The dawn of a new Premier League campaign is on the horizon, and excitement has already reached a fever pitch. It doesn’t feel like two minutes since Manchester City came roaring back from 2-0 down at home to Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa, wrestling the title away from Liverpool’s clutches on an enthralling final day of last season. But that was over two months ago, and the start of a new era is now upon us. And could there be any more interesting subplots? Can Jurgen Klopp’s Reds halt the dominance of Pep Guardiola’s Blues? Is Erik Ten Hag the one to stop Manchester United’s decline? How will Newcastle fare in their first full season as the world’s richest club?
There are talking points throughout the entire division. And the answers to all of our questions will begin on Friday 5th August, as Crystal Palace host Arsenal in the opening game of the new term. Here are two games that we cannot wait to see on the Premier League’s opening weekend.
Newcastle vs. Nottingham Forest
The story of Newcastle United Saudi-backed takeover was one of the stories of last season. The deal finally went through in October 2021 and Eddie How was swiftly appointed as the Magpies’ new manager. Even still, the club still sat rock bottom of the Premier League, and relegation for the world’s richest club was a very real possibility. Then January arrived.
The new owners forked out £92m on Bruno Guimarães, Chris Wood, Kieran Trippier and Dan Burn, as well as Aston Villa left-back Matt Targett, who arrived on loan until the end of the season. Those signings worked to perfection, with the Toon comfortably avoiding the drop. And the club have once again spent big this summer, with Targett signing permanently, alongside Sven Botman and Nick Pope.
But just as Newcastle stole the January transfer window, the stars of the summer transfer window have been newly promoted, Nottingham Forest. Their victory over Huddersfield Town in last year’s Championship playoff final brought the club back to the promised land for the first time in over 20 years and a financial windfall to boot. And oh how they have spent those newfound funds.
Former England internationals Jesse Lingard and Dean Henderson have both arrived at the club from Manchester United. Three players who impressed in the championship last season have also made the step up, namely former Huddersfield duo Lewis O’Brien and Harry Toffolo, as well as Liverpool’s Neco Williams, who was part of the Fulham team that romped to the second-tier title. And if that wasn’t enough, the Tricky Trees have also raided the Bundesliga for some of their top talents, with Taiwo Awoniyi, Moussa Niakhaté and Omar Richards all joining the club.
The battle between Newcastle and Forest will be fascinating and is our one to watch on the opening weekend.
West Ham United vs. Manchester City
The 2-2 draw at the London Stadium in the penultimate game of the previous campaign was one of the games of the season. City, who needed to avoid defeat to keep the title race in their hands, found themselves 2-0 down at halftime thanks to Jarrod Bowen’s brilliant brace. The Hammers looked set to provide us with one of football’s greatest underdog victories, like when Greece won the European Championship in 2004. But City, as ever, responded like the champions they went on to become. Goals from Jack Grealish and Vladimir Coufal’s own goal ensured that the Citizens went home with a deserved point. They would of course go on to win the title the following week, proving how vital of a point this was in East London.
This season, however, the reigning champions are a different beast entirely, and that is courtesy of one man — Erling Braut Haaland. The Norwegian powerhouse was the most sought-after striker in world football this summer and he decided that his future lies at the Etihad Stadium. Fans around the world are already salivating at the prospect of the former Borussia Dortmund man playing in the Premier League, and his debut for Manchester City will prove to be must watch.