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Top Storylines From the First Premier League Weekend

The Premier League is back, and there's a lot to keep an eye on.

The Premier League is back, and with that soccer season is finally upon us – at least, for a few months. Everyone’s going to have to take that Word Cup break, after all. The leagues are super duper happy about that, as you can imagine.

Yes, the World Cup will be played from November 21st to December 18th of this year, which will require all leagues to take a longer winter break than they usually do. Weather conditions in Qatar, the host of this year’s World Cup, made it virtually impossible to play the tournament in July when it’s usually played. This means European leagues are starting early, and there’s a lot to keep an eye on.

Here are the top storylines to watch going into the first weekend:

Cristiano Ronaldo is Still a Manchester United Player

Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t want to stay at Manchester United, rumors say. It’s easy to see why, Manchester United didn’t qualify for the Champions League this season, and Cristiano Ronaldo had originally left Juventus last year because he wanted a team that could compete in that competition. Yeah, that didn’t exactly work out for him.

But Cristiano Ronaldo is still a Manchester United player, and it looks like he will remain one, despite rumors that his agent tried to move him to basically every top team there is. If we add to that the World Cup wrinkle – with Portugal having qualified for the World Cup, Ronaldo cannot afford to not play – things are not exactly looking great for one of the best players in the world. Question is, will that affect his performance?

Chelsea is Under New Management

The Roman Abramovich era is over at Chelsea, with the team now under new management. Todd Boehly and a consortium of investors acquired the Premier League team in a deal in May, after former owner, Roman Abramovich, was forced to sell the team due to UK government pressure in response to his ties with the Putin regime. This led to turmoil in the front office, with most of the Abramovich-picked executives exiting with him.

Going into the new season Thomas Tuchel remains the manager, but the team lost a few key players and had a lot of trouble attracting new, top talent, in the wake of the Abramovich scandal and subsequent sale. So the question now going into the season has to be: is Chelsea still a top competitor?

Big names, Big Expectations

All eyes will be on some of the bigger signings going into the first Premier League weekend. Erling Haaland arrives at Manchester City from Borussia Dortmund with maybe the biggest expectations. His new team won the Premier League last year but lost in the Champions League final to Real Madrid. For a team with the talent of Manchester City, and one that has spent as much as they have, not having won a Champions League yet is a monumental failure.

Then there’s Darwin Núñez’s arrival at Liverpool. Núñez cost nearly 80 million dollars and is only 23 years old, but he’s got big shoes to fill – those of Sadio Mané. He does, however, have an easier road to fulfilling expectations than Haaland, if only because Liverpool came close, but didn’t actually win any titles.

Can these players be what their teams expect? Will Chelsea still be a top contender? Will Cristiano Ronaldo end the season in the Premier League? All part of the narrative going into a new, exciting season of the Premier League.