West Ham United and Aston Villa go head to head in search of a memorable victory to begin the campaign with.
The Hammers are newly promoted of course, while this is Paul Lambert’s first competitive game in charge of Aston Villa, so there is plenty to keep an eye on when this one gets underway.
Focusing more closely on West Ham to begin with, their fans will expect more than just a relegation battle this season. They feel as if they belong in the Premier League and will hope they can go from strength to strength against stronger opposition.
Manager Sam Allardyce will know how tough it is going to be though and in all honesty, he would probably take 17th position right now.
The Hammers are then back in the big time and can build again next season. They cannot expect too much too soon.
Their ambition is unquestionable though as the attempt to bring Andy Carroll in on loan highlighted. The Liverpool striker did turn down the move, but James Collins, Modibo Maiga and several others have been brought in to boost the squad.
As for Aston Villa, they are hoping for much better things this season. They had a thoroughly miserable campaign last time out and the inevitable happened when Alex McLeish left the club.
They then went about securing a new manager and appointed the very highly-rated Paul Lambert from Norwich City. He then said all the right things to have the fans in good spirits and brought in several new faces too.
A positive start would be fantastic for Lambert and this new look Villa side of course, so this weekend’s trip to East London is very significant for them. They will be delighted that Darren Bent is fit and reading to score goals. The England striker will lead the line on Saturday afternoon.
This battle between the two claret and blue Premier League sides should be a very competitive one. Neither side wants to begin their new era with a defeat, that’s for sure.