The countdown is on, only one week to go until the first ball of the new Premier League season is kicked on the 11th August. We will see a new title race, a new relegation battle along with new players hoping to make a name for themselves. The eagerly anticipated campaign threatens to be the best one yet, with predictions very difficult to make. Managers will be preparing their sides for what promises to be a thrilling opening weekend.
The Premier League season will kick off at Turf Moor in the first Friday night game of the season as Burnley host Manchester City. The Champions of the Championship take on the Treble winners. What better way to begin the 2023/24 season as two champions take on one another. Pep Guardiola’s side will be looking for a convincing win to begin defending last term’s titles and perhaps win the quadruple while Vincent Kompany looks for a shock result against the side he used to captain.
The first early kickoff of the season on Saturday will see runners up Arsenal host Nottingham Forest, after their Community Shield victory over City on Sunday with a 4-1 penalty shootout win. All eyes will be on Arsenal’s new man Declan Rice as he makes his Premier League debut for the club after a club record signing of £105 million.
After missing out on the title last season, the Gunners will hope they can go one better and beat City to the title, or whomever else may challenge. Meanwhile Steve Cooper’s men will be hoping they can produce another successful season by remaining in the top flight after surviving in May against the odds.
Onto the Saturday 3pm kickoffs where eight teams are in action.
Crystal Palace travel to South Yorkshire to face newly promoted side Sheffield United. The Blades were relegated from the league back in 2021 after a miserable season only picking up 23 points. Paul Heckingbottom’s side will be keen to return firing after a two year absence but after starman Iliman Ndiaye made the move to French giants Marseille, it will be interesting to see how they respond to Premier League football once again.
On the other hand, Roy Hodgson’s side will be without long time servant Wilfred Zaha and it remains to be seen who is going to come in and replace the winger. Without someone who has been such a key player over the years, will Palace struggle?
Bournemouth will host West Ham in another one of the 3 o’clock games as the Irons look to carry momentum into the new season after their European success. With that said, it was Declan Rice who captained them to Europa Conference League Champions back in June and you do wonder how much David Moyes’ side will miss their star man.
Bournemouth will begin their campaign under a new manager, after what appeared to be the harsh sacking of Gary O’Neil who helped them survive last term. It remains to be seen whether or not new man Andoni Iraola will be able to repeat the Cherries’ good finish this season.
One of the most prominent 3pm fixtures will see Premier League new boys Luton Town travel to Europa League side Brighton in a tough opening fixture for Rob Edwards’ players. Luton’s first appearance in the top flight since 1992 and after having their opening home fixture against Burnley postponed due to required ground improvements, you can’t help but envisage the Hatters struggling this season.
It won’t be an easy start for them either as they face Brighton, a team off the back of two consecutive record breaking season’s finishing in their highest ever position in England’s top flight with a 6th place finish being the latest and Europa League football to go with it. They are a force to be reckoned with and will be extremely tough for Luton to break down.
The final 3pm kickoff will see Fulham visit Goodison Park to face Sean Dyche’s Everton. In a relatively good season for Fulham where many tipped them to face the drop, they finished a respectable tenth and will hope to complete a similar feat this season.
Everton, however, narrowly avoided relegation for the second season running. But with only one defeat in May, Sean Dyche steered his side away from the drop. With that said, he will have his work cut out if they are to move up the table. They will hope to get off to a flying start against the Cottagers so they are in the best position to rule out what would be a disastrous era in the club’s history if they were to go down.
The first Saturday Night Football of the season sees Aston Villa make the trip to the North East to play Newcastle. Two clubs who had very successful seasons with the Magpies achieving Champions League qualification for the first time since 2002 and the Villans achieving Europa League football for the first time since 2010.
It was only the 2016/17 season where both sides were playing each other in the Championship now they will be playing against Europe’s elite. It will be one of the most anticipated opening weekend fixtures and a game that will be closely contested.
All of a sudden, the first Super Sunday of the 2023/24 season will be upon us. The first of the two fixtures will see Brentford host fellow Londoners Tottenham. A disappointing campaign for Spurs and a successful one for the Bees only saw Tottenham edge 8th place by a point to the West London club. It promises to be another close game with Spurs appointing former Celtic treble winner Ange Postecoglou with fans keen to see how he will cope with Premier League football.
Brentford will be without top scorer Ivan Toney as he is serving an 8 month ban for gambling offences. It will be interesting to see how Brentford cope without him for the first part of the campaign.
The second game of the day will also take place in West London as Chelsea host Liverpool in the 4:30 kickoff. Both sides had relatively disappointing seasons as Liverpool missed out on Champions League football and Chelsea finished a woeful 12th place.
For a brief period of time last season, the Blues were cautiously looking over their shoulder at the possibility of being caught up in the relegation battle. Luckily for the London side, they had done enough earlier in the season to risk that embarrassment. With the appointment of Mauricio Pochettino and the squad transformation at Chelsea, they will hope to start their season on the right foot. With that said, it will be no easy game after Liverpool’s brilliant form in the second half of last season, unbeaten in their last 11 games.
The final game of the opening weekend will see Manchester United take on Wolves in the first fixture of Monday Night Football. A relatively poor season saw them involved in the relegation battle at one stage in the season but some important wins saw them climb to 13th in the table. United, on the other hand, achieved a respectable league finish of 3rd place last season.
In Erik ten Haag’s first full season in charge of the club he took them to League Cup champions as well as FA Cup runners up and at times looked to be threatening a title challenge. It wasn’t a poor season for the Red Devils by any means, however, if they want to challenge for the title this season, they must start their campaign strongly.
See if you agree with our predictions for the opening weekend:
● Burnley 1-3 Manchester City
● Arsenal 2-0 Nottingham Forest
● Sheffield United 1-0 Crystal Palace
● Bournemouth 2-2 West Ham
● Brighton 3-0 Luton
● Everton 1-3 Fulham
● Newcastle 3-2 Aston Villa
● Brentford 2-2 Spurs
● Chelsea 0-1 Liverpool
● Manchester United 1-1 Wolves
Excitement is building for football fans across the world as the top flight of English football is almost back. It’s safe to say there will be twists and turns throughout the campaign, hopefully the opening weekend will give us a taste of what is yet to come. Will we see a new name on the Premier League trophy or will Man City make it four on the bounce? Find out by watching the Premier League live with Engage Hospitality.
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