Sky Sports' 2014/15 Premier League season preview
The strengths and weaknesses of every top flight club assessed, plus Jamie Redknapp's verdict and the chance to pick your club's starting XI for a mouth-watering opening weekend of Premier League action. It's back and live on Sky Sports!
Last Updated: 14/08/14 10:56am
The wait is nearly over. To whet your appetite for what is sure to be another engrossing Premier League campaign read our exhaustive club-by-club guides and select your team’s starting XI for the opening round of matches, as Arsenal host Crystal Palace on Saturday live on Sky Sports 1HD.
Sky Sports is to offer an unrivalled schedule of live Premier League fixtures from August, providing viewers with more of the games that matter, more of the best experts and more of the best analysis.
Having broadcast 49 of the 50 most watched Premier League matches last season, Sky Sports has announced a schedule that includes all of last season’s top four at least six times and every club at least three times.
Viewers can also enjoy seven live Manchester United fixtures - including Louis van Gaal’s toughest tests against Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea.
Only on Sky Sports can viewers see the opening matches of last season’s top four teams, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal. Premier League champions City begin their title defence away to Newcastle United.
Following Sky’s best ever Premier League season, viewers can enjoy 43 live matches - at least three live fixtures every week - before the end of November.
Arsenal finally ended their wait for silverware last season following their comeback win against Hull City in the FA Cup final in May. Arsene Wenger certainly seems to have ridden the storm to find smoother waters after surviving growing discontent that reached its nadir with the home defeat to Aston Villa on the opening weekend last year. Unburdened by the financial shackles of recent times and fresh off a convincing Community Shield performance, the Gunners come into this campaign with renewed optimism. Read our full season preview here
Aston Villa endured a difficult season last time out finishing on just 38 points –the club’s joint lowest tally in Premier League history – and the mood is further complicated by owner Randy Lerner’s desire to sell. With grumbles regarding manager Paul Lambert, too, the priority might be to keep Villa out of trouble so they remain a saleable asset. It’s not the ideal backdrop to a new season but if the right investor comes along then things can change quickly. Read our full season preview here
Winning promotion to the Premier League was a truly remarkable achievement by Sean Dyche and his team. Having introduced a ‘one-club mentality’ and got his team working together to play a pressing game, Burnley picked up a club record 93 points in a season. The Clarets will be underdogs in the top flight but there is plenty of cause for optimism and with the Chelsea the first team to visit Turf Moor the atmosphere around the place should be superb right from the start. Read our full season preview here
Jose Mourinho’s return to English football last season brought the usual touchline drama, plenty of headlines and a few classic moments including away wins at Manchester City and Liverpool. But unusually for Chelsea’s iconic manager, there were no trophies and he had to settle for third place in the Premier League despite topping the table in April. However, this was always the season Mourinho was targeting to get Chelsea back on top. The moment is now. Read our full season preview here
The turnaround at Crystal Palace was one of the stories of last season. After losing nine of their first 10 matches on return to the top flight, the influence of incoming manager Tony Pulis transformed their fortunes in spectacular fashion as they were catapulted up to 11th in the table. By being well organised and taking minimum risks in their own half, Palace have become a very difficult team to play against. The question is simple. Can they repeat it? Read our full season preview here
After sustained success with David Moyes some felt the only way was down for Everton, but instead the arrival of Roberto Martinez added a new dimension. The Spaniard created an entertaining team that continued to get results as they achieved their best points tally of the Premier League era. With further financial backing this summer there has rarely been so much optimism around Goodison Park. Read our full season preview here
Little fancied going into last season after winning promotion as the Championship’s joint-14th highest scorers, Steve Bruce showed himself to be a savvy customer as Hull City hit the Premier League running. Frequently tinkering with his formation to present a new challenge to opponents, Hull proved a surprise success. With European football secured for the first time thanks to an FA Cup final appearance in May, the Tigers will be looking for renewed impetus this season. Read our full season preview here
Leicester overpowered the Championship in emphatic style in 2013/14, becoming only the fifth team to pass 100 point mark in second tier, scoring 83 goals and winning an amazing 31 matches in the process. As a result, there is every reason to feel good about their chances as the Foxes return to the top flight after a decade away. Even so, manager Nigel Pearson will be acutely aware that the Premier League represents a very different challenge.
Read our full season preview here
Liverpool were the Premier League entertainers last season and nearly went all the way only to trip up in the final weeks of a campaign that surpassed all expectations. Those demands are back to the levels that might be considered customary for five-time European champions and the question now is whether the Reds can build on their successes to launch another convincing bid for the Premier League title. Read our full season preview here
Manchester City became Premier League champions for the second time in three years last season and the feeling that they rarely hit top gear must be regarded as a testament to their capabilities. Encouragingly Manuel Pellegrini’s side won their final five games to win the trophy and will be looking to take their form into the new season with Champions League improvement an obvious target. Can they also defend the English title for the first time in their history? Read our full season preview here
It’s been all change at Old Trafford with the arrival of Louis van Gaal as the domineering Dutchman sets about doing things his way. There have been amendments at the training ground and moans about the summer tour but after the club’s worst Premier League finish last season, United fans will be most interested in the changes on the pitch. The buzz has already returned after the International Champions Cup win but nobody is in any doubt Van Gaal has a big job on his hands. Read our full season preview here
Despite making a promising start last season, Newcastle limped over the line after Christmas and will need new impetus for 2014/15. Alan Pardew remains and with a host of savvy acquisitions, he’ll be hoping for an improved effort. The Magpies boss has already mentioned the Champions League as a target so with the squad bolstered by some exciting new additions expect Geordie ambitions to be as high as ever. Read our full season preview here
It required a late goal at Wembley but Harry Redknapp fulfilled his remit and succeeded in restoring Queens Park Rangers to the Premier League at the first time of asking. Now the question is whether they can make a better fist of it than last time when they were relegated with just 25 points. This time around Redknapp has had the summer transfer window to reshape his team and there is optimism that this could be an exciting new period for the Hoops. Read our full season preview here
It’s been a summer of upheaval at Southampton having not only lost manager Mauricio Pochettino but also five of their best players, including three of them - Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren - to Liverpool. Despite Morgan Schneiderlin being unsettled, Saints are insistent that the exodus ends here and there have been some promising arrivals. Ronald Koeman is the man being asked to hold things together but can Southampton survive the storm to forge a brighter future? Read our full season preview here
The fears that life after Tony Pulis would be difficult were banished in emphatic style thanks to a strong first season under Mark Hughes last time out. Indeed, in coming ninth, Stoke achieved their highest league finish in almost 40 years and there is belief that the Potters can build on that in 2014/15. Having kept key players and added further quality, these are exciting times for Stoke and they can justifiably be regarded as the best team in the Midlands right now. Read our full season preview here
Things looked particularly grim for Sunderland when 1-0 home defeat to Everton left them seven points from safety and bottom of the Premier League in mid-April but a 2-2 draw at Manchester City preceded wins at Chelsea and Manchester United to spark an unlikely escape. Black Cats boss Gus Poyet will be hoping to build on that momentum this season and enjoying a campaign free from relegation fears. Read our full season preview here
Swansea struggled to cope with the demands of juggling Europa League commitments with a Premier League campaign last season and coupled with the sacking of Michael Laudrup it made for a difficult time at the Liberty Stadium. Garry Monk took the reins and things looked in the balance for a while – the Swans had just 29 points after 30 games - but four wins from last seven lifted the team into mid-table and raised hopes that those difficulties are now fully behind them. With a new-look team, can Swansea embark on a new adventure under their young coach? Read our full season preview here
With Tim Sherwood dispensed with, Mauricio Pochettino steps into the Tottenham hot seat and is the man now tasked with making sense of the undoubted talent on the books at White Hart Lane. Spurs finished sixth in a fraught season last time out that saw Andre Villas-Boas lose his job in December and with Manchester United expected to bounce back, a top-four finish won’t get any easier. Can Pochettino succeed where those before him failed and keep Daniel Levy happy? Read our full season preview here
With West Brom about to embark on their fifth consecutive season in Premier League and the finances looking good, the Baggies ought to be regarded as a picture of stability. However, after going through Steve Clarke and Pepe Mel last season, some supporters have been left underwhelmed by the appointment of 56-year-old Alan Irvine as the latest head coach. Will the Scot last longer than his predecessor? Read our full season preview here
West Ham finished 13th last season but a points tally of 40 wasn’t particularly convincing and there were some murmurs of discontent regarding the fare served up by Sam Allardyce at Boleyn Ground. With pressure from the board as well as the fans, Allardyce will need to start strongly if he is to change the mood around Upton Park. With the club set to move into the Olympic Stadium in 2016, stakes are high for the Hammers. Read our full season preview here
Sky's Premier League coverage kicks off with Arsenal taking on Crystal Palace this Saturday, before Liverpool host Southampton and Newcastle welcome Manchester City on Sunday. Chelsea's visit to Burnley on Monday Night Football completes the opening round of fixtures with all four of these matches live on Sky Sports 1 HD.