Football fans around the world might have already focused on the World Cup, but those who love Premier League will have something to chat about within the next few days as Premier League accounted its fixtures for 2018/2019 .
Unai Emery has probably hoped to have an easier start of his spell at Arsenal, but his team welcome the Premier League champions instead. City will not be a worse team in season 2018/19, a campaign in which Pep Guardiola will be focused on two things – to establish the Sky Blues dominance in the domestic competitions and hopefully to win the Champions League.
Emery is credited with the task to start rebuilding Arsenal and to bring the Gunners back into the Top 4, something which would prove to be difficult considering that fact that Arsenal will face a fierce competition from Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham, Liverpool and Chelsea, who as of today look better prepared for the new season that the Gunners themselves.
After hosting Manchester City in the Premier League’s opening weekend, Arsenal play against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and against West Ham at Emirates before heading to Cardiff to play the newly promoted Welsh team.
Emery will not have enough transfer budgets to buy proven top players and needs to work the way he did in Sevilla where he has brought a number of good players and assembled a strong trophy-winning team. Arsenal are rumored to be negotiating the signatures of Sampdoria’s defensive midfielder Lucas Torreira, Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno and Borussia Dortmund defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos. Emery has already signed the former Juventus right-back the 34-year old Stephan Lichtsteiner.
As of now it looks like that Emery will focus on the Arsenal’s defense a line which has failed the Gunners on a number of occasions last season. However, Emery is not expected to be given a significant transfer budget and for this reason it is very likely that it would be a season of transition for Arsenal in which the fans could settle for a fifth or sixth place in the table and a place in the UEFA Europa League.
Here are the fixtures for the Premier League’s opening seeking.
Bournemouth v Cardiff City
Bournemouth should be happy with their first fixture in which they welcome the newly promoted Cardiff City. The Cherreis have a good team who is capable to start the new season with a win.
Arsenal v Manchester City
Manchester City will be looking at this fixture as an away win against one of the Premier League’s top sides. City are taking on Chelsea on August 5th and Emery will be able to see where Pep Guardiola’s team stand in a competitive fixtures a week before Arsenal host the champions. Arsenal would probably put a much stronger defensive performance against City and who know, they might be able to draw or even win at the start of the new season.
Fulham v Crystal Palace
Fulham fans should be excited about their teams return into the Premier League. Fulham played a very good football in the Championship and they are expected to do the same in the top flight. Cristal Palace are expected to keep their best players and to have a season in which they’ll fight for a place in the top 10.
Huddersfield Town v Chelsea
The Terriers will host Chelsea, who still look uncertain on whether to keep Antonio Conte in charge of the team. Conte’s team looks good enough to fight and hopefully regain their top 4 place, but the Blues probably need to buy one or two top players.
Huddersfield should hope that no club with ambitions bigger that theirs would decide to offer a job to David Wagner. The Terries prepare to keep their Premier League status and have already bought the former Stoke City winger Ramadan Sobhi. The new season would not be easier for them as tow of the teams who have been promoted to the Premier League – Wolverhampton and Fulham look to be at the same level with them or even better prepared to compete in the English top flight.
Liverpool v West Ham United
I think that the 2018/19 will be the season in which Jurgen Klopp will try to win the Premier League. Liverpool team is good enough to go back to the Champions League and walk the way all the way to its semi-finals. It is the Premier League title, which the Reds have been badly missing during the last three decades. With Naby Keith and Fabinho in their midfield Liverpool will have more options and would be a much better team. Jurgen Klopp will probably try to bring another top quality attacking midfielder who would be able to add to the current attacking trio – Mane, Firmino, Salah – and even to serve as replacement when some of them is not playing.
The Hammers have got a fantastic manager in the like of Manuel Pellegrini. They need to give him time and to be prepared even to loose a number games, as it will not be easy for him to change the team’s playing style and to turn around a very average side into a top 10 or even top 6 contender. Pellegrini is about to make a very good signing, a the Lazio midfielder Felipe Anderson, one that shows his ambition.
Manchester United v Leicester City
United will try to win the title next season and I think that they will start with a home win, despite that Leicester City. Leicester’s owners have kept faith in Puel, who led the Foxes to the 9th place last last season. However, Puel has the backing of some Leicester City fans during the second half to the season. Because of this it is rumored that he might be replaced this summer.
Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur
This should be an exciting fixture as Tottenham are expected to chase for the title in season 2018/19. I think that it is going to be hard or even impossible for them to win the league and Newcastle will not make it easier at the start of the season. Rafale Benitez will make sure that the Magpies are a better team next season, but his first job will be to sell a number of players in order to raise funds for new transfers and to restructure the Newcastle United’s wage bill which accounts at £95 million.
Southampton v Burnley
If Southampton owners back Mark Hughes, the fans should expect the 2018/19 season to be a better one than the previous one. For Burnley it will be a campaign in which it would be harder to keep the 7th place in the table. Burnley will be playing in the UEFA Europa League where they start in the 2nd qualifying round at home against Austrian side LASK Linz. Playing on Thursdays and then on Wednesdays might prove to be difficult for the Clarets. They will start playing competitive games on July 26 and on August 2 ,when they meet LASK Linz.
Watford v Brighton
These are two team how have different ambitions. Watford owners look to be under illusion that the Hornets could be a top 10 side, which looks highly unlikely in season 2018/19. Brighton and Hove Albuion are under no illusion that keeping their Premier League place would be their best achievement in season 2018/19.
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Everton
Wolves and the Toffees are two teams led by ambition to make their mark in the Premier League’s season 2018/19. Wolverhampton has laid foundations of an ambitious project, if Wolves have a good start of the season they can finish in the top 10. Everton has got Marco Silva as manager for the obvious reason to improve their playing style and to learn them how to win against the Premier League’s top 6 sides. He might be able to do it, but it looks impossible to me Everton to finish on any place above the 7th. They are nowhere near Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool or Spurs who have occupied the places between 3rd and 6th.
It would be an interesting clash of Portuguese managers as Wolves are led by Nuno Espirito Santo, who has previously managed Valencia and Porto, before joining Wolves in 2017.
The new Premier League fixture list is a subject to change due to the requirements of broadcasters, but it enables managers, players and most importantly the fans to start planning the route to success of their favorite clubs.