The comprehensive guide to the 2012-13 Premier League season

A club-by-club run-through of all the transfer ins and outs, key men and expectations ahead of the new campaign in England's top flight
SEASON 2011-12
Cups: Champions League last 16, FA Cup fifth round, League Cup fifth round

LAST SEASON: Recovered from a bad start, including an 8-2 thrashing against Manchester United, to eventually pip rivals Tottenham to third place on the final day of the season, as Robin van Persie led the way with 37 goals in all competitions.

SUMMER SO FAR: The club's pre-season tour of Asia featured a win, a draw, and a loss to Manchester City, but no Van Persie - who declared he would not sign a new contract at the Emirates Stadium - and has now moved to Old Trafford. But in anticipation of his departure, Arsene Wenger has been busy in the transfer market.

A convincing 4-0 victory over FC Koln has wrapped up pre-season on a positive note ahead of the opener against Sunderland on Saturday.

INS: Lukas Podolski (Koln), Olivier Giroud (Montpellier), Santi Cazorla (Malaga)

OUTS: Ryo Miyaichi (Wigan - loan), Benik Afobe (Bolton - loan), Oguzhan Ozyakup (Besiktas), Robin van Persie (Manchester United), Manuel Almunia (Watford), Yossi Benayoun (end of loan)

KEY MAN: Santi Cazorla

While Van Persie's defection was a blow, the signing of Santi Cazorla from Malaga has captured the imagination of Arsenal fans.

A versatile midfielder capable of operating in a number of different positions, Gunners fans will be hoping the Spain international strikes up an immediate understanding with fellow new signings Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud.

EXPECTATIONS: After strengthening over the course of last season and during the summer, to finish among the Champions League places must be a minimum requirement for Arsenal once again.

A piece of silverware, meanwhile, is long overdue.

SEASON 2011-12
Cups: FA Cup fourth round, League Cup third round

LAST SEASON: It was an altogether forgettable campaign for Aston Villa last season. Under former Birmingham manager Alex McLeish, the Midlands side struggled for any sort of form and came dangerously close to being dragged into a relegation battle, before draws with West Brom and Tottenham secured survival.

SUMMER SO FAR: McLeish was sacked shortly after the end of the season and has been replaced by Paul Lambert, who has watched his side lose just once in a pre-season campaign which included a tour of the USA.

A defeat to Nottingham Forest aside, Lambert must be pleased ahead of the opener away at newly-promoted West Ham.

INS: Brett Holman (AZ Alkmaar), Ron Vlaar (Feyenoord), Karim El Ahmadi (Feyenoord), Matthew Lowton (Sheffield United)

OUTS: Carlos Cuellar (Sunderland), James Collins (West Ham), Emile Heskey (released)

KEY MAN: Darren Bent

An injury in February ruled Darren Bent out for the remainder of last season, and Villa suffered without the England international, who up to that point had scored ten goals.

Bent remains his side's most potent goal threat, and Villa could be relying on him to be fully fit for the entire season to ensure they do not get sucked into a dog fight.

EXPECTATIONS: Villa fans will be expecting an improvement in both style and substance this season after a difficult 2011-12 campaign under McLeish. A move back into the top half of the table must be a target for new boss Lambert.

SEASON 2011-12
Cups: Champions League & FA Cup winners, League Cup fifth round

LAST SEASON: After a difficult Winter period of mixed results, Andre Villas-Boas - who had only been appointed in the summer - was replaced by Roberto Di Matteo, and while league form only marginally improved, the Italian guided Chelsea to an unexpected FA Cup and Champions League double, culminating in a penalty shoot-out victory over Bayern Munich.

SUMMER SO FAR: Di Matteo was named permanent manager after his successes on an interim basis and the Blues have splashed the cash significantly this summer on a number of high-profile players.

In the first competitive game of the new season, Chelsea were defeated 3-2 by Manchester City in the Community Shield despite taking the lead through Fernando Torres, with Branislav Ivanovic receiving a red card.

INS: Eden Hazard (Lille), Thorgan Hazard (Lens), Oscar (Internacional), Marko Marin (Werder Bremen)

OUTS: Didier Drogba (Shanghai Shenhua), Salomon Kalou (Lille), Jose Bosingwa (QPR), Thibaut Courtois (Atletico Madrid - loan), Kevin De Bruyne (Werder Bremen - loan)

KEY MAN: Eden Hazard

Belgian playmaker Eden Hazard arrives at Stamford Bridge with a big reputation and an even bigger price tag. Of all Chelsea's summer signings, the former Lille man is perhaps the one under the most pressure.

Following the departure of Didier Drogba, Hazard will be charged with chipping in with his fair share of goals, as well as creating chances for Fernando Torres, who also must produce this season.

EXPECTATIONS: After last season's trophy haul glossed over what was a poor league finish by their own high standards, Chelsea must be hoping to challenge for the Premier League title this season, as well as launching a defence of the Champions League and FA Cup.

SEASON 2011-12
Cups: FA Cup semi-finals, League Cup fourth round

LAST SEASON: Another strong finish - just one defeat from the last ten league games - was again undermined by a poor start to the season which included six defeats from the first ten. David Moyes' side reached the FA Cup semi-final, but lost to Merseyside rivals Liverpool. The January signing of Nikica Jelavic, meanwhile, proved to be one of the best bits of transfer business last season.

SUMMER SO FAR: Financial restraints have, as usual, restricted Moyes from making high-profile moves in the transfer window, though the Scot has brought back one familiar face while letting another leave for the MLS.

INS: Steven Pienaar (Tottenham), Steven Naismith (Rangers)

OUTS: Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls), Jack Rodwell (Manchester City), Joao Silva (Levski Sofia), Joseph Yobo (Fenerbahce)

KEY MAN: Nikica Jelavic

The Croatian striker's 11 goals following his January move from Rangers proved what a lethal threat he can be in the Premier League.

Everton will be hoping the 26-year-old can double that tally over the course of the whole season.

EXPECTATIONS: Toffees fans would probably not turn their noses up at another seventh-place - especially if it proves to be enough to finish above Liverpool - but a return to European football could be on the cards.

SEASON 2011-12
Cups: Europa League group stage, FA Cup fourth round, League Cup third round

LAST SEASON: Fulham's season started in June due to qualification for the Europa League via the Fair Play rankings and, under new boss Martin Jol, they struggled early on.

A dramatic improvement at the start of 2012, sparked by a 2-1 victory over Arsenal on January 2 and the introduction of Pavel Pogrebnyak and Mahamdou Diarra, saw the south-west Londoners finish the season strongly, culminating in a top-half position.

SUMMER SO FAR: The summer has been dominated by the future of Clint Dempsey. The USA international, Fulham's top scorer last season, is wanted by Liverpool and is understood to be eager to move, but a transfer is yet to materialise.

Jol's midfield, meanwhile, has undergone something of an overhaul during the transfer window.

INS: Hugo Rodallega (Wigan), Mladen Petric (Hamburg), Sascha Riether (Koln - loan), Mahamadou Diarra (free)

OUTS: Danny Murphy (Blackburn), Dickson Etuhu (Blackburn)

KEY MAN: Moussa Dembele

With Clint Dempsey expected to leave the club before the summer transfer window closes, Moussa Dembele could become even mor eimportant to Fulham.

The Belgium midfielder adopted a more withdrawn role under Jol last season, but may be required to pose much more of an attacking threat this season, especially if Desmpey exits Craven Cottage.

EXPECTATIONS: Devoid of European distractions this season, Fulham will be expected to make a much stronger start to this campaign, with only Manchester United among the fancied title challengers in their first five games. A top ten finish might suffice for Jol and the club's supporters.

SEASON 2011-12
Cups: League Cup winners, FA Cup finalists

LAST SEASON: Hampered by uncharacteristic vulnerability at Anfield, where they won only six League games, Liverpool struggled for form last season under club legend Kenny Dalglish and slumped to a disappointing eighth place in the Premier League. A penalty shoot-out victory over Cardiff clinched the League Cup, but that, coupled with an FA Cup final defeat to Chelsea, did little to paper over the cracks.

SUMMER SO FAR: The Liverpool board made the decision to sack Dalglish early in the summer and after identifying a number of managerial candidates appointed Brendan Rodgers. The former Swansea boss is off to a winning start having guided the club to two victories over Belarusian side Gomel in a Europa League qualifying round.

The return to full fitness of Lucas, meanwhile, has handed Liverpool's midfield a welcome boost.

INS: Joe Allen (Swansea), Fabio Borini (Roma), Oussama Assaidi (Heerenveen)

OUTS: Fabio Aurelio (Gremio), Maxi Rodriguez (Newell's Old Boys), Alberto Aquilani (Fiorentina), Dirk Kuyt (Fenerbahce), Craig Bellamy (Cardiff)

KEY MAN: Luis Suarez

Last season was marred by controversy for Luis Suarez, but the Uruguayan showed more than a few glimpses of just what an exciting player he is.

The striker was in scintillating form in the Anfield leg of the Europa League clash with Gomel and will be confident of improving on the 18 goals scored in all competitions last season.

EXPECTATIONS: Rodgers has called for patience from the Anfield faithful after taking over this summer, but Liverpool fans will surely be expecting at least a minor improvement on their disappointing finish last season, despite the summer activity of the rest of the original 'Big Four'.

SEASON 2011-12
1st (Champions)
Cups: Champions League group stage, Europa League last 16, FA Cup third round, League Cup semi-finals

LAST SEASON: Roberto Mancini's side looked like champions-elect from the beginning, thrashing all comers early on in the season, including Tottenham and Manchester United.

Defeats to Sunderland, Everton, Chelsea and Arsenal throughout the season threatened to derail Manchester City's title bid and forced the battle with Manchester United to the wire, while the big-spending club crashed out of the Champions League at the group stages amid a very public spat between Carlos Tevez and Mancini.

But a late, late goal from Sergio Aguero in a 3-2 win over QPR on the last day of the season saw the title go to the Etihad Stadium.

SUMMER SO FAR: Roberto Mancini has been frustrated by a lack of transfer activity so far this summer, especially the club's failure to sign Robin van Persie before he joined their arch-rivals, while a number of fringe players including the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor and Roque Santa Cruz remain at the club.

Tevez, meanwhile, appears to have bedded back into the squad following last season's fall-out and the Argentina star scored in the Community Shield victory over Chelsea.

INS: Jack Rodwell (Everton)

OUTS: Owen Hargreaves (released), Wayne Bridge (Brighton - loan), Vladimir Weiss (Pescara), Greg Cunningham (Bristol City), Omar Elabdellaoui (Brest - loan)

KEY MAN: Yaya Toure

Mancini boasts a number of supremely talented individuals in his squad, including Aguero, Tevez, Mario Balotelli, Vincent Kompany and David Silva.

But so often last season Yaya Toure proved to be the talisman. In the penultimate game the Ivorian scored twice to hand his side a vital win in the title race against Newcastle and has already found the net in the Community Shield.

EXPECTATIONS: Despite only signing one player so far this summer, Manchester City will be expected to defend their title and make a much better fist of the Champions League this season. Challenging on all fronts should not be beyond the Premier League champions.

SEASON 2011-12
2nd (Runners-up)
Cups: Champions League group stage, Europa League last 16, FA Cup fourth round, League Cup fifth round

LAST SEASON: Looked unbeatable until slumping to a 6-1 thrashing at the hands of rivals Manchester City. Sir Alex Ferguson's side were knocked out of all cup competitions early on, but came within seconds of winning the title on the final day of the season after beating Sunderland, until Sergio Aguero's late winner against QPR.

SUMMER SO FAR: Sir Alex moved early in the summer to make two signings and then pulled off something of a coup by finally securing the signature of Arsenal striker Robin van Persie. But a move for Lucas Moura never came to fruition due to the financial muscle of Paris Saint-Germain.

There has been encouraging news on the injury front as well, with Nemanja Vidic and Darren Fletcher both moving closer to fitness, though Chris Smalling is likely to miss the start of the season.

INS: Shinji Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund), Nick Powell (Crewe), Robin van Persie (Arsenal)

OUTS: Ben Amos (Hull), Fabio (QPR - loan), Ji-Sung Park (QPR), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Michael Owen (released)

KEY MAN: Nemanja Vidic

All eyes are likely to be on new signings Shinji Kagawa and Van Persie, while Wayne Rooney will again be expected to produce talismanic performances in the new season.

But the return to fitness of Vidic is arguably as important as any new signing. The Serbian was sorely missed over the last campaign, and his presence significantly strengthens the Manchester United back four.

EXPECTATIONS: The manager has promised there will be no repeat of the disastrous Champions League campaign last season and while ultimately they came so close to winning the title, with rivals Manchester City wearing the crown, United fans might want to topple them now more than ever.

SEASON 2011-12
Cups: FA Cup fourth round, League Cup fourth round

LAST SEASON: Newcastle were one of the surprise packages of last season. After making some astute summer signings in Yohan Cabaye and Demba Ba, Alan Pardew's side maintained a challenge for a Champions League finish and strengthened with the January acquisition of Papiss Demba Cisse. Their top-four assault fell marginally short with three defeats from their last four games.

SUMMER SO FAR: Pardew will be pleased to have kept hold of all of his star names this summer - Ba, Cisse, Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa and Chiekh Tiote all remain at the club - while adding to his squad, though protracted negotiations for France defender Mathieu Debuchy appear to have fallen through

INS: Romain Amalfitano (Reims), Curtis Good (Melbourne Heart), Gael Bigirimana (Coventry), Vurnon Anita (Ajax)

OUTS: Fraser Forster (Celtic), Danny Guthrie (Reading), Peter Lovenkrands (Birmingham), Leon Best (Blackburn), Tamas Kadar (Roda JC)

KEY MAN: Yohan Cabaye

Newcastle were one of the stories of the season and while Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse deservedly took plenty of the praise for their Champions League challenge, Cabaye was excellent throughout.

A steal of a signing and an absolute revelation in England, if the midfielder can replicate last season's form, Newcastle might not be too far off the top four once again.

EXPECTATIONS: Newcastle set the bar high for themselves last season, and with the likes of Chelsea who finished sixth having strengthened significantly, repeating a fifth-place finish may prove to be an achievement in itself.

SEASON 2011-12
Cups: FA Cup fifth round, League Cup second round

LAST SEASON: The Canaries were expected to fight relegation for the duration of last season but after a poor start the East Anglian side quickly recovered, picking up points throughout the campaign against the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea to finish safely in mid table.

SUMMER SO FAR: Having lost Paul Lambert, who guided the club to the Premier League from League One, to Aston Villa, Norwich appointed former Newcastle boss Chris Hughton as manager.

Grant Holt was expected to follow Lambert to Villa Park after handing in a transfer request, but the striker eventually signed a new three-year contract to remain at Carrow Road.

INS: Robert Snodgrass (Leeds), Jacob Butterfield (Barnsley), Steven Whittaker (Rangers)

OUTS: Zak Whitbread (Leicester), Andrew Crofts (Brighton), Daniel Ayala (Nottingham Forest), Adam Drury (Leeds)

KEY MAN: Grant Holt

Doubts were raised over Grant Holt's ability to make the step up to the Premier League after spending his career in the lower leagues of English football.

The striker scored 17 times in all competitions however, and was fancied for an England call-up. Having signed a new contract, it will be down to the 31-year-old to consistently find the net again.

EXPECTATIONS: Ambitious owners want to see the club push on, but a season of consolidation given the managerial upheaval that has taken place would surely not go amiss.

SEASON 2011-12
Cups: FA Cup fourth round, League Cup second round

LAST SEASON: Neil Warnock, who guided QPR back into the Premier League, was sacked in early January as the London club struggled. Mark Hughes took over and signed Bobby Zamora, Djibril Cisse and loanees Samba Diakite and Taye Taiwo, but survival was not ensured until the last day of the season, when results elsewhere went in favour of the Hoops as they suffered a late loss to Manchester City.

SUMMER SO FAR: Hughes has made several moves in the transfer window to better equip his side for a second season in the Premier League, while pre-season results - including a 13-0 hammering of non-league Tavistock - have largely gone in their favour.

INS: Rob Green (West Ham), Ji-Sung Park (Manchester United), Fabio (Manchester United - loan), Junior Hoilett (Blackburn), Samba Diakite (Nancy), Jose Bosingwa (Chelsea)

OUTS: Paddy Kenny (Leeds), Heidar Helgusson (Cardiff)

KEY MAN: Junior Hoilett

One of few players to catch the eye at doomed Blackburn last season, Junior Hoilett made the switch to QPR despite being linked to Tottenham and Arsenal, amongst others.

Hoilett, who can operate on either flank or behind a striker, proved himself able to carve out chances for team-mates, and could provide plenty of ammunition for Djibril Cisse.

EXPECTATIONS: Having narrowly beaten the drop last time out, survival is key for QPR, though Hughes will be confident his summer signings can help the club move further up the table.

SEASON 2011-12
1st in Championship
Cups: FA Cup third round, League Cup first round

LAST SEASON: Reading completed a remarkable turnaround to top the Championship at the end of April. Brian McDermott's side won just one of their first six games, but went on an exceptional run in 2012 to leapfrog favourites Southampton.

SUMMER SO FAR: McDermott has been busy during the transfer window preparing Reading for a tough season ahead, while pre-season has included victories over Wimbledon and Crystal Palace, as well as a tour of Portugal.

INS: Pavel Pogrebnyak (Stuttgart), Nicky Shorey (West Brom), Gareth McCleary (Nottingham Forest), Chris Gunter (Nottingham Forest), Pierce Sweeney (Bray Wanderers), Adrian Mariappa (Watford), Danny Guthrie (Newcastle)

OUTS: Michail Antonio (Sheffield Wednesday)

KEY MAN: Pavel Pogrebnyak

Russia international Pavel Pogrebnyak looked set to sign for Fulham after his short spell on loan at Craven Cottage last season.

The former Stuttgart man scored six goals in 13 games, and if the striker can replicate his Fulham form throughout the season, Reading stand a much better chance of survival.

EXPECTATIONS: Reading took the top flight by storm during their first spell in the Premier League under Steve Coppell, but this time around, survival will most likely be the aim.

SEASON 2011-12
2nd in Championship
Cups: FA Cup fourth round, League Cup fourth round

LAST SEASON: After an explosive start in the Championship, a dip in form at the turn of the year saw Southampton's grip on top spot slowly loosened as Reading put together a sensational run of results.

The Saints eventually ensured automatic promotion to the Premier League with a 4-0 victory over Coventry on the final day of the season.

SUMMER SO FAR: Pre-season has seen the club take on the likes of Ajax and Udinese, while manager Nigel Adkins has been forced to deny an illegal approach for Blackpool youngster Matt Phillips.

INS: Nathaniel Clyne (Crystal Palace), Jay Rodriguez (Burnley), Steven Davis (Rangers), Paulo Gazzaniga (Gillingham)

OUTS: Dan Harding (Nottingham Forest)

KEY MAN: Rickie Lambert

Like Norwich City striker Grant Holt, Rickie Lambert has spent his career scoring prolifically in the lower leagues.

Now in the top flight, Southampton will largely be relying on his goals to keep them up.

EXPECTATIONS: The bookies' favourite to go down, Southampton will be geared up for a relegation battle going into the start of the season.

SEASON 2011-12
Cups: Europa League last 32, FA Cup quarter-finals, League Cup fourth round

LAST SEASON: Having qualified for the Europa League via an FA Cup final defeat to Manchester City, Stoke embarked on something of a European adventure, qualifying from their group stage before being knocked out in the round of 32 by Valencia.

Otherwise it was a fairly comfortable season for Tony Pulis' side, who finished 14th and beat Liverpool and Tottenham, while also frustrating Chelsea and Manchester United.

SUMMER SO FAR: Pre-season took Stoke to the USA where they played Columbus Crew, Orlando City and Sporting Kansas City, while there have also been draws with Torquay United and Yeovil Town

INS: Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo), Michael Kightly (Wolves), Jamie Ness (Rangers)

OUTS: Danny Collins (Nottingham Forest), Jonathan Woodgate (Middlesbrough)

KEY MAN: Peter Crouch

An established Premier League goalscorer, Peter Crouch will be looked to again to break double figures for Stoke this season.

Crouch himself, meanwhile, surely would not mind a repeat of the wonder goal he scored against Manchester City at the Britannia Stadium.

EXPECTATIONS: Another mid-table finish littered with upsets against the big clubs would do for Pulis, while Stoke have proved in the past they are capable of reaching the final of a cup competition.

SEASON 2011-12
Cups: FA Cup quarter-finals, League Cup second round

LAST SEASON: After a poor run of just two wins from their first 13 games, Steve Bruce became the first manager to lose his job last season and was replaced by Martin O'Neill.

The former Leicester boss oversaw a change in fortunes, including a victory over Manchester City, but Sunderland ended the season without a win in eight games, finishing 13th.

SUMMER SO FAR: O'Neill has conceded he needs more attacking options at the club but the attempts to sign a striker have thus far been fruitless. A move for Wolves forward Steven Fletcher has been knocked back multiple times reportedly, with the Championship club understood to be holding out for as much as £15 million.

INS: Carlos Cuellar (Aston Villa)

OUTS: Asamoah Gyan (Al Ain), Marcos Angeleri (Estudiantes), Nicklas Bendtner (end of loan)

KEY MAN: James McClean

After seeing him break impressively into the Sunderland first team - and the Republic of Ireland squad for Euro 2012 - Black Cats fans will be expecting big things of James McClean this season.

The winger, a buy from Derry City in 2011, scored six times in all competitions last season and could be called upon to add to that tally in 2012-13.

EXPECTATIONS: In their first full season under O'Neill, Sunderland could move back into the top ten of the Premier League, though the lack of firepower heading into the new season will be a worry.

SEASON 2011-12
Cups: FA Cup fourth round, League Cup second round

LAST SEASON: One of the favourites for the drop at the start of their first ever season in the Premier League, Brendan Rodgers' side stayed true to their football philosophy, looking by no means out of their depth in the top flight and finishing safely in mid-table in the process, picking up the scalps of Arsenal and Liverpool along the way.

SUMMER SO FAR: The summer has been dominated by the departure of Rodgers for Liverpool and the recruitment of Barcelona and Real Madrid legend Michael Laudrup as new manager. The Dane has seen only one key player from last season's crop depart, while making a couple of signings ahead of his first spell as a boss in England.

INS: Chico (Genoa), Jonathan De Guzman (Villarreal), Michu (Rayo Vallecano), Jamie Proctor (Preston)

OUTS: Joe Allen (Liverpool), Gylfi Sigurdsson (end of loan)

KEY MAN: Scott Sinclair

A regular feature for Swansea last season, Scott Sinclair proved he could perform at the highest level following his exit from Chelsea and drop into the Championship.

Whether Swansea can keep hold of Sinclair though, remains to be seen. The attacker is wanted by Manchester City and could still make the move to the Premier League champions.

EXPECTATIONS: More of the same. Fans will want Laudrup's Swansea to play in a similar style to that which has been cultivated over the last few years, and would surely take another 11th-place finish.

SEASON 2011-12
Cups: Europa League group stage, FA Cup semi-final, League Cup third round

LAST SEASON: After a blistering start to the season following the signings of Scott Parker and Emmanuel Adebayor, Tottenham eventually relinquished third place to Arsenal after a poor run of results in 2012 amid rumours manager Harry Redknapp was set to take the England job. Spurs eventually finished fourth but were denied a Champions League place as Chelsea won the competition.

SUMMER SO FAR: Redknapp was sacked and replaced by former Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas, who took charge ahead of the club's pre-season tour of the USA.

Luka Modric remains at White Hart Lane, but has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid, while the north London club are yet to sign a striker, with Jermain Defoe and Harry Kane the only out-and-out centre forwards available going into the clash with Newcastle.

INS: Jan Vertonghen (Ajax), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Hoffenheim)

OUTS: Ledley King (retired), Ryan Nelsen (released), Louis Saha (released), Emmanuel Adebayor (end of loan), Steven Pienaar (Everton)

KEY MAN: Gareth Bale

Having almost guaranteed the Spurs faithful another season at the club by signing a contract this summer, the onus is arguably on Gareth Bale now more than ever.

With the departure of Modric seeming likely and Tottenham looking short of firepower, the Welsh star may need to be as much a goalscorer as a provider in the early stages of the new campaign.

EXPECTATIONS: The hope must be to challenge for a place in the top four again, but with a transitional period under Villas-Boas set to take place and the significant strengthening of clubs around them, Spurs might just be satisfied with fifth or sixth and a run in the Europa League or one of the domestic cups.

SEASON 2011-12
Cups: FA Cup fourth round, League Cup third round

LAST SEASON: Never really in trouble, but also never a threat to the higher reaches of the Premier League, West Brom enjoyed something of a season of consolidation last season, finishing in mid-table after beating the drop on their return to the top flight in 2010.

The Baggies were forced to look for a new manager however, when Roy Hodgson was placed in charge of the England national team.

SUMMER SO FAR: Hodgson was replaced by Steve Clarke, the former Liverpool and Chelsea assistant coach. Clarke has made plenty of signings, while his new side have picked up a few victories over lower league opposition in pre-season.

INS: Ben Foster (Birmingham), Yassine El Ghanassy (AA Gent), Claudio Yacob (Racing Club), Markus Rosenberg (Werder Bremen), Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea - loan)

OUTS: Nicky Shorey (Reading), Keith Andrews (Bolton), Simon Cox (Nottingham Forest)

KEY MAN: Peter Odemwingie

After a 15-goal haul in his debut Premier League season, Peter Odemwingie didn't quite match that return last campaign, scoring just 11 times as Hodgson played him in different positions.

Odemwingie will need to reach double figures again if West Brom are to stay comfortable in the top flight, and could strike up a lethal partnership with Chelsea loanee Romelu Lukaku.

EXPECTATIONS: West Brom fans and Clarke, in his first season as a manager, would surely not complain if they achieved another top ten finish.

SEASON 2011-12
3rd in Championship (play-off winners)
Cups: FA Cup third round, League Cup first round

LAST SEASON: An opening day defeat to Cardiff and a struggle to produce a consistent run of positive results in the early going threatened to derail West Ham's attempts to return to the Premier League at the first time of asking last season, but a sequence of just two defeats in 20 games ensured a play-off place.

Two semi-final wins over Cardiff set up a final clash with Blackpool, and a late goal secured Premier League status for Sam Allardyce's side.

SUMMER SO FAR: Allardyce has used the pre-season schedule to trial a number of players, while strengthening his playing squad significantly in the transfer market ahead of the new season.

A trip to Germany returned mix results, but a victory over Ipswich stands the Hammers in good stead for their kick-off against Aston Villa on Saturday.

INS: Jussi Jaaskelainen (Bolton), Raphael Spiegel (Grasshopper Zurich), James Collins (Aston Villa), Mohamed Diame (Wigan), Modibo Maiga (Sochaux), Alou Diarra (Marseille)

OUTS: Ruud Boffin (Eskisehirspor), Pablo Barrera (Cruz Azul), Rob Green (QPR)

KEY MAN: Ricardo Vaz Te

After his release from Bolton at the start of last season, Ricardo Vaz Te got off to an explosive start with Barnsley, scoring 10 goals before making a January move to West Ham.

Vaz Te scored another 12 goals after moving, including a late strike in the play-off final to return West Ham to the Premier League.

EXPECTATIONS: Survival is likely to be the main aim for West Ham this season, though some supporters - and Allardyce himself - may well have higher expectations of his squad.

SEASON 2011-12
Cups: FA Cup third round, League Cup second round

LAST SEASON: A run of eight straight defeats early on looked to signal another relegation battle for Wigan, but a blistering run of just three losses from their last 15 games, including wins against Arsenal, Manchester United and Newcastle, meant Roberto Martinez's side were safe before the last game of the season.

SUMMER SO FAR: Martinez was among the managers courted by Liverpool following the sacking of Kenny Dalglish but has stayed at the DW Stadium, while Victor Moses - a target for Chelsea, is yet to leave but is reportedly moving closer to an exit.

INS: Arouna Kone (Levante), Ryo Miyaichi (Arsenal - loan), Ramis (Mallorca), Fraser Fyvie (Aberdeen)

OUTS: Hugo Rodallega (Fulham), Mohamed Diame (West Ham)

KEY MAN: Arouna Kone

A member of the Levante side that surprised many in La Liga with a sixth-placed finish last season, Arouna Kone represents something of a high-profile signing for Wigan.

Having scored 15 goals last season, if Wigan are to stay away from the drop zone, a replication of such form from the 28-year-old in the Premier League could be vital.

EXPECTATIONS: Having strengthened in the summer and shown signs of progression at the end of last season, Martinez must be hopeful of improving on last season's 15th-placed finish rather than simply avoiding relegation for another year.