Attention from the Euros has been diverted by the news that that the Premier League has released it’s 2016/17 Premier League fixtures this morning. Interest has never been higher for the most watched league in the world, which has mamaged to attract the best collection of managers that have have ever seen.
With Pep Guardiola’s arrival in England coinciding with Jose Mourinho’s return to the Premier League and West Ham beginning their Olympic Stadium adventure there are stories galore.
Based on existing storylines these are the six matches we are looking forward to seeing in the first half of the season. What match are you excited to see?:
August 20: Leicester City v Arsenal
It’s the morning after the season before for Leicester fans and they’ve lots to look forward to with a trip to Wembley already booked and Champions League excitement too. How many of their star names will still be around for their return to the King Power remains to be seen. Will Jamie Vardy be turning out for Arsenal on August 20? Regardless of who stays or goes, victory over the Gunners would have everyone wondering whether lightning could strike twice.
September 10: Manchester United v Manchester City
The Manchester derby needs no added spice but in 2016/17 it’s certainly got some as Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho go head-to-head for the first time since the days of El Clasico. The former colleagues turned ideologically-opposed coaching rivals seem to have a knack for getting under each other’s skin. Everyone just wants to know… What happens next?
October 15: Liverpool v Manchester United
English football’s two most successful clubs must do without Champions League football in 2016/17 but that only adds to the intensity of this Premier League clash. Mourinho knows the importance of this one – against fans who love to hate him – but his record against Jurgen Klopp might be a concern. He’s beat the German only once in five meetings.
October 22: Chelsea v Manchester United
In the first home game at Stamford Bridge following Jose Mourinho’s departure, the old coach’s name was being chanted and several players were booed. Bridges have since been built at Chelsea but what of Mourinho? Returning as Manchester United manager, he’d welcome a warm reception but one suspects it’s victory he’ll really crave on his comeback.
November 5: Arsenal v Tottenham
For so long it seemed as though 2016/17 could be Tottenham’s season but not only did Leicester run away with the title but neighbours Arsenal pipped them to second. For the Gunners, St Totteringham’s Day was the worth the wait. Even so, Spurs supporters will be imbued with optimism about their young team and this derby is guaranteed to excite.
November 26: Chelsea v Tottenham
There’s always been an edge between these two teams but after a bitter encounter at Stamford Bridge in May, the rivalry between Chelsea and Tottenham went up a notch. The Blues revelled in helping to deny Spurs the title and tempers frayed on the pitch as well as in the stands. Expect a few old wounds to be opened when the teams meet again at Stamford Bridge. This is the weekend after a Champions League round of matches. So Chelsea will have a week to rest and prepare while Spurs will have a big European match to contend with. Will that make a difference?