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Every Premier League team rated and slated, their most likely position in table

The Premier League season kicks off on Friday with Arsenal taking on Brentford as champions Man City attempt to fend on challenges from the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Man Utd

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Premier League kit rankings – the top 10

And so nine more months of prolonged agony and sporadic ecstasy comes upon us.

The good news being that, once again, we’ll be able to ­witness all of that life-affirming/soul-destroying emotion in the flesh. Hopefully.

How it goes, nobody knows.

But, for fans of Premier League clubs, here are a few ­reasons to be cheerful and ­fearful. Plus my gut feeling about how it could all pan out….

ARSENAL

CHEERFUL: Ben White will be a rock at the back. Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Kieran Tierney will only get better. A year out of Europe may focus minds.

FEARFUL: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang underwhelming again in pre-season. Tough start, especially without Thomas Partey. Jury still out on Mikel Arteta.

FINISH: 7th



Ben White has joined Arsenal for £50m from Brighton




ASTON VILLA

CHEERFUL: Emiliano Buendia could be the creator they’ve lost in Jack Grealish. Tyrone Mings is a born leader. Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings guarantee goals.

FEARFUL: They won two of the 12 league games Grealish missed last season. Can the new boys bed in quickly enough to cover the sizeable gap he leaves?

FINISH: 9th

BRENTFORD

CHEERFUL: Ivan Toney’s record suggests he’ll carry on scoring and Frank Onyeka brings midfield energy. They’re tactically flexible, confident and smartly run.

FEARFUL: They are novices lacking squad depth, who could be overawed at the gruelling nature of the Premier League.

FINISH: 19th

BRIGHTON

CHEERFUL: Play lovely football and frustrate better sides. Enock Mwepu added to Yves Bissouma makes them solid in midfield. Graham Potter knows his onions.

FEARFUL: Will badly miss Ben White. Adam Lallana and Danny Welbeck are injury- prone. Need a prolific striker.

FINISH: 14th

BURNLEY

CHEERFUL: Nick Pope, James Tarkowski and Ben Mee give a great foundation. Turf Moor still a tough place to visit and Sean Dyche knows how to survive.

FEARFUL: Little squad strengthening thus far for a second year running. Will they be able to hold on to Dwight McNeil?

FINISH: 16th



Thomas Tuchel and Chelsea have their sights set on the title




CHELSEA

CHEERFUL: Romelu Lukaku could be the 30-goal striker a squad blessed with young riches – and the swagger of European champions – is crying out for.

FEARFUL: Will Lukaku be the version who underwhelmed for Manchester United in the big games? Will Timo Werner be as wasteful again?

FINISH: 3rd

CRYSTAL PALACE

CHEERFUL: The squad age has been brought down and exciting young talents like Marc Guehi and Michael Olise signed. Plus talisman Wilfried Zaha remains.

FEARFUL: Tough start which will test new manager Patrick Vieira. Eberechi Eze out until next year. A lot of experience has gone. Vieira is a gamble.

FINISH: 18th

EVERTON

CHEERFUL: Rafa Benitez has the pedigree. Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison should get Goodison rocking to reverse last season’s abysmal home record.

FEARFUL: Only a couple of bargain-basement buys so far. The ‘Rafa Out’ crowd finding its voice already after a 4-0 friendly defeat at Old Trafford.

FINISH: 8th



Leeds finished in the top half on their return to the Premier League




LEEDS

CHEERFUL: Comfortable against the best sides and deserved a top- 10 finish. Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha stayed and Jack Harrison signed. Marcelo Bielsa is class.

FEARFUL: It could be a tough second season now the honeymoon’s over. The squad is small and overworked. Still suspect at the back.

FINISH: 10th

LEICESTER

CHEERFUL: Patson Daka and Kelechi Iheanacho will offer Jamie Vardy top support and Harvey Barnes’ return is a big boost. FA Cup win is a sign of solid progress.

FEARFUL: Wesley Fofana is out for a long time and Jonny Evans is still not fit. The last two seasons they’ve fallen out of the top four with the finishing line in sight.

FINISH: 5th

LIVERPOOL

CHEERFUL: Mo Salah and Sadio Mane finally got a rest. The central defence is back, as are the fans. Thiago growing into the shirt and Harvey Elliott looks a player.

FEARFUL: Quiet transfer window, Gini Wijnaldum will be missed, as will Andy Robertson for the first month. Virgil Van Dijk could take time to settle back in.



Virgil van Dijk missed last term through injury but his return will enhance Liverpool’s title chances




FINISH: 2nd

MAN CITY

CHEERFUL: Jack Grealish landed, Harry Kane maybe next. Those two alongside Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden (left, with Grealish) is a frightening prospect.

FEARFUL: Absent players mean a disrupted pre-season. Sergio Aguero has gone. Will missing out on Champions League again haunt them?

FINISH: 1st

MANCHESTER UNITED

CHEERFUL: Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane top additions. Mason Greenwood set to come into his own. If they can replicate last season’s away form they’ll fly.

FEARFUL: Marcus Rashford out for months and no end in sight to Paul Pogba drama. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer under pressure to deliver a major trophy.



Jadon Sancho has bolstered Man Utd’s attack




FINISH: 4th

NEWCASTLE

CHEERFUL: Coach Graeme Jones has overseen an uplift in form. They spent £22million on a goalscorer, Joe Willock, and they’ve kept hold of Allan Saint-Maximin.

FEARFUL: Mike Ashley no closer to going. Entire club needs investment. Steve Bruce widely unpopular. Fans will be back, but still fuming.

FINISH: 12th

NORWICH

CHEERFUL: Daniel Farke, and many players, recently in the Premier League. Todd Cantwell, Max Aarons and loanee Billy Gilmour should all thrive.

FEARFUL: Emiliano Buendia is a loss. Will they once again be found too weak in numbers, resilience and defence?

FINISH: 17th

SOUTHAMPTON

CHEERFUL: Best dead-ball player in the league in James Ward-Prowse. Ralph Hassenhutl proven to get the best out of a limited group.

FEARFUL: Can Adam Armstrong make up the goals lost with Danny Ings? Was their relegation form in the second-half of the season a sign of things to come?

FINISH: 15th

TOTTENHAM

CHEERFUL: Dele Alli could be a new man now that Jose Mourinho has gone and Heung-Min Son the main man. Bryan Gil and Cristian Romero look tasty buys.

FEARFUL: Whether he stays or goes, Harry Kane throws a big cloud over the season. A rebuild is needed. Does Nuno Espirito Santo have what it takes to do it?

FINISH: 6th



Harry Kane’s future remains uncertain
(

Image:

Getty Images)




WATFORD

CHEERFUL: Transfer business done early, so may benefit from decent pre-season. They’ve kept hold of Ismail Sarr. And still have the nous of Troy Deeney.

FEARFUL: Suspect defence and doubts over whether it’s a much better squad than the one recently relegated. How long will Xisco Munoz last under these owners?

FINISH: 20th

WEST HAM

CHEERFUL: The David Moyes revolution is in full flow. Back in Europe after finishing sixth. Declan Rice still there, Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal will only get better.

FEARFUL: Will Europa League Thursday nights prove a curse? Not much transfer business. Fans back – and will let the board know it if there is a drop-off.

FINISH: 11th

WOLVES

CHEERFUL: Raul Jimenez is back, Adama Traore looks like staying and Barcelona loanee Francisco Trincao is a talent.

FEARFUL: Will Jimenez be the same as pre-head injury? How badly will they miss injured Pedro Neto? How long will it take Bruno Lage to impose a new system?

FINISH: 13th




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