As I sit down to begin writing this preview, the 2022-23 Premier League season is already underway, with the first goal of the season in the bag as well thanks to some terrible set piece defending from Crystal Palace. Best league in the world, innit?
Chelsea have to wait until Saturday night to get the ball rolling, as we head up to Merseyside to take on Everton at Goodison. On paper, Chelsea should be favorites. But once that whistle goes, anything goes, as usual.
It promises to be a rather unique and potentially historic season, with a month-long winter break for a winter World Cup. How that will affect the league season is anyone’s guess. Many are predicting strange things — including a Spurs title challenge, even, because Conte — so we better turn on some Kate Bush and keep running up that hill.
Date / Time: Saturday, August 6, 17.30 BST; 12:30pm EDT; 10pm IST
Venue: Goodison Park, Liverpool, England
Referee: Craig Pawson (on pitch); John Brooks (VAR)
Forecast: Warm, with a slight breeze
On TV: Sky Sports Main Event (UK); USA Network, Universo (USA); Star Sports Select HD1 (India); SuperSport Premier League (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: Sky Go (UK); NBC Sports, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA); Hotstar (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Everton team news: Perhaps no team celebrated harder than Everton after escaping relegation on the final day last season, but the task at hand has only gotten harder as well following the departure of Richarlison (to Spurs). The only arrivals of note so far, center back James Tarkowski and winger Dwight McNeil were both part of a Burnley team not quite good enough to stay up last season.
Everton are sure to be busy in the transfer market this month still, but as of right now, they’re not in great shape, especially as they’re also dealing with injuries to striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin and midfielders Andre Gomes and Tom Davies. Meanwhile, another striker, Salomon Rondon carries over a suspension from last season.
Frank Lampard certainly has his work cut out for him, and we can only wish him good luck — starting next weekend of course.
View from the enemy: Royal Blue Mersey
Chelsea team news: Marc Cucurella has become our fourth big-money signing of the summer, though even if registered in time, he’s unlikely to play a big part in tomorrow’s game just yet. Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly (replacing Romelu Lukaku and Antonio Rudiger / Andreas Christensen) are both expected to start however, with young Carney Chukwuemeka probably part of the matchday squad of 20 as well. With five substitutes (from nine) now available, there should be plenty of opportunities for bench players to make their impact as well.
Much like Everton, though at the other, happier end of the table, Chelsea’s task of repeating last year’s finish has only gotten harder. The top two have both acquired marquee strikers, while the rest of the top six have only strengthened. Of course, it’s easy to forget that we not only led the league for a few months early on but were “halftime invincibles” despite everything that went on last season — i.e. never trailed in any of the 38 league games at the half — so if we can improve our ability to close out teams, games, and seasons, we might not have too far to go to get back to the top.
It’s been a dramatic few months at Chelsea, in the boardroom and in the transfer market, but now it’s time for the football to do the talking.
Previously: We have lost four in a row at Goodison and haven’t won there since 2017. Here are some happier opening day highlights instead (which, somehow, lack Mario Stanic’s goal from 2000).