The English Premier League is back at last! It seemed like forever with all the friendly games and humdrum pre-season fixtures but alas the most electrifying league in world football starts this weekend!
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The Title Race
The 2022/23 English Premier League is set to be one of the most competitive seasons yet. The defending Champions, Manchester City, have Klopp’s mentality monsters, Conte’s resurging Spurs, Tuchel’s new look Chelsea and a Ten Hag Man United to contend with.
It would not be an easy run for any team but bookies and analysts still believe that Manchester City and Liverpool would be the top title contenders. Manchester City signed Erling Haaland from Borrusia Dortmund while Liverpool signed Darwin Nunez from Benfica. These two signings would add another dynamic to the title race.
Pep Guardiola has survived a while without playing a recognised number 9, getting someone like Erling Haaland, the hottest prospect in the world who scored 86 goals in 89 games for Borussia Dortmund, as well as Julian Alvarez, the hottest prospect in South America who scored six goals in one Copa Libertadores match, which happened to be one of his final appearances for River Plate, means there would be an efflux of goals for the blue half of Manchester.
Liverpool whipped out the chequebook to sign Darwin Nunez a striker who scored 32 goals in 38 games for Benfica last term, including strikes against Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Ajax, and even his new employers. If he matches expectations then the Reds would not miss the departed Sadio mane.
One thing is certain this season, there would be a rain of goals. The Golden Boot would be fiercely contested this season and the player that wins might help his team win the league.
With the rest of last season’s top six in various points of transition, it would be difficult for them to catch up with Manchester City and Liverpool. Ten Hag have gotten some signings to bolster the Red Devils but it would take a lot for them to get back to the top four.
Chelsea have seen a change in top brass and they have been very busy in the transfer market but it is still too early to predict if they can really compete for the title. Even Thomas Tuchel admitted recently that his team is not ready for the new season.
Antonio Conte on the other hand has been drilling the Spurs team to the extent that some of them fell to the ground in exhilaration during pre-season. It would be interesting to see if this would turn them into title contenders.
This leads us to the team that would be playing the very first game of the season which is Arsenal! The Gunners have been in fine form in pre-season, but as we have learnt in times past, the games before the season do not determine the outcome of the season. Gabriel Jesus is firing in all cylinders and Arteta’s fluid football might finally be taking shape.
First Game of The Season – Crystal Palace vs Arsenal
What better way to begin the 2022/2023 Premier League season than with a London Derby? A new-look Arsenal side travel away to Selhurst Park to face a formidable opposition in the form of Crystal Palace as the most exciting league in the world takes centre stage.
There’s optimism for fans of Arsenal football club, following the transfer business carried out this summer and there is a genuine belief that the Gunners can challenge for a spot in the Top Four, which will guarantee them a place in the UEFA Champions League for next season.
Arsenal ended the last campaign in fifth place, a fault of theirs as they could not hold on to the finish thereby enabling neighbours and rivals Spurs to nick the final qualification spot but they have a chance to set things in motion, provided they pick up all three points on offer.
Crystal Palace, on the other hand, will be hoping that they can be able to build on last season’s 12th place finish in the Premier League. Manager Patrick Vieira did a great job last term and he can only hope to guide them to a first top-half finish since 2014/2015. Coincidentally, they opened that season against Arsenal too, losing 2-1.
Palace fans will obviously hope for a repeat of the 3-0 win in this corresponding fixture last term, part of an ongoing six-match unbeaten run at home in the league (W3, D3) though that wish may prove too difficult to fulfil this time around.
Although Arsenal’s fifth-place finish last term represented progress and justified the faith shown in manager Mikel Arteta, for much of the season they seemed on course for a top-four place, so that will be the minimum target for the North Londoners this term. The Spanish tactician has refreshed his squad this summer with the acquisitions of Marquinhos, Gabriel Jesus, Fábio Vieira and Oleksandr Zinchenko in a bid to crack a spot in next season’s UCL.
This London derby offers an early test of how those new players have settled following a positive pre-season including a 4-0 win over Chelsea and a 6-0 thrashing of Sevilla! Improving their away form could be key to Arsenal’s season, however, particularly as they conceded a joint league-high 65% of their PL goals last term on the road.
Who will score the first goal of the season?
Who will add their name to the exclusive list of first goals of a Premier League campaign? Brentford’s Sergi Canos scored the opening goal os last season when the Bees beat Arsenal 2-0. As it turns out, Arsenal would still determine the first strike of the 2022/23 season.
In the last five seasons, the opening goal has been scored either for or against Arsenal, with Alexandre Lacazette making history in that time by becoming the only Premier League player to score the first goal of a season on more than one occasion.
All eyes would be on Gabriel Jesus as he is the most selected player in the history of the Fantasy Premier League game, with a whopping 72.5% of virtual managers placing him in their squads.