This season looks set to become one of the most fascinating in recent years as a number of top clubs start the season with the ambition, whether realistic or not, of capturing the Premier League title.

Defending champions Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea look to be the main contenders - but don’t rule out the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham and perhaps even Liverpool mounting a challenge to their supremacy.

Although the top three clubs have endured managerial changes recently I believe the return of Jose Mourinho to Stamford Bridge will give the Londoners the edge over their Manchester rivals this season.

Unlike David Moyes and Manuel Pellegrini, Mourinho is at a club he knows well and has won trophies there before. He will know many of the players already and has a proven recipe for success in the Premier League.

Mourinho will be best placed to deal with the senior players in the squad and will no longer have contractual issues hanging over the heads of Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole. Mourinho will have Romann Abramovich's millions to spend but, more importantly, already has access to a world-class squad of players who may just need two or three signings to bolster their credentials for this year.

Moyes and Pellegrini are facing their own challenges which will give Mourinho a head-start this season. Moyes has been handed tough fixtures to start his Old Trafford reign and will be trying to follow in the footsteps of Sir Alex Ferguson, which will be no mean feat in itself.

With all due respect to Everton, Manchester United's expectations and pressures are far higher and Moyes will need to contend with intense media pressure and the undoubted expectations from within this great club. The only saving grace for Moyes is that United are looking long-term rather than short-term, so his success this year will not determine the outcome of his future at United.

Pellegrini will inherit some fantastic players at Manchester City but he will need to inspire them to play more as a team and improve the goalscoring ratio of his forwards.

Yes, he will have money to spend, but if the players do not play as a team then success will once again elude them. Pellegrini will also face his own personal challenges as he tries to adapt to the English way of life and the demands of Premier League football. He may be experienced in Spain but English football is a different entity.

The top three will also be under pressure from a hunting pack of clubs who are trying to build success in their own right. Perhaps not able to sustain a challenge for the title over a long arduous campaign the likes of Tottenham, Arsenal and even Liverpool will have their eyes on fourth place and perhaps even higher.

By holding on to their top players and with careful summer recruitment all three clubs have a strong foundation for success and could surprise a few this season.

I predict that we will witness one of the most open campaigns for many years and I for one hope that the hype which always surrounds the start to a Premier League season manifests itself on the field of play. I am sure it will. The Premier League has a habit of entertaining year after year.

There may well be developments in the transfer market over the coming weeks that may sway my prediction but, at the moment, Chelsea are well placed to be crowned champions next May.


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