Premier League: Neville expects "exciting campaign"

David Moyes and Jose Mourinho
David Moyes and Jose Mourinho

Former Everton captain Phil Neville believes this summer's managerial changes will make for a fascinating Premier League season.

The top three teams of last season have new managers for the 2013-14 campaign.

David Moyes replaced Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, Manuel Pellegrini has taken over at Manchester City and Jose Mourinho has returned to Chelsea.

"It'll be the most exciting Premier League for a long time because of the changes in management," said Neville.

"If you just take one instance - Sir Alex Ferguson not being in the dugout at United - that gives hope to all the other Premier League clubs.

"And then you've got the 'Special One' Jose Mourinho, who lights up any league that he's in because he's just pure box office in everything that he does - this is going to be one special season."

Neville played under Moyes at Everton for eight years before retiring this summer and expects United to retain the title despite Ferguson's retirement.

He told BBC Sport: "Manchester United will be the favourites and they will be my tip to win the Premier League, but you could throw a blanket over the top five and that's what makes it so special."

The fixtures for the 2013-14 season were announced earlier on Wednesday with champions United opening their defence at Swansea, Mourinho beginning his second spell at Chelsea at home to Hull and last season's runners-up Manchester City hosting Newcastle.

City finished 11 points behind United and sacked Roberto Mancini after losing the FA Cup final in May.

Former England defender Keith Curle, who played for City between 1991 and 1996, feels his former club's opening fixtures against Newcastle, Cardiff, Hull and Stoke give City a reasonable run into the first Manchester derby on 21 September.

He told BBC Sport: "People at the club will have a good understanding that it's the best possible start for him.

"If they can get a good start it will breed confidence but he's very lucky to already have the tools that he has because they can dismantle any team in the division."

Former Chelsea winger Pat Nevin anticipates a successful season for his former club but feels the trip to Manchester United, on the second weekend of the season, comes quicker than the Blues would have wanted.

Nevin, who spent five years at Stamford Bridge before leaving in 1988, told BBC Sport: "It's impossible to say how Chelsea will get on and until you see what style they're going to use over the first two or three games you're guessing but I have a suspicion they'll go well because they've got a fantastic manager. It's going to be fascinating.

"I spoke to [Chelsea chief executive] Ron Gourlay on Tuesday and he told me they will not be spending like they did in Mourinho's early days but Jose is buying into that.

"When they go to United, Mourinho will still be building and it's even before the end of the transfer window so the squad may not be finished and they'll still be adapting."

Ex-Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour thinks the Gunners can compete for the title if they add three major signings.

But the former England midfielder, who played for the Gunners between 1992 and 2004, makes Pellegrini's City his tip to win the Premier League.

He told BBC London: "I've got a sneaky feeling about Manchester City. Pellegrini's an experienced manager, they've got a very good squad and they've already been in the transfer market. They will have learnt from last year.

"David Moyes will do a great job at United, Mourinho's back at Chelsea and if Arsenal can buy three top-quality players then they'll have a chance as well.

"There are big games early on and, with all the new managers and players coming and going, it should be really exciting."

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