FANS up and down the country will be eagerly awaiting the Premier League kick-off this weekend, writes John Dolan.

After a summer of exceptionally high spending from domestic teams and abroad, this season should prove to be a spectacular display of all-star football.

With money causing an even bigger chasm between leagues, and even within them, the top flight could be a predictable affair this season.

With the top six highlighting their dominance last year and the newly promoted sides such as Huddersfield and Brighton already tipped for relegation, are there any sides who could buck the trend in this campaign?

It’s tempting to look at last year’s champions, Chelsea, as potential candidates for the title a second season in a row.

However, with the loss of Nemanja Matic in the heart of the midfield and no end in sight on the Diego Costa saga, Chelsea may be looking a little threadbare in 2017/18.

While signings Alvaro Morata, Tiemoue Bakayako and Antonio Rudiger do add genuine quality to the side, it’s possible that with European football Chelsea will struggle in depth this time round.

Tottenham looked unbeatable last season and were narrowly pipped for the title by Chelsea.

A superb first 11 with top scorer Harry Kane and a dynamic midfield it’s hard to look past Spurs reaching the upper echelons of the league once again.

However, the loss of Kyle Walker and recent revelations regarding Danny Rose may upset the balance of the side and there’s no doubt that they tend to struggle at their temporary home of Wembley.

A tough season ahead for Spurs and if they once again come away with no silverware it’s possible that the head of manager Mauricio Pochettino may be turned elsewhere.

Pep Guardiola has gone on a defensive spending spree this summer, rounding up Benjamin Mendy, Danilo, Kyle Walker and Ederson, with the recruitment of wonderkid Bernardo Silva in attack.

Defence was the major problem with the Manchester City side last year as players couldn’t adapt to Peps system.

But these new signings will have Premier League points to prove and when added to the genius of Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus City are likely to be a serious force this term.

Liverpool held on to fourth place last year and will need to make the most of Champions League football while they have it.

An ongoing transfer debate involving Phillippe Coutinho looks likely to end with the playmaker moving to Barcelona, albeit for a huge fee, and the Merseyside club will need to reinvest wisely to compete domestically and on the continent.

Still shaky in defence, potential signing Virgil Van Dijk could plug the leaks but manager Jurgen Klopp still has work to do if he wants to keep his side in the top four this season and win his first trophy in England.

Finishing outside the top four for the first time during Arsene Wenger’s reign, it is vital that Arsenal turn things around this season.

Whether they will or not is another matter but the signing of star striker Alexandre Lacazette is a real statement of intent.

Despite this, there are a lot of teams all vying for the same thing this year and Arsenal will do well to return to the top four, let alone achieve their main ambition of winning the league title.

Manchester United had a disappointing league campaign during 2016/17 but they were absolved by an impressive Europa League win in May.

Regardless, United will need to enter the Champions League via a high league finish this year, rather than European competition, if they still want to be regarded as the greatest Premier League side.

Jose Mourinho has a lot of work on to achieve top four this year and with signings like Romelu Lukaku the hard work may pay off.

Everton have had an excellent summer, signing Jordan Pickford, Davy Klaasen and Wayne Rooney.

These are real statements from Everton, who have been on the fringes of European football for some time now, and Ronald Koeman will want to take his club to the next level.

It’s hard to begrudge them this as these sorts of big-name signings will be sure to have a positive impact on the blue half of Merseyside in 2017/2018.

1. Manchester City

2. Chelsea

3. Manchester United

4. Arsenal

5. Tottenham

6. Everton

7. Liverpool

8. West Ham

Do you agree with this assessment? Leave your comments below about how you think the top flight will pan out in 2017/2018.