"Chelsea will be close to top spot again," asserts Charlie Nicholas, who also tips his former club Arsenal to capitalise on their FA Cup winning momentum to go one step further this season and win the Premier League title.
What may stunt Chelsea's title challenge is that, whilst they are impressive going forward as Cesc "will create a lot of chances [and] Diego Costa will be energetic," manager Jose Mourinho "still has some work to do defensively."
Last season's champions Manchester City are expected to announce the completion of Eliaquim Mangala's transfer from FC Porto but "won't have the same drive" as they did last year in order to retain the crown: "If they don’t get Yaya Toure a proper birthday cake towards the end of the season there could be trouble ahead, too!"
Nicholas claims that a fundamental part of Liverpool's domestic success last time round was because they were not hampered by Champions League nor Europa League involvement, and were therefore fresher for the Premier League.
Liverpool, this time, contest the Champions League as opposed to Manchester United, who already have the upper-hand over their regional rivals by taming them 3-1 in a pre-season friendly, the final of the International Champions Cup, last night.
"Being out of Europe will benefit Manchester United, just as it did Liverpool last season, and I think they'll complete the top four [instead of Liverpool].
"United’s creative instincts and the hurt they must have gone through last year means they’ll have a major say."