The Premier League is back and how we have missed it! Sure we’ve had the World Cup which was a brilliant samba celebration of football but let’s face it there’s nothing better than watching the best league in the world. Moaning about referees, cursing last minute goals that steal the points from our team and debating who will end up champions at the end of the season are just a few things that make our domestic season so fantastic. There have been managerial merry go rounds and half of Southampton have ended up on Merseyside but it’s time for the talk to stop and the football to begin.
Kicking the season off at 12:45 on Saturday is the new look Manchester United with Dutch coach Louis Van Gaal now at the helm. Gary Monk’s Swansea City are the visitors to Old Trafford with Wilfred Bony, for now at least, reaming in Wales despite reported interest from Liverpool and Spurs. It will be fascinating to see how the United squad line up in the expected 3-5-2 formation favoured by Van Gaal and exhibited at the World Cup by the Dutch national side. One man who won’t be playing at the weekend is Luke Shaw the £30M teenager who arrived from Southampton is out for the first month of the season through injury but newly appointed skipper Wayne Rooney will be hoping to make an impact to give his new boss the best possible start.
Two of the newly promoted teams will also be getting their seasons under-way on Saturday. Leicester are back in the big time after a decade and welcome Everton to the King Power stadium. Leicester will be aiming to just stay up this season and the £8M capture of Leonardo Ulloa from Brighton will be crucial if they are to achieve this aim. The visitors Everton have forked out £28M on the Belgian Romeu Lukaku however he is a doubt for the game. QPR will entertain Hull City after reaching the Premier League, after just one season away thanks to that last gap play off winner from Bobby Zamora. There will be new faces a plenty on show for both sides with Jordan Mutch, Rio Ferdinand and Steven Caulker likely to be making debuts for Rangers and Tom Ince, Robert Snodgrass and Harry Maguire for the Tigers. There will also be a new face in the backroom staff for QPR as ex-England boss Glenn Hoddle returns to football as first team coach.
The first of many London derbies will be contested on opening day as Pochettino gets his Spurs career underway at Upton Park. Sam Allardyce will be hoping to get the fans on side early doors with a win over their London rivals and hopefully take away some of the attention on two of their young stars. Ravel Morrison has been in the press for all the wrong reasons and new signing from Charlton Diego Poyet (son of Sunderland boss Gus) has been left red faced after a few historic tweets were discovered in which he was less than complimentary about his new team mates Stewart Downing and Andy Carroll.
On to Sunday and Ronald Koeman will take his new Southampton side to Liverpool. It has been well reported that Liverpool have nabbed three of Southampton’s star players in the shape of Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren. Liverpool have been splashing the cash this summer also adding Lazar Markovic, Emre Can and Alberto Moreno to their squad as they try to fill the sizeable void left by last year’s recently departed player of the year Luis Suarez.
The champions are up north getting their season up and running at St James Park against Newcastle as they hope to build on the league title they won in May. Both teams will have an abundance of fresh faces. The Magpies have signed Jaanmat, De Jong and Rivière. Eyes will also be on Jack Colback who made the brave (or foolish) decision to cross the Mackem/Geordie divide as he joined from Sunderland. City have also invested with Malaga goalkeeper Willy Caballero providing much needed competition for Joe Hart joining the signings of Fernando and Mangala. Eyebrows were also raised when a certain Frank Lampard joined on loan from sister club New York City despite his fourteen years at Stamford Bridge with Chelsea.
The opening weekend concludes on Monday as new boys Burnley entertain many people’s tips for the title Chelsea at Turf Moor. Burnley will be hoping to keep new signings Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas quiet not to mention the likes of Hazard, Willian and Oscar. Many people have called it the clash between the “ginger Mourinho” and the special one as Sean Dyche makes his Premier League bow after an impressive promotion season with the Lancashire club.
The opening weekend is sure to be full of goals and drama as the Premier League returns and we all know that when football is back so is Soccer Saturday’s and Match of the Day. Saturdays will be more entertaining from now on. It’s going to be unbelievable Jeff!