With FIFA World Cup Qualifiers progressing finely this week, football fans up and down the country are quite happy to have any sort of football on the TV despite grumping and groaning when International football returns to spoil the season in October and March, just when their club are in fine fettle. It seems years since we were embroiled in yet another rollercoaster BPL season. Henceforth with 58 days to go until the return of Premier League football for the 2017/2018 season, it was a much welcomed sight to scroll through the fixtures released today. It’s a key part of every football fans season, the initial point scoring, looking at where one might draw points to save their season, qualify for Europe or get over the line and avoid the drop.
Here at Sideline View we look to what could be the most crucial fixtures throughout the 2017/18 BPL season….
The league kicks off on Saturday 12th August, and the reigning champions on paper have an easy start at home to Burnley. Chelsea however will be wary of Dyche’s great start last season turning over much of the top 6 before Christmas. The opening weekend also sees Spurs travel to Newcastle, where Benitez will be hoping to cause an upset. Brighton have no easy fixture set to begin with either. They take on Man City at home before travelling to Leicester and Watford.
Many key fixtures throughout the season will have huge influence upon many clubs hopes and aspirations. Manchester United travel to Anfield on October 14th before facing Tottenham on October 28th and Chelsea in November 4th. It was at this stage last season where Chelsea pushed on in their title hunt, which makes these few weeks massive over the course of the season.
Derbies prop up throughout the season keeping the fans on edge and conversation flowing in the pubs. The North London Derby takes place on the 18th November, whilst the Merseyside Debry at Anfield being played on December 8/9th along with the Manchester Derby which will prove to be a massive Super Sunday this side of Christmas.
As we have found over the past number of seasons is, it’s not what the fixtures may be at the start of the season, yes it’s important to get points on the board as early as possible, but much of the drama unfolds in the last five or six games of the season. With many clubs divided between European commitment and PL fixtures, many clubs are safe and take tier foot off the break and other clubs find fire in the belly as they push for survival. Looking at this year’s run in, each team in last season’s top six play another member of the top six at least once. Will we look back in a years’ time at Manchester United vs Arsenal on April 28th as a key fixture, or will history be made on final day with huge fixtures for Huddersfield at home to Arsenal or Brighton making the trip to Liverpool?
Recent seasons suggest there is no point in predicting winners and losers. The only thing that is certain is that we are in for another rollercoaster season of Premier League football.