Friday, August 12, 2016

Sports: the EPL about to kickoff

The 2016-17 Premier League season is nearly upon us. Lots has happened already this summer, so our ESPN FC bloggers take a look at how their teams will fare in the coming campaign.


LEICESTER: Leicester City are the defending Premier League champions. And that sentence still takes some getting used to. Now, they're the team to beat and Claudio Ranieri's men must balance a title defence with Champions League football. >>Read -- Ben Jacobs
ARSENAL: An injury crisis, frustration in the transfer market and Arsenal haven't even played a match yet. Do you ever get the feeling you know exactly what's coming? >> Read -- Tom Adams
MAN CITY: Pep Guardiola's Manchester City mission involves improving the club's performances in Europe as well as winning back the Premier League title. Widely regarded as the best manager on the planet, the Catalan will enter the campaign under plenty of pressure. >> Read -- Simon Curtis
MAN UNITED: It's sure to be lively in Manchester this season, with Jose Mourinho and Zlatan Ibrahimovic going up against their nemesis, Pep Guardiola. Can Mourinho restore United to their former glories? >> Read -- Scott Patterson


CHELSEA: Another season, another high-flying manager in the Stamford Bridge hot-seat trying to satisfy Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich's unquenchable thirst for silverware. >> Read -- Mark Worrall
LIVERPOOL: With no European football at Anfield, Jurgen Klopp has fewer distractions this season. Improvement must be measured by the Reds' league points total after two seasons of inadvertent focus on cup competitions. >> Read -- Steven Kelly
TOTTENHAM:It's the final campaign at White Hart Lane and with Champions League football on the agenda, boss Mauricio Pochettino will have to balance matters in Europe with his side's exploits in the Premier League. >> Read -- Ben Pearce


STOKE: Mark Hughes has established the Potters as a strong Premier League side -- now the hunt is on for European football. Read >> --James Whittaker
SOUTHAMPTON: With Ronald Koeman, Victor Wanyama and Sadio Mane gone, it has been another difficult summer for Saints. Read >> -- Alex Crook
WEST HAM: The Hammers have signed Andre Ayew but could still be too reliant on Andy Carroll. Read >> -- Peter Thorne


EVERTON: Ronald Koeman's era at Everton will get underway at home to Tottenham. Koeman left Southampton to move to Goodison Park earlier this summer, with fans expecting a much better campaign than 2015-16. Read >> -- Luke O'Farrell
SWANSEA: Garry Monk lost his job at Swansea as the club flirted with relegation last season so what lies in store this time around? Francesco Guidolin steered the club to safety and will now look to avoid another scrape for survival. Read >> -- Max Hicks
WATFORD: Walter Mazzarri is the new man in charge at Vicarage Road and will be expected to consolidate his side's top flight status. Read >> -- Michael Moruzzi
WEST BROM: With Tony Pulis still at the helm, West Brom look set for another season of dull, percentage football that will in all likelihood keep them in the Premier League. >> Read -- Matthew Evans


BOURNEMOUTH: Bournemouth's first appearance in the Premier League ended well, with the club finishing a respectable 16th in the table in 2015-16. The key now is to build on that. Read >> -- Will Kent
BURNLEY: Burnley are back. Sean Dyche masterminded a quick return to the Premier League after relegation in 2014-15, but the Championship winners do not look equipped for Premier League survival without major investment. Read >> -- Jamie Smith
CRYSTAL PALACE: Crystal Palace were challenging the top four in December last year but fell away in 2016 to eventually finish a disappointing 15th. A top-half finish and another cup run would do the trick. Maybe even win it this time. Read >> -- Jim Daly
HULL CITY: Hull City bounced back to the Premier League following victory over Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship playoff final. But can they stay there? Read >> -- Philip Buckingham
MIDDLESBROUGH: Aitor Karanka has masterminded Boro's return to the big time after seven seasons in the Football League, but now he must keep them there. All eyes will be on a rejuvenated team who make their return to the Premier League looking much more primed for action than their promoted counterparts. Read >> -- Catherine Wilson
SUNDERLAND: Sunderland staged another escape act last season, as they once again survived in the Premier League. The challenge now is for new boss David Moyes to develop the club so that late-season scrapes are a thing of the past. Read >> -- Colin Randall

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