Here are the top 5 changes ahead of Act Two:
1. New signings
Manchester United have silenced their noisy neighbours with the signing of the league’s top-scorer Robin van Persie and demanded the label of title favourites. Chelsea have also splashed the cash but City have only signed Jack Rodwell.
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Seven Premier League sides start the season with a new manager. Roberto di Matteo was made permanent boss at Chelsea; his predecessor AVB moved to Tottenham. Liverpool appointed ex-Swansea gaffer Brendan Rodgers; Michael Laudrup took charge at the Liberty Stadium. Norwich lost Paul Lambert to Aston Villa post survival and installed Chris Hughton as boss. Ex-Anfield Number 2 Steve Clarke won the hot-seat at West Brom. Who will win the sack-race?
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Not everyone will miss Didier Drogba’s histrionics but the Chelsea forward will be remembered as one of the finest strikers in Premiership history. The league will also be poorer with the absence of Tim Cahill, Dirk Kuyt and Danny Murphy. The unfortunate Ledley King has retired. Ex-England striker-partners Michael Owen and Emile Heskey remain without a team.
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4. The Return of “Everyone’s Second Favourite Team”
West Ham are back where they belong. The club who claim to be responsible for the country’s 1966 World Cup win promise bubbles, brio and bravado. Manager Sam Allardyce will be under pressure from the off, especially after a lack of signings. It’s never quiet at the Boleyn.
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5. Who will fill the Barton void?
Joey is said to be off to Marseilles so the Court Jester role is vacant. Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli of Manchester City were close contenders last season. Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll also gained unwelcome headlines at Liverpool. John Terry and Ashley Cole will be hoping to remain on the back-pages. Who will step into the limelight? Phil Jones, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Joe Hart. Your Country Needs You.