THE PREMIER LEAGUE IS SET TO GET CRACKING RIGHT FROM THE START WITH SOME GLORIOUS OPENING DAY FIXTURES.
The most anticipated release of the summer is here! No, it is not a single by Taylor Swift or a leaked tape of UFO sightings- the English Premier League fixtures for the 2021/22 season are out. For football fans, this is one of the momentous days in their calendar- knowing your team’s schedule, when is the next derby, and of course, which time slots to keep free.
🗓 Happy #PLFixtures day 🗓
All 380 matches for the 2021/22 season are out now 😍
— Premier League (@premierleague) June 16, 2021
Given the fact that the Premier League is the most coveted league around the world in terms of players, level of football played, and the intensity on the pitch, it is no surprise that such a hullabaloo surrounds the fixtures list announcement. True to form, the footballing gods have not disappointed as we are set to witness a fantastic start to the season with some absolute bangers on opening weekend of August 14. FootTheBall takes you through the biggest matches, how the promoted teams debut and who all can pull off some shockers right from the off.
BRENTFORD VS ARSENAL
The Bees are back for the Premier League 2021/22 season, since the 1946-47 season, and they did it in the most extraordinary of circumstances. Defeating Bournemouth and Swansea along the way to win the Championship Play-Off, Thomas Frank’s side will be upbeat of their chances of avoiding the drop. They have some solid players in their ranks including goalkeeper David Rae, captain Pontus Jansson and of course, top scorer Ivan Toney who will definitely be linked to a big money move soon.
Ivan Toney has scored 33 goals in all competitions this season.
Ice cool from the spot. 🧊 pic.twitter.com/lrb5DwYzEd
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) May 29, 2021
Their opening fixture of the Premier League season will see them host Mikel Arteta and his Arsenal side. Though the Gunners are a traditional “big six” club, most will say the Bees have an immediate chance of making a major impact. Arsenal have slid down and down over recent years, culminating in them missing European football for the first time in 25 years this time.
🤯 @Arsenal miss out on European football for the first time in 25 years.
😫 Ouch! pic.twitter.com/LZlzTzrRWh
— SPORF (@Sporf) May 23, 2021
Finishing a disappointing 8th and fans’ anger at the Super League debacle will not die down soon, despite the fact that new signings have been promised. On that front, there have been a few departures with Martin Odegaard, Dani Ceballos, Granit Xhaka all having left while they lost out on Emiliano Buendia to Aston Villa. Arteta will be keen to begin with a strong win but that will be easier said than done.
MANCHESTER UNITED VS LEEDS UNITED
What better way to kickoff your season than a classic derby? The Red Devils host Marcelo Bielsa’s side, and if history is any indication, we are in for another cracker. The home side won 6-2 last year in one of the games of the season and Leeds will be keen to not have a repeat of that in their very first match.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) April 24, 2021
Bielsa’s side are the hardest runners in the Premier League and though there were initial fears of them dropping down, they rallied hard to eventually finish 9th. Challenging for Europe will be the next goal for the club and there is no reason why they cannot achieve it this time. The hosts, meanwhile, ended their season in a disappointing fashion as they lost to Villarreal in the Europa League final.
— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) June 14, 2021
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men were runners-up and can most definitely hold on to that label for another year, even if challenging for the title will be hard by his own admission. The Red Devils are in negotiations for Jadon Sancho and Kieran Trippier, and should either or both join this summer, anything will be possible for sure. Expect this one to be an instant classic with both teams known for their thirst of goals and attacking flair.
NORWICH CITY VS LIVERPOOL
It is hard to guess which gives Norwich supporters more joy about the opening weekend- that they are back in the Premier League or are facing a Liverpool side without Luis Suarez. The absence of the Uruguayan hitman will be the biggest boost to their confidence in tackling the Reds, even if they have to do it without their star man who has already left for Villa Park.
— Emiliano Buendia (@EM10Buendia) June 11, 2021
Daniel Farke’s side romped to the Championship title last season and will be keen to shed their “yo-yo” tag of bouncing between the top two divisions. If they can make a few solid signings, there is a chance that their stay will get extended beyond 2022. The Canaries can do with a few signings though, and no doubt the club will be keen on strengthening the squad as much as possible keeping past experiences in mind.
Feeling strong, feeling good! 😁 pic.twitter.com/ZyjKqeJyaV
— Virgil van Dijk (@VirgilvDijk) May 12, 2021
For Jurgen Klopp, last year was one of the most disappointing title defences of all time, even though they qualified for the Champions League by remaining undefeated over their final 10 games. Gini Wijnaldum has already departed the club, but the welcome returns Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, and Jordan Henderson will no doubt boost their credentials of challenging for the league crown once again.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR VS MANCHESTER CITY
One of the more intriguing fixtures on opening day. Spurs have appointed former AS Roma manager Paulo Fonseca, a move which has earned mixed reviews amongst their supporters. There is real discontent around the club regarding their poor performances over the years, and it might get even worse if talisman Harry Kane does indeed leave this summer.
One of the only bright sides of the last campaign has been their making the Europa Conference League as England’s inaugural entry, something which will inspire few. New signings are a must and improving their leaky defence will be key. On the other hand, their opponents are the Premier League champions and Champions League finalists, who are one of the front runners to sign Harry Kane.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) May 11, 2021
Pep Guardiola has one of the best squads in world football across all positions at his disposal, barring the Champions League medal which will be the most crucial goal once again. On the domestic front, anything other than a repeat of their success this season will be termed a failure. Expect this match to feature goals and some truly creative football, both from the visitors for sure. This match will be marquee match of the first round of the 2021/22 Premier League season.
WATFORD VS ASTON VILLA
The Hornets are another club who will be keen to prove their status as Premier League regulars by having a solid season this time. They have kept a hold of some of their stars from their journey last time around including Ismaila Sarr, Tom Cleverly, Troy Deeney, Will Hughes, and have signed experienced campaigner Danny Rose.
✍ Danny Rose has agreed a move to Vicarage Road, we're delighted to confirm.
Welcome back to Watford, Danny! 🐝@_AFEX
— Watford Football Club (@WatfordFC) June 16, 2021
If they can string together a good run of form, this team can upset some of the heavyweights over the course of this campaign. However, their opponents first up will be one of the trickier sides to get past. Aston Villa have one of the most technically gifted players in the game in Jack Grealish and have also signed Emi Buendia, who was one of the breakout stars for Norwich in the Championship.
Joined Norwich City for £1m, leaves Carrow Road in a move worth up to £38 million 👏
✍️ Aston Villa have completed the club-record signing of Emi Buendia.
The Argentine scored 24 goals and made 42 assists after signing for the Canaries in 2018. pic.twitter.com/AdEvar2Jcj
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) June 10, 2021
They have had a bid turned down for another brilliant youngster, Arsenal’s Emile Smith-Rowe, all of which hints at the fact that European football will be a major goal for Dean Smith’s side this time around. They have the resources to quietly mount a challenge and a win to start things will be a great confidence booster.
The opening round of fixtures is never good indicators of how a team will perform over 38 games. However, for us football lovers, it is the first chance of seeing your team battle it out for the points, where hope springs eternal that anything is possible. Everybody starts from the same level and by looking at this year’s Premier League 2021/22 list; there is no room for disappointment at all.