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Foreign influxIn the past couple of seasons English football has been changed beyond all recognition by the influx of foreign ownership and while the sceptics have had a field day in lampooning the 'death' of the Beautiful Game's roots, in reality, most supporters are c*ck-a-hoop at an abundance of fresh talent that can only enhance the Premier League as a product and spectacle.One club certainly not complaining of overseas investment is Manchester United and after a summer that (managers') dreams are made of, the reigning champions have further tightened their grip on a crown they are loath to hand back.The rest of the top flight have largely looked on in awe as Sir Alex Ferguson has been backed unequivocally in bringing in two of the world's finest starlets, Nani and Anderson, along with long-term target Owen Hargreaves, and in Carlos Tevez's imminent arrival, Old Trafford awaits a cult hero in the making.Usurped champions Chelsea have been unusually subdued in terms of attracting the biggest names but in the acquisition of Steve Sidwell, Claudio Pizarro, Tal Ben Haim and Florent Malouda, Jose Mourinho has added a depth to his squad that was conspicuous only by absence last season.Skysports.com's predicted Premier League table1 Man Utd2 Chelsea3 Liverpool4 Arsenal5 Tottenham6 Everton7 Portsmouth8 Newcastle9 Blackburn10 Man City11 West Ham12 Aston Villa13 Bolton14 Middlesbrough15 Reading16 Fulham17 Birmingham18 Sunderland19 Wigan20 DerbyOf those aiming to break the top two's hegemonic grip at the summit, Liverpool will be hopeful they have landed the killer touch they have coveted under Rafa Benitez's regime, courtesy of the big-money signing of Fernando Torres.Thierry Henry's departure to Barcelona has cast the doom-mongers at Arsenal into a whole new dimension of depression but those of an optimistic ilk, following a promising pre-season, are predicting Arsene Wenger's band of starlets could yet taste champagne come the campaign's close. At least those who are old enough to drink.But what's that coming over the hill? It's not a monster but a jolly giant that goes by the name of Martin Jol and he too has not held back in a congested transfer market. Darren Bent's move across the capital has encouraged the club's supporters and if Dimitar Berbatov can build on a sublime debut campaign, then Spurs could find themselves in a UEFA Champions League spot.Open raceOf the rest, with money being spent as freely as a playboy in a London nightspot, your guess is as good as mine.The return of Sven Goran Eriksson is as intriguing a sub-plot as any other and although he has only watched the majority of his signings 'on video'; things are certainly looking up at Eastlands. Cue relegation by Christmas if previous City sagas are anything to go by.West Ham have matched City in their ambition as Alan Curbishley has finally got his hands on a handsome transfer chest. Eggert Magnusson's generosity has heralded the arrival of undoubted quality but whether it can be bedded quickly enough to push for Europe remains a topic of conjecture.Portsmouth too have left no stone unturned in their quest to add quality to a squad already brimming with spirit and if David Nugent enjoys South Coast air, then Europe is not beyond them.Over in the North East, there seems to be no front-runner for who will steal bragging rights, but all eyes will be on how Roy Keane adapts to managing in the top flight, after stealing all plaudits last season in the Championship.Sam Allardyce will soon realise the pressure at Newcastle is a whole different kettle of fish to that which he experienced at Bolton but the signing of Mark Viduka looks shrewd, and providing he manages to fend off any interest in Obafemi Martins and Michael Owen, St James' Park should become a fortress once more.Middlesbrough supporters may be feeling a little uneasy given the spending of their mid-table rivals but Gareth Southgate is a year wiser in the management game and will be confident of delivering stability to The Riverside.In the Midlands, Aston Villa have managed thus far to add only two new names to their ranks but the Martin O'Neill factor should not be underestimated, while over at arch-rivals Birmingham, Steve Bruce has worked the market like a seasoned campaigner and will be quietly confident he has brought in the right players to fend off the drop.Perhaps the most radical squad overhaul has taken place at Craven Cottage, where Lawrie Sanchez has looked to replicate the camaraderie he created with Northern Ireland, by signing a number of his old charges.In Lancashire, Blackburn and Bolton will be aiming to build on excellent past campaigns, with Sammy Lee set to experience the difficulties of stepping up from the background to be the boss. No such trouble for Mark Hughes, who will be confident of further enhancing a growing reputation.ExpectationsEverton have repeatedly been frustrated in the transfer market and while David Moyes continues to build steadily, they could struggle to match last season's exertions - as could Reading - who have failed to add substantially to a squad shorn of their talisman Steve Sidwell.Of those tipped for the drop, it is the names of Wigan and Derby that have perhaps most readily been proffered. Billy Davies is a manager widely respected but on a tight budget, he will have to pull out all of the stops if he is to prevent an immediate return to the Championship.Chris Hutchings has been backed by Dave Whelan at Wigan but should they start slowly, then the vultures will be circling at The JJB.All in all then, the title race now has at least three genuine contenders, (five if you believe capital optimists), the battle for Europe is as intense as ever, and at the wrong end of the table, few could predict which three clubs will be in tears on 11th May.
Cheating ScumbagsChampionsChampions League ContendersChampions League SpecialistsChelsea

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Why does everyone think United are clear faviourites?Imo i think they were very lucky last season and they was destined to win it last year but this year will be totally diifferent.They have made some good signings but most are for the future and we dont no how they will cope in the league.Giggs and Scholes arent getting any younger.With injurys to key players like Ronaldo and Rooney they dont look half as good.I think the title race is wide open whats other peoples views?

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Why does everyone think United are clear faviourites?Imo i think they were very lucky last season and they was destined to win it last year but this year will be totally diifferent.They have made some good signings but most are for the future and we dont no how they will cope in the league.Giggs and Scholes arent getting any younger.With injurys to key players like Ronaldo and Rooney they dont look half as good.
i agree, even though out of chelsea and united i would want united to regain the title purely for the 'WAY' they win, attacking football and its good to watch.Chelsea have a whole load of injuries, i need to see there 1st 11if liverpool start well, they will be there or there aboutsarsenal dark horses

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I agree with you Lot to Learn.It's very open this yearObviously, Man U and Chelsea (I hope) will be up there, but I think this could be Liverpool's year as well. I reckon it'll beMan U Liverpool ChelseaArsenal

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I think this might be the best season in a while in terms of competitiveness and that's not just amongst the top teams.
Yeah, for real. I can easily see the title going down to the last day, and I can't imagine any big gaps in points anywhere in the league

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I also think its very open this year I can see a 5 way battle and a couple surprises up there until feb

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Man Utd were lucky last season no doubt about it.If you looked at our squad last time compared to everyone else we didn't have strength in depth.Now we've invested in the right positions (Anderson, Nani, Hargreaves and Tevez) and we're still on the look out for one more player.So with all that in mind i can understand why the pundits think we're clear favourites.BUT.I still think the other teams (Chelsea, Vermin, Arsenal and Tottenham) have a good chance.The bad thing for these teams is that the teams outside the top 5 have bought WELL meaning those away/home games that were a guaranteed 3 pointer are no more.I for one predict a tough game against Man City this season let alone the likes of Aston Villa, Birmingham, Newcastle and whole bunch of others.

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if liverpool can win the first few games of the season especially seeing as they are against aston viilla and chelsea, should set us up nicely.but yeah everyone under estimating arsenal could make them a stronger force, they do have a decent few fixtures at start of the season so you never know.Going to be an open season, though i think chelsea and arsenal supporters forget its african nations this season. meaning chelsea lose essien, drogba & kalou and arsenal will lose toure and adebayor. Toure being the most important.Side note, anyone seen portsmouth first 6 fixtures LMAO!!.... man united chelsea liverpool and arsenal all in their first 6.

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Its gonna be very close this season but i think the prem winners will be from Man Utd or Chelsea. I feel Arsenal will surprise a lot of people and come very close.....not sure about Liverpool they have a lot to prove this season

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Guest the_truth_hurts

Top 4 will remain the same. The only difference from last year being Chelsea and United wil drop more points coz lower teams have improved and theres very few easy games, Liverpool will win more now they have good attacking options and aresenal won't drop as many points at home. Agree that united weren't all that last season Chelsea with Cech all season and without the blip at the end of the season when they were drawing against Bolton/Newcastle and the lame United/Chelsea draw would have taken the title.1. Chelsea2. Arsenal3. United4. Pool5. Villa6. Newcastle7. Spurs8. PompeyBelow that cant call.

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Why does everyone think United are clear faviourites?Imo i think they were very lucky last season and they was destined to win it last year but this year will be totally diifferent.They have made some good signings but most are for the future and we dont no how they will cope in the league.Giggs and Scholes arent getting any younger.With injurys to key players like Ronaldo and Rooney they dont look half as good.I think the title race is wide open whats other peoples views?
the bit you said about rooney and ronaldo was true last season but when we eventually sign Tevez thats a straight like for like replacement for rooney and this season i think we may even see a better ronaldo due to the fact that he wont have to play as many games coz unlike last season we have a few options if nani and Anderson play up to the level of their hype we'll be ok for injuries in attacking postions and could you also explain what you meant by we were lucky to win it we had our fair share of injuries last season too

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I feel there were lucky because of the injurys Chelsea had and how good Ronaldo was no one expected it and there was talk of him leaving with what happened at the WC but he went on to become double player of the year. Also certain games they were outplayed an still came through with a win and i think there is a few more things which cant remember. Guess you do need luck to win a championship.

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true united aint as strong as everyone makes out.but the confidence is up now compared to last yr so small teams will be shook of demif chelsea lose robben it will be a big blow. but man like obi mikel is gunna shower down this yr plus got joe cole backliverpool might do sumthin dependin on wat formation they playarsenal can do abit if we start well

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