LONDON, Sporting Alert – Champion Leicester City will begin the defence of their English Premier League title at newly promoted Hull City, while title favourite Manchester City will open against Sunderland.
Leicester, led by leading forward Jamie Vardy and playmaker Riyad Mahrez, shockingly won the league last season, and the champs will be hoping to get their defence off to a winning start at The KC Stadium.
They will be up against a Hull City side that will be led by caretaker manager Mike Phelan and is well short of senior players.
The Foxes, who are without N’Golo Kante, who was sold to Chelsea this summer, fell to Manchester United in the Community Shield last weekend, but manager Claudio Ranieri insists his players are looking forward to starting their league campaign.
Meanwhile, Phelan and Hull City are expected to have a very long day, with the hosts having just 13 fit senior players to choose from.
The likes of Allan McGregor (back), Alex Bruce (Achilles), Moses Odubajo (knee) and Michael Dawson (knee) are all out due to long-term injuries, while Harry Maguire is still not ready to play.
Leicester City will be without suspended defender Robert Huth, but new recruits Luis Hernandez, Bartosz Kapustka, Ron-Robert Zieler and Papy Mendy are all included in the squad.
PEP MAKES PREMIER LEAGUE DEBUT
Pep Guardiola will take charge of his first competitive game with Manchester City when the Citizens take on Sunderland at Etihad Stadium.
New signing John Stones could go straight into Guardiola’s starting line-up after signing from Everton this week. Captain Vincent Kompany is sidelined with a thigh problem, while Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi require fitness tests.
Ilkay Gundogan (knee) and Leroy Sane (hamstring) – who signed this summer will miss out, but fellow recruits Nolito and Oleksandr Zinchenko could make their debuts.
In the meantime, new boys Adnan Januzaj, who is on loan from Manchester United and Paddy McNair and Donald Love who signed permanently from the Red Devils, could go straight into David Moyes’ Sunderland squad for Saturday’s trip to the Etihad.
In other games on Saturday, Everton will play host to Tottenham, new boys Middlesbrough entertains Stoke City, Burnley tackles Swansea City, Southampton and Watford will battle at St. Mary’s Stadium and Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion will face-off at Selhurst Park.
English Premier League Schedule – Week 1
7:30am Hull City vs Leicester City
10:00am Everton vs Tottenham
10:00am Burnley vs Swansea City
10:00am Crystal Palace vs West Bromwich Albion
10:00am Middlesbrough vs Stoke City
10:00am Southampton vs Watford
12:30pm Manchester City vs Sunderland