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The 2017–18 Premier League will be the 26th season of the Premier League, the top English professional league for association football clubs, since its establishment in 1992. The season is scheduled to start on 11 August 2017 and finish on 13 May 2018.
It may prove to be a sterner test for Antonio Conte’s Chelsea this time around as they have the added pressures of European football to contend with. This season they will be joining Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur & Manchester City in the hunt for Champions League glory.
We will be giving you our thoughts on the title race, race to avoid the drop, golden boot plus loads more including the best sportsbook offers for you to choose from to place your bets as the season develops.
The New Boys
The first club to be promoted was Brighton & Hove Albion, following their 2–1 win at home to Wigan Athletic on 17 April 2017, coupled with Huddersfield Town’s 1–1 draw against Derby County. Brighton will play in the top flight of English football for the first time since 1983, and will play in the Premier League for the first time in their history.
The second club to be promoted was Newcastle United, sealing their immediate return to the Premier League by beating Preston North End 4–1 at home on 24 April 2017. They were crowned champions on 7 May 2017 after beating Barnsley 3–0 at home, coupled with Aston Villa’s 1–1 draw against fellow promoted club Brighton.
The third and final club to be promoted was play-off winners Huddersfield Town, who beat Reading 4–3 on penalties after a 0–0 draw in both regular and extra time in the EFL Championship play-off final on 29 May 2017. Huddersfield will play in the top flight of English football for the first time in 45 years, and will play in the Premier League for the first time in their history.
The Title Race
Leicester City’s 5000/1 title triumph two seasons ago means more and more supporters are prepared to back their side for the biggest prize in English football.
Even fans of newly-promoted trio Newcastle United, Brighton and Huddersfield Town might be tempted to put a few quid on their team, as unlikely as it may be.
But who really are the favourites, according to the bookies?
According to the bookies Manchester City are the favourites at 2/1 to be crowned Premier League Champions in 2017/18. Pep Guardiola enters his second season as City boss hoping to improve upon last season’s third place finish and has bolstered his squad with the likes of Kyle Walker, Ederson, Danilo & the hugely talented Bernardo Silva from Monaco.
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Cristiano Ronaldo fired Real Madrid to the Champions League in May last year
The 2017 UEFA Champions League final will be the 19th UEFA competition meeting between Juventus and Real Madrid – all in the European Cup – and there is virtually nothing between the sides. Both clubs have eight wins and two draws, with Juve scoring 21 goals to Madrid’s 18. UEFA.com runs through the previous fixtures.
1961/62 European Champion Clubs’ Cup quarter-finals Juventus 0-1 Real Madrid Real Madrid 0-1 Juventus Real Madrid 3-1 Juventus (replay in Paris) The opening instalment in what would become one of Europe’s most even rivalries, needed appropriately a third game to separate the teams. Having had their five-year grip on the European Cup broken the previous season, Madrid won in Turin through Alfredo Di Stéfano’s late strike as they sought to regain the crown – only for Omar Sívori’s goal in Spain to force a Paris replay. There Felo put the five-time champions in front within 60 seconds, and while Sívori replied again before-half-time, second-half efforts from Luis del Sol and Justo Tejada finally took Madrid through.
1986/87 European Champion Clubs’ Cup second round Real Madrid 1-0 Juventus Juventus 1-0 Real Madrid (aet; Real Madrid win 3-1 on penalties) Twenty-five years later, Emilio Butragueño gave Madrid the upper hand with the only goal of the Santiago Bernabéu first leg, but once more Juve responded in Turin thanks to Angelo Cabrini’s ninth-minute reply. Unlike their first meeting, there were no replays so penalties settled the tie; both teams missed their first attempts but whereas Madrid converted their next three, Lionello Manfredonia and Luciano Favero were off target for Juve to end their side’s campaign.
1995/96 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals Real Madrid 1-0 Juventus Juventus 2-0 Real Madrid This first tussle of the UEFA Champions League era brought a first Juve aggregate victory en route to their second European crown – again, however, they were beaten in Spain following Raúl González’s strike midway through the opening half. This time, though, they turned the tie round in Turin, Alessandro Del Piero and Michele Padovano scoring early in each half, with Madrid’s hopes effectively extinguished by Rafael Alkorta’s 72nd-minute red card. Juve also finished with ten men after Moreno Torricelli’s dismissal with 11 minutes left, but held on.
1997/98 UEFA Champions League final Juventus 0-1 Real Madrid The teams’ most high-profile meeting to date came at the Amsterdam ArenA, where Predrag Mijatović got the only goal midway through the second period. The Madrid forward scrambled in from close range in the 66th minute to seal his side’s seventh European title, 32 years on from their sixth.
2002/03 UEFA Champions League semi-finals Real Madrid 2-1 Juventus Juventus 3-1 Real Madrid Again Juve were in arrears after the Madrid first leg, where goals in either half from Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos had given the hosts the edge despite David Trezeguet’s riposte on the stroke of half-time. It was a different story in northern Italy, strikes by Trezeguet, Del Piero – both before the interval – and Pavel Nedvěd on 73 minutes rendering irrelevant a late effort from Juve old boy Zinédine Zidane. Nedvěd, however, picked up a late booking to rule him out of the final, lost on penalties to AC Milan.
2004/05 UEFA Champions League round of 16 Real Madrid 1-0 Juventus Juventus 2-0 Real Madrid (aet) The Italian giants made it three two-legged knockout wins in a row against Madrid despite finding themselves in familiar territory following the first leg. Once more their colours were lowered in the Spanish capital courtesy of Iván Helguera’s 31st-minute strike, but Trezeguet netted with 15 minutes left in Turin to bring on extra time. After Ronaldo and Juve substitute Alessio Tacchinardi had been sent off in the 113th minute, three minutes later Marcelo Zalayeta conjured a Bianconeri winner.
2008/09 UEFA Champions League group stage Juventus 2-1 Real Madrid Real Madrid 0-2 Juventus Juve gained the upper hand in the clubs’ first group meetings, goals from Del Piero and Amauri securing a home victory despite Ruud van Nistelrooy halving the deficit. Del Piero notched two more as Juve recorded their first away win against Madrid in 46 years – and booked their place in the round of 16. Madrid joined them there but neither advanced any further.
2013/14 UEFA Champions League group stage Real Madrid 2-1 Juventus Juventus 2-2 Real Madrid Three seasons ago it was Madrid’s turn to hold sway in the group fixtures, all the goals at the Bernabéu coming in the first half-hour with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring either side of Fernando Llorente’s 22nd-minute equaliser. Giorgio Chiellini was red-carded early in the second half and duly banned for the Turin rematch, where Juve’s goals came from Arturo Vidal and Llorente and sandwiched Ronaldo and Gareth Bale’s responses for the visitors. While Juve dropped into the UEFA Europa League, Madrid went on to collect the trophy for a tenth time.
2014/15 UEFA Champions League semi-finals Juventus 2-1 Real Madrid Real Madrid 1-1 Juventus In the semi-finals for the first time since their 2002/03 defeat of Madrid, Massimiliano Allegri’s Juve eked out a first-leg advantage in Turin thanks to goals from Álvaro Morata – signed from Madrid the previous summer – and Carlos Tévez either side of a Ronaldo strike. Ronaldo levelled the tie from the spot 23 minutes into the Bernabéu return, only for Morata to score again 12 minutes after half-time to take Juve through at the expense of his former, and now current, employers.
Manchester United are in the Europa League final, but when exactly is the climax to Europe’s second-tier competition?
United reached the final with a 2-1 aggregate victory over Celta Vigo, and will face Ajax, who beat Lyon 5-4 on aggregate.
And here is all you need to know about the showdown, including when it is, where it is being held and what added incentive awaits the winners…
What time is kick-off?
The match gets underway at 7.45pm BST.
Where is the final?
The final is being held at Solna’s Friends Arena in Stockholm. The ground has a capacity of 50,000 and was the scene of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s never-to-be-forgotten wonder goal in Sweden’s 4-2 friendly international win over England in 2012.
The Friends Arena hosts this season’s Europa League final
However, the Swede will not be featuring in his homeland after suffering a season-ending knee injury in the quarter-finals.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (centre) celebrates after scoring that wondergoal against England at the Friends Arena in 2014
Did you know?
Stockholm is the only European city to have hosted the final of all four major international football events – the men’s and women’s World Cup and the men’s and women’s European Championships.
It’s all to play for in Solna…
Not only do the winners get to lift a new trophy this month after Sevilla won it for a third straight time last year, but they will also be given safe passage into the group stage of next season’s Champions League.
Big incentive for United
Europe’s second trophy is the only one the Red Devils have never won in either its current or previous form as the UEFA Cup.
“It would be great to close the circle and say we won every competition in the football world,” said United manager Jose Mourinho ahead of his side’s first leg semi-final tie with Celta.
There’s something about the FA Cup which inspires a sense of optimism among each of the 736 teams which enter the competition…
Chelsea and Arsenal are through to the FA Cup final following two highly entertaining semi-finals at Wembley Stadium.
The Premier League’s top two traded six goals as Chelsea beat Tottenham 4-2 to progress, before Arsenal overcame Manchester City in another thrilling contest a day later.
The semi-final saw two goals disallowed in the first half as City struggled to break down Arsenal.
Sergio Aguero finally broke the deadlock on the hour-mark only for Nacho Monreal to equalise with a fine right-footed volley, with Alexis Sanchez sealing the win in extra-time to set up a London derby cup final.
Here’s everything you need to know about the FA Cup final…
1. The first FA Cup final was played in 1872 at the Kennington Oval in London. It was won by Wanderers, defeating the Royal Engineers 1-0 in the final.
2. The first FA Cup final to be held at the Old Wembley was the 1923 final, won 2-0 by Bolton Wanderers. After a six-year stint at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, it returned to new Wembley in 2007, where Chelsea claimed a 1-0 win over Manchester United.
3. The only time the FA Cup has ever been out of England was when Cardiff beat Arsenal 1-0 in 1927. They had reached the final two years previously, but lost to Sheffield United. However, they weren’t the first non-English club to reach the final. Queen’s Park from Scotland lost two consecutive finals to Blackburn Rovers in the 1880s.
4. The highest scoring finals were in 1890 when Blackburn Rovers beat The Wednesday 6-1 and 1953 when Stanley Matthews inspired Blackpool to a 4-3 win over Stan Mortensen’s Bolton. The biggest win was in 1903 when Bury thrashed Derby County 6-0.
5. There have been 14 FA Cup final replays, including three in a row between 1981-83. Tottenham Hotspur won the first two, the 1981 final decided by Ricky Villa’s famous solo effort.
6. Arsenal will have the chance to go level with Manchester United on 11 FA Cup wins if they take the trophy. However, should they lose, they’ll join Everton on the record number of FA Cup final defeats with eight.
7. The official record attendance for an FA Cup final is 126,047, which was the first game at the old Wembley. However, reports suggest that the crowd could have been as large as 300,000.
8. Wanderers have the distinction of winning five FA Cups without losing a single final. Of teams still existing, Bury are top of the pile with two final wins and no losses. On the other end of the scale, Leicester City have played four finals without once lifting the trophy aloft.
9. Only two FA Cup finals have ever gone to penalties, and they happened in consecutive years. Arsenal v Manchester United in 2005 was won with Patrick Vieira’s last kick for the club before a dramatic 3-3 draw between Liverpool and West Ham was settled in the former’s favour through spot kicks.
10. In 2013 Wigan Athletic became the first club to win the FA Cup and be relegated in the same season. 16 years earlier, Middlesbrough lost the final (their second of the season having been defeated in the League Cup final) and got relegated from the Premier League.
FA Cup Final Background
The FA Cup, officially known as the FA Challenge Cup, is the oldest official association football competition in the world. The competition was first contested in 1871 and is approaching it’s 150th birthday in the coming years, with Arsenal and Manchester United currently tied as the most successful teams in the competition, although the Gunners could overtake the Red Devils this season.
For supporters in England, there is a certain romanticism attached to the trophy thanks to the nostalgic memories of years gone including dramatic final goals such as Ricky Villa’s solo effort for Tottenham Hotspur against Manchester City, and sensational giant-killings such as that of Wimbledon over Liverpool back in 1988.
Fans always seem to have fond memories of this competition and of course the fondest memories of all lie with supporters who see their team lift the famous trophy at Wembley Stadium – so which set of fans will be celebrating in the capital this time around, will it be the reds of Arsenal for the third time in four years, or the Blues of Chelsea celebrating a double win?
When and where is the FA Cup Final 2017
As ever, the FA Cup Final will once again take place at Wembley Stadium this summer. Since the opening of the new stadium in 2007, every cup final has taken place at this ground following a short break whereby it was played at the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff during the refurbishment of Wembley. This will be the tenth anniversary of the return of the competition’s final to the English national stadium.
Which team’s fans will be walking down Wembley Way in May? (Getty Images)
This year, the match will take place following the end of the Premier League season, once week before the Champions League Final on May 27th 2017. The kick-off time will be 5:30pm.
Who will play in the FA Cup Final?
After two enthralling semi-finals last month, we now know that we’ll be seeing a London derby at Wembley Stadium to finish off the domestic football calendar as Arsenal and Chelsea make the short return journeys to English football’s home for the final on Saturday May 27th.
The Gunners overcame Preston and Southampton in Rounds 3 and 4 respectively before beating non-league sides Sutton United and Lincoln City, followed by an Extra Time victory over Manchester City at the semi-final stage.
Chelsea meanwhile overcame EFL sides Peterborough United, Brentford and Wolverhampton Wanderers before beating Manchester United at home in the Quarter Finals and then another London rival, Tottenham Hotspur, in the semis.
Past Winners and Finals
Manchester United are the current holders of the FA Cup after they overcame Crystal Palace in Extra Time of the 2016 final at Wembley last May thanks to a Jesse Lingard strike.
After that victory, the Red Devils are the now the joint-most successful team in the history of the competition alongside Arsenal, who won the competition in the two seasons previous to United’s victory last time out.
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