Former favourites look to give Chelsea, Arsenal early problems in EPL

Manchester: The Premier League returns to action with both Arsenal and Chelsea facing tests against teams managed by their former title winning heroes.

The season’s opener on Friday (Saturday AEST) sees a strengthened Arsenal travelling south of the Thames to take on a Crystal Palace side managed by ex-Gunner Patrick Vieira.

In Saturday’s late game Chelsea, making their first appearance under new American owners, travel to Merseyside to face an Everton side that narrowly avoided relegation under former Blues skipper Frank Lampard.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has had a very positive off-season with some impressive new signings, giving real hope that the Spaniard now has the talent needed to break back into the top four.

Brazil striker Gabriel Jesus and Ukraine’s Oleksandr Zinchenko have been brought in from Manchester City and Fabio Vieira from Porto should provide another option in an exciting young midfield.

But an away game at Palace is by no means a comfortable start for Arteta’s side.

Gabriel Jesus (second left) will be one of the focal points of a new-look Arsenal side who open the Premier League season against London rivals Crystal Palace.Credit:Getty

Frenchman Vieira, who won three Premier League titles with Arsenal as a player, made a strong start to his reign at Selhurst Park guiding the Eagles to a solid 12th-place finish.

Vieira masterminded a 3-0 win over his former side in April, one of the defeats which cost the Gunners a place in the Champions League.

Chelsea also have a recent defeat to keep them grounded when they step out on the field at Goodison Park against old boy Lampard’s side.

Everton beat Chelsea 1-0 when they teams met on Merseyside in May with Brazilian Richarlison scoring the goal that helped secure top-flight survival.

Richarlison has, however, since moved to Tottenham and Everton’s lack of forward firepower has yet to be addressed in the transfer market, which remains open until the end of the month.

Champions Manchester City begin their title defence in the capital where David Moyes’ West Ham are looking to continue their progress after an encouraging seventh place finish last season.

City are likely to feature their new signing Erling Haaland in attack and the Norwegian will be hoping to put aside his disappointing display in the Community Shield loss to Liverpool last week.

Liverpool, who won that curtain raiser 3-1, are also in London and will expect to make a winning start against promoted Fulham.

New signing Darwin Nunez scored against City and could line up against Marco Silva’s side.

New Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag, pictured in Melbourne last month, has his work cut out for him at Old Trafford.Credit:Getty Images

Last season was a long nightmare for Manchester United but the 20-time champions are hoping that former Ajax boss Erik ten Hag can get off to a winning start to his time at Old Trafford against Brighton on Sunday.

United have used Anthony Martial as their central striker in pre-season, but he is doubtful for the game against Graham Potter’s side and that could mean a start for Cristiano Ronaldo despite his reported desire for a transfer.

Former European champions Nottingham Forest are back in the Premier League after a 23-year absence and mark their return with a difficult test at Newcastle United who enjoyed a fine second half to last season.

Antonio Conte has made some useful additions to his Spurs side, which finished fourth last term and will expect three points from the visit of Southampton.

The fixtures (all times AEST)

Crystal Palace v Arsenal (5am)

  • Arsenal will be involved in the opening game of a Premier League campaign for the fifth time. They have won thrice but were beaten 2-0 by Brentford in the 2021-22 season-opener.
  • Four of the last six league matches between the two teams have ended in draws, with Palace and Arsenal winning one each.
  • Arsenal lost four out of their last six away league matches in the 2021-22 season.

Fulham v Liverpool (9.30pm)

  • Liverpool won six straight Premier League games against Fulham between 2012 and 2019, but were unable to beat them in the 2021-22 season, drawing 1-1 away and losing 1-0 at home.
  • Forward Mohamed Salah became the first player in Premier League history to score on the opening weekend of five successive seasons with his goal against Norwich City last year, and could extend his own record with a strike against Fulham.
  • Liverpool won five of their six games against promoted sides in the 2021-22 season.


Bournemouth v Aston Villa (12am)

  • Promoted Bournemouth last played in the top flight in the 2019-20 season, when they finished 18th.
  • Villa have won only one of their five opening day Premier League games against newly promoted teams (one draw, three losses), a 1-0 victory at Bournemouth in 2015-16.
  • Bournemouth have won three of their four league meetings with Villa, all by a 2-1 scoreline. They lost the other clash.

Leeds United v Wolverhampton Wanderers (12am)

  • After winning only three league matches in a run of 25 at Leeds, Wolves have won three out of their last four at Elland Road.
  • Luke Ayling scored a 91st-minute winner to seal a 3-2 win for Leeds the last time the teams faced off in the league.
  • Only one of the six Premier League meetings between the teams have ended in a draw, with Wolves winning three and Leeds winning two.

Two-time European champions Nottingham Forest are back in the Premier League for the first time this century.Credit:PA

Newcastle United v Nottingham Forest (12am)

  • Nottingham Forest are back in the Premier League after a 23-year absence.
  • Forest have failed to beat Newcastle in eight Premier League meetings.
  • Forest have been busy during the summer transfer window, with former Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard one of 12 new recruits.

Tottenham v Southampton (12am)

  • Southampton have only won four Premier League away games against Spurs.
  • Late goals by Mohamed Elyounoussi and Che Adams sealed a 3-2 victory at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in their last meeting.
  • Spurs’ new signing Richarlison will miss the game after being suspended for one game for throwing a flare off the field while playing for Everton against Chelsea last season.


Everton v Chelsea (2.30am)

  • Everton have are unbeaten in their last five home matches against Chelsea, having won four of those clashes.
  • Chelsea have won 27 out of 60 Premier League meetings (D20) between the teams.
  • Everton forward Salomon Rondon is suspended after being sent off against Brentford last season.

Leicester City v Brentford (11pm)

  • Brentford will be seeking a first Premier League win over Leicester in their third attempt.
  • Brentford are winless in their last 10 meetings with Leicester in all competitions (D1 L9) since a 3-2 win in League Division Two in March 1953.
  • Leicester are yet to make a signing in the summer transfer window.

Kristoffer Ajer ’s Brentford have not beaten Leicester in almost 70 years.Credit:PA

Manchester United v Brighton (11pm)

  • United have won seven of their 10 Premier League matches with Brighton, including all five at Old Trafford.
  • Brighton thrashed United 4-0 at the Amex Stadium when the teams last met in May.
  • New United boss Erik ten Hag will take charge of the team in the league for the first time.


West Ham United v Manchester City (1.30am)

  • After losing four home games in the league against City in which they conceded 17 goals, West Ham have drawn the last two, including a 2-2 stalemate in May.
  • West Ham have beaten City only nine times in 42 Premier League meetings, with seven of those wins coming at home.
  • New City signing Erling Haaland could make his Premier League debut for the champions.


  • Watch the UEFA Champions League winners Real Madrid take on the UEFA Europa League champions Eintracht Frankfurt in the UEFA Super Cup on Thursday 11 August, streaming ad-free, live and exclusive on Stan Sport.

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