Fixtures to Look Out for on the Opening Weekend of the EPL
The Barclays Premier League returns on Saturday with a number of exciting top-flight games on offer, but here are a few to really keep a close eye on.
Swansea City vs. Manchester United
Swansea City play host to Manchester United on the opening day of the new Premier League season in what will be David Moyes' first league fixture in charge of the Red Devils. It will also be the most important game of his managerial career to date.
All eyes will be on Liberty Stadium to see how champions Manchester United fare in their first fixture without Sir Alex Ferguson at the helm in 27 years.
Ferguson, who suffered a poor start to his career at Old Trafford and was, as The Telegraph reports, one game away from being sacked, was eventually given time as he transformed United's fortunes.
Should Swansea put United to the sword this weekend, however, a media friendly is likely to ensue with the red tops' headlines full of sensationalist garbage on how Moyes isn't cut out for the job.
On the other hand, a Manchester United win would see Moyes' side get off to the perfect start.
Man to Watch: Wayne Rooney
The Manchester United striker has expressed his desire to leave the club during the summer months, as the Daily Mail reported.
However, in an interview with Sky Sports, Moyes has since stated that Rooney is not for sale and that he would remain a Manchester United player.
Whether Rooney plays or not, and if so, then how he plays, should give us a rough indication as to whether the former Everton striker is set to depart Old Trafford.
This one should be another interesting matchup. Villa haven't fared well against Arsenal in the Premier League, although a few draws and a win against Arsenal at the Emirates in recent years may give Villa some hope.
The Midlands side endured a disastrous campaign last year—narrowly avoiding relegation—and will look to get off to a better start with the hope of a midtable finish come the end of the year.
Arsenal will, of course, sustain a title challenge for the first part of the season before dropping off and scrapping it out with Tottenham for fourth place.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has failed to secure any signings as of yet this summer, with Liverpool's Luis Suarez, who has been linked with a move to North London, as The Telegraph reports, now seemingly off their radar.
Despite the lack of signings, Arsenal should still have too much for Villa who have, in comparison, made a number of signings in the transfer window. Similarly to the experience in the squad throughout last season, youthful, although promising, signings may not be quite up to scratch to deal with the attacking threat of Arsenal.
Man to Watch: Christian Benteke
Christian Benteke took the Premier League by storm last season—notching 19 league goals in an impressive debut campaign.
Having recently signed a new contract, Benteke will be raring to go and could cause Arsenal some problems.
Chelsea vs. Hull City Tigers
Not only will this game be an interesting watch just to see the hilarious new name of "Tigers" emblazoned on Hull City's badge following Assem Allam's search for the club's "identity," as the BBC reported, but it should also be interesting to see how the two teams—who will be battling it out at different ends of the table—fare.
SkyBet have Chelsea as second favourites to take the title, behind Manchester City, with odds of 9-4.
In comparison, Hull are second favourites to go down with SkyBet with odds of 4-6.
Jose Mourinho is back at the helm of the Blues and will be determined to get off to a good start at home to the Tigers.
Signings such as Marco van Ginkel and Andre Schurrle will just add to Chelsea's strength in depth, with cover for every position on the pitch.
Expect Chelsea to put out their strongest team and to overrun Hull City Tigers. If the Yorkshire-based side aren't careful, even under the guidance of the heavily experienced Steve Bruce, they could be in for a long old day down at the Bridge.
Man to Watch: Romelu Lukaku
The Belgian forward was superb whilst playing on loan with West Brom last season with many expecting the youngster to be given a fair crack at the whip for Mourinho this season.
Imposing, strong and pacy, Romelu Lukaku has everything that it takes to become a top Premier League striker—like his idol Didier Drogba.
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