3 Must-See Games From Week 1 in the Premier League
The English Premier League season is fast approaching with just under three weeks remaining until the opening week kicks off. The new season brings hope to teams from around the league, and it is the first opportunity we have to see how all the big transfers will fair with their new clubs.
During the first weekend of the season, there are three matchups that stand out as must-see television.
Hull City vs. Leicester City
The reigning Premier League champions open up the season against newly promoted Hull City on Saturday, August 13th.
Hull City came in fourth place in the English League Championship (second tier) last season, and they qualified for promotion to the Premier League via a promotion playoff. The real reason this game is so compelling, though, is because it's our first chance to see what Leicester City will look like following their improbable title run last season.
The Foxes have already lost N'Golo Kante, and it looks like they are on the verge of losing Riyad Mahrez, as well, possibly to Arsenal or maybe even to Chelsea. However, the Foxes proved last year you can never count them out, and it will be fascinating to see how they follow up last year's historic title. The road to defending their crown starts here against Hull City.
Everton vs. Tottenham
Everton figures to have a good chance of finishing in the top half of the table, and Tottenham will be hoping to improve on their promising third-place finish from last year. Tottenham was the second highest scoring team in the Premier League last season with 69 goals. Everton was not too far behind with 59 goals, so this has a chance to be an entertaining match between two good, offensive-minded teams.
This game will also provide us with some star power.
Everton's Romelu Lukaku is a physically gifted player who has been sought after by a few of England's top clubs during this transfer window and is still being pursued by Chelsea. He scored an impressive 18 goals with 6 assists for Everton last season, and if he remains with his current club through the transfer window, he will provide Everton with a potent presence up top.
Lukaku will be joined in the starting XI by talented midfielder Ross Barkley, who finished fourth in the league in dribbles per game last season (3.1) and led Everton in assists (8).
Tottenham, on the other hand, provides us with the league's leading goalscorer from last season in Harry Kane, as well as Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli and Erik Lamela, who all finished in the top 10 in the league in assists in 2015-'16. Mauricio Pochettino's side was, statistically, the best team in the league last year. Not only did they lead the way in goal differential (+34), but they were second in goals scored (69) and tied for the fewest goals allowed (35).
Arsenal vs. Liverpool
Arsenal and Liverpool kick off on Sunday, August 14th in what is certainly the headliner of the weekend as both teams will be among those battling for a coveted spot in the top four.
This may be our first chance to see Mahrez playing for his new team if his transfer to Arsenal does in fact come to fruition. It will also be our first opportunity to see Granit Xhaka in Arsenal colors, as well as our first chance to see Sadio Mane in a Liverpool kit.
This game will also give us a chance to see exciting, world-class talents like Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, and Philippe Coutinho, to name a few.
For Arsenal, Ozil was the best passer in the Premier League last season, leading the league in assists (19) and key passes per game (4.2), while Sanchez is one of the league's best attackers (3.4 dribbles per game last season). Liverpool's Coutinho is a playmaker known for his long-range shooting.
The winner of this clash between English superpowers will have an early leg up in the race for a Champions League spot.