Monday 19 March 2018

It's not all glamour at top

Wasn't the Premier League supposed to be glamorous? Wes Hoolahan and Norwich City will have to wait for their glitz after they were drawn away to Wigan, the top-flight's least glamorous football club, on opening day. They must wait until game three and the visit to Stamford Bridge to take on the big guns.

The Latics will become the first Premier League side to play an away match outside England when they travel to Swansea's Liberty Stadium on day two of the new season.

The Swans face a daunting opening day, with Brendan Rogers' Welshmen away at Manchester City. It's just four years since the Welsh club opened their League One campaign in front of 7,397 at Oldham.

Alex McLeish needs a good start to stand any chance of winning over the disgruntled Aston Villa fans and the Scot will be delighted with his opening run. Villa take on Fulham, Blackburn, Wolves, Everton and Newcastle in their opening five games -- not the most taxing by any means.

Sunderland seem fairly happy with the deal they got for Jordan Henderson, but the fans' reaction could be very different. The £20m midfielder won't have to wait long to find out exactly what they think and he is unlikely to hear his name chanted from the away end when the Black Cats travel to face his new club Liverpool at Anfield in one of the opening day's most intriguing encounters.

Championship winners QPR will host Bolton Wanderers at Loftus Road in their first Premier League game since they were relegated in 1996.

Arsenal return to the site of their great disaster last season, they're sure to have nightmares of losing that four-goal lead when they visit St James' Park on opening day.

Having met on opening weekend last season, Arsenal and Liverpool lock horns in the second round this season, while Manchester United host Spurs as the big guns get an early chance to set down a marker.

Roy Hodgson and West Bromwich Albion will want to have a strong pre-season, as they face defending champions Manchester United and runners-up Chelsea in their first two games.

Irish Independent

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