13/08/2014 13:20 BST | Updated 13/10/2014 06:59 BST

The Winners and Losers From the Premier League Pre-Season

The season is almost here, close enough to almost smell the overpriced half-time chips and pies. Close enough to almost hear the groans that greet the first miss of the season and the cheers that greet the first goal.

It's been an eventful wait since the World Cup, with no clubs standing still, but who's impressed in the last month and who's accidentally thrown it into reverse?

5. Yaya Sanogo - Winner

After no goals in 16 appearances for Arsenal last season, Arsene Wenger might have been considering Sanogo's future at the club. His four-goal demolition of Benfica, then, was all the more important given that context.

The goals are almost incidental though. The physical change in Sanogo over the summer is striking. He's apparently been on some intense physical training plan to help him bulk up - and it shows.

He's no longer the gangly colt who could easily be muscled out of a shooting position and has transformed into a genuinely threatening physical prospect. Could have a big season ahead of him.

4. Liverpool - Losers

Liverpool's pre-season results were, by and large, fairly reasonable - a win over Manchester City on penalties was the highlight.

But the way that Manchester United took them apart in the US should give Brendan Rodgers and co some things to think about.

Liverpool came into this summer desperately needing to sign at least five top quality players to give their squad the depth it lacked last season.

Instead, they've been beaten to the punch in almost every single chase and have signed the overpriced pair of Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic, with Emre Can, Dejan Lovren and, uh, Rickie Lambert completing the set.

Oh and they lost their best player too... and Brendan Rodgers insists that they don't need to replace him.

It might be a long season for Liverpool fans.

3. Manchester United - Winners

Look out England - Manchester United are back.

Well, maybe. It's too soon to judge how the Louis van Gaal era will go (remember when David Moyes won the Community Shield?), but the early signs are promising.

They got some of their big transfers out the way early, Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera both signing at the end of June, giving them plenty of time to bed into the squad.

With the signing of a winger apparently imminent, United look like serious contenders again this season. They're not the finished article yet, but who are?

2. Fernando Torres - Loser

Every now and again Fernando Torres will go on a little run of goalscoring form and the papers will claim that he's back on form. And then he isn't.

This pre-season... was not one of those times. He got his share of media attention, but it was of the less-wanted kind, as he missed one of the easiest chances you'll ever see against Olimpija Ljubljana.

That confidence-destroying miss, along with the news that his old club Atletico Madrid wouldn't even take him back at a massively cut-down price, can't have made for a fun summer for the 30-year-old.

1. Premier League Fans - Winners

This pre-season has been an absolute treat for Premier League fans and it's set up what could be one of the best seasons in recent memory.

There weren't lots of matches between the 'big teams' - though Liverpool played both Manchester teams in the last month - and it's set mouths watering over the battle for the trophy this season.

It's more open than ever - with Everton manoeuvring brilliantly in the transfer window to ensure that there are seven sides who can genuinely challenge for a top 4 place.

And we have the vanishing spray from the World Cup which, let's face it, is awesome.