PREMIER LEAGUE starts here! Our club-by-club guide as Man City, Man Utd, Liverpool and Leeds United gear up for big kick-off

Another Premier League season starts tonight, when new boys Brentford host Arsenal (8pm).

Friday, 13th August 2021, 8:28 am

Here we give you the lowdown on English football’s top tier, with all the ins and outs, and prospects for the season assessed...

Arsenal

Manager: Mikel Arteta

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Manchester City have splashed £100m on England midfielder Jack Grealish

Position last season: 8th

Nickname: The Gunners

Ground: Emirates Stadium

Capacity: 60,260

Bruno Fernandes will be Manchester United’s key man

Key man: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

In: Ben White (Brighton, £50m), Nuno Tavares (Benfica, £7.2m), Albert Sambi Lokonga (Anderlecht, £15.75m)

Out: David Luiz (released), Dinos Mavropanos (Stuttgart, season-long loan), Matteo Guendouzi (Marseille, season-long loan), William Saliba (Marseille, season-long loan)

Chances: Last season again failed to deliver much progress, with hopes of Europa League success ended by defeat to Villareal and former boss Unai Emery in the semi-finals. The Gunners will not be involved in European football this season, which could just help Arteta’s squad regain a foothold on the domestic front.

Virgil van Dijk is back from injury to bolster Liverpool

Aston Villa

Manager: Dean Smith

Position last season: 11th

Nickname: The Villans

Ground: Villa Park

Capacity: 42,682

Key man: Danny Ings

In: Emiliano Buendia (Norwich, £33m), Ashley Young (Inter Milan, free), Leon Bailey (Bayer Leverkusen, undisclosed), Danny Ings (Southampton, £25m), Axel Tuanzebe (Man Utd, loan)

Out: Ahmed Elmohamady (released), Tom Heaton (Man Utd, free), Bjorn Engels (Antwerp, undisclosed), Jack Grealish (Man City £100m)

Chances: After the progress of the last campaign, Villa have spent big this summer, bringing in playmaker Buendia from Norwich for a club-record fee. Smith will be expected to keep the team pushing for the European places.

Brentford

Manager: Thomas Frank

Position last season: Promoted (Championship play-off winners)

Nickname: The Bees

Ground: Brentford Community Stadium

Capacity: 17,250

Key man: Ivan Toney

In: Frank Onyeka (FC Midtjylland, £9m), Kristoffer Ajer (Celtic, £13.5m)

Out: Henrik Dalsgaard (FC Midtjylland, free), Emiliano Marcondes (Bournemouth, free), Ellery Balcombe (Burton, season-long loan), Aaron Pressley (AFC Wimbledon, season-long loan)

Chances: The Bees are very much an unknown quantity heading into a first Premier League campaign in the club’s history. If Toney, top scorer in the Championship last term, finds his feet quickly, Frank’s well-organised side could cause plenty of problems. If not, it could be a harsh reality check at the Community Stadium.

Brighton

Manager: Graham Potter

Position last season: 16th

Nickname: The Seagulls

Ground: Amex Stadium

Capacity: 30,666

Key man: Lewis Dunk

In: Enock Mwepu (RB Salzburg, £18m), Kjell Scherpen (Ajax, £4.2m)

Out: Ben White (Arsenal, £50m), Jose Izquierdo (released), Davy Propper (PSV Eindhoven, free) Bernardo (RB Salzburg, undisclosed), Viktor Gyokeres (Coventry, season-long loan), Mat Ryan (Real Sociedad, free) Alireza Jahanbakhsh (£1m, Feyenoord)

Chances: The Seagulls eventually managed 
to keep themselves clear of the relegation dogfight again yet, but for a couple of results, it could easily have gone either way. Despite having seen key defender White sold to Arsenal, Potter will 
be under pressure to keep the club upwardly mobile rather than be dragged into another survival 
battle.

Burnley

Manager: Sean Dyche

Position last season: 17th

Nickname: The Clarets

Ground: Turf Moor

Capacity: 21,944

Key man: Nick Pope

In: Nathan Collins (Stoke, £12m), Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace, free)

Out: Ben Gibson (Norwich, £8m), Bailey Peacock-Farrell (Sheffield Wednesday, season-long loan), Robbie Brady (released), Jimmy Dunne (QPR, undisclosed)

Chances: Last season was too close a call for Dyche’s side, who lost seven out of their final 10 games. If the Clarets, now backed by new American owners, fail to start well then Dyche could soon find his own future under the spotlight.

Chelsea

Manager: Thomas Tuchel

Position last season: 4th

Nickname: The Blues

Ground: Stamford Bridge

Capacity: 41,631

Key man: Romelu Lukaku

In: Marcus Bettinelli (Fulham, free), Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan, £98m)

Out: Marco Van Ginkel (PSV Eindhoven, free), Willy Caballero (released), Fikayo Tomori (AC Milan, £26.2m), Izzy Brown (Preston, free), Billy Gilmour (Norwich, season-long loan), Victor Moses (Spartak Moscow, £4.5m), Olivier Giroud (AC Milan, £900,000), Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace, £18m), Conor Gallagher (Crystal Palace, season-long loan), Lewis Bate (Leeds, undisclosed)

Chances: German coach Tuchel has plenty of credit in the bank following last season’s Champions League final triumph over Manchester City. Domestic improvement, though, will be the 
prime directive and expect the FA Cup runners-up to have full focus on closing the gap at the top of the table. The signing of Lukaku will bring goals.

Crystal Palace

Manager: Patrick Vieira

Position last season: 14th

Nickname: The Eagles

Ground: Selhurst Park

Capacity: 25,486

Key man: Wilfried Zaha

In: Marc Guehi (Chelsea, £18m), Joachim Andersen (Lyon, £17m), Jacob Montes (Georgetown Hoyas, free), Michael Olise 
(Reading, £8.3m), Remi Matthews (Sunderland, free), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea, season-long 
loan)

Out: Stephen Henderson, Gary Cahill, Nathaniel Clyne, Scott Dann, James McCarthy, Connor Wickham (all released), Wayne Hennessey (Burnley, free), Mamadou Sakho (Montpellier, free), Patrick Van Aanholt (Galatasaray, free), Andros Townsend (Everton, free)

Chances: The Eagles have taken something of a gamble on former Arsenal captain Vieira taking over the reins after Roy Hodgson’s departure. A testing opening schedule means the Frenchman will have to quickly get his progressive ideas across and help get the best of key man Zaha – or the pressure will soon mount.

Everton

Manager: Rafael Benitez

Position last season: 10th

Nickname: The Toffees

Ground: Goodison Park

Capacity: 39,572

Key man: Richarlison

In: Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace, free), Asmir Begovic (Bournemouth, free), Demarai Gray (Bayer Leverkusen, £1.7m)

Out: Theo Walcott (Southampton, free), Joshua King (Watford, free), Yannick Bolasie (released), Muhamed Besic (released), Bernard (Sharjah, £850,000)

Chances: Benitez is another new boss in need of a quick results to help win over the blue half of Merseyside. The Spaniard will aim to succeed where predecessor Carlo Ancelotti could not in getting an under-performing squad into top-six and trophy contention.

Leeds

Manager: Marcelo Bielsa

Position last season: 9th

Nickname: The Whites

Ground: Elland Road

Capacity: 37,890

Key man: Kalvin Phillips

In: Jack Harrison (Man City, £11m), Junior Firpo (Barcelona, £12.8m), Amari Miller (Birmingham, £1m), Sean McGurk (Wigan, undisclosed), Lewis Bate (Chelsea, undisclosed), Kristoffer Klaesson (Valerenga, undisclosed)

Out: Ezgjan Alioski (released), Gaetano Berardi (released), Pablo Hernandez (Castellon, free), Kiko Casilla (Elche, season-long loan), Leif Davis (Bournemouth, season-long loan), Oliver Casey (Blackpool, undisclosed)

Chances: Bielsa continued his Leeds love affair with a respectable top-half finish last season after the club’s 16-year absence from the Premier League. Expect another entertaining campaign of progress at Elland Road – which, fuelled by an expectant capacity crowd, could have them pushing for European qualification.

Leicester City

Manager: Brendan Rodgers

Position last season: 5th

Nickname: The Foxes

Ground: King Power Stadium

Capacity: 32,312

Key man: Youri Tielemans

In: Patson Daka (RB Salzburg, £27m), Boubakary Soumare (Lille, £17m), Ryan Bertand (Southampton, free)

Out: Wes Morgan (retired), Christian Fuchs (Charlotte FC, free), Matty James (Bristol City, free)

Chances: Despite the disappointment of again having narrowly missed out on Champions League qualification, Rodgers’ well-drilled squad can take plenty of momentum from their FA Cup final triumph and head into the new campaign with renewed optimism of cracking the top four.

Liverpool

Manager: Jurgen Klopp

Position last season: 3rd

Nickname: The Reds

Ground: Anfield

Capacity: 54,074

Key man: Virgil van Dijk

In: Ibrahima Konate (RB Leipzig, £36m)

Out: Georginio Wijnaldum (Paris St Germain, free), Sepp van den Berg (Preston, season-long loan), Marko Grujic (Porto, £10.5m), Taiwo Awoniyi (Union Berlin, £6.5m), Harry Wilson (Fulham, £12m)

Chances: Liverpool fans will be hoping the return to fitness of Dutch defender Van Dijk from his serious knee injury can help build another sustained title push after falling so short in their defence last season. The £36million arrival of centre-back Konate from RB Leipzig will also add more steel to the core of a team which has plenty of ground to make up on their rivals.

Manchester City

Manager: Pep Guardiola

Position last season: Champions

Nickname: Citizens

Ground: Etihad Stadium

Capacity: 55,017

Key man: Kevin De Bruyne

In: Jack Grealish (Aston Villa £100m), Scott Carson (Derby, free)

Out: Sergio Aguero (Barcelona, free), Eric Garcia (Barcelona, free), Jack Harrison (Leeds, £11m)

Chances: While their European dream may have come up short again with a tough-to-take defeat by Chelsea in the Champions League final, City were phenomenal as they surged towards another Premier League title under Guardiola. The bar has been set high – but expect it to be raised once more by the team everyone else has to finish above, especially if they find that reliable replacement for Aguero.

Manchester United

Manager: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Position last season: 2nd

Nickname: The Red Devils

Ground: Old Trafford

Capacity: 74,879

Key man: Bruno Fernandes

In: Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund, £73m), Tom Heaton (Aston Villa, free), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid, £41m – subject to medical and personal terms)

Out: Sergio Romero (released), Joel Pereira (released), Tahith Chong (Birmingham, season-long loan), Axel Tuanzebe (Aston Villa, loan)

Chances: United have backed Solskjaer with a summer spending spree, bringing in England winger Sancho and France centre-back Varane. The pressure, though, will soon crank up if the new-look squad does not quickly gel into an effective unit and keep pace with their noisy neighbours.

Newcastle

Manager: Steve Bruce

Position last season: 12th

Nickname: The Magpies

Ground: St James’ Park

Capacity: 52,305

Key man: Alain Saint-Maximin

In: - None

Out: Christian Atsu (Al-Raed, free), Henri Saivet (released), Andy Carroll (released), Florian Lejeune (Alaves, undisclosed)

Chances: Magpies boss Bruce rode out the storm last season, both on and off the pitch, to eventually guide the club to mid-table stability. The background noise is unlikely to fade, especially with demanding fans back at St James’ Park as the takeover saga rumbles on – but Bruce will get on with the job in hand, whether or not he is able to strengthen the squad.

Norwich City

Manager: Daniel Farke

Position last season: Promoted (Championship winners)

Nickname: The Canaries

Ground: Carrow Road

Capacity: 27,244

Key man: Teemu Pukki

In: Milot Rashica (Werder Bremen, £11m), Angus Gunn (Southampton, £5m), Dimitris Giannoulis (PAOK, £7.5m), Ben Gibson (Burnley, £8m), Billy Gilmour (Chelsea, season-long loan), Pierre Lees-Melou (Nice, £3.5m), Christos Tzolis (PAOK, £10m)

Out: Emiliano Buendia (Aston Villa, £33m), Alexander Tettey (Rosenborg, free), Mario Vrancic (Stoke, free), Josip Drmic (Rijeka, season-long loan), Sam McCallum (QPR, loan), Danel Sinani (Huddersfield, loan), Marco Stiepermann, Orjan Nyland, Moritz Leitner (released).

Chances: The Canaries flew straight back up 
with an impressive Championship-winning campaign and should be better prepared for life in the top flight again. After cashing in on key playmaker Buendia for a club-record fee, much expectation will rest on the young shoulders of Scotland midfielder Gilmour following his season loan switch from Chelsea.

Southampton

Manager: Ralph Hasenhuttl

Position last season: 15th

Nickname: The Saints

Ground: St Mary’s Stadium

Capacity: 32,384

Key man: Adam Armstrong

In: Romain Perraud (Brest, £10.8m), Theo Walcott (Everton, free), Adam Armstrong (Blackburn, £15m)

Out: Wesley Hoedt (Anderlecht, free), Angus Gunn (Norwich, £5m), Josh Sims (released), Ryan Bertrand (Leicester, free), Mario Lemina (Nice, £4.9m), Danny Ings (Aston Villa, £25m)

Chances: After promising so much, Saints again faded out last season, despite reaching the FA Cup semi-finals. Hasenhuttl knows the squad needs more strength in depth to push back into the top half, especially with Danny Ings leaving the club for Aston Villa.

Tottenham

Manager: Nuno Espirito Santo

Position last season: 7th

Nickname: Spurs

Ground: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Capacity: 62,062

Key man: Harry Kane

In: Bryan Gil (Sevilla, £26m/part-exchange), Pierluigi Gollini (Atalanta, season-long loan)

Out: Paulo Gazzaniga (Fulham, free), Danny Rose (Watford, free), Juan Foyth (Villarreal, £13.5m), Erik Lamela (Sevilla, part-exchange), Toby Alderweireld (Al-Duhail, £4.2m)

Chances: After a protracted search, Spurs 
finally got a new manager in place, but the jury remains out on how well Portuguese coach Nuno can make his mark on the squad. Spanish winger Gil will help freshen things up – but speculation continues over whether England captain Kane will still be around when the transfer window shuts.

Watford

Manager: Xisco

Position last season: Promoted (2nd in Championship)

Nickname: The Hornets

Ground: Vicarage Road

Capacity: 21,000

Key man: Ismaila Sarr

In: Imran Louza (Nantes, £9m), Joshua King (Everton, free), Emmanuel Dennis (Club Brugge, £3.6m), Kwadwo Baah (Rochdale, £125,000), Ashley Fletcher (Middlesbrough, free), Danny Rose (Tottenham, free), Dapo Mebude (Rangers, free), Peter Etebo (Stoke, season-long loan)

Out: Craig Dawson (West Ham, £2m), Ben Wilmot (Stoke, £1.5m), Carlos Sanchez (released), Ignacio Pussetto (Udinese, season-long loan), Adalberto Penaranda (Las Palmas, season-long loan)

Chances: Like Norwich, the Hornets made an instant return to the Premier League, with Spanish coach Xisco replacing Vladimir Ivic to finish off the promotion drive. Keeping hold of Sarr is key, while French midfielder Louza, Rose and forward King are among the summer recruits who will all have to settle in quickly if Watford are to avoid a battle to stay up.

West Ham

Manager: David Moyes

Position last season: 6th

Nickname: The Hammers

Ground: London Stadium

Capacity: 60,000

Key man: Declan Rice

In: Craig Dawson (Watford, £2m), Alphonse Areola (Paris St Germain, loan)

Out: Fabian Balbuena (Dynamo Moscow, free), Felipe Anderson (Lazio, £2.7m), Nathan Trott (Nancy, season-long loan)

Chances: The Irons impressed last season, pushing for Champions League qualification. Moyes will be hoping the returning supporters at the London Stadium see continued improvement, built around England midfielder Rice and the forward running of Michail Antonio.

Wolves

Manager: Bruno Lage

Position last season: 13th

Nickname: Wolves

Ground: Molineux

Capacity: 32,050

Key man: Raul Jimenez

In: Yerson Mosquera (Atletico Nacional, £4.6m), Francisco Trincao (Barcelona, season-long loan), Rayan Ait-Nouri (Angers, £10m), Jose Sa (Olympiacos, £6.8m), Bendeguz Bolla (Fehervar, £1.8m)

Out: Ruben Vinagre (Sporting, season-long loan), Rui Patricio (Roma, £10.3m), Bendeguz Bolla (Grasshoppers, season-long loan)

Chances: It is all change at Molineux as new boss Lage looks to build on the fine work of his fellow Portuguese predecessor. The foundations 
remain for a solid campaign, but one which could also quickly unravel should the transition not go to plan.

Undisclosed fees replaced by reported fees where possible