Man Utd v Swansea, 12:45
The honour of opening up the biggest show on earth goes to Louis Van Gaal and Manchester United this year, and they’ll share the spotlight with the best side in Wales, and the only remaining team from that region in the Premier League. Pre-season form suggests United will be a factor this season but there is still supporter concern over the lack of quality signings made, and nobody is entirely sure how the team will react to a third manager in three years. Swansea’s summer has seen a number of their top stars depart, and
Luke Shaw has a hamstring injury and Jonny Evans missed Tuesday’s friendly win over Valencia, while Rafael, Robin Van Persie, Antonio Valencia and Michael Carrick are also sidelined for this match. Swansea duo Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge are fit but Leon Britton, Marvin Emnes and Jay Fulton are injured.
Leicester v Everton, 15:00
They’ve been talking about promotion for a while now in Leicester, where the owners like to spend a bit and it’s taken ten years to finished in the top two of the Championship but they are here now, and ready to make an impression. Everton at home isn’t the best start, but the result can be spun a number of ways if it should end badly for the home team and with a lot of confidence and enthusiasm about them Leicester will fancy themselves for all three points this afternoon, especially if the crowd is all it should be on such an occasion.
Leicester’s record signing Leonardo Ulloa could make his debut but Jamie Vardy and Marc Albrighton are unlikely to feature. Everton manager Roberto Martinez will wait on the fitness of Seamus Coleman, Kevin Mirallas and Romelu Lukaku, with Muhamed Besic and Christian Atsu in line for their debuts.
QPR v Hull, 15:00
This clash of two clubs with English managers is one the bookies think could have a significant bearing on the relegation scrap at the end of the season, and for Harry Redknapp it is possible his future in football rests on his ability to keep QPR in the Premier League. The former Spurs boss has already come close to retirement, and with the shambles of their last campaign at this level still fresh in the mind the owners probably won’t stick for long if things do go pear-shaped, making it a huge year for everyone involved.
Queens Park Rangers could field a new-look defence featuring Steven Caulker, Rio Ferdinand and Mauricio Isla. Hull forward Yannick Sagbo has a two-match ban for a Twitter post to serve, but Tom Ince and Robert Snodgrass are both expected to figure.
Stoke v Aston Villa, 15:00
Stoke have made a couple of really intriguing signings this summer, not least Bojan and Victor Moses, with the latter on loan while the former is a permanent transfer, and the transition from pragmatic machine to real football team continues apace for Mark Hughes and his men. As for Villa there has been much speculation about the ownership and direction of the grand old club without a resolution yet, and their best hope of a strong season is a return to fitness and hopefully form for Christian Benteke at this point, given how they struggle to make significant signings.
Stoke are likely to give a debut to f Bojan Krkic, with Phil Bardsley and Steve Sidwell also likely to be involved. Aston Villa have new signings Philippe Senderos, Aly Cissokho, Joe Cole and Kieran Richardson available, as well as long-term injury worries Jores Okore and Charles N’Zogbia.
West Brom v Sunderland, 15:00
The Baggies are one of the pre-season favourites for the drop, and when you remove the newly-promoted sides they’re practically the number one pick for most bookies to finish in the bottom three, so it seems like they’ll need a strong start if this isn’t to be another nerve-wracking year for their fans. Sunderland achieved safety with a win over West Brom in their penulitimate outing of the 2013/14 campaign, and if their transfer business works out they could have a much better year this time, although that is a big if.
West Brom’s new signing Joleon Lescott is still recovering from a knee problem, and misses this game along with James Morrison and Gareth McAuley. Sunderland winger Emanuele Giaccherini misses out with a groin injury, and Billy Jones is sidelined by a hamstring strain.
West Ham v Spurs, 15:00
Another year, another manager for Tottenham, and as always the new appointment has brought optimism to this corner of London for the time being. The goodwill of the White Hart Lane crowd is notoriously fragile and Mauricio Pochettino has not spent anything like the sums paid out under AVB, but strong signings in defence and for the future have been made, and there is no reason to expect failure. West Ham have signed a new striker to cover for the new striker they signed last summer, and at the moment both are injured, but most people rate Sam Allardyce as being capable of keeping them in the league for the time being.
West Ham’s Enner Valencia is short of fitness, while Ravel Morrison and Carl Jenkinson are also unlikely to be available and Diafra Sakho did not sign in time. Tottenham will assess Jan Vertonghen, Mousa Dembele, Nacer Chadli and Paulinho for general fitness, while Michael Dawson, Kyle Walker and Vlad Chiriches are injury doubts.
Arsenal v Crystal Palace, 17:30
The evening show is brought to you from London on the opening day, and the most beautiful pitch in the world is set to play host to Arsenal and a managerless Palace as they start the season under something of a cloud. Tony Pulis walked away from his post just a few days ago, leaving his board in the lurch and the squad in something of a state of limbo too, and trying to replace him with a candidate both able to do the job and happy with the squad Pulis built is not going to be easy.
Laurent Koscielny should be fit to start and Abou Diaby could make the bench, but Lukas Podolski, Mesut Ozil and Per Mertesacker will be rested. Keith Millen will select the Crystal Palace team, with Adrian Mariappa expected to shake off a rib injury.