Just 14 weeks after Manchester City were crowned Premier League champions and the 2013/14 season finished, here we are, ready to start the top flight fun, games and managerial roundabout for t
Just 14 weeks after Manchester City were crowned Premier League champions and the 2013/14 season finished, here we are, ready to start the top flight fun, games and managerial roundabout for the next 9 months. 2014/15 is already promising to be an exhilarating season and with many players returning from the World Cup as well as exhausting pre-season fixtures, the opening weekend will undoubtedly get things off with a bang.
Champions City won’t be up and running until Sunday where they face Newcastle at St James’ Park. This match will come exactly a week after a bleak performance in the Community Shield against Arsenal saw them lose 3-0. Man City should get a result but following their shoddy performance last Sunday, it would be silly to put all of your money on it.
At 12:45 BST on Saturday, 16th July it will be Manchester United who get the league underway against Swansea City at Old Trafford. Following a decent World Cup campaign with Holland, new United boss Luis van Gaal will be hoping to impress as his new side face a turbulent Swansea.
As soon as he arrived in Manchester, van Gaal indentified areas that needed the most attention and has bought well in order to improve them; there is still a lot of work to do but the squad that he has in place should be more than ready to take on and beat a Swansea side who are still in a phase of trying to adjust to life under new manager Garry Monk.
The big boys
It is Arsenal and Liverpool who will be in the front of most fans’ minds when it comes to sides that others will fear.
One element that the Gunners were missing last season was the ability to play deep within the opposition in order to get forward, opting instead to use the flanks, but with Alexis Sanchez alongside Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain they should be able to provide Arsenal with a lot more options when it comes to getting the ball in the right areas. Their first match is against Crystal Palace who will be undoubtedly rocked by the sudden departure of manager Tony Pulis just two days before the start of the season meaning that Arsenal already holds a crucial psychological advantage.
It will be a strange start to the season for Liverpool who will face Southampton, a club where the Reds have enjoyed spending the money gained from the sale of Luis Suarez. With Lallana not fit, it will be up to Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren to show their former side what they’re missing as they join forces with players such as Daniel Sturridge who is consistently a threat to any opposing defenders.
The new boys
The three sides who are arriving from the Championship this season are Leicester City, QPR and Burnley – all of which have incredibly difficult opening games of the season.
The toughest test will be for Burnley, who will be hosting Chelsea at Turf Moor. It would be highly encouraging if the Clarets could go into this game with the attitude that they have nothing to lose because they don’t. If they win, they win and if they don’t then that’s okay because Jose Mourinho will be a man with a point to prove on Monday evening.
Promoted top of their league last year, Leicester City will be a side who will be brimming with confidence as they host Everton on Saturday. There will be a lot of faces in Leicester’s side who won the Championship and for them, this will be about enjoyment and when players relax and concentrate on the job in hand then that’s where they get the results where as Everton may be focused on the bigger goal or the season ahead.
QPR face a Hull side that will be looking to maintain their status as a Premier League side for the second consecutive season therefore it is anticipated that this will be a fierce match between two sides who want to get off to the best start possible. The Hull midfield will be looking strong with the new additions of Livermore and Ince and it may prove to be just too much for QPR to handle as they settle back into top-flight football.
The other matches that are taking place this weekend are Stoke v Aston Villa, West Brom v Sunderland and West Ham v Spurs.
What do you think? What matches are you looking forward to? Have your say in the comments section below.