A is for Anniversaries
This season will coincide with a host of milestones. As well as the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I which will be marked by clubs across the country, it is also the 90th year since Selhurst Park opened, the 50th year that Match of the Day has been on our screens and of course Julian Speroni’s 10th year as an Eagle.
B is for Bojan
One of the more surprising transfers of the summer saw the man formerly tipped to be the new Lionel Messi arrive in Staffordshire from Barcelona. The Spanish striker broke through into the Catalan side’s first-team a couple of seasons after Messi, and scored 12 times in his first campaign. However he struggled to hold down a regular spot and had loan spells at top European clubs such as Roma, AC Milan and Ajax before Mark Hughes snapped him up for a reported bargain at £3m.
C is for Cole
For the first time since the 1999/00 season Ashley Cole won’t be plying his trade in the Premier League after the former Palace loanee swapped London for Italy after moving to Roma on a free transfer. Another Cole on the move is Joe, who has swapped the claret and blue of West Ham United for the claret of blue of Aston Villa.
D is for Diego Costa
The most expensive signing of the summer alongside Eliaquim Mangala who arrived at Manchester City from Porto for £32m, the Brazilian/Spanish striker had been courted by Jose Mourinho for months before he finally got his man. Having impressed last season for Atletico Madid as they lifted the Spanish title, he endured a disappointing World Cup but has hit four goals for the Blues during pre-season.
E is for Ex-Eagles
After spending the second half of last season on loan in SE25, Thomas Ince signed for Hull City on a free transfer, linking up with former Palace boss Steve Bruce on Humberside. Matthew Upson has joined Leicester City from Brighton but Neil Danns has left the King Power Stadium for Bolton Wanderers to team up once more with Dougie Freedman. Meanwhile Andrew Johnson and Alex Nimely have been released by QPR and Manchester City respectively.
F is for Foxes
Last season’s Championship winners will make their first appearance in the top-flight for a decade and possess a young squad managed by Nigel Pearson. Spearheaded in attack by David Nugent who supplied 20 goals last term, they have added Brighton striker Leonardo Ulloa to their attacking options for £8m. Midfielder Matty James could be one to watch this season.
G is for Germany
Having finally helped the club lift their first piece of silverware for nine years in the form of the FA Cup, Arsenal’s trio of German internationals return to Premier League action with a World Cup winners medal in their pockets after their exploits in Brazil during the summer. Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker will now have their sights firmly set on the league title, whilst they may face opposition in the form of Chelsea’s Andre Schurrle.
H is for Homecoming
One of the more fairytale transfers of the summer saw Rickie Lambert return to his home city of Liverpool to finally play for the team he supported as a boy but who released him at the age of 15. After a career spent working his way through the lower leagues, he will now finally get the chance to play for the Reds. Another player who will line up for his boyhood club is Jack Colback who made the controversial switch from Sunderland to Newcastle.
I is for Irvine
West Bromwich Albion appointed Alan Irvine as their eighth manager in the past five years during the summer, and the pressure is on the former Preston and Sheffield Wednesday boss to turn around the Baggies’ fortunes. However a tough run-in will put the pressure on early-season results but the Scot has splashed some big money in the transfer market so far.
J is for Jacks
After Cardiff City’s relegation last season, Swansea City are now the only Welsh representatives in the top-flight. Unhampered by European football this year, the Swans could be a surprise package in the league this season with Bafetimi Gomis arriving after being highly rated on the continent, and he should strike up a decent strike partnership alongside 16-goal hitman Wilfried Bony.
K is for Keano
Roy Keane is back in the Premier League after being named as Paul Lambert’s assistant manager at Aston Villa. The former Manchester United star hasn’t been seen in the division since his spell as manager of Sunderland in December 2008 and will combine the role with the same position he holds with the Republic of Ireland.
L is for Lampard
Having worn a blue shirt for the better part of 15 years, Frank Lampard will do so this season but with a slightly lighter shade after arriving on loan at Chelsea’s title rivals Manchester City. Having initially signed for MLS expansion side New York City FC after his Blues contract expired, he then shocked the footballing world by signing up for a temporary stint at the Etihad Stadium to get fit ahead of the 2015 American season.
M is for Manchester
Speaking of the reigning champions, it’ll be interesting to see whether the blue or red side of the city finishes higher this season now Luis van Gaal has been appointed United boss. In a change to recent tradition, the Red Devils have been splashing the cash far more than City this summer in a bid to return to the Champions League but have an exciting crop of youngster once again edging their way towards the first team.