Super nine

Updated: 2013-08-16 07:50

(China Daily)

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Premier League contenders guide ahead of Saturday's opening day of the new season):

Manchester United

Manager: David Moyes

Position in 2012-13: 1st

Iin: Guillermo Varela (Penarol) Out: Paul Scholes (retired)

- David Moyes faces Mission Impossible in succeeding legendary manager Alex Ferguson, but although he is yet to strengthen his squad, United finished comfortably clear of the pack last season and, as long as Robin van Persie stays fit, it should challenge for all the top prizes.

Manchester City

Manager: Manuel Pellegrini

Position in 2012-13: 2nd

In: Fernandinho (Shakhtar Donetsk), Stevan Jovetic (Fiorentina), Alvaro Negredo (Sevilla), Jesus Navas (Sevilla)

Out: Carlos Tevez (Juventus), Maicon (Roma), Kolo Toure (Liverpool), Roque Santa Cruz (Malaga), Wayne Bridge (Reading)

- After surrendering the title to Manchester United in tame fashion and then losing the FA Cup final, City's Abu Dhabi-based owners quickly dispensed with boss Roberto Mancini and welcomed new coach Manuel Pellegrini with a 90 million pound spending spree which has seen it installed as many people's title favorite.

Chelsea

Manager: Jose Mourinho

Position in 2012-13: 3rd

In: Andre Schurrle (Bayer Leverkusen), Marco van Ginkel (Vitesse Arnhem), Mark Schwarzer (Fulham)

Out: Jeffrey Bruma (PSV Eindhoven), Florent Malouda (Trabzonspor), Ross Turnbull (Doncaster), Thibaut Courtois (Atletico Madrid), Oriol Romeu (Valencia), Marko Marin (Sevilla), Gael Kakuta (Vitesse Arnhem)

- 'The Special One' is back at Stamford Bridge and Jose Mourinho's return after a six-year absence has Chelsea fans dreaming of another deluge of silverware, even though the usually outspoken Portuguese coach has been keen to avoid any grand predictions so far.

Arsenal

Manager: Arsene Wenger

Position in 2012-13: 4th

In: Yaya Sanogo (Auxerre)

Out: Gervinho (Roma), Vito Mannone (Sunderland), Andre Santos (Flamengo), Andrei Arshavin (Zenit St. Petersburg), Denilson (Sao Paulo), Joel Campbell (Olympiakos), Johan Djourou (Hamburg), Ignasi Miquel (Leicester)

- For the first time in four years, Arsene Wenger has avoided becoming embroiled in a vain attempt to stop one of his stars leaving, and yet the transfer market remains a major source of frustration for the Gunners boss, who has failed to make a single major signing despite vowing to spend big to end the club's trophy drought.

Tottenham

Manager: Andre Villas-Boas

Position in 2012-13: 5th

In: Roberto Soldado (Valencia), Paulinho (Corinthians), Nacer Chadli (FC Twente), Ezekiel Fryers (Standard Liege)

Out: Steven Caulker (Cardiff)

- Gareth Bale's future remains uncertain heading into the new campaign as Real Madrid considers spending a world record fee of more than 80 million pounds, but Spurs have already prepared for life without the Wales winger after splashing out 50 million pounds on new signings.

Everton

Manager: Roberto Martinez

Position in 2012-13: 6th

In: Arouna Kone (Wigan), Joel Robles (Atletico Madrid), Antolin Alcaraz (Wigan), Gerard Deulofeu (Barcelona)

Out: Phil Neville (retired)

- Former Wigan boss Roberto Martinez has big shoes to fill at Goodison Park as he aims to build on David Moyes' fine work, while also trying to stop the former Toffees manager, now in charge at Manchester United, from returning to pillage his squad for the likes of Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini.

Liverpool

Manager: Brendan Rodgers

Position in 2012-13: 7th

Iin: Simon Mignolet (Sunderland), Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo), Luis Alberto (Sevilla), Kolo Toure (Manchester City)

Out: Andy Carroll (West Ham), Jonjo Shelvey (Swansea), Jay Spearing

- Anfield is under a dark cloud heading into the new season after Luis Suarez's unsuccessful attempts to engineer a move to Arsenal left Brendan Rodgers with an almighty mess to clear up, with the Reds boss drawn into a war of words with his Uruguay striker that resulted in him being exiled to train with the reserves.

West Brom

Manager: Steve Clarke

Position in 2012-13: 8th

Iin: Nicolas Anelka (Shanghai Shenhua), Diego Lugano (Paris St. Germain)

Out: Marc-Antoine Fortune (Wigan), Jerome Thomas (Crystal Palace)

- One of the surprise success stories of last season, Albion will do well to repeat its top 10 finish, but the acquisition of veteran French striker Nicolas Anelka should ensure the Baggies remain competitive.

Swansea

Manager: Michael Laudrup

Position in 2012-13: 9th

In: Wilfried Bony (Vitesse Arnhem), Jonjo Shelvey (Liverpool), Jordi Amat (Espanyol), Alejandro Pozuelo (Real Betis), Gregor Zabret (Domzale), Roland Lamah (Osasuna), Jonathan de Guzman (Villarreal)

Out: Kemy Agustien (Brighton), Alan Tate (Yeovil)

- Not much can top the greatest season in Swansea's history, which saw it thrash Bradford in the League Cup final to win its first piece of major silverware.

(China Daily 08/16/2013 page22)

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