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BBC Sport asks 'Who are the champions?

Chelsea

A poll of football pundits has been conducted by the BBC Sport website to produce a predicted top four for the 2010-11 Premier League season.

England's former manager Graham Taylor and winger Chris Waddle were among more than 30 people we surveyed, along with Lee Dixon, Robbie Savage and a variety of journalists and commentators.

The identities of the top four were revealed daily, one by one from Tuesday, with the outright winner on Friday.

Our survey found that CHELSEA were the overwhelming favourites to retain their title, with Manchester United the second most popular selection, Arsenal in third and Manchester City fourth.

606: DEBATE
BBC Sport's Honest Frank

Of the forecasts from 35 pundits, a total of only six different teams figured in the top four predictions, with Liverpool and Tottenham attracting some selections.

Chelsea won by a landslide with 23 votes to retain the title, whereas Manchester United had six outright selections.

Below are a selection of comments from those who thought Carlo Ancelotti would guide Chelsea to a second consecutive Premier League title, and also the two people who went for Liverpool. The Anfield club did not reach the predicted top four, but at least one of their own players is backing them...

CHELSEA - PREDICTED FIRST PLACE

"Despite Manchester United's impressive performance in the Community Shield, Chelsea are more durable and have three players - Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka - capable of scoring 20 goals each in the league. Arsenal are short of a title-winning team and Manchester City will creep into the top four in what is likely to be a turbulent season for them."
Neil Ashton, News of the World football reporter

"It's hard to discount Manchester City after the mass recruitment drive. Squad strength will tell as the campaign develops but time is required for Roberto Mancini to manage potential problems. Chelsea ended last season in style with Ancelotti refining his style and they have power to stay ahead of the pack. Manchester United seem too reliant on Wayne Rooney and Arsenal, through maturing nicely, have soft spots."
Matt Barlow, Daily Mail football correspondent

"I can't see further than Chelsea this season. It's an ageing side but there's enough quality for them to be crowned champions."
Alan Brazil, ex-Manchester United and Scotland striker

"Chelsea will still be too strong a proposition despite some of those legs getting older. I wonder if Man Utd will be able to cope with ageing players so well."
Ben Clissett, Daily Telegraph Head of sport

"Chelsea will come out on top this season because John Terry, Lampard and Ashley Cole have got it all to prove again after a poor World Cup with England."
Stan Collymore, former Liverpool and England striker

"Chelsea will have Michael Essien back fit and look like they are spending again with the signing of Ramires. I don't think the departures of Michael Ballack, Joe Cole and Deco will weaken them at all and with the power of Drogba and Anelka I just can't see past them."
Ian Dennis, BBC 5 live senior football reporter

"Chelsea still look very strong. Midfielder Michael Essien is back from his injury and Jose Boswinga is fit again too to bolster their defence."
Lee Dixon, former Arsenal defender

"They are too strong for everyone else and they have experience of winning the championship before, although Manchester United and Manchester City will push them very close."
Michael Gray, former England and Sunderland defender

"Blues managed to win title last season without the injured Michael Essien. Boosted by the Ghana star's return, the champs will be the team to beat."
Antony Kastrinakis, The Sun football writer

"I think Chelsea will improve with another season under Carlo Ancelotti. Arsenal and Manchester City will also improve but not quite enough to win it. Manchester United could start to slip."
Ian Ladyman, Daily Mail football writer

"Chelsea have goals up front and goals from midfield, with players waiting in the wings to provide the continuity."
Darren Lewis, Mirror Sport football writer

"Chelsea, course and distance winners last time out, have pretty much the same squad and players with just enough left in the tank to repeat last term's triumph."
Martin Lipton, Mirror chief football writer

"Chelsea would need to be short of last season and Dimitar Berbatov and co. will need to fire for the top two to swap places."
Louis Massarella, FourFourTwo features editor

"The Chelsea squad is so strong and they are adding to it so they should be stronger than ever. They have got the second best squad in the Premier League after Man City, but they have got the best first team and that is what will win them the league."
Robbie Savage, Wales and Derby County midfielder

"Chelsea are like a pilates teacher. They have core strength and balance throughout their squad. The returns from injury of Michael Essien and Jose Bosingwa allied to the signing of Yossi Benayoun will only enhance that."
Mike Sewell, BBC Radio 5 live football commentator

"Chelsea are a strong, experienced team. They have six players who regularly score goals, and a solid defence."
Chris Waddle, former England winger

"Don't see much between the top two again this season but I do fancy Liverpool to run them close - got a feeling that they could do even better than third."
Sam Wallace, Independent chief football writer


LIVERPOOL - PREDICTED FIRST PLACE

"Liverpool are entering a new era with Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres, new manager Roy Hodgson and the potential investors."
Micky Quinn, ex-Newcastle and Coventry striker

"I believe the changes we have made will bring us lots of positives and this season will be a success. Arsenal have played very good football for the past few years and I think this year will be no different. Chelsea won the title last season but I think they will not have such a successful spell this year. Manchester United - this is not their year."
Martin Skrtel, Slovakia and Liverpool defender


How the poll worked

Our pundits were asked to predict their top four, in order.

We allocated four points for each first place, three for second, two for third, and one for fourth.

The teams were then ranked according to their total points.

You can use our Premier League predictor to produce your own forecast.

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see also
Premier League: BBC poll predictions in full
12 Aug 10 |  Premier League
Who are the champions? Second
11 Aug 10 |  Premier League
Who are the champions? Third
11 Aug 10 |  Premier League
Who are the champions? Fourth
10 Aug 10 |  Premier League
Football on the BBC
05 Aug 10 |  Football
New Premier League squad rules explained
27 Jul 10 |  Premier League


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