Premier League: 2014/15 season preview

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The most hotly-contested, thrilling, exciting and dramatic league in the world is back this weekend.

From relegation scraps to title drama, managerial sackings and ecstasy, the Premier League always delivers. And there's no reason to suggest that this season won't be the best one yet.

So, before another Premier League journey begins, what are the most exciting prospects ahead of the new campaign?

New signings

Once again this summer has seen plenty of big names arrive in the Premier League. 

Chelsea's £80 million trio of Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and Felipe Luis have convinced many football lovers that they are the favourites for the title this season, with their presence bound to add superb quality to an already strong looking squad. The arrival of Costa in particular should excite Chelsea fans after the consistent failures of club's strikers last time out.

Alexis Sanchez - who joined Arsenal - has been the most expensive Premier League arrival this summer and the Chilean's tremendous attributes should no doubt give the Gunners more consistency during their latest title push.

The former Barcelona man's skill, pace, vision and workrate should provide Arsenal and the Premier League with many thrilling moments in the years to come.

Ander Herrera is the type of player that Manchester United have been craving since the retirement of Paul Scholes. A classic box-to-box midfielder, the Spaniard should add some much needed energy and control that was consistently found wanting in last season's disappointing campaign that ended with a seventh-placed finish.

The addition of Eliaquim Mangala should make Manchester City more defensively solid this time out. The attacking quality that City have at their disposal is not in question but they put in some shaky defensive performances last season and have long been looking for a central defender worthy of partnering the outstanding Vincent Kompany for a long time now.

After trying and failing with Joleon Lescott, Matija Nastasic, Stevan Savic and Martín Demichelis, the club have finally decided to splash out £32 million on Mangala, who brings pace, strength and authority, much like Kompany, to the City back-line. 

Other shrewd additions that clubs have made this summer include Bojan (Stoke), Muhamed Bešić (Everton), Emre Can (Liverpool), Remy Cabella (Newcastle) and Jefferson Montero (Swansea).

New managers

As always, new managers have arrived looking to implement their ways and create a different dimension in the Premier League.

Louis van Gaal is a man that has got virtually every football fan talking. The Dutchman is likely to implement his preferred 3-5-2 or, as some may see it, 5-3-2 formation at Manchester United, who are still licking their wounds after the failures of the last campaign.

Known for bringing his hard-nosed character into management, Van Gaal will look to get the best out of key players like Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata after being successful in making van Persie and Arjen Robben consistent threats throughout the World Cup earlier this summer.

With £29 million and £27million already spent on Herrera and promising left-back Luke Shaw, there is every reason to believe that Van Gaal's spending spree is not over yet. United fans will hope that he is the one to bring success back to Old Trafford.

Another Dutchman, Ronald Koeman, is also focusing on a rebuilding job, but on a much larger scale. After the damaging exodus of players that left Southampton this summerm, Koeman has a huge task on his hands to get the Saints back to similar heights that they hit last season.

The Dutchman is doing his best to rectify the situation, however, with the additions of Fraser Forster, Dusan Tadic, Graziano Pelle, Shane Long and Ryan Bertrand likely to make the squad stronger this season. Nevertheless, the experienced Koeman may face his biggest task yet in his first stint in England. 

Mauricio Pochettino was the catalyst behind Saints' success last season and now the Argentinian has moved on to another challenge at Tottenham. After making his mark as a manager who heavily believes in workrate and stifling the opposition through high pressing, Pochettino's style of management could provide Spurs with a much-needed boost after several lethargic displays last season, notably at home.

Pochettino has brought in new faces such as Michel Vorm and Ben Davies, but his biggest challenge may be to try and bring the best out of last season's heavy underachievers - Erik Lamela, Roberto Soldado and Paulinho.

Title race

If last season's title race was anything to go by, then we could well be set for another thriller. Champions Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United and potentially Tottenham should all be vying to get their hands on the Premier League trophy.

Along the way, we are likely to encounter many thrills and spills in what promises to be another exceptional top-flight season.

From Newcastle throwing away a 12-point lead at the top during the 1996/7 season, Arsenal defying the odds to go the entire 2003/04 campaign unbeaten, Manchester City winning the league in the last few seconds of the 2011/12 campaign and Liverpool throwing the title away last year after letting Crystal Palace hold them to a draw after being 3-0 up in the final 10 minutes, the Premier League has rarely disappointed when it comes to title races.

The impressive competition this season, much like last, should mean that we will see lot of changes to the top of the league table throughout the season. Who will end up victorious is anyone's guess, but one thing is for sure - it will be thrilling viewing.

Relegation scrap

The Premier League's relegation battles are arguably just as exciting and unpredictable as the title races, as virtually every bottom-half placed club is forced to look over their shoulder towards the climax.

The Premier League has witnessed some incredible relegation scraps over the years, many of which were not decided until the final day. 

Memorable escapes include Portsmouth during the 2005/06 season, a feat that was masterminded by Harry Redknapp who miraculously dragged them out of an eight-point gap from safety by the end of February to survival on the final day.

West Ham's recovery in 2006/07 was just as, if not even more extraordinary. Looking nailed on for relegation with nine games to go, the Hammers incredibly won seven of those remaining fixtures, including a memorable 1-0 win at Old Trafford on the final day to confirm their safety.

Crystal Palace, West Brom and Wigan also boast remarkable survival campaigns and 2014/15 promises something similar in a battle to stay in arguably the best league in the world.

Related articles

Why the Premier League is the best league in the world

Arsenal will win the Premier League

Southampton under no pressure in 2014/15

Young Lions

After England's dismal showing at this year's World Cup, young English talents are becoming more and more sought after. 

Throughout the 2013/14 season, we saw the emergence of the likes of Luke Shaw, Raheem Sterling, Kieran Gibbs, Calum Chambers and Jordan Henderson.

The new season should promise more of the same and, despite many rightfully bemoaning at the lack of English potential, England manager Roy Hodgson may be comforted at the ability of young Englishman proving their ability and performing at the highest level. 

Chambers, James Ward-Prowse, Tom Ince, Jon Flanagan, Danny Ings, John Stones and Kieran Trippier all promise to break through the ranks for their respective clubs this season and, if given plenty of playing time, we could see some England stars emerge.

It is a league that thrills and excites many, whether it is players and managers or title races and relegation dog fights.

The Premier League never disappoints and we should expect more of the same this time around.

So strap yourselves in, another hectic journey begins on Saturday.

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