The English Premier League kicks off the 2019-20 soccer season this weekend with champions Manchester City tipped to retain their title.
City play revamped West Ham away at the London stadium in the show piece of matchday one.
City is the team to beat even though last season’s second placed Liverpool finished just one point adrift of top place – down to losing only one match in the season to City.
The Manchester team have seen little change over the close season and are cruising after winning the title for two years in a row.
Captain Vincent Kompany has departed, taking some mental steel and physical resilience from the back line. He is replaced by Rodri from Atletico Madrid, freeing Fernandinho to step into defence from midfield when required.
Liverpool looking to do better
Some doubts remain if Leroy Sane will still line up for the Sky Blues as he may depart for the Bundesliga before the transfer deadline closes at 5pm on Thursday.
Liverpool have seen little change in the build up to the new season. Former West Ham goalie Adrian has arrived on a free as back up, but manager Jurgen Klopp is gunning for a repeat of the Champions League win together with the Premiership title.
Who will take the other top places is open to conjecture.
Chelsea have lost star playmaker and scorer Eden Hazard and have brought in former player Frank Lampard as manager after he completed just one season at the helm of Derby County, just missing out on promotion from the Championship play-offs. He and the team remain an unknown quantity at the highest level.
Perennial runners-up Tottenham, lacklustre Arsenal and sleeping giant Manchester United are the usual candidates for the other top places, but several other teams have spent millions strengthening.
The include West Ham, bringing in striker Seb Haller from Germany and Spanish midfielder Fornals.
Other hopefuls to give the Old Guard a run for their money are Everton, Leicester and Wolverhampton Wanderers. All have spent wisely reinforcing key areas.
At the other end of the table, the recent promoted teams could struggle. Aston Villa have shelled out more than £100 million on new players, but the problem could be quality rather than quantity.
Norwich City and Sheffield United are also on a budget and do not look like they have the class to stay up.
Brighton and Newcastle could be embroiled in the relegation dogfight with Crystal Palace, who look set to lose star Wilfred Zaha to Everton.