of Spain’s best in South Africa, coming back a World Champions gives a player some sort of boost. If Wenger can keep Fabregas shielded and prays he stays healthy and he sorts his goalkeeping problem, I see a serious title challenge from Arsenal in 2010-2011.

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Another summer with tons of cash spent and more question marks surrounding the citizens and Roberto Mancini, who has no more excuses this season – 74 million pounds spent on Yaya Toure (best signing, maybe the best DM in the world), Jerome Boateng, Aleksandar Kolarov and David Silva – who might finally show how good he can really be on a regular basis, or turn out to be a huge flop. He had a disappointing World Cup and will be facing tons of pressure to produce very quickly. City have been less than impressive during the warm up matches, missing some of their key players still resting from the South African experience.

City have an amazing squad, probably the second best in the league, maybe ever on par with Chelsea, but Mancini will have to make a team of them quickly so he can keep a footing in the title race. I do believe that so much talent, with the solid base he has from the previous two seasons, should finally buy, key word buy, a place in the top four and finally be a member of that Champions League elite club. Carlos Tevez should be wonderful again (23 goals last season) and hopefully for City, Adebayor will find a way to channel his early 2008-2009 form, before the suspensions and the tragedy in Angola.

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New manager, Roy Hodgson, who really wanted the England job, but had to “settle” for Anfield after Capello kept his job. The Benitez term ended with a thud after looking like the man who’ll finally bring a first Premiership title to Anfield, but ended up finishing out of the Champions League and bolting to Inter Milan. Hodgson has done well in the transfer market it seems – Joe Cole, Poulsen from Juventus, Milan Jovanovic from Standard for free and two very promising youngsters in Rangers’ Danny Wilson and Jojo Shelvey of Charlton. Yossi Benayoun and Albert Riera were sold, but the squad doesn’t seem to have weakened and if the Torres-Gerrard partnership returns to it’s 2008-2009 heights, Liverpool should have a happier time this season than most thought when last season ended.

Still, things are far from perfect – the ownership status is miles from being called a done deal but lets talk soccer, not money and club politics. Xabi Alonso is still missed, and Poulsen seems to have been brought so Mascherano can leave, which he seems keen on doing. Lucas, time and time again, has proven his place isn’t with a club that aspires to be major force in the Premier League. Will he use Gerrard in the middle and Joe Cole behind Torres? Will Aquilani adjust to the role he was brought to play in the first place, but turned out to be a different player than needed? Too many question marks too predict anything more than a fourth place finish for Liverpool. Gerrard was decent for England in the World Cup and scored two just yesterday in the friendly against Hungary. He is hungry, and maybe happy again, now that Benitez is gone. That has to mean well for Liverpool. Now all they need is for Torres to be healthy, and who knows where this season might lead them.

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Well, Harry Redknapp chased quite a few players this summer, mostly trying to get his hands on a striker, Luis Fabiano, and hoping that his relationship with Joe Cole would keep the West Ham product in London. He failed with both, and Spurs’ only signing was Brazilian midfielder Sandro, who will join the North London club only when Internacional finish their Copa Libertadores campaign – they reached the final and beat Chivas 2-1 in the first leg which took place in Mexico.

Tottenham had a very strong finish last season, including wins over Chelsea and Arsenal, breaking a drought of many years against their biggest rivals. Still, Tottenham were far away from threatening the title and it doesn’t seem they’ll be able to make a surprise title challenge this season as well. Still, they are much better than Everton and the very confused Aston Villa, suddenly without the man who was suppose to march the team into a very bright future. They are probably also better than the sort of rebuilding Liverpool, and will hope that another summer of changes at City will mean they’ll remain among the top four. Still, the lack of a great striker and a bit more tenacity in the middle and the back should have Redknapp worried.

The rest? Everton and Villa will try and fight for that 5-6 places, although things look very cloudy for Aston Villa right now, with Milner dying to leave and Martin O’Neill out of the club. Birmingham, Sunderland, Newcaslte (back after a year in the Championship) and even West Ham (with new manager Avram Grant) and Stoke will look to make this season more about the upper half of the Premier League, while Blackpool, West Brom (newcomers), Wigan, Wolves, Bolton, Fulham and Blackburn will battle for another season of big Premiership cash.