Match-Day One’s Premier League Preview: Hammers Face Daunting Old Trafford Trip As The Champions Entertain Burnley

Match Preview

Slaven Bilic’s Hammers face a daunting trip to Old Trafford and last season’s Champions entertain Burnley in the opening Match Day of the 2017/2018 Premier League season this weekend.

The first-match of the 2017/2018 Premier League season will see former winners Leicester City face-off with Arsenal at The Emirates tonight. Gunners boss Arsene Wenger will be hoping to prove a point to the very fans that wanted him sacked at the start of the summer. Whereas, Craig Shakespeare will be embarking on his first full-season as Foxes and will be hoping that new- signing Kelechi Iheanacho can impress on debut. However, all-eyes will surely be on £52 million-man Alexandre Lacazette, as he makes his Premier League bow. The fixture is featuring as a part of FNF on Sky Sports Premier League and looks set to be an absolute thriller.

The weekend’s second clash sees Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool make the trip to Vicarage Road where they will face Marco Silva in his first game as Watford manager at 12:30 PM on Saturday. Last year’s meeting between the two-sides produced the Goal of the Season, as Emre Can fired a stunning overhead-kick past Heurelho Gomes. Reds fans will be hoping for an improvement on their 4th placed finish last time out, but may have to be wary of the fact that they will battle for a place in The Champions League Group Stage against Hoffenheim just four days after their outing in Hertfordshire. Despite the fact that the hosts have splashed the cash in this Window, they look to be little more than mid-table dwellers in the upcoming season, but could prove tough opposition for the Title contender’s tomorrow lunch-time.

In one of the more mundane fixtures of the opening weekend, West Bromwich Albion host Bournemouth at The Hawthorns. Eddie Howe’s men impressed to shrug-off any suggestion of Second Season Syndrome last-year, finishing 9th. However, The Baggies contended for European Football for most of last-season and are the favourites to topple The Cherries and get their campaign off to a winning start at-home.

Premier League new-comers Huddersfield Town will travel South to meet Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in arguably the most fascinating of the weekend’s clashes tomorrow. David Wagner inspired the Yorkshire-club to winning promotion to The Top-Flight for the first time in their history by beating Reading in the Championship Play-Off Final. Whereas, Palace have secured deals for the likes of Manchester United defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Ruben Loftus-Cheek under new-manager Frank De Boer, but could struggle having only spent £8 million in this-Window. So, will The Terriers cause an upset in South-London in their first-ever Premier League fixture?

One club who haven’t been afraid to spend money this summer are Everton, and they will hope that some of it gets payed back with a win against The Potters on Saturday-afternoon. Mark Hughes has done the polar-opposition of Ronald Koeman in this Window, in letting some of his key players like Marko Arnautovic go without replacing them properly. Pundits are also tipping it to be a tough year for Stoke, who finished mid-table last-season. Meanwhile, The Toffees are understood to be aiming for the top-four this term, after splashing-out close to £100 million on players in this Window. The home-side are also understandably huge-favourites heading into the tie and look set for an opening-three-points.

Last season’s Premier League Champions Chelsea will go up-against Sean Dyche’s Burnley at Stamford Bridge in the pick of the Saturday three-o’clock kick-offs. Antonio Conte’s men ran-away with the Title last-season, after amounting an astounding 93-points. The Blues have also secured the services of highly rated £70 million forward Alvaro Morata ahead of the new-season, but The Clarets have let their star-striker Andre Gray move to Watford for £18 million. It was a steady first-season back in The Premier League for Burnley last time out, but now they are looking to progress onto bigger-things even if they haven’t been overly-active in this Window. So, will it be plain-sailing for the West-London club in their first League outing of the season?

Down on the South-Coast, another new-manager in Mauricio Pellegrino will be appearing in The Premier League for the first-time when Southampton face Swansea City in the final of the 3PM ties. The Swans, who narrowly avoided Relegation during the 2016/2017 season, will be hoping for a victory to mark the start of Paul Clement’s first full-season in-charge. Whereas, the hosts will be hoping for a better season, after failing to meet expectations last-season under Claude Puel. Both sides are in danger of losing their talisman, Virgil Van Dijk and Gylfi Sigurdsson, to higher-placed opposition and would be severely weakened without them. The hosts are the Bookmaker’s favourites for the three-points, but the Welsh-side certainly do have the talent to pull-off a shock.

By far the pick of the weekend’s action is yet another fixture on the Southern-tip of the country, as Premier-League newbies Brighton & Hove Albion take-on Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City at The Amex Stadium. Chris Hughton’s men are also embarking on their first Premier League season, after finishing second in last season’s Sky Bet Championship. The Citizens will be looking for success in the second-season of the Guardiola Era, and will be hoping that the man himself has learnt from his mistakes. However, The Seagulls are on a high and The Amex is expected to be packet-out for the famous occasion. So, it may not be as easy for the big-spenders in Hove.

The first of Sky Sports’ Super Sunday matches will feature yet another of The Premier League new-comers in Newcastle United, who face Spurs at St James’ Park. However, unlike the other two promoted-sides, The Magpies are an established Premier League outfit and are set to contend under Rafa Benitez this-season. Mauricio Pochettino’s men chased Chelsea down to the wire last-year, but fell at the final hurdle and finished in-second. The Lilywhites have also been quite in the Window and have lost the key-defender Kyle Walker to Manchester City. Newcastle are known for their fanatic fanbase, who will be out in force on Sunday to make life hard for Pochettino’s stars.

Last but not least on the Match Day One roster is our trip to Old Trafford to face Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United. The Red Devils have added some notable recruits to their squad this summer, these include the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and Victor Lindelof. Meanwhile, we have captured former United striker Javier Hernandez, who is in-line to make his competitive Hammers debut in the clash. The Old Trafford faithful will be yearning for an improvement on last term’s League position of 6th, despite the fact that they picked up The EFL and Europa League Titles. Bilic’s Hammers will be hoping to steady the ship, after an erratic first season at The London Stadium. Mourinho himself was one of the many Footballing figures to praise our summer business, as we tied-down players like the afore mentioned Chicharito, Marko Arnautovic and Joe Hart, but will the former Chelsea Boss’s words come back to haunt him in two-days-time?

So, with the teams ready, managers poised and new-signings champing at the bit to make an impact in their new-team’s colours, the eyes of the Football world will be firmly fixed on the start of the long-awaited 2016/2017 Premier League season this weekend.