Former Socceroo Robbie Slater rates every English Premier League team for the new season


WHAT does £30 million buy you? In terms of Alexis Sanchez, it could be a championship.

The former Barcelona man will bring out the best in Mesut Ozil, who had an average first year in London.

STRENGTH: A creative midfield that had the Gunners in the title race for most of last season.

WEAKNESS: There are two obvious issues. Outside of Olivier Giroud, they don’t have a genuine striker. Per Mertesacker anchors a shaky defence.

WORST HEADLINE: Gonnas fall short again.

KEY MAN: Ozil.


FIRST GAME: Crystal Palace (H)

PREDICTION: Top four contender.


Another slow start and manager Paul Lambert will have his head on the chopping block. Have done little in the player market to raise the hopes of fans except for bring in Roy Keane as an assistand manager.

STRENGTH: Hard to find one. This is a club that has lost its way.

WEAKNESS: They desperately need a marquee player to lift the mood. Unfortunately, Roy Keane is too old.

WORST HEADLINE: Keane in, Lambert out.

KEY MAN: Joe Cole has a lot to prove.

TAB ODDS: $1501


PREDICTION: Likely relegation battle.


This will be a great year for Burnley for one reason: their arch-rivals Blackburn aren’t in the Premier League.

STRENGTH: Their manager, Sean Dyche, is known as the Ginger Mourinho. Is that a compliment? Scott Arfield has a nose for goal.

WEAKNESS: It’s tough for any newly promoted team to hold their ground.

WORST HEADLINE: Crash and Burnley.

KEY MAN: Dyche will be the real special one if he keeps them up.

TAB ODDS: $3001

FIRST GAME: Chelsea (H)

PREDICTION: Enjoy the ride while it lasts. Relegation.


The Special One has compiled a very special squad. By signing a midfield general in Cesc Fabregas and proven striker in Diego Costa, Jose Mourinho should be looking at silverware this season.

STRENGTH: The manager will tell you it’s him, we suggest it’s Roman Abramovic’s cheque book.

WEAKNESS: They could do with some midfield depth. Money please.

WORST HEADLINE: Diego cost a lot for no goals.

KEY MAN: Fabregas is a superstar.

TAB ODDS: $2.85

FIRST GAME: Burnley (A)

PREDICTION: Mourinho to win something after two long years.


Mile Jedinak ensures there is always plenty of Aussie interest in Palace. The Socceroos skipper will be expected to lead them to safety again.

STRENGTH: Watch this space. Manager Tony Pulis will be hoping to lure a big name to the club before the transfer window closes.

WEAKNESS: The lack activity in the player market. Palace need to bolster the ranks.

WORST HEADLINE: Jedinak hurt, misses Asian Cup.

KEY MAN: Yannick Bolasie is a powerhouse down the flanks.

TAB ODDS: $2001

FIRST GAME: Arsenal (A)

PREDICTION: Survival by the skin of their teeth.


The blue side of Mersey has always punched above its weight. This season, Everton have a new £28 million striker in Romelu Lukaku. A great pick up.

STRENGTH: The spirit engendered by Roberto Martinez. Does anyone remember David Moyes?

WEAKNESS: Playing Europa League will severely test their depth and budget.

WORST HEADLINE: Liverpool win the championship.

KEY MAN: Lukaku must score goals.

TAB ODDS: $101

FIRST GAME: Leicester (A)

PREDICTION: Lukaku’s goals to keep them in the top half.


This is a massive year for manager Steve Bruce. Tom Ince, Robert Snodgrass, Harry Maguire and Jake Livermore are all good additions.

STRENGTH: A team full of local talent off to play in the Europa League. They are a remarkable story.

WEAKNESS: Where will the goals come from?

WORST HEADLINE: European stumble for Hull’s angels.

KEY MAN: Maguire is often compared to his manager as a defender. It’s high praise.

TAB ODDS: $3001


PREDICTION: Bruce to enhance his standing as a manager.


A newly-promoted team whose one signing has been Leonardo Ulloa for £7 million. He’d better be some player.

STRENGTH: They won the championship, have a settled squad and an astute manager.

WEAKNESS: The step up will be massive. There’s a reason most teams only stay up for one season — the jump is enormous.

WORST HEADLINE: There they go (back down).

KEY MAN: Anthony Knockaert is a potential knockout at 22.

TAB ODDS: $1501

FIRST GAME: Everton (H)

PREDICTION: Relegation battle.


How much will losing Luis Suarez come back to bite the Reds. This is the moment of tooth, sorry truth, for manager Brendan Rodgers and Southampton signing Rickie Lambert.

STRENGTH: Raheem Sterling is young and on the rise and there are high hopes for Lazar Markovic. Losing Adam Lallana to injury hurts.

WEAKNESS: The loss of Suarez. How will Daniel Sturridge go without the world’s best No. 9 alongside him?

WORST HEADLINE: The tooth hurts.

KEY MAN: Steven Gerrard and his ageing legs.


FIRST GAME: Southampton (H)

PREDICTION: Challenge again.


Whoever beats them will win the title. The off-season story has been more about what they kept than signed. Injury to Sergio Aguera has been about the only setback.

STRENGTH: Abu Dhabi oil, Yaya Toure, Edin Dzeko … they are not Manchester United.

WEAKNESS: Balancing the egos is always a challenge for Manuel Pellegrini.

WORST HEADLINE: Yaya Toure doesn’t get a birthday cake.

KEY MAN: Toure is the engine of this machine.

TAB ODDS: $3.25

FIRST GAME: Newcastle (A)



The reign of King Louis should bring out the best in Wayne Rooney, but it might take a year to fix the other problems at Old Trafford. Van Gaal is a tactical genius, not a miracle worker.

STRENGTH: Van Gaal won’t be overawed by the Fergie statue out front of the stadium.

WEAKNESS: This squad is far removed from United’s glory days. Tom Cleverly or Roy Keane? Chris Smalling or Rio Ferdinand? Enough said.

WORST HEADLINE: Where’s Fergie

KEY MAN: Van Gaal, one. Rooney, two. Van Persie, three.

TAB ODDS: $5.50

FIRST GAME: Swansea (H)

PREDICTION: Outside the top four.


Alan Pardew lifted the doldrums from last campaign by going on a shopping spree. Remy Cabella, a French international, Siem de Jong and former Monaco striker Emmanuel Riviere are all decent buys.

STRENGTH: Big club with high ambitions and some new blood.

WEAKNESS: The Magpies always seem to over-promise and underdeliver.

WORST HEADLINE: Pardew has the axe-factor.

KEY MAN: Riviere looks purpose built for the Premier League.

TAB ODDS: $501

FIRST GAME: Manchester City (H)

PREDICTION: Mid-table at best.


Harry Redknapp is back! By signing Rio Ferdinand and Steven Caulkner, wily old Harry has shown he will build from the defence up.

STRENGTH: Ferdinand is a leader and will offer guidance and stability.

WEAKNESS: There is a shortage of class up front.

WORST HEADLINE: Empty net syndrome.

KEY MAN: Charlie Austin has potential to develop into a goal source.

TAB ODDS: $1501

FIRST GAME: Hull City (H)

PREDICTION: Plenty of colour with harry back in town.


It’s been a case of will the last man out turn off the lights. No club has been ripped apart quite like the Saints. Rickie Lambert, Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren and Calum Chambers are all devastating losses.

STRENGTH: Their outstanding youth academy.

WEAKNESS: Just start by looking at Liverpool, that’s where the best Saints players now reside.

WORST HEADLINE: Saints field first under-15s side in Premier League.

KEY MAN: There are big wraps on James Ward-Prowse. He’d better be Maradona.

TAB ODDS: $1001

FIRST GAME: Liverpool (A) … or the Southampton A team.

PREDICTION: Relegation battle.


This is a team on the rise and Mark Hughes has done a wonderful job. The signing of Bojan Krkic from Barelona shows their ambition.

STRENGTH: One of the best balanced squads among the middle group of teams. Phil Bardsley and Steve Sidwell add to the depth.

WEAKNESS: Started slowly last year and will want to get off to a flyer this time.

WORST HEADLINE: Changing of the guard stokes ire

KEY MAN: Krkic has the pedigree to be a star.

TAB ODDS: $1501

FIRST GAME: Aston Villa (H)

PREDICTION: Mid-table security.


Gus Poyet has a difficult job on his hands with a squad stripped of talent. Sunderland were already light on before the likes of Phil Bardsley, Jack Colbeck and Craig Gardner left.

STRENGTH: Poyet is a popular and proven manager. The right man to steer a leaky ship.

WEAKNESS: Clearly it’s a lack of depth and quality.

WORST HEADLINE: Malice in Sunderland

KEY MAN: The team physio. Injuries to this squad will really hurt.

TAB ODDS: $2001

FIRST GAME: West Brom (A)

PREDICTION: Gus the saviour.


Michael Laudrup is gone and Garry Monk has come in with a big broom and a sweeping statement. Keeping Wilfried Bony is the big challenge.

STRENGTH: Gylfi Sigurdsson is a fantastic pick up and will bolster the midfield.

WEAKNESS: Defensive holes need to be plugged. Selling Ben Davies hurts.

WORST HEADLINE: Bony flies coop

KEY MAN: Ashley Williams will be their minister of defence. A tough ask.

TAB ODDS: $2001

FIRST GAME: Manchester United (A)

PREDICTION: Middle of the road.


Horrible, awful, dreadful, dire. Take your pick to describe last season. It all went south after they sold Gareth Bale. New boss Mauricio Pochettino has barely made a move in the market yet.

STRENGTH: They can’t get any worse. Erik Lamela had a difficult first year and might turn things around.

WEAKNESS: Have basically the same underachieving squad as last season.

WORST HEADLINE: Villas-Boas returns

KEY MAN: Can Pochettino get this dysfunctional by talented group on the same page?


FIRST GAME: West Ham (A)

PREDICTION: Crowd unrest if they struggle again.


Jason Davidson brings some more Aussie interest to the Premier League. It will be interesting to see if he can nail down the left back spot for most of the season.

STRENGTH: Joleon Lescott, from Manchester City, Sebastien Pocognoli and Dynamo Kiev’s Brown Ideye are handy additions.

WEAKNESS: It’s a new-look squad with a new-look manager. They can’t give their rivals too big a start.

WORST HEADLINE: Davidson can’t crack a start.

KEY MAN: Lescott is a proven performer.

TAB ODDS: $2001

FIRST GAME: Sunderland (H)



They lost to Wellington and Sydney FC in the pre-season. That should scare their fans. Andy Carroll is injured — again — and Sam Allardyce is hardly No. 1 choice as manager for their supporters.

STRENGTH: Enner Valencia could be one of the league’s better signings. The Ecuadorean is coming off a good World Cup and he scores goals.

WEAKNESS: Carroll’s fragile body.

WORST HEADLINE: Carroll bruises his pinky, out for six weeks.

KEY MAN: Allardyce … and his battle with fans and the owners.

TAB ODDS: $2001

FIRST GAME: Tottenham (H)

FOX SPORTS is the home of the Barclays Premier League, with coverage of all 380 games starting on Saturday at 9.35pm with Manchester United v Swansea LIVE on FOX SPORTS HD and FOX SPORTS 1

Originally published as Former Socceroo Robbie Slater rates every English Premier League team for the new season

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