Belfast Telegraph

Premiership preview: Ten games not to be missed next season

By Steven Beacom

Just when you thought you could put your big ball away for the summer and concentrate more on tennis and golf, the Premier League fixtures come out.

And there's that tingle of excitement again.

Released early yesterday, football fans will have pored over their team's games looking out for the grudge matches, the derbies and when they play Manchester United!

Don't book your flights just yet though, because over the next few weeks dates will change once Sky Sports and BT Sport finish fighting over who screens what.

The new Premier League season won't kick-off until August, but here's 10 fixtures you won't want to miss... well nine, the other is a must for David Cameron!

(Note: dates are subject to change)

AUGUST 8 - Manchester United v Spurs: What a brilliant game on the opening weekend. And the big question is will Harry Kane be wearing red or white at Old Trafford? There is no doubt that Louis van Gaal would love him at United. Unfortunately for Spurs supporters, like Michael Carrick and Dimitar Berbatov before him, that's where Harry will probably end up. All they can hope for is that it won't be this coming season. United will be out to put down a marker in this clash. Expect goals.

AUGUST 15 - Manchester City v Chelsea: Nothing like an early season title decider, is there? Once again these two clubs will be chasing Premier League glory and unless City show more character than last term they will be left trailing in Chelsea's wake. Privately, Jose Mourinho's chief target in 2015-2016 will be to win the Champions League, but that won't stop him wanting to retain the domestic crown as well. And don't be surprised if he makes Manchester United flop Radamel Falcao look like a special player again.

AUGUST 22 - Arsenal v Liverpool: Anfield boss Brendan Rodgers knows he must hit the ground running when the new campaign gets under way. And the Ulsterman is going to have to do it the hard way on the road. Liverpool's first seven away fixtures are Stoke, Arsenal, Manchester United, Everton, Spurs, Chelsea and Manchester City. As tough as it gets, starting with Stoke who hammered them 6-1 on the final day of the season. Arsenal beat Liverpool 4-1 at the Emirates late on the last campaign too. The Gunners will be thinking same again.

SEPTEMBER 12 - Manchester United v Liverpool: They may have finished fourth and sixth last season, but this is still the biggest fixture in English football. Enough said.

OCTOBER 24 Manchester United v Manchester City: October can be a stressful month for managers. It's traditionally when owners and chairman get twitchy and pull the trigger on their bosses. If City aren't up at the top of the table and looking good in the Champions League, Manuel Pellegrini will be in trouble. How United fans would relish putting the City boss out of his misery.

DECEMBER 26 - Aston Villa v West Ham: Hands up all those who are wondering why this one made the list. Well, you have to include a Boxing Day cracker, don't you? And why not have a game between the two teams Prime Minister David Cameron supports. On his election campaign he forgot he was supposed to be a Villa supporter when declaring his love for West Ham. Claret and blue.. easy mistake to make, eh Dave? Hopefully his wife will buy him one of those half and half scarves for Christmas, before he makes a visit to Villa Park the next day!

DECEMBER 28 - Manchester United v Chelsea: This is a real Christmas cracker. Jose Mourinho won't be playing Santa Claus though. He won't be giving away anything.

JANUARY 23 - Arsenal v Chelsea: Call it a hunch, but I fancy this is the day when Arsene Wenger finally beats his old friend Jose. Seriously I do.

FEBRUARY 27 - Liverpool v Everton: How are Liverpool fans going to cope with a derby at Anfield without Steven Gerrard? We'll find out here.

MAY 15 - Manchester United v Bournemouth: What a way for Bournemouth to finish their first and probably only season in the Premier League. Just joking, I hope the Cherries blossom in the top flight, but it will be tough for them. Will United and LVG be toasting a title on this the final day of the league season? Unlikely. More likely to be scratching around to finish fourth!

Belfast Telegraph


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