Wednesday May 27, 2015 may be remembered as they day FIFA was shaken to its core. On the long road to positive change, this was an important first step. Hopefully...
We have post-2000 budget XIs on behalf of Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs. Plus gaelic football, FIFA, more awards and the majesty of Il Fenomeno...
Who will win the league?
Sarah Winterburn: I nailed this one last season but a lack of any real squad improvement - while others have spent - means I'm ruling out a repeat. I've been saying Chelsea most of the summer but with no real level of conviction and right out of the blue when I sat down to write these predictions, I suddenly thought 'Arsenal!'. So, f*** it, Arsenal. Ruling something out just because it hasn't happened in a while is ridiculous.
Matthew Stanger: Arsenal. A lot depends on Aaron Ramsey staying fit and how quickly Alexis Sanchez settles, but I'm excited about watching the Gunners this season.
Daniel Storey: Heart says Arsenal, head says Chelsea, rest of me asks them why they are ignoring the improved title winners. Chelsea, just.
Nick Miller: City again, if they can score goals early doors. They've strengthened where they needed to, and something doesn't seem quite right - or right enough, at least - about Chelsea. I have no idea why, though.
Philip Cornwall: Liverpool. Probably not, but it's almost a one-in-five pick.
John Nicholson: Manchester United
Alan Tyers: Chelsea
And rest of the top four in order, if you will.
SW: Chelsea, Man City and then...with two weeks of the transfer window left, this is just too hard. As it stands, Man United have three fragile centre-halves and Liverpool are one injury away from Rickie Lambert up front. Whoever solves their problem will probably win this battle. As it stands, I'm going Man United by the breadth of a hair. But let the record state that I am far from convinced.
MS: 2) Chelsea. Jose Mourinho has assembled a brilliant first XI but I'm not sure the Blues will score enough goals. Although Diego Costa is an excellent addition, carrying Atletico Madrid's hopes last season almost broke him, and it could be a similar story at Stamford Bridge. 3) Manchester City. It all goes swimmingly until their elimination in the last 16 of the Champions League, when Txiki Begiristain begins to court Pep Guardiola. 4) Manchester United. This is the problem with making predictions at this stage - United will probably bring in two more quality players and win the thing.
DS: City, Arsenal and then the million dollar question: United or Liverpool? I'd be a lot clearer if the transfer window had finished but, right now, I've got to say Liverpool.
NM: Chelsea, Arsenal, United
PC: Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal
JN: Chelsea, Arsenal, City
AT: Man City, Arsenal, Man United
Who are going down?
SW: Difficult to see either Leicester or Burnley surviving, while QPR will be defensively sound enough to stay out of trouble. The third spot I give to West Brom; Aston Villa will finish 17th.
MS: Burnley, Leicester and West Brom. Villa will surprise a few people by not being completely awful and obscuring themselves in mid-table.
DS: Burnley, West Brom and then a toss-up between Leicester and Hull. I'll say Leicester.
NM: Villa, West Brom, Burnley
PC: Aston Villa, Burnley, QPR. But plenty of candidates.
JN: Swansea, West Brom, Leicester City
AT: Burnley, Leicester, Hull
Who will do a Southampton and be the best of the 'rest'?
SW: Are we counting Newcastle as a member of 'the rest'? I'd give them eighth right now after that summer of pretty exciting signings.
MS: Probably Newcastle. They really should try and win a cup or something.
DS: Newcastle, if Chunky can keep egos in check (including his own). Remy Cabella and Siem de Jong could be glorious.
NM: I initially said Palace before the s**t hit that particular fan, so I'll go with Stoke instead.
PC: Stoke, but they'll be a long way back. And I'm not counting Newcastle.
JN: Newcastle United
AT: Newcastle, I reckon the fans might get bored of hating on Pardew (not that they should necessarily) and I think they have a decent squad if everyone was all pulling in the right direction.
Who will be top scorer?
SW: Ruling out Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie as I think they'll split the goals (15-18 each), Daniel Sturridge because he won't fare quite so well without Luis Suarez and Sergio Aguero on hamstrung grounds, I've found myself at Diego Costa - robust enough never to miss a game through injury and playing in a team that's been crying out for a big finisher.
MS: Wayne Rooney
DS: Captain Wayne Rooney
NM: Fernando Torres. No! I'm kidding! That was just banter! Erm...maybe Daniel Sturridge?
PC: Daniel Sturridge
JN: Alexis Sanchez
AT: Daniel Sturridge, who I reckon is going to have a career season.
How will the promoted trio fare?
SW: Neither Burnley nor Leicester will embarrass themselves but I simply don't see enough in their squads to survive. I expect I said the same about Palace last year, but then they needed a man with a magic hat on a rescue mission.
MS: I've been impressed by QPR's business so far and I think they'll keep their heads above water. The other two are here for a good time, not a long time.
DS: Have got two of them to be relegated, but think QPR will do okay with the Redknapp/Hoddle axis of top, top men.
NM: QPR should be fine, unfortunately. Bit iffy about Leicester but I think there are a couple of worse teams than them. Burnley seem to be buying players who weren't getting in Championship teams last season, which is a concern. I like Sean Dyche and his soil-disturbing voice, but I reckon they'll go.
PC: All will struggle, after insufficient transfer action. It's quite possible they will all go down.
JN: Burnley and QPR narrowly avoid relegation.
AT: Looking forward to the possible odd couple fun at QPR with 'Arry and Mad Hodd. Think they'll stay up. Leicester will go down but not by much. Can't see Burnley doing a lot (looking forward to May's emails already if this is wrong).
First manager to be sacked?
SW: I was edging towards Paul Lambert and then looked at the fixtures for the first six weeks. Not until the sixth game do Leicester have a game (away at Palace) against a side who would not expect to take all three points. The Foxes will panic, fire Pearson and bring in Tim Sherwood.
MS: Alan Irvine. I think he could go in the first month, with West Brom offering an olive branch to Roberto Di Matteo.
DS: Leicester have a beastly start, but difficult to look past Paul Lambert, given that his replacement has been made assistant manager.
NM: A close call between Sam Allardyce and Alan Irvine, although I suspect West Ham will be just too competent for them to bin Sam straight away, whereas I can see West Brom waking up one morning in a cold sweat and saying 'Dear god, what have we done? Get rid of him!' Villa's ownership jiggery-pokery might save Lambert for a bit.
PC: Alan Irvine
JN: Alan Pardew
AT: Paul Lambert. I reckon Big Sam will be hard to kill.
Best signing of the season?
SW: Costa will be a massive, unlovable success, but Alexis Sanchez will be the bridge to Arsenal's title challenge. He's a bona fide Grade A footballer and neutral fans will embrace him.
MS: Alexis Sanchez. Seriously, I love him. The first time I watched him play was in 2008 when Chile faced Brazil in a World Cup qualifier. They lost 3-0 but Sanchez was superb. He's a truly special player that I never thought we'd have the fortune to see in the Premier League. (Ed - *feels bilious*)
DS: Think Dusan Tadic could be a wonderful signing for Southampton. Cesc Fabregas will be the business too.
NM: Diego Costa & Eliaquim Mangala certainly seem to fit the 'Well, we've fixed *that* problem' theory. Brede Hangeland on a free is lovely for Palace. Maybe Ander Herrera too. Although if United have signed Dirk Kuyt by the time this goes out, then that.
PC: Bojan Krkic. Massively improbable, cheap.
JN: Alexis Sanchez
AT: Rio Ferdinand, for the BBC. Not QPR.
And the worst?
SW: It's too easy to say Brown Ideye so I'll go for Joe Cole at Villa; he'll play seven times.
MS: West Brom have no Ideye what they're doing.
DS: Something about Eliaquim Mangala at that price just doesn't sit right. Plus, y'know, Ideye Brown and Enner Valencia.
NM: Everyone Villa have signed. I mean...Jesus.
PC: Didier Drogba. May do OK, but he won't get a fairytale send-off like winning the Champions League again.
JN: Got to be one of Liverpool's, it usually is. Emre Can is a hostage to fortune with a name like that.
AT: Alexis Sanchez won't live up to the hype.
And finally, which player or manager would you most like to see fail and why?
SW: After the w***-fest over Glenn Hoddle in the national media this week, I'd like to see the Redknapp-Hoddle dream ticket fall on its hairy arse.
MS: Alan Pardew. Who wouldn't like to see him fail?
DS: After the love in (and I include myself in that) it would be very funny if Van Gaal fell flat on his face. But really, it's hard to look beyond Sam Allardyce and Harry Redknapp.
NM: The way some United fans are building him up it would be pretty funny if Van Gaal was a complete disaster, but I'd like to keep him around for as long as possible for the entertainment value. I've also never liked Nigel Pearson, but that might be because he reminds me of an old schoolfriend's dad, who was an utter weapon.
PC: Harry Redknapp, because the fawning treatment he receives from much of the media is an embarrassment to the profession.
JN: 'Arry. Because he's 'Arry.
AT: Louis Van Gaal. Because sucky Man United is never not funny, and I'm already bored of journos licking up to him.