Discover which players could shape the new season, plus get the lowdown on where you can watch all the opening matches live on Virgin TV
By Virgin TV Edit
You can stop twiddling your thumbs now. The Premier League is back, and with 128 matches live on Sky Sports, 52 games live on BT Sport, and two full rounds of fixtures live on Prime Video, you never have to miss any of the drama on Virgin TV.
Last season was a belter, as Manchester City got their mitts on the title for a fifth time, while the battle for UEFA Champions League qualification was hotter than ever as Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea completed the top four.
But that was then. The 2021-22 campaign is now upon us, kicking off on Friday 13 August with Arsenal taking on new boys Brentford exclusively live on Sky Sports and, if you can’t get near the telly, the Sky Sports app.
With a new season come new signings, new stories and new chances to make headlines. Scroll down to discover the 20 stars you need to keep an eye on this season – and head to the bottom of the page to get the full list of the opening weekend’s live fixtures…
Jadon Sancho (Manchester United)
In the warped world of football transfer fees, £73 million looks like a bargain for the ex-Borussia Dortmund winger. The kind of direct attacker which the Old Trafford faithful adores, could Sancho be the piece of the jigsaw which turns United into title winners?
Bryan Gil (Tottenham Hotspur)
In the ongoing soap opera that is Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, Gil’s arrival is definitely something for fans to cheer about. Signed from Sevilla, the silky Spanish winger could quickly become a favourite in N17.
Kristoffer Ajer (Brentford)
After breaking their transfer record to land centre-back Ajer from Celtic, new boys Brentford mean business this season. A cool presence at the back, the 23-year-old will stand head and shoulders above opposition strikers. Literally – he’s 6' 6".
Demarai Gray (Everton)
The Toffees have done well to land the former Leicester winger for less than £2 million. Now 25, Gray is hitting his peak and could be just what Everton need to shake up their attacking options under Rafa Benitez.
Boubakary Soumaré (Leicester City)
A member of Lille’s title-winning team in Ligue 1 last season, Soumaré is the type of smooth midfielder that makes Brendan Rodgers purr. Now all the Frenchman has to do is oust Youri Tielemans and Wilfred Ndidi from the side…
Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)
Liverpool fans: your boy is back. With the defender injured for most of last season, the Reds looked shaky in defence as they relinquished the crown to Manchester City. Cliché enthusiasts will say it’s like a new signing for the club. However you look at it, the Reds’ title credentials just got that bit stronger.
Nick Pope (Burnley)
Fantasy Premier League obsessives know all about Burnley’s shotstopper. A vital cog in the Clarets’ perennial quest to be a pain in the backside for the other 19 teams in the Premier League, few keepers are as essential to their side as Pope is to his.
Last season was a stellar one for Jorginho, winning the UEFA Champions League with Chelsea and Euro 2020 with Italy. And he somehow ended up as his club’s top scorer in the Premier League, with seven goals. The best midfielder in the world right now? No, but he’s one of the most effective.
Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United)
The Yorkshire Pirlo. Off the back of a great Euro 2020 for England, midfield maestro Phillips’ stock is only likely to rise this season as Leeds look to build on last season’s top-half finish. You just wonder if one of the league’s top six will be keeping a close eye on him…
Callum Wilson (Newcastle United)
If Newcastle are to avoid a bang-average season, they’ll need their number 9 to be among the goals. Twelve last term was a decent return from the striker following his £20 million switch from Bournemouth, but the Toon Army won’t settle for anything less this time.
Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)
“He’s like a slippery eel.” That’s how England boss Gareth Southgate described Arsenal’s canny attacker before Euro 2020. He’s right, of course. Playing between the lines of midfield and the forwards, this might be a huge season for the teenager.
Phil Foden (Manchester City)
The boy wonder. Who knows what heights Foden will reach this season. One thing is for certain: the blonde bombshell will be an integral part of City’s title defence.
Billy Gilmour (Norwich City)
A smart bit of business for Norwich, the Chelsea midfielder will spend the season on loan at Carrow Road. Expect the Scotland international to give the newly promoted side plenty of bite in the middle of the park.
Eberechi Eze (Crystal Palace)
One of last season’s breakout stars, the attacking midfielder is coming back from a bad achilles injury suffered in May. The Eagles – and new boss Patrick Vieira – will be hoping it hasn’t stifled his swagger, because Eze is a proper match-winner.
Fábio Silva (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
With a Premier League campaign now under his belt, the exciting teenage striker will continue to be a handy player for Wolves to have in their arsenal this season under new boss Bruno Lage.
Ashley Young (Aston Villa)
Older and wiser, Young is back at Villa Park – via Manchester and Milan. While he’s unlikely to be a regular starter under Dean Smith, his big-match experience could be very valuable for the Villans.
Troy Deeney (Watford)
If you’re to survive in the Premier League, you need a rambunctious striker to mix it up with defenders. Deeney is that striker, and then some. Centre-backs won’t enjoy facing him this season. Would you?
Mark Noble (West Ham United)
Mr West Ham. In what is Noble’s final season at the club he’s been part of since 2000, you can bet your pie and mash he’ll be giving everything to the cause when called upon by David Moyes.
Adam Lallana (Brighton & Hove Albion)
Having splashed out £25 million on the slinky midfielder, Brighton would have expected a bit more than one goal and one assist from Lallana in the Premier League last season. Can he go from flop to fantastic?
Theo Walcott (Southampton)
Feel old yet? Theo Walcott is now a veteran. After spending last season on loan at St Mary’s, the 32-year-old has joined the Saints permanently from Everton. Ralf Hassenhüttl will be looking at the winger to step up now that Danny Ings has joined Aston Villa.
Live Premier League opening weekend games on Virgin TV
Brentford v Arsenal
Friday 13 August, 7pm, Sky Sports Premier League/HD (CH 512/502)
Manchester United v Leeds United
Saturday 14 August, 11.30am, BT Sport 1 HD (CH 527)
Norwich City v Liverpool
Saturday 14 August, 4.30pm, Sky Sports Premier League/HD (CH 512/502)
Newcastle United v West Ham United
Sunday 15 August, 1pm, Sky Sports Premier League/HD (CH 512/502)
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City
Sunday 15 August, 3.30pm, Sky Sports Premier League/HD (CH 512/502)
Want to find all your team’s fixtures?
Head to our fixtures generator by clicking on the banner below.
Watch on the go
Virgin TV customers who subscribe to Sky Sports can watch on the go with the Sky Sports app. Not only will you be able to take your Sky packages with you, but you get in-depth sports coverage, as well as exclusive videos and interviews. On iPad and Android tablets you can also access Sky Sports’ cutting-edge second-screen functions. Download from the Apple app store for iPad or iPhone, or from Google Play.
Upgrade to Sky Sports now
Don’t have Sky Sports? You can find out about our Sky Sports package and upgrade here.
Don’t have BT Sport?
You can upgrade to our Virgin TV Maxit package online via your My Virgin Media account here and get all 4 BT Sport channels in HD. If you’ve not registered for My Virgin Media or have forgotten your sign in details just head over to myvirginmedia.com.
Not heard about Virgin TV Go?
Don’t let anything get in between you and your essential viewing with Virgin TV Go. With loads of sport and Box Sets to try out, you’ll always be entertained wherever you are!
The app is available to all Virgin TV customers at no extra cost and is compatible with Android, iOS, Windows 10 and PC/Mac. Get downloading (from the links below) and you’ll be one step closer to watching what you want, when you want.
How to watch Amazon Prime Video with Virgin TV
Prime Video is available to all Virgin TV customers with a V6 box, powered by TiVo®, and a subscription to the service. Simply sign up to Amazon Prime Video via their website, and you can log in on the box. And because Prime Video is fully integrated into TiVo®, you can search without even going into the app. Just select Search & Discover from the Home menu and type in the name of the show or movie you’re after.
TV channels: Channels, content and features available depend on your chosen package. Channel line-ups and content are subject to change at any time and to regional variations.
TV Go: Content available to view depends on TV package. Not all channels/content from relevant pack available. Live streaming and On Demand requires broadband/WiFi or 3G/4G/5G access. UK only. Access via PC, Mac or TV Go App (selected iOS devices and Android™ devices only). Maximum 5 compatible devices per account can watch TV.
Sky Sports HD channels: Sky Sports HD channels £7 per month when subscribing to Sky Sports SD channels.
Premium channels (add-ons): 30 days’ notice required to remove premium channels/packs. Sky Sports SD subscription required to take Sky Sports channels in HD.
Sky Sports website and apps: Only available via the Sky Sports website or apps (for compatible iOS and Android mobiles and tablets) to customers who subscribe to these channels. Maximum of 6 devices can be registered but content can only be viewed on one device at any given time. Live streaming and On Demand requires broadband/WiFi or 3G/4G Internet access. Subject to mobile providers’ terms and conditions, as well as your personal data allowance. Additional charges may apply – please check with your provider to confirm. Watch in the UK or while temporarily in the EU. Selected content may not be available to view. Separate terms and conditions apply to the Sky Sports apps and websites.
BT Sport is included in Maxit TV, Full House TV and VIP bundles or can be taken as an add-on at additional monthly cost. Premium channels and upgrades must be kept for at least 30 days.
Amazon Prime Video: Amazon Prime subscription required at extra cost. 18+. Click here for T&Cs.