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Landon Donovan explains his road to Swansea City ownership
1:31 | Planet Futbol
Landon Donovan explains his road to Swansea City ownership
Wednesday August 10th, 2016

After last season’s under-performance from the wealthiest sides in the Premier League and Leicester City’s surprise triumph, this campaign is shaping up to be the most open one in two decades with six sides–not including the reigning champion–harboring realistic hopes of the title.

Following Leicester's rise to the top, Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea all made high-profile managerial changes and spent big on reinforcements. Liverpool has a full year of Jurgen Klopp, while Tottenham's young core has a year of experience with a title chase under its belt.

The talk last season of a rising middle class makes it harder for those at the top, but it also makes it more difficult for those at the bottom.

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As a new dynamic opens up with three distinct tiers, here are Premier League power rankings entering the new season:

Preseason Premier League Power Rankings

 
  • 1
    1Manchester City
    Last season: Fourth
    Pep Guardiola will have to adapt his style for the Premier League, everybody seems to agree, but he has proved astute enough in the past to do that and in terms of depth, he has the best squad in the league. Nolito, Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus add pace and penetration to an attack that last season was too often reliant on Sergio Aguero, while Ilkay Gundogan, when he returns to fitness, should give City the sort of midfield control it has so often lacked in the recent past. John Stones could blossom into the counterpart and cover that City has needed in the event Vincent Kompany's injury woes continue.

  • 2
    2Manchester United
    Last season: Fifth
    It’s possible that Jose Mourinho has lost his nerve as a manager and that an expensive but not necessarily coherent squad will struggle as it did last year, but, with Paul Pogba now in tow for a world-record fee, it seems more likely that the usual Mourinho template will repeat: improvement in the first year leading to something bigger next season.
     

  • 3
    3Chelsea
    Last season: 10th
    With Diego Costa’s future unresolved, Chelsea is perhaps still lacking a center forward, despite the promise of Michy Batshuayi, but N’Golo Kante should add solidity to the center. Chelsea is also perhaps short of a central defender, but Antonio Conte has proved in the past that he doesn’t need a perfect squad to produce excellent results.

  • 4
    4Liverpool
    Last season: Eighth
    There were plenty of promising signs for Liverpool last season but it lacked consistency. With the squad beginning to be remodeled as Jurgen Klopp wants it and with a full pre-season under his guidance, there should be improvement. The 4-0 win over Barcelona in preseason shouldn’t be taken too seriously, but still felt like a significant statement.
     

  • 5
    5Arsenal
    Last season: Second
    The pattern repeats. This has been yet another quiet summer for Arsenal, with Granit Xhaka the only big-name arrival so far and injuries piling up before the opening kick of the season. In the past, it has been able to keep qualifying for the Champions League, but with its rivals all improving, this feels like it could be a season too far.
     

  • 6
    6Tottenham
    Last season: Third
    Was last season Spurs’ best chance? In theory, another year of development and another couple of signings–Vincent Janssen, Victor Wanyama–should improve Mauricio Pochettino’s young squad, but the manager has yet to prove he can counter the fatigue his hard pressing style prompts late in the season, and the Champions League will be a distraction.

  • 7
    7West Ham
    Last season: Seventh
    Much depends on how West Ham adapts to its new home at the Olympic Stadium, but Andre Ayew and Sofiane Feghouli add to the attacking options.

  • 8
    8Everton
    Last season: 11th
    Transfer activity has been underwhelming so far, but Ronald Koeman had a highly impressive two years as Southampton manager, and after signing Ashley Williams from Swansea, more moves appear to be in the offing.

  • 9
    9Leicester CITY
    Last season: Champions
    Last year’s shock champion has lost N’Golo Kante, and, despite five signings and holding onto Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez (the latter, at least, for now), it may struggle to balance the demands of league and Champions League.
     

  • 10
    10Stoke City
    Last season: Ninth
    Big spending has secured Stoke’s status as a mid-table regular. Progress should continue for Mark Hughes's squad.

  • 11
    11Southampton
    Last season: Sixth
    Southampton has been a master of prospering after off-loading its best players (and a previous manager), but life after Ronaldo Koeman and Victor Wanyama–and possibly Jose Fonte–could be tough.

  • 12
    12Middlesbrough
    Last season: Promoted from Championship
    Boro knows all too well that star names are no guarantee of survival, but Victor Valdes, Viktor Fischer and Alvaro Negredo have added quality to what was already a decent squad.
     

  • 13
    13West Brom
    Last season: 14th
    Tony Pulis sides are never that attractive and never get relegated. Expect more of the same.

  • 14
    14Swansea City
    Last season: 12th
    Francesco Guidolin steadied the ship towards the end of last season and although the losses of Andre Ayew and Ashley Williams will hurt, the signing of Fernando Llorente is intriguing.

  • 15
    15Watford
    Last season: 13th
    Many felt Quique Sanchez Flores was harshly treated last season, but by replacing him with Walter Mazzari Watford at least arrested its slide and so far it’s held on to last season’s key men.
     

  • 16
    16Sunderland
    Last season: 17th
    It lost only four games in the second half of last season, buoyed by smart January signings, but Sam Allardyce has been lured away by England and it may take David Moyes time to settle.

  • 17
    17Bournemouth
    Last season: 16th
    Matt Ritchie and Tommy Elphick have both gone and, although Jordon Ibe has arrived, Eddie Howe faces a major task to repeat last season’s finish.

  • 18
    18Crystal Palace
    Last season: 15th
    At every club where he has spent any length of time, Alan Pardew has suffered a slide he has never escaped. Palace won just two of its final 21 games of last season. The signings of Steve Mandanda, James Collins and Andros Townsend may not be enough to avoid that fate again.

  • 19
    19Burnley
    Last season: Promoted from Championship
    Sean Dyche’s capacity to organize and motivate offers some hope, but the squad is ordinary and the only two permanent signings have come from Charlton.

  • 20
    20Hull City
    Last season: Promoted from Championship
    This has been an awful summer for Hull. Its chairman, Assem Allam, is seriously ill, its manager has walked out over a lack of signings, and Mohamed Diame has left for Newcastle.

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