1. The last game of the 2011 season saw Blackburn and Wolves face each other at Molineux with top flight survival on the line for both.
Wolves were on the cusp of the drop when they were down 3-0 at half time but other results went their way after they narrowed the gap to 3-2.
Obviously, both sides survived to fight another Premier League season.
Wolves need to do two things if they are to avoid a repeat of last season’s nerve-racking finale.
First of all they need to improve their away form – only 12 points last season away from home.
The second is that they need to improve their record against bottom half sides – which Blackburn is likely to be again this season. In 2010/11 Wolves took 24 of their 40 points from top half sides. No team gained fewer points against bottom half teams last season than Wolves.
2. Liverpool has spent a lot of money this summer (whether in existing or constant pounds!) and one of their high-profile signings could line-up against his old teammates this weekend. Jordan Henderson cost around $35m from Sunderland and one of Kenny Dalglish’s big decisions is who does he start in a midfield?
Dalglish has on paper a surplus of midfield riches even with Steven Gerrard out through injury. How will Dalglish set his side up in midfield and will he start young Henderson?
3. Last season Roy Hodgson started as the man in charge of Liverpool but finished as West Brom’s gaffer. He managed to stop the hemorrhaging that threatened to cut short West Brom’s Premier League life last season and eventually they finished 11th and eight points out of a relegation spot.
Famous for drilling good defensive and positional habits into his sides, Hodgson will hope that a full pre-season with the Baggies will cut into the 71 goals they conceded last season.
This Sunday’s opener against defending the Premier League Champions will be a test given that last season Manchester United scored 78 goals – more than any other team.
4. Two promoted sides see action on Saturday with QPR at home to Bolton and Norwich away to Wigan. Swansea appears to face the biggest challenge with a trip to whatever Manchester City are calling their stadium this season.
Who will be the first promoted team to be referred to as this season’s “Blackpool” and to be tagged with the phrase “a breath of fresh-air”?
5. Britannia Stadium is commonly regarded as a tricky place to travel to – especially on a cold and wet Wednesday night. Chelsea has always made trips up the motorway on weekends and maybe that is why they are unbeaten in three visits with a couple of wins and a draw.
Can Andre Villas-Boas prove his pundit-assigned Premier League credentials by maintaining Chelsea’s solid record at the Britannia? One other note – doesn’t it sound strange to hear that both clubs are fighting on domestic and European fronts this season?
6. Last season the then newly promoted Newcastle took four points off of Arsenal. There was an early season 1-0 win at Emirates followed by the famous (for Newcastle fans) or infamous (for Arsenal supporters) 4-4 draw at St. James Park.
With the departure of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri now looking inevitable and injury problems already an issue it will interesting to see whether Arsene Wenger sticks the 4-2-3-1 formation he favoured last season or goes for a makeover.
The pace and movement of Robin Van Persie and Gervinho has the potential to plaster over a lot of short-term problems if they can meld quickly.
7. Two new managers face each other at Craven Cottage when Fulham (Martin Jol) faces Aston Villa (Alex McLeish).
Will we see a radically different Fulham from that of Mark Hughes?
How will Alex McLeish set up a Villa side that has two distinct qualities missing from his Birmingham side – pace and proven goalscorers in Darren Bent and Gabriel Agbonlahor?
8. How shall we punish the first person to mention that Tottenham Hotspur are bottom of the Premier League when it comes time to preview round 2?
Anything you’re tracking this weekend?
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