English Premier League Begins

.Manchester City are defending champions, can they defend the title? –

The 2014/2015 English Premier League season begins on Saturday, 16 August, following a record summer of transfer spending in England’s top league.
The 20 top-flight clubs have invested an estimated £647m, £17m more than in the whole of last summer, with experts believing the figure could reach £1bn.
Manchester United, under new boss Louis van Gaal, kick off the season in the early game against Swansea, Chelsea start as favourites, while Manchester City are the holders.
It is the second year in a row that Manchester United start with a new manager, with Van Gaal looking to improve on the seventh-placed finish achieved by predecessor David Moyes.
The Dutchman is one of four new bosses in the league, while 10 players have come in for fees of £20m or more, with Alexis Sanchez’s £35m move to Arsenal the biggest so far.
The record summer spending comes with the Premier League in the second year of a three-year TV package with BT Sport and Sky, worth over £1bn per season.
Prize money for the winners, including their share of television money, is likely to be near £100m. Last year, Manchester City earned £96.5m, £1m less than second-placed Liverpool, who earned more as they were on television more times. Cardiff, who finished bottom and were relegated, earned £62m.
The major innovation this season is the vanishing spray introduced at the World Cup, which sees the referee spray a white line, which disappears after a short period, on the pitch to ensure a defensive wall stands 10 yards away from a free-kick taker.
The season promises to produce one of the most open title races in memory, with five teams expected to battle for the championship.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has gone two years without winning a trophy, having won one in each of the nine seasons before that, but has added more than £80m of talent to his side this summer.
Spain internationals Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas come in, with club legend Didier Drogba returning on a free transfer.

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