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Last Updated: Monday, 14 August 2006, 10:39 GMT 11:39 UK
Premiership club-by-club guide



Nickname: The Gunners
Ground: Emirates Stadium
Capacity: 60,000
Position last season: 4th
Manager: Arsene Wenger (September 1996)

In: Tomas Rosicky (Borussia Dortmund, undisclosed)

Out: Dennis Bergkamp (retired), Sol Campbell (Portsmouth), Kerrea Gilbert (Cardiff), Mark Howard (Cardiff), Michael Jordan (Chesterfield), Sebastian Larsson (Birmingham), Fabrice Muamba (Birmingham), Robert Pires (Villarreal), Nicklas Bendtner (Birmingham), Ryan Smith (Derby, undisclosed)

BBC Sport verdict: Arsenal fell below their usual high standards last term but should reap the rewards having seen so many youngsters graduate with honours in the process.

Their brisk passing game prospered in Europe and now they need to show more domestic steel, especially on the road.

And a good start in their new home and some defensive recruits are priorities.

Key man: Thierry Henry. Who else? If he stays fit the Gunners will be firing.


Aston Villa

Nickname: The Villans
Ground: Villa Park
Capacity: 42,593
Last season: 16th
Manager: Martin O'Neill (August 2006)

In: None

Out: Jamie Ward (Torquay)

BBC Sport verdict: Villa's build-up has taken a dramatic twist with the appointment of Martin O'Neill as manager at the start of the month followed by the news the board have recommended that shareholders accept Randy Lerner's takeover bid for the club.

Lerner's entrance spells the end of Doug Ellis' long reign at the club.

Both developments have been welcomed by fans who will now look forward to the new season with renewed optimism.

Key man: Martin O'Neill. Has a big task to revive the club's on-field fortunes.


Blackburn Rovers

Nickname: Rovers
Ground: Ewood Park
Capacity: 31,367
Last season: 6th
Manager: Mark Hughes (September 2004)

In: Jason Brown (Gillingham), Francis Jeffers (Charlton), Benni McCarthy (Porto, undisclosed), Jason Roberts (Wigan, undisclosed)

Out: Lorenzo Amoruso, Craig Bellamy (Liverpool, 6m), Paul Dickov (Manchester City), Gary Harkins (Grimsby)

BBC Sport verdict: Surprised many by qualifying for Europe - but have lost a potent threat in Liverpool-bound striker Craig Bellamy.

Jason Roberts and Benni McCarthy will hope to fill the gap - while Francis Jeffers has been given one more chance to prove himself at Premiership level.

Supporters should be pleased if they can have another season like 2005/06.

Key man: Lucas Neill. Had a good World Cup, and an important man in defence.


Bolton Wanderers

Nickname: Trotters
Ground: Reebok Stadium
Capacity: 27,879
Last season: 8th
Manager: Sam Allardyce (October 1999)

In: Quinton Fortune (Man Utd), Abdoulaye Meite (Marseille, undisclosed), Idan Tal (Maccabi Haifa, undisclosed)

Out: Khalilou Fadiga, Dietmar Hamann (Man City, 400,000), Radhi Jaidi (Birmingham, 2m), Matt Jansen, Hidetoshi Nakata (retired), Bruno N'Gotty (Birmingham), Jay-Jay Okocha (Qatar Sports Club), Oscar Perez, Chris Howarth (Oldham, loan)

BBC Sport verdict: For three seasons Bolton have finished in the top eight, confounding those who hark on about their physical approach.

But did the bubble begin to burst at the end of last season as they tailed off in the race for a European place?

Sam Allardyce needs to replace some lost experience and a solid start will get confidence back on an upward curve.

Key man: Kevin Nolan. An England cap is in the all-action midfielder's sights.


Charlton Athletic

Nickname: Addicks
Ground: The Valley
Capacity: 26,875
Last season: 13th
Manager: Iain Dowie (May 2006)

In: Christian Bolanos (Deportivo Saprissa, Loan), Amady Faye (Newcastle, 2m), Cory Gibbs (Feyenoord), Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (Middlesbrough), Gonzalo Sorondo (Inter Milan), Djimi Traore (Liverpool, 2m), Simon Walton (Leeds, undisclosed)

Out: Shaun Bartlett (Kaizer Chiefs), Jay Bothroyd (Wolves), Adam Cottrell (Millwall), Rob Elliot (Accrington), Francis Jeffers (Blackburn), Jonatan Johansson (Malmo), Sheku Kamara (Watford), Chris Perry (West Brom), Chris Powell (Watford)

BBC Sport verdict: New boss Iain Dowie begins a new era following Alan Curbishley's departure.

The Addicks have rung the changes in attack, with four strikers leaving and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink brought in.

But if Dowie can inspire Charlton as much as he did at Palace during their rise to the Premiership, the European place they crave could be in sight.

Key man: Darren Bent. Will hope to impress new England boss McClaren.



Nickname: Blues
Ground: Stamford Bridge
Capacity: 42,449
Last season: Champions
Manager: Jose Mourinho (June 2004)

In: Michael Ballack (Bayern Munich), Hilario (Nacional), Salomon Kalou (Feyenoord), John Obi Mikel (Lyn Oslo, 16m), Andriy Shevchenko (AC Milan, 30m)

Out: Carlton Cole (West Ham, undisclosed), Asier Del Horno (Valencia, 5m), Damien Duff (Newcastle, 5m), Dean Furman (Rangers), Anthony Grant (Wycombe), Eidur Gudjohnsen (Barcelona, 8m), Danny Hollands (Bournemouth), Jiri Jarosik (Celtic, undisclosed), Glen Johnson (Portsmouth), Joe Keenan (Willem II, undisclosed), Filipe Morais (Millwall), Lenny Pidgeley (Millwall), Dean Smith (Aldershot), Jack Watkins, James Younghusband

BBC Sport verdict: Having won back-to-back league titles, Chelsea have strengthened the squad and are favourites to win a third.

Boss Jose Mourinho will also be hoping to strike the right balance to bring success in the Champions League.

But once again, they will be the team that all the others want to beat.

Key man: Andriy Shevchenko. The 30m striker will be expected to be the final piece in the jigsaw up front.



Nickname: Toffees
Ground: Goodison Park
Capacity: 40,170
Last season: 11th
Manager: David Moyes (March 2002)

In: Tim Howard (Man Utd), Andrew Johnson (Crystal Palace, 8.6m), Joleon Lescott (Wolves, 5m), Scott Spencer (Oldham, undisclosed)

Out: Duncan Ferguson, James Harris, Paul Hopkins, Nigel Martyn (retired), Christian Seargeant, Li Tie (Sheffield United), Laurence Wilson (Chester), Sean Wright, Stephen Wynne

BBC Sport verdict: Were unable to match the heady heights of 2004/05 last season, but boss David Moyes will want better this term.

New signings Andrew Johnson, Joleon Lescott and Tim Howard bolster a squad which already has plenty of talent.

If Moyes can find the right blend, a top-six place should be their aim.

Key man: Andrew Johnson. His strike partnership with James Beattie is vital to their chances of reaching Europe.



Nickname: Cottagers
Ground: Craven Cottage
Capacity: 22,000
Last season: 12th
Manager: Chris Coleman (April 2003)

In: Jimmy Bullard (Wigan, 2.5m), Bjorn Runstrom (Hammarby, undisclosed), Franck Queudrue (Middlesbrough, undisclosed), Gabriel Zakuani (Leyton Orient, undisclosed)

Out: Richard De Villiers, Liam Fontaine (Bristol City, tribunal), Alain Goma, Adam Green (Grays), Neale McDermott, Darren Pratley (Swansea, 100,000), Robert Watkins, Zesh Rehman (QPR), Tony Warner (Leeds, loan), Ricardo Batista (Wycombe, loan), Dean Leacock (Derby, 375,000)

BBC Sport verdict: A difficult summer for Chris Coleman, with star player Steed Malbranque refusing to sign a new deal and being banished to train with the youth team.

Coleman needs a replacement for the Frenchman's drive and inspiration, or the Cottagers could be set to struggle.

The defence has been bolstered, but Fulham need goals to stay up.

Key man: Luis Boa Morte. Has enormous responsibility without Malbranque.



Nickname: Reds
Ground: Anfield
Capacity: 45,362
Last season: 3rd
Manager: Rafael Benitez (June 2004)

In: Fabio Aurelio (Valencia), Craig Bellamy (Blackburn, 6m), Gabriel Paletta (Atletico Banfield, 2m), Jermaine Pennant (Birmingham, 6.7m), Dirk Kuyt (Feyenoord, 10m)

Out: Ramon Calliste (Scunthorpe), Bruno Cheyrou (Rennes, undisclosed), Djibril Cisse (Marseille), Dietmar Hamann (Bolton), Chris Kirkland (Wigan), Fernando Morientes (Valencia, undisclosed), Conal Platt (Bournemouth), David Raven (Carlisle), Zak Whitbread (Millwall), Danny O'Donnell (Crewe), Djimi Traore (Charlton, 2m), Antonio Barragan (Deportiva La Coruna, 680,000)

BBC Sport verdict: Liverpool showed signs last season of being able to launch a title assault.

They will hope striker Craig Bellamy can add to their miserly defence with the consistent supply of goals, which have been lacking in recent seasons.

The question is whether the summer arrivals can get up to speed quickly enough not to lose ground in the title race.

Key man: Steven Gerrard. If he plays well so do the team. If not, they toil.


Manchester City

Nickname: Blues
Ground: City of Manchester Stadium
Capacity: 48,000
Last season: 15th
Manager: Stuart Pearce (March 2005)

In: Bernardo Corradi (Valencia, undisclosed), Ousmane Dabo (Lazio), Paul Dickov (Blackburn), Dietmar Hamann (Bolton, 400,000), Joe Hart (Shrewsbury, 600,000), Hatem Trabelsi (Ajax, free)

Out: Ian Bennett, Karl Bermingham, Mikkel Bischoff (Coventry), Paul Collins, Lee Croft (Norwich, 700,000) Geert de Vlieger (SV Zulte Waregem), Tuomas Haapala, David Sommeil (Sheffield United), Michael Ward, Bradley Wright-Phillips (Southampton, undisclosed), Willo Flood (Cardiff, undisclosed), David James (Portsmouth, undisclosed)

BBC Sport verdict: A disastrous run of form at the end of last season took the shine off Stuart Pearce's impressive start as City boss.

Pearce needs to prove that was just a blip but seems to have built a capable and hard-working squad at Eastlands.

His team has an experienced backbone with some talented youngsters - and a top-10 finish should be the target.

Key man: Joey Barton. Big things are expected of the midfield enforcer.


Manchester United

Nickname: Red Devils
Ground: Old Trafford
Capacity: 76,000
Last season: 2nd
Manager: Sir Alex Ferguson (November 1986)

In: Michael Carrick (Tottenham, 18.6m), Tomasz Kuszczak (West Brom, loan)

Out: Sylvan Ebanks-Blake (Plymouth, 200,000), Quinton Fortune (Bolton), Tim Howard (Everton), Eddie Johnson (Bradford), Tommy Lee (Macclesfield), Phil Picken (Chesterfield), Jonathan Spector (West Ham, 500,000), Ruud van Nistelrooy (Real Madrid, 10.2m), Ben Foster (Watford, loan)

BBC Sport verdict: A crucial season to try to end the Chelsea dominance, but the sole outfield capture of Michael Carrick does not bode well.

United look short of goals without Ruud van Nistelrooy, while the men who will shoulder the burden of replacing the Dutchman, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Louis Saha, are too injury-prone.

A fit-again Paul Scholes and Gabriel Heinze are a huge boost but the club are probably playing for second once more.

Key man: Wayne Rooney. Must steer clear of injury and controversy this season.



Nickname: Boro
Ground: Riverside Stadium
Capacity: 35,049
Last season: 14th
Manager: Gareth Southgate (June 2006)

In: Julio Arca (Sunderland, 1.75m), Herold Goulon (Lyon, undisclosed)

Out: Colin Cooper (retired), Doriva, Danny Graham (Blackpool), Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (Charlton), Frank Queudrue (Fulham, undisclosed), Brad Jones (Sheff Wed, loan)

BBC Sport verdict: Gareth Southgate's appointment as the replacement for former manager Steve McClaren is a brave choice by Boro.

Southgate will have the advantage of working with the bulk of a solid squad built by the new England boss.

But he must settle into his new job quickly and a good start is vital to give the whole club self-belief.

Key man: Stewart Downing. Capable of taking the Premiership by storm.


Newcastle United

Nickname: Magpies
Ground: St James' Park
Capacity: 52,193
Last season: 7th
Manager: Glenn Roeder (February 2006)

In: Damien Duff (Chelsea, 5m)

Out: Lee Bowyer (West Ham, undisclosed), Martin Brittain, Michael Chopra (Cardiff, 500,000), Alan Shearer (retired), Amady Faye (Charlton, 2m)

BBC Sport verdict: Newcastle boss Glenn Roeder performed miracles last season when he guided the side from the threat of relegation to a place in Europe.

Damien Duff has been recruited and his wing play will complement the midfield.

But without striker and talisman Alan Shearer, the Magpies may find it difficult to find the net.

Key man: Charles N'Zogbia. Has a fierce strike and can slice through defences.



Nickname: Pompey
Ground: Fratton Park
Capacity: 19,179
Last season: 17th
Manager: Harry Redknapp (December 2005)

In: Glen Johnson (Chelsea), David Thompson (Wigan), Sol Campbell (Arsenal), David James (Man City, undisclosed), Kanu (West Brom)

Out: Aliou Cisse, Andrea Guatelli, Collins Mbesuma, Vincent Pericard (Stoke), Brian Priske (Club Brugge, undisclosed), Gary Silk, Gregory Vignal (Lens, undisclosed), Sander Westerveld, John Viafara (Southampton)

BBC Sport verdict: With Harry Redknapp back at the helm, Pompey's loyal fans will hope not to leave it quite so late this term before staging their annual "great escape".

Chelsea defender Glen Johnson is a good addition to the squad on a year's loan.

However, they still need to fill the goalscoring gap left by Yakubu's move to Middlesbrough a year ago.

Key man: Gary O'Neil. Provides energy, enthusiasm and goals from midfield.



Nickname: Royals
Ground: Madejski Stadium
Capacity: 24,045
Last season: 1st (Championship)
Manager: Steve Coppell (October 2003)

In: Seol Ki-Hyeon (Wolves, 1m), Sam Sodje (Brentford, 350,000)

Out: Johnny Mullins (Mansfield), Jamie Young (Wycombe)

BBC Sport verdict: Reading face being brought down to earth this season after strolling to the Championship title last term.

The step up in class will test boss Steve Coppell's wily management skills.

But with Kevin Doyle, Leroy Lita, Dave Kitson and new boy Seol Ki-Hyeon up front, they will hope to have enough goals in the side to avoid the drop.

Key man: Steve Sidwell. Contract rebel is an important player in midfield.


Sheffield United

Nickname: Blades
Ground: Bramall Lane
Capacity: 30,936
Last season: 2nd (Championship)
Manager: Neil Warnock (December 1999)

In: Ian Bennett (Leeds, undisclosed), Claude Davis (Preston, 2.5m), Rob Hulse (Leeds, 2.1m), Mikele Leigertwood (Crystal Palace, 600,000), Christian Nade (Troyes), David Sommeil (Man City), Li Tie (Everton)

Out: Phil Barnes (Grimsby, undisclosed), Luke Beckett (Huddersfield, undisclosed), Brian Deane, Bruce Dyer (Doncaster) Garry Flitcroft (retired), Jonathan Forte (Doncaster), Kevan Hurst (Chesterfield), Simon Francis (Southend), Gary Mulligan (Gillingham), Ian Ross (Notts County), Alan Wright, Geoff Horsfield (Leeds)

BBC Sport verdict: Neil Warnock has finally guided his beloved Blades to the promised land - and will be keen to prolong their stay for more than just the one season.

Over the years, Warnock's sides have traditionally been difficult to beat.

But his battery of strikers must find the net on a regular basis if they are to avoid a drawn-out relegation battle.

Key man: Claude Davis. Promising young centre-back signed from Preston.


Tottenham Hotspur

Nickname: Spurs
Ground: White Hart Lane
Capacity: 36,236
Last season: 5th
Manager: Martin Jol (November 2004)

In: Benoit Assou-Ekoto (Lens, undisclosed), Dimitar Berbatov (Bayer Leverkusen, 10.9m), Dorian Dervitte (Lille, undisclosed), Didier Zokora (St Etienne, 8.2m)

Out: Goran Bunjevcevic, Michael Carrick (Man Utd, 18.6m), Mounir El Hamdaoui (Willem II, undisclosed), Johnnie Jackson (Colchester), Stephen Kelly (Birmingham, 750,000), Dean Marney (Hull, undisclosed), Noureddine Naybet, Claude Seanla (Watford)

BBC Sport verdict: Having missed a Champions League place on the final day of last season, Martin Jol will be determined to do better.

Spurs have heavily invested in the likes of striker Dimitar Berbatov, who will be relied upon for goals along with Robbie Keane and Jermain Defoe.

How they fill the gap left by Michael Carrick's departure will be crucial.

Key man: Ledley King. Injured skipper hopes to return to action in September.



Nickname: Hornets
Ground: Vicarage Road
Capacity: 22,000
Last season: 3rd (Championship) - play-off winners
Manager: Adrian Boothroyd (March 2005)

In: Damien Francis (Wigan, 1.5m), Albert Jarrett (Brighton, Free), Skeku Kamara (Charlton), Scott Loach (Lincoln, undisclosed), Tamas Priskin (Gyori ETO, undisclosed), Chris Powell (Charlton), Claude Seanla (Tottenham), Danny Shittu (QPR, 1.6m), Ben Foster (Man Utd, loan)

Out: Jamie Hand (Chester)

BBC Sport verdict: Aidy Boothroyd worked miracles by taking Watford up via the Championship play-offs after they began last season as relegation favourites.

Despite again being favourites to go down, Boothroyd claims he will not be happy if the Hornets finish one place above the drop zone, but the fans would surely disagree.

As Wigan and West Ham proved last season, pace and finishing quality up front are essential for survival so the ability of Marlon King and Ashley Young to step up to Premiership level will be crucial.

Key man: Marlon King. His 22 goals fired Watford into the top flight - but can he cut it in the Premiership?

Latest club news

West Ham United

Nickname: Hammers
Ground: Upton Park
Capacity: 35,056
Last season: 9th
Manager: Alan Pardew (October 2003)

In: Lee Bowyer (Newcastle, undisclosed), Carlton Cole (Chelsea, undisclosed), Tyrone Mears (Preston, 1m), John Pantsil (Hapoel Tel Aviv, 1m), Jonathan Spector (Man Utd, 500,000), George McCartney (Sunderland, 600,000 + Clive Clarke), Robert Green (Norwich, 2m)

Out: Darren Behcet (Yeovil), Chris Cohen (Yeovil, undisclosed), Carl Fletcher (Crystal Palace, 400,000), Shaka Hislop (FC Dallas), Trent McClenahan (Hereford), Elliott Ward (Coventry, 1m), Ishmael Welsh (Yeovil), Clive Clarke (Sunderland, player-exchange), Matt Reed (Bristol City), Stephen Bywater (Derby, loan)

BBC Sport verdict: A fabulous effort to stay up easily and reach the FA Cup final, but boss Alan Pardew knows the hard work starts here.

The Hammers have kept their stars and added quality in the shape of Carlton Cole, Tyrone Mears and John Pantsil.

Attacking options like Marlon Harewood, Dean Ashton, Teddy Sheringham and Bobby Zamora will ensure a mid-table finish.

Key man: Dean Ashton. The Hammers will be eagerly awaiting his return from a broken ankle.


Wigan Athletic

Nickname: Latics
Ground: JJB Stadium
Capacity: 25,000
Last season: 10th
Manager: Paul Jewell (June 2001)

In: Emmerson Boyce (Crystal Palace, 1m), Tomasz Cywka (Gwarek Zabrze, undisclosed), Fitz Hall (Crystal Palace, undisclosed), Emile Heskey (Birmingham, 5.5m), Chris Kirkland (Liverpool), Denny Landzaat (AZ Alkmaar, undisclosed)

Out: Jimmy Bullard (Fulham, 2.5m), Damien Francis (Watford, 1.5m), Stephane Henchoz, Kevin Lee (Southport), Jason Roberts (Blackburn, undisclosed), David Thompson (Portsmouth)

BBC Sport verdict: Despite having surpassed everyone's expectations last season, Wigan can take nothing for granted this term.

They must learn the lesson of Ipswich, who were relegated a year after surprisingly finishing fifth in 2001.

Jimmy Bullard is a big loss from midfield, while new boy Emile Heskey will shoulder a heavy burden in attack.

Key man: Arjan De Zeeuw. Still a rock at the heart of the Latics' defence.

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