Well, well, well… the Premier League’s 2015/16 fixture list is out, and, although provisional for now, fans up and down the country are gearing up for another campaign of thrills and excitement, or heartbreak and disappointment – depending on which side is the subject of your undying love!
Of course the majority of the attention will be focused upon which team will be lifting the big prize come May, and after a procession to the title from Chelsea just about a month ago, it would be nice to see a spicy conclusion to the looming season. It may be a bit early to start predicting things – the transfer window hasn’t even opened yet! – but with the games laid out and the usual candidates (Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City and, possibly, Liverpool) likely to be involved in the dramatic climax, we at FFC Towers have been looking ahead to the must-not-miss games of the 2015/16 campaign, and here are TEN we think could have a big impact on the home of the trophy…
The fixture gods have been kind this time around, and we fans won’t have to wait long for the first true epic of the season. Gameweek two presents us all with the chance to see last year’s big two clash in the shape of Man City and Chelsea, in what could be, even in August, a potentially big influencer in the title race. The tie ended 1-1 last year, with none other than Frank Lampard netting a late equaliser in the sky blue shirt…
Just over a month on, we’re predicting a true epic from Manchester United and Liverpool. By this point the Reds’ flimsy title hopes may have died, but even if they have, Louis van Gaal’s men are likely to be in it for the long run, so points against their bitter rivals will be welcome. The pair always produce top-notch bouts, and with an aggregate scoreline of 5-2 in United’s favour from last season, they’ll be confident.
One for the mid 2000s enthusiasts here. Chelsea vs. Liverpool was an almost weekly thing during the back ends of seasons 10 years ago, with European and cup clashes between Jose Mourinho’s and Rafa Benitez’s sides commonplace. The Blues undoubtedly hold the upper hand, but Liverpool have proven themselves to be unpredictable against the Londoners in recent years.
The last epic of 2015 sees Man United host Chelsea. Although it’s early, these two are widely being tipped as the title favourites, and this mid-winter battle may send shockwaves through the remaining months of the campaign.
A dramatic 2-2 last season at Anfield was one of the more entertaining games away from the top end of the division. The pair could be in top four contention by now, but with Arsenal having looked like a true force over the back end of the season just gone, they could, realistically, aim for the coveted Premier League trophy. Liverpool, though, are no pushovers at home, so this one has all the hallmarks of an entertaining and important 90 minutes.
Not a top-end bout in a conventional sense, but this fixture could tell us all we need to know about Arsenal’s credentials. Traditionally the Gunners struggle at the Britannia Stadium, with the ‘rough ‘n’ ready’ Potters very much the kryptonite to Wenger’s Superman. Last season Arsenal were trounced by Stoke away – and Wenger was booed onto the train home by fans – could there be a repeat?
An all-London affair with an edge. Although we’d heavily back Chelsea at the Bridge, the Emirates Stadium is a very different prospect, with Wenger’s side a force at home. This game could set up a very interesting latter half of the campaign.
Chelsea back in action again here, but this time they’re at home to Man United. Two tactical juggernauts will face off in the shape of Jose and LVG, and the Stamford Bridge setting could be vital, with the Blues strong in the west end of the capital.
Although many City fans may be dressed as blue seats at the Etihad (jokes), this one will be a spicy affair. The Manchester derby always has more than the result riding on it, but with March very much the start of the sprint to the line, local pride could be joined by title ambitions in the prize pot.
The last massive one of the season. The penultimate weekend offers up Man City vs. Arsenal, and the loser may well be knocked out of the running for good. With points so vital in the last two games, a knockout blow could delivered at the Etihad Stadium. But to whom?