The Premier League title race of 2013/14 provided plenty of dramatic twists and turns, resulting in one of the most exciting campaigns in years. But there is already plenty of reason to believe that the new season will be even better and here's a look at why.
4. Arsenal and Liverpool Still Have Quality
Liverpool pushed hard all the way last season in their bid to lift a first league title in 24 years, before ultimately falling slightly short. The key difference now, however, is the departure of Luis Suarez, whose 31 goals were the driving force behind the club's form, particularly in the second half of the campaign.
That being said, key players in Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho still remain, while several additions have been made. Brendan Rodgers' team may struggle to have quite the same impact as in 2013/14, but they will still be a fierce opposition to any 'Champions Elect'.
Arsenal may just lack the overall quality to go all the way, but the addition of Alexis Sanchez is key. The Gunners will still struggle on cold winter nights and in physical battles, but they have the ability to beat anyone on any given day. The other big sides underestimate them at their own risk.
3. City Will Put Up a Better Defence Than Last Time
Manchester City's defence of their first Premier League title, won so dramatically with virtually the last kick of the 2011/12 season, was poor to say the least. In charge at the time, Roberto Mancini failed to really add to the existing quality in his squad, with the likes of Jack Rodwell, Javi Garcia and Scott Sinclair arriving, whilst Manchester United drafted in Robin van Persie, ultimately costing the Italian his job.
'Defending Champions' is a new label for current boss Manuel Pellegrini, but the club as a whole will surely have learnt from the mistakes of their last attempt at retaining the trophy.
That City side showed a complacency in games and acted as though they should win just by turning up, but this team had to work hard to win the title last season and will be fully aware that others will play that bit harder against them. They will be ready.
2. Mourinho Has a Point to Prove
Jose Mourinho's glorious Stamford Bridge homecoming ended on somewhat of a sour note last season, with the club finishing the season trophy-less for the first time since 2011.
His arrival alone the previous summer was enough for many journalists and pundits to label the Premier League title as Chelsea's to lose. Though Mourinho's side were in with a chance until the very end, however, there was none of the ruthless conviction that characterised his first great team, securing back to back titles in 2005 and 2006.
Despite a plethora of attacking talent with the likes of Oscar, Eden Hazard and Willian to name but a few, it was a strong defence that often came to the fore in games, frustrating the opposition into submission rather than clinically beating them.
However, Mourinho will be desperate to show that he is not simply a 'has-been' and in doing so has already been bullish in the transfer market.
The additions of Filipe Luis, Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa alone provide an immediate addition of extreme quality as well as a boost in physical strength, making Chelsea suddenly a much more intimidating opposition than last season.
1. The van Gaal Factor
Manchester United will simply not be anything like as bad as they were last season. In David Moyes' 10 months in charge, the team that had been crowned champions in emphatic fashion the previous April lacked character, identity, drive and energy.
It was a team that needed attention, but the fall should not have been quite so dramatic and a month before the end of the season the United hierarchy took the unthinkable action of sacking someone from the Old Trafford dugout for the first time in nearly 30 years.
The squad still needs work and will take time to reach its previous best, but new boss Louis van Gaal will give United that extra special force that was so conspicuous in its absence last season.
The Dutchman has quite an incredible record, with league titles from three different countries. He has already set his sights on the Premier League trophy too, having categorically stated he did not come to England for 4th place.
His immaculate vision and tactics took his Netherlands side to within a penalty shootout of the World Cup final and his reputation for developing young talent is second to none. It may be a tall order for United to reclaim the coveted Premier League trophy, but with van Gaal at the helm they will certainly have a huge part to play.
For more fan views visit FTBpro.com