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Big 6 Premier League early season preview: How Man City, Liverpool et al will battle in opening rounds

The Premier League fixture schedule for the 2022/23 season is out and we fully expect another season filled with the gut-wrenching and nail-biting entertainment fans are accustomed to, but with a once-in-a-lifetime twist...

The 2022 FIFA World Cup, usually held between June and July, will be held between November and December due to weather conditions in host country Qatar. This means the league season will experience an unprecedented extended international break. Such a break could affect the clubs that will compete next season. The break can make or break their seasons, but whatever the result, fans can buckle in for a Premier League season like never before.

Let's take a look at how the 'Big Six' might be impacted by such a change and what chances each team realistically stand to win the Premier League.


Manchester City

Champions again last season as is almost now expected of the club every season albeit by a solitary point this time. Manchester City will be looking to retain the title by a bigger margin in the new season. With a significant amount of goalscoring chances spurned last season due to the lack of a proven centre forward, there is no better fix than Erling Haaland to alleviate the slight issues they've faced since Sergio Aguero's departure and as if that weren't enough, they've also managed to secure the services of young versatile forward Julian Alvarez from River Plate.

Their season begins with an away trip to West Ham before hosting back again Bournemouth, followed by another away trip to Newcastle then two consecutive home games against Crystal Palace and another newly promoted side in Nottingham Forest.

They face Liverpool for the first time at Anfield on the 15th of October, with their last game before the international break coming in a home game vs Brentford. It will definitely be a tumultuous schedule because of the sheer amount of games they will have to play but if there's one thing Man City is known for, it's their squad depth and they will still be looking to bolster their squad even further to cement their already strong chances of winning the league again.


Liverpool

Having come so agonisingly close to winning the league and even the Champions League in the previous season, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp assured fans that the team would not let their heads drop and that they would be back again. They have shown intent in the signing of Uruguayan forward Darwin Nunez from Benfica, a thorn in Liverpool's flesh when the two teams met in the Champions League that season. The striker has joined the pack along with Fabio Carvalho from Fulham to cover for the departure of cult hero Divock Origi and Sadio Mane.

They start the season with an away trip to Fulham, before hosting Crystal Palace. After that, they travel to Old Trafford to face Manchester United in their first big game of the season before consecutive home matches against Bournemouth and Newcastle. Their last game before the international break is also at home vs Southampton which should be a win especially when considering their head-to-head.

Liverpool's style of relentless pressing might lead to a few injuries but they will most definitely have enough to compete on all fronts.


Chelsea

The Blues are in a new era, Roman Abramovich relinquished his ownership of the club and Chelsea was sold to Todd Boehly. They finished third last season but just when looking like they would turn the now usual Premier League two horse race into a three horse race, they were blighted by injuries.

Key players like Ben Chilwell, who suffered an injury after the first few games and was ruled out for the remainder of the season, saw their season gradually turn cold after that, losing two Cup finals and bowing out of the Champions League at the quarter finals. They haven't made any signings as of now and after letting Antonio Rudiger leave on a free transfer to Real Madrid, they will need a replacement. They might also be letting Romelu Lukaku go back to Inter Milan on loan after an underwhelming season.

They start their season with an away match at Everton before their first London derby at home to Spurs, they then face Leeds in another away game before consecutive home and away games vs Leicester and Southampton respectively. Their last match before the international break is against Newcastle in an away game.

Chelsea need signings and the fans will hope that they can make some before the transfer window closes as it becomes increasingly difficult to compete with the top two's depth.


Tottenham Hotspur

A rejuvenated side under serial winner Antonio Conte, Spurs just might do it in the coming season. Conte has shown just what he can do when the squad is to his preference by dragging Spurs back up to that coveted last Champions League spot. He has requested backing from the Spurs board and they have responded swiftly with a 150 million euros cash injection leading to the signing of experienced attacker Ivan Perisic and one of the sought after Premier League midfielders in Yves Bissouma.

They start their season at home against Southampton before making the short trip to Stamford Bridge to face London rivals Chelsea, a home game vs Wolves is then followed by two away games vs new comers Nottingham Forest and another one of their London rivals West Ham. Their last game before the international break is against Leeds at home.

Conte has proven to be a winner wherever he goes and with the signings he has made Spurs are definitely a team to look out for in the coming season.


Arsenal

After looking like they would secure a first Champions League appearance since the 2015-16 season, Mikel Arteta's Arsenal fell just short of the top 4 last season. It was a painful end to the campaign after managing to beat Chelsea and Manchester United in the same week but losing 3-0 to Tottenham at the tail end of the season.

Arsenal though will go for it again next season as they've proved with the signing of talented midfielder Fabio Vieira from Porto and also coming increasingly close to the signing of both Gabriel Jesus and Lisandro Martinez. They also have interests in Napoli frontman Victor Osimhen and Leicester City midfielder Your Tielemans while the departure of Alexandre Lacazette has cemented Eddie Nketiah's new found role in the team.

The Gunners, like in the previous season will be involved in the season's curtain raiser, an away game at Crystal Palace, hosting Leicester City and going away to Bournemouth in their second and third games before two consecutive home games against Fulham and Aston Villa to complete their first five. They go away to Wolves in their last match before the international break.

Arsenal's primary motive would be that elusive top 4 finish but who's to rule them out of a title race too if they play to their strengths, it will be an interesting season for them.


Manchester United

A very forgettable 2020/21 season they had indeed, after a promising start. Even with the signing of Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and the return of club legend Cristiano Ronaldo, they finished 6th with 58 points. It was their lowest tally in the Premier League era and they finished with a goal difference of ZERO, conceding just as many of the 57 goals they managed in their 38 games, all after having two different managers in the same season.

United have hired Erik ten Hag in a bid to return to their status as one of the most feared clubs in England with his attacking philosophy key to his appointment. His job however looks an increasingly difficult one as United have made no signing so far.

They begin the season with a home game against Brighton & Hove Albion, before going away to Brentford, then they face perennial rivals Liverpool at home before consecutive away games at Southampton and Leicester to reach 5 for the season, they go away to Fulham in their last game before the international break.

Manchester United will look to at least break into the top 4 in Ten Haag's first season, but they will need to make signings as their squad has grown thin with at least 5 players departing from the club as contracts expire.

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Christian Olorunda

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