The fever of the return of the most popular league in the world, The English Premier League is spreading like wildfire.
Last season every race – the title, European spots and relegation – was decided on the final day, and those battles promise to be just as intense in 2022/23.
Manchester City and Liverpool each have an exciting new striker, with Erling Haaland joining the champions and Darwin Nunez signing for the Reds. Who will settle quicker, and could that be decisive?
Chelsea and Arsenal have both recruited stars from Man City in a bid to catch the champions, with Thomas Tuchel’s Blues signing Raheem Sterling, while Mikel Arteta has taken Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko from his former club.
Tottenham Hotspur did the double over Man City last term and have now shown their ambition under Antonio Conte by signing Ivan Perisic, Richarlison and Yves Bissouma, among others.
At Manchester United, new manager Erik ten Hag has shown early signs of getting the best out of Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, while Christian Eriksen has bolstered the squad.
West Ham United will target European qualification for a third straight season, while Newcastle United could enter the fight after flying up the league in 2021/22 under Eddie Howe.
Similarly, Frank Lampard and Jesse Marsch will be looking forward to a clean slate with Everton and Leeds United respectively after joining a relegation battle midway through last season.
All eyes will be on two-time European champions Nottingham Forest as they make their long-awaited Premier League return after a 23-year absence, while AFC Bournemouth and Fulham will aim for an extended stay in the top flight.
This will also be a unique season, with the FIFA World Cup taking place halfway through from 21 November to 18 December.
The stars heading to Qatar will aim to hit the ground running in the Premier League and be in peak form for the start of the tournament.
The impact of the four-week competition will then add an extra layer of intrigue and unpredictability to the second half of the domestic campaign when it resumes on Boxing Day.
Already, an appetizer has been served as Arsenal thrashed Crystal Palace 0-2 at Selhurst Park on the opening day of the English Premier League (EPL) yesterday to kick-start their push for a league title.
The Gunners picked up their blistering pre-season form to see off a Palace side that defeated them Three-Nil towards the end of last season.
That defeat at Palace last season sparked a run of five defeats in the final 10 games of the season to cost Arsenal a place in the Premier League top four and Champions League Football for a sixth consecutive year.
But the board has kept faith with Arteta and backed the Spaniard with over £100 million to spend in the transfer market.
There was to be no repeat of that capitulation as Gabriel Martinelli scored the first goal of the 2022/2023 EPL season, as he struck on 20 minutes to give the Gunners the lead at Palace.
A perfect lofted pass from Oleksandr Zinchenko found Martinelli, who jumped highest and steered a close-range header straight into the bottom left corner.
His effort was both strong and precise, and Guaita had no chance of stopping it.
The visitors got their second goal on the 85th minute from Marc Guehi’s own-goal.
Guehi attempted to head the ball away after a cross was put into the penalty area by Bukayo Saka, but instead, he accidentally sent it inside the left post of his own goal leaving the goalkeeper in no man’s land.