Guide to the 2020-21 Premier League club by club: Can Liverpool retain title or will Man Utd and Man City bridge the gap...and how Leeds United will fare in the top flight

This weekend sees the return of the Premier League, with the big kick-off hugely anticipated despite the shorter-than-usual close season.

Tuesday, 8th September 2020, 12:30 pm
The Premier League starts again this weekend

Here is our guide to the prospects of all the clubs who are chasing either glory or hoping for survival.

Arsenal

FA Cup and Community Shield success suggests Mikel Arteta is finally beginning to instil a mental toughness which seems to have been lacking in the Gunners squad over the past couple of seasons. The Mesut Ozil impasse continues, though, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has still not signed a new contract.

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Aston Villa

A close shave last season and things do not seem to have improved, not least with Callum Wilson opting to join Newcastle despite an offer from Villa. The club were wholly reliant on Jack Grealish last season but the playmaker cannot carry the team forever.

Brighton

Optimism is high on the south coast as the Seagulls embark on their fourth season in the top flight. Alexis Mac Allister, Yves Bissouma and Leandro Trossard have great potential while highly-rated defender Ben White is staying despite interest from loan club Leeds.

Burnley

Rumours of Sean Dyche's disenchantment at Turf Moor intensified over the summer, but he remains at the helm and is now the longest-serving manager in the Premier League. However, without some new recruits the Clarets will struggle to emulate last season's 10th-placed finish.

Chelsea

New signings Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz, as well as defenders Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva, should be able to hit the ground running, while Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic will keep getting stronger. Question marks remain over the goalkeeping position, though.

Crystal Palace

Palace's woeful run of form after lockdown will have set the alarm bells ringing but Roy Hodgson should once again be able to keep them well away from trouble. Wilfried Zaha is still at the club and Eberechi Eze looks like a exciting addition.

Everton

Carlo Ancelotti's transfer targets illustrate his desire for a more dynamic midfield than the one he had to put out last season. There should also be more to come from forwards Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin and the £22m capture of James Rodriguez from Real Madrid will excite the supporters.

Fulham

Fulham seem to have learned to defend since their last ill-fated spell in the top flight. Michael Hector has been a revelation at the back as has goalkeeper Marek Rodak. Aleksandar Mitrovic's goals fired them to promotion, now he needs to do it in the Premier League.

Leeds United

The city might still be giddy after finally achieving promotion but the rest of us want to see how Marcelo Bielsa's methods will transfer to the top flight. Rodrigo looks like a canny piece of business to pep up the Whites' attack in what could be a thrilling season.

Leicester

A fifth-placed finish should have been greeted with celebration but Leicester's strangely anti-climactic end to the season left more questions than answers. The lack of depth in the squad can be addressed, but the lack of confidence when the going gets tough is a worry.

Liverpool

The champions have brought in Olympiacos defender Kostas Tsimikas as cover for Andy Robertson at left-back but the squad which romped to the title last season seems to require minimal revamping. The challenge is for the chasing pack to hunt them down.

Manchester City

Pep Guardiola will be desperate to right the wrongs of last season's hugely disappointing title defence. Lionel Messi may not be coming after all, but Aymeric Laporte is back while Nathan Ake and Ferran Torres have bolstered the squad so improvement is expected.

Manchester United

United look rejuvenated following the arrival of Bruno Fernandes in January and the huge strides made by Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, but they remain three or four players short of a genuine title tilt.

Newcastle

The Magpies may remain in a state of flux after their proposed takeover collapsed but manager Steve Bruce is still delivering on the pitch, and the addition of Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser from Bournemouth will help provide the firepower which was lacking last season.

Southampton

Ralph Hasenhuttl has re-energised the Saints who look like the club most likely to mount a challenge towards the top eight or so. If Danny Ings, a revelation last season, can stay among the goals they can have an excellent campaign.

Sheffield United

The Blades surprised everyone with their unlikely push for Europe last year, but second-season syndrome could bite them. Nevertheless, Chris Wilder is a canny manager while John Fleck and Chris Basham remain key performers.

Tottenham

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg will bring some much-needed steel to the Spurs midfield but, once again, the fitness of Harry Kane is likely to be crucial in their chances of success. Getting Dele Alli firing again would also help.

West Bromwich Albion

The Baggies and their manager Slaven Bilic know the Premier League well so promotion should hold no fear. However, despite completing the permanent signings of Matheus Pereira and Grady Diangana, the squad still looks light.

West Ham

The backlash over the sale of Diangana, led by captain Mark Noble, highlighted how deeply unhappy a club West Ham is. A nasty run of opening fixtures could see the Hammers in full crisis mode by the end of October, although assuming they stick with David Moyes they should at least stay up.

Wolves

The signing of Portugal youth international striker Fabio Silva from Porto for a club-record fee proved that Wolves are not resting on their laurels. The goals of Raul Jimenez will once again be vital for Nuno Espirito Santo's side.