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Last Updated: Friday August 12 2005 13:46 GMT

Chelsea aim to retain Premiership

Chelsea celebrate their Premiership triumph
Everton and Manchester United are the first teams in action when the English Premiership starts again on Saturday.

The teams that finished third and fourth in the league last season meet at Goodison Park, hoping to get ahead of champions Chelsea before they begin.

The Premiership winners - who are tipped to repeat their triumph - begin their defence with a trip to Wigan.

The Lancashire side is expected to battle with West Brom, West Ham and Sunderland against relegation.

Traditionally the sides promoted from the Championship are always tipped for relegation, with West Brom also in the mix after narrowly beating the drop last season.

Some football experts also think Portsmouth and Fulham may struggle as well.

At the top of the table Chelsea are expected to secure a second Premiership in succession, having strengthened their squad over the summer.

Frank Lampard and John Terry
Chelsea stars Frank Lampard and John Terry
Shaun Wright-Phillips will give them even more attacking options after his 21m transfer, while Asier Del Horno is a high-class left-back.

Rivals Arsenal are perhaps a touch weaker than 12 months ago, having lost captain and team leader Patrick Vieira to Juventus for 13.75m.

He may not have been in amazing form last season, but his influence will still be missed in the Gunners' final season at Highbury.

Manchester United will also push for the title, but may lack the depth of squad to really challenge Chelsea.

European champions Liverpool will look to qualify for the competition with a top-four finish this time around, following Steven Gerrard's decision to stay at Anfield.

New Tottenham signing Edgar Davids
Tottenham have signed top Dutch star Edgar Davids
Outside of those sides, Tottenham have made some excellent signings, including Dutch midfield star Edgar Davids.

They will perhaps hope to emulate last year's surprise package Everton, sneaking into a European spot.

Everton should once again make it into European place, with Middlesbrough, Newcastle and perhaps Manchester City hoping for a top-seven finish.



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