by Ian Ennis – The Barclays Premier League officially released the fixture list for the 2015/16 season on June 17th. This will be the 24th season of the Premier League. This season promises high intensity matches with triumph and heart break throughout. Fans have been waiting for weeks to see what days their favorite teams would be playing and their wait is finally over. To celebrate, we here at World Soccer Shop have decided to put together a list of the best matchups to look out for of the upcoming 15/16 season.
Matches organized by team:
Arsenal vs Liverpool (8/22/15 & 1/12/16)
Just like other high profile top 4 matchups this season, Arsenal vs. Liverpool has historically been a fan favorite for both clubs. Who can forget the classic game between the two in 2009 when Andrey Arshavin scored 4 goals in a thrilling 4-4 draw? Although recent matches have not been that high scoring, the level of competition is still at its highest. Last season, Arsenal came off the better after drawing 2-2 at Anfield and winning 4-1 at the Emirates. This season’s meetings between the two are bound to be just as hyped as ever with both teams trying to secure top 4 finishes for lucrative UEFA Champions League spots next season. These two matches could decide which team is counting Champions League coin.
Arsenal vs Chelsea (9/19/15 & 1/23/16)
All that needs to be said about this fixture between these two Premier League giants is: the infamous tie flip. Last year when the two met at the Emirates near the end of the season, during an eventual 0-0 draw, managers Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger came together for a little touchline scuffle over a bad call by a referee that ended with Wenger pushing “The Special One” back and Jose responding by flipping Arsense’s tie in his face. The altercation was plastered all over the Internet as soccer pundits around the world had a field day with it. Their meeting on September 19th will be the first time the teams have met since then. With the professional respect, yet obvious animosity between the two managers being the fuel behind the two teams’ quest for Premier League glory, this matchup could shapeup to be one of the best of the season.
Arsenal vs Manchester United (10/3/15 & 2/27/15)
This rivalry needs no introduction. Arsenal and Manchester United have hated each other since the day Arsene Wenger took over at the Emirates in 1996. The rivalry used to be between former United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and Wenger, but recently it has been more heated between fans as games between these two are always on the line between utter chaos and destruction. Who can forget the historic dismantling of Arsenal in 2011 with United proudly proclaiming their dominance at Old Trafford in an 8-2 victory? Last campaign, the two met for a 2-1 win and 1-1 tie in favor of Manchester United. After stealing the title from under Arsenal’s nose multiple times, most recently in 2008, this game is bound to be one of the high points of the season.
Arsenal vs Manchester City (12/19/15 & 5/7/16)
Hopeful champions Manchester City only have a few major tests on their road to regaining the title from current holders, Chelsea. One of their biggest challenges: Arsenal. The two met last season and Arsenal ran away with a 2-0 win and a 2-2 draw after all was said and done. Recent acquisitions for the Gunners are starting to gel as was shown with their form at the tail end of last season. City have started to spend heavily in the transfer window to sure up their squad for another title push. The matchup between these two heavy weights will be entertaining and integral for their respective goals for the season.
Arsenal vs Tottenham (11/7/15 & 3/5/16)
One of the biggest derbies in the Premier League, the North London derby is between Arsenal v Tottenham and is a game to look forward to every season. The Spurs won 2-1 and tied 1-1 against the Gunners last year as derby hero Harry Kane saved the day multiple times for Tottenham. The emotion in the crowd before these two teams meet up every year is unreal and their passion to beat one another has created some Premier League classics over the years. Both teams play high intensity, fast paced soccer and when they go head to head, it is a treat for any fan of the game. Both teams also have decent chances of getting into Europe so these two games could be major deciders on who will experience the triumph of making it to the premier competition in all of Europe, and the heartbreak of losing out.
Chelsea vs Tottenham (11/28/15 & 4/30/16)
Another London derby, this edition might even be more contested than Tottenham v Arsenal. Last season the two shared a win and loss each as Chelsea won 3-0 and Tottenham won 5-3 on the return fixture at White Hart Lane. Along with Arsenal, these two teams are the rulers of London, and whoever comes out on top has bragging rights over the other two for the remainder of the season. Tottenham looks to be one of Chelsea’s toughest tests as they look to retain their Premier League title next year. Both players and fans should mark these dates in their calendar as they could turn out to be extremely important on the makeup of the table at the end of the season.
Chelsea vs Manchester United (12/28/15 & 2/6/16)
The big two. Between these two giants of the Premier League, they have won 17 out of the 23 possible titles. Manchester United is currently in the lead with 13, but Chelsea is second with a respectable 4 titles, most of which coming in the last few seasons. Chelsea always gears up for a game with United. No matter what kind of form the two teams are in, they always seem to be able to step up their play in this high profile matchup. In their history of 165 matches, United have won 68, Chelsea have won 47, and they have tied 50 times. These two games could be title deciders as they were last season when the sides met in a 1-1 draw and 1-0 Chelsea win at the end of the season. Hopefully, both fixtures will have the tenacity and spirit that they have had in the past because if so, the fans are in for a real treat.
Chelsea vs Liverpool (10/31/15 & 3/12/16)
This is a clash between two teams that have quite a history with each other. This fixture towards the end of the 13/14 season will live in infamy as an untimely slip from captain, Steven Gerrard, gifted the Blues a 2-0 win against the Lancashire side and completed their title hopes destruction as Liverpool were overtaken at the top by Manchester City who went on to win the title. The difference between first place City and second placed Liverpool: 2 points. That win could have given Liverpool their first Premier League title in its history, yet it was not to be. Every year since then, Liverpool as looked to these 2 fixtures to get revenge on their London rivals by denting their title hopes with every chance they could get. Unfortunately for Liverpool, Chelsea was the better side last year as they won 2-1 and drew 1-1 in pursuit of their 4th title. Liverpool always puts up fierce opposition, so these games should be some of the highlights of the 15/16 season.
Chelsea vs Manchester City (8/15/15 & 4/16/16)
These two teams are slated to be battling it out for the title by the end of the season. Both of their squads are stronger than ever, which bodes well for their matchups early and late in the season. Manchester City have finally settled on a manager after years of uncertainty. Manuel Pellegrini will start this season in his 3rd season with the citizens as he goes head to head with veteran manger Jose Mourinho. The rivalries in this matchup will make it an instant classic: Aguero vs Terry, Hazard vs Kompany, Hart vs Courtois, Matic vs Nasri, everything a match needs to be great is within these two squads. Whether you are a diehard fan or a neutral, these matchups should be worth the watch.
Everton vs Liverpool (10/3/15 & 2/27/16)
The Merseyside derby is one of the fiercest, most hotly contested derbies in all of England. The rivalry is palpable and the players know it. When US and Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard was asked to describe playing in the derby, he responded by saying the feeling was unreal and the will to win from both teams was stronger than anything he had ever experienced. In just the Premier League era, the two teams have met a total of 46 times. Liverpool have won 19, Everton have won 9, and they have drawn 18 times. Most Everton fans would do nearly anything to keep their team from slipping further away from their crosstown rivals. No longer known as a “friendly derby” according to the Liverpool Echo, the red and blue sides of Liverpool will meet twice more this season to see who will rule the city for the next year. Needless to say, these are must watch games for any soccer fan.
Liverpool vs Manchester United (9/12/15 & 1/16/16)
The only team Liverpool players and fans might hate as much as Everton is Manchester United. The two have traded blows back and forth and tempers usually boil over as consistently, on one team or the other, every time these two meet, there is a major talking point after the game. Whether someone gets ejected or a manager goes ballistic on a referee for missing a possible game winning penalty kick call, there is always something to talk about. Don’t be the one of your friends that missed the match because you didn’t think it was worth the watch. This rivalry is considered by some to be one of the biggest rivalry matches in European soccer and possibly the world. As always, these two fixtures promise to be high in intensity, importance, and passion for all involved.
Liverpool vs Manchester City (10/21/15 & 3/1/16)
After snatching the title from under Liverpool’s nose in 2014, these two teams have been at each other’s throats ever since. With 3 games to go at the end of the season, Liverpool was 2 points above nearest rivals Chelsea and 3 above City. While this isn’t a huge margin, you would think Liverpool with its history and array of talent could have held on for the final two games. Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out that way as dropped points in their last few games ended the season with Manchester City as champions, 2 points above Liverpool in the table. At one time, this matchup was just a regular season game with no real significance. In recent years, however, the matchup has transformed into a grudge match that is always a special occasion for any fan of the game.
Liverpool vs Stoke City (8/8/15 & 4/9/16)
While this matchup doesn’t seem like a high profile game as others are on this list, all one has to do is look back at the final day of the 14/15 season to see why this matchup has the potential to be one of the most emotionally charged of the season. On the final day of last season, Steven Gerrard stepped out onto the Britannia Stadium pitch for the final time in Liverpool colors. The game seemed simple enough with Stoke City underdogs in what was supposed to be a nice, easy send off for the legendary Liverpool skipper. Stoke City, however, didn’t read the script and trounced Liverpool 6-1 in one of their most embarrassing losses of the season. This campaign, Liverpool will be looking to avenge that loss for their MLS bound former captain and set the record straight for their fans who expect better from their team.
Manchester City vs Manchester United (10/24/15 & 4/19/16)
The Manchester derby is one of the biggest matches of the calendar year for both teams. Some of the greatest Premier League and First Division games have been Manchester derbies. Recent derbies have excited all spectators recalling Manchester United’s injury time triumph in the 4-3 derby win in 2009 or the equally impressive 6-1 decimation of United at Old Trafford in 2011. Despite recent losses to City, United still have the advantage in the series winning 70 of their 169 official meetings to City’s 49. This season’s matchup should prove to be a good game after successful finishes from both clubs in last year’s campaign. All one has to do is ask a United fan what team he or she would rather be than anyone else: the majority would say City and the same is true for the blue half of Manchester. Who will rule the city?
Manchester United vs Swansea City (8/29/15 & 1/2/16)
United v Swansea has all the ingredients for a good match from past history to common techniques to the will to win. Last year, in an unprecedented fashion, Swansea City did the double over United beating them 2-1 both times. A club of United’s history rarely gets beat twice by the same team in one season, but the results were a real testament to Swansea’s ability as they continued their rise in the Premier League to finish 8th in the 14/15 season. This year, with United finally trying to make a title charge after a few less than successful years, revenge over Swansea would not only help them towards their goals, but would be icing on the cake. Swansea’s attacking style of soccer could prove to be too much for the Lancashire side, but this matchup is sure to be just as exciting as years past with even more importance on the win.
Newcastle United vs Sunderland (10/24/15 & 3/19/16)
One of the most contested matches on both teams’ calendars, the Tyne-Wear derby is a huge deal in the northeast of England. The top two teams in their region, Newcastle and Sunderland have been at each other’s throats since their first meeting in 1883. It is the timeless crosstown rivalry that was inspired by off the field actions as the two cities found themselves on opposite sides of the English Civil War which only aggravated their rivalry. The series is neck and neck as Newcastle has won 53 of their meetings, while Sunderland have won 52. Last season, Sunderland did the double over their rivals winning 1-0 on both legs to rule the northeast. This season, Newcastle will be looking for revenge and to keep their slim winning record alive for just a bit longer. As with all derbies, expect a fiery atmosphere in the stands and at home with cards, goals, and emotions flying.
Southampton vs Tottenham (12/19/15 & 5/7/16)
Southampton v Tottenham has always been one of the better quality games of the Premier League season. The two are known for their slick style of possession and quick team counter-attacks. Both teams will also be looking for places in the Europa League after impressive finishes last season. These two games, especially the game at White Hart Lane in May, could decide which team falls in an automatic spot in the Europa League and which has a little more fighting to do. When the two met last season, Tottenham won 1-0 at White Hart Lane, while the two drew 2-2 at St. Mary’s Stadium in April. Both legs this season should be action packed with good quality, flowing soccer from both teams.
West Bromwich Albion vs Aston Villa (9/19/15 & 1/23/16)
While these teams have a lesser known hatred of each other to international viewers, to both these teams, this game is extremely important. The matchup between the two is known as the West Midlands Derby because each team’s stadium is only 4 miles from the other. Local dominance is everything in derbies and this one is no different. Former Villa and Albion winger Tony Morley said of the derby “for us players West Brom was always the massive game… it was probably more vital to beat West Brom because they were such a good side.” The game has always been about what team was best in the midlands. On March 7th, 2015, Aston Villa defeated West Brom 2-0 in an FA Cup quarterfinal at the Villains home stadium, Villa Park, which promoted a pitch invasion and multiple fights and arrests. If you are looking for a local derby that is not as hyped as others, but still has the passion of wanting to win at all costs from both fans and players, the look no further.
Opening Day Big Matchups:
AFC Bournemouth vs Aston Villa
Chelsea vs Swansea City
Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur
Boxing Day Big Matchups:
Arsenal vs Southampton (12/26)
Everton vs Stoke City (12/28)
Leicester City vs Liverpool (12/26) & Leicester City vs Manchester City (12/28)
Manchester United vs Stoke City (12/26) & Manchester United vs Chelsea (12/28)
Sunderland vs Manchester City (12/26) & Sunderland vs Liverpool (12/28)
Watford vs Chelsea (12/26) & Watford vs Tottenham Hotspur (12/28)
Final Day Big Matchups:
AFC Bournemouth vs Manchester United
Arsenal vs Aston Villa
Manchester City vs Swansea City
Newcastle vs Tottenham Hotspur
Stoke City vs West Ham
What do you think of our list of top Premier League ties for 2015/16? Is there another big match up that you think should be included?
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