Days since the end of the last Premier League season: 48
Days since Liverpool secured their first league championship in over 30 years: 78 This weekend, after the shortest of pre-season breaks, with less transfers than we’ve become accustomed to, the 2020/21 Premier League season will get underway.
Fulham v Arsenal
Newly-promoted Fulham will get things underway when they host Arsenal in a London derby. The Gunners have recently won the FA Cup and Community Shield, and will be aiming to improve on an eighth-place finish last season. However, Fulham have also enjoyed victory at Wembley recently – beating their neighbours Brentford in the Championship playoff final. Can the Whites cement their place in the top flight this season or will they be brought crashing back down to earth thanks to Mikel Arteta’s men.
Crystal Palace v Southampton
Last season was a complete rollercoaster ride for Southampton fans. Having experienced the low of a record 9-0 home defeat to Leicester City early on, Saints then went to the King Power Stadium and won.
In fact, Southampton were one of the strongest sides in the Premier League when playing away from home last season. Better still, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side were incredible after the Premier League was reintroduced after lockdown, with only Manchester City and Manchester United registering more points at the end of last season.
In contrast, Crystal Palace have struggled recently – only relegated Norwich picked up fewer points than the Eagles behind-closed-doors last season, and it only the Canaries scored less than Palace’s paltry 31 in the League last season. Looks like an away win here.
Liverpool v Leeds United
Last season will live long in the memory of both Liverpool and Leeds United. Liverpool confirmed their first league title in over 30 years, whereas Leeds United sealed their return to the Premier League after a 16-year absence, lifting the Championship title in the process.
For newly promoted Leeds, the opening assignment of the season does not come much tougher than this. However, Anfield provides Leeds United’s new signings the perfect stage to shine, and without the Reds’ vocal army of supporters in attendance, maybe we will see a shock!
West Ham United v Newcastle United
It may be just as well that no fans can enter the London Stadium this weekend, as the two clubs with the most disgruntled supporters in the Premier League meet in the nation’s capital on Saturday night.
West Ham United have gone a summer without bringing any new blood to East London (Thomas Soucek has however completed a permanent move to the club), and the sale of young prospect Grady Diangana has the Hammers fans in uproar.
Newcastle fans spent the whole summer dreaming of a takeover, only for the Premier League to block it. However, the Magpies faithful would have been appeased when Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser and Jamal Lewis all joined fellow new signing Jeff Hendrick at the club this week.
This one has score draw written all over it.