Can they hold on to their key men?
Despite the injection of new funds, once again the talk at Goodison is of potential exits rather than entrances. Should the Toffees lose both John Stones and Romelu Lukaku, Ronald Koeman could be in for a tough first season.
Have they sold their soul?
American investors bought a 60% stake in the Welsh club over the summer. The 21% shareholding of the supporters trust remains but will they be given as much as a say by the new majority shareholders as by the previous regime. Previously one of the best run Premier League clubs, these are uncertain times at the Liberty Stadium.
Can they reverse the slump?
After drawing at Chelsea on Boxing Day, Watford were 7th in table. They won just 4 league games thereafter and slid down the league. A change of manager might help turn the tide but it could be a long hard slog for survival this time around.
West Bromwich Albion
Pulis first for the chop?
Having been bought out by a consortium from China, what does the future hold for Albion and their boss. Will the new regime be happy with merely surviving? Guochuan Lai, who heads the group which has taken over, said;
“I believe that we have a competitive team, with the right management and coaching staff in place.”
Let’s see if he still feels that way when he’s watching a defence comprised of four centre halves grinding out another 0-0 draw.
Who will score the goals?
Palace’s top scoring striker last season was Connor Wickham who got 5 league goals – the same total as Scott Dann. With Dwight Gayle and Emmanuel Adebayor having departed, Palace’s already weak striking options look even flimsier. Urgent recruitment is required if the Eagles are to score enough to stay away from trouble.
Will second season syndrome strike?
Last year everything was brand new for the Cherries. Will complacency set in or will opposition teams have figured them out? It will be a huge test of highly rated Eddie Howe’s managerial skills.
Is Moyes ready for the biggest challenge of his career?
Man United was obviously a higher profile job but after failure their and at Real Sociedad, David Moyes has to succeed in his new role. How to define success for Sunderland is another matter but if they finish one place lower than last term, Moyes hopes of being a top level manager will be over.
Will Dyche walk away?
At time of writing, Burnley have signed 3 players from the football league and Jon Flanagan on loan from Liverpool. Sean Dyche knows that’s not nearly enough to remain competitive. If he doesn’t get the backing of his board to spend money, he might decide another probable relegation isn’t worth the damage to his reputation.
Can Alvaro Negredo get the goals needed?
The Spaniard has joined on loan from Valencia. He scored nine league goals in his one and only season at Manchester City but none of those came later than January. Boro will need him firing consistently if they are to stay up.
Has a team ever been in worse shape ahead of a Premier League campaign?
No manager, nine fit players and owner looking to sell. As things stand it’s impossible to predict anything but a miserable season for the Tigers. Those sun soaked Wembley celebrations after May’s playoff final seem an awful long time ago.