Manchester City kick off the defence of their Premier League title when they take on West Ham United on Sunday at 4:30pm (UK time).
Pep Guardiola’s side are looking to become just the second club to win three consecutive titles in the Premier League era and the sixth team overall. They will also be hoping for a better start to the campaign than last season, where they were beaten 1-0 by Tottenham Hotspur.
West Ham, on the other hand, won their first game last season, beating Newcastle United 4-2 to end a five-match losing streak on Premier League opening weekends (between 2016/17 and 2020/21).
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Erling Haaland to score anytime
Erling Haaland was one of the signings of the summer and is viewed by some as missing piece of Man City’s puzzle. The Norwegian has a decent record on the opening weekend of a league season, having been directly involved in seven goals in his last three such games, including two braces to start the 2020/21 and 2021/22 Bundesliga campaigns for Borussia Dortmund.
Man City to win
Although this is the start of a new season, Man City have lost just one of their past 28 Premier League matches and are unbeaten in their past 13 games against West Ham in the league. West Ham have also lost 36 matches against the reigning Premier League champions, with only Tottenham (38) losing more.
Both teams to score
Man City only failed to score in four of their 38 Premier League games last season, while West Ham drew a blank just seven times.
Harry Maguire to get a card vs Brighton
Harry Maguire received eight cards in the Premier League last season in 30 matches, including seven bookings and one red (he was sent off in the 4-1 defeat to Watford in November 2021).
Jamie Vardy to score anytime
Jamie Vardy has scored seven goals on the opening weekend of the Premier League season, counting for 47% of Leicester’s total on the first matchday since returning to the Premier League for 2014/15. Only Alan Shearer, Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney (eight) have scored more goals on the Premier League’s opening weekend.
“I tried to bring Haaland to join Arsenal… but unfortunately it wasn’t enough… he just laughed”
Everyone will be looking at Haaland this weekend to see how he fares on his Premier League debut. The Norwegian wasted little time to find the net in pre-season but drew a blank in the traditional curtain-raiser of the Community Shield, as Man City lost 3-1 to FA Cup holders Liverpool.
But that shouldn’t take away from the quality the Norwegian striker will bring to the division, having been one of the most sought-after players ahead of the summer transfer window. Even Arsenal made an attempt to lure Haaland to the Emirates. Well, one of their players did, at least.
Gunners midfielder Martin Odegaard has admitted he tried to persuade compatriot Haaland to join Arsenal this summer, but the Norwegian striker laughed in response.
“We speak almost every day. We have a group on Snapchat with some of the guys from the team so we speak there a lot,” Odegaard told TalkSport.
“He’s a great guy, great player and I think unfortunately for us he will be a great signing for Manchester City! For sure he will score some goals.
“I wish him all the best except for when we play them. It will be fun to see him in England.
“When all the Arsenal fans were posting pictures of him and me I would send it to him. I tried but unfortunately it wasn’t enough… he just laughed.”