The day is finally arriving with the Premier League 2015-16 season kicking off on Saturday, August 8. There has been much anticipation for this season, and the summer has been filled with high profile transfers and plenty of rumors throughout the offseason.
With the addition of three freshly promoted teams there is an added air of expectancy as fans of the EPL will get to see what these new clubs will bring to the league. Bournemouth and Norwich both open their campaigns at home in contests that should both be interesting. Watford do have a difficult start in travelling to Everton, but should still make a good game of it, particularly if Everton’s defensive worries continue for this season.
Elsewhere in the league there are a lot of good matches to keep an eye on. Chelsea host Swansea City in Saturday’s late game which should be a good one to watch. Swansea did surprisingly well last term and will hope to build on it. They could very well come away with points in this one, considering that they are a team that should not be underestimated.
Overall, I’m excited for pretty much every match of the weekend. The first week of matches is always interesting since there really isn’t anything to go on other than random friendlies played over the summer months.
Too often these matches do little to show how a team will actually play during the season. A team that might look out of balance and struggles through training suddenly kicks into gear once the season starts.
The opening match of the weekend, Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur, is one indicative of this. Both teams had mixed results during their summer tours along with high expectations. It is a marquee matchup and one that could go either way. I am predicting it to be a high scoring match and I will be intrigued to see how both teams play.
There is still the ongoing drama with goalkeeper David De Gea while Spurs will be without their starting keeper with Hugo Lloris out with a fractured wrist. I know from experience that a broken wrist is not an easy thing to return from.
|Saturday, August 8|
|7:45ET/12:45BT||Manchester United||3||v||2||Tottenham Hotspur||1 – 0|
|10:00ET/15:00BT||Norwich||1||v||2||Crystal Palace|| 1 – 3
|Sunday, August 9|
|8:30ET/13:30BT||Arsenal||2||v||0||West Ham United||0-2|
|11:00ET/16:00BT||Stoke City||1||v||2||Liverpool||0 – 1|
|Monday, August 10|
|15:00ET/20:00BT||West Brom||1||v||3||Manchester City|| 0 – 3
For FPL mangers there are several key matchups to look at. Attacking options abound this weekend especially for the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City, and Southampton. In addition there is the added bonus of opening weekends having a tendency to be high scoring.
There are plenty of midfield options available this season and teams like Southampton, Crystal Palace, Liverpool, and even Stoke City have several good options to pick up to start the year.
If defense is what you need I am touting Chelsea and Arsenal to pick up clean sheets considering their opponents as well as their strength in defense, if you believe Arsenal will continue this trend. Otherwise look to pick up quality full backs like Luke Shaw, Ryan Bertrand, Kieran Trippier (if starting), Branislav Ivanovic, or Leighton Baines; just to name a few.
I do believe that these first few weeks will have goals in them as teams seek to find a balance of defending and attacking while working to impose their tactics on the games. The stage has been set and it is time for another season to begin. Enjoy the first week of Premier League matches for 2015-16!