Heading into the 2013/14 Premier League season, everyone has high hopes. However, only a few clubs will turn this year into a success.
The entire summer has been filled with plenty of uncertainty. There were a number of coaching changes involving the best teams in the league, and many of the top players filled newspapers with transfer rumours.
Still, the only thing that matters is which players are there to play each match and which sides are better prepared to win.
After a strong offseason, these clubs are set to make big jumps compared to last year.
After barely surviving relegation last season, Sunderland are in better shape to compete this time around.
The club's biggest issue was scoring goals, totaling only 41 on the year. Only Stoke City and Queens Park Rangers ended the season with fewer goals. There was simply no one on the roster capable of finishing with any consistency.
This is why Sunderland made one of the more underrated moves of the summer by bringing in American striker Jozy Altidore.
While Altidore struggled the last time he was in the Premier League with Hull City, he was only 20 at that time. Since then, he has matured physically and mentally and is set to be a force for his new squad.
Last season, the forward was among the best scorers in the Eredivisie, totaling 23 goals in 21 matches for AZ Alkmaar. He has also excelled at international level for the United States and should carry this success into the EPL.
The addition of Emanuele Giaccherini will also help the attack as he provides plenty of experience after moving from Juventus.
While the loss of Simon Mignolet will hurt, this is overall an improved roster that will be able to at least get to the middle of the table this season. After a terrible year last season, this will be more than enough to satisfy the supporters.
It is not always the incoming transfers that help out a club. In many cases, simply holding onto your own players is cause enough for celebration.
The 22-year-old forward is one of the best young players in Europe and the main reason his club are still in the EPL. He finished fourth in the scoring charts last season with 19 goals, trailing only more recognized players Robin van Persie, Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale.
Benteke will continue to improve this year, and with fellow forwards Andreas Weimann and Gabriel Agbonlahor could make Villa's offense one of the better in the league.
Things are worse in defense, where there were struggles pretty much across the board. However, simply adjusting the strategy of maintaining more possession could help reduce the number of goals conceded this year.
After finishing 15th a year ago, the group should be able to contend for a spot in the top half of the table.
It is hard to move up too much from the third spot in the table, but Chelsea have the ability to challenge for a title this year after finishing 14 points adrift of first place last season.
The club started the summer with a big change at the helm, bringing back Jose Mourinho as manager after he spent the past couple of years at Real Madrid. He is certain to help bring about more success after a few up-and-down seasons in the EPL.
Additionally, fans will be excited about the return of Romelu Lukaku, who scored 17 goals last season while on loan with West Bromwich Albion. The young player will be an upgrade over both Demba Ba and Fernando Torres, and should instantly gel with elite midfielders Juan Mata and Eden Hazard.
On defense, Chelsea have done a good job of keeping an already talented roster together by avoiding the sales of Branislav Ivanovic and David Luiz.
There is as much talent on this roster as anywhere in the league, and the players know what it takes to win after earning trophies in the Champions League and Europa League in the past two years.
They will be able to bridge the gap on the two squads from Manchester to win the title for the first time since 2010.
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