3 Premier League Matches to Watch in Matchweek 1
We are closing in on the start of the 2017-18 EPL season, as Arsenal and Leicester City will kick off this year's action in their Friday matchup. As always, there have been tons of major transfers this summer, so it will be fun to see players make their debut for their new team.
Not only that, but the EPL title race should be captivating this season, as there are probably six clubs that figure to have a realistic shot at the title. Of course, we won't know who is going to be in title contention after just one week, but the first week of matches will give us a nice, small taste of what is to come over the remainder of the season.
Arsenal vs. Leicester City
Arsenal has made some noise during this transfer window with the addition of French forward Alexandre Lacazette, who finished last season with 28 goals in 30 league games in French Ligue One for Lyon. The Gunners already have Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, who combined to tally 32 goals and 19 assists last season, so adding Lacazette gives Wenger's team some serious offensive firepower.
On the other side of this matchup, Leicester City are a fascinating team, as they went from league champions to being in a heated relegation battle in less than a year. The Foxes did recover at the end of last season to move up to the middle of the table, and they added 20-year-old Manchester City attacker Kelechi Iheanacho, who scored 4 goals and had 3 assists in just over 500 minutes in league play last season.
Leicester have also retained many familiar names (at least for now) from their title winning season two years ago, including Riyad Mahrez, Danny Drinkwater, Wes Morgan, and Jamie Vardy. While the magic may be gone for the Foxes, fans of this underdog team can still dream that the new season will rekindle a resurgence.
Liverpool vs. Watford
On its surface, Liverpool vs Watford does not sound like a marquee matchup, but if you like goals, this is certainly a game that will catch your eye. Liverpool finished fourth in the league in goals last season with 78, while Watford had the fourth most goals conceded last season with 68. However, don't expect this game to be a complete mismatch, as Liverpool has a bit of a leaky defense (42 goals conceded last season) and has a history of struggling against mid-table/low-table teams.
The skills of Liverpool's dynamic attack, which includes Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho (although he may be on his way out) and Sadio Mane, should be on full display in this game, and Watford should be able to punch back a little bit to keep the match interesting.
Manchester United vs. West Ham
Manchester United are never afraid to make waves during the transfer window, and they certainly did so once again this summer with the acquisition of Everton striker Romelu Lukaku. Lukaku scored 25 goals in the EPL last season and he will provide a big, physical presence that will aid in replacing the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Manchester United also made solid additions in center back Victor Lindelof (7.03 WhoScored.com Rating in Liga Nos last season) and midfielder Nemanja Matic (7.01 WhoScored.com Rating for Chelsea last season). who could both be a key part of Jose Mourinho's squad this season.
Aside from the additions, the Red Devils also possess the third best player in the league last season, according to WhoScored.com, in Paul Pogba. On the flip side, West Ham brought in several big names, among them Pablo Zabaleta, Joe Hart, Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez. West Ham's moves this offseason prove they are not going to be an easy win for the big clubs this year, and they have a chance to make a push for a spot in Europa League if things click.