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Is there Such a Thing as Life After EPL?

by Glenn Cowan

Now that the UK football season is officially over, it can seem like an awfully long time before the new (2015-16) season gets underway. Especially when there are no major international tournaments to get your football fix from.
 
We have seen Chelsea canter to a 4th league title, Arsenal (most likely) win the FA Cup, play off finals from three divisions and now there’s nothing. For the football fan, these next eight / nine weeks can be a difficult time to handle.
 
Aside from the usual mix of high-profile transfers that get almost milked to death and never quite seem to come off, there isn’t much in the way of live action for the next couple of months, or is there?
 
Well before grown men cry, you might like to know that the Premier League will make an early start this coming season – supposedly to help with England’s Euro campaign at the end of the new season. Time will tell…..
 
It’s Coming, it Really Is!
 
So, Saturday 8th August should be firmly planted in your mind and calendar, as this represents the return of all things beautiful, minus QPR, Burnley and most likely Sunderland (at time of writing!) But, with welcome additions in the form of Bournemouth, Watford and either Norwich or Middlesbrough.
 
There will be re-runs galore shown on CTH during the “off season”. So, if you fancy watching how it all unfolds then this really shouldn’t be an issue.
 
Here is the low-down on the football going on over the next couple of months.
 
International footie is back early in June with a number of (decent looking) friendly fixtures due to take place. The games of choice will most likely be either Rep of Ireland vs England on Sunday June 7th or Italy vs Portugal  a week or so later on the 16th. Other tasty looking fixtures include:
 
  • Brazil v Mexico – 7th June
  • Norway v Sweden – 8th June
  • Germany v USA – 10th June
 
Thai TV has a knack of covering some of these games, so it’s highly likely that you will be able to catch up on the action in the comfort of your own living room.
 
Chasing the French Dream
 
Once the friendly games are out of the way then it’s down to the main business – qualification for Euro 2016. With all Four home nations plus the Republic in with a shout, a great week or so of footie is on the cards. Key dates include:
 
  • Wales v Belgium – 12th June
  • Rep of Ireland v Scotland – 13th June
  • Northern Ireland v Romania – 13th June
  • Slovenia v England – 14th June
 
Once this round of matches are concluded, Euro qualification takes a break and won’t be back until early Sept. Thankfully, the EPL is under full swing again by then – oh happy days!
 
 
Highlights from this batch include:
·     
  •  Cyprus v Wales – 3rd Sept
  •  San Marino v England – 5th Sept
  •   Northern Ireland v Hungry – 7th Sept
  •   Rep of Ireland v Georgia – 7th Sept
  •   Scotland v Germany – 7th Sept
  •   England v Switzerland – 8th Sept
 
October brings the Euro Qualification to a close, well at least for 2015. Home nations games are scheduled as follows:
 

      Northern Ireland v Greece – 8th Oct

      Rep of Ireland v Germany – 8th Oct

      Scotland v Poland – 8th Oct

      England v Estonia – 9th Oct

      Bosnia-Herzegovina v Wales – 10th Oct

      Gibraltar v Scotland – 11th Oct

      Finland v Northern Ireland – 11th Oct

      Poland v Rep of Ireland – 11th Oct

      Lithuania v England – 12th Oct

      Wales v Andorra – 13th Oct

 
At time of printing all of the home nations teams are really well placed, whether that remains the same after these important fixtures are any-ones guess!
 
A revised format will see 24 teams take place instead of the usual 16, this might just be enough to see the likes of Scotland, Rep of Ireland, Wales and Northern Ireland head over to France when it all kicks off in June next year.
 
Watch it Live in Thailand
 
For those looking for a live game then why not consider heading over to the see Pattaya United FC in action. If you haven’t been to a local Thai match, then now is as good a time as any, the crowd’s aren’t the largest, but that doesn’t stop them from bringing their own version of “Samba” to the football scene.
 
 
Another great live football opportunity comes in the shape of Chonburi FC otherwise known as Chonburi Sharks. At present they are in a mid-table position in the Thai Premier League, looking like Buriram will be the ones to beat once more.
 
 
Thankfully the ticket prices for either Yamaha League One or Thai Premier League won’t break the bank and you’ll probably get to see a great game too.
 
Of course, you could also (subject to availability) catch up with your own favourite teams in Bangkok. Premier League winners Chelsea have already confirmed their game against the Thailand All Stars on the 30th May. Games from some of the EPL top sides are expected to follow with Liverpool and Tottenham amongst others set for some pre-season games in the Thai sunshine.
 
So for those of you that struggle during the close season, there is no need to panic. The Pattaya Trader will keep you abreast of the upcoming action.