N is for Nine
Newcastle United have been the most active Premier League team in the summer transfer window thus far, recruiting no fewer than nine new faces. Former Palace hero Alan Pardew has dipped into the French market once again to bring in the likes of Remy Cabella and Emmanuel Riviere, while highly-rated Dutch duo Siem de Jong and Daryl Janmaat have also arrived at St James’ Park as the Geordies aim to mount a European push this term.
O is for Off-Field Changes
Every summer sees eyebrows raised at certain additions to backroom teams up and down the Premier League, with this year’s prime suspect, Roy Keane, analysed in part one. But there have been plenty more with former England manager Glenn Hoddle joining the coaching staff at QPR, Teddy Sheringham going back to West Ham as an attacking coach and Joe Royle returning to the set-up at Everton. Will their appointments reap rewards on the pitch?
P is for Pochettino
After just one full season in the Premier League with Southampton, Mauricio Pochettino was on the move to Tottenham Hotspur earlier this summer. The highly-rated Argentine will be expected to turn Spurs into genuine top four contenders once again, under the watchful eye of chairman Daniel Levy.
Q is for QPR
They may have only just sneaked into the Premier League via a last minute Play-Off Final goal, but many expect Queens Park Rangers to do more than just avoid relegation this time around. Boss Harry Redknapp has made some eye-catching summer signings, including centre-back pairing Rio Ferdinand Steven Caulker, as he aims to mastermind Hoops’ survival.
R is for Re-Design
Following a supporter outcry over their new club crest a year ago, Everton have been forced to design another new badge this summer. It means the Toffees will this season be sporting their third different crest in as many years, as Roberto Martinez looks to build on their 5th placed finish last time out.
S is for Southampton
Despite all the summer changes surrounding the Premier League, Southampton have consistently found themselves dominating the tabloid headlines after losing Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren to Liverpool, with Luke Shaw and Calum Chambers also moving to Manchester United and Arsenal respectively. It’s been a baptism of fire for new boss Ronald Koeman, who has slowly put his stamp on a squad looking to emulate their record-equalling 8th placed Premier League finish in 2013/14.
T is for Turf Moor
For only the second season ever, Turf Moor, the home of Burnley, will host Premier League football this year. The Clarets performed above all expectation under boss Sean Dyche last term to finish second behind Championship winners Leicester and secure their seat the top table. But can they defy even greater odds this time around to survive in the top flight?
U is for Uruguayans
While Luis Suarez said goodbye to the Premier League after completing a £75m move to Barcelona, his compatriot Gus Poyet is preparing to become the first Uruguayan to start a season as Premier League manager. The Sunderland boss masterminded a minor miracle to keep the Black Cats in the top tier last season and will no doubt be looking higher up the table this term.
V is for Vanishing Spray
It was the Goal Decision System last summer – and this year it’s the introduction of vanishing spray into the Premier League that will provide match officials with further help on the field. Following a successful World Cup, the canisters will now be carried by all referees during all 380 games in England’s top flight to prevent players seeking an unfair advantage during set piece situations.
W is for Webb
Speaking of match officials, one referee who will not get the chance to use the new vanishing spray this season is Howard Webb. The 2010 World Cup Final referee has retired from active refereeing in order to take up the role of technical director of the Professional Game Match Officials Board.
X is for X-Rated
After a couple of high-profile x-rated incidents involving Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris and Germany’s Christoph Kramer in recent months, the Premier League have brought in new rules on how to deal with head injuries this season. A player suffering a head injury must now leave the pitch and the club doctor must decide if a player is capable of continuing, not the team management, while home teams also have to employ a third “tunnel” doctor on match-days.
Y is for Youngsters
The likes of Calum Chambers, Luke Shaw, Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley all enjoyed breakthrough Premier League campaigns in 2013/14, but which youngsters will make the grade this season? Southampton’s Matt Targett, Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish and Jon Toral of Arsenal have all been tipped for big things – will this be their year?
Z is for Zarate
There aren’t too many things beginning with ‘Z’ in and around the Premier League these days, but Muaro Zarate’s return to England completes our alphabet. The Argentine scored four top flight goals in 14 games for Birmingham City in 2008 – and after catching the eye in South America with Velez last season, the frontman is back to add some flair to West Ham’s attack.