Coping Without Football - Week 4

A GUIDE TO COPING WITHOUT FOOTBALL - WEEK 4

After last weekend saw the opening fixtures from the Championship, League One and League Two, we’ve finally reached that memorably special time in August – the long-awaited return of the Premier League. We were fortunate enough to enjoy a World Cup that many already see as the greatest edition of all time. Whether it was the admirable England campaign, or the hilariously poor attempts by Germany, Spain and Argentina, it certainly passed the time while we waited for competitive league football to come back.

Last season’s final day saw Chelsea narrowly missing out on a Champions League place, Spurs beating Liverpool to third in the table, and Swansea City confirming their relegation to the Championship. Even with all of that drama to contend with, we can’t wait for it to start from scratch again on Friday night, where the first game sees a lively tie between Manchester United and Leicester City. As for Saturday, we’re spoilt for choice with several mouth-watering meetings, making for the perfect way to kick-off another Premier League season.

Key football fixtures from the opening day include:

ARSENAL V MANCHESTER CITY

Surely the best way to kick-off the 2018/19 Premier League season, current champions Manchester City look to beat Arsenal in the fourth successive attempt. However, something that Pep Guardiola’s men might not be totally aware of is just how different Arsenal are since former Paris Saint Germain and Sevilla boss Unai Emery took over in May.

Their previously lacklustre squad has been improved through the arrivals of impossible-to-spell Borussia Dortmund defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Uruguay international midfielder Lucas Torreira, Juventus full-back Stephan Lichtsteiner, and Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno. Whether the new-look Gunners can overthrow Pep’s unplayable Citizens is another thing though, with the signing of Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez only strengthening their attack.

There’s lots of world class players both at Arsenal and Manchester City. Have you built your Fantasy Premier League team yet?

With all of these big-name players signing for clubs up and down the country, it can be tempting to see how you’d fare as a football manager. Although pretending to be Jose Mourinho is difficult to pull off - and certainly frowned upon – you can build your own Fantasy Football team using Fantasy Premier League. It’s completely free and offers awards to players who take the most points on a weekly, monthly, and seasonal basis, so it’s easy to see why so many people try their hand every single week of the season.

Fantasy Football
Oh, this ISN'T what you meant by Fantasy Football?

If you need help with choosing which players to buy for your Fantasy Premier League team, we have a page dedicated to helping you, where we include weekly Fantasy Football Tips.

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NEWCASTLE UNITED V TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

Oddly enough, after playing out their opening game of last season against one another, Tottenham Hotspur pay a visit to St James’ Park to play Newcastle United again at the start of this season too, where it’s hoped that Rafa Benitez’s side can avoid a repeat of the 2-0 defeat they suffered last time. Neither side have made a major splash in the transfer window, with The Magpies mostly sealing permanent deals for players they had on loan last season, and Tottenham buying…well…nobody, but it’ll be an interesting game nonetheless, especially if Harry Kane can kick off the season with a goal or two.

We’re expecting a lot of goals from this one. Don’t forget to enter your predictions for SkyBet Super 6!

If building your own Fantasy Football team isn’t your thing, maybe the chance to win as much as £1 million will take your fancy. Soccer Saturday Super 6 takes place every weekend and grants whoever can correctly predict the final score of six chosen football fixtures with a massive cash prize. Fortunately, we provide our own Super 6 Tips for those who are struggling with what to go for with their own predictions. It’s difficult to win the Super 6, but it's completely free to play, so it’s worth submitting your entries in case you manage to get it right.

Football Transfer Rumours
This summer has seen lots of massive transfers so Soccer Saturday Super 6 will be more competitive than ever before
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LIVERPOOL V WEST HAM UNITED

In the same way that Arsenal have revamped their team, both Liverpool and West Ham United have done the same, spending an estimated £250 million between them. Jurgen Klopp faces new Hammers manager Manuel Pellegrini, who oversaw Manchester City’s League Cup final victory over The Reds back in February 2016.

Both sides are looking to start their campaigns off with a win, Liverpool pushing to beat Manchester City to the title, and West Ham United hoping to fire their way up to the top six, so this game could be revealing over their fate.

WOLVES V EVERTON

Winning the Championship last season proved Wolverhampton Wanderers’ overachieving efforts in the transfer window, where they signed some of Europe’s best talent to make them into instant title contenders. It’s been more of the same this summer, sealing permanent transfers for previous loan signings, and negotiating a move for veteran Portugal midfielder Joao Moutinho.

Everton are given the task of trying to burst Wolves’ bubble, and they’re hoping summer changes can transform their fate, Marco Silva signing Watford forward Richarlison for a questionably large fee and strengthening their defence through unused Barcelona full-back Lucas Digne. It’s hard to calculate how this match will end, but it could easily end up being the liveliest fixture of the opening weekend.

Wolves and Everton have both strengthened their squads this summer. Why not get involved in those last-minute transfer rumours?

A big change in the way the transfer window functions has meant that it now shuts on the Thursday before the Premier League season gets underway, cancelling out any last-minute moves. This will mean the end of those beloved moments of watching sports news late into the night with the hope that the team you follow signed a big player without even telling anyone. But with deadline day tending to be a build-up to nothing, it won’t be too sorely missed.

Football Armchair Fan
You should be able to catch some massive fixtures from the opening day, even if you aren't fortunate to be seeing them live

While the transfer rumours are either confirmed or denied by the time Premier League clubs play out their first game, you can at least check out which deals made it over the line and track down those big deals that went unmentioned on the news. Talking of unmentioned deals, didn’t Cristiano Ronaldo do something? Moved clubs or stayed at Real Madrid – one of the two. Can’t remember. This would be a perfect time to find out for yourselves, stopping any chance of being clueless when every team you watch has a totally new starting eleven on the opening day.

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