The wait is over. Bank-busting transfers have been made; new managers have stocked up on stationery and settled in behind their desks; new kits have been launched with the kind of gusto usually reserved for new fashion lines – and now the Premier League is back.
The 2017/18 season is shaping up to be one of the most unpredictable yet, and it kicks off in style on Sky Sports this weekend with four massive live games to enjoy. Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur are all in action, but will these title hopefuls start with a bang? If only we had a crystal ball. Whatever happens, you can follow every twist and turn on Virgin TV.
It’s been a busy summer of football news, so you’d be forgiven for not knowing what you should really be keeping an eye on this season. So, allow us to take you through ten of the biggest talking points in preparation for the rollercoaster ride to come…
1. Lukaku can lead Manchester United to glory
Pay £75m for a striker and you should expect nothing less than a title tilt. Only Sergio Agüero and Harry Kane have scored more Premier League goals than Romelu Lukaku in the past four seasons, and this archetypal José Mourinho forward could barge United back to the top of English football once again following his move from Everton.
2. Welcome back, Magpies!
There may have been a hint of schadenfreude when Newcastle United were relegated a couple of seasons ago, but admit it: you’re glad they’re back. This is a club that has the Premier League in its black and white bones, and you just know that they’ll do their bit and make a load of headlines this year.
3. Is Lacazette the missing piece in the Arsenal jigsaw?
Last season in Europe’s top five leagues, no other player converted more chances than new Gunners striker Alexandre Lacazette. The French international is the real deal – and could be the fox in the box that the Londoners have been crying out for. The new Thierry Henry? Let’s not get too carried away.
4. All eyes on Pickford
Everton have been throwing money about this summer like it’s confetti, including £30m on English goalkeeper Jordan Pickford from Sunderland. That’s a lot of dough for someone who’s never made a senior international appearance. Time will tell whether he can rise to the challenge of playing for a club with huge ambitions.
5. It’s Wem-ber-lee for Spurs
Playing at Wembley in last season’s UEFA Champions League was a bit of a curse for Tottenham (they lost two out of three games there). This magnificent stadium is their home for the whole of the upcoming season, so they’ll need to shake off their poor record ASAP if they want to push for the title again.
6. New season, brand new clubs
For Brighton and Huddersfield, opportunity knocks! We reckon these two colourful clubs with passionate fanbases will be a great addition to the Premier League. Plus, with celebrity supporters like Fatboy Slim and Patrick Stewart cheering them on, the league just got more showbizzy!
7. De Boer is de man at Palace
New Crystal Palace boss Frank De Boer has brought a wave of optimism to Selhurst Park, but let’s not forget that he was sacked after just 85 days in his last job at Inter Milan. The ex-Dutch international will be afforded more time in South East London, right? Right?
8. Mor good times to come at Chelsea?
Just when you thought the champions couldn’t get any better they go and sign Real Madrid striker Álvaro Morata for £60m. Not seen him play before? With a cool head in front of goal and the impressive balance of an Olympic skater, the Spanish international is one of world football’s top forwards. Vamos!
9. A familiar face at Anfield
Mohamed Salah barely got a chance to prove himself at Chelsea between 2014 and 2016. Now he’s at Liverpool, where the Egyptian forward looks like a perfect fit for manager Jürgen Klopp’s gegenpressing style of footy. Keep an eye on this fella; he could be one of the stars of the season.
10. The Silva surfer is back
Marco Silva is a good manager. That we know. So Watford supporters should be delighted that the former Hull boss is now at Vicarage Road. If he can avoid the chop (Watford get through managers like reality TV stars get through bottles of fake tan) then Silva has the chance to build something special at the club.
This week’s live Premier League games
Arsenal v Leicester City, Friday, 7pm, Sky Sports Premier League/HD (CH 512/502) + Sky Sports Main Event/HD (CH 511/501)
Watford v Liverpool, Saturday, 11.30am, Sky Sports Premier League/HD (CH 512/502) + Sky Sports Main Event/HD (CH 511/501)
Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur, Sunday, 12.30pm, Sky Sports Premier League/HD (CH 512/502) + Sky Sports Main Event/HD (CH 511/501)
Manchester United v West Ham United, Sunday, 3.30pm, Sky Sports Premier League/HD (CH 512/502) + Sky Sports Main Event/HD (CH 511/501)
Watch on the go
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