English Premier League returns after short offseason

These matchups are worth waking up for this weekend.

The English Premier League is set to kick off Saturday after a rather short offseason due to the COVID-19 pandemic that set last season’s games back until the end of July. While stadiums in the United Kingdom aren’t allowed to welcome fans back to the stands, that doesn’t take away from the excitement of one of the most competitive seasons the league has seen in recent years.

Although the popularity of the Premier League has grown significantly in the United States, it doesn’t change the obscure kickoff times of some games, which can make it hard for fans, especially on the West Coast. The first game tomorrow between Arsenal and recently promoted club Fulham starts at 4:30 a.m. PT.

Most games worth watching, however, start around 9 a.m. to noon PT, so going to sleep early or pulling an all-nighter isn’t necessary to enjoy some of the best fixtures in the league. These games often feature teams from the traditional “top 6” end of the table, so the highest tier of talent will be on display. This opening weekend won’t feature a top 6 matchup, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t exciting games available to watch.

The most noteworthy contest on Saturday will see the newly promoted side Leeds United travel to the legendary Anfield Stadium to face defending Premier League champion Liverpool. Although freshly introduced teams tend to struggle against the biggest clubs, this matchup should prove interesting following Leeds' historic march back into the Premier League after spending 16 years out of the top-flight competition.

Acclaimed Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa has unfinished business and hopes to upset the champions at the Kop, which will not be an easy task. Liverpool held a record spell of victories at home, winning every game at Anfield since January 2019 until Nick Pope and Burnley drew the champions last season on Matchday 35.

If you find yourself without a team to support, there are a number of docuseries on Amazon Prime Video and Netflix showcasing the recent seasons of multiple Premier League clubs and diving deep into how their clubs operate. Most notably, the platforms have featured Leeds with its bounce-back into the league in “Take Us Home: Leeds United” as well as Manchester City’s 2017-2018 championship run in “All or Nothing: Manchester City.”

Other notable games include Everton FC visiting North London to face Tottenham Hotspur FC at its new billion-dollar stadium on Sunday. Both sides struggled last season despite having two of the most renowned managers in football.

José Mourinho’s Spurs had little presence in the transfer market this window with Wolverhampton wingback Matt Doherty, Burnley keeper Joe Hart and Southampton midfielder Pierre-Emile Højbjerg being the only additions to the team. Carlo Ancelotti’s squad, however, experienced a great revitalization with big-name targets like James Rodriguez, Allan and Abdoulaye Doucouré that are poised to make an impact for the Merseyside team.

In the U.S., most games will be shown on NBCSN and available for streaming on the app as well as the new Peacock app from NBCUniversal.