And here it is starting, with the champions, whose name just happens to begin with A!


Manager: Arsene Wenger

Ground: Highbury

Last season: 1st

Players in:

Players out:

Key players: As last season showed, Arsenal rely on the team to perform well, and more often than not, they do. However, individuals can be picked out. Thierry Henry was the Premiership's top scorer last season, with 26, but Arsenal have also reaped the talents of world class players like Robert Pires and Freddy Ljunberg to control midfield, and incidently, can score a few themselves. Their success has a lot to do with the mixture of individual talent of players like Pires and Ljunberg, but they also function as a unit, which many world class players have been criticised for not doing. They will start next season well ready to defend their crown, against the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United and Newcastle, but will have to be ready for a new challenge, since others will be delving into the transfer market this summer.

Ticket prices: £23.50-£55.50

Aston Villa

Manager: Graham Taylor

Ground: Villa Park

Last season: 8th

Players in: Stefan Postma from de Graafschap. Marcus Allback from SC Heerenveen. Lee Grant from York City.

Players out: Peter Schmeichel to Man City.

Key players: After managing to maintain 8th position even after selling the likes of Gareth Southgate and David James, Villa will feel more confident next season. Signings like Marcus Allback will improve their all round performance, but they will also have to rely on more established players, like Paul Merson to keep the foundations of the team in working order. The team is well structured, with players like Mustapha Hadji and Hassan Kachloul binding the team together. Ex-England manager Graham Taylor will aim to use these players as a central part to a team he will want to bring into Europe as his predecesor, John Gregory has managed to do.

Ticket prices: £15-£27

Birmingham City

Manager: Steve Bruce

Ground: St. Andrews

Last season: 3rd (through play-offs from Division One)

Players in: Robbie Savage from Leicester City

Players out:

Key players: Finally triumphant in the play-offs after so many failed attempts, Birmingham will have no other aims for this season, except to survive, in a league in which so many newly promoted teams fail. To do this they will have to play well as a team, but will also look to players that can produce flashes of brilliance, like midfielder Marcelo Cipriano, their main goalscorer Tommy Mooney, and firey Welshman Robbie Savage. Together they should be able to bring the team together and play like a Premiership team. If they fail at all else, Steve Bruce will want his men to get a result against his former team, Manchester United.

Ticket prices: unavailable

Blackburn Rovers

Manager: Graeme Souness

Ground: Ewood park

Last season: 10th

Players in: Andy Todd from Grimsby Town (loan returned) Sebastian Pelzer from Kaiserslautern.

Players out:

Key players: Although at some points close to relegation last season, a great run towards the end of it gave Rovers a respectable 10th place, the highest position of the three newly promoted teams last season. The likes of Brad Friedel, Damien Duff and Hakan Unsal have been some of the stars of the World Cup. Blackburn are also targetting Dwight Yorke, who would give Blackburn a strong strike force of Duff, Andy Cole, and Yorke. David Thompson is also on Souness' wanted list, and signings like these would stand Blackburn in good stead for an better position next season, and perhaps go some way to the long-term aim of becoming the team they were in the 94/95 season.

Ticket price: £23-£29

Charlton Athletic

Manger: Alan Curbishley

Ground: The Valley

Last season:14th

Players in: Gary Rowett from Leicester. Paul Rachuba from Oldham (loan returned).

Players out:

Key men: After some relegation scares last season, Charlton survive to fight another day. Next season they will try to push themselves further up the table, and they will probably need new players to do this. However, they have quality in the form of Jason Euell, as well as Jonathan Johansson, who are the main talking points to the squad. Shaun Bartlett also plays a crucial role, and scored the goal of the season a couple of years ago, persuading Charlton to take him on full-time. Charlton may have to buy new players, if they want to be competitive next season against teams which will be in the transfer market themselves over the summer.

Ticket prices: £15-£30


Manager: Claudio Ranieri

Ground: Stamford Bridge

Last season: 6th

Players in: Enrique de Lucas.

Players out:

Key players: Perhaps a little dissapointing for Chelsea to yet again miss out on the Champions league, particularly with some of the quality in the squad. Goalscoring wizard Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was up there with Michael Owen and Ruud Van Nistelrooy last season, and John Terry is one of the Premiership's latest star defenders. But Hasselbaink has also shown how he can miss more than the odd open goal. The experience of Gianfraco Zola and Marcel Desailly is particularly important to Chelsea, and they will be hard to replace when they retire. The squad has shown that it can perform, and has produced some stunning shows, such as the 4-0 win over Liverpool. Although so many of the players seem to be there, the team has something lacking which makes them very inconsistent. Having said this, Chelsea are always a threat, and a bit of summer spending should stop the team's lack of consistance.

Ticket prices: £28-£35


Manager: David Moyes

Ground: Goodison Park

Last season: 15th

Players in:

Players out:

Key players: After coming dangerously close to relegation on several occasions, Everton finally decided to sack manager Walter Smith and make way for David Moyes, who's instant effect has saved them from Division One football next season. Everton have had the reputation of playing, to put it bluntly, the most boring football in the Premiership. Moyes is expected to change this with a few summer signings, but they do have have players at present who are capable of changing the game. Tomasz Radzinski has had a good season, being the replacement for Francis Jeffers has not been easy, but with additional support from Niclas Alexandersson Everton have been able to survive, as well as being a team which nobody takes for granted. With new management in place, Everton should be able to build on this next season.

Ticket prices: £11-£29


Manager: Jean Tigana

Ground: Craven Cottage

Last season: 13th

Players in: Martin Herera from Alaves. Facundo Sava from Gimnasia.

Players out:

Key players: After seemingly cementing their Premiership status, Fulham will look to climb into the top half of the table next season. Ex-Chelsea man Bjarne Goldbaek provides a solid aspect to the midfield, with Louis Saha feeding off anything he can pick up on. Although not producing quite the world class performance which was seemingly expected of him, Saha is still a good striker, capable of scoring great goals. With the huge finances behind them, in the form of Muhummed Al-Fayed, Fulham will undoubtably be scanning the transfer market to see what could be available to them in the way of all-round players.

Ticket prices: £5-£20

Manchester City

Manager: Kevin Keegan

Ground: Maine Road

Last season: 1st (Division One)

Players in: Peter Schmeichel from Aston Villa. Marc Vivien Foe from Lyon (loan). Nicolas Anelka from Paris SG. Sylvain Distin from Newcastle. (loan returned.) Vicente Vuoso from Independiente. Tyrone Loran from FC Volendam. Mikkel Bischoff from AB.

Players out: Alioue Toure to Paris SG

Key players: Now back in the Premiership City pledge to finally remain there, and their summer signings so far are an indication of how they plan to do so. They now have a world class shot stopper in the Great Dane Peter Schmeichel, as well as signings Foe and Anelka. Rejected by Liverpool, Anelka has shown that although not quite what he used to be, he can still run at defenders just as well, and still has the ability to score goals. He will prove a huge asset to City, as well as Foe, who may work well with Shaun Wright-Phillips, who will also benefit from Premiership football.

Ticket prices: £8-£21

Manchester United

Manager: Alex Ferguson

Ground: Old Trafford

Last season: 3rd

Players in:

Players out: Raimond Van der Gouw to West Ham. Ronnie Wallwork to West Brom

Key players: After the best part of £50m was spent last summer on two players, it seemed like United would yet again be crowned champions. Their final position of 3rd place was considered to be disappointing, but since they began winning the title in 1992, they have always regained it the season after losing it.

They also reached the semi-finals of the Champions Leaguelast season, beaten only on away goals. Ruud Van Nistelrooy has been instrumental in both the European and domestic competitions, with nearly 40 goals under his belt. David Beckham of course is always a major part of the team, and next season will be no different. As United search for a new defender, they should prove that their reign is not over yet, but they will face an uphill struggle, with the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool clawing at their heels, the players must not take the Premiership crown for granted.

Ticket prices: £11.50-£23


Manager: Steve McClaren

Ground: Riverside Stadium

Last season: 12th

Players in: Massimo Maccarone from Empoli.

Players out: Dean Gordon to Coventry. Benito Carbone to Coma. Paul Ince free transfer

Key players: Steve McClaren will be happy to see his side finnish mid-table after his first season in charge. The likes of Noel Whelan and Alen Boksic have been the most inluencial players over the season. With the arrival of Maccarone Middlesbrough should become more creative in midfield and attack. With some more creativity than last season, and a new striker who was wanted by some of Italy's top clubs, Boro should be able to capitalise on last season.

Ticket prices: £8.50-£22

Newcastle United

Manager: Bobby Robson

Ground: St. James' Park

Last season: 4th

Players in: Hugo Miguel Viana from Sporting

Players out: Mark Boyd to Port Vale. Sylvain Distin to Man City (loan returned)

Key players: Newcastle surprised everyone with a return to the top of their game last season, and finished their highest since Kevin Keegan left. An excellent season for Laurent Robert, who has established himself as a favourite with the fans, not only becasue of his skill, but becasue of his Beckham-style free kicks. Along with the likes of Craig Bellamy, one of the quickest players in the Premiership, Newcastle are an irresistable attacking force. Alan Shearer's return to form after a nightmarish string of injuries, has been at just the right time. He has been one of the most influencial strikers in the Premiership, just when people believed his time was up. The only question about Newcastle is their depth of squad. This could be changed if Bobby Robson increases his squad over the summer.

Ticket prices: £13-£26

Leeds United

Manager: Terry Venables

Ground: Elland Road

Last season: 5th

Players in:

Players out:

Key players: After reaching the semi-final of the Champions League the season before last, Leeds were expected to be real challengers for the title last season, but did not show their true strength. The sacking of manager David O'Leary left the way for Terry Venables to wave his magic wand. Chairman Peter Risdale has set a target of £15m profit this summer. World class players like Robbie Keane, Mark Viduka and Lee Bowyer have all been linked with moves away from Elland road. However, despite their problems, Leeds are a side of quality players, it is just a matter of how many will be around next season. Robbie Fowler, Rio Ferdinand, and Alan Smith have all made their mark on the team, so Leeds will still be one of the teams to beat. It all depends on the next manager, some big names have been lined up, its a matter of how he can influence the team.

Ticket prices: £17-£35


Manager: Gerrard Houllier

Ground: Anfield

Last season: 2nd

Players in: El Hadji Diouf from Lens. Bruno Cheyrou from Lille.

Players out: Gary McCallister to Coventry (player manager). Jamie Redknapp to Spurs. Nicolas Anelka to Man City (loan returned). Jorgen Nielsen to Farum.

Key players: Although finishing last season without silverware, Liverpool have made their mark on both European (in which they will feature next season also) and domestic leagues, and have become a very hard team to beat. Having now built on their superb defence, and the poacher Michael Owen in attack, their only shortcoming is in midfield. Other than Gerrard and Hamann (who plays more of a defensive midfielder's job) they need a stronger structure, which should be constructed by Houllier over the summer. They have already signed Cheyrou, and have been linked with a move for unsettled Lee Bowyer, among others. Summer spending has already started however, Diouf having been made replacement for Anelka, after his quality performances for Lens and Senegal in the World Cup. This will give them an extra option in attack. Michael Owen, of course will be a key player again for Liverpool, and he should be able to form a good partnership with Diouf. Sami Hyypia is also the key-stone at the centre of the Liverpool defence, and has just been appointed club captain.

Ticket prices: £15-£35


Manager: Gordon Strachan

Ground: St. Marys

Last season: 11th

Players in: Michael Svensson from Troyes.

Players out:

Key players: After being in the Premiership for so long, and avoiding relegation so many times, Southampton will look to move forward in the table and finish in the top half. Marian Pahars has produced some good performances over the past few seasons, and the Saints will look to him for the majority of their goals. They may need new signings to keep up with the rate of the league, but with Michael Svensson already in the bag, Gordon Strachan will not be so worried about relegation next season, now they have a stronger midfield, and making it less easy for teams to simply "walk through it", as Southampton have been criticised of in the past. Rory Delap will also be able to maintain his presence in midfield, and with support from Svensson they should be more efficient going forward.

Ticket prices: £13-£27


Manager: Peter Reid

Ground: Stadium of Light

Last season: 17th

Players in: Phil Babb from Sporting

Players out:

Key players: A narrow escape from relegation last season has put pressure on Peter Reid to bring his team out of the depths and develop their status in the Premiership, but with little finance, and 19 other quality sides to play, Sunderland will have to look to their best players to play their best football. Jason McAteer, recently signed from Blackburn is able to give support in both defence and in midfield, and can come forward equally well. They will also look for Julio Arca to play well, and a return in form for Kevin Phillips, whose lack of goals nearly cost Sunderland dearly last season. Ex-Liverpool defender Phil Babb should also be influential in keeping the defence tight next season.

Ticket prices: £8-£23

Tottenham Hotspur

Manager: Glenn Hoddle

Ground: White Hart Lane

Last season: 9th

Players in: Jamie Redknapp from Liverpool. Milenko Acimaic from Crvena Zvezda

Players out: -

Key players: A return to the international stage after two excellent seasons in the Premiership will have boosted Teddy Sheringham, and Spurs will look to use his experience and confidence on the pitch to their advantage next season. He has become the team's goalscorer, and will benefit from the creativity of Jamie Redknapp, recently signed from Liverpool. Although finishing in the top half of the table is better than what they were doing a few seasons ago under Christian Gross, Glenn Hoddle will have his eye on a UEFA cup spot. Dean Richards will help them at the back, and they bind well as a team. Hoddle is at present eyeing more signings, and is willing to sell players to raise the cash. Spurs have a tradition of being a tough team to beat, and with the extra signings they will hope to reach a UEFA spot. If they can, more money will be generated in order to sign new players, and progress even further.

Ticket prices: £13-£55

West Bromich Albion

Manager: Gary Megson

Ground: The Hawthorns

Last season: 2nd (Division One)

Players in: Ronnie Wallwork from Manchester United

Players out: Elliot Morris to Glentoran. Matt Turner to Herfofge (loan).

Key players: After many years lingering in the first division, West Brom have finally made it to the Premiership - and will be doing their best to stay there. It will be a good experience for players like Scott Dobie to play Premiership football, as it will stretch his ability and give him more of a challenge. Although some people may expect West Brom to go down after just one season, Bob Taylor and Jordao will be doing their best to stop this from happening. Although Gary Megson will want to buy more players over the summer, he will be able to turn to these players to help the team define itself and adapt to pemiership football.

Ticket prices: £11-£29

West Ham United

Manager: Glen Roeder

Ground: Upton park

Last season: 7th

Players in: Raimond Van der Gouw from Manchester United

Players out: Shaka Hislop to Portsmouth

Key players: West Ham seem to be on an up despite the sale of Frank Lampard to Chelsea. Seventh last season, Glen Roeder will feel now that his team can capitalise on this and reach a UEFA cup spot. However, many other teams will also feel the same way, and so Roeder will have to rely on the creativity of Paolo Di Canio and Joe Cole. They will feel that they need to buy a new striker, but Di Canio on his own is capable of his fair share of goals. Having recently been picked for the World Cup squad, David James will also play a crucial role in net.

Ticket prices: £26-£47