Everyone, listen up: The English Premier League is kicking off tomorrow! WHOOHOO! Are you fired up? I am fired up! Time for out beloved clubs to take to the field and begin another quest to claim the trophy; and this year’s edition is particularly special, as it is sponsored by Sky Sports. This means we get to watch every game played in the EPL, live on Sky! Isn’t that awesome?
There’s plenty of exciting games to look forward to, and loads of drama too, as the new coaches from the various clubs begin their campaigns. We also get to see the incumbent coaches try to pull something new from their hats; everyone has something new to show us. Okay, not everyone (side eye, Arsene Wenger), but there’s a lot of fun to be had this season; it already has the potential of being the biggest season ever in the history of the Premier League.
I have some thoughts about the opening weekend, and how the games will go. Here they are:
- Hull City vs Leicester City: The defending champions versus the newly promoted side. I do not know how Hull City will get past Leicester, but I expect a tight, feisty match from start to finish. And Leicester will win.
- Arsenal vs Liverpool: Both teams had a great preseason, with Liverpool’s last game being a 4-0 thumping of Barcelona (surprise of the year), but there is still a lot of work to be done on both sides. Arsenal has some really troubling defensive issues, and while they try to scramble a team to take on Liverpool, I’d just expect them to fall short.
- Manchester City vs Sunderland: Pep Guardiola’s first Premier League game does not seem like much of a difficult job, though it might turn out differently. David moyes makes a return to the Premier League, where he had a disappointing time at Manchester United. All in all, I expect a feisty game, with Manchester City coming out on top.
- Bournemouth vs Manchester United: this is a game I’m really looking forward to, not just because it is Jose Mourinho’s first Premier League game as Manchester United manager, but because of Paul Pogba. The world record signing is expected to bring some power and stability to Man United’s midfield, and this would be a good time to start.
- Chelsea vs West Ham: There will be a time when people will look back on this match and be like, damn, that was a frightening game! Chelsea have a new coach, who has injected a new winning mentality into the squad. West Ham have shown that they have what it takes to stand toe-to-toe with the biggest teams in England. I won’t put the game beyond Chelsea though, because of their new manager.
- Everton vs Tottenham: Spurs had an amazing season, but Everton had a mixed experience. Both clubs have made some important signings, and even though Everton let their best defender go, I still expect them to put up a decent fight. They always do that, anyway, which is what makes this match such an exciting one to look forward to.
- Burnley vs Swansea: Swansea has let go of their top scorer (Andre Ayew) and their top defender (Ashley Williams), but I do not think they will falter against a newly promoted Burnley. Let’s not expect to much from them, though; Burnley are on a 23-game unbeaten run, and they might just nick this one.
- Middlesbrough vs Stoke City: The return of this hard-fighting side sees them face another hard fighting side in their first game, so I will not jump on any bandwagon concerning this game. Based on their performance last season, I expect Stoke City to snatch this one.
- Southampton vs Watford: Watford do not seem to have the attacking spark they had last season. But they did not seem so at the beginning of last season too, so I expect a surprise here. Southampton, on the other hand, have a new manager, so this might be a good time to get the feel of this new guy’s methods.
- Crystal Palace vs West Brom: Palace has some fresh faces, and I expect them to be a driving force this season, and a West Brom side that has a reputation for faltering at the beginning of a season might just be the first to feel their wrath.
There it is, my expectations of the opening weekend in the EPL. Let’s see how it goes.