Friday night marks the return of the Premier League for the 2022/23 season, a season set to be split by the World Cup and therefore unlikely to live up to the norms of what we’ve seen before.
It’s only 69 days since the Champions League final was played in Paris – one day less since the league play-off final – but clubs and players are already in the pre-season following the usual optimism-building ritual back in action. played out against the background of transfer rumors.
However, for those immersed in the world of football, it has not been even two months since the last meaningful kick took place: Euro 2022 has been a roaring success as a tournament all summer long, regardless of nationality.
And the international calendar will continue to take center stage midway through this season, making the schedule look even more packed and scary than usual – so are we as viewers, fans and commentators collectively ready for action or still in recovery mode?
Here, The Independent‘s sports editors give their opinion on whether they’re ready to go… or if it’s all too much, too soon.
Mark Critchley: Following football as a fan and reporting on it as a journalist since the pandemic-related break in mid-2020 basically means accepting that there is somehow more football to be played somewhere. To be fair, we had about two weeks back there in June that were actually non-playing. Otherwise, since the end of the first lockdown, there has been wall to wall. I’m not sure if the Women’s Euro counted as the end of last season or the start of this one. All I know is that the Premier League starts today, the World Cup is in November this year, the Champions League final is on June 10 and until then time is a flat circle.
Karl Matchett: It’s definitely a bit of both, depending on what you need to be thinking or talking about in each moment of the day. For the 12 millionth straight season, I would like to see the transfer window close the day before the season starts, but like many I’ve spoken to, the Lionesses’ magical run has whetted the appetite for a day-team return and start games to win, create powerful atmospheres and trigger celebrations. The two week break Mark mentions above was definitely needed, last season felt like it had reached a total saturation point. But opening weekend is always exciting with new faces, fans and formations, and after intentionally ignoring a lot of preseason this time, I’m ready to dive back in.
Alex Pattle: I think it’s hard not to be excited about football’s return when you’re invested the way sportswriters are. However, I definitely don’t feel as engaged as I do most years at this point in the season. I’ve been more interested in how the World Cup fits into this season for a while, so I could see those butterflies starting to flutter in October – and likely to do the same for many fans. In general, international football tournaments just feel so much grander than national ones, in my opinion. Through that lens, the Lionesses’ (very) recent triumph and the surreal joy it brought reminded me to look beyond any lethargy I feel as the new season begins.
Jamie Braidwood: The opening weekend of the Premier League season is without a doubt one of the best of the year and remains the only opportunity I will be able to watch the Match of the Day live and from start to finish. Is it back too soon? Well, leaving Wembley on Sunday after the Euro 2022 final felt like the concluding chapter of the entire football season past, so the idea of driving to Selhurst Park tonight just five days later for the start of the next one feels a little discouraging at , as is a massive World Cup coming into our lives from November. But it’s exciting. There are plenty of new faces at all the top clubs and I think that adds a level of excitement that has been lacking in recent years. However, I am already exhausted from the hot takes. Just leave everyone alone until October.
Kieran Jackson: Quite often, when the Premier League rolls around once again, amid the cricket summer and mid-20s sunshine, it’s natural to think ‘off-season… what off-season?’ Despite a packed pre-season schedule, this one feels Year given the start date more than most particularly early. Perhaps it’s because last season’s final was so action-packed that Liverpool ultimately fell short with the quadruple chase. Perhaps it’s the usual spate of tired post-season internationals that extended the 2021-22 campaign until mid-June. Maybe it’s because it’s been just five days since a major English success story. Necessary and all, with a World Cup bang in the middle, but the three-month rush of two games a week that will greet us until Qatar means we’ll be more than ready for the four-day Christmas celebrations coming November. Did you miss top football? Did it ever go away…