The Premier League panel

  • Last Updated: August 6 2013, 8:58 BST

Our Premier League panel of fans from all of the 20 top-flight clubs give us their views ahead of next weekend's big kick-off.

  • Will Jose Mourinho be celebrating with the Premier League title again.
  • Hull and Crystal Palace look set for a season of struggle. 
  • Christian Benteke can help Aston Villa push up the standings. 
  • Ricky van Wolfswinkel brings goal for Norwich. 
  • Wilfried Bony is one to watch at Swansea. 

The Barclays Premier League season starts next weekend and we can't wait for the action to begin!

We have asked a fan from all of the 20 top-flight clubs to answer our questions ahead of the big kick-off and the Premier League panel have plenty to say.

There isn't a clear consensus on whether Chelsea, Manchester City or Manchester United are going to win the title but there is agreement that Hull and Crystal Palace will drop back down to the Sky Bet Championship.

Plenty of other sides - including Sunderland, Newcastle, Stoke and Southampton - are tipped to join them in the relegation places but there is better news for Aston Villa and Norwich as they are backed to surpass current expectations.

The new boys expected to shine include Swansea striker Wilfried Bony, Norwich forward Ricky van Wolfswinkel and West Brom frontman Nicolas Anelka.

There are plenty of opinions on the new campaign so check out the Premier League panel's verdict right now...


Click here for Sky Bet's Premier League markets


Arsenal - Howard Smith

What are the expectations for your club this season? Deja vu aside, it is to push on and build on last season's strong finish. Unfortunately, there's little sign of adding to the squad at the time of writing, so either we'll see another last minute spending binge or a massive improvement in some of our squad players.

Who will win the title? Manchester City. More and more often these days it's the biggest spenders who win the Premier League and few team outspend City. They've bought some great players this summer and in good time to bed them in too. The change of manager won't be a handicap as the two main challengers also have new/returning managers.

Who will join the winners in the top-four? Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal. Can't see any change in the top four, so long as Arsenal strengthen. We were run far too close to comfort last season, but I still believe we have the quality to stay ahead of Liverpool, Everton and Tottenham - Bale in or Bale out.

Which three teams will be relegated? It's the lazy answer but the three promoted teams are always the three you fear for most. On paper, Hull, Crystal Palace and Cardiff look vulnerable. That said, it wouldn't surprise me to see Sunderland struggle to integrate all their new players and Vito Mannone has big gloves to fill. This could be good news for Cardiff.

Which club do you think can surpass pre-season expectations? Possibly Cardiff. They won't want to be outshone by Swansea, so may have that extra motivation. Swansea themselves may be an even better side next year. They have an excellent coach, play attractive football and have made some good signings this summer.

Is your manager the right man for now and the future? Yes - with the usual proviso that he spends some money. With the two Manchesters and Chelsea changing managers, stability at Arsenal may be an advantage. But not stability alone. We need signings.

Who will be the key player for your club this season? Santi Cazorla was excellent last year and Olivier Giroud (17 goals) and Lukas Podolski (14) had solid first seasons - and all can do even better this year. To pick one player, though, I'm going for Jack Wilshere. He's a true Gooner and will benefit from a good pre-season.

Which young player should we watch out for at your club? The youngster catching the eye in pre-season friendlies is Gedion Zelalem. At 16, he's unlikely to see any Premier League action, but could feature in the League Cup. Chuba Akpom and Serge Gnabry are two others on the up but Ryo Miyaichi, if he doesn't go on loan, could make the biggest visible impact.

Which of this summer's signings catches your eye? For Arsenal, Yaya Sanogo. Because he's the only one so far! In the wider Premier League, Manchester City's signings of both Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo from Sevilla. A ready-made understanding between two very classy players.

Do you have a tip for the Golden Boot? It pains me to say it, but Robin van Persie. A great striker in a decent team with the advantage over newcomers at other clubs of knowing most Premier League defenders and goalkeepers.


Click here for Sky Bet's Arsenal specials


Aston Villa - Jack Woodfield

What are the expectations for your club this season? Extreme but cautious optimism. The blunt end to Villa's Capital One Cup run last season sparked resurgence in their Premier League form, but a daunting opening triple header of Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea should see Paul Lambert's side struggle initially. Finishing anywhere between 10th and 14th would appease the masses, but a relegation fight remains an option if the back four carries their maverick approach to defending into the new season. However, if Christian Benteke hits form early on, the squad remains injury free and a bit of luck falls in their favour, Villa could yet be the surprise package of the season.

Who will win the title? Chelsea. With so many unknown variables attached to last season's top four, there is only one thing to hang one's hat on in regard to the title race, and that is the Jose Mourinho factor. Manuel Pellegrini and David Moyes are entering new territory as the respective new Manchester City and Manchester United bosses, but Mourinho's consistent ability to win trophies - plus his expensively assembled squad - should see the mental advantage lie with the Blues.

Who will join the winners in the top-four? Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal. The two Manchester clubs will inevitably contest the Premier League title race to the bitter end, but if Arsenal land Luis Suarez, or another global star of similar influence, then the Gunners could not only survive a summer without losing a star player, but actually maintain a lengthy bid to reclaim the trophy they have not held since 2004.

Which three teams will be relegated? Crystal Palace, Hull and Newcastle. The squads of newly-promoted Palace and Hull desperately require strengthening - although Steve Bruce's impressive ability to secure a talented bargain will encourage Hull fans. Such is the apparent disharmony at Newcastle that a season of chasing Champions League, as new director of football Joe Kinnear suggested, may in fact turn into another fight against relegation, especially if boss Alan Pardew continues to find himself under pressure early on.

Which club do you think can surpass pre-season expectations? Norwich. Chris Hughton has always had a knack of procuring top players for low fees, including Hatem Ben Arfa and Cheick Tiote at Newcastle, and his summer business at Carrow Road has been nothing short of outstanding. Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper make one of the best Premier League strike duos on paper, while Leroy Fer and Martin Olsson offer flair and skill in abundance. Mid-table should be a given, but barring an injury crisis, a European spot could yet be within the Canaries' reach this season.

Is your manager the right man for now and the future? If Paul Lambert had have taken Villa down last season, the Villa Park faithful may have ended up calling for his blood, but alas, the club stayed up, and now many believe that Lambert is the messiah of the Villans and without a doubt the best manager in the Premier League. He may not be the messiah, but his vision is undeniably admirable, cheap and based on long-term success. Stability is just what Villa needs after two previously doomed appointments, and his likely stern words to get Benteke's pen to paper on a new deal suggests just what exactly his influence is at the club. Keeping Villa in the top flight will be another achievement this season, but anything more could see fans claiming Lambert can walk on water.

Who will be the key player for your club this season? Benteke. Last season's 23-goal striker tormented Premier League defences towards the latter end of last season, with his hat-trick against Sunderland a rare, euphoric highlight of a campaign ravaged by worry and uncertainty. A pre-season hat-trick against Crewe was a welcome return to the scoresheet and with London interest a distant memory, a focused Benteke just needs a nervy Villa defence to strengthen up for his goals to proper the Midlands club up towards the lofty heights of mid-table this season.

Which young player should we watch out for at your club? Matt Lowton. The 24-year-old may be slightly too old to be classed as 'young', but the right-back proved a revelation towards the latter end of last season, producing several high quality performances that proved instrumental in many Villa goals. There were calls, primarily from the Holte End, for England boss Roy Hodgson to reward the former Sheffield United star with an international call-up, and should the direct, attacking defender maintain his recent form then Hodgson's trips to Villa Park may become more frequent than they were in the previous campaign.

Which of this summer's signings catches your eye? The shame of this cliché is undeniable, but tying down Benteke for at least another season is arguably the most important signature of the summer at Villa Park. If pushed to comment on new signings though, Jores Okore appears a sturdy and desperately-needed bedrock in defence. The Dane fell asleep during his medical, but providing he remains alert on the pitch then he could add some steel that was desperately lacking last season.

Do you have a tip for the Golden Boot? Not one of any divine wisdom or foresight. Should Luis Suarez remain in the Premier League then my money would side with either the Uruguayan striker or Manchester United frontman Robin van Persie. Wilfried Bony, Nicolas Anelka and Ricky van Wolfswinkel have goal records to suggest this competition could be blown wide open this year, but sticking with the proven Premier League big guns is likely the way to go.


Click here for Sky Bet's Villa specials


Cardiff City - Karl van Vliet

What are the expectations for your club this season? The expectation is to enjoy the season and hopefully stay up.

Who will win the title? I think Manchester City will win the title this season.

Who will join the winners in the top-four? Going on reports Wayne Rooney going to Chelsea and Luis Suarez staying at Liverpool will be a big boost to those two clubs.

Which three teams will be relegated? West Brom, Crystal Palace, Swansea (I'm not just saying that as they are rivals, I think they will find it hard playing European football).

Which club do you think can surpass pre-season expectations? Norwich.

Is your manager the right man for now and the future? Malky Mackay has done wonders during the last two seasons. It just shows what a great young manager he is he is right for now and for the future.

Who will be the key player for your club this season? It could well be Steven Caulker.

Which young player should we watch out for at your club? Steven Caulker.

Which of this summer's signings catches your eye? I'll have to go for Steven Caulker again.

Do you have a tip for the Golden Boot? It could go the way of Christian Benteke at Aston Villa.


Click here for Sky Bet's Cardiff specials


Chelsea - Lewis Richardson

What are the expectations for your club this season? Obviously with the arrival or second coming of the Special One, Jose Mourinho, expectations are soaring high at Stamford Bridge this season. Added to that a few more quality signings, potentially a big name striker on the way and the perfection demanded by owner Roman Abramovich, it would be fair to say these expectations are fair.

Who will win the title? As a Chelsea fan I am obviously confident about our chances of winning the Premier League, quality depth in the roster and Mourinho's man management skills should see a consistent effort all year round, even whilst juggling domestic and European duties. In saying this though, I believe the blue half of Manchester will prove to be our biggest threat.

Who will join the winners in the top-four? Recent years have seen deadline day results prove crucial to the make-up of the top four and I see this season as being no different. I see Chelsea and Manchester City being one and two with United in third, perhaps suffering a lull in the season post Sir Alex Ferguson, especially if Wayne Rooney is to depart. My hot tip for fourth though is Tottenham, recent big name signings will add fantastic depth and whether Bale stays or they get three to four fantastic players to replace him it looks like a win-win situation.

Which three teams will be relegated? The relegated clubs are getting tougher to predict each year, it seems Christian Benteke's recent re-signing is promising for Villa staying up whilst Sunderland and their new signings look solid under Paolo Di Canio. In saying this I think we may see the three promoted clubs head straight back down to the Championship.

Which club do you think can surpass pre-season expectations? We saw clubs such as Swansea and West Brom really surpass pre-season expectations last year. This season I can see Norwich City placing in the top half of the table come next May, they look to have purchased extremely well.

Is your manager the right man for now and the future? With so much speculation, every Chelsea fan was wishing it was true. Our requests were answered and the Special One is back at The Bridge, I think Mourinho is 100% the right man for now and the future to see success.

Who will be the key player for your club this season? With so many superstars it is always hard to pinpoint a key man. However, for the last couple of seasons I think it has clearly been seen Juan Mata has been the key man for the Blues, look for this season to continue that trend. Consistent key players also include Petr Cech and David Luiz whilst an in-form Fernando Torres could be damaging against anyone.

Which young player should we watch out for at your club? Chelsea boasts so many quality youngsters watching out for just one can be a hard task. Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Oscar among others have already announced themselves to English football. Therefore, look for Kevin De Bruyne to have a breakout year and capture some headlines.

Which of this summer's signings catches your eye? There have been some really interesting and exciting signings in this summer's window and as they do every year, I'm sure one of the bargain buys will be a household name come next May. However the signings to capture my eye have been Wilfried Bony going to Swansea and Spurs signing of Nacer Chadli, look for them both to have big seasons. This being said though, expect there to be some more big signings before the window shuts.

Do you have a tip for the Golden Boot? I would have to say it will be a striker from a top 10 team (that including Bony, Ricky van Wolfswinkel and possibly even Benteke). However, I can see Robin van Persie, Roberto Soldado or Torres winning the Golden Boot. This assuming Torres can find his best form of course and I believe Man City's forwards will all share the goals. Perhaps even Olivier Giroud, he has shown some quality signs however currently lacks consistency, similar to Torres. Don't discount Luis Suarez if he stays in England either.


Click here for Sky Bet's Chelsea specials


Crystal Palace - Kevin Meacher

What are the expectations for your club this season? Obviously very low expectations. Palace were favourites for relegation from the Championship last season yet won promotion. We go in to this season without two of our key players from last season in Wilf Zaha who has gone to Manchester United and leading scorer Glenn Murray is out with an injury until next year. The club is operated professionally, at last, by businessmen who are also lifelong Palace fans. We will not be spending millions on one player or paying players over our self-imposed salary cap. The squad was light last season and remains that way as the new season draws ever closer. We may surprise a few people and finishing 17th would be like winning the league to us.

Who will win the title? With several of the top teams having new managers it is something of a lottery this year - a lottery though that has only three numbers to choose from! I think David Moyes will need at least a season to find his feet at Manchester United and the same for Manuel Pellegrini at Manchester City. Given the 'Special One' has been there and done it before I am going to pick Chelsea for this year's title.

Who will join the winners in the top-four? Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal - such an easy game these days which is such a shame.

Which three teams will be relegated? Crystal Palace and Hull are both likely to go back down. I believe it will be Sunderland who accompanies them.

Which club do you think can surpass pre-season expectations? I think Cardiff will give it a good go and can see them finishing mid-table. They have to get off to a good start though otherwise pressure will build on the manager. I have a sneaky feeling Southampton may find themselves in the top eight come next May.

Is your manager the right man for now and the future? I was never Ian Holloway's biggest fan but he is winning me over. How he sets up 'his' team this year will be key. So long as we continue to improve the club then I believe he will be with us regardless of where we finish in the league.

Who will be the key player for your club this season? Our team will be very much fighting on an 'all for one' basis but as he was last season I can see Mile Jedinak being the being heart of the team. Also watch out for Joel Ward at right back who surpassed my expectations of him in his first season last year.

Which young player should we watch out for at your club? Unquestionably Johnny Williams. This is the best player Palace have ever produced in my opinion and I started watching the club in 1959. 'Jonniesta" is destined to be a star. The club's strength is its academy and I hope we will see the likes of Reise Allassani and Sullay KaiKai being given their opportunity.

Which of this summer's signings catches your eye? I hope there will be several new additions to the squad prior to the start of the season but for now I am looking forward to seeing how Jose Campana plays. Dwight Gayle is an undoubted talent but only time will tell if he can make it in the top flight immediately - although I am hoping!

Do you have a tip for the Golden Boot? Difficult to see past RVP especially as Luis Suarez is taking a couple of months off before joining the race - if he joins it at all.


Click here for Sky Bet's Palace specials


Everton - Gareth Miller

What are the expectations for your club this season? Everton have so far retained the full strength of their squad and added to the team early in the window but a new manager always adds a question mark over expected results. The Toffees should expect to remain challenging for a European position during Roberto Martinez's maiden season.

Who will win the title? Regardless of their full squad strength there is no defence in the league that can withstand the Manchester United attack force. United will struggle with clean sheets but keep to their 'we will score one more' formula.

Who will join the winners in the top-four? Manchester City and Chelsea will continue to buy world class talent and ensure themselves a top-four spot again. If Tottenham can acquire a quality striker (or two) then there is no reason why they can't give the other three teams a run for their money.

Which three teams will be relegated? As dominant as Cardiff were last season I think they will struggle in their first Premier League season and will not be able to keep up with the pace. Stoke have stagnated over the past few seasons but without Tony Pulis' resilience won't have the home fortress they used to. The final team will be relegated through the addition of their unstable manager - Sunderland. Paolo Di Canio is too reckless and his belief that heart will win you the game will fall down by the fact it doesn't.

Which club do you think can surpass pre-season expectations? As an Everton fan it hurts to say but I think people underestimate Liverpool. The big team fans have got used to the idea that Liverpool are not what they used to be - which is true - but whilst people were laughing at Liverpool they started last season at the bottom of the table, they spent the middle of the season in the middle and the final part of the season saw them potentially challenging for Europe. This continuous improvement in form will be carried in to this season.

Is your manager the right man for now and the future? David Moyes has left Everton with a very good, low cost starting XI. I believe that Martinez will exploit Everton's current strengths and bring in the thing that we have desperately been lacking over the past ten years - depth. Martinez has brought in one player for each section of the pitch so far and there's no reason why he can't take a challenging Everton team and reinforce our target as a European team.

Who will be the key player for your club this season? With Martinez preferring a free flowing attacking formation I think that if Kevin Mirallas is played 'in the hole' behind the strikers then his nickname as 'the Belgian Ronaldo' will be realised in the Premier League. His skill and aggression were shown in flashes last season but this year will be the year that Mirallas runs rampant through the Premier League defences.

Which young player should we watch out for at your club? Barcelona have sent out an up and coming star to Everton on a year-long loan in the form of Gerard Deulofeu. He's an attacking winger and should be able to aid Everton in being yet another source of chances.

Which of this summer's signings catches your eye? Nicolas Anelka has won three FA Cups, two Premier League titles, two Community Shields, 1 Champions League medal, 1 Intertoto Cup medal, the Turker Super Lig and the Italian Serie A. He's had a medal filled career and has proven himself to be a goalscorer in the Premier League and WBA got him for free. A proven goalscorer is something an awful lot of teams are yearning for right now and WBA may have made an outstanding catch here.

Do you have a tip for the Golden Boot? The more games you can play the more games you can score in - don't bite anyone.


Click here for Sky Bet's Everton specials


Fulham - Hasan Moosa

What are the expectations for your club this season? Primarily it would be for Fulham to stay clear of relegation. With a bit of luck we might push for the top 10, but we will have to make some good recruits first to do that.

Who will win the title? I think Chelsea under the management of Jose Mourinho will definitely challenge for the Premier League this year, alongside City and United. I'd say Chelsea though.

Who will join the winners in the top-four? Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United will all finish in the top four, but the final place will go down to the wire. If Spurs keep Gareth Bale then I'd say them, but if not it's got to be Arsenal. Liverpool could also challenge.

Which three teams will be relegated? Crystal Palace will get relegated, and probably Hull as well. In fact, I can see all the newly promoted teams getting relegated this year, so I'd probably say Cardiff as well.

Which club do you think can surpass pre-season expectations? I can see Norwich doing really well this year. They've made some good acquisitions such as Leroy Fer and Ricky van Wolfswinkel and I can see them doing really well.

Is your manager the right man for now and the future? I haven't been that convinced with Martin Jol. He attracts big players to the club, but isn't as flexible as we need. This season will be big for him, as last season almost ended with disaster.

Who will be the key player for your club this season? Once again, it's got to be Dimitar Berbatov. He really is incredible and we were very much a one man team last season. Bryan Ruiz has a lot to prove and he had a good pre-season, so he could be one to watch out for.

Which young player should we watch out for at your club? Last season it was Alex Kacaniklic this season it will be Kerim Frei. There was reported interest from Galatasaray but he chose to stay and is a real prospect. This could be his breakthrough season. One to watch out for.

Which of this summer's signings catches your eye? Victor Wanyama at Southampton was a shock and Wilfried Bony at Swansea could both prove good signings. Also Emanuele Giaccherini was a shrewd buy by Paolo Di Canio as was Jozy Altidore.

Do you have a tip for the Golden Boot? Robin van Persie obviously but also Roberto Soldado. Sergio Aguero or Alvaro Negredo could also compete, and we could see some shocks like Bony, Christian Benteke and Altidore who have all scored well previously. I'd put my money on van Persie though.


Click here for Sky Bet's Fulham specials


Hull City - Reg Anderson

What are the expectations for your club this season? I'm confident that relegation will not be an issue (unlike the national media who have us as favourites). Lower to mid table will be more than acceptable.

Who will win the title? Manchester United.

Who will join the winners in the top-four? Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal.

Which three teams will be relegated? Crystal Palace, Fulham, Stoke City.

Which club do you think can surpass pre-season expectations? Other than the Tigers, Norwich City.

Is your manager the right man for now and the future? Steve Bruce would not have been my first choice as manager but I will admit I was wrong and he has produced an attacking formation with young players full of ambition and a point to prove. He's here for the long term (hopefully).

Who will be the key player for your club this season? Sone Aluko. Injury robbed him of the second half of last season but he should be raring to go and may be the surprise package.

Which young player should we watch out for at your club? James Chester. Just signed a new contract. A classy defender who is comfortable on the ball and has the playing style of a young Bobby Moore.

Which of this summer's signings catches your eye? Maynor Figueroa - a Brucie favourite who may prove to be a Brucie bonus.

Do you have a tip for the Golden Boot? Robin van Persie.


Click here for Sky Bet's Hull specials


Liverpool - Ken Livermore

What are the expectations for your club this season? With the future of Luis Suarez still not settled at this time, it is very hard to know what to expect from Liverpool this season. The club needs to get back in the top four ASAP, but without Suarez this is going to be a big ask, unless we get a quality replacement for him. With stalwarts Carragher and Reina gone there is going to be a lot of pressure and expectations put on some very young shoulders. A top six finish, and a domestic cup would be an excellent return on the season, but the manner of play is going to be the interesting thing.

Who will win the title? Having signed Paulinho and Soldado, if they can keep Bale, then Spurs would be my surprise pick for champions. To date Arsenal have not made any of their promised signings, so it is hard to judge their challenge at this time. United, City, and Chelsea all have new managers, and could well need a season to establish themselves, but I do expect Chelsea to be right in the mix.

Who will join the winners in the top-four? I expect all the usual suspects to be involved, but it really is wide open this season. It really is a case of perm any four from six.

Which three teams will be relegated? There really is a huge gulf between the PL and the Championship, and I simply can't see any of the new boys beating the drop. Their squads are not strong enough to last a whole season, so straight back down I am afraid.

Which club do you think can surpass pre-season expectations? Maybe not a surprise, but I am going to pick Liverpool. If things click, Liverpool have the ability within their squad to play winning football. They might just be able to grab that fourth spot if the likes of City and United don't perform for their new managers.

Is your manager the right man for now and the future? Given all that the club has gone through over the last five seasons we had reached a stage when we had to strip the squad down, and rebuild. With a restricted budget, and no CL football this was never going to be an easy task. BR has certainly exceeded my expectations in what he is achieving. Philippe Coutinhio was a steal, and getting a quality keeper like Simon Mignolet was a stroke of genius. If BR can now turn the potential into results I expect him to be at Anfield for a very long time.

Who will be the key player for your club this season? Stevie Gerrard is now the last remaining link between the old and new Liverpool. He is going to be vital as both the on and off field leader. He has to mould a squad of mainly young guns into a team that can live up to the Liverpool expectations. He has to be the one to set the example of what playing for the Reds is all about. Probably the most vital season in his career.

Which young player should we watch out for at your club? Jordon Ibe. Jordon is one of those rare young men who is blessed with mercurial ability, intelligence, and an attitude that is rarely found in someone of such tender years. He has come through the academy on the heels of Raheem Sterling, and the two youngsters are the perfect foil for each other. Given the opportunity this season, (and I believe he will be), Jordon will be the young man everyone is talking about.

Which of this summer's signings catches your eye? Mignolet is a keeper of true class, and Iago Aspas is already showing his ability to get the ball in the net, but neither of them would be my pick of the signings. With Carragher retired and Reina moving on, it was essential to get an experienced player in to organise, and control the defence. Kolo Toure was the perfect player for the role, and to get him on a free was a true mark of genius from BR. If Liverpool do achieve anything this season it will be on the back of a Toure influenced defence.

Do you have a tip for the Golden Boot? Luis Suarez (hopefully for Liverpool!!)


Click here for Sky Bet's Liverpool specials


Manchester City - Dom Woodhams

What are the expectations for your club this season? Top-two finish.

Who will win the title? As much as I would love for City to grab another title I believe the new signings may need time to settle in the league and the new manager to find the right starting line-up. I think it could be Chelsea's year this year as I could see this being Lamps and JT's final full season and obviously the return of the Special One.

Who will join the winners in the top-four? Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham as long as they keep Bale?

Which three teams will be relegated? Southampton, Cardiff and Fulham.

Which club do you think can surpass pre-season expectations? I think Palace may impress a few people this season but need to prove they can complete without Wilfried Zaha.

Is your manager the right man for now and the future? Manuel Pellegrini was very impressive at Malaga and I am interested what he will bring to the table with tactics and man managing. Mancini cracked it the year they won and most Premier League sides could not handle their movement and way of play but something didn't click last year and we looked like a team of individuals.

Who will be the key player for your club this season? I believe the new strike-force will be key to success if they can find their feet early on. The key player this year has to be Joe Hart - we conceded too many goals last season in matches we shouldn't of.

Which young player should we watch out for at your club? I think John Guidetti should be given an opportunity to show his worth.

Which of this summer's signings catches your eye? Jesus Navas looks like he will be quite dangerous coming forward to assist.

Do you have a tip for the Golden Boot? I believe Wayne Rooney will stay due to United not letting him go and may have his best season yet to interest other clubs.


Click here for Sky Bet's Man City specials


Manchester United - Kumar Amritesh

What are the expectations for your club this season? Aiming to be champions again. Won't expect too much from David Moyes in his first season, so, a top-three finish will do too. Consistent and good football is a priority, which hasn't quite been achieved in pre-season yet. We need to mount a serious title challenge, even if we don't win it.

Who will win the title? The title race, for me, will be contested between Chelsea and Manchester United. I feel City with their change of managers will be a little off the pace, especially given that this will be Pellegrini's first season in the Premier League. Even though Chelsea will be hot favourites with Mourinho in charge, I feel United will just about nick it.

Who will join the winners in the top-four? Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal. Spurs will come close once again, but I feel Arsenal will again pip them to the last spot.

Which three teams will be relegated? Newcastle, Crystal Palace, Hull. Just feel that all the turmoil behind the scenes at Newcastle is going to show on the field too.

Which club do you think can surpass pre-season expectations? Aston Villa. They have a great manager and looks like they have made some astute signings too. With Christian Benteke boosting morale of the entire team by signing a new contract, I expect Villa to kick on and secure a mid-table finish.

Is your manager the right man for now and the future? Yes. He has a lot to prove but I think he'll let us all know by the end of the season why Sir Alex Ferguson hand-picked him. He knows what the PL is all about, knows how to maintain stability, knows how to handle a squad the stature of United. The only thing that he doesn't have is experience at winning trophies. Hopefully at United, he can achieve that too.

Who will be the key player for your club this season? With Wayne Rooney probably on his way out sooner or later, I think it's going to be a big season for Shinji Kagawa. Finally he should get to play in favoured position, and, that might help dry Jurgen Klopp's tears. We all know how well Moyes deployed Leon Osman in a similar position at Everton, and I expect him to do the same with Shinji. He has looked bright (although wasteful) in pre-season in that position, and come the start of the season, I feel he is the man who will make a difference coming in from deep and making runs into the box playing off the lone striker.

Which young player should we watch out for at your club? I've said this quite a few times on the TC too - Wilfried Zaha. Looks class and reminds me a lot Cristiano Ronaldo in his earlier days. Still has a lot to improve, but, he's certainly going to be a regular starter.

Which of this summer's signings catches your eye? Ricky van Wolfswinkel to Norwich. A lot of the top clubs were linked to him a couple of seasons ago. Will be interesting to see what they missed out on, or, why they didn't go for him.

Do you have a tip for the Golden Boot? Not too many strikers seem to be competing for that these days. City are going to have to rotate their strikers, because all of them are class and would hate to sit on the bench. That means I don't expect anyone from City to cross the 18 goal barrier. Luis Suarez - you never know how many games he's going to play. So, I'll go with the winner of the golden boot for the last two seasons - RVP.


Click here for Sky Bet's Man United specials


Newcastle United - Colin Harrison

What are the expectations for your club this season? I would be hoping for a better season than last year. A top half finish would be seen as success due the fact we haven't (or don't seem likely to) swooped for anyone.

Who will win the title? I think Manchester United will still be the team to beat.

Who will join the winners in the top-four? Same old faces of Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal, in that order.

Which three teams will be relegated? Hull, Crystal Palace and Southampton.

Which club do you think can surpass pre-season expectations? Cardiff might surprise a few teams.

Is your manager the right man for now and the future? Yes, as long as he doesn't get caught up in the Joe Kinnear mess. If Kinnear keeps away from first-team duties, I'm sure Alan Pardew's mind will be right. If not, he could be gone before Christmas.

Who will be the key player for your club this season? Yohan Cabaye. Last season was typical 'second season syndrome'. Let's hope he is back to his best as I expect to see him playing well ready for the World Cup selection.

Which young player should we watch out for at your club? Haris Vuckic - just back from a bad injury which kept him out for most of last season, but hopefully he will be attempting to make up for lost time.

Which of this summer's signings catches your eye? I think Nicolas Anelka to West Brom is a good signing. Norwich, by signing Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper are showing their intent on staying in the league. Obviously looking forward to seeing the likes of Jesus Navas and Paulinho in the Premiership.

Do you have a tip for the Golden Boot? The usual suspects of Sergio Aguero or Luis Suarez.


Click here for Sky Bet's Newcastle specials


Norwich City - David Morley

What are the expectations for your club this season? At the end of last season we would just be looking at survival for this term. But there has been such an incredible change with the players we are bringing in that now most fans would be looking at a top half finish. Looking at some of the other teams, I'm no longer worried about going down. We'll be aiming to match what Swansea achieved last season.

Who will win the title? Manchester City. It is their turn. Manchester United will do well to come second - the optimistic vibes are not so strong this season. I wonder why?!

Who will join the winners in the top-four? Same old, same old - Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United - in that order.

Which three teams will be relegated? Crystal Palace, Hull, and Sunderland. Already have the feeling is that Sunderland are going to really struggle. They will be the kind of team the newcomers will look to beat. They looked woeful for much of last season, and if they have a bad start then they may find themselves bottom on Christmas Day. And that will be that.

Which club do you think can surpass pre-season expectations? Cardiff, Arsenal and Aston Villa. The Welsh club are on a real high and have some quality players full of confidence. It's about time they were in the top flight. Come the start of the season I think Arsenal will have bagged a star player from somewhere, and with Theo Walcott allowed to do what he does best they will be much closer this time around. Villa have the best manager in the league and he knows what he's doing. He has brought in Jores Okore who is a very exciting young player, and, most impressive than all, persuaded Christian Benteke to stay!

Is your manager the right man for now and the future? Yes it seems so. Chris Hughton will have impressed most fans this summer, and he could not have done any more than he did after replacing Paul Lambert. Everyone is behind him, and there is real optimism in the air. He's just right for us.

Who will be the key player for your club this season? Robert Snodgrass. We are not selling anyone that we don't want to sell, but West Ham have been told where to put their money. He is our key man. Of course, the new strike force of Ricky van Wolfwinkel and Gary Hooper are hoped to be stars, but the goals will need assists. Snodgrass is the man.

Which young player should we watch out for at your club? Nathan Redmond. The new recruit from Birmingham has pace to burn and he could thrive in the Premier League.

Which of this summer's signings catches your eye? Andre Schurrle for Chelsea. They have been tracking him for a while and the team is beginning to look like one that can throw down a real challenge for the title. For Norwich, Leroy Fer. Have heard nothing but good things about this lad, and he has impressed in pre-season. Could turn out to be a bargain buy and a real star. Richer clubs than us were interested in him!

Do you have a tip for the Golden Boot? Value wise an each-way bet on Theo Walcott. Manchester United may not have their best season, Luis Suarez doesn't want to play, Gareth Bale will leave, and at Manchester City they share the goals out. So it's worth looking at some of the alternatives at much bigger prices.


Click here for Sky Bet's Norwich specials


Southampton - Sam Wilkes

What are the expectations for your club this season? The bookies have tipped us for ninth place which I think is a realistic target, that being said we have the potential I think to finish in the top seven if we hit the form we are capable of.

Who will win the title? I fancy Manchester City to regain the title this season.

Who will join the winners in the top-four? Chelsea close second, Manchester United third and Arsenal fourth.

Which three teams will be relegated? Stoke, Hull and Crystal Palace.

Which club do you think can surpass pre-season expectations? I fancy Swansea to have an excellent season. They have strengthened in all the right areas and Wilfried Bony is a great signing to take them forward.

Is your manager the right man for now and the future? I was sceptical when Mauricio Pochettino took over from Nigel Adkins but he quickly gained my confidence as the right man to take us to the top.

Who will be the key player for your club this season? Morgan Schneiderlin is the unsung hero in the Premier League. He could easily walk into a top four team but has stayed with us through the dark days.

Which young player should we watch out for at your club? We have two young players just about to break into the first-team this season in Calum Chambers and Lloyd Isgrove. They have both had a decent pre-season.

Which of this summer's signings catches your eye? Jesus Navas has always been a very underrated player for me but now he's moved to Manchester City he will really shine.

Do you have a tip for the Golden Boot? I'm going to go for Edin Dzeko for this season's top scorer. I can see him having a great season and creating a good partnership with Stevan Jovetic.


Click here for Sky Bet's Southampton specials


Stoke City - Andy Thorley

What are the expectations for your club this season? I think the key is not to expect too much. Tony Pulls left us with a ridiculously unbalanced squad - although Mark Hughes has already began sorting the full-back area, which was particularly threadbare. Bottom half, but enough quality to stay up. If we could find a goalscorer from somewhere then 11th or 12th looks realistic, if not then 15th.

Who will win the title? I can't look past Chelsea. Like the other big clubs they are in a state of transition, but they look better equipped than the rest.

Who will join the winners in the top-four? The Manchester clubs and Spurs. Ideally not Arsenal.

Which three teams will be relegated? Crystal Palace and Hull for definite then perm any one from about nine - including us. Sunderland, if it all goes wrong up there.

Which club do you think can surpass pre-season expectations? Cardiff have bought well, as have Norwich, so maybe one of those two. I'd like to say Stoke, but that would be heart ruling head.

Is your manager the right man for now and the future? Who knows? A change was needed and the board acted decisively and quickly to bring Hughes in, so they obviously think so. He is saying the right things, so we will see. I certainly hope so.

Who will be the key player for your club this season? Erik Pieters. It's so long since we had a natural left-back that I think we are all looking forward to seeing how he settles in after his move from PSV. Plus, it will be interesting to see how Jermaine Pennant takes his latest last chance; he was released by Pulis, but re-signed by Hughes. On his day he can provide some fine crosses.

Which young player should we watch out for at your club? One of the main failings of the Tony Pulis era was that we have almost no young players (Steven N'Zonzi (24) won the Young Player of the Year award last term!) but Flo Cuvelier is a highly rated midfielder. Marc Muniesa has been talked of a lot since we nabbed him from Barca in June.

Which of this summer's signings catches your eye? I'll be keen to see how Andreas Cornelius gets on at Cardiff. He was heavily linked with us last term.

Do you have a tip for the Golden Boot? Yes, don't bet on a Stoke player to win it! I'll be boring and go for Robin van Persie.


Click here for Sky Bet's Stoke specials


Sunderland - Howard Tooley

What are the expectations for your club this season? Initially not great but give Paolo Di Canio his due he seems to have installed a feel-good factor with the squad and a top 10 spot is more than manageable. The team seems to have bonded very well in pre-season and they have had some good results.

Who will win the title? Manchester City. I think Manuel Pellegrini is a very astute manger and will not be 'hunting headlines'. He will let his team do the talking and has made some good signings. They now have four very good strikers and will be a very potent attacking force.

Who will join the winners in the top-four? Arsenal - Chelsea - Manchester United. Know that these are the old favourites but Liverpool and Tottenham are not consistent enough and Everton will be very much in transition and still think Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines will be sold. It certainly will be interesting because three of the clubs have new managers.

Which three teams will be relegated? Stoke - Crystal Palace - Cardiff. Neither Crystal Palace nor Cardiff have made any significant buys and Stoke won't have the same fortitude they had when playing under Tony Pulis.

Which club do you think can surpass pre-season expectations? Sunderland, maybe a bit bias but the players certainly seem to be fired up and want to play for the club which is a significant change from last season when the supporters were short changed.

Is your manager the right man for now and the future? I initially said no and only results will tell but will say yes due to a good pre-season and the local press seem to be reporting a very good atmosphere in the camp and the players are certainly responding to Di Canio. Also Di Canio has got rid of the players who were inconsistent and didn't put in any effort.

Who will be the key player for your club this season? Stephane Sessegnon He seems to have had a total re-think and wants to play for the club.

Which young player should we watch out for at your club? David Moberg Karlsson seems very pacy and has very good ball control, one to watch if he gets the games.

Which of this summer's signings catches your eye? Emanuele Giaccherini is very creative but also defends well.

Do you have a tip for the Golden Boot? Sergio Aguero.


Click here for Sky Bet's Sunderland specials


Swansea City - Gareth Hunt

What are the expectations for your club this season? With an extra competition to compete in this year it must surely be able to make sure we can get a team on the pitch for every game! Seriously though in the Premier League most fans would agree that consolidating our position in the Premier League from around eighth-10th place would be regarded as a success and Michael Laudrup has said as much as well. The FA Cup and League Cup are lotteries but quarter-finals in each at least would be expected as would progression to at least the group stages of the Europa League.

Who will win the title? I think Manchester City have recruited and exited the right types of players and expect them to pip United and Chelsea to the title.

Who will join the winners in the top-four? Apart from City, United and Chelsea of course I don't expect anything more than the usual battle between Arsenal & Tottenham. Despite what others say I think Liverpool can also challenge for fourth but only if they get rid of Luis Suarez. I genuinely believe they would do better without him as Brendan Rodgers' philosophy, as he did with us, requires egos to be left at the front door.

Which three teams will be relegated? I would love to say Cardiff here but I do think that Malky Mackay is the right person to lead them at the moment. Plus, we want to be able to beat them again next year! Realistically I think Crystal Palace and Hull would be most people's picks and I would have to agree. Despite them beating us in the final game last year my other tip would be Fulham - I haven't been impressed by Martin Jol's management for a while nor their signings so far.

Which club do you think can surpass pre-season expectations? We are always capable of beating expectations - just look at last year! I am torn between Liverpool (possible top four) and Cardiff (avoiding relegation) here - both would definitely be exceeding most people's expectations by doing so.

Is your manager the right man for now and the future? Laudrup is absolutely the right man for now. As for the future I would love him to stay long term but realistically believe he is never going to be a long term manager. What I am confident in though is that our chairman Huw Jenkins and the board will have already have a perfect replacement lined up when he does leave. In Huw we trust !

Who will be the key player for your club this season? The obvious answer is Wilfried Bony. Our record signing has been purchased for one reason which is to score goals and release the pressure and reliance on Michu. The early signs are definitely encouraging.

Which young player should we watch out for at your club? Alejandro Pozuelo. He played only 11 games for Real Betis last year and, as an attacking midfielder will be behind Michu in that area. When he does get an opportunity though I believe he is capable of showing flashes of real brilliance.

Which of this summer's signings catches your eye? Somewhat surprisingly I would say Jonjo Shelvey even though I, like a lot of fans, were probably a little underwhelmed when we paid £5m+ for him. From the pre-season games he has shown an impressive range of passing and added a different dimension to our game. I really think he will be pushing out De Guzman and Ki for game time this year.

Do you have a tip for the Golden Boot? Wilfried Bony! Or perhaps, maybe more realistically, Robin Van Persie...


Click here for Sky Bet's Swansea specials


Tottenham Hotspur - Rich Lynn

What are the expectations for your club this season? To continue to progress. Last season saw our record Premier League points tally but of course missed out on the Holy Grail of Champions League football by a point again. Top four has to be the expectation this season. With the spine of the side strengthened with the return of Younes Kaboul and Sandro and the purchase of Paulinho the signs look positive. Of course, much will hinge on the sale/non-sale of Gareth Bale and the purchase of at least one striker. If Bale remains and a striker is signed, then, with a bit of luck on the injury front for once, and with all the comings and goings at the established top three, then a real push could be made to get closer to the summit. If Bale goes, then again it's a real push for the Champions League spots and undoubtedly will be tight. Judging by last season, I think we can also expect a real go at the Europa League. There is a section of support who are against this and feel we should concentrate on the league but the majority, myself included regard it as the second biggest trophy in Europe and embrace it as such and love nothing more than a European night at the Lane. With the ridiculous drop-out system from the Champions League we played Champions League clubs every knock-out round anyway.

Who will win the title? Manchester City for me. They have bought very well this time around and now have a stupendous array of riches going forward, both up front and in midfield. Possibly not the greatest depth in defence so if any injuries on that front at the same time or long-term would be a worry but they look the safest selection for me in a very unpredictable season.

Who will join the winners in the top-four? At time of writing it's difficult to make any confident predictions. With so much transfer activity still to happen I would much rather be writing this on September 3. As it stands I think the remaining three places are up for grabs by four clubs, namely Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Spurs. Chelsea would be most likely but look woefully short up front. With that department added to with a top quality striker they would be a good thing - is Jose really only banking on Wayne Rooney? Man United are very short in midfield. That and the loss of the Fergie factor makes for a very unpredictable season. Will RVP also stay fit for another season? History says no but maybe those days are behind him. Should Rooney go and not be replaced, they will need a good season injury wise for me. Arsenal, look very weak up front and not overly great in defence. Very little cover in either department but of course are simply always there and are of course the only club of last season's top four without a new manager which of course is an advantage. Spurs are also weak up front and their chances have been highlighted above. A quick mention to Liverpool here. I can't see them having the consistency to finish in the top four but they will definitely have a say in who does. They always manage to get up for the big games and can take points off anyone and of course there is the Luis Suarez saga. A sale to Arsenal would certainly boost their chances. More so than staying at Liverpool would enhance theirs. He strikes me as a player that would hardly be doing his best if not allowed to get his own way.

Which three teams will be relegated? Crystal Palace would have to be a very short price to return to the Championship. Losing Wilfried Zaha who was key early season and of course in the play-offs will not make things easy. Ian Holloway may surprise a few early again but surely they will be down there at the end. Next up, Cardiff. They apparently have some decent backing behind them but at the time or writing they seem to have been pretty quiet in the transfer market and they will surely need more coming in to stay in the Promised Land for more than a season. Lastly, a possible surprise package, Stoke. This might be a slightly biased pick as I have really had enough of watching the 'football' they produce week in week out. I only have to watch two of their games a season but that is two too many. How their fans watch it every week is beyond me. Seemingly, it was too much for Peter Coates as well and Tony Pulis paid the ultimate (rightful) price. Having seen what Mark Hughes did with QPR however, could lightning strike twice? Many pundits have said Stoke should be careful what they wish for but I for one am glad they are at least trying.

Which club do you think can surpass pre-season expectations? I'll go for Norwich here. They looked to have spent really well this summer and they could definitely be a new entrant into the top half. With the two strikers they have bought to replace the not so free scoring Grant Holt and co they could really surprise a few. I'm not sure what their expectations are but I think they'll do well. Of course being managed by a Spurs legend has to be a plus too!

Is your manager the right man for now and the future? Yes, 100 per cent. Well, before he gets poached by our sister club Real Madrid anyway (the new 'relationship' seems to be pretty one way!!). I was more than happy when Harry was shown the door. He'd done a good job getting us in and around the CL spots it was abundantly clear that he had reached his upper limit as a manager. The purchases of Louis Saha and Ryan Nelsen were simply mystifying for want of a better word and some of his later season decision making on the pitch was just rank poor. He was clearly banking on fourth being good enough rather than go for third. I was more than happy when AVB was appointed. He looked a fine manager in the making at Porto - enough so for Chelsea to pay a reported £15m compensation for his services. It seems pretty clear that he was charged with moving the old guard on and having done exactly that completely lost the dressing room (though of course they still ended up with the CL and FA Cup). So having been very poorly treated there I was more than happy for him to have another chance at the Lane, and I certainly was far from disappointed last season. It seems we have gone from players being told to 'run about' and 'enjoy yourself' to a slick professional, well drilled outfit. He seems a fan of the high line defensively so went out and bought a keeper that is lightning off his line so makes perfect sense. He has turned Bale from a raw talent to a player that is going to be the highest transfer fee in history. He has to take enormous praise for that and has certainly struck up quite a bond with the lad - our main hope of Bale staying in all honesty. So yes, he is without doubt the man for now and the future - as long as our club can keep progressing sufficiently to meet his undoubtedly lofty personal ambitions.

Who will be the key player for your club this season? At time of writing it's a no brainer, Gareth Bale. Should GB head off for sunnier climes, then I will go for either of the returning Younes Kaboul or Sandro. Both looked immense prior to their lengthy injuries. Touch wood they can play a full season and with the improvement they showed before injury they will be like two new signings.

Which young player should we watch out for at your club? In terms of the first team, a lad known as Little Tommy Carroll. A fan's favourite, we are hoping he gets a lot more game time, with the likes of Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore possibly heading out the door. A player in the Modric mould who is always looking for the ball in the congested centre of the park, looking to move it around quickly. Looks to have good vision and a fine left foot and will certainly be a big player in the future. With the likes of Sandro, Paulinho and Mousa Dembele to displace it's unknown how much game time he'll get again but injuries will no doubt play a huge part again and he will be called upon. Certainly see him playing a big part in the Europa League.

Which of this summer's signings catches your eye? For sure, I think this will be done sometime in the next few weeks but so far, Ricky van Wolfswinkel to Norwich. He could be a real steal and is one of the reasons I have tipped them above to exceed expectations. Who knows, he could be this year's Michu.

Do you have a tip for the Golden Boot? Can't see past the reigning holder, RVP here. Purely on the fact that he is going to play, barring injury of course, every game. Man City have a few exceptional forwards but will surely be rotated far more. Bale will be somewhere close IF he is in the Prem and IF he continues his improvement. Suarez will obviously struggle as will miss numerous games with bans. Chelsea and Arsenal don't have anyone capable of big numbers, along with the rest of the league. Were RVP to have an injury and Bale not to be around however and the 20 mark was the target then it would be wide open.


Click here for Sky Bet's Tottenham specials


West Bromwich Albion - Josh Harman

What are the expectations for your club this season? Finishing eighth last season was an incredible achievement for a club of our size so anything close to that would be a great season. Realistically, I think any team outside the obvious top seven are always looking over their shoulder, so maintaining Premier League status will always be our main aim.

Who will win the title? If I was a betting man, I would say Chelsea. I personally feel they have the best midfield in the league and if they do manage to sign a top striker between now and the end of the window, I couldn't look beyond them. Jose Mourinho knows how to win the Premier League as well.

Who will join the winners in the top-four? Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal. I don't think there will be many surprises where the top four is concerned. I think if Spurs lose Bale they won't have what it takes to challenge. Liverpool have the biggest chance of grabbing a spot if they keep Luis Suarez IMO.

Which three teams will be relegated? Hardest question really as it is getting harder and harder to call each year. Right now I would say Hull, Crystal Palace and Stoke. Mark Hughes has got a very tough job on his hands and I think he could struggle whilst I think Cardiff are making some good signings and Malky Mackay is a top manager who might just see them through.

Which club do you think can surpass pre-season expectations? I would have to say Liverpool, as I say, I think if they can keep Suarez they could be a real force. Philippe Coutinho is a brilliant player and alongside Daniel Sturridge and Suarez could hurt defences. If they manage to make a few additions before the windows out then I generally think they can push for Champions league.

Is your manager the right man for now and the future? I must admit I was nervous when Steve Clarke was appointed as it was impossible to tell how he would convert from number two to being the main man. However, he surpassed all expectations and I really think the set-up at Albion suits him. Our director of football handles transfers and allows him to focus on coaching the team which is his main strength.

Who will be the key player for your club this season? Hard to say as we will be busy from now until the end of the transfer market. I am convinced Nicolas Anelka will prove to be a very shrewd signing, from what I have seen in pre-season, he hasn't lost his pace and still possesses all the quality that made him the name he is. As always, Youssouf Mulumbu will be a standout performer and once again prove how important he is to us.

Which young player should we watch out for at your club? Saido Berahino. He has scored a couple of goals in pre-season and has made Clarke think twice about what kind of impact he could have on our season. He is quick, strong, skilful and is deadly in front of goal. WBA have high hopes for him and he is certainly one to watch out for.

Which of this summer's signings catches your eye? There have been some quality signings throughout the league this summer but I am going to go for Nathan Redmond. I have been very impressed every time I have watched and was a little disappointing West Brom didn't go in for him. I think for £2m Norwich have got a real bargain there. I'm also very intrigued to watch Gerard Deulofeu at Everton as I have heard some amazing things about the kid.

Do you have a tip for the Golden Boot? Well the obvious choices would be Van Persie or Suarez but I am going to take a punt on Romelu Lukaku. After watching him for the Baggies last season, I believe if the lad plays games for Chelsea with the likes of Juan Mata and Eden Hazard behind him, he will score a lot of goals.


Click here for Sky Bet's West Brom specials


West Ham United - Tony Hanna

What are the expectations for your club this season? After winning our way back to the Premier League via the play-off final the season before last, West Ham fans would admit that we were expecting a full on relegation battle last season. So, a lofty 10th was a pleasant surprise for all in Claret and Blue. The catalyst was an excellent start to the season where we took advantage of a 'soft draw' in the early part of the season. Yet again we have a similar start to this season and a good start will again be paramount. The Hammers started pre-season on the July 1, ahead of most EPL teams, and this is designed to try to get a flying start again. Some supporters have commented on the 'second season syndrome' and will WHU struggle after 'over achieving' last season? On delving into the stats, only eight teams in 20 seasons have fallen foul of this supposed 'curse' and been relegated, so I am relying more on a gut feel that the Hammers will achieve a similar result to last season - 10th. Watching West Ham last season was like watching two different teams. The team at home played some good attacking football but the team away played a negative style that was despised by the fans and in actual fact did not work. The Hammers finished eighth in the EPL on home form and 17th on away form. Many are hoping that we start to play a more constructive game away from home this season and I expect that will happen except when we take on the top six who will again witness the negative side of Sam. Whilst Alou Diarra and Ravel Morrison spent last season out on loan, both seemed to have mended bridges and will be like new signings for us this season. Razvan Rat at left back looks to have shored up the weak area in our defence and we have at last got good cover in Adrian if Jussi Jaaskelainen gets injured in goal. Our squad is definitely stronger than last season and there is plenty of competition for places - especially in midfield. If all works to plan, a good start and if by Christmas we are relatively safe from the drop zone, I think it will free the team up to have a good crack at the FA Cup in the second half of the season.

Who will win the title? I can't see the winner coming from outside United, City or Chelsea but it will be a unique new season as all three clubs have new managers. Trying to pick the winner will probably come down to what new manager will gel his team the best as they each try to stamp their own style at their new clubs. However, United did have an 11-point margin last season, eased up, and whilst I see this season being much closer I think it will be same again! Manchester United.

Who will join the winners in the top-four? Chelsea for second, City third and Arsenal to pip Spurs once again for fourth.

Which three teams will be relegated? As for the more entertaining end of season antics, I envisage seeing Hull, Palace and Stoke City fans shedding tears on that wonderful last day in the sun!

Which club do you think can surpass pre-season expectations? I think Aston Villa showed enough towards the end of last season to show that they will fare better this time.

Is your manager the right man for now and the future? I have to admit that when Sam Allardyce was appointed at West Ham I was quite nervous, although I was open to giving him a chance after the previous debacles of Gianfranco Zola and Avram Grant. Hammers fans are still divided as to whether he is the right fit for us. My opinion is to look beyond the rights and wrongs of his often changing tactics, and look at the team spirit and harmony on and off the field. We had a divided dressing room when he arrived, and it had been for some years, but the effort I see on the field from this current side is good enough to tell me there is a lot right about what he is doing. It is so important that we remain an EPL side as we look to move to the Olympic Stadium in 2016. The clubs vision of this project will surely mean massive new investors will come on board but if we fail to stay up before then, we will be in quite a deal of strife. For me he is the man for this job.

Who will be the key player for your club this season? This season the key player for us will be Andy Carroll. Like him or not, much of what West Ham try to achieve from set pieces involves AC.

Which young player should we watch out for at your club? Without doubt the most exciting prospect at the club is Ravel Morrison. Loaned out to Birmingham City last season he has returned to West Ham and has had a really bright pre-season. Sir Alex Ferguson had an enormous opinion of the young lad but his off field antics looked likely to destroy an amazing on -field talent. If the lad can continue to knuckle down he will play a big role this season.

Which of this summer's signings catches your eye? I am sure there are many big money moves still to be made, but I do like the look of Swansea signing Wilfried Bony. Swansea snapped up the bargain of the season last year with Michu and they may have spent a lot more on Bony but I think he will be a big hit at the Liberty Stadium.

Do you have a tip for the Golden Boot? I can't look past Robin van Persie.


Click here for Sky Bet's West Ham specials