Next season’s Premier League fixture list was released earlier today.
New Manchester United boss David Moyes has a difficult start with the Red Devils visiting south Wales to take on Swansea at the Liberty Stadium.
Moyes’ replacement at Everton Roberto Martinez starts his career with a trip to one of last season’s strugglers Norwich.
Manchester City’s new boss Manuel Pellegrini will welcome Newcastle to the Etihad Stadium on his debut as Citizens boss.
Jose Mourinho’s second stint at Chelsea starts with a home encounter with newly promoted Hull at Stamford Bridge.
Cardiff marks their Premier League debut with a trip to West Ham’s Boleyn Ground.
Fellow newly promoted side Crystal Palace host Tottenham at Selhurst Park, as the Eagles prepare for their first top flight campaign in eight years. Arsenal hosts Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium in their opening fixture of the season.
Mark Hughes’ career as Stoke boss could get off to a tough start, as the Potters visit Anfield to face Liverpool. West Brom hosts Southampton at the Hawthorns in their opening game.
Sunderland hosts Fulham at the Stadium of Light, with the prospect of a host of new faces on display for the Black Cats, with boss Paolo Di Canio having already been busy in the transfer market this summer.
As always, the fixtures’ being released is exciting for supporters of clubs all over the country. The first games of the season have thrown up some interesting clashes, in what could be one of the most open Premier League campaigns in years.
Carroll set to complete move
England international striker Andy Carroll is close to completing a £15million move to West Ham from Liverpool. The striker passed a medical yesterday and is expected to complete the transfer in the next few days.
The 24-year-old spent last season on-loan at the Boleyn Ground, scoring seven goals in 24 appearances, despite suffering periods on the treatment table while in the East End. He has impressed the West Ham hierarchy enough to earn himself a permanent move.
When Carroll arrived at Liverpool for £35million from Newcastle in 2011, he was rated as one of the top young strikers in the country and big things were expected from the Geordie. Unfortunately, it did not work out how he would have liked it to at Anfield and he never really settled on Merseyside.
Six goals in 44 appearances for the Reds told of an unhappy time at Liverpool for the England international. Although the player himself claimed the price tag never affected him, it seemed like a milestone round his neck at times.
People judged him as Andy Carroll the British record transfer and then looked at his goal tally for Liverpool and mocked him at times. Carroll was unfortunately labelled a flop, despite showing flashes of what he could do at Anfield.
When Brendan Rodgers arrived at Anfield, the writing was on the wall for Andy Carroll. Rodgers likes his team to play passing, attacking football and it was obvious that Rodgers did not see Carroll as a player that could adapt to his style of play.
The saying is never judge a book by its cover, and just because Andy Carroll is tall does not mean he cannot play with the ball at his feet. The former-Newcastle player is decent at linking up play and it would be wrong just to label him as a targetman.
His main strength may be in the air, which West Ham played to last season, but he is not the useless lump that some Liverpool fans have rather harshly labelled him in the past few years.
There is far more to come from Andy Carroll, as shown in glimpses last season. The England striker can be unplayable on his day. He reminds me of former-Everton striker Duncan Ferguson in his style of play and ability in the air.
If he can stay fit next season then Andy Carroll could be a major asset to West Ham. If Carroll proves he can do it at club level then maybe he will receive a recall to the England squad and a trip to Brazil next year would be a big possibility, with a perceived lack of striking options available to Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson.
Can Andy Carroll win a recall to the England squad?