The Premier League is back after a short break, and we’re all ready to dive in. After a season riddled with storylines on the pitch, perhaps the main story was the Coronavirus stoppage that devastated on a global scale. But coming out of that, the Prem was able to put measures in place in order to finish the season, seeing Liverpool finally raise the inevitable trophy above their heads.
Due to the restart, we’re looking at a season with one less month, but the same number of matches. It’s going to be interesting to keep an eye on fitness levels, particularly outside the top 6, where depth is harder to come by.
Opening weekend doesn’t have a mouthwatering matchup everyone will flock to, but there are a handful that should be fun to watch nonetheless.
Kicking off with a London Derby
The first match of the season (7:30AM Eastern) sees the first of many London derbies this season. Fulham will host Arsenal at Craven Cottage, testing their resolve immediately. Arsenal may have lifted the FA Cup and Community Shield, but barely finished 8th. They’ll be looking to prove they can handle a lower level club, while Fulham will be hoping to show that they belong.
On paper Arsenal should run away with this one. That’s not exactly the Premier League greeting Fulham will be looking for.
Ryan Kelly vs Justin Colombo
Whoops, I meant Southampton travels to South London to take on Crystal Palace. Ryan and Justin have pledged allegiances to the mid-table clubs, and I’m excited to have more of our team actively watching.
Turf Wars aside, this could prove to be one of the more interesting matchups of opening weekend. Southampton climbed the table with a slew of positive results after the restart, and Danny Ings made a play for the Golden Boot. While they’ll be without Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, who recently transferred to Tottenham, this Saints squad is poised to climb into the top 10. The real question for this match is whether or not Crystal Palace can put on the pitch what they have on paper. Zaha can’t carry this team forever.
Leeds face a tall task
Marcelo Bielsa’s squad is hungry. They earned their promotion this past season after heartbreak the year before. And now they’re eager to turn a 16-year drought into a long-term stay in the Premier League. The biggest issue with that is they’re traveling to Anfield to kick off the new campaign.
While The Whites are a solid squad who can enjoy some success in the Prem this year, Liverpool is on a different level. The main question with this one will be if Klopp’s boys get stuck with a title hangover. The title holders will expect to repeat last season’s success, but with the rest of the top clubs improving, they need to come out of the gate with another unprecedented run in order to do so. Sorry, Leeds.
The Toffees visit North London
It seems a foregone conclusion that Everton and Tottenham will play each other in the first couple of weeks of the season at this point. Spurs were lucky to get into a European place, while The Toffees will be looking to use their young, fiesty strike force to rattle Spurs early on.
It can’t get much worse than last season for Tottenham, when they only managed two wins from their first eight matches. Meanwhile Everton are out to show they belong back in the top 7 conversation. Lillywhite fans will be looking for blood in hopes that Mourinho can end a trophy drought in N17. This will either be a cracker or an odd 0-0. I really don’t know what to expect just yet.
Sheffield United host Wolves
This is as close to a mouthwatering matchup as we’re going to get. Both clubs punched well above their weight, and were unlucky to not finish a bit higher than they did. What catches my eye about this one is watching the high octane attack of Wolves try to break through what was the fourth best defense last season.
Sheffield United don’t score many goals, but they sure make it hard for you to score on them. This will be a lovely tug of war, and the only downside is that we’ll need to wait for Monday to watch.
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