After the schedule for the 2015-16 Premier League season was released, there are plenty of mouth-watering matchups to look forward to.
[ RELATED: ’15-16 schedule released ]
From crunch clashes between title contenders to ferocious derbies to David vs. Goliath and relegation battles, the new PL season promises so much when it kicks off in just 52 days time.
[ RELATED: Assessing the big boys ]
Here is a list of the top 10 games to look out for.
Manchester City vs. Chelsea – August 15
Boom. Right off the bat in just the second week of the season we have a clash between first and second from last season. City’s Etihad Stadium will have been expanded and over 55,000 fans will witness the two best teams in the PL do battle.
Manchester United vs. Liverpool – September 12
Ah, one of the greatest rivalries in world soccer. With United pushing on under Louis van Gaal and Liverpool stalling with Brendan Rodgers and no Steven Gerrard around, winning this derby early on in the season would be huge for the Anfield club. If not, Rodgers is already the bookies favorite to be fired first…
Southampton vs. Bournemouth – October 31
A derby not quite as illustrious as United vs. Liverpool but there is no love lost between these two south coast clubs who were battling it out in League One in 2011. Just 30 miles separates the two teams and it could become one of the most stylish rivalries in the PL. Southampton’s main rivals are Portsmouth but loathing between the Cherries and Saints has been growing in recent years.
Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur – November 7
Another derby will take center stage at the Emirates Stadium as Arsenal and Spurs clash for the first time in 2015-16. Harry Kane’s late winner handed Tottenham victory last-time out and the Gunners’ players and fans will want revenge for that. Promises to be epic encounter in north London.
Southampton vs. Arsenal – December 26
The Gunners then face a tricky test on Boxing Day as they head down to the south coast to play Saints. Ronald Koeman’s boys beat the Gunners 2-0 on New Year’s Day last year and if they make a similarly surprising start to the 2015-16 campaign this could be a top four battle.
Manchester United vs. Chelsea – December 28
Two days later, two giants of English soccer collide as “The Special One” takes his champs to Old Trafford. Last season Chelsea ground out a 1-1 draw at the Theatre of Dreams but with plenty of new signings expected over the summer at United, van Gaal’s side could be a much greater threat to Chelsea’s title next season.
Watford vs. Manchester City – January 2
Okay, this may not jump off the page but it has the feel of an upset around it. Newly-promoted Watford will likely be scrapping for their lives at the bottom and City will be challenging for the title. Just like we saw when the Aguero and Co. went to Burnley last season, expect the unexpected on a cold January day in Hertfordshire.
Newcastle United vs. Sunderland – March 19
Massive rivalry up in the north east as both teams have fallen on tough times in recent seasons. It is looking like being another bleak campaign for both clubs, with mid-table mediocrity the goal, but over 52,000 will cram into St. James’ Park as one of English soccer’s great cathedrals comes to life with regional pride on the line in the Tyne-Wear derby.
Chelsea vs. Manchester City – April 16
This could be huge in the title race as Chelsea and City are likely to be neck and neck for the PL crown in 2015-16. With five games to go at this point, it will be all about holding their nerve. Will Chelsea go for it at home or sit back and let City attack? An intriguing game in so many ways.
Manchester City vs. Arsenal – May 7
And, if Arsenal’s boss Arsene Wenger can bring in a few star names this summer then this game at the Etihad has the making to be another which could have huge title implications. The Gunners beat City 2-0 away from home last season with an assured defensive display. Can they repeat that? Or will City be looking to grab three points in their final home game to try and seal the title?