Five talking points as the Premier League starts

The Premier League is ready to kick off into a 25th campaign on the back of yet another big summer spending spree.

Here, we take a look at some of the talking points ahead of the opening round of fixtures.

CAN THE BIG-MONEY MEN PROVE THEIR WORTH?

Romelu Lukaku, Alvaro Morata, Benjamin Mendy, Alexandre Lacazette, Kyle Walker and Bernardo Silva. Not a bad way to spend some £322million, plus you could always throw in Nemanja Matic, Mohamed Salah, Ederson, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Antonio Rudiger and indeed Victor Lindelof if you have another £210m or so knocking about.

Despite the best efforts of Paris St-Germain, the Premier League continues to flex its collective financial muscle across all 20 member clubs - well, Tottenham aside perhaps. The true value of such colossal expenditure will be measured in goals and points, at both ends of the table - and we can expect plenty more spending when the January sales come along which will offer more than a few panic buys, cheap at half the price.

WILL COU STAY OR WILL COU GO?

Philippe Coutinho handing in a transfer request was never going to be good news for Liverpool - and especially not on the eve of a new season, not to mention a key Champions League play-off tie.

Whether or not the Brazilian will indeed still "remain a member of Liverpool Football Club when the summer (transfer) window closes", as the club's owners Fenway Sports Group insisted in a strongly-worded statement on Friday, we will have to wait and see. There is no doubt the player's head will have been turned. How he, and the club, deals with that will be key to whether Jurgen Klopp's men can press on to mount another sustained assault on the top four or have to settle for also rans.

WILL CHELSEA ENDURE ANOTHER 'MOURINHO SEASON'?

Antonio Conte's side earned so much praise last season for the way they regrouped from a poor start to go on and deliver the Premier League crown with a new record of 30 wins. However, the Italian, who was rewarded with new improved terms, started to show his frustrations at continued questions of the summer transfer policy in the wake of defeat in the FA Community Shield to Arsenal at Wembley.

Conte, though, insisted at Friday's press conference ahead of the Premier League opener against Burnley he was ''not looking for sympathy'' over the size of the Blues' squad as they prepare to tackle the Champions League once again as well as defend their domestic title. Get things right on both fronts and Conte's stature will continue to rise. Fail and, well, we all know what happens when things don't go to plan at Stamford Bridge, eh Jose?

TOP FOUR OR BUST?

Despite finishing the campaign on a high with victory over Chelsea in the FA Cup final at Wembley, Arsenal fans are facing up to life in the Europa League after finishing outside the top four for the first time under Arsene Wenger. It is, though, not only the Gunners who look to have a fight on their hands to get themselves back into at least the Champions League shake-up.

Despite their success in winning the Europa League, Manchester United could only manage sixth, and what impact Chelsea's own European campaign will have on their title defence remains to be seen, with Manchester City tipped to come good under Pep Guardiola after last season's shortcomings. Spurs too will also face questions about life away from White Hart Lane. Throw in an ambitious Everton side boosted by some solid summer business and there looks little margin for error in any team's top-four ambitions, let along targeting the title itself.

CAN THE SEAGULLS SOAR & WILL THE TERRIERS SHOW THEIR TEETH?

Brighton and Huddersfield will no doubt bring a welcome breath of fresh air in their maiden Premier League campaigns. While many pundits expect both to be scrapping for points at the wrong end of the table, each club has the set up, playing talent and the man at the helm to more than hold their own among the big boys. Just as Swansea, Bournemouth, Watford and Burnley have shown, with the right approach staying clear of the survival battle can be achieved - and not necessarily just by spending big. If they get things right from the start, plenty of the more "established" clubs could soon be looking anxiously over their shoulders. Game on.…


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