Chelsea manager Antonio Conte speaking during a press conference at Chelsea Training Ground, February 17, 2017. — Reuters pic
LONDON, Aug 10 — With the new Premier League season kicking off tomorrow, AFP Sport looks at 10 questions ahead of the new campaign:
Will Conte avoid second-season slump?
Just three months after lifting the Premier League trophy, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has described the new season as the most "difficult" test of his career.
In the past two seasons, Chelsea and Leicester City have both sacked their managers less than a year after winning the title.
Conte has spent over £100 million (RM557 million) on Alvaro Morata, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Antonio Rudiger to avoid becoming the third axed champion.
Can Wenger salve old wounds?
Despite ending last season on a high thanks to their FA Cup triumph against Chelsea, divisions still run deep at Arsenal over Arsene Wenger's lack of success in the Premier League and Europe over the last 13 years.
Out of the Champions League for the first time in 20 years, Arsenal must make a fast start and avoid their usual winter swoon to keep the natives from becoming even more restless.
Has Guardiola learnt English lessons?
Unable to replicate his dominance with Barcelona and Bayern Munich, Pep Guardiola admitted his trophyless first season with Manchester City had been a learning experience.
Spending over £200 million on six new players, including Tottenham Hotspur's Kyle Walker and Monaco duo Benjamin Mendy and Bernardo Silva, puts Guardiola in position to mount a stronger challenge this time.
Will Mourinho deliver?
Jose Mourinho's first season at Manchester United was a qualified success, with a disappointing sixth-place finish in the Premier League offset by Europa League and League Cup silverware.
Not content with that, Mourinho has spent over £140 million on Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and Victor Lindelof in a bid to win United's first league title since 2013.
Can Spurs make final step?
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has assembled a side capable of holding their own against anyone, but for two years in a row they have fallen short in the title race.
Having finished seven points behind Chelsea, Spurs have yet to make a single signing, while Walker's sale to City and a season playing their home games at Wembley adds to Pochettino's problems.
Will Liverpool click for Klopp?
After a fourth-place finish last season, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp splashed out a club-record £43.9 million on Roma winger Mohamed Salah, boosting a squad already brimming with potential.
But with Barcelona chasing star man Philippe Coutinho, winning Liverpool's first title since 1990 would be a remarkable achievement for Klopp.
Can Lukaku justify his price-tag?
Spurning interest from his former club Chelsea, Lukaku opted to join Manchester United in a £75 million deal that was a record for a transfer between British clubs.
Lukaku has scored 85 Premier League goals in the past five seasons and the 24-year-old Belgian's ability to replace Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be key to United's title aspirations.
How high can Everton go?
Encouraged by Everton's seventh-place finish last season, manager Ronald Koeman has gone for broke in a bid to crack the top four.
Using the money from Lukaku's sale, he has brought former Toffees star Wayne Rooney back home, while spending over £90 million on Davy Klaassen, Michael Keane and Jordan Pickford among others.
Can Lacazette carry Arsenal hopes?
With the future of unsettled Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez still up in the air, France striker Alexandre Lacazette arrives as the long-term face of Arsenal's attack after his club-record switch from Lyon.
Lacazette hit 37 goals in 45 games last season and Wenger desperately needs the 26-year-old to emulate that form.
What next for Leicester?
It seems a lot longer than 15 months since Leicester City's fairytale title win in 2016.
A dismal title defence and the shock sacking of Claudio Ranieri raised questions about the players' character, but a run to the Champions League quarter-finals under Craig Shakespeare augured well. — AFP