With the Community Shield, the traditional curtain raiser to the new English Premier League season, having come and gone last Sunday, the stage is set for a new nine months of gruelling competition as 20 clubs compete for the honour of lifting the Premiership trophy in May 2017.

The season of the "super manager"

Pundits tell us that this is the season of the “super manager”; with Guardiola at Manchester City, Mourinho at Manchester United, Conte at Chelsea, Klopp at Liverpool, Wenger at Arsenal, Pochettino at Tottenham and Ranieri at Leicester, this is shaping up to be the most open Premiership competition in years.

Unlike most other top leagues, there is no clear favourite, and even the teams considered by many to have no realistic chance at the title will be buoyed by Leicester’s quite miraculous achievement of last season.

The champions - Leicester City

The champions may find it hard to repeat their feat - especially with their best player of last season, N’Golo Kante, having been sold to Chelsea FC - or so some would say. I would disagree. Kante has already been replaced within the Leicester squad by the new signing Nampalys Mendy from Nice, and they have reinforced their squad with new striker Ahmed Musa, signed from CSKA Moscow. On paper, therefore, the champions are stronger than last season - it remains to be seen whether manager Claudio Ranieri can lead his squad to repeating it.

The Manchester clubs

The favourites for the title have to be one of the Manchester clubs.City, managed by Manuel Pellegrini last season, imploded as soon as it was announced that Pep Guardiola would be the new manager come the new season. Nevertheless, with their financial clout and Guardiola’s record and reputation as a coach, it would take a courageous man to bet against them for the title.United, for their part, however, have the "advantage" of not playing in Europe’s top competition, the UEFA Champions’ League, this season.

Coupled with their enormous financial muscle, the only one to rival City’s in England at the moment, they could well provide stiff competition for their sky blue wearing neighbours. Nevertheless, the signing of Paul Pogba (a very good player, but one that does not, in my view, justify his enormous price tag), coupled with a Jose Mourinho at the helm that is, metaphorically, a wounded animal at present (following his nothing other than disastrous season at Chelsea), are potential question marks for the Red Devils.

The dark horse

With Arsenal under Arsene Wenger looking like a stale, shadow version of a title-winning team (although they’ll be thereabouts, once more), and Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham clear outsiders for the title (despite challenging for a while last season), the dark horse this season is Chelsea. The Blues have made one of their shrewdest appointments in a long time in Antonio Conte as head coach. Conte is a rising star in world Football after successful spells with Juventus and Italy. The signing of N’Golo Kante from Leicester is nothing short of a masterstroke from the South-West London club; with a couple of defenders more on the books, and with the added advantage of having no European competition whatsoever to distract them, the London club could well exceed initial expectations and bring the Premiership title back to Stamford Bridge.

The relegation candidates

As for the relegation candidates, the new arrivals to the league, Burnley, Hull and Middlesbrough, look, at first glance, to be favourites for the drop. Of the three, I would consider Boro, under the astute leadership of Aitor Karanka, to be best placed to stay up - whereas Hull, in turmoil with the recent departure of Steve Bruce, hardly infuse anyone with overconfidence at the moment.

The kick-off

The season kicks off with Hull vs Leicester City, at 12h30 British Summer Time (BST) on Saturday 13 July 2016. Who will be the eventual champions? Whoever it will be, the journey as well as its eventual destination promises not to disappoint.