English Premier League: 2011-2012 Season Preview
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After a thrilling season last year where the relegation battle climaxed on the final Sunday of the season and a thrilling title race, the 2011-2012 Premier League season will certainly be a season to remember.
To start off the 20th season of the Premier League, we have some amazing talent joining one of Europe's top leagues along with some players eager to become huge stars for their sides.
This season will also be the first Premier League season in which a non-English side will participate in. Welsh side Swansea City were able to win their playoff to secure promotion into the top flight for the first time since 1983.
In this preview, I will give my insight on all 20 clubs in the league along with positives and negatives of each side, key players, transfers and a whole lot more.
Here is how the 2011-2012 Premier League season will shape out!
For more news and opinions, follow me on Twitter! @Andrew_Jordan
No 20 Wigan Athletic
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Final Result of 2010-2011 Season: Finished 17th in the Premier League
Incoming Players: Ali Al Habsi (Bolton Wanderers) and David Jones (Wolverhampton).
Departing Players: Steven Caldwell (Birmingham City), Antonio Amaya (Real Betis), Charles N'Zogbia (Aston Villa) and Mauro Boselli (Estudiantes La Plata).
Key Players: Ali Al-Habsi, Gary Caldwell and Hugo Rodallega.
Positives: Every year Wigan are a side that miraculously avoids relegation and last year they were able to do it again with a win at Stoke City when it appeared that they were going down to the Championship.
Wigan's manager Roberto Martinez has done a fantastic job with the talent around him and he was a huge reason why they were able to stay up again.
Negatives: Wigan still are the weakest side in the Premier League and this upcoming season will be no different.
Wigan will be without Charles N'Zogbia, who was crucial for Wigan in the final six matches of the season, during which N'Zogbia scored five times including the winner in a huge late-season win against West Ham.
What I think will happen: Wigan may be a side that produces miracles but this season they will be unable to produce another miracle and stay in the Premier League again.
Last year Wigan really stretched their luck to an extreme with their late wins when they deserved to be relegated. Now that they are further weakened due to the loss of N'Zogbia and no heir apparent to replace the work that N'Zogbia did, Wigan will finish last in the Premier League.
No 19 Norwich City
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Final Result of 2010-2011 Season: Second Place in the Championship; earned automatic promotion into the Premier League
Incoming Players: James Vaughan (Everton), Steve Morison (Millwall), Elliott Bennett (Brighton), Bradley Johnson (Leeds United), Anthony Pilkington (Huddersfeld Town) and Kyle Naughton (Tottenham).
Departing Players: Matthew Gill (Bristol Rovers), Owain Tudur-Jones (Inverness Caledonian Thistle), Jed Steer (Yeovil Town) and Luke Daley (Plymouth Argyle).
Key Players: John Ruddy, Russell Martin and Simeon Jackson.
Positives: After getting relegated during the 2008-2009 season, Norwich City became the first club since Manchester City in 2000 and 2001 to earn back-to-back promotions to reach the Premier League.
Norwich have been boosted in large part to strong campaigns on both the road and at Carrow Road over the last several years and they certainly can put together another amazing season to stay up in the Premier League.
Negatives: Norwich's amazing run looks like it is going to end now that it has reached the Premier League. Even with some strong additions, the Canaries will have a hard time staying up this year.
It also doesn't help that they will face stronger opposition this season and defender Leon Barnett has already said that he "take fourth from bottom" for this season.
What I think will happen: Norwich will have a season that will see them beat at least one accomplished opponent on the road and will play some entertaining football throughout the season.
However, the Canaries will not have enough strength to stay up this season.
No 18 Swansea City
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Final Result of 2010-2011 Season: Third Place in Championship; won 3-1 on aggregate over Nottingham Forest in playoff semifinal and 4-2 in Championship playoff final over Reading
Incoming Players: Danny Graham (Watford), Leroy Lita (Middlesbrough), Wayne Routledge (Newcastle) and Michel Vorm (FC Utrecht).
Departing Players: Dorus De Vries (Wolverhampton), Darren Pratley (Bolton) and Scott Donnelly (Wycombe).
Key Players: Scott Sinclair, Ashley Williams and Garry Monk.
Positives: After spending 28 years out of England's top division, Swansea City have ensured promotion into the Premier League, becoming the first non-English side to join the Premier League.
Last season Swansea registered a plus 27 goal differential, the second highest total in the Championship. This was also coupled with a fantastic home record of 15-5-3.
In those home matches, Swansea gave up only 11 goals, the fewest given up in the Championship since West Bromwich gave up 11 in the 2001-2002 season.
Negatives: Not only are Swansea relatively inexperienced when it comes to top flight experience but they are not that strong away from the Liberty Stadium.
Overall, Swansea's away record ranked seventh in the Championship with a negative goal differential.
What I think will happen: Swansea are poised to have a strong offensive and home campaign this season.
However Swansea's problems on the road (which are poised to increase now that they will be traveling to some fantastic home sides) will cause the first Welsh Premier League side to go down at the end of the season.
No 17 Blackburn Rovers
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Final Result of 2010-2011 Season: Finished 15th in the Premier League
Incoming Players: David Goodwillie (Dundee United) and Radosav Petrovic (Partizan Belgrade).
Departing Players: Phil Jones (Manchester United), Aaron Doran (Inverness Caledonian Thistle), Jason Brown (Aberdeen), Jake Kean (Rochdale) and Nikola Kalinic (FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk).
Key Players: Paul Robinson, Ryan Nelsen and Morten Gamst Pedersen.
Positives: A very experienced side, Blackburn were able to stay up in the Premier League last season in large part to that very experience.
Blackburn's impressive record at Ewood Park was a huge reason why they were able to solidify a spot in the Premier League for the tenth year in a row.
Negatives: Blackburn became one of the worst teams in the Premier League after Sam Allardyce was sacked last year.
Also, Blackburn hurt their development at the end of the year due to VH Group requesting that manager Steve Kean visit them in India when he should have helped the club continue to train.
What I think will happen: Blackburn had luck on their side at the end of last season but this season brings lots of questions with it. The biggest one will be the question if Blackburn will be able to stay up in the Premier League again.
I think that Blackburn will be able to stay up again but only by the skin of their teeth. I think that the ownership for Blackburn will need to be more responsible and start to invest in the Rovers before they become one of the top teams in the Premier League.
No 16 Wolverhampton
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Final Result of 2010-2011 Season: Finished 17th in the Premier League
Incoming Players: Dorus De Vries (Swansea City), Jamie O'Hara (Tottenham) and Roger Johnson (Birmingham City).
Departing Players: Steven Mouyokolo (Sochaux), Greg Halford (Portsmouth), Scott Malone (AFC Bournemouth), Danny Batth (Sheffield Wednesday), Carl Ikeme (Middlesbrough) and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing (Sheffield United).
Key Players: Wayne Hennessey, Steven Fletcher and Roger Johnson.
Positives: Last season Wolves proved to be one of the most surprising sides in the league. Even though they performed poorly for most of the season, they were able to secure a spot in the top flight for another season following a thrilling Survival Sunday.
Now Wolves will look at this season as a second chance and they certainly have the talent to stay up in the Premier League.
Negatives: Wolves have tons of holes inside of their squad. But Wolves defense will need to drastically improve next season after giving up 66 goals last season.
Wolves also were atrocious on the road last season, recording a paltry nine points in all away matches last year.
What I think will happen: Wolves will put together another similar season where they continue to struggle against mid-table opposition.
However, Wolves will be able to stay up due to a fine ending to their season.
No 15 Queens Park Rangers
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Final Result of 2010-2011 Season: First Place in the Championship; earned automatic promotion into the Premier League
Incoming Players: Kieron Courtney Dyer (West Ham), Jay Bothroyd (Cardiff City), Daniel Gabbidon (West Ham), D.J. Campbell (Blackpool) and Brian Murphy (Ipswich Town).
Departing Players: Joe Oastler (Torquay United), Bagasan Graham (Cheltenham Town), Angelo Balanta (MK Dons) and Peter Ramage (Crystal Palace).
Key Players: DJ Campbell, Paddy Kenny and Adel Taarabt.
Positives: After what felt like an eternity outside of the Premier League, QPR were finally able to join the top division after a fantastic season last year.
QPR had a fantastic home record and have made some fantastic transfers over the summer that will help them out tremendously this year.
Negatives: QPR were unimpressive away from Loftus Road last year and there is the same question that is asked of every promoted team in the Premier League: how will they adapt?
Also there are a good portion of players that are significantly older than many of their peers, which could hurt QPR at the end of the season.
What I think will happen: QPR will be able to stay up this season due to an impressive attacking game that they will feature.
Also, they will be able to post a solid enough home record that they will be able to stay up for at least this season.
No 14 West Bromwich Albion
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Final Result of 2010-2011 Season: Finished 11th in the Premier League
Incoming Players: Billy Jones (Preston North End) Gareth McAuley (Ipswich Town), Ben Foster (Birmingham City), Chris Wood (Birmingham City) and Shane Long (Reading).
Departing Players: Scott Carson (Bursaspor), Ryan Allsopp (Millwall), Borja Valero (Villarreal), Boaz Myhill (Birmingham City), Zoltan Gera (Fulham) and Marton Fulop (Ipswich Town).
Key Players: Peter Odemwingie, Ben Foster and Chris Brunt.
Positives: Going into last season, West Brom were expected to either get relegated or barely survive relegation.
However, the Baggies were able to survive due to the scoring abilities of Odemwingie and the leadership of Roy Hodgson, who took over at the middle of the season.
Negatives: A miserable away record is something that West Brom had to live with last year. West Brom had the fewest points (17) out of any side in the top 12 last year and there record at home was a massive reason why they survived.
Also, there was an awful 71 goals conceded, second-worst in the Premier League last year and despite the addition of Ben Foster, the Baggies can expect to once again concede a large amount of goals this season.
What I think will happen: West Brom will once again get strong offensive numbers from Odemwingie and strong seasons by other on the offensive side of the game.
Now West Brom will have their defensive problems this year, but it will not be hazardous enough for the Baggies to get sent down.
No 13 Newcastle
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Final Result of 2010-2011 Season: Finished 12th in the Premier League
Incoming Players: Yohan Cabaye (Lille), Demba Ba (West Ham), Sylvain Marveaux (Stade Renis), Mehdi Abeid (Lens) and Gabriel Obertan (Manchester United).
Departing Players: Kevin Nolan (West Ham), Ben Tozer (Northampton Town), Daniel Leadbitter (Torquay United), Patrick McLaughlin (York City), Kazenga LuaLua (Brighton), Wayne Routledge (Swansea City), Michael Richardson (Leyton Orient), James Tavernier (Carlisle United) and Sanchez Jose Enrique (Liverpool).
Key Players: Steve Harper, Fabricio Coloccini and Hatem Ben Arfa.
Positives: Despite having several setbacks last year, Newcastle were still able to have a successful season in their return to the Premier League.
Newcastle barely finished outside of the top half of the table and with some strong additions to the club this year, they certainly will be a contender again.
Negatives: Newcastle still are looking to find a consistent goal scorer who will stay with them after the departures of Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan over the last year.
Also, the Toon will need to improve their away record this year after posting a -15 goal differential away from St. James Park
What I think will happen: Newcastle will achieve a strong season this year with a strong season at St. James Park and a decent showing away.
However, goals will not be plentiful this year and injuries will be a problem for the Toon throughout this season.
No 12 Fulham
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Final Result of 2010-2011 Season: Finished eighth in the Premier League
Earned a spot in the first round of the 2011-2012 Europa League due to UEFA Fair Play
Incoming Players: Csaba Somogyi (Rakospalotai EAC), John Arne Riise (AS Roma) and Marcel Gecov (Palmero).
Departing Players: Jonathan Greening (Nottingham Forest), John Pantsil (Leicester City) and David Stockdale (Ipswich Town).
Key Players: Mark Schwarzer, Danny Murphy and Clint Dempsey.
Positives: After a rather unremarkable season, Fulham have found themselves back in the Europa League due to its great discipline record last year.
Fulham also now have a new manager in Martin Jol, which should help out the Cottagers tremendously in European play.
Negatives: No one knows how Fulham will perform in the Premier League with the Europa League in their way. Last time Fulham played in Europe, they finished in 12th in the Premier League.
Also there is the question of Fulham's play away from Craven Cottage. Fulham only registered three wins away from home last year, the fewest of any side that finished in the top half of the league table.
What I think will happen: Fulham will advance deep in Europe again this year (even though I doubt they will go to the Europa League final) and will struggle in the league as a result.
Fulham's attack will remain strong and we might finally see a new goalkeeper replace Schwarzer sometime during the season.
No 11 Stoke City
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Final Result of 2010-2011 Season: Finished 13th in the Premier League
Lost 1-0 in FA Cup final to Manchester City
Earned a spot in 2011-2012 Europa League playoff round
Incoming Players: Smajl Suljevic (Dalkurd FF), Jonathan Woodgate (Tottenham) and Matthew Upson (West Ham).
Departing Players: Abdoulaye Faye (West Ham), Matthew Lund (Oldham United), Carl Dickinson (Watford), Andrew Davies (Crystal Palace) and John Carew (West Ham).
Key Players: Kenwyne Jones, Ryan Shawcross and Matthew Etherington.
Positives: After earning promotion into the Premier League in 2008, Stoke City have continued to improve tremendously every year. Last year that resulted in the first ever FA Cup final for the Potters along with their first ever appearance in European football.
Stoke have always been impressive at the Britannia Stadium and certainly will be again this year not only in the Premier League, but also in the Europa League.
Negatives: Stoke will now have their eyes focused more on European success, which means that they will not perform as well in the Premier League as is expected of them.
Also, Stoke will need to improve on its goal-scoring, which totaled at 46 last season.
What I think will happen: With a potential long run in Europe this year, the Potters will not achieve as much success in the Premier League and their record will suffer.
Stoke will continue their dominance at home and you can expect at least another ten-plus wins at the Britannia Stadium this year.
No 10 Aston Villa
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Final Result of 2010-2011 Season: Finished ninth in the Premier League
Incoming Players: Shay Given (Manchester City) and Charles N'Zogbia (Wigan)
Departing Players: Brad Friedel (Tottenham), Ashley Young (Manchester United), Stewart Downing (Liverpool) and Nigel Reo-Coker (Bolton).
Key Players: Darren Bent, Shay Given and Stiliyan Petrov.
Positives: After losing Martin O'Neill at the start of the season and a dreadful start to the season, Aston Villa were able to finish in the top half of the table at the end of the season due to some strong football.
Villa were able to enhance their squad with the acquisitions of Given and N'Zogbia in the off season, which will play huge dividends at Villa Park this season.
Negatives: Despite having Bent for the second half of the season, Villa still had a -11 goal differential (which included a -18 goal differential on the road).
Villa will also have a period of transition this year with former Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish taking over the reigns for the Villans, which angered many fans.
What I think will happen: Aston Villa did improve over this off season, but they will need to do more in order to get higher than the middle of the league table.
If Villa do get another big player through the transfer market, they certainly will have a better chance of playing in Europe next year.
No 9 Bolton Wanderers
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Final Result of 2010-2011 Season: Finished 14th in the Premier League
Incoming Players: Darren Pratley (Swansea City), Nigel Reo-Coker (Aston Villa), Tyrone Mears (Burnley) and Chris Eagles (Burnley).
Key Players: Jussi Jääskeläinen, Stuart Holden and Kevin Davies.
Positives: Bolton may have had a terrible ending to last season but this side is a side that should be a legitimate contender to play in Europe.
Bolton also are gaining some needed experience with their transfers this year and Owen Coyle's work with this side cannot be overlooked.
Negatives: The ending to last season can hurt this team's development. By no means was this a side that should have finished in the bottom half of the table but that happened to them as a result of an injured squad.
It also doesn't help to see that this squad picked up a miserable 11 points away from home, the lowest total out of any Premier League side last year.
What I think will happen: Bolton will be able to continue to grow from last year and will be able to finish in the top half of the table.
Bolton will also make another deep run in a cup competition (similar to their FA Cup semifinal run last year) and will be one of the biggest surprises in the Premier League this year.
No 8 Sunderland
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Final Result of 2010-2011 Season: Finished tenth in the Premier League
Incoming Players: Ahmed Elmohamady (ENPPI Club), Connor Wickham (Ipswich Town), Dong-Won Ji (Chunnam Dragons), Craig Gardner (Birmingham City), Sebastian Larsson (Birmingham City), Keiren Westwood (Coventry City), Wes Brown (Manchester United), John O'Shea (Manchester United), David Vaughan (Blackpool) and James McClean (Derby City).
Departing Players: Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Robbie Weir (Tranmere Rovers), Michael Kay (Tranmere Rovers), Jean Yves Mvoto Owono (Oldham Athletic), Cristian Riveros (Kayserispor), Liam Noble (Carlisle United), Steed Malbranque (St Etienne) and George McCartney (West Ham).
Key Players: Craig Gordon, Asamoah Gyan and Lee Cattermole.
Positives: After a season where they contended for European football for most of the season, Sunderland were able to secure a tenth place finish in the second year of the Steve Bruce regime.
Sunderland were able to improve dramatically over this summer with some much-needed defensive help along with some solid attacking options.
Negatives: Despite the presence of Asamoah Gyan, the attacking game will certainly be questionable this season.
In the back, the health of former Manchester United defenders John O'Shea and Wes Brown can hurt Sunderland in the long-run this season.
What I think will happen: Sunderland will appear to be a side that is going to qualify for European competition but injuries will prevent this squad from fully achieving its goals.
However, Sunderland will continue to improve thanks in large part to Bruce and are a side to watch out for in the future.
No 7 Everton
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Final Result of 2010-2011 Season: Finished seventh in the Premier League
Incoming Players: Eric Dier (Sporting Libson)
Departing Players: James Vaughn (Norwich City), Hope Akpan (Crawley Town) and Kieran Agard (Yeovil Town).
Key Players: Tim Howard, Mikel Arteta and Tim Cahill.
Positives: Despite another weak start to their season, Everton were once again able to have a strong campaign in the Premier League with a seventh place finish.
The Toffees were able to earn some tough points on the road while posting a very solid home record and continue to be the toughest side in the Premier League that does not have large amounts of money to back themselves with.
Negatives: Everton always have a bad start to every season that they play in. That bad start usually is the reason why they don't qualify for European football.
Also, the striking core will need young striker Victor Anichebe to be on top of his game throughout the year with Louis Saha injuries and Yakubu's days numbered.
What I think will happen: Everton will do what they do every year; get off to a bad start where they are near the relegation zone until they battle back into the top half of the table in March.
If Everton somehow get off to a strong start, you can expect them to keep up that run in the second half of the season and might even sneak their way into a Champions League spot.
No 6 Tottenham Hotspur
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Final Result of 2010-2011 Season: Finished fifth in the Premier League
Earned spot in 2011-2012 Europa League playoff with fifth place finish
Eliminated on a 5-0 aggregate score by Real Madrid in Champions League quarterfinal
Incoming Players: Brad Friedel (Aston Villa), Cristian Ceballos (Barcelona) and Souleymane Coulibaly (Siena).
Departing Players: Jamie O'Hara (Wolverhampton), Jonathan Woodgate (Stoke City), Paul-José Mpoku (Standard Liege), Kyle Naughton (Norwich City), Bongani Khumalo (Reading), Ryan Mason (Doncaster Rovers), Nathan Byrne (AFC Bournemouth), Jonathan Obika (Yeovil Town), Oscar Jansson (Bradford City) and Mirko Ranieri (FC Esperia Viareggio).
Key Players: Jermaine Defoe, Gareth Bale and Rafael Van der Vaart.
Positives: Despite having a season where they found themselves in the Champions League, Spurs were still able to remain competitive in the Premier League and barely missed out on qualifying for the Champions League for the second straight year.
Tottenham have upgraded their keeper with the addition of Brad Friedel and are a clear cut contender to reach the Champions League.
Negatives: Tottenham once again have the distraction of European football in their way. This certainly will be an issue due to the fact that Tottenham are one of the strongest sides in this competition.
Spurs also have a problem with the fact that the other clubs contending for Champions League spots are stronger than they were last year.
What I think will happen: I think Spurs will have a deep run in Europe but that will cause them to lose focus on the Premier League long enough that they will avoid qualifying for the Champions League.
However, I think that Spurs will register more than the 62 points they had last year.
No 5 Manchester City
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Final Result of 2010-2011 Season: Finished third in the Premier League; earned automatic berth in Champions League group stage with Top Three finish
Won FA Cup final 1-0 over Stoke City
Eliminated on a 2-1 aggregate score by Dynamo Kiev in Europa League last 16
Incoming Players: Gael Clichy (Arsenal), Stefan Savic (Partizan Belgrade), Sergio Agüero (Atletico Madrid) and Costel Pantilimon (FC Timisoara).
Departing Players: Shaleum Logan (Brentford), Scott Kay (Macclesfield Town), David Gonzalez (Aberdeen), Donald McDermott (Huddersfeld Town), Andrew Tutte (Rochdale), Benjamin Mee (Burnley), Shay Given (Aston Villa), Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Jo (Internacional), Kieran Trippier (Burnley), Michael Johnson (Leicester City) and Ryan McGivern (Crystal Palace).
Key Players: Joe Hart, David Silva and Mario Balotelli
Positives: After several years of excessive spending, Manchester City have finally qualified for the Champions League thanks in large part to a fantastic overall season from its entire squad.
City look like they are going to be a legitimate contender in the Champions League and their profile certainly will continue to rise.
Negatives: Reaching the Champions League usually can be a burden for sides that have never reached it before in England and it is foreseeable that the same will happen for Man City this year.
City also will continue to have questionable defending and see lost points to sides that they should not lose to despite having a top goalkeeper in Joe Hart.
What I think will happen: Manchester City will have a deep run in the Champions League, which will hurt City long enough that they will miss out on qualifying for the Champions League again.
City will finish south of the fourth spot by only a few points but their mid-season form will prove to be the difference between the Champions League and the Europa League.
No 4 Liverpool
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Final Result of 2010-2011 Season: Finished sixth in the Premier League
Lost on a 1-0 aggregate score to Braga in 2010-2011 Europa League last 16.
Incoming Players: Jordan Henderson (Sunderland), Charlie Adam (Blackpool), Stewart Downing (Aston Villa), Doni (AS Roma) and Sanchez Jose Enrique (Newcastle).
Departing Players: Stephen Darby (Rochdale), Paul Konchesky (Leicester City), Gerardo Bruna (Blackpool), Peter Gulacsi (Hull City), Chris Mavinga (Stade Rennes), Martin Hansen (Bradford City), Thomas Ince (Blackpool) and Milan Jovanovic (Anderlecht).
Key Players: Luis Suarez, Steven Gerrard and Pepe Reina.
Positives: Liverpool were finally able to secure new ownership after years of uncertainty. Since John W Henry has taken over, Kenny Dalglish has become manager and the selling of Fernando Torres has proven major dividends for Liverpool.
Also, Liverpool will not have to worry about European football this year, meaning that the Premier League is their sole focus and will look to get back into the Champions League.
Negatives: Liverpool still do have hills to climb, especially with their injured stars. If Liverpool remains healthy, you can expect them to heavily contend for fourth place.
Also, we still don't know how Andy Carroll will do in his first full year at Liverpool after his big transfer from Newcastle last winter.
What I think will happen: John Henry has put pressure on his squad to qualify for the Champions League and I think that that the Reds will qualify for the Champions League this year.
This squad has gotten tremendously better during this summer and I think that at this rate, Liverpool can win the Premier League within the next three years.
No 3 Chelsea
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Final Result of 2010-2011 Season: Finished second in the Premier League; earned automatic berth in Champions League group stage with Top Three finish
Were eliminated on a 3-1 aggregate score to Manchester United in Champions League quarterfinal.
Incoming Players: Thibaut Courtois (Racing Genk) and Oriol Romeu (Barcelona)
Departing Players: Jacopo Sala (Hamburg), Gokhan Tore (Hamburg), Jeffrey Bruma (Hamburg), Danny Philliskirk (Sheffield United), Jack Cork (Southampton), Sam Walker (Northampton Town), Thibaut Courtois (Atletico Madrid) and Yuri Zhirkov (Anzhi Makhachkala).
Key Players: Petr Cech, John Terry and Didier Drogba.
Positives: Despite having a bad stretch in the middle of last season, Chelsea were still able to contend for the Premier League title and barely missed out on winning it to Manchester United.
Chelsea got a new manager over the summer in Andre Villas-Boas, who many people have claimed to be the "next Jose Mourinho".
Negatives: Chelsea have to deal with Fernando Torres, who was extremely disappointing after his transfer from Liverpool and doesn't look like he has that much more left to offer.
Also, it is unlikely that Chelsea will be able to contend with the squad appearing to be in a state of transition.
What I think will happen: Chelsea have shown that they are a team of the future with Villas-Boas taking over but it is unlikely they will win the league this year.
Chelsea will continue to have issues with Torres throughout this year and Chelsea will find themselves in third unless a helpful young player joins their ranks.
No 2 Arsenal
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Final Result of 2010-2011 Season: Finished fourth in the Premier League; earned spot in Champions League playoff round with fourth place finish in Premier League
Lost 2-1 to Birmingham City in Carling Cup final
Eliminated on a 4-3 aggregate by FC Barcelona in Champions League round of 16
Incoming Players: Carl Jenkinson (Charlton Athletic), Gervinho (Lille) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Southampton).
Departing Players: Mark Randall (Chesterfield), Gael Clichy (Manchester City), Denilson (São Paulo), James Shea (Dagenham & Redbridge), Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (Ipswich Town) and Kyle Bartley (Rangers).
Key Players: Cesc Fabregas, Theo Walcott and Robin van Persie.
Positives: Arsenal were able to have a strong season last year where they reached the Carling Cup final and gave Barcelona a strong run in the Champions League.
Their young players continue to improve and certainly can be one of the top teams in Europe this upcoming season.
Negatives: Arsenal continue to collapse at the end of each season due to their lack of big game winning experience, something that absolutely could hurt the Gunners again this season.
Also, with the potential transfers of Fabregas and Samir Nasri, the Gunners could see their squad take a tremendous dip in terms of quality.
What I think will happen: Arsenal will look at times like the best side in Britain but they will be unable to win the Premier League due in large part to another weak finish. However, I think that they will win a cup competition (either the Carling Cup or the FA Cup).
I think that both Fabregas and Nasri will stay but the squad will continue to hear transfer rumors throughout the year over the two stars.
No 1 Manchester United
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Final Result of 2010-2011 Season: Won English Premier League (record 19th league championship); earned automatic berth in Champions League group stage with Top Three finish
Lost 3-1 to FC Barcelona in 2011 Champions League final
Incoming Players: Phil Jones (Blackburn), Ashley Young (Aston Villa) and David de Gea (Atletico Madrid).
Departing Players: Scott Wootton (Peterborough United), Ryan Tunnicliffe (Peterborough United), Bebe (Besiktas), Nicholas Ajose (Peterborough United), West Brown (Sunderland), John O'Shea (Sunderland), Robert Brady (Hull City), Sam Johnstone (Oldham Athletic) and Gabriel Obertan (Newcaslte).
Key Players: Wayne Rooney, Nemanja Vidic and David de Gea.
Positives: Manchester United were able to win a record 19th league title last year due in large part to a fantastic striking core and a sound defensive effort in practically every match.
The Red Devils were also able to get some solid transfers over the summer. The three players acquired will certainly be a massive help to the club for many years to come.
Negatives: Goalkeeping will be the biggest question this year. Even though I said new keeper David de Gea is the right keeper for United in a recent article, the young Spanish keeper looked spotty in the Community Shield and can be spotty for a large portion of the season.
Also, there is the question of United's reliance on older players. Despite losing Gary Neville, Edwin Van der Sar and Paul Scholes to retirement in the last several months, no one knows how much older players Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand will be.
What I think will happen: Manchester United will have their stretches of inconsistency but a strong season from their attacking core and young players will prove to be too much for any English side to handle this year.
Finally, Manchester United are the strongest side in England and they should be the first club to 20 top division titles in England's history.