LONDON (AP) — A team-by-team guide to the new Premier League season, which begins on Saturday, Aug. 16. Last season's position in parentheses:
Arsene Wenger's side ended a nine-year trophy drought by winning the FA Cup in May. Wenger hopes his squad, bolstered by the summer addition of Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona and with record-signing Mesut Ozil settled, can now last the distance in the Premier League title race. The Gunners, who haven't won the championship since 2004, spent much of last season on top only to finish fourth.
Key player: Forward Alexis Sanchez.
ASTON VILLA (15th)
Manager Paul Lambert was hamstrung by lack of investment from an owner, Randy Lerner, who is trying to sell up, and troubled by backroom issues last season. But Lambert has the nucleus of a promising side.
Key player: Striker Christian Benteke.
After returning to the Premier League after five years in the second tier, Burnley's season will hinge on whether strikers Danny Ings and Sam Vokes can cut it in the top flight. Expect Sean Dyche's well-drilled side to trouble visiting sides at the least.
Key player: Striker Danny Ings.
Despite playing down Chelsea's credentials last season, Jose Mourinho would have won the league last season if not for slip-ups against teams the Blues should have beaten when it mattered. The striker issue has been addressed with the purchase of Diego Costa from Atletico Madrid, while former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas will bring some dynamism to midfield.
Key player: Striker Diego Costa.
CRYSTAL PALACE (11th)
Tony Pulis was named manager of the year for keeping Palace in the Premier League. However, his second season in charge is likely to be even more of a challenge.
Key player: Midfielder Mile Jedinak.
Former Wigan manager Roberto Martinez showed he could make the step up when succeeding David Moyes last year, although he was unable to take Everton back into the top four. A fifth-place finish, though, was a good starting point. Turning Romelu Lukaku's loan from Chelsea into a permanent, club-record 28 million-pound ($47 million) transfer was an early summer statement of intent, while Ross Barkley is quickly developing.
Key player: Striker Romelu Lukaku.
Despite off-field disputes over the club's name, Hull maintained its top-flight status and reached the FA Cup final, falling short against Arsenal. New challenges lie ahead in the Europa League and the squad will have to dig deep to avoid being dragged into a relegation battle.
Key player: Midfielder Tom Huddlestone.
Leicester dominated the Championship to win the title, but it will prove a different challenge back in the Premier League after a decade away. Much will depend on whether David Nugent can keep scoring goals.
Key player: Striker David Nugent.
Despite the big hole left by the departure of striker Luis Suarez to Barcelona, Liverpool was quick to bolster a squad which fell just short in the title race last season. A trio of Southampton players was signed: defender Dejan Lovren, midfielder Adam Lallana and striker Rickie Lambert. But with a Champions League campaign to cope with this season, another sustained title challenge may just be beyond Brendan Rodgers' side. There should be less controversy, though, without Suarez.
Key player: Striker Daniel Sturridge
MANCHESTER CITY (1st)
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