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The English Premier League is back; start date announced

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, The English Premier League is back; start date announced, Frederick Nuetei

The English Premier League schedule for the 2021-22 season is out and it’s back to the traditional calendar after the interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

The 2021-2022 EPL season will open on August 14, a month earlier compared to the last campaign which kicked off on Sept. 12 due to the pandemic-related scheduling challenges. That season still ended on May 23, leading to fixture congestion throughout the campaign.

The 380-match English Premier League 2021-2022 season will stretch nine months, coming to a close on May 22, 2022.

The full slate for Matchday 1 of the new season follows below. Detailed TV info is expected at a later date.

Date: Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021

Time: 10 a.m. ET

Matchday 1 Schedule (home team listed first):

Brentford vs. Arsenal
Burnley vs. Brighton & Hove Albion
Chelsea vs. Crystal Palace
Everton vs. Southampton
Leicester City vs. Wolves
Manchester United vs. Leeds United
Newcastle United vs. West Ham United
Norwich City vs. Liverpool
Tottenham vs. Manchester City
Watford vs. Aston Villa
Opening weekend will feature two marquee matchups involving both Manchester clubs.

Defending champions Manchester City will open their title defense with a trip to London to face Tottenham Hotspur. With all the speculation regarding Harry Kane’s future and whether he could end up at Man City, this could set up a compelling storyline to start the season. It will also mark the EPL debut of Tottenham’s new manager, expected to be Paulo Fonseca.

Manchester United will be the team playing in Manchester on opening day when they host Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds United. This same fixture produced a 6-2 result in favor of the Red Devils last December.

There’s curiosity to see whether Leeds can take another step forward under the Argentina manager after finishing in 9th place in the previous EPL campaign. Manchester United will be eager to start on the right foot in its quest to make a run for the title after most recently finishing 12 points behind champs Manchester City.

The three promoted sides — Brentford, Norwich City and Watford — all open at home against top sides in Arsenal, Liverpool and Aston Villa and all three opponents are expected to be stronger in 2021-22.

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CK Akunnor has been sacked as Black Stars coach

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, CK Akunnor has been sacked as Black Stars coach, Frederick Nuetei

The Executive Council of the Ghana Football Association has taken a decision to terminate the appointment of Black Stars Coach Charles Akonnor and his two Assistants with immediate effect.

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This follows the receipt of the Technical Report from the Head Coach of the Senior National Team and the report from the Black Stars Management Committee following Ghana’s Group G World Cup qualifying matches against Ethiopia and South Africa. 

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2022 World Cup qualifiers: South Africa score late to beat Ghana

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, 2022 World Cup qualifiers: South Africa score late to beat Ghana, Frederick Nuetei

The Black Stars of Ghana suffered a 1-0 defeat to the Bafana Bafana of South Africa on Monday night to surrender their lead at the top of Group G of the World Cup qualifiers. 

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Bongokuhle Hlongwane’s netted the only goal of the game in the 82nd minute after an improved second half performance from the hots. The host earlier had a goal ruled out for offside after Percy Tau looked to be in position before finishing off a cross in the 3th minute. Goalkeeper Richard Ofori was given a respite in the second half after letting a ball through his legs but the Bafana Bafana failed to capitalize after a striker misdirected the ball. 

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The Black Stars started the game well and had an early chance when defender Fafawu Mohammed sent striker Joel Fameyeh through, only for him to be clipped by De Reuck. The South Africa defender was then booked. However, the game swung immediately with the hosts dominating possession, but it was until the 32nd minute when Percy Tau though he had broken the deadlock only for him to be ruled offside. Five minutes later a freekick by the South African’s saw Richard Ofori, fumble but the rebound went way off. Ghana were lucky to head into the break with the result goalless. 

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After the break, the South Africans took charge again and should have taken the lead after Richard Ofori spilled a lose ball. Richard Ofori got injured later on and had to be replaced by Ati Zigi. But the pressure from South Africa was irresistible and with eight minutes left Bongokuhle Hlongwane broke the deadlock. 

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