THE Premier League is BACK.
After 75 long days since the end of the 2021/22 campaign, England’s top flight resumes on tonight as Crystal Palace host Arsenal.
Football fans are giddy with excitement, particularly those who have watched their team attract new star signings.
The only managerial change made by any of the 20 Prem clubs during the summer was Erik ten Hag replacing interim boss Ralf Rangnick at Manchester United – but that looks set to provide as much entertainment as any number of appointments combined.
Goalscoring sensations Haaland and Nunez will expect to make their Premier League debuts this weekend.
And it was Liverpool’s new man who found the back of the net first, scoring as he took on his Norwegian counterpart in last weekend’s Community Shield.
Will it be Haaland vs Nunez for the Golden boot? Regulars Mo Salah and Harry Kane – not to mention a host of others – will undoubtedly have a say in that.
Under Antonio Conte, Spurs have made shrewd acquisitions including Ivan Perisic, Yves Bissouma and Richarlison.
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Opening weekend’s fixtures
Here are the Premier League fixtures to kick off the 2022/23 campaign.
Crystal Palace vs Arsenal (8pm)
Fulham vs Liverpool (12.30pm)
Bournemouth vs Aston Villa (3pm)
Leeds vs Wolves (3pm)
Newcastle vs Nottingham Forest (3pm)
Tottenham vs Southampton (3pm)
Everton vs Chelsea (5.30pm)
Leicester vs Brentford (2pm)
Manchester United vs Brighton (2pm)
West Ham vs Manchester City (4.30pm)
Likewise, Mikel Arteta has brought in impressive names such as Gabriel Jesus, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Fabio Vieira.
The two North London clubs will be confident they have a psychological advantage over rivals Chelsea – who have lost Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Romelu Lukaku.
Thomas Tuchel has signed Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly and most recently Marc Cucurella, but the manager also admitted at the end of pre-season that his side are not ready for the new campaign.
Then there is Manchester United.
New boss Ten Hag has been forced to deal with the rebellion of Cristiano Ronaldo in the first couple of months of his Old Trafford tenure.
But on the whole he appears to have overcome it well – although it remains to be seen whether the Portuguese superstar will stay.
Eriksen, Lisandro Martinez and Tyrell Malacia have been brought in by the Dutchman – but can they help turn the sinking ship around?
Elsewhere, there are three new clubs in the division after Norwich, Watford and Burnley were relegated at the end of last season.
Fulham, Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest enter the league with a desire to avoid an instant return to the Championship.
Those at Craven Cottage will be hoping their yoyoing can stop for just one year, while Scott Parker’s Bournemouth get their first crack back in the top flight since going down in 2020.
And then there is Steve Cooper’s Forest – who return to the Prem after 23 years away.
They have wasted little time in the transfer market, signing 11 new players as they bid to ready themselves for an almighty challenge.
Among those fresh faces is ex-Manchester United man Jesse Lingard and United loanee Dean Henderson.
They have also broke the bank for Union Berlin forward Taiwo Awoniyi, with Neco Williams arriving from Liverpool.
Forest’s investment will worry the established Prem clubs who have been weakened over the summer.
Leeds lost Phillips and Raphinha, Everton lost Richarlison, Brentford couldn’t keep hold of Eriksen, and Brighton have now seen Cucurella go through the exit door Yves Bissouma has already walked out of.
Add to that Leicester – who are still unsure whether James Maddison and Wesley Fofana will be leaving – and these sides may well be looking over their shoulder when it comes to slipping further down the table.
On a more positive note, West Ham will be hoping they can enjoy a third successful campaign in a row under David Moyes.
Keeping hold of Declan Rice is a huge boost to everyone around the club.
But the additions of Gianluca Scamacca, Nayef Aguerd and potentially Maxwel Cornet will give Hammers supporters the belief that they can compete both domestically and in Europe.
Newcastle’s sensational form during the second half of last season will give their fans huge belief that they can kick on.
And who else hasn’t been mentioned? Aston Villa, Crystal Palace, Southampton, Wolves.
These are clubs who remain difficult to predict, with many neutrals none the wiser whether they will be challenging for Europe or fighting to avoid relegation.
Whatever happens, with a World Cup thrown into the middle of it all, it promises to be a season we will never forget.
Bring. It. On.