English Premiership

Plenty of pre-season EPL action for fans

2018-06-24 06:44
Mohamed Salah (AP)

Cape Town - Pre-season friendlies dominate the build-up to any season, and most clubs that have the means use the time to travel to unique match-ups in far-flung places across the world.

For the bigger sides, it is also a time to market themselves to foreign fans, and the United States of America has become a popular destination for the top six teams in England in recent years.

With the exertion of the Soccer World Cup in Russia, there may be some malaise among locals to come out for pre-season matches. But the appetite for English Premier League (EPL) teams across the globe will have overseas supporters chomping at the bit to see their favourite stars before the new season begins.

READ: EPL 2018/19 fixtures released

This football fever should be even more prevalent in the US following the announcement of the country's successful bid to host the World Cup alongside neighbours Canada and Mexico in 2026 - and after their disappointment of missing out on hosting it this year.

Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Arsenal are all again competing in the International Champions Cup (ICC), which takes place in the US, Austria, Italy, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

The pre-season tournament has run for the past five years and it boasts some of the top continental sides: Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan, Juventus, AC Milan, Roma, Benfica, Atlético Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Sevilla. The competition runs from July 20 to August 12.

These high-profile matches are, however, interspersed with some seemingly smaller ties.

Before jetting off abroad, Liverpool play warm-up games against lower-league English opposition including Chester, Tranmere Rovers, Bury and Blackburn Rovers, although their final preparation match for the new season is against Italian Serie A runners-up Napoli.

Before heading to Poland for their first ICC game, Chelsea travel all the way to Australia to face Perth Glory. Interestingly, they will play Olympique Lyonnais in their last friendly, just days before the new season kicks off.

This comes days after competing with 2017/18 EPL winners Manchester City in the traditional opener to the new campaign, the Community Shield, having qualified for the game with their FA Cup win over Manchester United.

Meanwhile, Championship winners Wolverhampton Wanderers travel to Switzerland for clashes with Basel and Young Boys of Bern before hosting Eredivisie giants Ajax. And, after facing recently relegated Stoke City and then Derby County, the Premier League newbies round off their preparations at home to Spanish La Liga side, Villarreal.

Everton, who are a club in transition, having recently hired Marco Silva as their new manager, have just the one friendly lined up - against Valencia at home at the beginning of August.

The Soccer World Cup will cut into the usual July return date for players, meaning it is a marginally shorter pre-season programme this year as the league action will resume on August 11.

Read more on:    english premiership  |  soccer


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Saturday, 23 November 2019
West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur, London Stadium 14:30
Arsenal v Southampton, Emirates Stadium 17:00
Everton v Norwich City, Goodison Park 17:00
Crystal Palace v Liverpool, Selhurst Park 17:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Leicester City, The American Express Community Stadium 17:00
Watford v Burnley, Vicarage Road 17:00
AFC Bournemouth v Wolverhampton Wanderers, Vitality Stadium 17:00
Manchester City v Chelsea, Etihad Stadium 19:30
Sunday, 24 November 2019
Sheffield United v Manchester United, Bramall Lane 18:30
Monday, 25 November 2019
Aston Villa v Newcastle United, Villa Park 22:00
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