Manchester United face Leicester City in the opening game of the 2018/19 season, on Friday night
With a brand new deadline for the summer transfer window (August 9), the English Premier League returns for its 2018/19 edition this weekend. The league had the maximum number of players in the final stages of the World Cup in Russia as they return from shortened holidays just in time for action.
After the Russian summer, the stage is set for club football to be in the spotlight again now. And if you aren’t feeling as excited as we are, here’s a recollection of some of last season’s most electrifying moments to pass on some of that energy to you.
Brighton and Hove Albion, Newcastle United and Huddersfield Town — all the clubs that were promoted at the beginning of the season managed to stay in the PL. Such a feat from the newly promoted has been achieved for the first time since Fulham, Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers all stayed up in the 2001/02 season.
After being promoted to top flight not more than a couple of years ago, the Clarets scripted a dramatic rise, to finish seventh last season. Just one point behind top six mainstays Arsenal, Burnley will play in Europe for the first time in the club’s history (!)
It was a gloomy period for United fans with the club reeling far behind their neighbours on the points table. And it was almost game over with the Red Devils 2-0 down in the local derby, but heroics inspired by Paul Pogba led to a comeback (3-2) for the ages.
Not that it strengthened United’s pursuit of the title, but it did earn them bragging rights over the blue side of Manchester, for now.
England have yearned for a world-class striker since time immemorial. Their search finally seems to end with the Tottenham Hotspur main man as he went on to claim the Golden Boot in Russia. But before that, he collected another accolade by breaking Alan Shearer’s record of 36 goals in 1995 – the most in the PL in a calendar year.
Alan Shearer held another goal-scoring record, though joint with Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez, for the most goals scored in a PL season with 31 strikes each. Liverpool’s Mo Salah not only broke it but went on to score a bunch more in other competitions. The Egyptian ended with 32 in the league, a new record in the 26 years of PL football.
Despite all the preceding #WengerOut campaigns, it was a teary-eyed farewell for the long-standing Arsenal manager, once the moment of reckoning came at the end of last season. Along with a guard of honour, the club also gifted him the golden trophy that was presented to the club following their unbeaten season of 2003/04.
History has been witness, but it remains to be seen if Unai Emery has as tough a time filling in the big boots as David Moyes did.
Pep Guardiola came into the PL at a time when most of Europe’s top managers were being employed by English clubs with high-paying contracts. It was touted to be a battle of the best footballing brains, but the Spaniard beat all his rivals fair and square. That too, in a fashion of pure extravagance.
Thanks to Kevin de Bruyne, Gabriel Jesus and various other unsung heroes, City not only won the league emphatically but also breached the 100-point barrier, a first in the PL.
Can they continue their dominance or will other clubs catch up? Tune in this weekend to join in the excitement of the new season!