By Emmanuel Ebimoh
The highly anticipated start of the 2020/2021 football season in Europe is finally here! At last, despite the temporary suspension and shortcomings due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, football fans can now enjoy the best of football from the top leagues in the world, albeit from the comfort of their homes or viewing centres. For fans of Arsenal, Barcelona, Juventus, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, and many others, it’s another season to savour the sheer pleasure of top-class football spectacle as top players entertain us with devastating dribbles, defence-splitting passes, unbelievable saves, and of course, fantastic goals.
During the unprecedented conclusion of last season in all the major leagues in the world in June and July, the beautiful game of football took a slightly new shape in terms of some on-field rules and viewership. Some of the new changes noticed in this period were 5 substitutions per team in a game, drink/cooling breaks in each half of a game, and a tight fixture of matches for teams. However, even as restriction of fans into stadia to watch live games is still on, the football excitement that keeps us at the edge of our seats, biting our nails in suspense, and screaming at the top of our lungs cannot be altered. We are indeed ready for more!
Let’s take a look at some of the games to expect in the first week of the English Premier League 2020/2021 season.
Arsenal will be the first to kick-off the early starters as they travel to Craven Cottage to play newly-promoted Fulham in their first game of the season. After a ‘satisfying’ campaign last season that saw the Gunners lift the FA Cup trophy for an impressive 14th time, Arsenal will be hoping to secure all 3 points in the bag when they visit their London opponents, Fulham. Mikel Arteta, coach of Arsenal, is looking to fortify his squad for the daunting challenge ahead as he has made some good signings in the ongoing transfer window, including Willian from Chelsea. Fulham, on the other hand, would be tasting the intensity of the EPL again after being relegated to the Championship in 2018. The West London club were promoted to play in top-flight English football again and they would be facing a stern test when they welcome Arsenal in the first match of the season on Saturday, 12th September.
In another game in the EPL, reigning Champions Liverpool will host another newly-promoted side, Leeds United, in what promises to be another crunch encounter at Anfield. The Reds of Liverpool secured the league title last season after an outstanding run throughout the season. All eyes will be on them to see if that impressive dominance can be sustained in this new season. For Leeds United, it’s a start in the top league after 16 years and they have toiled for this opportunity to compete with the ‘big boys’ again. However, starting life again in the EPL against the reigning Champions may not have been the start they would have envisaged, but then, maybe, just maybe there’s a slice of surprise for us. We can’t wait!
On Sunday, there’ll be another savoury encounter as Tottenham welcome Everton to White Hart Lane in their opening game of the new season. Tottenham, coached by the ever controversial Jose Mourinho, will be hoping for an impeccable start, but it’ll definitely not be a slice of cake for them. Everton have been surprisingly busy in the transfer market and they have secured the talented James Rodriguez from Real Madrid on a two-year deal.
In another opening game, Chelsea will slug it out against Brighton on Monday, 14th September, in what is expected to be an exciting battle, and Chelsea fans around the world would be anxiously waiting to see what coach, Frank Lampard has in store this season.
It’s going to be an incredible opening weekend of club football from the major leagues in the world and for those who have remained faithful to the clubs they support, it’s another opportunity to fly the colours of their favourite clubs. For those who are just expecting to be entertained with some scintillating performances on the pitch, well, the game is about to begin. Grab your seat and get ready. Our favourite football league is back!
Emmanuel Ebimoh is a Content and Football writer. You can reach him on firstname.lastname@example.org