Guide to Premier league football

The football world cup may be a distant memory to some of us but there has been no let up in the football headlines. The Premier League is now well under way and will be filling the back pages for months to come. There has been the usual pre-season build with transfer talks, managerial sackings and walkouts. You may be an old hand when it comes to the footie season but if you are just beginning to discover the finer points of the Premier League here is a brief guide to help you through.

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The long season ahead promises months to be packed full of action, intrigue and excitement and that's just the stories off the pitch.

During the off-season the clubs tend to jostle with each other for the services of the best players. Big domestic and overseas clubs will make overtures towards the finest players in the Premier League in order to tempt them with colossal salaries and fees. The big spender this year has undoubtedly been Manchester City who have lavished millions on building a squad they hope will help them break the strangle hold of the big four at the top of the table.

So who are the biggest clubs? Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United have dominated proceedings for the last two decades. It's been a real struggle for the others to topple this monopoly but this year some of the clubs tipped to give the Premier League giants a run for their money are Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Everton. There are others, like Aston Villa, who will also hope to be in the shake up. Although they will have to do so without the services of their former manager Martin O'Neill who made a shock exit from the club. At the start of the season.

Chelsea hold the title but the loss of key players like Ricardo Carvalho, Joe Cole and Michael Ballack may not help their cause. As for Manchester United this season their boss, Alex Ferguson, will be hoping his youngsters will take the strain of their star player Wayne Rooney. It remains to be seen if the striker will be able to lift his form after his poor showing at the World cup.

Will the millions Manchester City have spent finally bring them a team capable of challenging for the title? Perhaps they still need more time to let their crop of superstars gel into a team. What about Arsenal? Wenger has been under pressure recently to add a bit more silverware to the cabinet. Can Marouane Chamakh provide some much needed firepower to give them that final push?

Can Tottenham prove they are capable of reaching the top of the league whilst making an impact on the European stage?

Liverpool are hoping their new manager Roy Hodgson will finally get them playing the football their fans so desire. Of course, it's not just the top of the division that makes the headlines the bottom can be just as intriguing. It was certainly a dream start for the newcomers Blackpool but can they keep it going? West Brom are back, yet again but how can they finally avoid the drop and cement themselves in the top division?

Plenty to think about then. It is widely talked about as the most exciting league in football and is certainly the most watched across the globe. The coming months will certainly see plenty of shocks, tears and cheers before the trophies are handed out.