Five must-watch games in English football this weekend

The 2021/22 season of the Premier League kicks off on Friday, as newly-promoted Brentford take on Arsenal at the Brentford Community Stadium.

It will be the first time the Bees have played in the top flight of English football for 74 years.

Elsewhere, Manchester City kick off their title defence with a trip to Tottenham Hotspur, whilst Manchester United host Leeds United at Old Trafford.

There’s also a full programme of EFL fixtures, after the seasons of each of the three divisions began last weekend.

Let’s take a look at five fixtures to watch out for this weekend across the top four divisions of English football:

Manchester United v Leeds United (Premier League)

One of English football’s greatest rivalries will add another chapter this weekend, when Old Trafford plays host to a titanic clash.

United – with Jadon Sancho now in their ranks – will be looking to kickstart their title ambitions with a victory.

After 16 years away from the top tier, Leeds recorded victories over the likes of Everton, Tottenham, Manchester City and Leicester City last season, on their way to ninth place, and are now looking to build further.

Both sides will go out to win this and claim the three points – it could be a classic.

Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City (Premier League)

There’s a number of credible subplots to this encounter. Nuno Espirito Santo will make his competitive managerial debut for Spurs, and Jack Grealish could make Premier League debut for City.

But you sense that all the attention will be on one Harry Kane – who has been linked with City all window.

The striker may not even start, given that he only returned to training last weekend.

If he does, and scores, there will no doubt be plenty of discussion points in the days that follow.

Nottingham Forest v Bournemouth (Championship)

Both Nottingham Forest and Bournemouth endured disappointing starts to the Championship season.

The Cherries recorded a credible 2-2 draw against West Bromwich Albion, but twice led at Dean Court through Emiliano Marcondes and Phillip Billing.

Forest, meanwhile, took the lead at Coventry but lost after two second half goals.

With the 30,445-capacity City Ground set to be bouncing as it welcomes back fans for the first time in 18 months, this clash will certainly be one to keep an eye out for.

Sheffield Wednesday v Doncaster Rovers (League One)

This League One clash between Wednesday boss Darren Moore’s outfit and the club where he last held a managerial role will be held between two sides keen to fight at the top of the division this season.

Doncaster suffered a home defeat to Wimbledon last weekend, despite taking a second half lead.

Richie Wellens’s side will be desperate to reverse a run of form that has seen them win just twice in their last 17 games.

Wednesday, meanwhile, played out a goalless draw with Charlton last Saturday. Club captain Barry Bannan came close to scoring in the second half.

An early victory for either side here would set them up for a strong start to the campaign.

Oxford United v Charlton Athletic (League One)

Both Oxford and Charlton ended last season on 74 points, with the former entering the League One play-offs via goal difference.

The similarities don’t end there. Oxford boss Karl Robinson used to manage the club he will come up against at the Kassam Stadium on Saturday.

With Robinson continuing to serve a four-game touchline ban that began back in May, Oxford recorded a 1-1 draw at Cambridge United to kick off their season.

Charlton’s goalless draw against Sheffield Wednesday means both sides go into this clash as they ended last season – on the same points.

And with both sides again targeting the top echelons of the division, this could be a highly competitive encounter.

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