Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has claimed the Premier League is “the most open in European football”, and predicts six teams are in contention to challenge for the title this season.
Wenger believes the appointment of David Moyes as Manchester United boss, Manuel Pellegrini at Manchester City and the return of Jose Mourinho at Chelsea will not destabilise the clubs' ambitions this term.
But the Frenchman is also convinced that Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool have a chance to challenge for silverware in the 2013-14 campaign.
“It is maybe more open at the moment because you have many teams who can compete for [the title],” Wenger said. “If you look across Europe, this is the only country where at the start it is very difficult to predict who is going to win it.
“That’s less the case in nearly all the other countries and that’s why the Premier League is more interesting. I believe we are picking from six teams, including Liverpool and Tottenham.
“Tottenham finished just one point behind us last year with 72 points and that’s for me a benchmark. For me, if you make 70 points, it means there is not a big difference between you and the first place.
“You don’t know how [the managerial changes] will affect this season. Do you consider Mourinho as a new manager at Chelsea? Certainly not. Moyes has experience at the top level and Pellegrini as well. I believe these clubs have stability with the players they have and the managers coming in are all quality, so we cannot expect any weakness from that.”
Wenger’s opening pre-match press conference of the new season was dominated by questions about his transfer targets.
However, he also found time to pour praise on his opening day opponents, and tipped Paul Lambert’s Aston Villa side to emerge “as a threat to everyone” in the upcoming campaign.
“Villa are a team that are very dynamic,” Wenger said. “They are good on the counter attack, good on set pieces and have some good attacking players. They have also bought some interesting players who have quality, especially going forward. We know that they can be a threat to anybody.
“We have brought through some players who have started with us in the Premier League and Villa have done the same. In today's market, it is the only way for them to be successful."