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Rupert Wyman 11th Aug 2011 - 10:53

Chelsea have got the Sturridge factor

The Premier League is about to kick-off and Manchester United (6/4) are the favourites to once again lift the trophy. Sir Alex will start the season without Gary Neville and Paul Scholes. They are now both retired and it is almost the end of an era for the 'Class of 92'.

They still have Ryan Giggs but they rely on a new generation of stars to help Sir Alex reclaim the much coveted league trophy. He has made some impressive additions to the squad this summer including the much talked about signings of Phil Jones from Blackburn and Ashley Young from Villa.

Winning the competition is never easy and Chelsea look a big price (11/4). The Blues are now managed by the influential Villas-Boas. The ex-Porto manager may still be young but he already seems to have the respect of the players and there has been no mumblings of discontent over his appointment from the squad.

They have not yet made any major signings this summer but they did buy Torres and Luiz in the winter break. They have spent significant money on a player for the future in Romelu Lukaku from Anderlecht.  A value bet looks Sturridge to be Premier League top-goalscorer at 50/1.

He is a massive price for an each-way punt (4, 1/4) and although he misses the first three games due to suspension, he is a natural goal-scorer and he has outshone all his rivals over pre-season.

He scored a double in the friendly match against Rangers at the weekend and there is no reason why he cannot start ahead of an ageing Drogba and an out of form Torres.

Arsenal look likely to start the season without Nasri and Fabregas.  They are 9/1 to lift the title and they look weak in all departments. The back-bone of the side is non-existent and Wenger needs to open his chequebook, he should have taken a chance on the hard-working Barton from Newcastle on a free transfer.

Liverpool can knock Arsenal out the Top 4 and grab a Champions League spot at 11/10, they have invested well with the signings of Henderson and Downing. Suarez looked a class act in the Copa America and his signing last winter could prove to be a masterstroke. He is 14/1 to finish top goalscorer.

Swansea, QPR and Norwich may be the Premier League new boys but one of them looks sure of staying up because Blackburn's season could implode anytime. They are 3/1 to be relegated and with such unrealistic targets set by Venky's, a poor squad, an inexperienced manager and no new big name signings, it could be a difficult season for the Lancashire squad.

They have not even made any moves to take the likes of David Bentley and Wright-Phillips on season-long loans.  It could be a disastrous season and the owners may press the panic button very soon.



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