LONDON: The 2015-16 Premier League season kicks off tomorrow with Manchester United playing Tottenham in the lunchtime kickoff and a host of questions and possible answers hanging over the prospects of all 20 teams:
Will Petr Cech make all the difference to the Gunners’ title prospects?
Yes. The veteran Czech could prove, at £10m, one of the greatest bargains in years and a more significant acquisition than even the vastly more expensive Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.
Can Villa cope with the departures of Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph?
No. Manager Tim Sherwood faces a difficult task in trying to rebuild a team who have been weakened during the summer after nearly being relegated last season and which owner Randy Lerner wants to sell.
Will the top division newcomers survive?
Probably not. Bournemouth have come too far too fast and on a comparatively shoestring budget to have developed the squad and backroom foundations to cope with life at the top.
Can Jose Mourinho repeat his achievement of a decade ago and take Chelsea to two successive league titles?
Yes because he has improved last season’s squad and expects to have Diego Costa fit for all season to score even more than his first term’s 20 goals.
Will the Eagles repeat or improve on their surprise 10th place?
No because they still appear likely to be as erratic as last season when they lost at home to relegation-bound Hull yet won away to Liverpool.
Is Roberto Martinez the right manager for the School of Science?
Yes but only if he learns the lessons of last season, admits to his mistakes and stops relying so heavily on a possession game which is insufficient for success in the Premier League?
Can they repeat the miracle of last season and stay in the league?
Maybe not because it took the force of will of manager Nigel Pearson (plus the fortitude of Robert Huth) to rescue them from the relegation zone; the have lost Esteban Cambiasso out of midfield and new manager Claudio Ranieri does not have Pearson’s steel.
Will the bookmakers be proved right in assessing Brendan Rodgers as the season’s first managerial sacking?
No. Eight clubs changed manager last season but owner Fenway Sports Group kept faith with Rodgers despite a disappointing season and gave him another £80m to spend. But this season, for him, will be make or break.
Will Raheem Sterling live up to his £49m fee?
Yes – but only if City regain the Premier title and reach the semi-finals, at least, of the Champions League.
Is Louis Van Gaal going to win the league title in a fourth country?
Maybe not because he is still trying to build ‘his own’ Manchester United and will need at least one further season of change, experimentation and new players to reach that level.
Can Newcastle win anything at last for the first time since the Fairs Cup in 1969?
Yes but not the Premier League. Owner Mike Ashley and new manager Steve McClaren have promised the fans a trophy but it will have to the FA or League Cup.
Scraped into the Premier League via the playoffs, so can the Canaries stay up?
Probably not . The squad lacks quality, the defence tends to be leaden-footed and they creative imagination in attack.
Is Ronald Koeman able to repeat Europa League qualification of last term?
A challenge because all the other managers were complacent about facing a Saints team weakened by the sale of star players; also, now, they have ‘lost’ midfield anchor Morgan Schneiderlin.
Can Mark Hughes lift Stoke into the Europa League places?
Too ambitious. He has rebuilt Stoke successfully after the safety-first regime of Tony Pulis but will struggle to replace Steven Nzonzi in midfield and needs Philipp Wollscheid to justify his permanent acquisition.
Will Dick Advocaat come to regret his decision to stay on at Sunderland?
Possibly because the club have little money to spend on new players and have taken few significant team-building steps.
Will they underline the renaissance of Welsh football with their league performances?
Yes because former captain Gary Monk has made the transition to manager with aplomb and, the January sale of Wilfried Bony apart, they have kept all their best players.
Will Harry Kane score 21 goals again in the Premier League?
Unlikely. Last season the England centre-forward was an exciting new kid on the block. This time around the rest of the Premier League knows what to expect.
Will Watford survive?
Perhaps not because they have not given themselves a chance, failing to agree contract extension terms with the manager who brought them up. New boss Quique Flores is their fifth manager in a year.
West Bromwich Albion
Can they make amends to the fans for losing twice in four days at Aston Villa last season?
Yes and go on to finish reasonably secure in midtable if for no other reason than, in Tony Pulis, they have English management’s great survivor.
West Ham United
Will the gamble of replacing Sam Allardyce with Slaven Bilic be rewarded?
Yes but only because the Hammers have a solid enough squad to withstand the unpredictable decisions of their quick-tempered, first-season manager who has already been red-carded in the Europa League.