With under two weeks to go until the new Premier League season begins, Jose Mourinho's mind-games have begun. When you think about it, did they ever really stop?
His recent inaccurate, provocative snipes at Arsenal over their spending in recent years show the Chelsea boss views the Gunners as title rivals, despite the north London side's summer additions amounting only to bringing Petr Cech in for £11million.
Mourinho said: "If you add up the amounts clubs have spent in the last three or four years I think maybe you will find a surprise.
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"If you put Ozil plus Alexis Sanchez, plus Chambers, plus Debuchy, you will find a surprise."
Arsene Wenger responded to these comments by saying: "We just try to make the right decisions. When we have the money available we spend it, when we don’t have it we don’t spend the money we haven’t got."
Arsenal no threat?
Arsenal's hopes of signing Karim Benzema - made all the more pertinent after a particular Instagram post by the striker - look to have all but evaporated, leaving Wenger still short of options up front as we edge closer to the start of the new season.
Asmir Begovic and Radamel Falcao (on loan) have joined Mourinho's men this summer, replacing the void left in the squad by Cech and Didier Drogba. Both could feature in Saturday's Community Shield against Arsenal at Wembley.
Man United spending
Manchester United have again spent big on the hopes of staging their first title challenge since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, bolstering their jaded looking midfield in the process.
The signings of Memphis Depay, Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger give United a side to test the resolve of title favourites Chelsea. However, defensive cracks still remain in the back line at Old Trafford.
Louis van Gaal insists he has faith in the club's current defenders, including Chris Smalling. The former Fulham man, along with Johnny Evans and Phil Jones, has faced criticism in the past, though I expect the United defence to be stronger in the upcoming season after having had a year to adapt to Van Gaal's system.
Other title challengers
Over in the blue half of Manchester, the spending spree has been very much similar. City's additions of both Raheem Stirling and Fabian Delph, prompted by requiring 'home grown' players for their squad, are a far cry from the quality needed to compete with Chelsea for a top spot.
As for Liverpool, adding Christian Benteke to their attack and Nathaniel Clyne as a replacement for Glenn Johnson will strengthen Brendan Rodgers' team, although the same cannot be said for some of their other summer signings.
If the Merseyside club are serious about pushing for Champions League football and competing for both domestic cups then Danny Ings and James Milner are not the answer - although, granted, the pair are improvements individuals such as Iago Aspas.
Football fans, will Chelsea cruise to the Premier League title this year? Is there anyone capable of matching them? Let us know in the comments box below.
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