The signings of Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers seem to have strengthened a backline that was in need of numbers. However, question marks remain over the left-back area and whether Kieran Gibbs can stay fit, while Nacho Monreal has so far failed to convince he's capable of filling in when required.
In the midfield and up front, the Arsenal squad is arguably stronger than last season with the signing of £30m Alexis Sanchez providing the star quality that Arsenal fans crave. Costa Rican World Cup star Joel Campbell has returned and if he can continue his World Cup form then Arsenal have struck gold. However, there is a doubt over whether Yaya Sanogo provides adequate back up should anything happen to Olivier Giroud.
Keeping Aaron Ramsay fit would be a step in the right direction as he has the potential to be Arsenal’s star man for years to come. Jack Wilshere also needs to stay fit in order to fulfil his undoubted quality. Another centre-back would be a welcome addition to the Arsenal squad but another position that Arsenal have also strengthened is the goalkeeper department where Colombian David Ospina should provide significant competition to Szczęsny.
Alexis Sanchez (Barcelona, £30m), Mathieu Debuchy (Newcastle, £12m)
Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona, £15m)
Villa have not been as active in the transfer market as they should have been this summer while the on-going sale of the club by current owner Randy Lerner has been nothing short of a complete disaster for both parties. The signings of Philippe Senderos, Joe Cole, Kieran Richardson and Aly Cissokho (two on free transfers) have done little to impress the Villa faithful.
The appointment of Roy Keane as assistant manager should provide some much needed experience and winning mentality to a young squad while doing little to cover Paul Lambert’s obvious tactical and strategical failings. He may have to become a marvel in the loan transfer market if he’s to provide much needed strength and in-depth.
While bringing players back in from the cold such as N’Zogbia and Darren Bent, Lambert has a tough job this season and it remains to be seen if he can stop a slide that has been carrying on for around four seasons.
Securing Ron Vlaar and Brad Guzan to new long-term contracts would go a long way to helping Villa’s cause this season. Getting Christian Benteke back would provide a huge lift but as he’s not due back till November, Lambert must provide Bent with a much-needed injection of confidence to provide the goals Villa desperately require.
If Joe Cole can remain fit for any length of time then he could provide a certain creative element that the Villa squad lacks. However, his injury record is less than impressive.
Marc Albrighton (free, Leicester City)
Pre-season couldn’t have gone any better for Burnley and their likeable manager Sean Dyche. In Danny Ings and Sam Vokes, they have two strikers who have proved themselves capable of scoring goals while they have also strengthened their striking options in the form of Marvin Sordell from Bolton and Lukas Jutkiewicz from Middlesbrough.
However, there is a question in quality of replacements. While signing Matthew Taylor and Steven Reid from West Ham United and West Bromwich Albion respectively provide experience and much needed Premier League know-how, their ability to drag the squad to a level where they’re in a position to consolidate their place in the Premier League remains to be seen.
Dyche is looking for more players and before the transfer window closes on September 1st, there should be more arrivals at Turf Moor but will they be the right ones?
Steven Reid (free, West Bromwich Albion), Lukas Jutkiewicz (undisclosed, Middlesbrough), Marvin Sordell (undisclosed, Bolton Wanderers)
Chris Baird (free, West Bromwich Albion)
Fan’s View: Tony Scholes @clarets_mad
How do you see the season panning out for Burnley?
It will be tough but I think we will surprise a few people during the season and give ourselves a chance of staying up.
Is it good to see Burnley back in the Premier League?
You want your team to be the best it can be and that means getting to as higher league as possible. Yes, good to be back.
Who would you tip as one to watch in your squad?
Marvin Sordell. He has had a difficult time at Bolton but I just have a feeling, given the opportunity, he might come good.
Chelsea have conducted their summer transfer business relatively quietly, quickly and efficiently. Jose Mourinho has strengthened area of his squad that last season, he viewed as suspect while also acquiring huge sums of cash for players who were no longer needed.
Cesc Fabregas should provide a suitable replacement for the now departed Frank Lampard who will join Manchester City on loan till January 2015 before his move to the newly formed MLS franchise New York City FC. The signings of Diego Costa and Filipe Luis also provide welcome quality and strength in key areas as well as the returning Didier Drogba providing something a little different.
However, the squad is still a little light up front and the form of Fernando Torres remains a worry. It is possible that the weight of expectation on Diego Costa could prove too much.
Cesc Fabregas (£27m, Barcelona), Diego Costa (£32m, Atlético Madrid), Filipe Luis (15.8m, Atlético Madrid)
Frank Lampard (free, New York City FC), David Luiz (£50m, PSG), Samuel Eto’o (Released), Ashley Cole (free, Roma), Demba Ba (£4.7m, Besiktas), Romelu Lukaku (£28m, Everton)Categories: Premier League