This weekend sees the return of the Premier League, with a bumper fixture list over the weekend. The Saturday night football sees Manchester City face Sunderland in Pep Guardiola's first match. The Sunday afternoon football sees Bournemouth host Manchester United in another huge match for a new manager in Jose Mourinho.
Manchester City vs Sunderland – Saturday 13th August 2016 – 17:30 - BT Sport 1
Manchester City kick off the new season by facing Sunderland at the Etihad Stadium, with the Pep Guardiola era about to begin, in a match that sees two new Premier League managers go head to head.
Pep Guardiola is the man in the Manchester City hot seat and he is one of the most in demand managers in world football. City have pulled off an incredible coup in securing his signature ahead of a host of clubs.
The noisy neighbours will be hoping that they are able to finally dominate on all fronts, with European dominance yet to be achieved, despite this seasons excellent performance.
They face an enormous challenge in the Premier League this season after their rivals have all strengthened, with United improving on both the player and managerial front, Chelsea the same, Tottenham and Arsenal will be looking to improve on their 2nd and 3rd placed finishes and Leicester cannot be taken lightly.
Pep Guardiola has an excellent resume with both Barcelona and Bayern Munich serial winners under the Spaniard but the move to the Premier League represents an altogether different proposition.
The clubs he has managed so far have enjoyed domestic dominance and have nothing like the competition he will have this year, the quality of both the managers and the players in the opposition this year will test his credentials to the fullest.
They have made some excellent yet expensive signings this summer already with the Ilkay Gundogen from Borussia Dortmund, Nolito from Celta Vigo, Leroy Sane from Schalke, Gabriel Jesus from Palmeiras and the huge signing of John Stones from Everton.
This will give Guardiola the injection of youth needed to help what is an ageing squad with the likes of Yaya Toure, Vincent Kompany and Pablo Zabaleta all the wrong side of 30. This will also be to give the squad more of a Guardiola identity.
The likely departures of Wilfried Bony, Eliaquim Managala and Samir Nasri are all signs that Guardiola is stamping down his authority on the squad and getting rid of what he sees is dead weight.
Manchester City will have an enormous level of expectation given their transfer budget and their new manager and it will be very intriguing to see exactly what this City side will achieve.
North West side City will be looking to continue their excellent recent record against Sunderland and overall in 125 meetings they have won 62, lost 43 and drawn 20 matches.
Manchester City are the favourites at 2/9 with Sergio Aguero the favourite to score first at 9/4.
Sunderland also kick off another new season with a new managerial appointment and on the back of a 17th placed finish last season, they will be looking to avoid another relegation battle.
David Moyes is the man Sunderland chairman Ellis Short has chosen to replace new England manager Sam Allardyce and the Scot will be looking to build on last season with his new side giving a great account of themselves at the business end of last season.
He comes into the club with only 11 fit and available players as it stands and there is much work to be done on the transfer side of the business to be in a position to challenge for higher honours.
They have signed United duo Donald Love and Paddy McNair as Moyes looks to bolster his defence.
There has also been widespread speculation that Adnan Januzaj and Marouane Fellaini will rejoin him at the Stadium of Light and if he can secure those two signatures it will add a vast amount of quality to the side.
They ended up in 17th place, which given the position they found themselves in after a dire start to the season will give them great hope but it is a lesson that Sunderland quickly need to learn from.
Moyes is in many ways the perfect appointment for Sunderland, they have endured a lacklustre couple of years and Moyes is an excellent candidate for bringing solidity and stability to clubs, much like Sam Allardyce.
Moyes has a wealth of experience in English football after his stints with Everton and Manchester United but he will be looking to stay in this job a lot longer than his last two managerial appointments at United and Real Sociedad.
The job at Sunderland will allow him to build up the club, much like at Everton and given the correct backing there is no reason why the club can't challenge for a top ten position in the future, although given the current environment they need stability.
They have offloaded Steven Fletcher, Wes Brown, Danny Graham, Steve Harper and Martin Smith from their playing squad of last year and there are plenty of options for players to come in at Sunderland.
The Scot will have a huge job on his hands to challenge for the top ten in the Premier League, with all of the top sides resurgent and the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool, West Ham, Southampton and Everton all improving on the managerial and player fronts.
The more realistic goal this season will be to finish well above the relegation zone but first and foremost it will be to get quality players in and lots of them.
Sunderland are the underdogs at 12/1 with Harry Kane the favourite to score first for Spurs at 10/1.
Bournemouth vs Manchester United – Sunday 14th August 2016 – 13:30 - Sky Sports 1
Bournemouth kick off the new season by facing Manchester United at the Vitality Stadium, with the Jose Mourinho era about to begin.
Eddie Howe is preparing for his second season in the Premier League hot seat and he is one of the most in-demand managers in English football. There has been huge speculation about his future and another excellent season in the Premier League will only enhance his reputation.
Bournemouth fans will be delighted at their exploits last season, that saw them secure their top-flight status with around 5 games to go and they will be targeting another mid table finish and look to establish the club in the Premier League.
They face an enormous challenge in the Premier League this season after their rivals have all strengthened, with Palace looking to kick on and break into the top ten under Alan Pardew.
Sunderland have struggled in terms of player recruitment and the likes of Watford and West Brom have looked to change their fortunes with a new manager and some serious moves in the transfer market.
They will realistically be looking at their squad in comparison with those clubs and the newly promoted three in Burnley, Middlesbrough and Hull.
At the moment Eddie Howe will be very confident that he can finish above two of those sides but Middlesbrough have recruited some world class and experienced players to guide them through their first season back in the Premier League.
They have made some excellent yet expensive signings this summer already with the Jordan Ibe joining from Liverpool for £15 million, Lewis Cook from Leeds, Emerson Hyndman from Fulham, Lys Moussat from Le Havre and the recent signing of Brad Smith from Liverpool.
This will give Howe another injection of youth in what is already a young squad with the likes of Tyrone Mings, Joshua King and Callum Wilson among others. Players such as Ibe will have a point to prove and will be looking to maximise the extended playing time on offer at Bournemouth.
The departures of Matt Ritchie to Newcastle and Tommy Elphick to Aston Villa will be a huge blow to Eddie Howe, as they were a huge part of the team that kept Bournemouth up and got them promoted as well.
Bournemouth will have an enormous level of expectation given the transfer budget spent and it will be an enormous challenge to keep Bournemouth in the Premier League.
South Coast side Bournemouth will be looking to continue their excellent recent record against United in the Premier League and overall in 2 meetings they have won 1 and lost 1 and they will be hoping to reproduce the 2-1 win from last season.
Bournemouth remain underdogs at 7/2 with Callum Wilson the favourite to score first at 7/1.
Manchester United also kick off another new season with a new managerial appointment and on the back of a 5th placed finish last season, they will be looking to finally kick on and reproduce a successful post-Sir Alex Ferguson era.
Jose Mourinho is the man tasked with bringing the good times back to Old Trafford, and after what United fans were subjected to in terms of style last season there will be a huge amount of expectation on the Portuguese shoulders.
They had the bones of an excellent side at United and they boasted the best defensive record in the Premier League last season, with David De Gea between the sticks they have one of the best keepers in world football.
Mourinho has already identified four key areas that needed strengthening and he has brought in central defender Eric Bailly from Villarreal, a central midfielder in Paul Pogba who is now the most expensive footballer in the world.
An attacking midfielder in Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Borussia Dortmund and lastly a forward in the form of Zlatan Ibrahimovic who was a free transfer from PSG.
The signing of Pogba has been one of the transfer sagas of the summer and Mourinho will be delighted to have finally got that signing over the line, and he has seemingly decided that signing is enough and he has settled on his squad of 24 for the season.
They have offloaded Donald Love and Paddy McNair to Sunderland as former manager David Moyes looks to bolster his defence.
There has also been widespread speculation that Adnan Januzaj and Marouane Fellaini will rejoin him at the Stadium of Light and this may be an option that Mourinho decides to take up.
Jose Mourinho will have a huge job on his hands to challenge for the top spot in the Premier League, with all of the top sides resurgent and the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham, Arsenal, Liverpool and Leicester all improving on the managerial and player fronts.
The goal will be to win the league outright and a minimum acceptable requirement will be a second place finish to automatically qualify for the Champions League, but given how bullish Mourinho has been a first place finish is his minimum requirement.
They will need to improve their record against Bournemouth, with a win and a loss in their two matches against the south coast side, but the 2-1 win against Leicester in the Community Shield will give them great confidence of a huge season ahead.
United are the favourites at 17/20 and Zlatan Ibrahimovic is 7/2 to score first for the Red Devils.
Aguero to score first @ 9/4 and Manchester City to win 3-1 @ 10/1
Martial to score first @ 13/2 and Manchester United to win 2-1 @ 15/2