The Premier League is back - here's everything you need to know

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Premier League champions Manchester City Striker Erling Haaland (pictured left) clapping and Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (pictured right) smiling.
Striker Erling Haaland (pictured left) is the big addition to Premier League champions Manchester City this season, but Liverpool and Mohamed Salah (pictured right) will be again pushing them till the end in the title race. (Getty Images)

It’s only 10 weeks ago that Manchester City won the Premier League title on a dramatic last Sunday, finishing above Liverpool by a single point to lift the league title for a fourth time in five years.

And with the world’s most-watched football league swinging back into action this weekend, it’s the same two teams who are favourites to battle it out for the right to be crowned champions of English football come May next year.

The reason for their favouritism once again? Quite simply, goals.

City and Liverpool bolster firepower with new strikers

City have added to their already impressive squad during the break, most notably signing Norwegian striking sensation Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund for a cool £51m (A$89m).

Manchester City already topped the goalscoring charts in last season’s competition, but have bolstered their ranks with the predatory instincts of Haaland.

The towering 22-year-old scored an incredible 62 goals in 67 games for Dortmund over the last two years and will be a frightening thought for Premier League defenders.

Not to be outdone, Liverpool have bought a star striker of their own in Darwin Nunez, the Uruguayan international arriving from Benfica in a £64m ($A111m) deal.

Nunez has an impressive goal scoring record of his own, netting 32 times in 57 games for Benfica.

Both new arrivals went head to head for the first time last Saturday, with Nunez taking the honours in the Charity Shield after scoring on his debut in Liverpool's 3-1 victory in the traditional season curtain raiser.

Although it was a morale boosting victory for the Reds, the Charity Shield win will count for little when the main event commences this weekend.

Darwin Nunez (pictured) celebrates with the FA Community Shield trophy.
New Liverpool Striker Darwin Nunez (pictured) scored on his competitive debut to help the Reds win the Charity Shield last weekend. (Source: Harriet Lander/Copa/Getty Images)

A big gap to close for Chelsea and Manchester United

Elsewhere, last season’s third place team Chelsea have also added firepower to their squad by bringing in England international Raheem Sterling, who was no longer guaranteed a starting berth at City due to the arrival of Haaland.

Although Sterling will have a point to prove for his new team, the Blues have lost a striker of their own, with Romelu Lukaku moving back to Inter Milan.

When considering this and the fact that key defenders Antonio Rudiger and Andrews Christensen have also left Stamford Bridge in recent weeks, it’s hard to see Chelsea finishing above the big two.

The big news at Manchester United over the closed season has not been the arrival of new players, but rather a new manager, with ex-Ajax boss Erik Ten Hag taking the reins at Old Trafford in July.

Coach Erik ten Hag (pictured) waves to the crowd at Manchester United.
Coach Erik ten Hag (pictured) has taken over the reins at Manchester United Head. (Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Although the highly regarded Dutchman has by all accounts made an impressive start in his new role, as well as signing Argentinian defender Lisandro Martinez from his old club Ajax, it’s a monumental task to close the gap on local rivals Liverpool and Manchester City.

Given United finished a distant sixth last season, and the fact that it’s now been ten years since they last won the Premier League title, a place in the top four – earning them qualification for the lucrative Champions League – may be the best that the red side of Manchester can hope for in Ten Hag’s first season.

Fans of Tottenham will once again have their hopes of Premier League glory resting on the shoulders of prolific goal scoring combination Harry Kane and Son Heung-min this season.

However, while reinforcing with several new players, the lack of a marquee signing that would take them to the next level is likely to restrict them to consolidating on last season’s fourth place, rather than competing for honours.

Newcastle and Villa to improve, Leeds for the drop?

Outside of big-name teams, expect Newcastle United to improve on last season’s 11th place finish, as they look to make use of their super wealthy new Saudi Arabian owners by bringing in a raft of new players.

Aston Villa are another team that could improve on last season.

Ex-England international Steve Gerrard now in his second season as manager at Villa Park and is starting to build a team worthy of a top half finish.

At the bottom of the table, history tells us that the three promoted teams will struggle to compete at the highest level, with five of the last nine teams promoted to the Premier League being relegated in their first season.

Aston Villa coach Steven Gerrard (pictured) looks on during the pre-Season Friendly match.
Can Aston Villa coach Steven Gerrard (pictured) improve on last season's result. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

Of this season’s newcomers, Nottingham Forest seem to be the ones best equipped to survive, having brought in an incredible twelve new players at a cost of over £90m (A$157m).

Fellow promoted teams Fulham and Bournemouth have been more cautious in the transfer market, and this may come back to haunt them come May.

Having barely avoided relegation last season, Leeds United may also be struggling to avoid the drop again this year, especially considering they lost their star striker Raphinha to Barcelona in recent weeks.

Finally, one dark horse at the top end of the table this season could be Arsenal, who have added Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus to their impressive young squad.

Gabriel Jesus (pictured) celebrates scoring his third Arsenal goal.
Arsenal (pictured) have bolstered their squad in the off-season and will be looking for a Top 4 finish. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Another victim of Manchester City’s purchase of Haaland, Jesus has started pre-season in scintillating form for the Gunners.

Add in the arrival of highly rated Portuguese midfielder Fabio Viera to Emirates Stadium, and the North Londoners look set to improve on last season’s fifth place.

Australian fans will be able to make their own minds up in the early hours of Saturday morning (5am AEST), with Optus Sport showing Arsenal's game at London rivals Crystal Palace, in what will be the opening fixture of the new season.

With all the remaining teams due to play their first games over the weekend, it promises to be compulsive viewing.

No matter who gains the initial advantage over the coming days, one thing is for certain – the Premier League is back, and it's sure to be a fascinating journey through to May.

You can get regular weekly updates on all the ups and downs of the Premier League season here at Yahoo Sport Australia, with our weekly round up starting next week.

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