After what has been an excruciating summer for avid football supporters, with no World Cup and no European Championships to whet the appetite, the Premier League will be back in earnest this weekend. With all the off-season talk based on managerial changes and transfer sagas, the focus falling back to on-pitch matters will be most welcome.
And it’s a season in which nobody is quite sure what is going to happen, even as we stand on the brink of the big kick-off. Major transfers could still occur; some between the Premier League’s top sides are still not out of the question. Not to mention, four of the top six sides from last season will begin life under the tutelage of new managers.
David Moyes will pick up the reigns following the conclusion of Alex Ferguson’s dynasty at Manchester United, whereas Roberto Martinez will look to fill the similarly big shoes Moyes himself leaves at Everton. Jose Mourinho will be hoping his second spell at Chelsea will be just as trophy-laden as his first and Manuel Pellegrini cuts his teeth in English football for the first time at Manchester City.
We also have Ian Holloway, Hull Cit…I mean Tigers, Joe Kinnear, Paolo Di Canio, goal line technology, new offside rules and the Premier League’s first ever South Wales Derby to get excited about.
Much of this season will represent unknown territory for the players, managers and supporters alike. But subsequently, and after what seems like the longest summer in recent memory, everyone just seems that little bit more excited this time round. The football world is on tenterhooks, itching to know what’s going to happen.
So with uncertainty reigning ahead of the 2013/14 campaign, it would be difficult to second-guess what exactly is going to happen. But, we’re going to have a go anyway.
First things first however, just in case you haven’t been studying them intently since their release (I haven’t, honest) here’s your complete run down of the opening weekend’s TV schedule for soccer fans in the United States (all times Eastern):
Saturday, August 17:
7:45am Liverpool vs Stoke, NBC Sports Network
10am Arsenal vs Aston Villa, NBC Sports Network
10am Norwich vs Everton, Premier League Extra Time
10am Sunderland vs Fulham, Premier League Extra Time
10am West Brom vs Southampton, Premier League Extra Time
10am West Ham vs Cardiff, Premier League Extra Time
12:30pm Swansea vs Man Utd, NBC and mun2
Sunday, August 18:
8:30am Crystal Palace vs Tottenham, NBC Sports Network
11am Chelsea vs Hull, NBC Sports Network
Monday, August 19:
3pm Man City vs Newcastle, NBC Sports Network
All games mentioned above will also be available via NBC Sports Live Extra.
Now, onto some of the big questions ahead of this hotly anticipated campaign…
Can Moyes keep the title at Old Trafford?