After a summer with European football sidelined and the World Cup taking centre stage, the Premier League is back and ready to kick off again. Opening weekend is only a few days away, beginning the roadmap of a season for every club in the Premier League.
For Manchester City, winners of the 2013-2014 season, opening weekend is all about setting the stage to improve their odds of defending their title. For every other team in the league, winning on opening weekend is the chance to show that trades and movements throughout the offseason were smart bets that will pay off throughout the year.
Many teams spent the better part of the offseason arranging these transfers, betting on online news reported about big name players. Some of the players in transfer even played in the World Cup earlier this summer, and their performance on the global stage impacted their demand in the Premier League or other European football leagues.
In between signing players to or from different football teams, many clubs are also preparing for the next chapter in historic team rivalries. The Manchester rivalry could be very interesting, given that the Premier League trophy remained in the city over the last three seasons – Man City in 2012 and 2014, Manchester United in 2013.
Other teams will be betting on their chances of taking the trophy away from Manchester, with teams like Chelsea or Liverpool having the best odds of holding the two Manchester teams in check. The Champions League may also impact what’s in store for the Premier League this season. Teams that qualified for European competition will divide their focus between the two leagues, which could also affect which team finishes at the top of the Premier League standings.
The opening match kicks off on Saturday August 16 between Man U and Swansea City, with much more to come. By the end of the weekend, it could be clear which teams look like they made the right bets on players and which teams could be in trouble over the long run.