Even when the Premier League takes a break over the summer, people can’t stop talking about it.
With the new fixtures for the 2016/17 just announced, fans are already marking their diaries for all the big matches, and there are more than a few in the opening five weeks.
To make it a bit easier, we’ve put together a list of the most interesting games in the first month, paying attention to both the big teams and the smaller ones.
After all, given Leicester’s 5000/1 odds-defying title-win, who knows which team could lift the trophy next year?
Here are the matches to pay attention to in the first five weeks:
Saturday 13th August
- Arsenal v Liverpool (15:00) — The first big game of the new season, both team’s managers will be feeling like they have something to prove. In Arsene Wenger’s case, that he can silence the doubters who say he’s been at the club too long, and for Jürgen Klopp that he warrants the hype.
- Hull v Leicester (15:00) — Was the stunning Premiership win last season just a fluke for Leicester? And can Hull make good on their Championship promotion? This game may have the answers.
- Burnley v Swansea (15:00) — Speaking promotions, Burnley are back in Premiership action. After last season, interest in underdog teams will be huge, and Swansea will be looking to stay in the top half of the League after its previous good run.
Saturday 20th August
- Man United v Southampton (15:00) — Seeing Jose Mourinho’s new team play a side as formidable as Southampton, who had a fantastic league run last season, is sure to reveal whether he was worth all the money. Look out for a slew of expensive players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic possibly wearing United’s famous red.
- Leicester v Arsenal (15:00) — Face it, every Leicester game will be unmissable, but its first home game against Arsenal especially so.
Saturday 27th August
- Man City v West Ham (15:00) — If that does not take your fancy, how about another Manchester Premier League team playing another club which smashed it last year. Likely City signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should keep things interesting.
- Tottenham v Liverpool (15:00) — Spurs were title contenders with Leicester until the bitter end, and will be looking to right that wrong next season. Possible new signing Vincent Janssen could liven up the team.
Saturday 10th September
- Man United v Man City (15:oo) — It is another battle of the new superstar managers: United’s Jose Mourinho versus City’s Pep Guardiola. City expects big things from its new coach, and you do not get much bigger pressure than a crosstown derby.
- Swansea v Chelsea (15:oo) — Now might also be a good time to check in with Chelsea, which suffered a disastrous league campaign last season following the sacking of Mourinho. Its new manager, Italy’s national coach Antonio Conte, has an uphill battle on his hands, but a possible signing of Radja Nainggolan will help massively.
Saturday 17th September
- Everton v Middlesborough (15:00) — Everton continues the 2016/17 trend of new managers, with Ronald Koeman appointed this week on a three-year contract. The club took a tumble last season, finishing in the bottom half of the table. Fans will expect better next time.
- Chelsea v Liverpool (15:00) — One of the more potentially interesting encounters of the Premier League’s first month, both Chelsea and Liverpool want to get back to former glories, and fans could see this as a bellwether for how their season progresses.
- Middlesborough v Crystal Palace (15:00) — Middlesborough are no strangers to the Premiership, but after Leicester’s run it will be worth keeping an eye on their promotion progress. Palace, meanwhile, will simply want to avoid the relegation scare it suffered last season.