We have officially entered the dog days of summer, and that can only mean one thing: autumn, and the start of the sports season, is just around the corner. The U.S. Open will kick off on August 28 in the final Grand Slam of the tennis year, whilst the NFL season gets underway on September 7. The defending champions Kansas City Chiefs will host the Detroit Lions for opening day, whilst the reigning NFC champions Philadelphia Eagles will travel to Massachusetts and face off against the New England Patriots in a rematch of the 2018 Super Bowl — check out the best NFL week 1 odds here.
As for the most popular sport in the world, it’s safe to say that the football season has already begun. PSV Eindhoven beat Feyenoord 1-0 in the Johan Cruyff Shield via a late goal from summer signing Noa Lang, who joined from Club Brugge for a club-record €15 million, whilst Royal Antwerp narrowly edged Mechelen on penalties in the Belgian Super Cup.
The curtain-raiser of the Portuguese football season would see Benfica take the lead within an hour as new signings Orkun Kokcu and Angel Di Maria combined for the opener, with Petar Musa coming off the bench and doubling their lead shortly after. Pepe kneed new signing David Jurasek in the rear and was sent off, taking off his shirt and holding it up in front of the Benfica fans, whilst Porto manager Sergio Conceicao also saw red in the final minutes and refused to come off until captain Ivan Marcano eventually persuaded him to exit.
Over in England, treble winners and reigning Champions League victors Manchester City looked headed for yet another piece of silverware as homegrown talents Phil Foden and Cole Palmer combined for the opening goal within 77 minutes, only for Leandro Trossard to equalize in the 11th minute of injury time. A penalty shootout ensued, with Arsenal prevailing and securing their 17th Community Shield title at Wembley Stadium.
Manchester City will kick off the Premier League season on Friday at Turf Moor. Whilst City won their third consecutive Premier League title and fifth in the past six years with a five-point advantage over Arsenal, Burnley would steamroll their way to automatic promotion, finishing 10 points above second-placed Sheffield United and 20 above Luton Town, bouncing back to the Prem after one year in England’s second division.
It is likely that quite a few players on the Burnley side will be facing off against their former club. CJ Egan-Riley spent 12 years at City’s academy, making his EFL Cup, Champions League, and Premier League debuts in 2021/22 before heading to Burnley, although it is unclear if he will be involved after spending the past few months on loan at Hibernian. It is unclear whether Arijanet Muric or James Trafford — the latter arriving for £19m following a stellar display for England in the U-21 Euros — will get the start in goal, but one thing’s for sure: either player would be making their Premier League debut against their previous team.
After joining from Hamburg in 2008, Vincent Kompany would play a vital role in Manchester City’s transition from a middling side to the kings of English football and a European powerhouse. The Belgian won four league titles, captaining them from 2011 onwards, before departing in 2019 as the greatest center back in club history. Kompany has since begun his managerial career at Anderlecht before taking charge of Burnley in 2022 and guiding them to promotion, and after a whopping 265 Premier League appearances as a player, he’ll finally be making his managerial debut in England’s top-flight.
Saturday’s action gets underway with Arsenal hosting Nottingham Forest at the Emirates, an opponent that has been a thorn in the side of the Gunners. Forest knocked Arsenal out of the FA Cup in January 2018 before pulling off the same feat four years later, proceeding to earn promotion to the Premier League and end a 23-year top-flight drought. Mikel Arteta’s side would proceed to beat Forest 5-0 on October 30, 2022, with Reiss Nelson replacing Bukayo Saka within 27 minutes and registering a brace and an assist for Arsenal.
It was Forest who had the last laugh, however. Taiwo Awoniyi’s early goal would see the Tricky Trees prevail 1-0, ending Arsenal’s title charge and confirming Forest’s top-flight status. Over in Manchester, the Manchester City squad watched the match in the club’s training ground and erupted in elation as the referee blew the final whistle, confirming yet another trophy for Pep Guardiola’s side.
Arsenal will be looking to avenge their defeat from May, whilst Matt Turner — who joined Forest this week for £10 million after a year as Arsenal’s backup goalkeeper — will be looking to make a positive impression on his new employers and keep out the likes of Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Kai Havertz and Martin Odegaard.
The weekend’s action continues with a mouth-watering run of fixtures that will see Chelsea kick off the Mauricio Pochettino era against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, whilst Marco Silva will return to his old stomping grounds and lead Fulham into action against Everton. Stay tuned for what promises to be yet another enthralling Premier League campaign.