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Manchester United

United fans are frustrated. Many of them thought Cesc Fabregas would be an unlikely signing from the get-go, and the speculation around a move for Real Madrid playmaker Luka Modric is looking just that, speculation. The summer started with talk of power moves for both Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, it looks like it'll finish with a move for Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Banes. That, by anyone's standards, is a colossal step down in ambition. Moyes today muted that he was "still monitoring" Ronaldo, perhaps in the hope that if Madrid land Bale they'll be more inclined to let their star player go. And if that sounds hideously unrealistic that's because it is. Moyes at least has a team at his disposal that is still much underrated. However, with Ferguson gone, so goes the aura of invincibility, Moyes must work to re-establish that with a strong start to the season. This season will be about making the transition as painless as possible.
Prediction: 3rd

Newcastle United

Well they've kept Kebab, and whathisname, and the other bloke. Joe Kinnear's frankly deeply sad interviews aside, Newcastle (or Nouveau Chateau as they christened themselves on account of the proliferation of French players among their ranks) have signed 17-year-old Olivier Kemen (a Football Manager favourite) and Loic Remy on loan from QPR. Kemen is a great prospect who will hopefully get a decent amount of first team football. Remy was impressive in his end of season cameo for QPR and could work well Papiss Cisse. Despite all the signs of impending departure Fabricio Coloccini remains at the club. If Pardew can keep his captain, and get his midfield firing there's no reason why Newcastle would have to repeat last season's farce. I have a feeling though, somehow the farce will be repeated.
Prediction: 14th

Norwich City

Dear old Norwich. It's impossible not to like them. A proper fans club, a family club, a small, provincial town club, in the big league, and holding their own. Chris Hughton did an immense job to guide The Canaries to an 11th place finish, with a squad who makes up for its modest talent with enormous amounts of heart. Hewson has bought superbly in the transfer window landing Ricky van Wolfswinkel from Sporting and Leroy Fre from FC Twente. Both young Dutchmen have had good starts to their careers, proving themselves in two of Europe's top leagues and are sure to see plenty of first team action. Norwich has a good backbone of home nations players which will help them to a comfortable mid table finish.
Prediction: 12th


They survived and that's the main thing. Southampton fans, who can rightly have a pop at me for saying they'd go down, didn't. And they've spent big this summer, well, relatively big, £12.5m Victor Wanyama from Celtic and £8.5m on Dejan Lovren from Lyon. That's big money for a defensive midfielder in Wanyama, though I have my suspicions Mauricio Pochettino is planning to play the ambulant mountain at centre-half. He will of course always be remembered in Glasgow for his goal in Celtic's 2-1 win over Barcelona. It is nevertheless going to be rough going for the Saints. A couple of injuries to their key players could cause a slump that would be hard to recover from. Still, I think they'll survive.
Prediction: 15th

Stoke City

Football, as a movement, shed a tear when the league's third longest serving manager Tony Pullis left the Britannia this summer. Rarely has there been a truer description of a person as a "football man". Make no mistake the people of Stoke owe Tony a lot, he took them from provincial also-rans to the rugged stalwarts of the Premier League. Mark Hughes though is a potentially genius appointment. The former United legend is in need of success as much as Stoke are. He needs to revive a career that started promisingly and began to flag with strange spells at Fulham and QPR. Hughes has a solid squad at his disposal. Recruits include Marc Muniesa, a ball playing centre half from Barcelona, and Erik Pieters, at long last an actual left back. It'll be interesting to see how Stoke go at the start of the season, can they adapt to a new system?
Prediction: 13th


There has been something of a quiet revolution at Sunderland over the summer. They've brought in some genuine talent in the shape of Jozy Altidore and Emanuele Giaccherini plus a host of free signings from around Europe. Out go much of their core team of recent years: Mignolet, James McClean, Matt Kilgallon, Titus Bramble. Paulo Di Canio was recently good copy for sports journalists last season, but with the return of the the Special One, will there be room for Di Canio's diva antics? God knows whether he'll to shape a winning team from his new recruits, but something in me tells me he will, with perhaps a few hilarious implosions along the way. I'll think they'll have a decent season.
Prediction: 15th

Swansea City

Swansea had a great debut season under Brendan Rogers and achieved their first silverware under the tutlage of Danish great Brian Laudrup in the form of the League Cup last year. Roger's tic-a-tac-a was lovely to watch but at times cost them vital goals, Laudrup has made them more incisive, more fluent, less risky and even better to watch. Main man Michu looks set to say so I've got them finishing a tentative 8th. I was tempted to put them above Liverpool, but I worry about their strength in depth, and the focus they'll give to the cups especially with them playing in Europe this season. Shelvey looked like the player he never quite was in his first few outings for the Swans, and Wilfried Bony looks like forward with a plethora of goals ready to spurt from his feet.
Prediction: 8th/UEFA Cup quarter finalists

Tottenham Hotspurs

Get over it Spurs fans, Bale is off (sad for us all, seriously what is happening to the Premier League?). But guess what, your cunning chairman Daniel Levy has convinced Real Madrid that the clearly-no-more-than-£40m player is worth almost £85m. If I was him, I'd get the deal done, giving him time to move for some high quality replacements. Replacements you will most definitely need. Big signing Roberto Soldado is a talent for sure - he'd better be for £26m - but he is far from the dynamic force that is Bale. He is poacher and a finisher. Paulinho looks to be the Bale replacement, and a cracking player he certainly was in Brazil, but North London is a long way from Brazil and the Premier League could be a big challenge for him. Tottenham deserve a fourth place finish after their efforts in the last few seasons. 
Prediction: 4th

West Brom

The signing of Nicolas Anelka on a free to West Brom went almost unnoticed this summer. It's doubtful the 34-year-old has a 20 goal season left in his legs, but he could be a great bit part player for the Baggies. Diego Lugano is a solid centre back with experience also brought in on free from PSG. Steve Clarke has also brought in a couple of loan signings to strengthen an already solid squad. West Brtom finished 8th last season, though I can't see them repeating that achievement. Other mid-table teams have invested more heavily this summer and could push them down the league, though I don't see them troubled be relegation.
Prediction: 11th

West Ham

With Andy Carroll now a permanent fixture at Upton Park and Stewart Downing coming in Liverpool, it can't be said that Sam Allardyce is trying to keep his plans under wraps for the coming season. One can confidently predict plenty of crosses at the Boleyn Ground this season. Allardyce won promotion from the championship with burly football, that developed into a slightly more free-flowing brand of burly football last season. The Hammers' mammoth side will cause most in the league plenty of trouble this season, and may land some notable scalps.
Prediction: 10th

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