MAN UTD have made the sexiest signings but Chelsea are likely to retain their Premier League title.
Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay should be brilliant buys for Louis van Gaal but the Blues boast the best boss in the division in Jose Mourinho.
Love or him hate him the Portuguese poser is so competitive and crafty he’s worth 8-10 points over his rivals … and that could be crucial in what promises to be a closer race than last season.
United could be Chelsea’s closest challengers with Man City and Arsenal not too far behind.
My one concern about the Stamford Bridge men is up front. Diego Costa made a quickfire start last season before his dodgy hammys sidelined him for key matches.
He’s still suffering so Radamel Falcao may have to step up to the plate and he’ll be keen to prove he’s still got it after his sorry spell at Old Trafford last season.
Loic Remy’s a decent deputy but not the main man and of course Mourinho could strengthen before the window shuts.
So I’m on Chelsea at a best 7-4 with Ladbrokes and William Hill and Man United eachway at 11-2 with Ladbrokes.
Arsenal will be probably the usual Arsenal – beating lesser teams and struggling against title rivals. They’ve won two out of 16 against the top five in the past two seasons and that’s a staggering stat.
They won’t concede as many with Petr Cech between the sticks and will be boosted by Sunday’s Community Shield win over Chelsea but another cup success is likely to be their achievement.
Manuel Pellegrini has somehow survived at City and has madly spent £49millon on Raheem Sterling while Aston Villa’s Fabian Delph is another not usually associated with such a super-rich and ambitious outfit. If Sergio Aguero is crocked they’ve got no chance of mounting a challenge.
And what of Liverpool who have brought in the likes of Christian Benteke, James Milner, Nathaniel Clyne and Roberto Firmino. All look decent additions but none have a superstar tag.
Liverpool look destined to finish fifth … and that will be time up for Brendan Rodgers.
As far as the fight to beat the drop goes three promoted clubs are favourites to return to the Championship but at least one and maybe two should survive.
Watford have brought in 10 players and a new manager in Quique Sanchez Flores who helped revive Atletico Madrid.
How he will cope in a drop fight is anyone’s guess.
Norwich have added a couple of experienced players but they go probably depends on Alex Neil who so far has been the man with the Midas touch in management north and south of the border.
I reckon Watford and Norwich will survive but Bournemouth could pay for a lack of signings and a side that boasts virtually no Premier League experience.
Other sides I fear for include Aston Villa, Sunderland, West Ham and Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester.
However, it’s a fight that could go to the wire and if Bournemouth, 6-4 with Paddy Power to return to the Championship, have survived I’ll be surprised.
I commented last week about my title choices for the lower leagues and I’m on Middlesbrough (6-1, Coral), Wigan ew (13-2, bet365) and Portsmouth (4-1, William Hill, Ladbrokes).
I planned to do a big write-up on all three but I’d picked them before buying the Racing Post pullout or checking out the excellent previews at WeLoveBetting.
All my teams are featured there by one or more people and instead of spending hours on anteposts which I’m not a massive fan due to the waiting time I’ve been concentrating on daily tips for the site and the Daily Record.
Meanwhile, it’s TV heaven this weekend with all of the title contenders on the small screen – as well as Liverpool.
It of course all kicks off with Man United v Spurs at 12.45pm and let’s hope it’s a cracking start.
There will be no David de Gea or Bastian Schweinsteiger for United but Wayne Rooney will be up front and on the penalties and a target for first-scorer hunters at 4-1 with Ladbrokes.
Last season’s top scorer – and remember he started out as a 250-1 no-hoper – Harry Kane is 7-1 to get off to a flier with the opening goal while Memphis Depay, who netted 39 last season for PSV, is 7-4 at 888sport to net at any time.
Man Utd should win but both to score at 17-20 with Ladbrokes looks the best bet.
After the 3pm starts I’ll be in the office and keeping a close eye on Chelsea as they launch their title defence at home to Swansea.
They are no bigger than 4-11 at the likes of Ladbrokes and should win. I expect Eden Hazard to have a huge season and he could be worth a first-scorer punt at 5-1 with Paddy Power or what about the evergreen John Terry at 20-1 with Ladbrokes.
The Swans haven’t won a point at Stamford Bridge since returning to the top flight and another side with a poor record against their hosts are West Ham at Arsenal on Sunday.
They have lost five in a row at the Emirates and the Gunners look a good thing at 3-10 with various firms.
TV Treble: Man Utd v Spurs btts, Chelsea, Arsenal (5-2, Ladbrokes)
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