JAMES OLLEY: CHELSEA
Jose Mourinho was not exactly reticent in discussing his squad’s shortcomings last season but Chelsea have rectified those issues during a summer of intelligent spending. Cesc Fabregas is a proven Premier League performer, as is Didier Drogba even if his talents are diminishing with age, while Filipe Luis looks a shrewd acquisition at left-back. All eyes will be on Diego Costa to succeed where Fernando Torres has failed. If he can replicate his form at Atletico Madrid, Chelsea will go very close.
SIMON JOHNSON: ARSENAL
The growth in self-belief at Emirates Stadium shouldn’t be underestimated having finally ended their trophy drought last season.
Arsenal’s challenge will be stronger because of it and the squad is more formidable following the arrival of Alexis Sanchez, Mathieu Debuchy, Callum Chambers and David Ospina.
They also surely can’t suffer the same misfortune of losing Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to serious injury as they did in the last campaign.
If Arsene Wenger’s men can turn up for the big games this time, then a first title in 11 years could be theirs.
GIUSEPPE MURO: CHELSEA
Jose Mourinho is under pressure to deliver the title and this season he has no excuses. Mourinho has addressed the problems from last season and, by his own admission, Chelsea have everything they need to dominate again. Diego Costa is a proper striker, the type Mourinho loves. He will be the difference.
KEN DYER: CHELSEA
All the usual suspects will be up there again, those with the biggest financial clout. There was a time when the supporters of every club could dream of a title challenge and occasionally, that dream would become reality. Not any more, certainly not until you can attract owners like those at Manchester City. Anyway – rant over. My pick would be Chelsea this time. They should arguably have won it last season but foundered when it mattered. They look stronger this season, especially with the addition of the menacing Diego Costa who certainly won’t worry about the physical challenge of the Premier League.
TOM COLLOMOSSE: MANCHESTER CITY
Manuel Pellegrini did a fine job to lead City to the title and they have the squad to retain the trophy. Keep Sergio Aguero fit and City could run away with it.
AMAR SINGH: CHELSEA
A year after returning to Chelsea, Jose Mourinho has now had the time to forge a side to meet his requirements. Diego Costa, Filipe Luis and Cesc Fabregas are all excellent acquisitions, while Thibaut Courtois has emerged as Europe’s finest young goalkeeper. In Eden Hazard, Oscar, Andre Schurrle, Willian and Mohamed Salah, Chelsea have a formidable group of attacking midfielders who are improving all the time. Jose Mourinho tends to win silverware in his second seasons and this should be Chelsea’s year.
TOM DUTTON: CHELSEA
Jose Mourinho’s ‘little horse’ has spent the summer bulking up in the paddocks as the Portuguese boss has gone about assembling a squad capable of delivering on last year’s assurances. The Blues were a quality striker short of bringing home the Premier League title last term and Diego Costa has shown in pre-season he needs no time to settle in, scoring four and grabbing three assists. Meanwhile, the arrival of Filipe Luis will allow Cesar Azpilicueta to play on his natural side of a defence supported by one of the world’s best goalkeepers in Thibaut Courtois. The dramatic signing of former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas allied with Mourinho’s appetite for a big-game performance leaves Chelsea well-placed to end a five-year wait for league honours.
RICHARD PARRY: CHELSEA
Last season’s title was not lost by who blinked first, but who blinked the most.
Chelsea’s performances against the Premier League’s elite were fantastic – it was defeats to the likes of Sunderland, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa that hurt them.
Diego Costa finally provides the side with goals, Cesc Fabregas is arguably their most important midfield signing since Frank Lampard, and Thibaut Courtois – albeit already contracted to the club – returns and should start ahead of Petr Cech. Why the Belgian wasn’t recalled last season – with Mourinho having seen him at close quarters in La Liga is bewildering – but it’s better late than never nonetheless.
Manchester City were lucky to capitalise on Liverpool’s inexperience last season; they won’t have that fortune with Chelsea this year.