Premier League Preview & Predictions: Gameweek 1

Liverpool FC v Aston Villa - Premier League
Liverpool take on Leeds in the tastiest encounter of the first weekend back | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Aaaaand we're back.

It's been seven whole weeks since the 2019/20 Premier League season finished, with only the FA Cup, Europa League, Champions League, Women's Champions League and Nations League to fill the void in the meantime. How have you coped?

Anyway, the Greatest League in the World™ is here again and ready to go, filling house-bound fans with that wonderful pre-season optimism that only a table showing 0 points for everyone can provide.

Some of those dreams may well be crushed as early as Saturday evening of week one, however.

Here's everything to know about the Premier League fixtures in gameweek one of 2020/21...

Saturday

Fulham vs Arsenal

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Community Shield winners Arsenal kick off with a London derby of sorts | Pool/Getty Images

What Time Is Kick Off? 12:30 BST
Where Is it Played? Craven Cottage
TV Channel/Live Stream? BT Sport
Read 90min's preview here.

Championship play-off winners Fulham kick off their return to the Premier League with a London derby - albeit not a particularly big or feisty one - as Scott Parker's side host Arsenal.

The Gunners' last two outings yielded silverware, while Mikel Arteta has got a good feeling going again at the club, despite last season's eighth-placed finish.

Opening days are generally a weird affair but the Gunners, led by the newly tied down Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, are hot favourites to start 2020/21 with three points.

Fulham's chances may depend on Aleksandar Mitrovic's ability to unsettle an inexperienced Gunners backline that is likely to feature young duo Rob Holding and William Saliba.

Prediction: Fulham 1-3 Arsenal

Crystal Palace vs Southampton

Wilfred Zaha
Much of the pre-season Crystal Palace narrative has been around the future of Wilf Zaha | Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

What Time Is Kick Off? 15:00 BST
Where Is it Played? Selhurst Park
TV Channel/Live Stream? BT Sport
Read 90min's preview here.

Southampton may have done little business over the summer (Mohammed Salisu and Kyle Walker-Peters on a permanent deal are the only new arrivals) but Ralph Hasenhuttl's side ended last season in great form and may not need much strengthening.

Only Manchester City and United took more points post-lockdown (really!), while striker Danny Ings pushed Jamie Vardy close for the Golden Boot.

It was the reverse at Palace, however, who - despite finishing well clear of relegation - lost five of their final six and ended the season second bottom of the goals scored charts.

The exciting addition of Eberechi Eze from QPR adds some attacking verve, though he is a doubt for Saturday, while Wilfried Zaha staying (for now) is a huge boost to Roy Hodgson's chances.

Prediction: Crystal Palace 0-2 Southampton

Liverpool vs Leeds

James Milner
James Milner, if he gets on the field, will take on his former club | Pool/Getty Images

What Time Is Kick Off? 17:30
Where Is it Played? Anfield
TV Channel/Live Stream? Sky Sports
Read 90min's preview here.

The most eye-catching fixture of gameweek one pits the Premier League and Championship champs against each other at Anfield.

Klopp vs. Bielsa, TAA vs. Dallas, Phillips vs. Fabinho...the James Milner derby!

In fact, if 34-year-young James Milner gets on the pitch he will have played in consecutive Premier League matches featuring Leeds... 16 years apart. Milner played the full 90 in a 1-0 defeat to Chelsea in the Whites' final top-flight game before relegation way back in 2004.

Liverpool may have lost the Community Shield and finished the Premier League season slightly limply (by their own standards) but they remain the team to beat for obvious reasons and enjoyed a fuller pre-season than most thanks to their early FA Cup and European exits.

New £27m signing Rodrigo is expected to lead the line for Marcelo Bielsa's troop, while newly England-capped Kalvin Philips will relish the occasion...but it's a tough place to start for Leeds.

FWA Footballer of the Year Jordan Henderson is a doubt for Liverpool, however.

Prediction: Liverpool 1-0 Leeds

West Ham vs Newcastle

Steve Bruce
Steve Bruce's side appear to have done some impressive business | Pool/Getty Images

What Time Is Kick Off? 20:00 BST
Where Is it Played? London Stadium
TV Channel/Live Stream? Sky Sports
Read 90min's preview here.

Both Newcastle and West Ham have been fodder for back-page gossip over the summer with the former's controversial, and subsequently failed, Saudi takeover being the talk of the Toon for many months.

While Newcastle have released a salty statement about the situation, pointing the finger Premier League, it's not all doom and gloom on Tyneside. Indeed, the club (whisper it) look to have done some really quite reasonable signings.

Jamal Lewis, Jeff Hendrick, Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser are all in, and the first three could be in line for Saturday debuts.

Meanwhile in east London, there's a storm brewing following captain Mark Noble's public outburst (backed by Declan Rice and Jack Wilshere) at the decision to sell academy product Grady Diangana to West Brom. David Moyes is also, predictably, leading the Premier League sack race.

Newcastle won their last visit to West Ham and have gotten the better of the Hammers on five of their last seven Premier League meetings.

Prediction: West Ham 1-2 Newcastle

Sunday

West Brom vs Leicester

Grady Diangana
Newly promoted West Brom kick off with a trip to Leicester City | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

What Time Is Kick Off? 14:00 BST
Where Is it Played? The Hawthorns
TV Channel/Live Stream? Sky Sports

The Championship runners up often become the slightly forgotten team in the lead up to the new season. They weren't the champions, they didn't get the thrill and ceremony of the play-offs...it's the other route to promotion.

Slaven Bilic's West Brom occupy many pundits' predictions for the drop but they have an early chance to change some minds on Sunday as they host Leicester.

They've also won three of their last four opening day fixtures, if that means anything (it doesn't really).

Golden Boot winner Vardy has scored in each of his four previous Premier League visits to the Hawthorns, but Brendan Rodgers' Leicester will need to arrest the slide that marred the end of the 2019/20 campaign.

Prediction: West Brom 1-1 Leicester

Tottenham vs Everton

James Rodriguez
James Rodriguez to Everton has been one of the most intriguing deals of the window so far | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

What Time Is Kick Off? 16:30 BST
Where Is it Played? Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
TV Channel/Live Stream? Sky Sports

Jose Mourinho's first full season (assuming he gets the full season) as Spurs manager starts with the visit of Carlo Ancelotti's revamped Everton.

It's been a tale of two transfer windows so far. Tottenham have been low-key but methodical, plugging necessary gaps with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Matt Doherty...oh and they also signed Joe Hart.

It's an approach that has earned approving nods but not unabated glee.

Meanwhile over in Liverpool, the Toffees' deals have raised eyebrows as high as Ancelotti's with Abdoulaye Doucoure joining Allan and James Rodriguez Bond in an exciting new-look midfield. How they gel and settle could define Everton's season.

Both teams are traditionally slow starters, while neither has had much of a pre-season in this weirdest of years. As a result this could be a tight, tense encounter.

Prediction: Tottenham 0-0 Everton

Monday

Sheffield United vs Wolves

FBL-ENG-PR-SHEFFIELD UTD-EVERTON
How will Chris Wilder's side handle the difficult second season? | PETER POWELL/Getty Images

What Time Is Kick Off? 18:00 BST
Where Is it Played? Bramall Lane
TV Channel/Live Stream? Sky Sports

Much like at Leicester, Sheffield United's season was ever-so-slightly tainted by their finish, following such high standards before the hiatus.

The Blades lost three on the spin to end 2019/20 to avoid the Europa League, while breakout star Dean Henderson has returned to Manchester United to warm the bench.

The difficult second album for Chris Wilder starts at home to Wolves, whose relentless harvesting of the population of Portugal has seen them become one of few Premier League sides outside the 'Big Six' not in the dreaded relegation conversation.

Nuno's side were impressive on the road last season (though they lost at Bramall Lane in July), but have had an even shorter summer than most thanks to their Europa League run - which lasted an entire calendar year.

Prediction: Sheffield United 1-1 Wolves

Brighton vs Chelsea

Timo Werner
Timo Werner is one of several expensive new arrivals at Stamford Bridge | Steve Bardens/Getty Images

What Time Is Kick Off? 20:15 BST
Where Is it Played? AMEX Stadium
TV Channel/Live Stream? Sky Sports

Here we go then. Chelsea's flagrant disregard for the subdued transfer window narrative has seen them bring in Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell, Thiago Silva and Kai Havertz...with at least another one or two faces to follow.

Frank Lampard has been well and truly backed and now he needs to deliver by turning Chelsea from attacking but shaky also-rans into genuine contenders. It's an exciting time for the Blues, but one that also brings much pressure.

As far as opening day opposition goes, Chelsea could hardly have wished for a more favourable start. Brighton have never beaten the Blues in the Premier League, losing five out of six previous matches.

Graham Potter's Brighton were the joint second-weakest team at home in 2019/20, but have been boosted in defence by the arrival of Joel Veltman from Ajax and the return of (apparently) £50m-rated Ben White who has been on loan at Leeds.

Prediction: Brighton 1-3 Chelsea