October 5: Crystal Palace-Home
When we play recently promoted teams, I always like to have the home match first. Last season, we were excellent at home... And that wasn't so in the away matches. Besides, when sides come up, and they play you at home, they're more prone to push you around a bit to try and sneak a win. That's not the type of game we play.
However, for the past few seasons, the sides we've been dreading having to play, (your Man United's, Chelsea's and the like), are the ones we play against, with the "weaker" sides, (Stoke, Southampton, and West Ham, all of whom we never picked up 6 points, as would be expected against) being matches where we don't perform well. I'm not saying I want this to be reversed. I'm saying I want it to be more even.
The question is, will this be the case? We'll have to see, with this match being a perfect time to answer that question.
October 19: Newcastle-Away
I always look forward to the Newcastle matches. You've got 2 of the best supported teams in England going at it. There's always great banter, and it's usually a great game to watch.
Back in the 90s, there was two 4-3 matches between the sides in successive seasons (the '96-'97 season as well as the '97-'98 season) which are considered Premier League classics.
We've been getting the best of Newcastle in recent years however, which include a 5-1 win in the '08-'09 season, and more recently a Coutinho led 6-0 drubbing last season, both at St James' Park, so that does bode well.
October 26: West Brom-Home
As we know, Clarkey will have his defense well set for the new season. I said a few times last season that our defense would've been a lot better if Steve Clarke would have stayed on, as I think Brendan's biggest downfall is that he pays more attention to attacking than defending, so this will be interesting.
This is another case of the "smaller" teams being hard for us to handle. In case we needed reminding, last season started with a 3-0 drubbing in which all the hard work in pre-season had evaporated. Here's hoping that that doesn't happen again.
However, it does help that this match is at home. As I said, our home form was a lot better than past years. We're more clinical, and not afraid to attack, not afraid to shoot, which is more important. Hopefully that will continue in this match and in the season in general.