New football season: Premier League and Championship preview

Last updated at 07:19
Aguero scores against Liverpool.Getty Images

The first kick-off is nearly here as the football season returns for another 10 months of replays, referees and red cards.

In England, the Championship provides the perfect start to the weekend with teams beginning their season on Friday night, before the Scottish Premiership kicks off on Saturday.

Then, it's the big match between the two best teams of last season. Liverpool and Manchester City face each other in the Community Shield at Wembley.

The Community Shield game has been played for more than 100 years and is traditionally played between the league title winners and the FA Cup winners. As City won both titles last season, they play the runners up in the league - Liverpool.

The Community Shield is often described as little more than a friendly, although the winners do take home a trophy, which looks like a giant 20p.

With last season's big rivals Liverpool and Manchester City playing in the match, they may have a point to prove as many football experts expect the two teams to battle it out for the Premier League title again this season.

The Premier League

The Premier League starts on Friday 9 August.

With Manchester City and Liverpool streaks ahead of the rest last season, the other top teams will be looking to close the gap this time round.

Chelsea, who came third last season were 25 points behind Liverpool in second place. The Blues will hope that new manager and club legend Frank Lampard can bring back the sort of success he was used to as a player at Stamford Bridge.

The other top teams from London include Champions League finalists Tottenham, who will want to apply more pressure on the top two, while rivals Arsenal will continue to battle for European places.

Manchester United will be hoping that their manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can put his own stamp on the team he took over midway through last season. Solskjaer still wants to bring in a couple of new faces before their first game against Chelsea on Sunday 11 August.

This season's newcomers Norwich, Sheffield United and Premier League regulars Aston Villa will hope to emulate the success of Wolves who finished seventh last season, rather than Cardiff or Fulham who came up, only to be relegated straight away.

The Championship

The Championship season begins Friday evening.

Among the teams hoping to get promotion to the Premier League are Fulham and Cardiff, who were both relegated from the top flight in May. Leeds United will also try to push for promotion. Leeds used to be a big team in the Premier League and often featured in the Champions League, but they have been missing from the top flight for 15 years and lost in the Championship play-off semi-finals against Derby last season.

Derby will also hope to go one step further this time, as will West Brom, Bristol, Brentford, Huddersfield and Nottingham Forrest who will expect to be among the teams challenging for a play-off spot.

But, if you follow the Championship, you'll know that as leagues go, this is one of the most unpredictable.

The Scottish Premiership

Can anyone end Celtic's dominance of Scottish football? Probably not, but Steven Gerrard's Rangers will hope to properly challenge their Glasgow rivals this season. Outsiders include Kilmarnock, who have a new manager Angelo Alessio, the former assistant to Antonio Conte at Chelsea.

Meanwhile, Hearts who were top of the league in November last year and made it to two cup finals, had a disastrous end to the season, finishing sixth place in the league for the second season in a row.

Maybe you have a different prediction for the season - let us know what you think in the comments!

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