English Premier League Weekend Preview
Match Previews: Opening day!
The 2021/22 season gets underway as we all get ready for another season of the drama.
Brentford vs Arsenal
Friday, 13th August
New boys Brentford get the season underway on Friday night as they host Arsenal in what should be a game that could go either way.
Brentford will be confident coming into this one on their opening day in the Premier League. Arsenal isn’t the toughest team to play against, and generally do struggle at the start of the season. Brentford can catch them cold, and the packed stadium should help the home side also. It’s a magnificent time for Brentford, and they’ll be relishing this and raring to go. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Brentford does pick up a good result against Arsenal.
Arsenal comes into this game having to drastically improve on last season, and if they start off with a bad result, it could set the tone for the season early. They’re not a side that strikes fear into opponents. They can turn on the style and play at times, but they’ve been far too inconsistent for years, and the entire balance of the squad still isn’t where it should be. Arsenal needs to improve this season and fast, but compared to the other big sides in the league, they’re still way off the mark.
Manchester United vs Leeds United
Saturday, 14th August
The early kickoff on Saturday is a tasty fixture between these two rival teams who don’t like each other, and it should be a feisty game.
Man Utd has improved their squad with world-class players in the transfer market, and it’s a sign that they should be looking for the title. They impressed last season, although falling short of the mark, the additions of Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho sends a signal that this season they’ll be pushing the likes of Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea all the way. A tough start against a ferocious Leeds means Man Utd will have to be at it from the off, but they enjoyed success last season against Leeds and will be hoping for more of the same.
Leeds also improved their squad, bringing in Junior Firpo from Barcelona, and getting Jack Harrison on a permanent transfer after his loan success has been a great bit of business. They’re always in with a shout in any game, but far too often they allowed games to get away from them and goals easily conceded. They do tend to hound teams with constant pressure and that can prove to be a success, but there are ways around it which United found last season.
Chelsea vs Crystal Palace
Saturday, 14th August
It’s an all London affair as Chelsea host Palace in what is a tough start for Patrick Vieria’s competitive debut as Crystal Palace manager.
Chelsea is about to sign back Romelu Lukaku, but he won’t be making this one to the relief of Crystal Palace’s defenders. However, they won’t be relieved for long if Chelsea can continue their impressive form under Thomas Tuchel. Since the German came into the club in January, he’s completely turned fortunes around and now they look as though they’re ready to build and challenge for the title. A real tough ask for Palace.
Crystal Palace has been busy in the summer with some good signings in the market, but they won’t be expected to get anything here. The opening day can prove to be full of surprises, but it’s hard to see how Palace can surprise Chelsea and get a positive result here at Stamford Bridge. Keeping hold of Wilfried Zaha has proven to be successful and he’s the one player that they can’t afford to lose, but they could still be a team that struggles this season under Vieria.