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5 Matches To Look Out For On The Opening Weekend Of The PL


5 Matches To Look Out For On The PL’s Opening Weekend

Despite the current Premier League season only ending just under three weeks ago, the fixture list for next season’s campaign has already been released!

Fans of each Premier League club now know which team their side will be playing come the beginning of the 2023/24 campaign in August, with the first match of the season taking place on the 11th of August and continuing on until the conclusion of the campaign on the 19th May, 2024. So here, we will take a quick glance at five matches to keep an eye on over the course of the opening weekend…

Burnley vs Manchester City

The season kicks off in intriguing fashion on a Friday night at Turf Moor, with treble winners Manchester City beginning their defence of what was a 5th Premier League crown won under Pep Guardiola in 2022/23 with a trip to newly-promoted Burnley.

In Burnley, City will come up against a Clarets side managed by former club icon Vincent Kompany, who won promotion back to the top-flight with Burnley this year as his side finished top of the Championship. Kompany has received acclaim for transforming Burnley from a side that were happy to sit deep and defend and were notoriously tough to break down into a side who are more progressive with the ball and are no longer happy to sit back and frustrate the opposition by playing a deep block.

But, against a City side who have been widely lauded for their assertive and domineering brand of football, it will be interesting to see whether or not Kompany and Burnley will continue this style against the champions, or if they will revert to type and the Burnley of old in hopes of potentially leaving the encounter with a point?

Chelsea vs Liverpool

Mauricio Pochettino’s first game back in the Premier League since 2019 will be a tough one for the Argentinian, with the visit of what should be a changed and much-improved Liverpool side first on Chelsea’s fixture list.

After a poor 2022/23 season that saw them fail to muster any semblance of a title challenge and only managing to secure Europa League football, squad changes were much needed for the Reds, especially in midfield. And already, they have made their intention to ensure there is no repeat of 2022/23 clear by bringing in impressive World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister from Brighton, and more incomings are to be expected.

Liverpool will be a tough test for Pochettino, who is currently having to contend with a bloated Chelsea squad that needs cutting down over the summer, but he will also have to contend with finding a balance between culling members of the squad while also keeping the quality players around and getting the best out of them in order to muster a top-4 charge.

This is just the second time that Liverpool and Chelsea will play each other on the opening day of a Premier League season, and for an opening weekend fixture, Poch certainly hasn’t got the easiest start. This should be an engaging watch between two clubs who will be hoping for vastly different seasons in 2023/24.

Brighton vs Luton Town

Luton Town begin their first season back in the top-flight since 1992 with a tough trip away at the Amex Stadium to take on Brighton, who will be looking to spoil the Hatters’ party as they begin life in the Premier League.

It will be interesting to see what Luton team is fielded for their first top-flight match in 31 years – will they start a team comprised of their promotion-winning heroes, or will they utilise the money that comes with being a new Premier League side by spending big this summer, in the vein of a Nottingham Forest? It’s an interesting question that we will see answered over the next couple of months, and for Brighton, can they start off what will be an interesting 2023/24 campaign with a win?

Next season will be the Seagulls’ first time playing continental football when they take part in the Europa League, but will they be able to manage that alongside maintaining the stunning Premier League performances we have come to expect of them? The last time these two clubs met was in the semi-finals of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in 2009 – now, they will meet in the top tier of English football.

Newcastle United vs Aston Villa

Aston Villa’s meeting with Newcastle United will be a fascinating clash between two teams who overperformed and exceeded all expectations of them last year, with the impressive performances of the two clubs ultimately seeing them both secure European football when the campaign had concluded.

The two meetings between these sides in 2022/23 ended in a win apiece for each club, with Newcastle winning the first meeting in October by a 4-0 scoreline before the Villans stunned an in-form Newcastle by comprehensively beating them 3-0 in the reverse fixture in April.

While the Magpies are undefeated in their previous 14 home league games against Villa since 2005, it is tough to say whether they can continue that run when these two meet in the late kick-off on Saturday evening, especially if both clubs have dipped into the transfer market beforehand to bolster their squads for the demands of European football. The meeting between these two promises to be a memorable one.

Brentford vs Tottenham Hotspur

This London derby will be the first of a Super Sunday opening weekend double-bill, with Chelsea-vs-Liverpool taking place right after Brentford’s clash with Tottenham Hotspur earlier on in the day.

With Spurs recently announcing the appointment of Ange Postecoglou as their new head coach, it will be interesting to see how the Greek-born Australian gets on in his first-ever Premier League game and season. Postecoglou is renowned for his attacking style of football (indicated by his Celtic side scoring a post-war club record 114 goals this season), but whether he can properly implement that style to a Tottenham side currently in a state of chaos remains to be seen.

In Brentford, Postecoglou faces a tough test against a side who posted the 5th-best defensive record in the Premier League last season and have taken many memorable scalps of top-six sides since their promotion to the division in 2021. Playing the potential banana-skin of Brentford is not exactly the start that Postecoglou will have wanted, and the Bees, who were undefeated against Spurs last season, will be relishing an opportunity to put 3 points on the board in the opening round of fixtures just like they did in 2021/22.