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Premier League 2017/2018 Fixtures Announced

Premier League

Fixtures for the 2017/2018 Premier League season were announced this morning, allowing us to take our first look ahead to what the new campaign might bring.

With form and history alone being more than enough to whet the appetite, we don’t need to wait to see what happens in next month’s transfer window to identify the key fixtures of the new season’s opening weekends.

Much might change ahead of the first games (12th/13th August), with over £1billion expected to be spent over the summer by Premier League clubs, but with bookmakers and pundits not looking beyond last season’s top six, it’s there that we’ll focus our attention, along with a glance what lies in wait for the newly promoted teams.

Chelsea

There are no top-of-the-table clashes in the first week of the new season and Chelsea will be looking to start with an emphatic three-pointer at home to Burnley in their opening match.

Burnley, who finished in 16th place last time around, will hope to catch the Champions cold after the summer break, when Chelsea minds might be focussed on their crucial next game (away at Tottenham).

A rejuvenated champion side losing at home to Burnley might be a long shot, but stranger things have happened.

Tottenham

Spurs will play at newly-promoted Newcastle in their opening fixture, before hosting Chelsea the following week for the season’s first huge clash.

Tottenham fans are concerned that the team did not make Wembley their own last year and six losses in their last nine outings at the stadium suggest that home advantage will be no such thing.

If the players don’t quickly adapt to the different atmosphere and pitch-size of one of the world’s great stadiums, they won’t be pushing for honours come May.

Manchester City

Despite finishing a full 15 points behind Chelsea last season, Man City are title favourites with every major bookie.

Much of that confidence is based the expectation of some seriously heavy spending next month and with the visionary Bernardo Silva and the hugely promising Brazilian keeper Ederson already on their way, Man City don’t look like they’ll disappoint.

Their early fixtures don’t look too troublesome, starting with a supposedly easy trip to Brighton and followed by two fixtures against mid-table teams, at home against Everton and then away at Bournemouth.

Liverpool

Watford away and Crystal Palace at home could well give Liverpool the ideal opportunity to hit their straps before the key visit of Arsenal in their third game.

As always, transfer rumours abound and, if they are to be believed, both teams will have let the moths out of their wallets to upgrade their firepower, meaning a cracking game should be in the offing.

Arsenal

The Gunners will kick-off at home against the unpredictable Leicester, before travelling to Stoke on the second weekend.  Their Champions League credentials will come under the microscope in week three, however, when they travel to Liverpool.

Despite his earlier comments to the contrary, latest reports suggest Arsene Wenger might have £150million at his disposal this summer, so it’s anyone’s guess as to what stars they will boast come August.

Manchester United

No demons await United in the opening three rounds, with home games against West Ham and Leicester taking place either side of a trip to Swansea, representing, on paper at least, a relatively gentle start to the season.

The club will not tolerate another season so far from the top of the table (24 points by the end of last season), so expect a newly bolstered squad to be playing with real vigour by the time the big matches come around.

Promoted Teams

Brighton and Newcastle are set for a Premier League baptism of fire, hosting Manchester City and Tottenham respectively in their opening matches.

In week two, Newcastle will visit fellow new boys Huddersfield. A long season will await the loser of that fixture, meaning it will surely be the season’s first ‘must win’ game.

Engage will have unrivalled VIP packages available at all Chelsea and Tottenham home games, as well as selected Arsenal fixtures. Click here to book the ultimate match day experience.

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Will the ‘Big Four’ Roar at Wimbledon?

Wimbledon

In January, we tipped 2017 to be a vintage year for men’s tennis, but with the resurgence of the ‘Big Four’, that’s starting to look like a huge understatement. Following the Australian and French Opens, which were split between the game’s two greatest ever players, we look ahead to what could be a once-in-a-lifetime Wimbledon Championships.

With three ‘greatest of all time’ contenders and a home-grown world number one defending his title, the planets are aligning for the most compelling tennis tournament in living memory.

If the drama of Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer winning their first Grand Slam events for three and five years respectively was too much to take, you may well require sedatives to survive this year’s Wimbledon.

The bookies have Andy Murray and Federer as the joint-favourites, with fairly long odds being offered on anyone else bar Nadal and Novak Djokovic. So, to keep surprises and your blood pressure to a minimum, we look at the prospects of the four main men.

Andy Murray

Age: 30

Grand Slam Titles: 3

World Ranking: 1

With only three Grand Slam wins under his belt, it might be fair to question why Murray is bracketed with such lofty company. However, eight Grand Slam runner-up medals and two Olympic Golds, combined with the fact that he’s played a full part in ensuring no one outside the Big Four has held the world number one position since 2004, means he’s well worth his place.

Despite a poor early season on clay, Murray will be buoyed by his performances in Paris, where he eventually lost over five sets in his semi-final against Stan Warwrinka.

Back on his favourite surface and with colossal home support, he has every chance of extending his reign as Wimbledon Champion and his stay at the top of the world rankings.

Roger Federer

Age: 35

Grand Slam Titles: 18

World Ranking: 5

Federer on form and on grass is utterly irresistible and he’s probably the only player who will be truly confident of winning if playing well.

Andy Murray’s fans might take solace when looking at the head-to-head stats with his principle threat, as Federer leads by only 14 wins to 11. If that seems surprisingly close, given Federer’s incredible record, the figures for their encounters in major tournaments are far more sobering, reading 5 wins to 1 in Federer’s favour.

Furthermore, despite Federer’s tournament victories becoming less frequent in his 30’s, he has beaten Murray in their last 5 encounters.

If anyone doubted his motivation in his 36th year, his skipping of the French Open to concentrate on Wimbledon sent out a clear message that he’s after his eighth title in SW19.

Having rolled back the years to take his fifth Australian Open title in January, he’s perfectly set for a fitting swansong at the scene of many of his greatest triumphs.

Rafael Nadal

Age: 31

Grand Slam Titles: 15

World Ranking: 2

Here’s an interesting fact: of the four times Nadal has won the French Open final in straight sets, three times he went on to win another Grand Slam that same year (Wimbledon twice and the US Open once) and the other was last week…

After a dominant performance at Roland-Garros that culminated in a three-set trouncing of Stan Wawrinka, it will be a brave soul who bets against history repeating itself once more.

Nadal has admitted that grass is the hardest surface for his troublesome knees, but he will have the added incentive of recapturing the world no. 1 spot for the fourth time in his career.

Andy Murray winning at Queens and Wimbledon last year means anything less than that this summer will see his points tally drop at the top of the rankings, potentially paving the way for Nadal (the rankings system is based on points won over the last 12 months).

Nadal will be well aware that a strong showing, even if not a win, could see him back on top, not that the sport’s greatest ever fighter will be setting his sights on anything less than the trophy.

With his backhand firing like never before, if he stays injury free, he’s in with his best shout for years.

Novak Djokovic

Age: 30

Grand Slam Titles: 12

World Ranking: 4

Djokovic has been suffering a well-publicised dip in form, but writing-off a man with 12 Grand Slam titles, five of them in the last two years, would not be wise. To address the slide, he’ll have eight-time Grand Slam winner Andre Agassi in his corner for Wimbledon.  Boring tennis is the only impossible outcome of that pairing.

If they hit it off and Djokovic gets back to the form that in 2016 saw him win five Grand Slam titles in six starts, he could breeze to his thirteenth big one, leaving him just one short of Pete Sampras in third place on the all-time list.

Wimbledon will run from Monday 3rd July to Sunday 16th July and Engage has VIP packages available for every round, including the sensational show courts. Click here to read more.

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England Set For Awesome Autumn

Autumn International

England’s Autumn International programme will see them host Argentina, Australia and Samoa in three vital games as they build towards the next World Cup.

Despite their unbeaten run ending in Dublin, English rugby remains in rude health. A hugely successful last 18 months and a seriously impressive, against-the-odds series win in Argentina this summer means fans will be expecting nothing less than three home wins this November.

The hardest part for Eddie Jones will be picking his squad, as the returning Lions and injured players unavailable for the successful trip to Argentina numbered around 30.

With Jones set on unearthing a couple of young gems before the squad heads to Japan, expect plenty of young talent on show and plenty of old heads fighting to keep their jersies.

It should mean fans are in for some scintillating rugby, so, with that prospect in mind we cast our eye over the Autumn’s opposition.

Argentina

Despite already losing over half his squad to the Lions, Eddie Jones ignored several seasoned international players and headed to Argentina last month with what was little more than a development squad.

Two wins from two against a full-strength Argentina seemed to confirm that Los Puma’s star is very much on the wane.

It was widely expected that Argentina effectively now playing in Super Rugby as Los Jaguares would result in a very well-gelled team who would achieve further success on the international scene, but that hasn’t happened.

Perhaps the lack of challenging new ideas and noticeable step up in quality of teammates that joining a national squad usually brings has resulted in a comfort zone for the players.  What’s clear is that something needs to change.

The loss to a 14-man England at Twickenham last year and last month’s humiliation at home will mean Argentina will be wounded and unfancied in equal measures, a combination that used to serve them very well.

Expect a full-blooded test match, with both teams desperate for a win again a side they’ll share the same group with in Japan.

Australia

The Aussies’ recent home loss to Scotland, combined with their defeats in Dublin and London last Autumn, suggests they are undergoing a transition, but don’t be lulled into a false sense of security.

Australia have a habit of unearthing talent that quickly takes to international rugby and their pride will demand revenge for their four straight defeats at the hands of England. With those tests all going down to the wire, they will fancy their chances of causing an upset at HQ.

Samoa

Samoa, though still achieving international success, are not currently showing the form that saw once them regularly claim the scapls of bigger rugby nations.

That reason alone may tempt Eddie Jones to throw a few more young bolters into the mix and that, against a side always fully committed and dripping with natural talent, could make for the most open and thrilling match of the series.

If you would like to enjoy any or all of these games with one of our VIP packages, please click here to find out more.

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See the NFL International Series in London this Autumn

NFL

The NFL will play its biggest ever series of fixtures in London this year, with two games taking place at Twickenham and two at Wembley. The games have already sold out the 75,000 and 85,000 capacity stadiums, so our VIP packages represent your best chance of joining the action.

The series will see three teams, the Ravens, Browns and Cardinals, make their London debuts. The Jaguars, meanwhile, have ‘hosted’ a home game at Wembley every year since 2013, with plans in place for that to continue until at least 2020.

With some of the world’s most explosive athletic talent on show, a live NFL game is an experience no true sports fan should miss.

Fixtures

2:30pm, 24th September, Wembley Stadium: Baltimore Ravens vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

2:30pm, 1st October, Wembley Stadium: New Orleans Saints vs. Miami Dolphins

6pm, 22nd October, Twickenham Stadium: Arizona Cardinals vs. LA Rams

1:30pm, 29th October, Twickenham Stadium: Minnesota Vikings vs. Cleveland Browns

Cameron Jordan, New Orleans Saints

Age: 27

Height: 6ft 4’

Weight: 20 stone 7 lbs

Son of a former NFL player, the incredibly athletic Jordan was a star discus thrower before throwing in his lot with American Football. It’s no wonder that quarterbacks suffer from nerves when the 287lb tackling machine is heading their way, as he invariably does, so sit back and enjoy the show from the safety of the stands.

Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens

Age: 32

Height: 6ft 6’

Weight:  17 stone 7 lbs

The man with a canon for a right arm has fully recovered from the knee injury that hampered him for much of last season and will be hoping to further improve his superb post-season record this time around. With his six-year, $120.6 million contract representing the highest average salary in the NFL, his bosses will be equally keen for success.

Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams

Age: 25

Height: 6ft 1’

Weight:  20 stone 5 lbs

Described as “a one-man wrecking ball” by several opposition head coaches, Donald is tipped to become the league’s highest-paid defensive player within a year. The opposing quarterback will always expect a tough day at the office when Donald is on the field, so keep an eye on him when the Rams are defending.

Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Age: 38

Height: 6ft

Weight: 14 stone 13 lbs

Arguably the best passing quarterback in the history of the NFL, Brees is still worth $31M per year at the age of 38. The former Super Bowl winner is possibly in his last season, but lucrative future offers as a free agent may see him extend his already stellar career.

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Legends Lined-Up for Summer ‘17

Summer

Engage are offering hospitality packages at some truly unmissable music events this summer, with some of the biggest acts of all time, including U2, Guns N’ Roses and Elton John, playing at iconic venues in and around London.

For those of you who won’t be able to attend every show and need to compile a shortlist, we’ve compiled a brief guide to this summer’s hottest music events.

3rd June, The Stoop: Elton John, Wonderful Crazy Night Tour

Elton John

With around 300,000,000 records sold, Elton John is firmly in the top-five biggest-selling artists of all time and needs little by way of introduction. What might be surprising to some is that not only is he still making music, but his last album, after which the tour is named, was deemed by critics to be one of his best, “recreating the rootsy Americana of his youth”.

The Engage clients watching Elton from a private box at The Stoop (15,000 capacity stadium-bowl home to Harlequins Rugby Club) will get to hear his acclaimed new material along with many of his classic tracks.

10th June, Wembley: Capital Summertime Ball 2017

summertimeball1

Capital FM’s Summertime Ball is a one-day music festival, with an incredible atmosphere created by superstar performers and a world-class venue filled with a huge crowd, but without the mud.

Last year’s line-up included acts such as Will.i.am, Flo Rida and Tine Tempah, so keep your eyes on our website for news on this year’s acts as they’re announced.

16th & 17th June, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park: Guns N’ Roses, Not In This Lifetime Tour

guns-n-roses

With their legends firmly sealed as inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Gun N’ Roses continue to be one of the all-time great live bands.

Such was their commitment to the rock ’n’ roll way of life in the 80’s and early 90’s, you’d have got long odds on Axl Rose and Slash being around for a reunion tour in 2017, but, thankfully, they survived and remain one of the hottest acts in the world.

Engage are offering VIP packages, complete with food, drinks and access to the Royal East lounge, from where you’ll be able to kick back and enjoy the mayhem as Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park rocks out to classics like Paradise City, Sweet Child o’ Mine and Welcome to the Jungle.

7th, 8th & 9th July, Finsbury Park: Wireless Festival

Wireless-Festival-2017-lineup

Chance the Rapper, Skepta and The Weekend respectively will headline the three days of the eclectic Wireless Festival, which last year saw a guest appearance from Pharrell Williams. With three stages featuring a mix of mainstream and underground artists, the festival is fast becoming one the UK’s most popular, especially amongst those with their fingers on music’s pulse.

With complimentary food and drinks, a chill out zone, luxury restrooms and access to the VIP village, Engage will make sure you enjoy all the best experiences of the British festival scene, with none of the down sides.

9th July, Twickenham: U2, The Joshua Tree Tour

u2bigpic

In one of the world’s great stadiums, you’ll get to sing along to one of rock’s greatest ever albums, including moody, cinematic, iconic tracks like ”Where the Streets Have No Name,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and “With or Without You.”

When U2 announced they’d be touring their career-defining album to celebrate 30 years since its release, their fans did not wait to hear anything more. 1.1 million tickets were sold within 24hrs, so the pre-show party, complimentary bar, gourmet food and other benefits of our VIP package will take second billing to the one headline fact: we can get you into the stadium!