aA midfield battle of epic proportions will be the interesting sideshow when upstarts Newcastle United challenge three-time Premier League defending champions Manchester City in Saturday’s late kick off. The Magpies set the tone for what should be a captivating season by whitewashing a decent Aston Villa side 5-1 on match day one, with the midfield triumvirate of Sandro Tonali, Joelinton and Bruno Guimares proving too slick, too mobile and extra powerful for the Villains.
The trio will get a true measure of their prowess when they confront European champions Rodrigo Hernandez Cascante aka Rodri, Mateo Kovacic and Phil Foden as they attempt to halt an abysmal head to head record at a ground at which they have not won an English top flight game for over two decades. Tonali, in particular, won plaudits for his seamless transition from Serie A where he featured for AC Milan with the Italian drawing comparisons to feted World Cup winning compatriot Andrea Pirlo. A ‘welcome to the EPL’ signpost awaits him at Etihad Stadium.
Newcastle United’s defense are to have their hands full trying to contain reigning EPL Golden Boot winner Erling Braut Haaland, who opened his account with a brace in the treble winners’ 3-0 victory over Burnley last Friday. In the absence of playmaker per excellence, Kevin de Bruyne, who has been ruled out for four months by injury, fast rising Englishman Cole Palmer, is the other player to watch after he followed up his Community Shield equaliser against Arsenal with an expertly converted header as City overcame Sevilla to win the European Super Cup in Athens, Greece on Wednesday night.
An equally fascinating duel takes place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium where Ange Postecoglu makes his division bow at home to record champions Manchester United. Spurs showed glimpses they can cope with life after the departure of record scorer Harry Kane by coming from behind to draw 2-2 at London rivals Brentford courtesy of marque signing James Maddison’s brace of assists. United boss Eric Ten Haag will demand an improvement despite his side’s 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers as the Red Devils needed a referees intervention to avoid dropping points.
Premier League football commences on Friday night with Nottingham Forest hosting Sheffield United in an early pointer to which of the two sides will survive the drop. Saturday’s action sees Gary O’Neil’s well coached Wolves test Roberto de Zerbi’s Brighton Hove Albion in the early kick off before Fulham square off with Brentford in a west London derby. Big spending Chelsea travel to West Ham United on Sunday evening, with the match day ending on Monday with Arsenal traveling to Selhurst Park to confront unpredictable Crystal Palace.
Nottingham Forest v Sheffield United
Wolves v Brighton and Hove Albion,
Liverpool v Bournemouth,
Fulham v Brentford,
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United,
Manchester City v Newcastle United
Aston Villa v Everton,
West Ham United v Chelsea
Crystal Palace v Arsenal