The English Premier League beings with seven matches on its first day of the season, as Manchester United begin their campaign of erasing the memory of the previous one by playing against Swansea, while other big matches happen to both be London derbies: West Ham hosting Tottenham and Arsenal, with their lofty ambitions, playing at home against the messed up Crystal Palace.
Liverpool and Manchester City will both have their season debuts a day later, while Chelsea will play on a Monday to cap off the first weekend of football in the English Premiership.
Manchester United vs Swansea: The same opener these two teams had last season. Then, for a moment, it looked like the David Moyes era was starting off quite well before everything went down hill. No Robin van Persie, Antonio Valencia or Luke Shaw for the Red Devils who looked quite impressive during the preseason. We will see plenty of debuts for the Welsh side, including Gylfi Sigurdsson, Jefferson Montero and Bafetimbi Gomis, although their expectations from this match and this whole season will be completely different than the ones they set out to achieve 12 months ago.
Leicester City vs Everton: The Toffees secured the signings of Romelu Lukakau and Gareth Barry this summer to kick off their second season under Roberto Martinez with a different set of ambitions and expectations. Muhamed Besic and Christian Atsu have also joined the team (the Ghanaian on loan), although Lukaku might not be completely fit for the season opener. Leicester are in the Premier League for the first time since 2004, making only one money signing this summer with striker Loenardo Ulloa from Brighton. They’ll be missing Matthew Upson and Marc Albrighton, who both joined in via a free transfer in the summer.
QPR vs Hull City: QPR managed to make it a one year stay in the Championship before getting back into the Premier League, hoping to make it a longer tenure this time (two years before being relegated in 2013). They have the oldest squad in the Premier League, and spent the summer pillaging Cardiff City, signing Jordon Mutch and Steven Caulker, while getting back Loic Remy and Adel Taarabt from loans. The latter doesn’t want to play for the club. Hull City were busy this summer as well: Jake Livermore, Robert Snodgrass, Andrew Robertson and Harry Maguire while Thomas Ince joined on a free transfer, as Steve Bruce will try to avoid the usual bad second year he often has with his teams.
Stoke vs Aston Villa: Last season was a change for Stoke City under Mark Hughes, proving they can play some football and not just win through physical superiority. Their additions were mostly free transfer ones, although they did pay for Bojan Krkic of Barcelona, while adding Steven Sidwell, Phil Bardsley and Mame Diouf. Things continue to be tight for Villa, still relying on their own youth and the attacking trio of Christian Benteke, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann, although Benteke is injured until October.
West Brom vs Sunderland: Both teams didn’t have an easy time staying up last season, especially the Black Cats. In order to avoid the same fate, Sunderland have added Jack Rodwell trying to kickstart his career, William Buckley of Brighton and Patrick van Aanholt of Chelsea. Jordi Gomez and Costel Pantilimon arrived on a free transfer, as staying away from relegation problems for most of the season will be considered a success. West Brom added a Sunderland player in Craig Gardner on a free transfer. Other additions have been Ideye Brown, Christian Gamboa, Joleon Lescott and Sebastien Pocognoli. having the same ambitions as Sunderland.
West Ham vs Tottenham: West Ham are always a bit more ambitious despite being one of the smaller London clubs. With Allardyce in charge, it probably means less than pretty football, but once again a very tough team to beat. The additions of Enner Valencia, Cheikhou Kouyate and Aaron Cresswell should help them in another mid table finish, while Spurs had a very different summer compared to the one from last year, making a managerial change while adding the likes of Ben Davies, Michael Vorm and Eric Dier, trying not to rock the boat too much this time.
Arsenal vs Crystal Palace: Things are quite bothersome for Palace. A year after the fantastic second half of a season under Pulis, the manager has surprisingly resigned, leaving them baffled and with a lessened sense of confidence hitting the new season with a tough away derby. Arsenal looked in shambles a year ago as the season opened with a home loss to Aston Villa. This year the feeling is different after adding Alexis Sanchez among other players, making them feel ready once again to break the mold and streak of 4th place finishes.