In part one of our 2017/18 Premier League preview we assess the chances of Bournemouth, Arsenal, new-boys Brighton and Hove Albion and Burnley.
Can Arsene Wenger get the London side back into the Champions League? Can Brighton survive? We try to answer all the big questions ahead of Friday’s big kick-off.
The south coast club keep defying the drop despite not having the resources of many other clubs and having a small stadium. It seems Eddie Howe will keep the Cherries in the big league this season too.
The transfer market has been kind to Bournemouth as they have managed to acquire the services of three big names in goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, centre-back Nathan Ake and striker Jermain Defoe.
There is the question of depth with Bournemouth and question marks still remain over the future star man Josh King.
Josh King stole the show last season racking up 16 goals for the club, assuming he stays, he and Defoe could be combining in a lethal partnership.
Defoe may have stolen the headlines but Begovic is huge for Bournemouth, the £11.5 million they paid is a bargain for a keeper of his quality and he won’t be leaking cheap goals.
Expect a mid-table finish from the side, they have made improvements from last season but so have teams around them.
Last season: 9th
The club did not have the best of seasons last time out. Despite that, they managed to secure the FA Cup which may satisfy Wenger’s critics for a little while.
Still regarded as a big club with top quality resources and a manager with a proven track record, missing out on the Champions League may also be a blessing in disguise for the north London club as it will allow them focus on the league.
While missing out on the Champions League means they can focus on domestic glory, it could harm their potential in the transfer market. Arsenal still have too much deadwood in the squad.
If he stays, Alexis Sanchez is Arsenal’s star his attacking ability and goal-scoring record would make him an asset to any Premier League team. The Chilean could make all the difference to Arsenal’s season.
It has to be French striker Alexandre Lacazette, he arrives from Ligue 1 as a proven finisher he should provide Arsenal with some serious firepower this season.
I still think it could be a tough season for Arsenal and the top four could elude them again, it will take them keeping Sanchez and some impressive results to reach the Champions League.
Last season: 5th
Brighton & Hove Albion
Surprised many by earning promotion from the Championship and look to have a very exciting future.
A team that have been together for many years will make them stiff competition and they have some old heads in there that will be vital in high pressure situations.
A lack of real quality in the squad and activity in the transfer market has not improved the situation on that front. They will struggle to compete with the better sides in the league.
It has to be creative French midfielder Anthony Knockaert, he stood out as one of not just Brighton but the Championship’s stars he could cause the opposition some problems this season.
With Brighton likely to be involved in a relegation battle, defence will be key, Matthew Ryan is going to be a hugely important part of that arriving for a £6 million price tag from Valencia.
They will give as good as they get but they don’t have the quality to compete in such a high quality league.
Last season: Runners-Up (Championship)
The club just escaped the drop last season with the help from some big performances down to the big names Michael Keane, Tom Heaton and Andre Gray.
Sean Dyche has made some savvy signings this season for not a huge amount of money, they have an experienced, solid squad.
They have lost one of their stars of last season with England defender Michael Keane leaving and they do not have the goal-scoring threat of the other teams in a similar position.
England goalkeeper Tom Heaton will have a huge task on his hands this season to guide his team away from relegation. One of the best in his position in the league.
The 28-year-old Jack Cork could be a very useful addition to the Clarets, defensively able and a solid addition to Burnley.
Will not make huge improvements on last season if any at all. They should have enough to avoid relegation.
Last season: 16th
Fred Blagden, Pundit Arena
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