The Premier League season is now not far away and it looks to be poised for an interesting campaign with plenty of high profile managers taking charge of teams expected to challenge for the trophy. Of course Leicester won the Premier League last season but something so unthinkable is highly unlikely to happen again. The likes of Man City, Chelsea and Man Utd surely cannot perform as badly as they did last season meaning a more predictable league should once again take shape with the trophy likely to be decided in my opinion by Man City, Man Utd and Chelsea with Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool considered as outsiders. Based on this I have identified 10 players who should have a huge say in where the title will end up come the end of the 38 games. I have not gone for the star players in each side with the likes of Aguero, De Bruyne and Sanchez examples of players who are likely to produce where as instead I have chosen talented players that if they can step up can have a huge say in the title race.
The City Captain is surely going to be a huge factor in how the Citizens fare under Pep Guardiola. It's quite strange to see just how different a team is when they are without a defender but Kompany really does seem to have a monumental effect on the side. He brings out the best in players around him and is a top class defender. The problem will be staying injury free throughout the season, if he can avoid that and be a regular in the side then Man City will really fancy their chances.
Anthony Martial - Manchester United
A key player in the fact that the 20 year old has already shown how much talent he really has. In terms of potential, there will not be many better than the Frenchman. However in terms of the here and now, Martial could really cause some damage if he smooths out the rough edges to his game where he could be a little bit more ruthless. He has shown he can play on the left hand side but Man Utd have spent a lot of money on him and he would certainly be more effective in the middle. An improved season from Martial will make United a real threat and it could strengthen their chances enormously under Mourinho.
It can only really get better for Hazard, who was the player of the season in 2014/15. He will be pivotal for Chelsea, a side that will have to answer a lot of questions this season. If the winger continues to disappoint you would imagine the Blues can forget about the title heading their way. The Belgium international though can win games on his own so if he can improve combined with a tighter defence this season which would be expected under Conte, you would fear going back to Stamford Bridge once more.
Granit Xhaka - Arsenal
You would suspect quite a lot of change is needed for Arsenal to win the league with a group that can overcome the pressures late on in the campaign. Arsenal have gone big on the Swiss international spending around £30 million on the 23 year old. He needs to make his mark truth be told, should Arsenal have a chance. We have seen the club bring is some top signings in recent years but they have failed to bring a winning mentality. Xhaka must bring some mental stability and some grit in the middle of the park otherwise you would have to say, Arsenal have a slim chance at the title.
While Spurs would probably be considered outsiders for the League again this season, you wouldn't want to rule them out following an impressive campaign last season under Pochettino. For me a key player will be Toby Alderweireld. The Belgium defender was part of the best defence in the league last season and this provided the foundations for Spurs to go on and win games with likes of Kane, Alli and Eriksen getting the goals. Those players will once again be expected to deliver offensively however maintaining such a strong defensive unit will be vital at White Hart Lane. With Wanyama coming in to provide even more protection, Spurs are in good shape but Alderweireld who caught the eye last season will have to maintain similar levels to get Spurs up the table.
I think David Silva's season could be an influential one in terms of results. You would expect De Bruyne to light up the league next season but David Silva also has tremendous qualities, ones that weren't in full effect last season. You feel if he can slot into a more central position and have more license to roam in a fluid side, the Spaniard could return to his really excellent self and provide the ammunition to propel Manchester City to the title.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic - Manchester United
A predictable choice but I do feel Zlatan really will hold the key for Manchester United. With a tough defensive unit enforced by Mourinho expected, the Red Devils rise from the last campaign is likely to be influenced by the individual brilliance going forwards. There is no doubting the Swedish Internationals quality but how much ability he brings could have a big say in where the title ends up. With a few questions still to answer, a prolific season for Ibrahimovic would certainly see Manchester United improve and challenge for the Premier League trophy.
The big 'Keeper had a poor season last campaign among many others in a Blue shirt. The 24 year old has shown that he has a lot of capabilities but he will now have to step up under Conte. A consistent season with errors to a minimum could win valuable points for Chelsea along the way. In what it is likely to be a fierce competition, Courtois will need to prove that he is one of the finest Goalkeepers around in order to make the London club challenge.
A predictable selection, Giroud's form will have to be more consistent over the course of the season if the Gunners are to really challenge. While the Frenchman always has the ability to find the net with prolific spells, an improved year of being ruthless in front of goal, particularly when the pressure is on could make all the difference for Arsene Wenger's men.
Liverpool simply cannot defend how they have been for the last few seasons if they are to challenge for the league under Klopp. The likes of Lovren will have to improve at the back to give the Reds the best possible chance of success. The 27 year old must re-discover his form at Southampton which earned the Croatian his move to Anfield. With transfers coming in to the Liverpool defence, Lovern must now form an effective partnership, likely to be with Joel Matip and keep the sloppy goals out that Liverpool constantly seem to concede.
Do you agree with these choices? Let us know in the comments below!