LONDON, Aug. 5 — The Premier League gets underway this weekend with the title favourites looking to make an early statement of intent while three newly promoted teams aim to show they can hold their own in the elite.
The round of matches kicks off in southeast London on Friday night as Crystal Palace entertain Arsenal in what looks like an interesting game.
Former Arsenal midfielder Patrick Viera turned Palace into a free-flowing side last season and looks to build on that despite Conor Gallagher’s return to Chelsea. Arsenal, who have added striker Gabriel Jesus to their ranks, need to avoid a repeat of last year’s dreadful start to the campaign, which began with a 2-0 defeat to newly promoted Brentford.
Fulham are back in the Premier League and anxious to avoid being a yo-yo club, but Marco Silva’s men have a tough opener on Saturday lunchtime as Liverpool visits their traditional Craven Cottage.
Many eyes will be on new Liverpool signing Darwin Nunez, while Fulham fans will see their promotion hero Fabio Carvalho in Liverpool colours after his summer transfer to Anfield.
Many of Fulham’s hopes on Saturday (and the rest of the season) depend on striker Aleksandar Mitrovic repeating his goal-scoring feats from the promotion campaign to show he can also cut it in the elite.
Bournemouth also returns to the Premier League, with Scott Parker’s side, who have been quiet in the transfer market, at home to Aston Villa. With Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool next up for Bournemouth, it is important for Parker’s side to get something from their opener.
Jesse Marsch’s new-look Leeds United get their season underway at home to Wolves. After narrowly missing relegation in May, Marsch needs his new signings to bed in quickly against a rival that has a familiar look after a quiet summer in the transfer market.
Nottingham Forest is widely tipped as the promoted side with the best chance of survival after making a dozen signings over the summer, but Steve Cooper’s men have a difficult start to the campaign away to Newcastle, who are expected to continue their progress under Eddie Howe.
Tottenham could provide the biggest challenge to Manchester City and Liverpool this season, and coach Antonio Conte will expect all three points at home to Southampton, who look set to struggle. Harry Kane and Son Heung-min lead the Spurs attack, with Kane aiming to forget last season’s slow start when he only scored once before December.
Everton coach Frank Lampard faces his former club as Chelsea visit Goodison Park in an early test for both sides. Everton had an uninspiring set of results in pre-season and needs to hit the ground running after last season’s struggles.
Chelsea has signed Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly and will be boosted by Cesar Azpilicueta signing a new contract, but still look to have the same problems in front of goal that limited them last time around.
Sunday’s games see Leicester City, who have not made any summer signing but have Wesley Fofana fit again, at home to Brentford, who lost Christian Eriksen to Manchester United over the summer.
Eriksen will make his United debut at home to Brighton, who may or may not have Chelsea target Marc Cucurella on their side. The big question around Old Trafford is whether want-away Cristiano Ronaldo will play, especially after Erik ten Hag criticized his early departure from last weekend’s friendly against Rayo Vallecano.
The weekend’s last match sees Manchester City start their title defence in the London Stadium against West Ham.
West Ham has strengthened in attack with the signing of Gianluca Scamacca, but the Italian won’t be the striker that most eyes are on as Erling Haaland prepares to make his Premier League debut for Manchester City who again kick off as title favourites.