Times of Oman
Dec 01, 2015 LAST UPDATED AT 06:27 AM GMT
English Premier League in focus: Team previews
August 14, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Photo courtesy - Dribbble.com

Following are the previews of English Premier League teams:



Major signing: Alexis Sanchez
Major departure: Thomas Vermaelen
Strength: Boast an impressive array of attacking options in Olivier Giroud, Mesut Ozil, Sanchez, Theo Walcott, Joel Campbell, Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Weakness: Lack a midfield powerhouse and they still look light at centre-half should Lorient Koscielny or Per Mertesacker get injured or lose form.
Key stat: Conceded only 11 goals at home last season - and three of those came on the opening day against Villa.
Verdict: They led the table for three quarters of last season but fell away. Have the squad to sustain a challenge this time, especially if new fitness coach Shad Forsythe can improve their chronic injury record.


Major signing: Diego Costa
Major departure: David Luiz
Strength: Expect Chelsea to boast the best defensive record. They kept 18 clean sheets last season and losing the error-prone Luiz will make them even more impregnable. 
Weakness: Need to score more goals. Scored 20 fewer at home than Manchester City and were the least prolific of the top four away from home last season.
Key stat:  Enjoyed an average possession of only 55 per cent in 2013/14, suggesting they prefer to play on the counter.
Verdict: Whether Thibaut Courtois will oust Petr Cech as number one will be intriguing as will the ability of Cesc Fabregas to fill the hole left by Frank Lampard. Jose Mourinho claimed Chelsea were in transition last season when they finished empty handed. He has no excuses this time.


Major signing: Adam Lallana
Major departure: Luis Suarez
Strength: Array of playmakers Brendan Rodgers has at his disposal. Phillipe Coutinho, Lallana, Emre Can and Lazar Markovic and Raheem Sterling can unlock any defence in Europe. 
Weakness: Their defence. They conceded only three less than Hull City who finished 16th. They badly need new signing Dejan Lovren to shore up the back four.
Key stat: Liverpool collected 23 points more in 2013/14 than they did the previous season.
Verdict: Could fall into the same trap as Tottenham did by using the money from the sale of their star player by signing too many players. Are likely to be the most pleasing team on the eye but how they replace the goals and assists of Suarez will determine their season.

Manchester City

Major signing: Eliaquim Mangala
Major departure: Jack Rodwell
Strength: Attacking options. They have Samir Nasri and David Silva providing the ammunition for Edin Dzeko, Sergio Aguero, Stefan Jovetic and Alvaro Negredo. Any two of their front four would lead the line for most of the clubs in the division.
Weakness: Aguero's fitness. The Argentine missed large chunks of last season and several World Cup matches. Manuel Pellegrini needs to manage his return. 
Key stat: City have spent more than £590 million on transfer fees since Sheikh Mansour purchased the club in 2008.
Verdict: Whoever finishes above City will win the league. The only thing that might prevent them from winning it for a third time in four years is if they prioritise the Champions League.

Manchester United

Major signing: Ander Herrera
Major departure: Nemanja Vidic
Strength: The manager, Louis Van Gaal. Possesses the authority and pedigree David Moyes lacked and the Dutchman shoul

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