As I sit down to start writing this preview, the 2022-23 Premier League season has already started, with the first goal of the season in the bag too thanks to some awesome set-pieces defending from Crystal Palace. The best league in the world, right?
Chelsea have to wait until Saturday night for the ball to roll, and we’re headed to Merseyside for a game Everton in Goodison. On paper, Chelsea should be the favourite. But as soon as that whistle goes off, everything goes as usual.
It promises to be a somewhat unique and potentially historic season, with a month-long winter break for the Winter World Cup. How that will affect the league season is anyone’s guess. Many are predicting odd things – including Tottenham’s title challenge, even, because Conte – so we’d better run some Kate Bush and keep running up that hill.
date/time: Saturday August 6, 17.30 GMT; 12:30 PM EST; 10pm Indian Standard Time
place: Goodison Park, Liverpool, England
Rule: Craig Pawson (on the field); John Brooks (VAR)
Climate forecast: Warm with a light breeze
on TV: Sky Sports Maine event (UK); USA Network, Universo (USA); Star Sports Select HD1 (India); SuperSport Premier League (NGA); in another place
flow: Sky Go (UK); NBC Sports, Telemundo Sports Live (USA); Hotstar (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Everton team news: No team may have celebrated more strongly than Everton after escaping relegation on the final day last season, but the task at hand is made more difficult by the departure of both Richarlison (to Tottenham). The only notable arrivals so far, center back James Tarkowski and winger Dwight McNeill were both part of a Burnley side who weren’t good enough to stay awake last season.
Everton Make sure you are busy In the transfer market this month, but so far, they are not in great shape, especially as they are also dealing with injuries to striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin and midfielders Andre Gomez and Tom Davies. Meanwhile, another striker, Salomon Rondon, is carrying a suspension from last season.
Frank Lampard sure has a lay off for him, and we can only wish him the best of luck – starting next weekend, of course.
View from the enemy: Royal Blue Mercy
Chelsea team news: Marc Cucurella became the fourth big money signing this summer, although even if he is signed in time, he is unlikely to play a big role in tomorrow’s game yet. Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly (in place of Romelu Lukaku and Antonio Rudiger/Andreas Christensen) are expected to start, with young Karne Chukwuemeka likely to be part of today’s squad of 20 players as well. With five substitutes (out of nine) now available, there should be plenty of opportunities for the bench players to make an impact as well.
Just like Everton, although at the happier other end of the table, Chelsea’s task of repeating at the end of last year is becoming more difficult. Both the first and second positions had outstanding strikers, while only the rest of the top six were strengthened. Of course, it’s easy to forget that not only did we top the league a few months early, we were “indomitable in the first half” despite everything that happened last season – that is, we never fell behind in any of the 38 league games in the first half. So if we can improve our ability to close teams, matches and seasons, we may not have much to go to to get back to the top.
It’s been an exciting few months at Chelsea, in the boardroom and in the transfer market, but now it’s time for football to speak up.
previously: We’ve lost four times in a row at Goodison and haven’t won there since 2017. Here are some of the happiest opening-day highlights instead (which, in a way, are lacking in mario stanic goal from 2000).