English Premier League to kick off Friday

By Yunus Kaymaz

ISTANBUL (AA) – The English Premier League's 2018-2019 season will start on Friday with the opening match between Manchester United and Leicester City at Old Trafford in Manchester.

Manchester United are expecting a victory against Leicester on their home ground.

This summer Man U transferred Brazilian midfielder Fred, 25, from Ukraine's Shakhtar Donetsk for a €59 million ($68.2 million) transfer fee. Fred is expected to play alongside French star Paul Pogba and Serbian central midfielder Nemanja Matic in Manchester United.

Last season's champions Manchester City — managed by Spanish head coach Pep Guardiola — will be hosted by Arsenal in London in the first week.

On July 10, Manchester City signed Leicester City's Algerian star Riyad Mahrez for £60 million ($77.1 million) to strengthen the team's offensive line.

This season's first derby will be played in London ,as Chelsea will meet Arsenal at their home ground Stamford Bridge in the match week two.

Fall will see a Manchester derby as Jose Mourinho's Manchester United will face defending champions Manchester City on Nov. 11 in City's home Etihad Stadium.

London-based heavyweights Chelsea are eyeing a league title with a new manager Maurizio Sarri after Antonio Conte's exit.

During this summer's transfer period, Chelsea signed 26-year-old midfielder Jorginho from Italy's Napoli.

On Thursday Chelsea transferred Spanish goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga for a record fee, making him the most expensive goalkeeper in history after signing an €80 million ($92.8 million) deal with Chelsea.

Just three weeks after Liverpool transferred Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson Becker from Roma for a record-setting £66 million ($87million) transfer fee, Arrizabalaga secured the title of the world’s most expensive goalkeeper.

In addition Spanish football giants Real Madrid's central midfielder Mateo Kovacic joined Chelsea on a season-long loan deal on Thursday.

Meanwhile Arsenal are set to begin the new season without Arsene Wenger. The Frenchman, who managed the London club for 22 years, left Arsenal at the end of the previous season.

Wenger was appointed Arsenal head coach in 1996. Under his management, the team won the Premier League three times: 1998, 2002, and 2004. The club also won the FA Cup seven times.

Arsenal announced on May 23 that the club signed Spanish manager Unai Emery as the team’s new head coach. The 46-year-old Spaniard spent the last two years with Paris Saint-Germain and last season he managed to complete the French treble with championships in Ligue 1, the Coupe de France, and the Coupe de la Ligue.

Arsenal will face a rough road in early weeks, starting by hosting Manchester City in the first week in London.

In match week two, Arsenal will meet Chelsea in an away match. In late August, Arsenal will face West Ham United in another London derby.

Liverpool want to end their Premier League title drought, as they last grabbed the league title in 1990.

Liverpool managed to keep their Egyptian star Mohamed Salah in the club. Last season Salah scored 32 goals and produced 11 assists in 36 league games.

In addition, Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson, Guinean midfielder Naby Keita, Brazilian defensive midfielder Fabinho, and Swiss winger Xherdan Shaqiri all moved to Liverpool, which makes the team one of the title contenders for this season.

On Sunday, Liverpool will host West Ham United at Anfield.

Manchester United are still the all-time winners of the Premier League with 20 titles, besting Liverpool's 18 titles and Arsenal's 13.

Chelsea won the domestic title six times and Manchester City five times.

– First week fixtures in Premier League:

Friday: Manchester United-Leicester City

Saturday: Newcastle United-Tottenham, Bournemouth-Cardiff City, Fulham-Crystal Palace, Huddersfield Town-Chelsea, Watford-Brighton Hove Albion, Wolverhampton Wanderers-Everton

Sunday: Liverpool-West Ham United, Southampton-Burnley, Arsenal-Manchester City